There is a rumor circulating that English Archbishop Arthur Roche (who Pope Francis has appointed to succeed Cardinal Sarah as head of the Liturgy and Worship office) will have the task of suppressing the extraordinary form of the Mass.

In 2007 Pope Benedict XVI issued Summorum Pontificum— a decree which allowed almost complete freedom for priests to celebrate the pre-Vatican II Latin Mass if they wished. Since then the full traditional Latin Mass has enjoyed somewhat of a comeback. Conservative priests–many of them young men who never knew the pre-Vatican II church–have gravitated toward the traditional Mass. They have been joined by significant numbers of young Catholics and most importantly, young families. Typically now, when one attends a celebration of the traditional Latin Mass the church will be packed with young families with lots of children (faithfulness to the old liturgy obviously comes with faithfulness to the church’s teaching on artificial contraception.)

Not only is the Latin Mass a special form of liturgy, but accompanying this is a kind of resistance movement to the liberal agenda that seems to be the current mood in Rome and amongst the hierarchy. This is a uniquely Catholic form of “rebellion” from a group of people who clearly prize obedience as a vital part of their faith. This is the sort of obedience that stuns the establishment. It is as if the Latin Mass crowd are saying, “We’ll show you obedience. We’ll be so obedient it will shock you. We’ll be so Catholic like you’ve never seen before!”

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