The bomb has been dropped. Today Pope Francis issued his motu proprio Traditionis custodes severely restricting the celebration of the traditional Latin Mass. In effect, it wipes out Pope Benedict’s 14-year-old motu proprio, Summorum Pontificum, which was issued in order to help those faithful who “continued to be attached with such love and affection to the earlier liturgical forms which had deeply shaped their culture and spirit.” Apparently Pope Francis doesn’t think that’s necessary anymore.

I’m not going to analyze the details of the new motu proprio here—you can find that elsewhere. Instead I’d like to share my initial reaction and address the practical impact on pew-sitting Catholics.

One of my first thoughts when reading the Pope’s decree was our Lord’s words, “What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent?” (Luke 11:11) A growing number of Catholics have been asking to be fed by the “fish” of the TLM; now the Holy Father has given them instead a serpent. 

Praise the Lord

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