“Today, therefore the Fraternity of St. Peter is deeply saddened by the reasons given for limiting the use of the Missal of Pope St. John XXIII, which is at the center of its charism,” said the statement.
The order was founded by 12 priests who were formerly members of the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX), an order that is in a canonically irregular status with the Roman Catholic Church. The founder of the SSPX, Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, was excommunicated prior to his death for consecrating four bishops without permission from the Holy See.
The FSSP Constitutions reference the teachings of the Second Vatican Council, they said, and the order “has always sought to be in accord with what Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI called in 2005: ‘the hermeneutic of reform in the continuity of the Church.’”
Pope Francis explained his reasoning for the motu proprio in a letter to the world’s bishops, saying that the expansion of the Latin Mass after Summorum Pontificum did not result in a unified Church. Summorum Pontificum was Pope Benedict XVI’s 2007 apostolic letter which recognized the rights of priests to say the Traditional Latin Mass, and stated they did not need the permission of their local ordinary to offer it.
That 2007 document, Pope Francis said, “was exploited to widen the gaps, reinforce the divergences, and encourage disagreements that injure the Church, block her path, and expose her to the peril of division.”
On Monday, the FSSP stated that it “in no way recognizes itself in the criticisms made. It is surprising that no mention is made of the many fruits visible in the apostolates attached to the missal of St. John XXIII and the joy of the faithful in being able to benefit from this liturgical form.”
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