Father Raymond J. de Souza: Liturgical Dilemma for Diocesan Bishops

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Traditional_Latin_Mass. Extraordinary form according to the Missal of 1962

COMMENTARY: In forcing the hand of local bishops, Pope Francis has even undermined his own repeated calls for collegial and synodal administration.

Father Raymond J. de Souza, 

Father Raymond J. de Souza is the founding editor of Convivium magazine.


Father Raymond J. de SouzaA dispute about dispensations developed into a diktat from the dicastery that has put dioceses in a difficult dilemma.

Liturgical discipline is delicate. The request to Pope Francis, from the Dicastery for Divine Worship (DDW), to tighten the screws on the implementation of Traditionis Custodes — granted by the Holy Father on Feb. 20  — means that Rome has decided that it is a priority to get the “extraordinary form” or Tridentine Mass out of parish churches.

Hence the dilemma for diocesan bishops.

In most dioceses, the number who frequent the older form of the Mass is very small, even tiny. In the Diocese of Arlington, Virginia, which has one of the largest traditional Mass presences, Bishop Michael Burbidge estimated that 2.5% of Mass-goers attended the usus antiquior, or older form, of the Mass. In almost every other American diocese it would be a small fraction of that 2.5%, likely less than half of 1%. …

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