In an accompanying letter to bishops, Pope Francis wrote: “In defense of the unity of the Body of Christ, I am constrained to revoke the faculty granted by my Predecessors. The distorted use that has been made of this faculty is contrary to the intentions that led to granting the freedom to celebrate the Mass with the Missale Romanum [Roman Missal] of 1962.”
Joseph Shaw, the chairman of the Latin Mass Society of England and Wales, told CNA that the motu proprio appeared to “undo entirely the legal provisions made for the Traditional Mass by Pope Benedict, and to take us back not only to the situation before the 2007 apostolic letter Summorum Pontificum, but even before 1988, when Pope John Paul II — who was canonized by Pope Francis — described the more ancient Mass as a ‘rightful aspiration’ of the faithful.”
“The many priests and lay Catholics who have worked hard to combine an interest in the ‘riches’ represented by the EF [Extraordinary Form] with sincere loyalty and affection for the hierarchy and the Holy Father have been let down by this document,” Shaw said.
He added: “The provision that the EF not be celebrated in parish churches appears to be unworkable, and will certainly impede the implementation of this document.”
Kurt Martens, a professor of canon law at Catholic University of America, noted that the term “extraordinary form” is no longer used in the new legislation and that the new motu proprio “establishes that liturgical books promulgated in conformity with the decrees of Vatican Council II are the unique expression of the lex orandi of the Roman Rite.”
“Diocesan bishops are given broad responsibility with regard to the use of the former liturgy,” Martens noted on Twitter.
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