Thursday, July 22, 2021

The Motu Proprio

Well, the entire Catholic world seems to be ablaze with discussion of the motu proprio that Pope Francis issued this week regarding the celebration of the Latin Mass.

I'm reluctant to discuss it here for a couple of reasons. First off, everybody has weighed in already and I don't think I have anything original to add. (I do like Fr. Dwight Longenecker's take, although I've been told his suggested approach is not very feasible in Ireland.) Secondly, I am not a Traditionalist and I want to be respectful of the pain Traditionalists are feeling now.

I've always felt at home in the Ordinary Form and the few forays into the Latin Mass that I've made haven't been transformative for me, as they have been for so many others. To me, the Mass (any form of the Mass) already seems soaked in tradition and Scripture and solemnity-- far more so than anything else in our modern society.

Nevertheless, I have some understanding of the disturbance that this decree causes Traditionalists, by way of analogy. Some of Pope Francis's other agendas have distressed me. One example is his apparent enthusiasm for something approaching an open borders policy-- not because I'm hostile to immigrants (my wife is an immigrant), but because it's hard for me to see how national cultures can survive beyond a certain threshold of demographic change.

Similarly, his apparent support for Communion for the divorced and remarried troubled me greatly. It seemed to undermine the cohesion of Catholic doctrine.

In both these cases I simply had to swallow my reservations and have faith that the Holy Father is guided by the Holy Spirit. I haven't stopped being a nationalist and I haven't stopped being a conservative, but my Catholicism always comes first.

This is a very difficult time for my Traditionalist friends and I am praying for them, and praying for unity in the Church. One thing that reassures me is that the rhetoric on all sides has been quite measured and respectful.


  1. Yes the risk of open "debate" going astray is always at hand, so the relative mild responses may be something to be glad for no matter what.

    1. I was actually surprised at them. Perhaps the stakes being so high made people more careful?