Shepherding the Flock Out of the 1962 Missal

The time has come, says God to Moses. You must lead my people out of Egypt, out of captivity, toward the Promised Land.1 Unfortunately for the eager travelers, the journey lasts 40 years,2 and along the way the people murmur; they look back in nostalgia at the good things they once had.3 And they doubt that they will ever make it to the Promised Land. Many of them, in fact, die along the way.4 It is not easy to shepherd a people from one place to another physically; it is much harder to shepherd them spiritually.

Thus, it might not be easy for our Shepherds — the Church’s bishops — to fulfill the command of the Holy Father’s recent Motu proprio (entitled Traditionis custodes) and accompanying letter. For in these documents he is asking his bishops to lead some of the faithful away from the celebration of the 1962 Missal (known by many as the “extraordinary form,” “The Traditional Latin Mass,” “The Tridentine Mass, etc.); it will be a challenge for some of our shepherds to fulfill the mandate from Pope Francis “to provide for the good of those who are rooted in the previous form of celebration and need to return in due time to the Roman Rite promulgated by Saints Paul VI and John Paul II.”5 For the American bishops, in particular, who preside over many parishes and groups that are attached to the Missal of 1962, this task could be daunting.

What then is the current Magisterial teaching on liturgy? First, it is important to note the change from 2007, when Pope Benedict XVI promulgated Summorum pontificum. Whereas the Church has taught two valid forms of one Roman rite (ordinary and extraordinary), Pope Francis is now putting forth that the current missal — and not the 1962 missal — is the “unique expression of the lex orandi.”6

Whereas Benedict saw the license of the 1962 Missal worship as an opening to greater unity in diversity, Francis believes that this has led to disunity, growing toward the level of possible schism. He explains that “an opportunity offered by St. John Paul II and, with even greater magnanimity, by Benedict XVI, intended to recover the unity of an ecclesial body with diverse liturgical sensibilities, was exploited to widen the gaps, reinforce the divergences, and encourage disagreements that injure the Church, block her path, and expose her to the peril of division.”7

As such, Pope Francis deems that the time has come for local bishops, whom he expects to internalize these fundamental changes, to implement these new developments: no more regular 1962 Missal celebrations in the parishes,8 no more denying the validity of the current Missal,9 no more unlimited faculties for priests to celebrate it,10 and no more new groups celebrating it,11 and so on.

At the same time, the document offers tremendous leeway for bishops. Article 2 boldly states: “It belongs to the diocesan bishop, as moderator, promoter, and guardian of the whole liturgical life of the particular Church entrusted to him, to regulate the liturgical celebrations of his diocese. Therefore, it is his exclusive competence to authorize the use of the 1962 Roman Missal in his diocese, according to the guidelines of the Apostolic See.”12

Pope Francis, in his accompanying letter, stresses this point thus:

In the Motu proprio I have desired to affirm that it is up to the Bishop, as moderator, promoter, and guardian of the liturgical life of the Church of which he is the principle of unity, to regulate the liturgical celebrations. It is up to you to authorize in your Churches, as local Ordinaries, the use of the Missale Romanum of 1962, applying the norms of the present Motu proprio. It is up to you to proceed in such a way as to return to a unitary form of celebration, and to determine case by case the reality of the groups which celebrate with this Missale Romanum.13

Thus, whereas the motu proprio may seem “heavy-handed” and even “un-pastoral” to some, it remains largely an entrustment to the local ordinary.

Now, if necessary, given local circumstances, the law of gradualness may require allowing some celebrations of the 1962 Missal until (“in due time”) the faithful are allowed to find a different place of worship. Perhaps oratories? Shrines? Maybe call in special religious orders attached to the 1962 Missal?

Or, maybe given the state of things, a bishop decides to change as little as possible. And, maybe, if we look at it all in a few years, not much really will have changed outwardly in Church liturgical celebration (at least in areas where bishops are largely favorable or indifferent to celebration of the 1962 Missal).

Meanwhile, it might even be worth pushing the minimality of the new liturgical discipline a bit further. Why hasn’t the Pope abrogated the 1962 Missal if it is not a valid expression of the lex orandi? Why is the Pope allowing so much possibility for the faithful to keep this practice alive? Why are the bishops given such leeway on a matter if it is of such importance to the Pope?

Although I do not want to downplay the challenges currently faced by some of the faithful who have good reasons to worship in the Mass of John XXIII or who may experience difficulties in dioceses that have locked out the 1962 Missal, it may be helpful to look elsewhere for the deeper significance of the document. It seems to me that the major import of the motu proprio and its corresponding letter to bishops is largely theological.

This would explain, for example, the primary interest in restating the current Missal as the unique lex orandi. In the very first article we notice that the Holy Father stresses the lex orandi of the current Missal. He writes: “The liturgical books promulgated by Saint Paul VI and Saint John Paul II, in conformity with the decrees of Vatican Council II, are the unique expression of the lex orandi of the Roman Rite.”14

This, of course, is a shift away from Benedict’s 2007 document, which stated that there were both an ordinary and extraordinary form of the lex orandi.15 But the phrase echoes the famous line from the Church linking liturgy to belief: lex orandi, lex credendi.16 Pope Francis is ultimately concerned about the rule of faith. In particular, the central reflection in the letter is a Magisterial teaching on the theological meaning and importance of Tradition. And his theological reflection on Catholic tradition radiates out from a reflection on the Second Vatican Council to Protestantism in general and, finally, to our fundamental orientation to God.

The Second Vatican Council

Pope Francis, as we have seen, makes clear that anyone celebrating the 1962 Missal must not deny the validity of the conciliar reforms of the liturgy and the current Missal.17 Meanwhile, in his letter to bishops he notes that he is saddened that “the instrumental use of Missale Romanum of 1962 is often characterized by a rejection not only of the liturgical reform, but of the Vatican Council II itself, claiming, with unfounded and unsustainable assertions, that it betrayed the Tradition and the ‘true Church.’”18 If this is true anywhere, those who are being misled by liturgical differences are being misled by faults in their fundamental theology of Catholic Tradition.

Why might the celebration of the 1962 Missal be linked to a possible schism or rupture with Tradition? One answer comes from realizing that, however beautiful and attractive the celebration of the 1962 missal is, it can never be one that fulfills the command of 1963 document, Sacrosanctum Concilium, which demanded its reform. Here are some relevant passages from the very first document of the Second Vatican Council:

The Council therefore sees particularly cogent reasons for undertaking the reform and promotion of the liturgy. . . .

In order that the Christian people may more certainly derive an abundance of graces from the sacred liturgy, holy Mother Church desires to undertake with great care a general restoration of the liturgy itself. For the liturgy is made up of immutable elements divinely instituted, and of elements subject to change. These not only may but ought to be changed with the passage of time if they have suffered from the intrusion of anything out of harmony with the inner nature of the liturgy or have become unsuited to it.

In this restoration, both texts and rites should be drawn up so that they express more clearly the holy things which they signify; the Christian people, so far as possible, should be enabled to understand them with ease and to take part in them fully, actively, and as befits a community. . . .

The liturgical books are to be revised as soon as possible; experts are to be employed on the task, and bishops are to be consulted, from various parts of the world.19

The 1962 Missal can never be the proper answer to the 1963 call to reform it, for such a claim would breach the principle of non-contradiction; one would effectively be saying that something could be “reformed” and “not reformed” simultaneously! Thus, there is always a danger in celebrating the 1962 Missal that one fundamentally rejects the call of the Council, however wonderful the older Missal liturgy may be.

Regardless of the depth of this practical problem of failing to fulfill the “letter” of the liturgical reform, what ultimately is at stake in Francis’s discussion of the Council, it seems to me, is the battle for the authentic meaning of Church tradition. In answering the objection that the Council betrayed Tradition, he argues, “the path of the Church must be seen within the dynamic of Tradition ‘which originates from the Apostles and progresses in the Church with the assistance of the Holy Spirit.’”20 The Holy Father quotes Dei Verbum; he is interpreting the theology of Tradition as explicated in the Second Vatican Council. Only an apostolic tradition is a true tradition; one which breaks from the apostles is pseudo-traditional.

Catholic, not Protestant

Francis further explains that “to doubt the Council is to doubt the intentions of those very Fathers who exercised their collegial power in a solemn manner cum Petro et sub Petro in an ecumenical council.”21 In other words, there is something at stake in the current celebration of the 1962 Missal that is not simply a rejection of the Council; rather, it may go to the very foundation of the apostolic life of the Church.

Notably, in drawing the faithful into greater unity in celebrating a unique lex orandi, Francis says that

I take comfort in this decision from the fact that, after the Council of Trent, St. Pius V also abrogated all the rites that could not claim a proven antiquity, establishing for the whole Latin Church a single Missale Romanum. For four centuries this Missale Romanum, promulgated by St. Pius V was thus the principal expression of the lex orandi of the Roman Rite, and functioned to maintain the unity of the Church.22

It is obvious that Pope Francis sees his work in the same light as Pius V who stemmed the tide of certain currents of Protestantism with his liturgical initiatives. Moreover, the current Holy Father realizes that those who reject the current Missal are often doing so in a dangerous spirit akin to the Protestant “reformers.” Such a position denies the validity of the Church’s authority and chooses “Tradition Alone” as Luther chose Sola Scriptura. Private interpretation of liturgical tradition is no less schismatic than private interpretation of Scripture.

Trusting the Holy Spirit

Finally, the Holy Father notes that “to doubt the Council is, . . . in the final analysis, to doubt the Holy Spirit himself who guides the Church.” In other words, at stake in misinterpreting liturgy is the possibility of doubting the acts and teachings of the Holy Spirit. This is the most grievous form of doubt. It is a sin against faith, as the Catechism explains.23

This last point from the Holy Father must not be underestimated. He is our first Jesuit Pope who has made extensive use of the Ignatian principle of discernment, enshrining it, as it were, as Magisterial teaching.24 Putting this line in light of the entire pontificate of the Holy Father suggests that he is calling us all to discern which spirit we are following in the liturgy with which we worship. If that spirit has an accusatory, skeptical, and anti-Papal sentiment to it, it is likely not to be the spirit of the Living God. The motu proprio is a call to discerning the spirits even — or especially — in our life of public prayer and worship.

Tradition or Traditionalism?

It goes without saying that many who celebrate the 1962 Missal enjoy calling it “the traditional Latin Mass” or TLM. Is this use of language tied to a claim on a tradition that is not fully in line with the apostolic tradition? Is the intent in using this phrase to define tradition against the Council, against the Magisterium, against the Pope in an attempt to forge a private interpretation of Tradition?

Or, on the other hand, does the person devoted to the “TLM” simply enjoy that the 1962 Missal captures hundreds of years of past Church Tradition? Does this person necessarily reject the Council, the Magisterium, the current Missal, etc.?

Furthermore, does the Catholic think that the 1962 Missal alone is celebrated in Latin, or is he/she aware that the current Missal can also be celebrated largely in Latin?

Does the person who loves the “Tridentine Mass” believe that the reforms of Pius V remain unimpaired in the 1962 Missal, or is the use of this term just a helpful nod at the major elements of the Tridentine reform that remain largely unchanged in the 1962 Missal?

One cannot know for sure how any given individual is understanding these words without charitable dialogue, seeking first “to understand rather than be understood.”25 However, it seems that the pastoral and homiletic implications of Traditionis custodes come right down to this kind of initiative. If some of the faithful have come to see the 1962 Missal as alone valid, or alone authentically traditional, or the last good missal before the modernist rupture of the second Vatican council, then such a person needs to encounter the new evangelization and purify his/her understanding of tradition in light of the principles Francis is pointing toward.

What, then, is the final stage of the bishop’s response to Traditionis custodes? He must continue to call all the faithful to active participation in the liturgy and a witness to the truth of the Catholic faith. The new evangelization must now include winning souls to celebrate Mass according to the current Missal. Meanwhile, the faithful should be challenged to spare no expense in celebrating the Mass exactly in line with the rubrics with a full, active, conscious participation that wins souls over with evident holiness.

And in one-on-one conversation it means accompaniment (as Pope Francis has described),26 speaking the truth in charity, and acceptance of the divine pedagogy according to the law of gradualness. There are many, it seems, who flock to the 1962 Missal and communities developing around it because it represents a rejection of so much of the bad developments after the Council: liturgical abuse and theological error as well as priestly abuse and Episcopal malfeasance.27 Walking with these people and listening to their concerns is an important first step in any dialogue ordered to saving the Church and preventing a schism.


Rarely does Francis appeal to Latin in his writings. Several of his encyclicals are titled in Italian. But this motu proprio is titled in Latin with a clear message: the Pope is the custodian or Guardian of Tradition. Whether his sources are correct that a significant rejection of the Council or apostolic authority is at play in the hearts of those seeking the 1962 Missal, the motu proprio should not be discarded as simply a rule-book for the latest liturgical directives. It carries with it a stern warning and prophetic utterance: the true Catholic will be found following the church “cum Petro et sub Petro.” Today, we are challenged to express this fidelity by working our way back to — or helping others find their way back to — the Mass celebrated according to the current Missal.

  1. Ex 3:10.
  2. Deut 1:3.
  3. Ex 16:2.
  4. Num 14:23.
  5. Pope Francis, “Letter of the Holy Father Francis to the Bishops of the Whole World, that Accompanies the Apostolic Letter Motu Proprio Data ‘Tradionis Custodes,’” July 16, 2021,
  6. Pope Francis, Traditionis custodes, July 16, 2021,, Art. 1.
  7. Francis, “Letter to Bishops.”
  8. TC, Art. 3 § 2.
  9. TC, Art. 3 § 1.
  10. TC, Art. 5.
  11. TC, Art. 3 § 6.
  12. TC, Art. 2.
  13. Francis, “Letter to Bishops.”
  14. TC, Art. 1.
  15. Benedict XVI, Summorum Pontificum.
  16. CCC 1124.
  17. TC 3.1.
  18. Francis, “Letter to Bishops.”
  19. Pope Paul VI, Sacrosanctum concilium, December 4, 1963,, 1,21,25.
  20. Francis, “Letter to Bishops.”
  21. Francis, “Letter to Bishops.”
  22. Francis, “Letter to Bishops.”
  23. CCC 2088.
  24. Tyler Graham, “Pope Francis and the Purification of Heroic Desire,” Homiletic and Pastoral Review, March 10, 2019.
  25. As in the prayer of St. Francis, an appropriate citation, it seems, for this pontificate.
  26. Pope Francis, Evangelii gaudium, Nov. 24, 2013,, 169–173.
  27. Consider, for example, this cri de coeur from Crisis Magazine:
E. Tyler Graham About E. Tyler Graham

Dr. E. Tyler Graham has been teaching high school for 25 years and has a humanities B.A. from Stanford University, an M.A. in religion from Syracuse, an M.T.S. from Ave Maria University, and a Doctorate in Theological Studies from Pontifex University. He currently lives in Ave Maria, Florida, with his wife and children. There, both spouses teach at, and all 6 children attend or have graduated from Donahue Academy, a Catholic classical school.


  1. Wow! Thank you for this!

  2. Avatar Joseph Mullin says:

    This is a thoughtful, considered, most excellent assessment of the current and to my mind, unfortunate situation. I pray that our bishops read this article and in doing so obtain the courage needed to do the right thing: reduce or eliminate the “TLM”, perhaps allowing its use for those few priests old enough to have said it originally.

    In my home parish, it is as if we have two congregations.

    I studied Latin. I taught Latin. I still try to read my St. Thomas in Latin. It is a beautiful language. But my prayer is in English. It’s what most of us speak and understand. The Mass is our prayer and not a series of incantations that make something mysterious. The Eucharist is mystery enough.

    Let it go.

    • Latin is not the only issue, please define what the “right thing” is in your statement. I would suggest that 70% of the faithful not believing the the Real Presence in the Holy Eucharist is a much larger problem than the faithful who attend the Latin Mass where the belief in the Real Presence is near 100%. “By their fruits you shall know them. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?” (Mat 7:16) Possibly it is time to live the Gospel as Christ teaches us and turn away from building a “diversity of religions” “willed by God.” (Pope Francis, Egypt’s al-Azhar Mosque, 4Feb2019). Studied Holy Scripture and doctrine a little, missed this Pope Francis’ basis for his statement, but I do remember Our Lord saying “Jesus saith to him: I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No man cometh to the Father, but by me.” (Joh 14:6)

      • You beat me to it! “By their fruits you shall know them.” The casual, nonchalant, & downright irreverent approach to attending Holy Mass & receiving the Eucharist is overwhelmingly evident in the novus ordo Masses. I did not realize the stark contrast until I attended the Traditional Latin Mass & was so incredibly moved at the beauty, reverence, & holiness of the Mass, which – sorry to say- is somewhat lacking in the N.O. Mass. I grew up with the N.O. Mass & now feel like I was cheated. I get to attend one Latin Mass a month, but wish I could go weekly. I am thankful that the Bishops are allowed to determine what is right for their congregations. I do pray they properly discern & allow the TLM to continue, as well as allowing new priests to learn the TLM as well. The TLM is NOT dividing the Church. The modernistic novus ordo are causing people to fall away in droves – at least that’s what I have seen.

    • “In my home parish, it is as if we have two congregations.”-I agree. At my parish with have three weekend Masses in Spanish and three in English-the two congregations rarely intermingle. Perhaps if the pope and Cardinal Cupich imposed uniformity in worship we could overcome this obstacle.

      • Avatar Flying Kiwi says:

        And there are several different rites in the church. Equal but different. I don’t see an obstacle.

  3. This paper does not look holistically at Holy Mass and the faithful, which is a serious flaw in the arguments presented. For those of us who would like to see Vatican II followed, we would conform to the well-known number 36 of Sacrosanctum Concilium which established the following principle: “Particular law remaining in force, the use of the Latin language is to be preserved in the Latin rites” (§ 1). In this sense, the Code affirms first of all: “The eucharistic celebration is to be carried out in the Latin language.”. We are back to the “spirit of Vatican II” issue in this article where nothing exists before 1960 in Church tradition which if truth is sought is obviously not the case.

  4. Avatar Mary Schneider says:

    There is no good reason to “shepherd the flock out of the 1962 Missal” and I hope that bishops will take the authority they have to disregard Pope Francis’s flawed moto proprio, “Traditionis custodes.” The Pope claims that Catholics who attend the TLM are threatening the unity of the Church, possibly leading to schism. How? Where is his evidence that a significant number of these Catholics reject the Second Vatican Council and are pushing the Church towards schism? He offers none. However, based on this unproven premise, he issued a series of draconian restrictions on the celebration of the Tridentine Mass in an effort to suppress it without actually suppressing it.
    There is, in fact, much that is wrong with the ordinary, current form of the rite which many Catholics have a hard time accepting—changes made legitimately to the Mass as well as abuses that go uncorrected. These changes, which were not envisioned by the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council and which took the reforms far beyond what they discussed, include the following: the reception of Communion while standing and in the hand; the use of the vernacular for the entire Mass and the abandonment of Latin; female altar servers; having the priest say Mass facing the people; the abandonment of chant and its replacement by banal music that often is not liturgical or sacred; the overuse of lay liturgical ministers; the shortening of the Communion fast to one hour; removing statues and traditional art from churches; bad church architecture; etc. All of these changes have made the Mass less reverent and have elevated the communal, horizontal aspect of the liturgy over its sacrificial and latreutic (or vertical) aspect. And these changes have failed to increase Mass attendance or keep people from leaving the Church. They certainly are not going to attract Latin Mass-goers back to this rite.
    There is much that is wrong with the moto proprio and with Mr. Graham’s glowing praise for it but I will leave that to another time.

    • Excellent!

    • Avatar Tyler Graham says:

      Thank you for your thoughtful reply, Ms. Schneider!
      I agree that we are at a loss trying to read the full thoughts of the Holy Father when he does not reveal the information from the surveys or conversations that led to his conclusions. As a humanities and math teacher, I find that much of my work is getting students to prove their point with concrete details (in essays) or show their work (in math problems).
      I also symphasize with your lament over uncorrected abuses in the celebration of the current Missal.
      That being said, I would push back a little on the claim that the Motu proprio is, in fact, “Draconian.” Perhaps it is my projection of an American Federalism on the whole thing, but it kind of looks like the Holy Father is stating some general principles and then handing it over to the Bishops (as the federal government might do with the states). The faithful could find themselves in a Draconian situation, but this would only be if a Bishop went in that direction.

    • Well said Mary! I agree 100%.

  5. Avatar James Brady says:

    As a Novus Ordo attendee, I’m certainly happy that Pope Benedict XVI made allowances for the TLM. Also the FSSP have been an invaluable asset to the marginalized who had been shoved out of the Church in 1970 simply because how they worshipped. It was a sudden and horrific thing to do to the faithful. There was no “gradualness” then just as there is none now. This is all academic now. With the catastrophic loss of vocations to the priesthood, there won’t be any form of the Mass to celebrate.

  6. “Whereas Benedict saw the license of the 1962 Missal worship as an opening to greater unity in diversity, Francis believes that this has led to disunity, growing toward the level of possible schism.” Pope Emeritus Benedict is right about this, and Francis is wrong.

    “In the very first article we notice that the Holy Father stresses the lex orandi of the current Missal. He writes: “The liturgical books promulgated by Saint Paul VI and Saint John Paul II, in conformity with the decrees of Vatican Council II, are the unique expression of the lex orandi of the Roman Rite.” And this statement is in every sense radically untenable.

    “the conciliar reforms of the liturgy” There is no such thing. The post-Conciliar reform is what is it, in its essential nature, because it rejected and repudiated Sacrosanctum Concilium.

    The statement quoted from Pope Francis in the letter to the bishops about St Pius V’s liturgical reform is an historical falsehood.

    “to doubt the Council is, . . . in the final analysis, to doubt the Holy Spirit himself who guides the Church.” No, it is not. We are under no obligation to believe that any disciplinary enactment of any ecumenical council is for the best, or even minimally necessary.

    It is very saddening to see HPR printing any kind of justification for the wholly specious and disingenous act of pastoral cruelty which is Traditionis Custodes.

    • Avatar David Jamieson says:

      Completely agree with your analysis. And likewise I’m surprised that HPR printed this absurdity.

    • Fr. Thomas Hoisington Fr. Thomas Hoisington says:

      Thank you, Gregory. It’s a sad day when HPR publishes something that one would expect to read in America magazine.

      • Avatar Ryan Brady says:

        I agree, Fr. Hoisington. Sad day indeed.

        If Mr. Graham is correct (which he is not), even Ratzinger, who called the Novus Ordo a “banal on the spot production,” is guilty of questioning the Holy Spirit. This would be the case not only because of his treatment of the Novus Ordo, but also because of his treatment of Vatican II.

        I provide two quotations of the Pope Emeritus:
        1. From an address to Chilean Bishops: “The Second Vatican Council has not been treated as a part of the entire living Tradition of the Church, but as an end of Tradition, a new start from zero. The truth is that this particular Council defined no dogma at all, and deliberately chose to remain on a modest level, as a merely pastoral council; and yet many treat it as though it had made itself into a sort of superdogma which takes away the importance of all the rest.”

        2. From the L’Osservatore Romano:

        “Certainly, the results [of Vatican II] seem cruelly opposed to the expectations of everyone, beginning with those of Pope John XXIII and then of Paul VI: expected was a new Catholic unity and instead we have been exposed to dissension which—to use the words of Paul VI—seems to have gone from self-criticism to self-destruction. Expected was a new enthusiasm, and many wound up discouraged and bored. Expected was a great step forward, and instead we find ourselves faced with a progressive process of decadence which has developed for the most part precisely under the sign of a calling back to the Council, and has therefore contributed to discrediting for many. The net result therefore seems negative. I am repeating here what I said ten years after the conclusion of the work: it is incontrovertible that this period has definitely been unfavorable for the Catholic Church.”
        Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger,
 L’Osservatore Romano (English edition),
24 December 1984.

        That Ratzinger was not sinning against the Holy Spirit is evident from the words of Paul VI;
        As found in vol. 11 of The Pope Speaks, he stated: “In view of the pastoral character of the Council, it has avoided pronouncing in an extraordinary way dogmas carrying the note of infallibility.”

  7. Holy Mass can not be compared with slavery at the hands of the Egyptians.

    • Avatar Tyler Graham says:

      Yes, good point, the analogy ends there. Nothing on the face of the earth is more opposed to slavery than the liturgy. Making present the Paschal Mystery is the Ultimate reversal of all that enslaves man!
      The point of the analogy at the start of the essay flows from Ratzinger’s magnificent work, The Spirit of the Liturgy. At the start of that piece, he explains the liturgical dimension of the Exodus narrative. I think it is fair to say that we have been in 40+ years of liturgical wilderness since Sacrosanctum concilium and the tendency to murmur at the rock is real; a brief look to several of the comments on this article shows the kinds of things people lament losing from the turn away from the 1962 Missal. However, there are deeper dangers in trying to avoid what the Spirit is asking us to do in the Second Vatican Council; that, I think, is Francis’s point.

      • Avatar Richard Malcolm says:

        Dear Mr. Graham,

        “However, there are deeper dangers in trying to avoid what the Spirit is asking us to do in the Second Vatican Council; that, I think, is Francis’s point.”

        I hope you can understand that the obvious response to this claim is to challenge whether in fact it *is* the Spirit asking us to do this. Not every papal action qualifies for this characerization.

  8. All legitimate change in the Church is organic, c.f. St Card Newman. To force some new and unproven innovation on the faithful, while ripping them away from the manner of worship of their fathers and forefathers, is a rupture in Tradition, which Tradition is the rule for Catholic Magisterium.

    Mr. Graham’s example of leading the people out of captivity is the exact opposite of what is happening with the suppression of the Mass of antiquity. The Mass of the saints cannot possibly be compared to Egypt. To imply that it is would seem impious, and arrogant or at least very naive. While certainly we must be obedient to our Pope and Bishops, that we are being led to a better place has been asserted but not demonstrated by the author. And those who have broad experience of both forms of the a Roman rite would beg to differ.

  9. Avatar Gary Castro says:

    I grew up with the novus ordo, was involved in my parish (a large prosperous parish with four priests that seats over a thousand that still has the original marble altar rail though much of the exquisite Italian marble in the sanctuary put in the 50s was covered by carpet), first joined and then later led one of the parish ministries so had regular contact with the pastor. Once I discovered the traditional Mass in the neighboring diocese in a small historic church, I was hooked being fortunate to witness a Solemn Mass. The chant, the smell of the thick incense, the discipline of the 10 all boy servers in cassock and surplice and dress shoes instead of the one or two girls in wrinkled albs with tennis shoes we only saw at the big parish…. the preface chant melody was stuck in my head for days. I first began attending monthly and for awhile attended my local parish in the morning and once a month went to the neighboring diocese. Then my archbishop invited the FSSP, who didn’t have a home yet but were guests in hospitable parishes. I began praying the traditional Divine Office first on my phone and then bought the Baronius breviary, which I’ve made heavy use of and combined with serving improved my Latin immeasurably.

    Unfortunately my territoral pastor refused to allow a Mass well before TC, even if I take care of every detail. I now rarely attending my territoral parish anymore as the pastor has begun to ban the Latin chants even though the kids in the school like to sing them. They puts in projector screens above the side altars. and while I still participated with the parish ministry, few to none of the traditional options are ever used in the parish environment. My love of history in nearly every era finds more in common with all the saints of the west and stands in contrast with the modern liturgy.

    Simple fact is that the novus ordo is in most places not abusive but rather bland and mundane and has not been successful at stopping the hemorrhaging of practicing Catholics and including them a vast majority have rejected the reforms. Moreover, it removed a sense of the sacred which many found valuable and was predicated on lies that the Council or pope commanded tearing down the high altars and altar rails, introduced ugly vestments and faux pauperism. More than that, since I’ve read Sacrosanctum Concilium myself, it’s blatantly obvious the novus ordo ignores many of its directives: particularly the preservation of Latin (SC 36 ), pride of place for Gregorian Chant (SC 114 ) and that the faithful be taught the major chants in Latin (SC 54 ). I have no opposition to the concept of a reformed novus ordo as an option, though do have theological objections to the deficiency of sacrificial language in the new offertory, the omissions of the 1970s lectionary, and the made up anaphoras and would argue ad orientem and at least some Latin should be in every Latin Rite liturgy) and the de facto ban on Latin stands in contradiction of the anathema of Trent, Session XXII, Canon IX on those who require the entire Mass to be in the vulgar tongue. I do resent attempts to force it on me when I don’t like it and don’t want it and simply can’t be forced to attend it and reject the idea of the papacy as a liturgical tyranny that can force a newly concocted liturgy over those of established antiquity (which is the opposite of what St. Pius V did). I simply want to worship as my grandfathers and every western saint on the calendar worshipped.

  10. The N/O Masses are poorly attended, mostly seniors, very few young people and those numbers are declining. The bishops know this, of course.
    The Traditional Latin Masses I regularly attend are, generally, standing room only and filled with large young families. The bishops know this, also.
    Demographics rule. Bet on it.

  11. Avatar Maria Teresa says:

    This article does not presents the full scope and reality of Catholic tradition, liturgical history and the faithful. There are 23 rites in union with the Catholic Church, following your progressive line of thought are you saying that all the orthodox rites should also ‘go back’? Also, there are various sedevacant groups who offer the TLM not in union with the Catholic Church. Why going against St. John Paul II and Benedict XVI guidance fostering to preserve the traditional Mass within Church unity? God created a universe reflecting wisdom, things we know thru our physical senses. Education theory shows that we humans learn and experience thru all senses. Why remove the smells and bells, amazing icons, inspiring chants and meaningful words which elevate the spirit bringing solace and peace, faith and hope in a difficult world. Why censure the faithful who have a preference for beauty, dignity and the sacred in worshipping God? Why deny Charity above all?

    • “There are 23 rites in union with the Catholic Church…” i see your point here, but I think you mean “churches sui juris” not “rites.” Also, I wonder if you mean “Latin Church” where you say “Catholic Church.” The 23 churches sui juris are in communion with each other and the Latin Church, thus making up the Catholic Church. There are fewer rites than the 23 churches sui juris that make up the Catholic Church. For instance, the Melkite Catholic Church and the Ukrainian Catholic Church both use the same rites: Rite of St. John Crysostom and St. Basil.

  12. Tyler,

    The title of the article should be changed. I think it is too deliberately provocative and that does not serve the cause of authentic dialogue very well. Otherwise, the article is not bad. (Sone points could use fleshing out but I understand the nature of space constraints, word limits, and the like.)

    I realize there are trad folks griping in the comments section about it but they whine about everything anyway as it is and despite numerous rebuttals over the years, they continue to make the same discredited objections. I highly doubt it is even worth the time and effort to engage the wilfully obtuse at this point but of course as we are called to evangelize so moving forward we must and entrust our efforts to God.

    Despite the mountains of absurdities in trad arguments, they are right about exactly two substantive points and the longer those two points go unaddressed throughout various parts of the Church, the more trad resistance will have a flimsy pretense of justification. The first is Church architecture. Churches that look like gymnasiums do not speak to the senses in a way that is uplifting. (To be clear, this is not directed at places in the world where they have no other options but throughout the First World, the iconoclast directed towards churches in the aftermath of the Second Vatican Council was inexcusable.)

    The second is Church music. You need not go all Gregorian all the time to have music fitting for liturgical worship but much greater discrimination in songs chosen as well as how they are arranged would go a long way to augment a liturgical celebration rather than hindering it.

    I doubt I have witnessed a single liturgical celebration in my life that was wholly absent liturgical abuses and that includes when I attended the Tridemtine form. But there are minor abuses and more significant ones. If those promoting the revised Roman Missal do not focus on rooting out abuses and creating an atmosphere conducive to authentic and uplifting liturgical celebrations, they will of hinder their cause rather than help it.

    But anyway, to get back to the first point I made, please change the title of this article to one less provocative, Tyler. Perhaps something like “On Bishops and the 1962 Missal” or something more innocuous than a title that explicitly denotes taking something away. While it will not placate the Usual crowd of trad grippers at least it will be much less of a proverbial finger in the eye.

    • Avatar Paul Goings says:

      “they continue to make the same discredited objections”

      It’s like they’re running the playbook from the sexual abuse scandal all over again… It’s as if they’ve learned absolutely nothing!

    • Avatar Tyler Graham says:


      Thank you for this correction. “On Bishops and the 1962 Missal” is a better title for this context! To explain my original decision: When I read the Holy Father encourage his Bishops “​​to provide for the good of those who are rooted in the previous form of celebration and need to return in due time to the Roman Rite promulgated by Saints Paul VI and John Paul II,” it seemed that he was asking them to Shepherd the people away from the 1962 Missal. The Exodus theme from Ratzinger’s work then sparked the image and title. But I take your point. The goal should be charitable dialogue, not clever motifs!

    • I can’t even imagine what these “discredited objections” are. The situation today is not like it was 30, or even 20 years ago, when it may have been a challenge for a bishop to find priests to celebrate the TLM, as any diocese that has had any vocations over the last 15 years certainly has young priests who would be happy to help. It’s no use arguing over the Novus ordo, but do remember that the overwhelming majority of trads today spent at least a couple of decades with the Novus ordo, and many of them left the Church, like the vast majority of their fellow Catholics over the past 5 decades. The current cruelty has nothing to do with “fostering unity,” but only with rooting out anything in the Church that can be traced back to before the French Revolution, which was an unstated goal of Vatican II. I can assure you that I will never willingly attend a Novus ordo mass for the rest of my life.

      • The “discredited objections” are those objections which a certain portion of the Catholic punditocracy and commentariat repeatedly call “discredited”, without, of course, doing anything to discredit them. So e.g., traditionalists object to the disappearance of Gregorian chant from the post-Conciliar Roman liturgy, which is contrary to the openly stated intentions of Sacrosanctum Concilium, and which Paul VI himself personally assured the Church was not going to happen, precisely because Vatican II said it ought not to happen.

        Of course, he himself then said a few years later that Gregorian chant would disappear from the liturgy. This objection is discredited. Why? Because reasons.

  13. The celebration of the new Mass in my parish is done with no joy, no enthusiasm, and no passion.
    The music is horrific, the acoustics difficult to understand, and a series of lectors who you can not often understand. The inside of the Church itself is not inspiring. The people are good Catholics most of them past 60 years old and the two Priests are good men. We have had no one in RCIA for four years.

    The one Church in the area that offers the Traditional Mass is filled with large young families, the homilies are powerful, the church itself is beautiful, the people are prayerful reverent and passionate – joy-filled Catholics. I attend the new Mass on a regular basis and the Latin Mass once or twice a month when I need to be lifted up. Both Masses are the “MASS”.

    No matter if we admit it or not the worship of the pachamama at the new Mass as we saw in Rome, pro-homosexual ‘pride” Masses, unrepentant baby killers being welcomed to the new Mass, clown Masses, in our area Priests wears “cheese heads” at the new Mass to honor the packers, ect, have all done great damage………… is a total lack of self awareness, love for God and love for neighbor to try and close down the Traditional Mass that is so holy and beautiful and allow these other sacrileges to take place.

    • I’ve seen this argument run both ways. As has Shawn McElhinney who like me spent his teenaged years with the SSPX. Locally, growing up, we had a pretty vibrant TLM parish led by an older priest who offered mostly high mass with congregational responses. This priest did not understand the internet beyond email and stayed away from trad social media.

      Unfortunately, Father was replaced by a younger priest who followed trad cath social media and the all the blogs and who replaced our beautiful high liturgy with a very boring low mass in which only the priest and servers respond.

      No problem, we let him have the church building as most of the parish left for the Byzantine Catholic parish down the road that has traditional liturgy, congregational chanting of responses, and icons that keep our children mesmerized. Also, the homilies are orthodox and address real world issues instead of the “outrage du jour” on the Latin trad cath blogs.

      Locally the growth at Eatern Catholic parishes is outpacing that of Latin churches, including those that follow the TLM.

      • Avatar Richard Malcolm says:

        The Irish Low Mass mindset has been a perpetual issue for the American SSPX, right back to the beginning: The liturgy is just a sacramental vending machine for this kind of trad, so long as the right boxes are checked. I think it’s not proper to blame just on the new generation of Society priests. I recall the last such Mass I attended (SSPX-affiliated indy chapel), which was nothing but a non-stop set of standard hymns sung straight through Mass, only briefly interrupted by the homily and the consecration. “Well,” I thought, “at least they know what singing is.” I thought of it as a 20 Hymn Sandwich.

        I can understand the appeal of the Eastern option, and there surely are some congregations that are growing. No more bothering with any of the ongoing dramas, or persecutions, that go along with Latin traditionalism. I judge no one who takes that path. But where I live the options are few, and dominated by older Eastern congregations less welcoming of “non-ethnics.” I think there’s a danger in your generalization.

  14. The 1962 Missal is not just about latin. Its about fidelity to the Faith that we as Catholics have always embraced. These restrictions and easing will only cause many faithful generous Catholics to embrace groups like sspx.

  15. The author might benefit from reading one of the dozens of theologically precise critiques (all of them contained in the book “From Benedict’s Peace to Francis’s War”) of the impossible ecclesiological assumptions of and inherent contradictions within Traditionis Custodes. Here’s perhaps the best one:

    But these too may be consulted:

  16. Yes, but isn’t this true?
    “The 1962 Missal can never be the proper answer to the 1963 call to reform it, for such a claim would breach the principle of non-contradiction; one would effectively be saying that something could be “reformed” and “not reformed” simultaneously! Thus, there is always a danger in celebrating the 1962 Missal that one fundamentally rejects the call of the Council, however wonderful the older Missal liturgy may be.“

  17. It seems to me that Sacrosanctum Concilium’s call to change the Mass, being a pastoral judgement and not a doctrinal definition, is not binding on the faithful. At least, I haven’t encountered any convincing arguments that it is. As for the author’s question about why the Holy Father hasn’t abrogated the older Missal, could it be because this is impossible? Could it be that the liturgical patrimony of the Universal Church exists beyond the scope of positive law (see and It is not clear to me that the Pope can simply do away with the Traditional Mass. Unfortunately, I cannot see how some of the arguments presented in this article are anything more than exercises in legal positivism.

    Regarding the principle of non-contradiciton, I offer the following comment from then Cardinal Ratzinger: “A community is calling its very being into question when it suddenly declares that what until now was its holiest and highest possession is strictly forbidden, and when it makes the longing for it seem downright indecent. Can it be trusted any more about anything else? Won’t it proscribe tomorrow what it prescribes today?”

    In a spirit of authentic synodality, shouldn’t we consider the possibility that the rapidly growing number of individuals and families flocking to the Mass of All Time is a real expression of the sensus fidelium and the work of the Holy Spirit (of course, I am not alleging that the Bishops haven’t considered this)?

  18. Avatar JOSEPH galliah says:

    The Second Vatican Council was not a dogmatic council and could not create a new liturgy.There is no such a thing as a 51 year old liturgy in the Roman Catholic Church.The Roman Canon was instituted by Christ himself.To extinguish the consecration at the cenacle in the upper room is exactly what this entails. If i,am wrong call me a theologian.They are allowed to speculate without being burned at the stake, but a laymen would be called a heretic.

  19. We use the term Traditional Latin Mass to describe the nature of the Mass we’re either celebrating (if we’re priests, bishops, or cardinals) or attending (if we’re laity). We use this term as a simple expression of the fact that the Mass is traditional, meaning it predates chronologically and in it’s use the Novus Ordo Mass, which by contrast is not traditional, as it has only been existence for 51 years. The Missal of Trent has been in use and existence for 551 years universally, and in Italy and what were the Papal States, for roughly another thousand years before that. The Gregorian or Roman liturgy came to us from Pope Gregory the Great in the 6th century. If the author seems to think that using such terminology is an affront to the Church, Magisterium, and the Pope, he needs to calm down, take some deep breaths, and snap into a Slim Jim. If he really thinks the form of Mass that descended from Rome in the 6th century isn’t Apostolic in origins he needs to take some history courses. Shouldn’t all Catholics understand and be proud that they belong to the One True Church, the same Church established traditionally almost two-thousand years ago by the Son of God Himself? Isn’t that the entire point of being Catholic? Does he think most Catholics who attend the Novus Ordo Mass are ecstatic that it isn’t traditional and has a limited connection to what is traditional? I wonder how this author would have survived as a Catholic if he was born, lived, and died before the council. Would he think that any beliefs he held as a Catholic were against the Pope, Church, and Magisterium because Sacrosanctum Concilium hadn’t yet been written by Fr. Bugnini and therefore his entire life as an “unreformed” Catholic would have had no meaning?

    To answer his final questions, yes, every Catholics who attends the TLM is of course aware the Novus Ordo can be said in Latin, but does the author have any idea how rare it is to even find a priest willing to do that? Even in the pre-Summorum Pontificum Church, such a site was extremely rare and never “largely” practiced (although it was at Ave Maria, by two Jesuits no less). Most priests who were ordained after the council never learned Latin in Seminary, and if they did, it was superficial at best because they were never trained in saying the actual Mass in Latin, in either missal. Priests ordained before the council who converted over to saying the Novus Ordo forgot most of it and after 30-40 years of saying a new form of Mass with new rubrics, new vestments, a new calendar and breviary, etc., does the author think it is easy for them to snap their fingers, throw on a Roman Fiddleback and maniple, dust off the old missal and altar cards they haven’t touched in 40 years, and remember all the prayers they haven’t said since then? Are you going to find 60-year-old men who were altar boys in the fifties and early sixties who remember the prayers at the foot of the altar and don’t mind throwing back on a cassock and surplice, getting on the knees, and acting like kids again? Actually that’s a reality in some traditional Catholic parishes and communities. Does the author also think most parishes kept the old missals, altar cards, and vestments after the council? Most didn’t and you would find them in dumpsters outside of parishes for years to come. This is the reality which this author seems to have no concept of, and it’s sad because if he educated himself he would be far more intelligent on these issues.

    Yes, I suspect most traditional Catholics are aware that there were seven Editio Typicales of the Missal of Trent and that the organic development of the liturgy continues over time. While I’ve encountered a few who were not aware, I would say we’re all pretty intelligent and know these things.

    If the author is looking to “dialogue” with traditional Catholics, we’re not that hard to find. He can travel to St. Agnes parish in Naples and speak with parishioners there. It’s only about a 45-minute drive from Ave Maria, I would know, I’ve done it myself. He can call Fr. Joseph Bisig of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter who is the rector of Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary in Denton, Nebraska and ask him anything he would like. He could even call Bishop Frank Dewane of the Diocese of Venice, his own ordinary, and I have no doubt Bishop Dewane would explain to him whatever he would like to know. If Traditionis Custodes were a pastoral and homiletic letter, then the Pope would not be using it to create more division and disunity in the Church, nor use it as a battering ram to rip apart the spiritual lives of millions of Catholics around the world who have found their home in the traditional liturgy of the Church, both since the council and since Summorum Pontificum. If the author wants to think every single Catholic who attends the TLM is either a sedevecantist or SSPX hardliner who objects to every single word of every document of Vatican II then he should practice what he preaches and spend some time around traditional Catholics instead of mocking and attacking us. The author should also read Cardinal Ratzinger’s The Spirit of the Liturgy where the very word “rupture” which he seems to have such disdain for, appears on several occasions. One might argue it’s even a central theme of the work! A person who therefore believes in the concept of “rupture” not only doesn’t need to “encounter the new evangelization and purify his/her understanding of tradition in light of the principles Francis is pointing toward”, such a person became the Pope before Francis!

  20. I recommend reading Leila Marie Lawler’s response to this article:

  21. Shawn, if I believed a quarter of Peter K and Leila’s attacks against Vatican II, the post-conciliar popes (including our current pontiff Francis), and the Novus Ordo, I would be convinced to convert to Eastern Orthodoxy rather than go back to today’s TLM movement.

    Which in fact is what many former Latin traditionalists have been doing throughout the past decade, starting with the split between the SSPX and the Resistance following Bishop Williamson’s expulsion ten years ago, and culminating with Archbishop Vigano’s very weird public embracement of the Protestant Fundamentalist doctrine of American Exceptionalism during the United States of America’s last presidential election.

    That’s not including those from our generation of TLM adherent who grew up to renounce Christianity completely, such as the bulk of Reddit’s ExTraditionalCatholic forum. I can empathize. Every time I hear the words “Fatima” or “Fr Gruner” I am tempted to embrace atheism.

    I still believe Our Lady appeared at Fatima is because of the Church’s approval, the Miracle of the Sun, the canonization of Sts Francesco and Jacinta by Pope Francis, and the the fact St Lucia was not a Latin trad but lived a life of humble submission and obedience to her lawful ecclesiastical superiors. But I understand why Fatima is rejected by so many from our generation raised TLM who interpret Our Lady’s apparition through the lenses of Latin Trad conspiracy theory rather than Sister Lucy’s example of humble and lifelong obedience to the Church.

  22. Avatar Matt Burrill says:

    So, in your analogy the Novus Ordo is the Promised Land, the Classical Roman Rite is slavery in Egypt and the bishops are new Moseses? Are you sure you have a firm grasp on the situation?

  23. There were a couple of typos in my article which I fixed, thanks. Since TC leans heavily on a false equality with Quo Primus, yes, I had to bring it up. Funny that the mention of it should trigger you.
    Your diatribe here does not address the issues.

  24. This is leading to unnecessary division in the Church. Why did HPR publish this?

    • Great question.

    • This article isn’t leading to unnecessary division in the Church, it is describing a division that already exists, and one that is made worse by TC.

    • Agreed. This publication has enjoyed great prestige among Catholics across the board, but taking this divisive position is a blight upon the otherwise excellent reputation of HPR.

  25. S. E. Greydanus S. E. Greydanus says:

    Dear readers,
    Out of charity toward fellow readers and commenters, could the comments please be kept concise? All of them need to be reviewed for approval, and it’s difficult to give each one the attention it deserves when they become nearly as long as essays themselves. A maximum of a single paragraph would be ideal. Thank you.

  26. Avatar Pravin Thevathasan says:

    I love the Latin Mass and the Catholic Church. Since the motu proprio it feels as if I have to make a choice. Either to stay in the peripheries or be loyal to Pope Francis and his finally clear agenda. I will stay in the peripheries and hope that words like accompaniment actually mean something

  27. “By their fruit you shall know them.” Examine the results after the great liturgical reforms and the “new springtime” of the Church! Empty seminaries, convents and religious houses being sold off, empty confessionals, hardly any marriages, Catholics falling away at historically unprecedented rates, Biblical and catechetical ignorance, and surveys showing that the value systems of a majority of Catholics hardly differ from that of non-Catholics. Yet, we double down on liturgical expressions of an obviously failed experiment? Now the U.S. Bishops need $28 million to convince Catholics about the Real Presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist? Seriously??

  28. Avatar Chris Audino says:

    If you read Pope St Pius V’s “Quo Primum” it seems to make this matter very clear – and in no way does Pope Francis’ Motu Proprio come near to anything like a claim of Abrogation with regard to Quo Primum.

    “ Let all everywhere adopt and observe what has been handed down by the Holy Roman Church, the Mother and Teacher of the other churches, and let Masses not be sung or read according to any other formula than that of this Missal published by Us. This ordinance applies henceforth, now, and forever, throughout all the provinces of the Christian world, to all patriarchs, cathedral churches, collegiate and parish churches, be they secular or religious, both of men and of women – even of military orders – and of churches or chapels without a specific congregation in which conventual Masses are sung aloud in choir or read privately in accord with the rites and customs of the Roman Church. This Missal is to be used by all churches, even by those which in their authorization are made exempt, whether by Apostolic indult, custom, or privilege, or even if by oath or official confirmation of the Holy See, or have their rights and faculties guaranteed to them by any other manner whatsoever.”

    It is the end of the document that might be the most concerning for anyone wishing to lead away from 1962 missal ( the same liturgy and rite referenced above)
    “ Therefore, no one whosoever is permitted to alter this notice of Our permission, statute, ordinance, command, precept, grant, indult, declaration, will, decree, and prohibition. Would anyone, however, presume to commit such an act, he should know that he will incur the wrath of Almighty God and of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul.”

  29. I think the real motivation between Traditiones Custodes is to protect the legacy of Vatican II, which, if we’re honest, wouldn’t need protecting. The TLM, were it inferior, would whither away on its own accord. Seeing so many young people flock to TLM and embrace the Catholic faith stands as a reminder of the failure of the “New Springtime” the Vatican II liturgical changes were supposed to unleash, and makes one question if the changes really needed to take place, or even were a good idea to being with at all, so it must be suppressed. I have to wonder if people instead were discovering the wonderful Byzantine Catholic Divine Liturgy with the same enthusiasm, what kind of jealous response that might bring from senior Churchmen. I take great hope in the words of Gamaliel in the Acts of the Apostles:
    “And now I say to you, keep away from these men and let them alone; for if this plan or this work is of men, it will come to nothing; but if it is of God, you cannot overthrow it–lest you even be found to fight against God.” (Acts 5:38-39) All attempts to destroy or severely impede the TLM will come to naught if this impulse is not of God. How can a Mass which pleased God through the centuries suddenly not be good enough for Him?

  30. Avatar Richard Malcolm says:

    Gregory DiPippo has said most of what I wished to say, substantively (unsurprisingly).

    But I am left with a more basic question: Just who is this supposed to persuade? I don’t doubt that the Exodus analogy sounded clever to Mr. Graham on the screen, but surely there had to be at least a momentary apprciation for how profoundly *insulting* it is to its intended audience? Not just as a personal indictment – the Hebrews of Moses’s day could at least aver that it was the choice of their distant forebears that landed them in Pharoah’s brutal servitude, not their own! – but as a fundamental indictment of the Latin Church’s worship integrity, when its normative, root liturgical tradition for most of its history, which sustained nearly all of its Fathers, Doctors, and confessor saints, is now considered so theologically unacceptable that it must be utterly banished, left behind like a set of manacles in Goshen? What are we to make of the truth claims of such a church?

    • Avatar Tyler Graham says:

      Dear Mr. Malcolm,
      Thank you for your comment and question. As an act of “faith seeking understanding,” the article is less an attempt to persuade than an attempt to think through the meaning of the recent motu proprio, the challenge the bishops face in implementing it, and the significance of the Pope’s words for homiletic and pastoral life; I am open to other interpretations of the mind of the Holy Father, especially in this case in which he has not revealed details from the surveys guiding his decision. In writing this article, there was no persuasive thesis at first, though, after many drafts (scoured by multiple professional editors) over several months, I began to realize a need to argue for the theological rather than disciplinary dimension of the text. Thus, if anything, my essay is trying to persuade those who see TC as a heavy-handed un-pastoral legislative document that it is, rather, “legislation-lite” and more of a theological statement – especially in the area of ecclesiology.
      Peace to you!

  31. Avatar Charles Mangerian says:

    I am grateful to HPR for publishing this article. The author is tone deaf & his opening paragraph is guaranteed to arouse the ire of its intended audience, thereby making those he’s intending to reach ever more intransigent, as evidenced from the numerous comments. On the other hand, we who treasure the TLM must remember that there are a great many faithful & active Catholics outside the TLM community. I suspect every HPR Reader understands well the seemingly never ending horrors that confront the Bride of Christ in the 21st Century. We cannot allow our differences regarding the lex orandi to divert our attention from the pressing need to bring the True Faith to a fallen world.

  32. Having grown up with the Novus Ordo imposed upon me at the age of 10, I have long had a sense of the rupture created by the Consilium’s work, which, if one reads Sacrosanctum Concilium correctly, violates what the Council calls for. But all that aside, having survived 50 years of an almost idolatrous obsession with Vatican II pushed upon me by priests, nuns and assorted professional Catholics. Not wishing to contradict an Ecumenical Council–never mind that there is ample evidence that the Council was illicitly hijacked–I can at least obey the council because this footnote to Lumen Gentium gives us all clear instructions on just HOW we should obey this “great” Council:

    Taking conciliar custom into consideration and also the pastoral purpose of the present Council, the sacred Council defines as binding on the Church only those things in matters of faith and morals which it shall openly declare to be binding. The rest of the things which the sacred Council sets forth, inasmuch as they are the teaching of the Church’s supreme magisterium, ought to be accepted and embraced by each and every one of Christ’s faithful according to the mind of the sacred Council. The mind of the Council becomes known either from the matter treated or from its manner of speaking, in accordance with the norms of theological interpretation.”

    Dogmas defined by Vatican II: ZERO
    New morals defined by Vatican II: ZERO
    So all of these pastoral suggestions that Francis is desperately trying to give the force of unchangeable dogma I can take or leave. And so can you.

  33. Avatar Robert Leblanc says:

    If it can be argued that the Mass of 1962 stood in need of reform, and I completely grant that, it can be argued that the novus order mass does not represent the reform the council called for, at least not as it is celebrated in a typical parish. Similarly, if it can be argued that the previous missal stood in need of reform, then surely it can also be argued that the current one can also stand in need of reform, and perhaps in need of even deeper reform. If it can be argued that the previous form is not a valid form of the Roman Rite, then why can it not also be argued that the current form is not a valid expression of the Roman Rite? As Benedict argued in his motto proprio, we are in a dangerous position when we argue that any previously approved and accepted form of the Roman Rite is invalid, for then we need to accept that the currently approved form may also be just as invalid. Arguing that the previous form is now invalid really does result in sawing off the branch you are sitting on.
    My own position is that reform was definitely needed and Vatican II accurately mapped out the reform that was required. But that was not the reform we got. The reform we got involved a far more radical breach with tradition than was called for by the council. Benedict’s approach marked out the more fruitful path, allowing the two forms to stand as correctives to one another until the time we reach a time when there is once again a single unified form brought about by the mutual enrichment he envisioned.