Pope Francis angered conservative Catholics on Friday when he reimposed restrictions on celebrating the Latin Mass and limited its use.
Under a new law, the pope has allowed local bishops to ban priests from celebrating the Tridentine Mass. Newly ordained priests will need permission from their bishops, in consultation with the Vatican, to celebrate the old Mass, according to The Associated Press.
Bishops will also be tasked with deciding whether the groups currently using the Tridentine Mass accept Vatican II, the 1960s ecumenical council that allowed for Mass to be celebrated in the vernacular rather than Latin.
Friday’s papal decree from the Vatican bans the celebration of the Latin Mass in parish churches, according to The Wall Street Journal. Bishops who do allow groups to celebrate the old Mass will need to find the groups alternate locations and times to do so without creating new parishes.
Bishops will also be barred from approving the creation of new pro-old Mass groups in their dioceses.
Francis said he was “saddened” the use of the old Mass included the rejection of Vatican II “with unfounded and unsustainable assertions that it betrayed the Tradition and the ‘true Church.’”
“The pontiff said he was taking action because [Pope Benedict XVI’s] reform had become a source of division in the church and been exploited by Catholics opposed to the Second Vatican Council, the 1960s meetings that modernized the church and its liturgy,” The AP reported.
The decision was based on a 2020 Vatican survey of all the world’s bishops whose “responses reveal a situation that preoccupied and saddens me, and persuades me of the need to intervene,” Francis said.
Many people were quick to criticize Francis’ decision.
“The lack of mercy shown here toward traditional Catholics, Benedict XVI, and the young laity and clergy drawn to the Latin Mass is stunning,” Raymond Arroyo tweeted.
“This will create the division that Francis claims to cure through this ill advised and destructive new law.”
The lack of mercy shown here toward traditional Catholics, Benedict XVI, and the young laity and clergy drawn to the Latin Mass is stunning. This will create the division that Francis claims to cure through this ill advised and destructive new law. https://t.co/fDpVC0FNu8
— Raymond Arroyo (@RaymondArroyo) July 16, 2021
Commentator Matt Walsh tweeted Latin Mass drew “young people into the church” and made “them excited about their faith.”
Michael Knowles called it “a devastating decision.”
“The discovery of the Traditional Latin Mass, which had only recently been reauthorized by Pope Benedict, was among the key factors in my reversion from atheism to the Faith, as it was for countless young Catholics,” Knowles tweeted.
The discovery of the Traditional Latin Mass, which had only recently been reauthorized by Pope Benedict, was among the key factors in my reversion from atheism to the Faith, as it was for countless young Catholics. A devastating decision: https://t.co/ioPnaO7lgY
— Michael Knowles (@michaeljknowles) July 16, 2021
Daily Caller reporter Mary Margaret Olohan said young adults and new families were drawn to a traditional Latin Mass.
“Go to any traditional Latin mass, you’ll find it bursting with young adults and new families with tons of adorably dressed littles. And I guarantee that mass will be said in an old, beautiful, darkly lit church,” Olohan tweeted.
“Humans are drawn to truth and beauty, and that’s the Latin mass.”
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