Since July 16, 2021, the Tridentine Mass is being closely monitored. The following is a reflection by Fr. Alain Lorans.
The Motu proprio Traditionis Custodes forbids the Tridentine Mass to be said in parish churches. Priests who celebrated it under the 2007 Motu Proprio must, under the 2021 Motu Proprio, reapply for permission to do so.
Newly ordained young priests who wish to be able to celebrate this Mass, which Summorum pontificum had recalled—rightly—had never been abrogated, will have to obtain permission from their bishop, who will himself have to consult the Holy See before granting it.
Why so many coercive measures? It is a matter of establishing a true sanitary cordon, in order to protect the diocesan clergy from developing symptoms from exposure to the Tridentine liturgy, the contagiousness of which is known by all.
These prophylactic measures target priests with an average age of 75 years, who are particularly vulnerable faced with young confreres attached to the Traditional Mass, whose average age is 38 years.
Bishops, referred to as the “guardians of Tradition,” must in fact guard their aging clergy, deserted seminaries, and increasingly empty churches. And they must guard them… from the influence of perennial Tradition.
Rome is asking the bishops to order all those who draw on the treasure of the traditional liturgy: “Do not increase! Do not multiply!” While taking on the risk of being seen more as prison guards than as authentic guardians of Tradition, concerned with the spiritual well being of their sheep.
The Motu proprio tries, it is true, to be benevolent, declaring that it wishes to “provide for the good of those who are rooted, [‘stuck,’ he thinks] in the form of the previous celebration, and who need time to return to the Roman rite promulgated by Paul VI and John Paul II.”
But this pastoral concern has the appearance of palliative care: may these nostalgic ones – 38 years old and under – open their eyes to the legitimacy of the conciliar reform or close them definitively!
One wonders about the effectiveness of this liturgical prophylaxis that looks to the future of the Church in the rearview mirror of Vatican II. It’s a challenge that will gradually turn into rancor. The rancor of a 1960s reform in the face of the vitality of the Bimillennial Tradition.