The First Poisoned Fruits of Traditionis Custodes

August 06, 2021
Archbishop Bruno Forte

We should consider the intentions of Pope Francis’ latest motu proprio, as much as it is possible to detect them based on the information we have.

The press, and even some bishops, have recently been agitated about the investigation initiated by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in March 2020 regarding the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum.

This letter, addressed to the presidents of episcopal conferences, included nine questions addressed to the bishops. Cardinal Ladaria explained that the Pope wanted information on the current application of Summorum Pontificum. Responses were to be sent by July 31, 2020.

Some bishops were upset that they had not received this letter, but this dispatch and their eventual response would very probably have changed nothing. Because it's a safe bet that the drafting of the text had already started by the time the survey was prepared and sent. There is eloquent testimony to this practice.

 “In May 2016, Archbishop Bruno Forte revealed the ins and outs of the drafting of the controversial post-synodal document Amoris laetitia. Msgr. Forte had been appointed by Francis as special secretary of the double synod on marriage and the family.”

“At the municipal theater in Vasto, Abruzzo, where he presented the text, the archbishop recounted the task that Francis had entrusted to him: ‘If we speak expressly of communion for remarried divorcees, who knows what ‘that lot’ will do to stir things up. So we're not talking about it directly. But make sure that the premises are given, and I will draw the conclusions.’”

So, the outcome of the investigation was irrelevant, except perhaps to justify the already-drafted text. This practice has been mentioned regarding several synod texts.

The “brutality” of the motu proprio Traditionis Custodes and the unexpected nature of its decisions have left the traditionalist-conservative world astonished, even stunned. Although a good knowledge of Francis’ character and his past makes it possible to overcome this astonishment, because the Pope is reproducing what has already been done by Bergoglio as Archbishop of Buenos Aires.

One of the effects produced by the motu proprio, and which was certainly intentional, is to produce an accord of compliance to the Second Vatican Council and a recognition, not only of the validity, but also of the goodness of the Novus ordo, from the Ecclesia Dei societies.

The members of these societies thus felt obliged to mark more closely their belonging and their attachment to the Council, to its reforms, to its spirit, and to the liturgical reforms.

This approval further weakens the situation of these societies and not only makes their criticism of the Council more and more difficult, but also their refusal to celebrate or concelebrate the Novus ordo from time to time.

The situation experienced by the Fraternity of St. Peter in Dijon, where the concelebration requirement was brandished by the bishop, Msgr. Roland Minnerath, to justify dismissing the Fraternity from the diocese, risks happening again: the recent statements from the Fraternity’s superiors should help.

Finally, the tension between the theology of the Traditional Mass and the new principles issuing from the Council and the liturgical reforms, may lead those who are torn between the Traditional Mass and an illusory obedience to the Council, sooner rather than later into a kind of schizophrenia or even an abandonment of Tradition.

It is to be hoped that this test will be salutary, by opening minds and strengthening wills, so that the combat for the faith will take on a new vigor and brings together more combatants.