Rome: Pope Clarifies Two Points of Traditionis Custodes

February 22, 2023

Recently, concerns have been between some bishops and Cardinal Arthur Roche concerning two points related to the motu proprio Traditionis custodes. 

Obviously, Cardinal Roche felt he was in a delicate situation after exchanging letters with several bishops and reviewing the opinion of canonists on the two points which are clarified in the Rescript published on February 20, 2023. He therefore asked Pope Francis to confirm two points of Traditionis custodes which he had interpreted in his response to the dubia submitted on the motu proprio.

The Rescript was given to Cardinal Roche during an audience with the Pope on February 20. He specifically confirmed that the granting of the following two dispensations contained in the motu proprio of July 16, 2021 were specially reserved for the Apostolic See:

– the use of a parish church or the erection of a personal parish for the celebration of the Eucharist using the Missale Romanum of 1962 (cf. Traditionis custodes Art. 3,§2);

– the granting of permission to priests ordained after the publication of the motu proprio Traditionis custodes to celebrate with the Missale Romanum of 1962 (cf. Traditionis custodes Art. 4).

The Rescript adds that, as provided for in Art. 7 of the motu proprio, the Dicastery for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments exercises the authority of the Holy See in the aforementioned cases, supervising the observance of the provisions, which is the norm.

So as to not leave anything out, it is specified that “if a diocesan bishop has granted dispensations in the two aforementioned cases, he is required to inform the Dicastery for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, which will evaluate the individual cases.”

Finally, to completely wrap up the file, the Pope “confirms – after having already expressed his assent during the audience of November 18, 2021 – what was established in the Responsa ad dubia in the appended explanatory notes of December 4, 2021.”

The Rescript will be published in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis, the “Official Journal” of the Holy See.

This text has the merit of clarity, but it shows that, by providing himself with the Rescript, the Prefect of the Dicastery for Divine Worship did not feel confident in the face of criticism over his interpretations.