Traditionalists flood Rome after crackdown on Pope’s Latin mass


ROME (AP) – Traditionalist Catholics descended on Rome on Friday for their annual pilgrimage, hoping to show the vibrancy of their community after Pope Francis cracked down on the spread of the ancient Latin Mass that many saw as a attack on them and the old rite.

An evening vespers service at the Basilica of the Pantheon in Rome, the first event of the three-day pilgrimage, was so full that the ushers had to add two rows of chairs to accommodate the faithful. Many young families, couples and priests filled the benches, coming from the United States, France, Spain and elsewhere.

One of the Vatican’s “ceremonies,” or official priests, Monsignor Marco Agostini, performed the evening service, which included Latin chants, incense, and brocade clothing with the priests facing the altar rather than ‘to the benches. Many women wore lace veils or mantillas. Many priests have avoided face masks.

“We want to show our attachment to the Successor of Saint Peter and that we are at the heart of the Church,” said Pedro d’Aquino, who came from Brooklyn, New York, for the pilgrimage. “We are not interested in ideology or controversy.”

Francis reimposed in July restrictions on the celebration of the old Latin Mass that Pope Benedict XVI relaxed in 2007. Francis said he was overthrowing his predecessor because Benedict’s reform had become a source of division in the world. church and had been exploited by Catholics opposed to Vatican Council II. , the meetings of the 1960s which modernized the church and its liturgy.

The move annoyed conservative critics of Francis, many of whom went so far as to accuse him of heresy and of diluting Catholic doctrine with an emphasis on the environment, social justice and migrants. Francis says he preaches the gospel and what Jesus taught.

His new law required every bishop to approve the celebrations of the Old Mass, also known as the Tridentine Mass, and required that newly ordained priests be given explicit permission to celebrate it from their bishops, in consultation with the Vatican. Bishops were also tasked with determining whether current groups of faithful attached to the Old Mass accepted Vatican II, which allowed Mass to be celebrated in the vernacular rather than Latin.

Joao Silveira, who organized the pilgrimage, said it seemed the vast majority of bishops allowed the celebration of Mass in Latin “to continue as it was.”

“I found things to be not that different,” he said after the service. “The bishop has more power to prohibit, but the majority do not use the power to prohibit.”

Pilgrim Diana Catalan, a 25-year-old nurse from Pamplona, ​​Spain, said her bishop limited the celebration of the old rite to one mass per week, celebrated by a priest. She came to the pilgrimage to Rome alone and said she was happy to meet others in the community who were attached to the old Mass.

“I think we are aware of the circumstances and have made a special effort to show that the tradition is alive,” she said.


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