Guardians of the Tradition:

Pope Francis restricts Latin Mass

Pope Francis’ new decree (Guardians of the Tradition) on 16 July 2021 has revoked the general permission for priests to celebrate the Latin Mass, and restores the authority of the diocesan bishop “to regulate the liturgical celebrations of his diocese” stating that “it is his exclusive competence to authorise the use of the 1962 Roman Missal in his diocese, according to the guidelines of the Apostolic See.” Clear guidelines are included in the decree.

Pope Francis explains in his accompanying letter that the permission to continue celebrating the Latin Missal was given with the intent to promote unity in the church, but it has on the contrary lead to usage that contradicts communion and nurtures divisive tendency. 

Francis reminds us that the intent of Vatican II Council was that “the faithful would not assist as strangers and silent spectators in the mystery of faith, but, with a full understanding of the rites and prayers, would participate in the sacred action consciously, piously, and actively.” He reaffirms the teaching of Vatican II as the teaching and the Tradition of the Church: “To doubt the Council is to doubt … the Holy Spirit himself who guides the Church.” 

Francis expresses sadness that “the instrumental use of the Roman Missal of 1962 is often characterised by a rejection not only of the liturgical reform, but of the Vatican Council II itself, claiming, with unfounded and unsustainable assertions, that it betrayed the Tradition and the ‘true Church.’” It is a usage that contradicts communion and nurtures the divisive tendency. For this reason, he decrees that: 

“In defence of the unity of the Body of Christ, I am constrained to revoke the faculty granted by my Predecessors.”

The decree is on the Vatican website: here

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