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Monday, July 19, 2021

 Traditionis Custodes:  A Kill Shot . . . for the New Mass

Written by  John Andra
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 Traditionis Custodes:  A Kill Shot . . . for the New Mass

For decades, traditionalists have emphasized two points concerning the relationship of the New Mass to the Traditional Mass. First, the New Mass does not abrogate the Traditional Mass, and second, the New Mass expresses a different lex orandi than the Traditional Mass. The first point was confirmed by Pope Benedict XVI in his 2007 Moto proprio, Summorum Pontificum. The second was just confirmed by Pope Francis in his Moto proprio Traditionis custodes. The New Mass cannot survive these papal acts.


Although Pope Francis gives expression to his personal wish that the Traditional Mass should fade away, he does not abrogate the liturgy. He expressly contemplates that it will continue, in fact. So Pope Benedict's confirmation of the first contention is untouched.

As for the lex orandi, it is hard to imagine a more effective confirmation of the rupture effected by the New Mass than Traditionis custodes, especially when read in conjunction with its accompanying letter. The rupture is so complete that the Traditional Mass cannot be celebrated in parish churches! There is no argument here. These Masses are different things, says Pope Francis, and he is the Supreme Legislator in the Church.

The traditionalists have therefore won the debate. The losing side is still in power, however, and its synchronic view of the liturgy will hold so long as it maintains control. But synchronicity is hard to hold for long. It is the traditionalist view of the liturgy as diachronic—a Mass for all time—that will survive the intervening chaos. 

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Last modified on Monday, July 19, 2021