In this Thursday, April 1, 2021 file photo, Pope Francis celebrates a Chrism Mass inside St. Peter’s Basilica, at the Vatican. During the Mass the Pontiff blesses a token amount of oil that will be used to administer the sacraments for the year. Pope Francis cracked down on the spread of the old Latin Mass on Friday, July 16, 2021, reversing one of Pope Benedict XVI’s signature decisions in a major challenge to traditionalist Catholics. Francis reimposed the restrictions on celebrating the Latin Mass that Benedict had relaxed in 2007. Francis said he was doing so because Benedict’s reform had become a source of division in the Church and been instrumentalized by Catholics opposed to the Second Vatican Council. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

    “The liturgical books promulgated by Saint Paul VI and Saint John Paul II [that is, the “new Mass” of 1970] in conformity with the decrees of Vatican Council II, are the unique expression of the lex orandi [“the law of praying”] of the Roman Rite.” —the first article of the new apostolic letter on the liturgy issued today by Pope Francis, called “Guardians of Tradition” (“Traditionis Custodes“). There is no mention in this text of Pope Benedict XVI’s model for seeing the “two forms” of the Mass, the “ordinary” (new) and “extraordinary” (old) forms of the Roman liturgy, as complementary. That model, set forth 14 years ago by Pope Benedict XVI in his motu proprio Summorum Pontificum of July 7, 2007, was widely seen as Benedict’s attempt to grant a certain protection and prestige to the “old rite.” This text sets that model aside. And accompanying letter explains the reason: that granting more freedom for the “old Mass” led to division in the Church (see next quotation). Below, (1) the full text of the new apostolic letter, and (2) the full text of a letter of explanation

    “An opportunity offered by St. John Paul II and, with even greater magnanimity, by Benedict XVI, intended to recover the unity of an ecclesial body with diverse liturgical sensibilities, was exploited to widen the gaps, reinforce the divergences, and encourage disagreements that injure the Church, block her path, and expose her to the peril of division.” —Pope Francis, in a letter issued today explaining his decision to greatly restrict the celebration of the “old Mass,” seen as a cause of “divergences,” “disagreements” and “divisions.” The reason for issuing this document, therefore, is to support unity in the Church based on the acceptance of the liturgy promulgated following Vatican II

Praise the Lord

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