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Pope renews criticism of traditionalists

August 04, 2022

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CWN Editor's Note: Pope Francis renewed his criticism of traditionalist Catholics, and argued the Church cannot function without synodality, in a session with Jesuits during his visit to Canada.
The Pope also said that his “penitential pilgrimage” to Canada, and apology to the country’s indigenous peoples, reflected a judgment that had been made by the country’s bishops, acting as a united group. While the papal trip was an important move toward reconciliation, he said, “It is the bishops who have done everything with their unity.”

The Pontiff broke from that positive message, however, to say that “there are some who work against healing and reconciliation.” He cited a “small traditionalist group” that had protested his public statements. Repeating a theme that he has used frequently in recent months, the Pope said:

Someone once said that tradition is the living memory of believers. Traditionalism instead is the dead life of our believers. Tradition is the life of those who have gone before us and who go on. Traditionalism is their dead memory.
Regarding his push for a synodal Church, the Pope said that “the Church is either synodal or it is not Church.” He went on to say that a recovery of synodal government was essential. “Certainly we can say that the Church in the West had lost its synodal tradition,” he said.

The Pope returned to his criticism of traditionalism when he was questioned about the liturgy. He made the claim: “My action in this field has aimed to follow the line taken by John Paul II and Benedict XVI, who had allowed the ancient rite and had asked for subsequent verification.” He said that a survey of the world’s bishops (the results of which have never been disclosed) demonstrated that the use of the Tridentine rite has harmed the cause of unity.

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  • Posted by: Randal Mandock - Aug. 04, 2022 5:18 PM ET USA

    Here is my perspective on the two formerly-known-as "forms" or "expressions" of the Roman rite. When I attend an FSSP or ICKSP Mass anywhere on the planet, I can be assured of at least 5 things: (1) reverence among all in attendance, (2) absolute silence before Mass, (3) the same liturgy and language, (4) no idiosyncrasies, (5) fellowship with like-minded Catholics. Attending a Novus Ordo Mass is a crapshoot: reverence varies, frequent idiosyncrasies, busyness, varied altar personnel and ushers.

  • Posted by: altoidnews7416 - Aug. 04, 2022 1:06 PM ET USA

    I'm said to say that I don't think this Pope has a positive message for the faithful. He says or writes something positive and then takes 20 steps back with negative attacks on the very people he is supposed to care for and love as a Shepherd.