Dusty Phrases

Hi! Welcome to “Dusty Phrases.” You will find below an ancient phrase in one language or another, along with its English translation. You may also find the power to inspire your friends or provoke dread among your enemies.

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Traditionis custodes


Guardians of the Tradition

This extremely fun Latin phrase has a specific and very recent context and history (though you could certainly reapply it to something else such as your bowling team name.) From Wiki:

Traditionis custodes (Guardians of the Tradition) is an apostolic letter issued motu proprio by Pope Francis, promulgated on 16 July 2021 regarding the continued use of pre-Vatican II rites. It restricts the celebration of the Tridentine Mass of the Roman Rite, sometimes colloquially called the “Latin Mass” or the “Traditional Latin Mass”. The apostolic letter was accompanied by an ecclesiastical letter to the Catholic bishops of the world.

The Congregation for Divine Worship has stated in an official instruction (responsa) that the Latin version of Traditionis custodes “is the official text to be referenced”.

This letter has been met with a lot of resistance within the Catholic Church, and is an on-going source of frustration for Traditional Catholics. Continuing with Wiki:

Traditionalist Catholics “immediately decried [Traditionis custodes] as an attack on them and the ancient liturgy”. The Tablet, a British Catholic publication, reported that many traditionalist Catholics were angered by Traditionis custodes, further stating that traditionalists expressed concern that certain bishops would use the motu proprio to prohibit the Tridentine Mass within their dioceses.

Joseph Shaw, the chairman of the Latin Mass Society of England and Wales, said that the motu proprio appeared to “undo entirely the legal provisions made for the Traditional Mass by Pope Benedict, and to take us back not only to the situation before the 2007 apostolic letter Summorum Pontificum, but even before 1988, when Pope John Paul II – who was canonized by Pope Francis – described the more ancient Mass as a ‘rightful aspiration’ of the faithful”. He also stated that Traditionis custodes was a “staggering document, exceeding our worst expectations. Pope Francis has completely undone the arrangements of Summorum Pontificum and created a situation which seems entirely unworkable, banning the Extraordinary Form from parish churches”. He also published a blog post on the subject on the Society’s website. The Latin Mass Society later stated in a document that the responsa from the CDW had no binding force, as they were not directly issued by the pope. Arthur Roche, head of the CDW, responded to the Latin Mass Society document by saying: “The responses to the various dubia are evidently legitimate and fully compliant with Canon Law in their elaboration by this Congregation whose authority in this matter is undisputed”.

The Fœderatio Internationalis Una Voce released an official statement in which it rejected the idea that those who performed or assisted to Tridentine Masses were disobedient to the Catholic Church and the Second Vatican Council.

The Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter in a communiqué said it “ha[d] received Pope Francis’ Motu Proprio Traditionis custodes with surprise”. It adds that since the Fraternity is approved canonically, and had always been faithful to the “entire Magisterium of the Church” and to the pope, “[t]oday, therefore the Fraternity of St. Peter is deeply saddened by the reasons given for limiting the use of the Missal of Pope St. John XXIII, which is at the center of its charism“. On 21 February 2022, the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter announced that on 4 February, they had a meeting with Pope Francis who informed them that the institutes whose reason for existence is the use of the Tridentine Mass, and its associated Liturgical books, were unaffected by the motu proprio. The FSSP also claims the Pope issued a decree granting the members of the Fraternity to the ability to celebrate the Mass other the sacraments and rites according to the typical editions of the liturgical books in force in 1962.

However heated the debate might be in some circles, though, it is not even a well-known change in the U.S. Catholic Church.

Public opinion

A September 2021 survey conducted by the Pew Research Center found that roughly two-thirds of U.S. Catholics were unaware of the new restrictions. Among weekly mass attending U.S. Catholics, 29% disapproved of the new restrictions, 11% approved, 17% had no opinion, and 42% were unaware of them.