For the past several weeks, the report has been circulating that Pope Francis intends to curtail the freedom to celebrate the traditional Roman liturgy granted on this very day 14 years ago by Pope Benedict XVI with the issuance of the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum. Reliable sources, perhaps mostly notable Phil Lawler, have confirmed that such a plan has indeed been discussed within the Curia, and that drafts of documents to such effect have been created and revised.
Rumors of the specifics abound: that the traditional rite will return to the previous indult regime, by which bishops had broad authority to refuse or restrict permission for it to be used; that the societies of apostolic life which currently use only the Extraordinary Form, as it is now called, will somehow be compelled to use also the Ordinary Form; that the celebration in the old rite of sacraments other than the Mass will be forbidden. The latest rumor claims that the new restrictions will be announced today, the anniversary of Summorum Pontificum; so perhaps you have already read them in the browser tab next to this one.
Since this important part of Benedict XVI’s legacy may be to some degree undone, it is worth considering what that legacy really means, which may in turn explain why it is under attack.