From Rorate Cæli
By Carlos Esteban
In March 2003, an amateur photographer, Kenneth Adelman, posted on his website a series of 12,000 aerial photographs to denounce the effects of erosion and real estate development on the California coast with, to be generous, little impact.
But one of those photographs featured the mansion of actress and singer Barbra Streisand, who considered it an invasion of her privacy and sued Adelman. The result was a lawsuit that was made public, which the Hollywood star lost and which resulted in Adelman's website registering 420,000 visits in just one month. The 'Streisand effect' was born, when the attempt to censor or cover up certain information results in the exact opposite effect.
Traditionis custodes has failed, and it has done so, to a large extent, by a process very similar to the 'Streisand effect'. The adherents to the traditional Mass are a tiny, statistically negligible minority in the Catholic world, but at the time of the publication of the papal motu proprio they were much smaller and, above all, the very existence of this tiny redoubt was virtually unknown to the average practicing Catholic. And that is what Francis' document has put to an end.
Suddenly, the Pope was dealing with an issue that seemed to be of undoubted importance but which the overwhelming majority knew nothing about at all. That alone made it intriguing.
Even more intriguing was to contemplate this pontiff who has made mercy his watchword singling out for censure an insignificant group without being able to justify his restrictions except with vague accusations and suspicions without proof; to observe how a pope particularly fond of diversity, anxious to bring together more or less distant religions, took the trouble to denounce a perfectly orthodox group of the Catholic faithful. God, it seems, wants a plurality of religions, but not of rites.
Even more: the Catholic reader was perplexed by the justification of "unity," when he, or any of the practicing faithful, can see that the rite of the Novus Ordo Mass varies enormously from one parish to another, with flagrant liturgical abuses that few denounce anymore and that never provoke Rome's response. And even more so, repealing a motu proprio that was promulgated only fourteen years earlier, by a Pope who was still alive and inhabiting the same city.
So the motu proprio has caused many take an interest in this ancestral rite, common to Catholic Christianity for centuries, which had somehow become a danger, in the Vatican's view. And the effect was not exactly as expected.
It was said by the unofficial organ of the French episcopate, La Croix, reporting on the extraordinary success of this year's pilgrimage to Chartres, where Masses are celebrated following the 'usus antiquior'. "This year, the pilgrimage attracted a record 16,000 walkers, young people, and this figure could have been higher if the organizers, for logistical reasons, had not closed registrations more than a week before departure. And many observers, including the mainstream media, were impressed by the fervor and faith of the pilgrims, in complete contrast with the general sadness of the Church in France, paralyzed by the abuse scandal," reads the French publication.
Once seen, it is now impossible to deny it. "The question, therefore, is no longer if and when the traditional Mass will be definitively replaced by the 1969 missal," La Croix continues. "The traditional Mass is not going to disappear and everything leads us to believe that it will continue to grow, in absolute terms but above all in relative terms, given the gradual attrition of a certain number of ordinary rite parishes."
"It is a question, then, rather of determining in what modalities and in what framework this continued growth of the traditional Mass will take place, because it is in this aspect that the Church still has a certain margin of maneuver. Now, in this sense, this fundamental movement, of which the Chartres pilgrimage has become a symbol, poses two great challenges to the universal Church, that of the unity of the faithful and that of the legacy of the Second Vatican Council in liturgical matters."
Article originally in InfoVaticana (June 20, 2023: source in Spanish)