Even today, people come and harangue us, saying, “No, holiness is in these precepts, in these things, you must do this and that”, and propose an inflexible religiosity, the inflexibility that takes away from us that freedom in the Spirit that Christ’s redemption gives us. Beware of the rigidity they propose to you: be careful. Because behind every inflexibility there is something bad, which is not the Spirit of God.
And for this reason, this Letter will help us not to listen to these somewhat fundamentalist proposals that set us back in our spiritual life, and will help us go ahead in the paschal vocation of Jesus. This is what the Apostle reiterates to the Galatians when he reminds them that the Father “supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you” (3:5). He speaks in the present tense, he does not say “the Father has supplied you with the Spirit”, chapter 3, verse 5, no: he says – “supplies”; he does not say, “has worked”, he says “works”. For, despite all the difficulties we may pose to His action, God does not abandon us but rather abides with us in His merciful love. He is like that father who went up onto the terrace every day to see if his son was returning: the love of the Father never tires of us. Let us ask for the wisdom always to be aware of this reality, and to turn away the fundamentalists who propose to us a life of artificial asceticism, far removed from the resurrection of Christ. Asceticism is necessary, but wise asceticism, not artificial.
My comments: The first section, which I set apart above, is clearly aimed at certain false teachers among conservatives and traditionalists. You can be faithful and be conservative or traditionalist or liberal or moderate. But Francis is absolutely right in the errors that he points out above.
They say: “No, holiness is in these precepts, in these things, you must do this and that”. They demand only the traditional Latin Mass, saying horrible things about the Novus Ordo Mass, and attacking Pope Saint Paul VI for approving the Mass and the Council. Imagine that! A Pope Saint, whom they reject as Saint, criticized for approving an Ecumenical Council as well as a holy form of the Mass! “Rigidity” is correct. They accept nothing from the Church but what they themselves decide is correct, as if they were above Popes and Councils. They tell their followers all the things they must do and not do, which is merely a dogmatization of their own opinions, and not the Gospel. It is a false Gospel.
And because they attract the faithful to their errors by means of the holy traditional Latin Mass, the Pope is right to restrict the TLM, and even to suspend it, possibly, for a time. I don’t think the TLM will be taken away permanently, since the problem is with certain persons, and not the Mass. But they must not be allowed to use the holy Mass as ground to stand upon to oppose Popes and Councils.