Shortly after returning from his Africa trip (January 31–February 5, 2023), where he celebrated a Zaire rite Mass to the sound of drums and dances,1 Pope Francis hastened to take another step to hinder even further the celebration and attendance of the traditional Latin Mass.
On February 20, Arthur Cardinal Roche, Prefect of the Dicastery for Divine Worship, signed a rescript in which the pope confirmed the new rules for implementing his July 16, 2021 motu proprio Traditionis custodes on the celebration of the Latin Mass.2
According to the rescript, a bishop must request authorization from the Dicastery for Divine Worship in the following cases:
- allowing the celebration of the Latin Mass in parish churches;
- establishing personal parishes for the celebration of the Latin Mass;
- granting permission for this celebration to priests ordained after July 16, 2021 (the publication date of Traditionis custodes).3
The decree further tightens restrictions on celebrating the traditional Mass because the dicastery headed by Cardinal Roche—a sworn enemy of the improperly called “Tridentine Mass”—will not grant those permissions easily. The goal is to abolish once and for all the traditional Mass, which is of apostolic origin.4
Destroy the Traditional Mass to Impose “Tribalist” Liturgy?
Contrary to the opinion of many, however, this virtual abolition of the Mass of the ages is not intended to leave Pope Paul VI’s Novus Ordo Mass as the only valid rite in the Latin Church.
There is every indication that Pope Francis prefers an “inculturated” and “tribalist” liturgy consistent with the idolatrous worshipping of Pachamama—Mother Earth5—held in Vatican gardens and inside St. Peter’s Basilica in October 2019.6
That is not pure speculation. As already said, during his recent trip to the Democratic Republic of Congo, Pope Francis celebrated Mass “according to the Zaire Use of the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite.”7 The so-called “Zaire Use of the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite is an inculturated Mass formally approved in 1988 for the dioceses of what was then known as the Republic of Zaire.”8
By celebrating this “inculturated rite,” Pope Francis signaled once more where he is heading. As he wrote in a preface to a book on the Zairean Rite, “The Zairean Rite suggests a promising way also for the possible elaboration of an Amazonian Rite.”9 He said he hopes this liturgical “inculturation” work “can help to move in this direction.”10
An Amazonian rite is not the only one being prepared. “The Diocese of San Cristóbal, in the south of Mexico, will send Pope Francis a proposal to include in Catholic masses indigenous Mayan rites such as dance, music and the participation of women.”11
Incorporating Pagan Rituals Into the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass
In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, when European missionaries were laboring to convert African peoples to the Catholic Faith, the Mass they celebrated was the Latin Mass. In the second half of the twentieth century, however, missionaries started to succumb to the inculturation ideology. This ideology seeks to adapt the liturgy of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass to African or indigenous pagan rituals or, alternatively, to incorporate into the Mass elements of today’s secularist “pop” culture.12
As early as 1958, in the Congo, then a Belgian colony, Fr. Guido Haazen, a Belgian Franciscan, created the famous “Luba Mass” with drums and tribal-style singing. A recording of this “Mass” was disseminated and heard worldwide, inspiring similar celebrations.13
Pope Francis’s Strange Mercy
Pope Francis has a peculiar conception of mercy. For example, he receives homosexual “couples” and allows himself to be filmed while embracing and cordially conversing with them, as in the Washington, D.C. Apostolic Nunciature. He invites a same-sex female couple to the Vatican, one of whom presents herself as a man and poses for a picture with them.14 There are no reports that the pope urged them to repent for offending God and to convert, as authentic mercy would require. One of the spiritual works of mercy is to “admonish sinners” to abandon their sins.
In contrast, Pope Francis shows acrimony and bad humor when priests, seminarians or laypeople strive to follow the traditional Church Magisterium. He ridicules them with insults like “rigid,” “Pelagians,” “Gnostics,” and the like.15 He does the same with those who want to celebrate or participate in the Latin Mass.
Waging Unjust War on the Traditional Latin Mass
Here is how Franca Giansoldati, the Vatican expert for the Roman newspaper Il Messaggero, reported on the rescript’s publication: “Pope Francis declares war on Latin Masses: from now on only if authorized by the Vatican. The feared crackdown on Latin Masses, already abundantly reduced, controlled and subjected to the evaluations of individual bishops, has arrived.”16
Giansoldati is right.
Pope Francis’s actions and words speak for themselves. They amount to war (an unjust war at that) against the most sacred and sublime thing the Church Militant has to offer God—the unbloody renewal of the sacrifice of Calvary. Pope Francis is trying to eradicate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass as the apostles and Tradition have bequeathed it to us in the Roman Rite.17
- See, “Apostolic Journey to the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan (31 January – 5 February 2022),” Vatican.va, https://www.vatican.va/content/photogallery/en/eventi/rdcongo-sudsudan2023.html; Gerard O’Connell, “Pope Francis Preaches Peace to One Million Congolese People at Zaire Rite Mass,” AmericaMagazine.com, Feb. 1, 2023, https://www.americamagazine.org/politics-society/2023/02/01/pope-francis-congo-mass-victims-244638#.
- See “Rescriptum ex audientia Ss.mi,” Vatican.va, Feb. 21, 2023, https://press.vatican.va/content/salastampa/it/bollettino/pubblico/2023/02/21/0150/00323.html; See also Gerard O’Connell, “Pope Francis Reaffirms Bishops Must Get Vatican Approval to Allow Latin Mass,” https://www.americamagazine.org/faith/2023/02/21/pope-francis-latin-mass-restrictions-244776.
- See O’Connell, “Pope Francis Reaffirms.”
- See Msgr. Klaus Gamber, The Reform of the Roman Liturgy: Its Problems and Background (Una Voce Press-The Foundation for Catholic Reform, 1993), 24.
- See “Pachamama,” Wikipedia.org, accessed Feb. 28, 2023, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pachamama#Etymology.
- See Luiz Sérgio Solimeo, “Having Worshipped Pachamama, Pope Francis Now Disparages Mary’s Co-Redeeming Role,” TFP.org, Dec. 23, 2019, https://www.tfp.org/having-worshipped-pachamama-pope-francis-now-disparages-marys-co-redeeming-role/.
- Hannah Brockhaus, “1 Million Attend Joyful Mass With Pope Francis in Democratic Republic of Congo,” CatholicNewsAgency.com, Feb. 1, 2023, https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/253515/1-million-attend-joyful-mass-with-pope-francis-in-democratic-republic-of-congo.
- Brockhaus, “1 Million Attend.” (Our emphasis.)
- Paul Samasumo, “Pope Francis: The Zairean Rite Is a “Promising Model” for the Amazon,” VaticanNews.va, Dec. 1, 2020, Pope Francis: The Zairean Rite is a “promising model” for the Amazon – Vatican News.
- Debora Donnini, “O Papa: o rito zairense ‘caminho promissor’ para um rito amazônico,” VaticanNews.va, Dec. 1, 2020, https://www.vaticannews.va/pt/papa/news/2020-12/papa-o-rito-zairense-caminho-promissor-para-um-rito-amazonico.html.
- Peter Kwasniewski, “Mexican Bishops Will Ask Pope to Include Mayan Rites in Catholic Masses: Zaire Was Just the Start,” Rorate-Caeli.blogspot.com, Mar. 3, 2023, https://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2023/03/mexican-bishops-will-ask-pope-to.html
- On the inculturation of native customs, see Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira, Indian Tribalism: The Communist-Missionary Ideal for Brazil in the Twenty-First Century, TFP.org, accessed Feb. 28, 2023, https://www.tfp.org/indian-tribalism-the-communist-missionary-ideal-for-brazil-in-the-twenty-first-century/.
- See “Missa Luba,” Wikipedia.org, accessed Feb. 25, 2023, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Missa_Luba#References.
- See Marissa Marchitelli, “Pope Francis Hugs US Gay Couple at Vatican Embassy,” BBC.com, Oct. 2, 2015, https://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-us-canada-34428408; Jesús Bastante, “El transexual recibido por el Papa: ‘Muchos obispos te hacen agachar la cabeza y pedir perdón por existir,’” ElDiario.Es, Oct. 2, 2016, https://www.eldiario.es/sociedad/diego-neria-existe-obispos-haciendo_128_3815505.html.
- See “Holy Mass Homily of His Holiness Pope Francis; St. Peter’s Basilica Third Sunday of Ordinary Time, 23 January 2022,” Vatican.va, https://www.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/homilies/2022/documents/20220123_omelia-domenicadellaparoladidio.html; “The Pope Francis Bumper Book of Insults,” accessed Mar. 4, 2023, The Pope Francis Little Book of Insults (popefrancisbookofinsults.blogspot.com).
- Franca Giansoldati, “Papa Francesco dichiara guerra alle messe in latino: d’ora in poi solo se autorizzate dal Vaticano,” IlMessaggero.it, Feb. 21, 2023, https://www.ilmessaggero.it/vaticano/papa_francesco_messa_latino_solo_autorizzata-7244578.html.
- For an in-depth study of the 1969 Novus Ordo Mass, besides the already cited Msgr. Klaus Gamber, see Arnaldo Xavier da Silveira, Two Timely Issues: The New Mass and the Possibility of a Heretical Pope (Spring Grove, Penn.: The Foundation for a Christian Civilization, Inc., 2022); Fr. Joseph de Sainte-Marie, O.C.D., L’Eucharistie, salut du monde: Études sur le saint sacrifice de la messe (Paris: Éditions du Cèdre, 1982).