Pope Benedict lived up to his title of pontifex, or bridge-builder, when he allowed the wider use of the Tridentine rite – more properly the Extraordinary Form of the Mass – in the Apostolic Letter Summorum Pontificum of 2007. There has been 13 years for this concession to advance its stated aim: to foster reconciliation in the heart of the Church. There is no sign it has failed, notwithstanding the inevitable occasional dispute. However, Joseph Shaw from the Latin Mass Society suggests in an article that Pope Francis may be changing his previously positive approach to Summorum Pontificum.
If he is indeed considering restrictions on the Tridentine liturgy, it would mark an unwelcome change of direction from his former inclusive approach. What kind of a Church would it be which denied some of its members the possibility of worship in a dignified form which was once the norm throughout the Church? Why discourage a movement characterised by a concern for beauty, reverence, conversion of life, and the use of technology to spread the Gospel? As Shaw observes, allowing supporters of the Extraordinary Form greater access to churches has encouraged a flourishing of devotion, notably among young people and families. It has also encouraged vocations. Diversity takes many forms, including diversity of worship. We do not need a return to the liturgical culture wars of the 1970s. Liberal authoritarianism by bishops should be things of the past.
Having been unable to sell in churches for well over a year due to the pandemic, we are now inviting readers to support the Herald by investing in our future. We have been a bold and influential voice in the church since 1888, standing up for traditional Catholic culture and values.
Please join us on our 130 year mission by supporting us. We are raising £250,000 to safeguard the Herald as a world-leading voice in Catholic journalism and teaching. For more information from our chairman on contributing to the Herald Patron's Fund, click here
Make a Donation
Donors giving £500 or more will automatically become sponsor patrons of the Herald. This includes two complimentary print/digital gift subscriptions, invitations to Patron events, pilgrimages and dinners, and 6 gift subscriptions sent to priests, seminaries, Catholic schools, religious care homes and prison and university chaplaincies. Click here for more information on becoming a Patron Sponsor. Click here for more information about contributing to the Herald Patron's Fund