Part one (2): The specific aim of the Moto proprio
In the motu proprio Traditionis Custodes, Pope Francis has implemented a battery of measures seeking to circumscribe the Tridentine Mass, with the hope of making it disappear to the advantage of the Mass of Paul VI.
Such a commitment prompts the question: do the motivations he gave in his accompanying letter truly correspond to the real goal he has set himself? The first article considered the official motives—setting up a specific goal.
The specific aim of the motu proprio: “reduce the influence of the traditionalists.”
The official motive given by the pope, namely that Church unity would be in danger if any questioning of the Council were allowed, is all the more puzzling. Thus Jean Pierre Maugendre on the Renaissance Catholique web site wrote, “The argument, if the subject were not so serious, would bring a smile to one’s face. What Church unity? When:
--there are not two identical Masses celebrated in two different churches,
--in one diocese the divorced-remarried are admitted to holy communion and not in another,
--69% of American Catholics say that they do not believe in the real presence of Christ under the appearances of bread and wine after the consecration (Pew Research Center survey of August 2019),
--with total impunity, the German priests, in their churches bedecked with rainbow flags, are blessing homosexual unions, etc.
“The pope who signed the Abu Dhabi Declaration stating, “The diversity of religions is willed by God in His wisdom,” wrote in the letter to the bishops accompanying the Motu proprio: “to remain in the Church not only “with the body” but also “with the heart” is a condition for salvation.” – To put it another way: outside the Church there is no salvation!
Perceptive, in Le Figaro Jean Marie Guenois gave the real and specific aim of these coercive measures, as early as July 9, eight days before the publication of the motu proprio: it is first and foremost a question of “reducing the influence of the traditionalists.” Because Francis encountered an inconvenient and very annoying fact for conciliar ideology: the younger generation are attracted to Tradition.
The Swiss agency cath.ch, little suspected of excessive traditionalism, acknowledged on July 20: Tradition continues to attract. In recent years, young people, both priests and lay, have turned more and more to the Tridentine use. Vocations from traditional communities continue to multiply.
“How can one explain this turning towards a liturgy that they have never known, something totally strange to their family circle? ‘Perhaps it is a means above politics to fight against a feeling of destabilization, of being overcome, of facing a very violent globalization, against which they want to resist,” suggests Fr. Luc Forestier, conference master at the Catholic Institute of Paris, in La Croix.”
--They will appreciate this “politically correct” answer which does not worry for a moment about the merit per se of the traditional liturgy, and does not want to see in the Tridentine Rite a way to reassure oneself in the face of globalization.
What Fr. Forestier does not understand, an atheist philosopher like Michel Onfry sees and comments on it in Le Figaro of July 18. He who recognizes: “As everyone knows, I am an atheist, but the life of the Catholic Church interests me because she is the heartbeat of our Judeo-Christian civilization, which is coming apart at the seams. Because if God is not of my world, my world is the one made possible by the God of Christians.”
“No matter what is said by those who think that France began with the Declaration of the Rights of Man, which is just as stupid as believing that Russia was born in October 1917, Christianity shaped a civilization that is mine and which I believe I can love and defend without beating my breast.”
It was this atheist who wrote, “Pope Francis’ seminal act is, in my opinion, to be photographed in front of a crucifix on which Jesus is wearing the orange lifejacket of the migrants. Here is the triumphant icon of Vatican II which dismisses all that is sacred and all transcendence in favor of a moraline spread in a global way like a greedy boy scout.”
“What is at stake in this case is the continuation of Vatican II, in other words the abolition of the sacred and the transcendent. The secularization of the rite reduced to a liturgy which in La vie est un long fleuve tranquille [a French film directed by Etienne Chatiliez, released in 1988. Ed.] is shown in all its glory with its cool priest who plays the guitar and sings like a twit, ‘Jesus, Je-e-e-e-e-sus, come back.’”
“They prefer Gregorian chant without being nostalgic for Vichy . . . For those who believe in God, the Mass in Latin is the Mass of a Long Tranquil River—which Pope Francis seems to be fond of— what the contemporary Roman Basilica of St Augustine is to a multipurpose room in a block of buildings in Aubervilliers: in vain would we seek the sacred and the transcendent.”
Accordingly the question arises, underlying the motu proprio and the accompanying letter, the fundamental question which has not escaped the most attentive observers. It has been formulated by a reader of Aldo Maria Valli who took another look at it in his blog on July 18:
“Traditionis Custodes contains a truth, it is there that the pope says about the two things as one: either you follow the Second Vatican Council, or you follow the old Mass. The two things are incompatible, because they are a sign of belonging to two different confessions and two different Churches.
“Those who recognize the Council recognize the Church which was born at that time and is distinguished from the previous Church, to the point that there is no longer room for the previous Church. In other words, it is the tombstone of the hermeneutic of continuity, a compromise that could not hold.”
What Philippe Maxence expressed as questions in L’Homme Nouveau on July 18: “Does the Church believe that the faith conveyed by the extraordinary form is not the same as that conveyed by the ordinary form?”
“If this is the case, and to the extent that the ordinary form dates only from 1969, isn’t that implicitly acknowledging that it breaks with the tradition of the Church and that, therefore, the Council from which it arose, is really a rupture, contrary to what Pope Benedict XVI tried to emphasize in his December 2005 speech on the two hermeneutics (rupture and continuity)?”
On July 26, on the Academia Christiana web site, Julien Langella drew a practical conclusion in direct terms: “Pope Francis’s motu proprio, which aims at the progressive extinction of the traditional liturgy, is a formidable test. It allows us to escape a certain worldly liberalism.”
“This time, we can no longer be content to invoke ‘the many mansions in the Father’s house’ and other tired arguments for tolerance: ‘my journey passes through the Mass of St Pius V, others enjoy the Mass in French, each his own way, I just want to defend freedom.’”
“We can no longer hide behind this chic posh egalitarianism, it is a matter of assuming the choice of the old missal, more alive than ever given the rate of vocations and conversions of adults to the heart of traditional communities.”