Latin Mass Society: Pope’s Crackdown on Traditionalists Does ‘Immediate Severe Harm’ to Church Unity

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The Latin Mass Society of England and Wales has expressed dismay at Pope Francis’s latest crackdown on conservatives and traditionalists by further restricting the use of traditional liturgy.

The Tridentine Mass, or Traditional Latin Mass, was the most widely used in the Roman Catholic Church from at least 1570 until the promulgation of the Mass of Paul VI, or Novus Ordo, in 1969, when it began to be squeezed out by the Church hierarchy.

Many conservatives remained attached to the traditional liturgy, either because they believed it conveyed a great sense of the sacred or because they were concerned by changes and a perceived tendency towards irreverence introduced with the new mass. It had been enjoying a modest resurgence in the modern Church since Pope Benedict XVI liberalised its use through an Apostolic Letter in 2007, but Pope Francis cracked down on the traditional rite again with his own Apostolic Letter in July.

The Vatican has further tightened the screws in recent days, clarifying that the sacraments of confirmation and ordination according to the old liturgy are banned possibly outright under the new regulations — causing dismay among Latin Mass enthusiasts.

In comments to Breitbart London, the Latin Mass Society of England and Wales chairman Joseph Shaw said his group was “greatly disappointed” by the fresh crackdown, noting in particular “that the administration of the Sacrament of Confirmation by bishops to groups of the Faithful attached to the older liturgy greatly strengthened the sense of communion between people and bishop” and that “this was a regular event in several dioceses in England and Wales and around the world.”

“The ban on this in this new document does immediate severe harm to the very thing it claims to be promoting — the unity of the Church — and will contribute to a sense among the faithful of deliberate marginalisation, and even a desire to impede our reception of the sacraments,” he warned.

Shaw further warned that “the ban on the use of older books for Ordinations” — which see people initiated into the priesthood — and “urge[d] priests and bishops tasked with implementing this document to consider carefully the good of souls in doing so, which as the Code of Canon Law informs us, is the ‘supreme law’ (Canon 1752).”

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