Monday, June 14, 2021

We Must Obey Francis - Especially When It Comes To the Traditional Latin Mass


By Father Franz Paprovich*

By now everybody knows it. The Traditional Latin Mass is as good as abolished. Of course, I will obey the Pope and make his directives my own. He is a role model for me, especially in the liturgy - and therefore I will act entirely in his spirit.

The Pope has been telling us many times that we should be freed from the rigidity of the law and also from idealisms that do no good. We are not servants of the letter, but enjoy Christian freedom.

Therefore, I too will not be rigid and legalistic, but will continue to celebrate the Traditional Latin Mass as before. When somebody is "rigid" and "legalistic," the Pope says, then there is something wrong with him - always. That must not happen to me.

In my studies, which took place during the time of Pope Benedict XVI, I was taught to interpret Roman directives in a open, dynamic way. We are allowed to be generous! It is a sign of maturity to go beyond prohibitions and regulations. Only in this way, the Church can move forward! I am very grateful for these valuable insights which I have gained through my professors! I will gladly take them to heart.

If a fellow priest comes to me and asks me if he may celebrate a Traditional Latin Mass in my church, I will welcome him with open arms like a father. I will smile and tell him: "Who am I to judge? Come in, do according to your wishes."

Pope Francis wants us to be open-minded. I grant the faithful the freedom if they want to be taught the "old doctrine" and I do not patronise them by forcing on them the innovations of the outdated Second Vatican Council as some hard-hearted, severe and rigid nostalgics would do.

The Bishop of Rome is perfectly right when he says: "Rigidity is an expression of wickedness, hypocrisy, a double life or a sign of illness that creates suffering. God, on the other hand, gives true freedom to his children." That is exactly how it is! I am grateful for these wise words and therefore I will continue in all freedom to advertise the Old Mass and teach the old doctrine to myself and to those who ask for it.

In accordance with the Pope's wishes, I will especially go out to those who are persecuted [by the bishops], who have been pushed to the periphery [of the Church], who are treated unjustly [by the clergy], ridiculed, mocked, oppressed. I will go to the outcasts and those who are despised in this Church - to those who have chosen to stay away from Vatican II. I will embrace the Old Believers, those who can no longer find a priest who opens to them the treasures of ecclesiastical and liturgical splendour. I want to free them from the bondage of clerical arbitrariness. According to Francis, we must not be afraid to make our hands dirty with them! They are the privileged children of God.

I will therefore willingly accept the smell [of incense] of these little sheep, and will always remember the admonition of the Holy Father who so lovingly teaches us not to extinguish the Holy Spirit whom we encounter precisely in the call of the little ones and the disenfranchised and who directs the Church to new paths. I will let myself be awakened by this call!

I want to put into practice Francis' words when he says that we should rebel, and change the Church, and I will not simply parrot everything the ecclesiastical superiors say. Because that wouldn't be what the Pope wants! The Pope expects opposition! The Pope wants freedom! Useless burdens must be thrown overboard, even if it hurts, says the Pope.

As difficult as it was for me, I had to admit: The Pope is right! I wanted to respond to his call which should not remain a bunch of beautiful and empty words, but - as he urges us - we need to accomplish concrete deeds.

I made the "discernment" which he recommends so often, and separated the useless burdens which we carry with us from what brings us forward and does us good. I separate myself from one thing and keep the other so that I can grow and bear fruit and am no longer rigid.

By taking Pope Francis as a model and by following his advice, I will therefore in the future, when the Roman Mass will be forbidden or restricted by harsh and severe laws, never indulge in clericalism, never say a merciless "no" when someone asks me for the sacraments and sacramentals in the Roman Rite - because the Church of Jesus is a Church of a liberating "yes", not of a restrictive "no" which is so typical for Pharisees and hypocrites!

*Name changed.

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