Pope Francis is not opposing Sacred Tradition. He has done nothing against Tradition itself, nor any of its teachings. Rather, Pope Francis is defending the teachings of Sacred Tradition, Sacred Scripture, and the Magisterium against an heretical and schismatic movement: traditionalism.
A common response to Traditionis Custodes has been to portray the Pope as fighting Tradition itself. How did he do that? His decision in TC merely directs the priests and faithful to attend the Novus Ordo Mass, instead of the Traditional Latin Mass. Both have the same essential elements. There is absolutely nothing in the TLM that is essential to the sacred liturgy, that is not also found in the Novus Ordo Mass. Both have prayers, worship, Sacred Scripture, Eucharistic prayers, the consecration of the bread and wine, transubstantiation, the Real Presence, reception of Communion, adoration. All the essentials of Mass are present in each.
The differences are non-essential. The differences are superficial and exterior. The TLM is not Sacred Tradition. A complete abrogation and end to the TLM (which I don’t think will happen) would take away from the true Faith absolutely nothing, except what is superficial and exterior.
So the Pope is not attacking Sacred Tradition.
Pope Francis is rebuking the traditionalist movement.
The traditionalist response to TC has often included references to the many vocations to the priesthood and the increase in attendance at the TLM and the large number of young families who love this form of the Mass. Yes, and that is the reason that the Pope is restricting the TLM. Popularity is not fruits. It is superficial and exterior. The traditionalist movement is not bringing more priests into the priesthood, it is bringing young men into a schismatic and heretical movement. It is seducing young families with the beauty of the sacred traditionalist liturgy into a movement every bit as dangerous as Arianism.
The popularity of Arianism does not make it true or good. The popularity of the traditionalist movement does not make it true or good. The vast majority of the traditionalist leaders are heretics and schismatics. This is proven by their behavior since Vatican II, and especially since the pontificate of Pope Francis began.
They reject the authority per se of the Second Vatican Council. They reject the authority per se of the First Vatican Council. They reject any and all teachings of Popes and Councils which are contrary to the teachings of their movement. Traditionalism has usurped the Magisterium. Traditionalism has rebelled against the Roman Pontiffs and the body of Bishops.
The schismatic response to TC is just the latest in a long series of rejections of papal authority. They utterly reject the authority of the Second Vatican Council in itself, as well as ignoring its entire body of teachings. Traditionalists do not teach from Vatican II. Many traditionalists openly accuse Vatican II of heresy.
They reject the teachings of the First Vatican Council, except for Papal Infallibility. They reject the charism of truth and of never-failing faith. They reject the dogma that the Apostolic See is unblemished by any grave error. They reject the supreme authority of the Roman Pontiff.
Traditionalists believe that they have the duty and right to reject any teaching by Popes and Councils, if they judge it to be a heresy or another type of error. But Vatican I infallibly teaches that Popes have the charism of truth and of never-failing faith, meaning that Popes cannot teach or commit heresy. Most traditionalists accuse Pope Francis of heresy. Many accuse Pope Saint John Paul II and Pope Francis of idolatry.
One of the foundational principles of the traditionalist movement is that the indefectible Church has defected, except for traditionalism. They speak as if only traditionalism has retained the fullness of the Faith, and the rest of the Church has gone astray, including Vatican II and the Popes since John 23.
Traditionalists refuse to attend the Novus Ordo Mass. Many of them believe that the NO is a grave error made by the Roman Pontiffs. This claim contradicts the dogmas of Vatican I on the never-failing faith of the Pope and the unblemished Apostolic See.
As if to prove the extent of the severity of this schism, the traditionalists refuse to attend the Novus Ordo Mass, refuse to receive Communion on the hand while standing, and will drive 100 miles past a dozen different Novus Ordo Masses in order to attend the TLM. They have separated themselves from the rest of the Church. That is schism.
In response to TC, traditionalists have claimed the Pope is attacking Tradition itself. That is absurd. The TLM differs from the Novus Ordo Mass is exterior points of liturgical form only. If your eternal salvation were at stake, would you refuse to go to Confession because the priest doesn’t use the traditional form for his valid absolution of your sins, or because the priest is liberal? I should hope not. Rejecting the Novus Ordo Mass because of the exterior points of liturgical form is a rejection of Christ because of the clothes that He is wearing. You see Christ on the Cross, and He looks quite bad. Do you turn away from Him and join the Pharisees? Or do you worship at the foot of the Cross?
The response to TC by some has been the suggestion that they would commit schism and join the SSPX. Most of these opponents of Pope Francis are already in schism. Joining SSPX is merely an admission that they have not been members of the true Church for years now.
Pope Francis is fighting a schism and a series of heresies against Church authority. The schismatics use the TLM to attract the weak in faith and those who are uniformed or misinformed into their schism. So the Pope is prudently restricting the TLM. Give up your schism and your heresies, and Christ will return the TLM to you.
For this was not a decision by Pope Francis, but by the Lord Jesus Christ. Everything the traditionalists are saying about Pope Francis due to his decisions in Traditionis Custodes are really said about Christ. The Lord Jesus decided to restrict the Latin Mass, as a way to rebuke the schismatics and show how unfaithful they are to His Church. It is not Francis who has struck you with the shepherd’s crook, it is Jesus himself.
When you rebel against Vatican I and Vatican II, you rebel against Christ. When you rebel against Pope Francis, you rebel against Christ.
If you love the TLM, you are in idolatry. The pearl of great price is the whole Faith, not particular points of exterior liturgical form. If you would walk away from the Apostolic Church, rather than give up the TLM, you are an idolater. You are walking away from Christ because you don’t like the way He is dressed.
Don’t come back until you are repentant.
Ronald L. Conte Jr.