Catholic Culture Trusted Commentary
Catholic Culture Trusted Commentary

Then and now: Archbishop Roche vs. Archbishop Roche on the TLM

By Phil Lawler ( bio - articles - email ) | Jan 24, 2022

The traditional Latin Mass, Archbishop Arthur Roche said in 2015, is a “valid expression of the Church’s liturgy.” Yes, we want unity within the Church, but the archbishop explained that we are “not looking just for simple uniformity,”—especially because Pope Francis wants “unity with diversity.”

Now the same Archbishop Roche says that unity requires the use of the post-conciliar liturgy. “This is the Mass of the Church,” he says.

How can what was valid in 2015—to say nothing of 1960, or the centuries before that—be invalid or divisive in 2022? Answer: It can’t. As Pope Benedict XVI put it, “What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful.”

But it just did become harmful, according to Archbishop Roche, who has concluded that it must be forbidden (admittedly not quite entirely) for the sake of unity. Or is it now uniformity that he now favors? Certainly not “unity with diversity” in this case.

At least Pope Benedict’s argument has the virtue that it—like the traditional liturgy itself—is consistent over time.

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

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  • Posted by: rfr46 - Jan. 26, 2022 8:12 AM ET USA

    I suspect that the missing piece of he puzzle is a red hat.

  • Posted by: Frodo1945 - Jan. 25, 2022 2:01 PM ET USA

    Ah, Phil. You have high expectations for those in positions of responsibility. Don't be so rigid as to expect consistency. Cheers.