Pope Francis confirmed last week the right of the Priestly Fraternity of St Peter to continue celebrating Mass according to the norms of the 1962 Missal, commonly called the Extraordinary Form.
The news, delivered by decree of the pope to the society, confirms what has been previously reported about the limits of the application of last year’s motu proprio, Traditionis custodes, which restricted the use of the old rite.
Pope Francis’ decree, dated Feb. 11 but widely reported Monday morning, grants to the FSSP “the faculty to celebrate the sacrifice of the Mass, to administer the sacraments and other sacred rites, and to perform the Divine Office, according to the typical editions of the liturgical books in force in the year 1962, that is to say the Missal, the Ritual, the Pontifical and the Roman Breviary,” according to a text published by the group.
The decree reinforces the legal limits of Traditionis custodes, which the pope promulgated last summer. The text’s implementation has become a flashpoint for controversy in some dioceses.
Among its provisions, Traditionis custodes places significant restrictions on the celebration of the Extraordinary Form in parish churches, and on the conferral upon diocesan priests the faculty to use the old Missal. But it does not restrict as significantly the use of the Extraordinary Form by members of religious institutes, including the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter.
The pope’s Feb. 11 decree reaffirms the limited prerogative of diocesan bishops to restrict the Extraordinary Form of the Mass, even offered publicly, in churches and chapels operated by the FSSP.
Photo: Fr. Paul-Joseph, FSSP (left) and Fr. Vincent Ribeton, FSSP (right) with Pope Francis. Credit: © Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter, –The Pillar