Vatican archbishop: Traditional Latin Mass movement ‘hijacked’ initiatives of John Paul II and Benedict XVI

By Cindy Wooden, 21 July 2021
Image: Shalone Cason/Unsplash.


Pope Francis’ letter explaining why he was restricting the use of the pre-Vatican II Mass “fearlessly hits the nail on the head: the TLM (Traditional Latin Mass) movement has hijacked the initiatives of St. John Paul II and Benedict XVI to its own ends,” said Archbishop J. Augustine Di Noia, who insisted he was speaking as a theologian and not as a Vatican official.

The archbishop, a Dominican, had served as secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, was deeply involved in the Vatican’s dialogue with the traditionalist Society of St. Pius X and currently is adjunct secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

When St. John Paul and Pope Benedict expanded the possibility of using the pre-Vatican II Mass, they were hoping to promote unity in the church and to counter abuses that were widespread in the celebration of the post-Vatican II Mass, the archbishop said in an email to Catholic News Service July 20.

While the liberal permission to use the older Mass has not promoted the hoped-for healing of the rift with members of the Society of St. Pius X, established by the late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, the archbishop said, “what we have got now is a movement within the church herself, seemingly endorsed by her leaders, that sows division by undermining the reforms of the Second Vatican Council through the rejection of the most important of them: the reform of the Roman Rite.”

Like his predecessors, the archbishop said, Pope Francis believes “the way to address abuses is not by adopting the ‘extraordinary form,’ but by promoting the true renewal of the liturgy which, in many places, has simply not happened.”

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Cindy Wooden is the Rome bureau chief of Catholic News Service.

With thanks to America Magazine, Catholic News Service and Cindy Wooden, where this article originally appeared.


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