Note on Traditionis Custodes
Dear Corpus Christi Chapel parishioners,
As many have already asked us for our thoughts this morning of July 16th, on which a new Motu Propio has been issued by Pope Francis restricting more ample permissions for the use of the Latin Mass which were given by his predecessor Pope Benedict, in the Motu Propio Summorum Pontificum, and how it might affect our community, I make the following observations:
Obviously, those of us who were gladdened by the more ample rights for all priests of the Roman Rite to celebrate according to the 1962 missal are saddened to see that more possible restrictions may be established. Nonetheless, though more restrictive, it still remains possible for Bishops to delegate diocesan priests to offer the Latin Mass. Furthermore, it does not directly affect our FSSP communities as we have the Latin Mass by particular law as the mass that we were founded to celebrate according to our Constitutions which have been definitively approved by the Holy See.
Whether new foundations of our community in a diocese will be established with the canonical status of a parish, remains to be seen with the practical implementation of this document. Here in the diocese of Venice, Florida, Corpus Christi is already canonically established as a Chapel, and Mission of Christ the King Parish, a Latin Mass parish entrusted to the Fraternity of St. Peter in the diocese of Venice, which is to say we are already part of a permanently established Latin Mass FSSP parish in the diocese. If our future church were not canonically erected as a separate new parish, it would simply remain canonically as a mission of our already established FSSP parish in Sarasota and practically function in the same way.
Over the past 33 years we have more often begun and worked in a diocese without the canonical status of a parish, though many have been established as such over time. All of our apostolates in the US have established contracts which define their traditional nature and establish them in a stable way in the diocese, which unfortunately cannot be said about many of our apostolates in Europe, where Bishops, particularly in France, sometimes give us only a verbal permission to work in the diocese. Yet, if I am correct, in only one recent case was even such a verbal permission withdrawn. Latin Mass communities can be structured as a Chapel, Mission, etc. while practically functioning like a a parish in most respects, and we have done this with great fruit and success amidst even difficult circumstances and labors for over 30 years. So, although these new norms appear to be more restrictive and unfavorable for the spread of the Latin Mass at large, our service to the Church continues the same both in the diocese and throughout the world where we are established.
My pastoral advice for you in this moment is to simply stay focused on your spiritual life as the unwavering commitment of our ministry to you and your obligations to more faithfully love and serve the Lord by denying yourself and taking up your cross daily remain the same. “Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof” (Mt. 6:34)
From our commitment to holiness comes all blessings and favors from the Lord. Love the Mass and appreciate it always, as it is, according to the Church, “the source and summit of the Christian life” (Sacrosanctum Concilium 10), and attending and praying the mass devoutly is the most powerful arm that we have so that His kingdom come and His will be done.
“In nothing be anxious; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God” (Phil. 4:6).
Our newly appointed Provincial Superior Fr. William Lawrence FSSP (who noted in his circular to our priests that many bishops where we serve have already made overtures to assure us that our apostolates will continue the same) makes the following announcement:
Dear Faithful in Christ,
With the publication of Pope Francis’ latest motu proprio, Traditionis Custodes, which has placed new restrictions on the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, many of us are disheartened and anxious. At this point, it is too early to tell what all the implications will be for the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter and for our apostolates, but we assure you that we remain committed to serving the faithful in accordance with our Constitutions and charism as we have done since our founding.
We must strive to see this Cross as a means of our sanctification, and to remember that God will never abandon His Church. Our Lord Himself promises us the necessary graces to bear our Crosses with strength and courage. We must not, however, neglect to do our part as faithful Catholics; let us pray and offer sacrifices in our daily lives, and trust in the intercession of Our Lady, St. Joseph, and our patron, St. Peter. Please continue to pray for the Pope and for the Bishops, and especially for your priests."