ROME (AP) — Pope Francis on Wednesday urged Catholic faithful to stop exploiting the ancient Latin Mass for ideological reasons and to discover the beauty of the new liturgy that emerged from the reforms of the Second Vatican Council .
Francis wrote a letter to ordinary Catholics as part of his long-standing effort to curb the spread of the traditional rite and its adherents. He called on the faithful to “give up our polemic over the liturgy”, which he said would endanger the communion and unity of the Catholic Church.
“I don’t see how it is possible to say that one recognizes the validity of the council – although I am astonished that a Catholic could presume not to do so – and at the same time not accept the liturgical reform,” Francis wrote.
The timing of the document’s release seemed deliberate: it was issued on the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul, an important holiday for the Catholic Church that emphasizes the unity of the Church and the communion between its archbishops and the Pope.
Francis began its crackdown on the pre-Vatican II mass in 2021, when he again imposed restrictions on celebrating the rite relaxed by Pope Benedict XVI in 2007. Francis then said he needed to take action because Benedict’s reform had become a source of division in the church and exploited by Catholics against the Second Vatican Council.
Indeed, Catholic traditionalists attached to the Ancient Rite, also known as the Tridentine Rite, have become some of the greatest opponents of Francis and his belief that the Church should be a “field hospital” welcoming all and where the Eucharist has no “price.” for the perfect,” but rather medicine for the weak.
Francis further clamped at the Latin Mass later in 2021 by forbidding the celebration of some sacraments according to the ancient rite.
In both cases, his directives were addressed to bishops and religious superiors. His letter Wednesday was instead addressed to ordinary Catholics, calling on seminarians and their teachers to embrace the reforms of Vatican II and learn the way they believe the liturgy should be celebrated.
“We cannot go back to the ritualistic form that the Council Fathers … felt the need to reform,” Francis wrote.
Francis has repeatedly spoken out against traditionalists, rejecting their “rigidity” and inner focus, lamenting that their nostalgia for the past “gagging” the acceptance of Vatican II† Those 1960s gatherings modernized the church and led to Mass being celebrated in the vernacular instead of Latin.
Francis wrote on Wednesday that he imposed the 2021 crackdown “so that the Church, in a variety of so many languages, may lift up one and the same prayer capable of expressing its unity.” He added: “I intend to restore this unity in the whole Church of the Roman Rite.”
To fight against what he called a tendency towards “restorationism”, Francis has called on the faithful to spend the next two years preparing for the 2025 Jubilee Year of the Church by rereading the texts of Vatican II and learning more. come to terms with what led to the reforms in the first place.
Speaking at an event Tuesday that launched preparations for the anniversary, the Vatican’s organizer, Archbishop Rino Fisichella, said the aim was to “excite the curiosity of those who cannot remember anything about the event and help them grasp the essence of the enter council to the innovative desire that enabled the church to consciously enter the third millennium of its history.”