Today over at the PrayTell blog, Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago has written an article explaining why Traditionis Custodes—Pope Francis’s recent document abrogating Pope Benedict’s 2007 decision to liberalize use of the pre-Vatican II Missal—is a gift to the Church. He writes:
Simply put, it is to re-establish throughout the Church of the Roman Rite a single and identical prayer that expresses its unity, according to the liturgical books promulgated by the saintly Popes Paul VI and John Paul II, in conformity with the decrees of the Second Vatican Council.
He discusses three principles behind Francis’s decision: (1) the unity of the Church, (2) recognition that the Second Vatican Council and its reforms are not only an authentic action of the Holy Spirit but also are in continuity with the Tradition of the Church, and (3) affirmation of the role of the bishop as the sole moderator, promoter and guardian of all liturgical life in his diocese. Cardinal Cupich reiterates Pope Francis’s intention, which echoes the teachings of St. Paul VI and the Council, that the Church is moving toward liturgical unity, and he says that pastors “are to lead the faithful to the sole use of the reformed liturgical books.”
He also provides some practical advice for pastors to assist those faithful who may have difficulty with accepting the reformed liturgy:
Accompaniment may take the form of visiting with the faithful who have regularly attended Mass and celebrated sacraments with the earlier rituals to help them understand the essential principles of renewal called for in the Second Vatican Council. It must also involve helping people appreciate how the reformed Mass introduces them to a greater use of scripture and prayers from the Roman tradition, as well as an updated liturgical calendar of feasts that includes recently canonized saints. Accompaniment may also mean creatively including in the Mass reformed by the Council elements which people have found nourishing in celebrating the earlier form of the Mass, which has already been an option, e.g., reverent movement and gestures, use of Gregorian chant, Latin and incense and extended periods of silence within the liturgy.
Image: By Goat_Girl – https://www.flickr.com/photos/112363286@N08/16527074323/, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=41556631
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Mike Lewis is the founding managing editor of Where Peter Is. He and Jeannie Gaffigan co-host Field Hospital, a U.S. Catholic podcast.