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Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Pope Francis rejects attack on old rite and says "treasure tradition"


The Bishops of the region of Tavoliere met recently with Pope Francis on an ad limina visit. On their return home, one has given a fascinating glimpse of the attitude of Pope Francis to those who are seeking to use the opportunity of his papacy to attack the traditional Mass. This is reported in the Italian paper Il Foglio, in the article: La messa antica non si tocca, il Papa gesuita spiazza ancora tutti ("The old mass is not to be touched, the Jesuit Pope wrong-foots everyone")

Here is my translation of the relevant part of the article which tells of other bishops raising concerns with the Holy Father and goes on to speak of the intervention concerning the old Mass:
Then it was the turn of the bishop of Conversano and Monopoli, Domenico Padovano, who recounted to the clergy of his diocese how the priority of the bishops of the region of Tavoliere had been that of explaining to the Pope that the mass in the old rite was creating great divisions within the Church. The underlying message: Summorum Pontificum should be cancelled, or at least strongly limited. But Francis said no.

Mgr Padovano explained that Francis replied to them saying that they should be vigilant over the extremism of certain traditionalist groups but also suggesting that they should treasure tradition and create the necessary conditions so that tradition might be able to live alongside innovation.
This is not really a surprise (did anyone expect that Pope Francis would somehow "repeal" Summorum Pontificum?) but it is a welcome confirmation of what we would all expect.

One thing that jumps out of the story is that the bishops of this region judged that their main pastoral priority - to be communicated to the Pope on a five-yearly visit - was to attack Summorum Pontificum. Forget abortion, embryo experimentation, the push for same-sex marriage throughout Europe, the loss of faith of many Catholics and our failure in catechesis and evangelisation. No, the really big problem is a small number of priests legitimately saying the old Mass. Given what Pope Francis has said about the danger of being a self-referential Church, I can well imagine he gave them short shrift.
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