During a scandal that hit the Royal Family last year, Her Majesty denied accusations of bullying at Buckingham palace with the phrase ‘recollections may differ.’ This perfectly captures the reaction of TLM devotees to the interview with Archbishop Roche, Prefect for the Congregation of Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.
In the short clip released by Catholic News Service, the Archbishop speaks in a way that is difficult to reconcile with the reality of the situation.
He begins by stating that the liberalisation of the Traditional Latin Mass was only a concession to those who ‘cannot move forward with the reformed liturgy.’
If we consult the historical facts, we will discover that the opening up of the Traditional Mass propelled by the work of the International Federation Una Voce and the Latin Mass Society of England and Wales was not the hobby of curmudgeonly stick-in-the-muds but a movement based on a love for the Church, Our Lord in the Eucharist and the priceless jewel that is the venerable and ancient Roman Rite. The so-called Agatha Christie indult demonstrated the concerns of many influential figures, Catholic and non-Catholic, about the disposal of this precious gem and it’s replacement with something completely new and unrelated. The work of FIUV, marked by fidelity to the pope and a zeal for the faith, resulted in this indult being opened up to the whole world by Pope St John Paul II and climaxed with the promulgation of Summorum Pontificum in which Pope Benedict XVI noted in his accompanying letter, ‘Immediately after the Second Vatican Council it was presumed that requests for the use of the 1962 Missal would be limited to the older generation which had grown up with it, but in the meantime it has clearly been demonstrated that young persons too have discovered this liturgical form, felt its attraction and found in it a form of encounter with the Mystery of the Most Holy Eucharist, particularly suited to them.’ Pope Benedict put Summorum Pontificum in place with the knowledge and intention that he was catering for all who had discovered the beauty and depth of the Gregorian Rite and not just those who couldn’t get with the new regime. Pope Benedict promoted the Traditional Latin Mass with this generous move, a notion that is condemned by Roche later in the clip. Recollections may differ.
The Archbishop says that Traditionis Custoses indicates the direction in which the church is moving. This line of thinking asserts that the current direction in which the church is moving is incompatible with her past. Rather than handing down the deposit of faith to each generation, we are headed in a direction that is different from the previous 19 centuries of the church. Yet, at the same time as saying it’s all change, the same people claim that this different liturgy and different ecclesiology is so in conformity with the past that the Novus Ordo is just an updated version of the Roman Rite. The Archbishop could change the name of his congregation to ‘The Ministry of Truth.’ Recollections may differ.
Promoting the Traditional Latin Mass is a problem according to the Archbishop. Given the fruits of the Traditional Mass, the demographic boom in parishes where it is offered around the world, promoting it would be a smart tactic for a church that is dying out in the west. According to Roche, the traditional movement is only ‘blustering on the blogs’ and not young families and numerous vocations. Recollections may differ.
The Archbishop shames traditional Catholics for being negative about Pope Frances and harming the unity of the church. In reality, the unity of the church is being damaged by Traditiones Custodes with Catholics leaving the church, losing their faith and giving in to despair as the prayers that nourish their faith and the surety of reverence towards the Eucharist are being prized from their hands by the Pope. This has nothing to do with unity. The church has always been One while expressing her prayer in a diversity of rites. Recollections may differ.
The bishops of the world have overwhelmingly embraced the restriction of the Traditional Mass according to the Archbishop. The majority of bishops have invoked Canon 87 to dispense priests from most of the restrictions. Some have been more reactive to TC and perhaps some feel the pressure to do so that is coming from Rome. Recollections may differ.
The New Mass is the Mass of the Second Vatican Council. This is not the case. Sacrosanctum Concilium called for a very conservative development of the Traditional Mass. The Traditional Mass was the liturgy celebrated at the council. The New Mass was put together by a committee after the council and made drastic changes which made the Novus Ordo nearly unrecognisable to those who knew the Gregorian Mass. If one were to read what the council asked for and think of the Mass in your parish church versus the TLM, you would see that the new Mass is not the Mass of Vatican II. Recollections may differ.
Finally, Archbishop Roche threatens those who question anything all of these troubling discrepancies with a charge of schism. At the end of the video, he says that those who question the wisdom, rationale and charity of Traditiones Custodes are denying the papacy. We are, however, a synodal church that journeys together and reaches out the peripheries. Recollections may differ.
Catholics who attend the TLM just want to pray in peace, raise their families in the perennial rites of the church, play their part in their diocese in charity and in union with the Holy Father and their bishops. To this the Archbishop seems to respond ‘recollections may differ.’