TC Letter 1: Introduction

Traditionis Custodes has dropped. I won’t say like a bomb, like some intemperate and excitable commentators have mentioned. While the document is certainly discouraging in many respects to advocates for the traditional Latin Mass, it is hardly the end of good liturgy. Even in dioceses where bishops do not have a demand or an indulgence for celebrations of the 1962 Missal.

That said, Pope Francis has offered an “explanatory” letter of significant length just as his predecessor did for the 2007 motu proprio. Critics who find this year’s document problematic might do well to read the letter. After addressing “Dear Brothers in the Episcopate,” Pope Francis introduces his memo with the intention of a greater good in the Roman Catholic Church:

Just as my Predecessor Benedict XVI did with Summorum Pontificum, I wish to accompany the Motu proprio Traditionis custodes with a letter explaining the motives that prompted my decision. I turn to you with trust and parresia, in the name of that shared “solicitude for the whole Church, that contributes supremely to the good of the Universal Church” as Vatican Council II reminds us. [Cfr. Lumen Gentium 23]

I note a small flaw: “parresia” is the Italian spelling of the word we know as parrhesia. Merriam Webster defines it as “boldness or freedom of speech.” That seems right. No question this motu proprio is a bold move by Pope Francis, especially toward the Church in nations where the TLM has monied and vocal supporters.

You can reference the full letter in official translation here. I trust y’all get my shorthand of “TC Letter” to distinguish this piece from the main document.



About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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