Why Traditionalists cannot ignore Traditionis Custodes
Aside from outburst of the usual nasty malicious rhetoric directed at the Roman Pontiff, such a claiming he is a father handing his son a serpent instead of a fish, or accusing him of being mean and wicked, or claiming that he has a plan to destroy the true faith — aside from those sinful responses, the most common response has been JUST IGNORE HIM. Just ignore the rules of Traditionis Custodes. Continue attending the TLM and do not follow the new rules.
Let me tell you why that will fail.
Roman Catholic priests need incardination. Wikipedia actually gets this one right:
“As one part of the hierarchy of the Catholic Church, every Catholic priest or deacon must have an ordinary as a superior. Such an ordinary is most often a diocesan bishop, but can also be a leader of a religious order, such as the Jesuits or Franciscans, or some other ecclesiastical superior.
The purpose of incardination is to ensure that no cleric is “freelance”, without a clear ecclesiastical superior to whom the cleric is accountable and who in turn is responsible for the cleric.”
You cannot go FREELANCE, priests. A traditionalist priest cannot ignore the Bishop and the Roman Pontiff, and do whatever he wants. You can write all kinds of nasty rhetoric and post videos railing against the bishops and the Pope, and usually the Pope and Bishops will ignore you. Not this time. Certain subjects do not go unnoticed, and certain sins do not go unpunished.
Roman Catholic priests also need faculties, permission from the local Bishop for administering the Sacraments.
If you write a treatise saying you think women should be ordained as priests, maybe you will be ignored by the Church hierarchy. But if you start simulating the ordination of women priests, the Bishop will call the Holy See and the priests, bishops, deacons and women involved will be excommunicated and laicized so fast it will make their heads spin. There are certain things a priest does not do, or he absolutely will face the full force of the authority of the Pope and Bishops.
And one of those things is holding Mass and hearing Confessions without permission from the Bishop. You cannot set up your own church in a diocese and run it however you want. A traditionalist priest can get away with a lot of things that should and probably does upset the Bishops and the Pope. But you DO NOT SAY MASS without faculties.
Priests who hold a TLM in contradiction to Traditionis Custodes will be suspended “a divinis” just like Lefebvre. Priests who continue to ignore Traditionis Custodes will be excommunicated, laicized, and lose all financial support from the Church. And most traditionalist priests do not have the notoriety online to raise money to support themselves.
Between Vatican II and now, lots of priests decided they could marry and still be a priest! They are not priests any more. They were laicized. I don’t care how many traditionalist Catholics attend your regular Sunday TLM, father. If you violate Traditionis Custodes, you will lose the authority to say Mass, you will not be able to find a church or chapel to hold a Mass, and you won’t need a very big space, because most traditionalist Catholics still obey the Church. They will not go into schism just because you decided not to get permission for TLM.
The power that the Roman Pontiff has in the Church is SUPREME. So if you think you can just hold a TLM and ignore the Pope and Bishops, you are wrong. If a conservative Bishop decides to ignore Traditionis Custodes, he will be forced into retirement, or transferred to another diocese, or suspended “a divinis” like Lefebvre.
Consider what happened to Cardinal Gerhard Muller, prefect of the CDF.
Pope Francis, Cardinal Müller said, “communicated his decision” not to renew his term “within one minute” on the last work day of his five-year-term, and did not give any reasons for it.
Pope Francis is the Supreme Pontiff. It is a common error to treat him like a politician, or like an employer at a business. He does not need to explain himself, nor should he do so. This demand for explanations eventually replaces faith. “Explain everything to us, to the satisfaction of our fallen faculty of reason.” If so, then what is left for faith?
“[Müller] said: “Your Holiness, I have received these letters (demanding their dismissal), but I did not do anything because these persons are among the best of my dicastery… what did they do?” The answer was, as follows: “And I am the pope, I do not need to give reasons for any of my decisions. I have decided that they have to leave and they have to leave.” He got up and stretched out his hand in order to indicate that the audience was at an end.”
The Pope demanded their dismissal, and Muller refused to comply. And then Muller says that the Pope gave no reason for his own, later, dismissal. I think maybe the answer is clear from the circumstances. Muller asked the Pope to explain himself to Muller, as if he had this attitude: “You ordered me to dismiss them, but I don’t take orders from the Pope unless I understand and agree.” Yeah. Good plan. The Pope fired Muller within one minute on the last day of his five-year term. And the Supreme Pontiff was absolutely right to do so. “I am the Pope, I do not need to give reasons for any of my decisions.” That is the authority that he has from Christ. He answers only to God, not to the press, or the Catholic blogosphere, or the leaders of the conservative Catholic subculture. The Pope decided that they have to leave, and so they have to leave.
So if you think you can just ignore Traditionis Custodes, fathers, you are so wrong. If that happens, priests will lose their faculties and be suspended. If they ignore the suspension, they can be excommunicated, laicized, and essentially have nowhere to go, nowhere to say Mass.
These online lay leaders, like Taylor Marshall or Rorate Caeli or Timothy Gordon and many others, are just clueless. They think that priests can just ignore the Pope and the Bishops and set up their own little churches. Priests cannot go freelance. It’s not like setting up a blog or a YouTube channel. Without authorization from the Bishop, a priest cannot say Mass or hear confessions. And if he does so, he will be the subject of the full authority of the Roman Pontiff.
Do not dare hold a TLM without the permission of the Bishop.
Ronald L. Conte Jr.