Archbishop Roche Announces a Document on the Liturgical Formation of Seminarians

March 01, 2022
Via della Conciliazione, seat of the CDW

The prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Archbishop Arthur Roche, is concerned about the promptness with which new priests, barely out of the seminary, hasten to celebrate with the 1962 Roman Missal.

In an interview with British magazine The Tablet on February 24, 2022, the Prefect of the Congregation, Archbishop Arthur Roche, said that Pope Francis is concerned about the liturgical formation of candidates for the priesthood.

According to him, it is not uncommon for newly ordained priests to begin “almost immediately” to celebrate the pre-conciliar liturgy. In the seminaries, the Congregation strives to teach “the richness of the liturgical reform,” as requested by the Second Vatican Council. Msgr. Roche did not give further details on the planned document.

Two years ago, the Congregation launched discussions among its members to discuss this issue. “Everyone was of the opinion that seminary formation in general and in the life of the Church was quite insufficient,” said the prefect for the liturgy.

It is in this context that they wrote the instructions that diocesan bishops must consult the Holy See before authorizing newly ordained priests to celebrate according to the missal in force before the liturgical reform. This requirement was introduced last summer by Traditionis custodes, which markedly limited the celebration of the traditional liturgy.

Archbishop Roche stressed that he considers his congregation’s task to be to continue to implement Sacrosanctum concilium, the constitution on the liturgy of the Second Vatican Council. This constitution is the magna charta of the Congregation for Divine Worship.

The Pope's goal is to ensure unity in the Church. This involves ending the impression of two churches with two different liturgies. “Of course, Pope Francis, like his predecessors, cares about those for whom that is difficult.” This is why the possibility of using the 1962 missal still exists. “But that's not the norm. It is simply a pastoral concession.”

According to The Tablet, the interview was conducted before the announcement of the decree by which the pope authorizes the Fraternity of Saint Peter (FSSP) to celebrate the traditional liturgy without the restrictions imposed by Traditionis Custodes.

Archbishop Roche, on the other hand, stressed that the majority of the bishops supported the restriction of the old Mass. The hardening of the provisions of the motu proprio, which the Congregation had published in December in the form of Responsa ad dubia – responses to requests – followed concrete questions from bishops, he further explained.

This interesting interview shows once again – if it were necessary – how much the new prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship is a bitter enemy of the traditional liturgy. But it also reveals that the movement that brings recently ordained priests to this liturgy must be strong enough for the Holy See to be forced into such draconian measures.