Cardinal Robert Sarah has praised young Catholics who prefer the older form of the Roman Rite, saying he can “personally testify to the sincerity and devotion of these young men and women”.
In a speech to the Fifth Roman Colloquium on Summorum Pontificum, held at the Pontifical University of St Thomas (Angelicum), the cardinal added that other Catholics should “open your hearts and minds” to these young people and the “good they do”.
“They are neither nostalgic nor embittered nor encumbered by the ecclesiastical battles of recent decades,” he said. “They are full of the joy of living the life of Christ amidst the challenges of the modern world.”
In turn, he called on Catholics who prefer the Old Rite to leave the “traditionalist ghetto” and mix with other Catholics as “many will benefit” from their faithful witness.
“Almighty God calls you to do this. No one will rob you of the usus antiquior of the Roman rite. But many will benefit, in this life and the next, from your faithful Christian witness which will have so much to offer given the profound formation in the faith that the ancient rites and the associated spiritual and doctrinal ambience has given you.”
Indeed, Cardinal Sarah said ‘traditional Catholics’ should stop referring to themselves as such.
“Some, if not many, people, call you ‘traditionalists’. Sometimes you even call yourselves ‘traditional Catholics’ or hyphenate yourselves in a similar way. Please do this no longer,” he said.
“You do not belong in a box on the shelf or in a museum of curiosities. You are not traditionalists: you are Catholics of the Roman rite as am I and as is the Holy Father.
“You are not second-class or somehow peculiar members of the Catholic Church because of your life of worship and your spiritual practices, which were those of innumerable saints.
“You are called by God, as is every baptised person, to take your full place in the life and mission of the Church in the world of today, not to be shut up in—or worse, to retreat into—a ghetto in which defensiveness and introspection reign and stifle the Christian witness and mission to the world you too are called to give.”
The cardinal also reiterated his defence of Mass ad orientem, saying: “This venerable practice is permitted, is perfectly appropriate and, I would insist, is pastorally advantageous in celebrations of the usus recentior—the more modern form of the Roman rite.”
He suggested that priests may also whisper the canon in the Novus Ordo, as is common in the older rite.
“The silent praying of the offertory prayers and of the Roman canon might be practices that could enrich the modern rite today. In our world so full of words and more words more silence is what is necessary, even in the liturgy.”