A federation that advocates for the Traditional Latin Mass has appealed to Pope Francis to protect it from those “within the Church, including some bishops, who would like to see the Extraordinary Form of the Roman rite explicitly suppressed.”
“In 2007, the Apostolic Letter Summorum Pontificum recognised the vitality of the traditional liturgy, the freedom of priests to celebrate it, and of the faithful to request it,” the statement reads. “This has led to an ongoing increase in the number of celebrations of the ancient Latin Mass, and of its spiritual fruits.”
The statement came in the form of an advertisement published July 4 in the left-leaning Italian daily newspaper La Repubblica. It was signed by Felipe Alanis Suarez, the president of the international federation Una Voce.
The organization reportedly conducted a survey of Catholics in 364 dioceses in 52 countries on the implementation of Summorum Pontificum.
The survey, according to the statement, found that “the ancient Latin Mass is deeply appreciated by groups of faithful of all ages, especially families with children” and that in many areas “the increased availability of this Mass has favoured the normalisation of relations between the faithful attached to it and their bishops.”
Una Voce (“One Voice”) was founded in 1967, and is not related to the movement started by Marcel Lefebvre. Its principal aims are “to ensure that the traditional Roman rite of the Church is maintained in the Church as one of the forms of liturgical celebration, and to safeguard and promote the use of Latin, Gregorian chant and sacred polyphony and all the sacred, artistic, literary and musical traditions of the Roman Church in all their beauty and integrity.”
In the July 4 statement, Una Voce wrote that “contrary to the previous policy of the Holy See, there are still people within the Church, including some bishops, who would like to see the Extraordinary Form of the Roman rite explicitly suppressed, or subject to further restrictions.”
The statement argues, quoting words from Pope Francis, that “the growth of interest in the traditional liturgy is not due to nostalgia for a time we do not remember, or a desire for rigidity; it is rather a matter of opening ourselves to the value of something that for most of us is new, and inspires hope. Pope Francis has characterised the ancient liturgy in terms of a ‘sense of adoration;’ we can also apply his words to it: a ‘living history that welcomes us and pushes us forward’ (Evangelii Gaudium 13).”
Una Voce also wrote, “we only wish to be part of that ‘great orchestra’ of ‘unity in variety’ which, as Pope Francis said (General Audience of 9 October 2013), reflects the true catholicity of the Church. The Apostolic Letter Summorum Pontificum continues to transform the conflicts of the past into harmony: long may it continue to do so.”
Photo credit: A priest celebrates the Latin Tridentine mass in St.Giuseppe a Capo le Case church in central Rome, six days before Pope Benedict XVI issued Summorum Pontificum (Alberto Pizzoli/AFP via Getty Images).