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Italian Bishops Take Aim at Summorum Pontificum, Want Traditional Mass Abrogated

As has so often been the case in the past year or two, an important report has surfaced on the Italian traditionalist blog, Messa in Latino (Mass in Latin). In it, the authors reveal that at the recent Italian Bishops’ Conference meeting in Rome (Nov. 12-15), an attack was mounted on the 2007 Motu Proprio of Pope Benedict XVI, Summorum Pontificum. That papal instruction affirmed that it is “permitted to celebrate the Sacrifice of the Mass following the typical edition of the Roman Missal, which was promulgated by Blessed John XXIII in 1962 and never abrogated, as an extraordinary form of the Church’s Liturgy.”

The attack was led by Archbishop Redaelli of Gorizia, who argued that the Mass was, in fact, abrogated (in direct contradiction to Pope Benedict) and that it can thus not be considered to be universally permitted.

Earlier this week, 1P5 contributor Hilary White, who lives in Italy, offered more insight into what the liturgical landscape looks like in Italy, and how this move might be interpreted. She says that the Traditional Mass “is barely surviving” in Italy “due to the blind, insane hostility of the Italian bishops to the Catholic religion.” She also argues that Francis has effectively taken over the Italian Bishops’ Conference, imposing his own candidate in Perugia and parachuting “a bunch of his toadies into key positions around the country to start softening up the local Church to his ideological platform planks.” Hilary continues, saying of Francis:

I’d bet money this is his idea made to look like theirs and he will acquiesce reluctantly to the overwhelmingly unified decision of the bishops – synodality, dontcha know. It will probably take a couple of years – one needs chronological distance in order to maintain plausible deniability – but it will probably show up as a “key principle” after one of the Synods. Something that one or two bishops will complain was “never talked about” in the discussions in the aula.

She expects that locally, there will be a push to kill off whatever TLMs have managed to survive the already hostile landscape. Over the past half decade, availability of traditional Masses has “plummeted,” Hilary writes, and that became clear to her when trying to find a place to live with access to the Mass after the town of Norcia, where she was an oblate at the Benedictine Monastery, was destroyed by earthquakes and she was forced to find a new home.

Twenty months ago, when I was looking for a place in Umbria my first priority was finding a place within a reasonable communing distance from a Mass. But I spent a month traveling up and down and back and forth visiting ALL the Mass centre locations listed by the traddie websites, and of the five regular Mass centres (not including SSPX) only three were barely hanging on – one of which was the monastery at Norcia. If they do manage to formally restrict the Mass again, it will be in the nature of a mop-up job.

Traditionalists are treated by the Italian clergy and hierarchy like people with a contagious mental disease.

The blow struck by the Italian Bishops against the Mass of the Ages does not appear to be decisive. To my knowledge, no concrete action has been taken to repeal Summorum Pontificum in Italy — which, if it were to happen, would begin a domino effect in hostile dioceses around the world. We may not see the next step yet, but make no mistake: this is a portentous event, and it isn’t the last we’ll hear of it.

As she so often does, Hilary cuts to the heart of the matter when she concludes:

One thing this does demonstrate, however, is that it is only the Traditionalists and the rabid revolutionaries in robes we still call bishops who fully understand the importance of the ancient liturgy. They need to kill it in order to kill the Faith it embodies.

In a followup post, she notes that Archbishop Redaelli recently refused “to back up one of his parish priests who objected to having an adult male scout leader of the parish who was in a same-sex “civil union”.” This refusal ultimately led to the priest’s resignation while the gay scout leader remained.

“I merely add all this,” she says, “as a helpful illustration of what I mean by the hatred of the traditional liturgy always goes along with the hatred of the Faith it embodies.”

The full translation of the Messa in Latino post is below, courtesy of 1P5’s Giuseppe Pellegrino:

Italian Bishops’ Conference: The Traditional Mass Should be Abrogated, Benedict XVI Was Mistaken

The reports that had come to us have been confirmed: in Rome, at the Meeting of the Italian Bishops’ Conference (CEI), an attempt has been made to attack the motu proprio of Benedict XVI [Summorum Pontificum], and also Benedict himself, he who was so fond of that reform, so much so that he fearlessly faced opposition to it.

What happened?

Archbishop Redaelli, Bishop of Gorizia (whom we know received a degree in Canon Law at the Pontifical Gregorian University) has asserted that the [1962] Missal of John XXIII was abrogated by Paul VI (contrary to what Benedict XVI said in the motu proprio), and thus, because the juridical premises on which Summorum Pontificum is based are in error, is without efficacy in the part in which it affirms the continuing validity of the [1962] Missal and its unchanged vigor today. For this reason, the motu proprio is a “nonsense” law and the “Tridentine” liturgy was not legitimately re-established by the motu proprio and it cannot presently be considered to be universally permitted.

The consequence, hoped for by the most hostile bishops, is a total cancellation (without appeal) of all of the centers where the TLM is offered and flourishing since September 14, 2007.

To which we respond, based on the opinion of professional canon lawyers, not simply doctors of the law in other matters like His Excellency [Archbishop Radaelli], even if the premise of the motu proprio that the ancient liturgy was numquam abrogata is wrong (which it is not, as is evidenced, apart from other things, by the pre-existing faculty [prior to 2007] to celebrate the TLM under the Indult), the essential datum is that Summorum Pontificum expresses an irrefutable ratio legis: namely that the Extraordinary Form is henceforward freely to be used; always permitted for private Masses, and on the request of a stable group of the faithful for public Masses. Therefore the criticism of Archbishop Radaelli, even if it was well-founded (and it is not) would have no impact at all on the force of canon law in effect since 2007.

To this unconvincing intervention is added the even more hostile intervention of Girardi, Rector of the Institute of Pastoral Liturgy of Saint Justina of Padua (one of the epicenters of post-conciliar aberrations), filled with the worst ideology of the “aggiornamento.”

Devoid of legal knowledge but full of liturgical arrogance (the famous joke that circulates in the Vatican is that the difference between a liturgist and a terrorist is that with the latter, usually, one can negotiate…), Girardi explained that Summorum Pontificum is pernicious from the point of view of pastoral care, because it is contrary to the conciliar indications of the Fathers who demanded (according to him) a radical change to the [1962] Missal. This is by no means true, as evidenced by the reading of the conciliar Constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium, which for example does not direct that the priest should be turned towards the people, and at n. 36 categorically prescribes: “The use of the Latin language, except for particular laws, is preserved in the Latin rites.”

A bishop from Puglia also spoke in support of this liturgist, Bishop Brambilla of Novara, who, although he spoke in a more elegant manner, also struck a harsh blow against the motu proprio.

Of course, after having been worried [at their meeting] about changing the long-standing translations of the Gloria and the Our Father, without anyone feeling it was necessary (and yet obviously the “for you and for all” has still not been modified, which is clearly in contrast with the original version, or rather with the very words of Our Lord, who said “for you and for many”), why would Their Excellencies waste any time analyzing the true causes of the grave crisis of faith which the Italian Church is living through (empty seminaries, abandonment of the cassock by many priests, the collapse of Catholic practice, terrible incidents of homosexual and pedophilic abuse, altars of severed heads, to cite just a few examples.)

Instead, the urgent matter of the moment was, apparently, lashing out at the ancient liturgy and calling for its banishment.

There is something sinisterly psychopathic in all this, and it is the envy of those who are bankrupt: in the collapse of their utopias, in the cold winter which the radiant ‘conciliar spring’ has turned into, it is too painful to face reality and honestly admit their mistakes. Instead they try to destroy the little that still works, like the zeal and decorum of the celebrations of the ancient rite and the flourishing of vocations in traditional religious institutes. The case of the Franciscans of the Immaculate and the hatred of the immemorial liturgy are a clear example of this insane frenzy of crazy castaways, who try to turn over the few rafts that still float, rather than thinking of climbing into them or building new ones.

Robert and Henry


Translated by Giuseppe Pellegrino


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