How ‘Traditionis custodes’ brought American liturgy wars back to the future
Aug 11, 2023

How ‘Traditionis custodes’ brought American liturgy wars back to the future

Dioceses in the United States continue to adjust to the new normal, following Pope Francis’ promulgation of the motu proprio Traditionis custodes two years ago.

The papal law, which abrogated Pope Benedict XVI’s signature liturgical reform Summorum pontificum, ushered in a widespread restriction of what used to be properly called the extraordinary form of the liturgy, often known as the “traditional Latin Mass.”

But, while Traditionis sets up clear obstacles to the celebration of the old liturgy in American dioceses, many bishops have found ways to live-and-let-live within the new framework — often incurring criticism for being “anti-Francis” in the process.

Meanwhile, some diocesan bishops have pressed on further, issuing strict and sometimes legally controversial restrictions on how their clergy are to celebrate the ordinary form of the Mass.

Above both, the Holy See seems to be taking an asymmetrical approach to the emerging trends, vacillating between aggressive interventions and a more hands-off approach.

The results are still in flux, but they so far draw an increasingly divided liturgical map of U.S. dioceses…

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Image Caption: Mass according to the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, the Birmingham Oratory, 2009.

Image Source: Matthew Doyle via Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

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