The Pope Speaks On “Traditionis Custodes”

September 13, 2021

On August 30, Pope Francis gave an interview to a Spanish Catholic radio station (COPE), an interview broadcast on September 1, 2021. He particularly denied the rumors circulating about his possible resignation. The entire content was transcribed in the Spanish version of Vatican news. One question was about the recent motu proprio “Traditionis Custodes”.

Francis, taking up the journalist’s question, first asserts his shyness and meekness. He says, “I’m not one to bang on the table, I don’t get it. I’m rather shy.”

He then traces the history of Traditionis custodes. “When first John Paul II [who signed the motu proprio Quattuor abhinc annos in 1984. ed.], —and later Benedict, more clearly with Summorum Pontificum—, gave this possibility of celebrating with the Missal of John XXIII (prior to that of Paul VI, which is post-conciliar) for those who did not feel good with the current liturgy, who had a certain nostalgia.”

He adds, “it seemed to me one of the most beautiful and human pastoral things of Benedict XVI, who is a man of exquisite humanity. And so it began. That was the reason.”

The pope then recounts the assessment that followed after three years, and, he says, “it seemed like everything was going well. And it was fine.” Then a new assessment was made ten years later, last year.

It was then that, according to the pope, “the concern that appeared the most was that something that was done to help pastorally those who have lived a previous experience was being transformed into ideology. That is, from a pastoral thing to ideology. So we had to react with clear norms… that put a limit to those who had not lived that experience.”

In other words, those who discovered the traditional Mass, who had not known it before, attached themselves to it, and could not fail to see that it opposes the new Mass and the new theology, Vatican Council II including. It was downright intolerable. So it was necessary to establish limits.

“The limit is very clear,” added the pope. “After this motu proprio, a priest who wants to celebrate that is not in the same condition as before… and so he has to ask permission from Rome. A kind of permission for bi-ritualism, which is given only by Rome. [Like] a priest who celebrates in the Eastern Rite and the Latin Rite, he is bi-ritual but with the permission of Rome.”

But for what reason is a priest who wants to celebrate a rite that has never been forbidden, that is not forbidden, that cannot be forbidden, in a particular situation? That’s not what’s being said.

And this cannot be said, for ideology is not on the side of the traditional Mass, but on the side of the Second Vatican Council and the New Mass. The council has no infallible authority. As has been repeated over and over again, it is pastoral, it has defined nothing and condemned nothing. Even though Paul VI wanted to make it a “super-dogma.” Just remember what he wrote in a letter to Abp. Lefebvre:

“This Council is no less authoritative and is even in some respects more important than that of Nicaea.” It is unknown at this time what would make Vatican II such an important council if not more so than Nicaea, the first ecumenical council in the history of the Church to proclaim the divinity of Christ, anathematize the heresy of Arius, and fix the essentials of the Creed!

The truth is that Pope Francis, following in the footsteps of Paul VI, wants to eradicate any deviance from conciliar ideology. Traditionis custodes is just another step in this eradication process.

The various studies on the motu proprio Traditionis Custodes have been gathered in this dossier.