30 July 2021

Some Personal Observations on Traditionis Custodes

As my readers know, I've shared numerous articles over the past couple of weeks dealing with all aspects of Francis's motu proprio attempting to restrict the TLM, leading to its eventual total suppression (made clear in the accompanying letter to the world's Bishops).

Today I thought I'd offer some of my own thoughts. I am neither a liturgical theologian nor a canonist, so these are simply my personal opinions.

The first thing that struck me was the utter cruelty of the insult directed at Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, Francis's predecessor. Benedict spent his entire Pontificate trying to restore reverence to the celebration of the Mass in the Novus Ordo. He 'freed' the TLM with Summorum Pontificum. He hoped for a 'mutual enrichment' that would enrich the Novus Ordo and bring it closer to the TLM, and the adding of new Feasts of Saints and Prefaces to the Gregorian Rite.

With one fell swoop, Francis reversed all that and destroyed the progress made. Whilst he made mention of the abuses in the Novus Ordo of the Mass, neither in the motu proprio nor elsewhere, has he made any effort to put a stop to them. Indeed, he seems to actively encourage such abuses as allowing unrepentant adulterers and heretics to receive the Most Holy Eucharist and allowing unrepentant sinners like Biden and Pelosi to put their souls in danger of eternal damnation according to 1 Corinthians 11:28-29 'A man must examine himself first, and then eat of that bread and drink of that cup; he is eating and drinking damnation to himself if he eats and drinks unworthily, not recognizing the Lord’s body for what it is.'

Francis could not even wait until Benedict was dead and buried before publicly and blatantly repudiating everything he had tried to accomplish.

A second thing that struck me was the high handed and dictatorial manner in which the motu proprio was written. In Canon Law, there is a concept called vacatio legis. It is governed by Canon 8, 

'Can. 8 §1. Universal ecclesiastical laws are promulgated by publication in the official commentary, Acta Apostolicae Sedis, unless another manner of promulgation has been prescribed in particular cases. They take force only after three months have elapsed from the date of that issue of the Acta unless they bind immediately from the very nature of the matter, or the law itself has specifically and expressly established a shorter or longer suspensive period (vacatio).

'§2. Particular laws are promulgated in the manner determined by the legislator and begin to oblige a month after the day of promulgation unless the law itself establishes another time period.'

I am not qualified to determine whether Traditionis Custodes is universal or particular law, but in either case, there is normally a period of three months (for universal laws) or one month (for particular laws) in which Bishops and those affected may ask questions of the relevant Dicasteries seeking clarification, etc.

Not in the case of Traditionis Custodes! I am not questioning Francis's authority to alter the normal procedure since Canon 8 makes specific provisions for a shortening (or lengthening) of the vacatio legis.

What concerns me is that it was to take effect immediately, with no concern for the opinions or feelings of those affected. There was to be no opportunity for Bishops to submit questions or ask for clarifications. It was presented as a diktat. I am not the only one to notice this. I shared Father Hunwicke's thoughts on it here.

However, it must have come as a great surprise to Francis that many Bishops, even those who are normally solidly behind his liberal 'reforms', simply refused to implement it. Granted, a few known enemies of Tradition such as Anthony Taylor of Little Rock immediately enforced it. Some such as Wilton Gregory of DC even 'interpreted' it in a more rigid, anti-Traditional manner than it was written to ban TLMs that shouldn't have been affected, but many simply said 'No' or 'Not yet'.

I was also ironically amused by his claim that the motu proprio was prompted by a desire for 'unity'. How does one achieve unity by insulting and punishing a group of Catholics who, by most metrics, are amongst the most faithful and dedicated in the Church? In fact, the motu proprio has created new divisions in the Church and deepened those that already existed. So much for 'unity'!

At any rate, those are a few of my thoughts on Francis's latest attack on the Catholic Faith.

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