Pope Francis' letter explaining why he was restricting the use of the pre-Vatican II Mass "fearlessly hits the nail on the head: the TLM (Traditional Latin Mass) movement has hijacked the initiatives of St. John Paul II and Benedict XVI to its own ends," said Archbishop Augustine Di Noia, who insisted he was speaking as a theologian and not as a Vatican official.
The archbishop, a Dominican, had served as secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, was deeply involved in the Vatican's dialogue with the traditionalist Society of St. Pius X and currently is adjunct secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
When St. John Paul and Pope Benedict expanded the possibility of using the pre-Vatican II Mass, they were hoping to promote unity in the church and to counter abuses that were widespread in the celebration of the post-Vatican II Mass, the archbishop said in an email to Catholic News Service July 20.
While the liberal permission to use the older Mass has not promoted the hoped-for healing of the rift with members of the Society of St. Pius X, established by the late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, the archbishop said, "what we have got now is a movement within the church herself, seemingly endorsed by her leaders, that sows division by undermining the reforms of the Second Vatican Council through the rejection of the most important of them: the reform of the Roman Rite."
It's easy to view the Catholic Church as a strict, obvious chain of command. While the church is hardly a democracy, authority is distributed in complicated ways. The pope is authoritative, but he respects the autonomy of local bishops. Without a collective invitation, the pope will not invite himself to a country out of respect for those bishops.
In other words, unless the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops requests the pope to come to Canada, no amount of political or moral pressure will get the pope on a plane. And since the bishops have not been unanimous when it comes to wanting a papal apology in Canada, the conference has stalled the process. The Canadian bishops may not always say this publicly, but it's not a secret in the church.
While several bishops have said they want a papal apology in Canada, and some have even tried to make it happen independent of unity within the conference, other bishops often appeal to flimsy excuses to deflect the fact that they have not, as a conference, extended the invitation. For example, in a recent CBC interview with Rosemary Barton, the archbishop of Toronto, Cardinal Thomas Collins, cited two major difficulties: the pope's age, and the complexities involved in high profile papal journeys.
These may indeed be difficulties, but they aren't insurmountable.
Interesting take. Not sure what I feel about it. But here it is