Pope Francis’ Last Stand

I ask myself about this. For example, I always try to understand what’s behind the people who are too young to have lived the pre-conciliar liturgy but who want it. Sometimes I’ve found myself in front of people who are too strict, who have a rigid attitude. And I wonder: How come such a rigidity? Dig, dig, this rigidity always hides something: insecurity, sometimes even more … Rigidity is defensive. True love is not rigid.

A simple search of the official Vatican website reveals five hundred results where Pope Francis is recorded using the word “rigid” or “rigidity” in speeches or writings. “Rigid”, in some ways, is the perfect word to describe this pontificate — at least in its attitude toward most traditionalist Catholics. For as much as Francis warns against rigidity, he himself embodies it. After all, how flexible and lenient can someone be who cannot tolerate diversity in Catholic worship? How tolerant and understanding can someone be who does not seek to “accompany” those worship in an ancient rite, or who thinks “unity” means stark uniformity? “Rigid” is the buzzword of buzzwords for our Servant of the Servants of God. But it is not simply a word — it is an ideology, a modus operandi, a perceived enemy that must be vanquished at all costs. “Rigid”, in Francis-speak, refers to anything from those who seek to restore those spiritual treasures which Church in contemporary times has thrown away, to those who “conserve traditions” or can even refer to a person who observes any of the Ten Commandments.

Dr. Peter A. Kwasniewski, defender of traditional Catholicism

1. “Traditionis Custodes” is a messy, contradictory, and clumsy document

2. “Traditionis Custodes” is an ideological manifesto divorced from reality

Go to any parish where the Old Mass is celebrated. What do you find there? People who just want to be Catholic. These are generally not people who engage in theological disputes, nor are they against Vatican II (though they are against the way it was implemented). They love the Latin Mass for its sacredness, its transcendence, the salvation of souls that is central to it, the dignity of the liturgy. You encounter large families; people feel welcome. It is only celebrated in a small number of places. Why does the pope want to deny people this? I come back to what I said earlier: it is ideology. It is either Vatican II — including its implementation, with all its aberrations — or nothing! The relatively small number of believers (a number growing, by the way, as the Novus Ordo is collapsing) who feel at home with the traditional Mass must and will be eradicated. That is ideology and evil.

  • Chapters in the volume which address the ideology behind Traditionis Custodes includes: Pietro de Marco’s “Let Not the Past or the Present Get in the Way of the Future” (22–25), Sebastian Morello’s “Revolution and Repudiation: Governance Gone Awry” (94–99), Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò’s “Lapides Clamabunt” (190–204), Fr. Martin Grichting’s “The Faithful of the ‘Extraordinary Form’ Are the Symptom, Not the Disease” (216–218), and Fr. Michael Fiedrowicz’s “They Do Not Even Know What Has Been Taken From Them” (357–361),

3. Traditionis Custodes reveals a deficient understanding of the papacy and ecclesial communion


Theodore Fuchs’ interpretation of the Battle of Little Big Horn (1876)



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John Monaco

John Monaco

Doctoral student in theology, seeking the true, good, and beautiful.