Do not dare hold a TLM without the permission of the Bishop

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.

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9 Responses to Do not dare hold a TLM without the permission of the Bishop

  1. Michael says:

    If a priest does say mass or hear confessions without permission, do those sacraments remain valid? Does transubstantiation take place at the consecration?

    • Ron Conte says:

      Council of Trent taught that even heretics and schismatics validly administer the Sacraments. This is important so that the faithful can rest assured of the help of God in the Sacraments, even if the priest is a hidden heretic or schismatic. The Eucharist is still validly consecrated. Confession requires faculties, though, for the priest from the Bishop. So a priest without faculties cannot forgive sins, since in the Sacrament Christ forgives through His Church. However, right now, even the SSPX has faculties from Pope Francis. I think a priest who illicitly says a TLM Mass can still hear confessions validly, assuming he was validly and licitly hearing confessions previously. An illicitly said Mass would not automatically make confessions illicit, as the Bishops are solicitous for souls.

  2. Todd V says:

    I am not sure you are right (agree with everything else) when you say: “And most traditionalist priests do not have the notoriety online to raise money to support themselves.” I am not sure that some of them won’t be able to do it – but perhaps not able to sustain it over many years. They would actually be better off going to SSPX (obviously they would be much better off being obedient)

  3. justin1745 says:

    “ 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.”.

    Why couldn’t they go to the SSPX? I’m not saying they should, but in theory they would be able to go there and continue to say Mass, hear confessions, etc.

    • Ron Conte says:

      The SSPX is a relatively small organization. They do not have the funds to pay an influx of many Catholic traditionalist priests. There is also the conflict in doctrine. The SSPX is further from communion with the Catholic Church than Lefebvre was in the 1970s. I don’t think these traditionalist priests will be able to fit in to an SSPX church.

  4. Sunimal Fernando says:

    Ron,
    According to your answer, because of growing subculture, pope stopped or limited Latin mass.
    So, Catholic church priests has no freedom to select the language of the mass. Priests should get permission from bishops or from Vatican.This is communism. Is pope Francis support communism? Is he supporting China communism? I think, anti-Christ devils is create problems within the church now. Jesus said, at the end times, daily sacrifice will be stopped.(Daniel) . last 3.5 years not yet started. At that time, masses from all language will be stopped.( May be from 2023-2026 Russian and China communism)
    So, pope Francis stopped mass in Latin. Who celebrate this decision? devils world hell or heaven ?
    So, we have to pray for the innocent , good priests and bishops in the world.
    Is this the message of Fatima in 1917?

    Ron,
    You have created pages for mother Mary’s messages in your site. But, you don’t understand, what is happening now. You are only supporting pope and that post. And you don’t think about spreading China communism. Pray to receive wisdom from holy spirit. Sometimes I am also doing wrong bad things. Pray for me also. I pray for you. Pray rosary that is our weapon.God bless you.

  5. Philip says:

    Indeed, Roman Catholic priests need incardination and cannot go FREELANCE: see Code of Canon Law, can. 265: ‘Every cleric must be incardinated either in a particular church or personal prelature, or in an institute of consecrated life or society endowed with this faculty, in such a way that unattached or transient clerics are not allowed at all.’
    https://www.vatican.va/archive/cod-iuris-canonici/eng/documents/cic_lib2-cann208-329_en.html

    • Ron Conte says:

      Even though they may have incardination, the internet leads to a situation in which priests are essentially electronically-itinerant. Someone like Fr. Z. for example, is supposedly incardinated in Italy and/or in the U.S., with neither Bishop willing to reign him in, or oversee him. He has essentially set up his own little Church. So has John-Henry Westen, a lay person, since he issues all kinds of pseudo-authoritative teachings and decisions on discipline, as if he were a Bishop or Pope.

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