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A Fresh New Piece of Instruction From Rome

State of the Union: The pope’s men are making it very clear that, when it comes to traditionalists, it is in fact personal.

Pope Francis Visits Canada To Meet With Indigenous Communities
Pope Francis wears a traditional headdress that was gifted to him by indigenous leaders following his apology during his visit on July 25, 2022 in Maskwacis, Canada. (Cole Burston/Getty Images)

A new document has been handed down from the Roman court by Bishop Arthur Roche, now the cardinal-deacon of San Saba. It gives further direction regarding the application of Traditionis custodes, the 2021 motu proprio reversing the late Benedict XVI’s liberalization of the usus antiquior of the Mass. Roche’s rescript clarifies the fact that parish priests wishing to use the old Mass will require a permission slip from the Holy See.

Rome’s war on Catholics who prefer the traditional Mass occurs in the midst of widespread catastrophe for the Church. Problems financial, moral, and doctrinal continue to flourish high in the national hierarchies and the Curia. As TAC’s estimable Harry Scherer documented in our latest issue, the demographic situation for organized religion across the board is not good. In my own ecclesial home, the Archdiocese of Baltimore, fewer than 2,000 people within the Charm City limits are in pews every Sunday. (The city’s churches can seat up to 45,000.) 


Yet 500 souls regularly attend the Latin Masses at the Shrine of St. Alphonsus a half-block from the archdiocese’s historic co-cathedral. Roche and his clique are intent on banging holes in the lifeboats to strengthen their authority as officers on the Titanic. Rumor has it that more “instruction” for traditional communities will be handed down on Holy Week. It beats solving any real problems, I guess.