Traditionalist Communities Are Cautiously Optimistic After FSSP News
In a Feb. 21 publication, the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP) wrote that Pope Francis had met with two members of the society of apostolic life about a week before he promulgated the decree detailing their continued permission to celebrate Mass with the pre-Vatican II 1962 missal.
Traditional Latin Mass attendees expressed cautious optimism on Monday after a traditionalist community released a statement detailing their continued permission to celebrate Mass with the pre-Vatican II 1962 missal.
In the Feb. 21 publication, the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP) wrote that Pope Francis had met with two members of the society of apostolic life about a week before he promulgated the decree.
“In the course of the audience, the Pope made it clear that institutes such as the Fraternity of St. Peter are not affected by the general provisions of the motu proprio Traditionis custodes, since the use of the ancient liturgical books was at the origin of their existence and is provided for in their constitutions,” it said.
This would apply also to other traditional religious institutes, including the Institute of Christ the King, Sovereign Priest (ICKSP).
Traditionis Custodes is a motu proprio that was released in July 2021. It enacted restrictions on the celebration of the traditional Latin Mass.
The FSSP has more than 50 personal parishes in North America and is present in 39 dioceses across the United States. The fraternity also has an additional 85 apostolates in France and Belgium and 79 apostolates in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
The ICKSP has 121 priests in its membership throughout the world.
"The news from Rome today is very encouraging. The FSSP, ICKSP and the other Ecclesia Dei priestly institutes simply want to bring the Gospel to their flocks using the classical liturgy that helps draw devotees closer to God and all whilst remaining in true fidelity to the Roman Pontiff,” Kevin Jones, secretary of the Latin Mass Society of England and Wales, told CNA.
“As someone who attends an ICKSP apostolate, I know at firsthand how hard the priests work for the Church broadly, the diocese locally and the faithful pastorally,” he said.
Mountain Butorac, who attends Mass at both ICKSP and FSSP parishes in Rome, told CNA that he was glad there was “some clarification” issued regarding the groups and their celebration of the traditional Latin Mass.
“It does seem odd that it wasn’t clear in the original document,” he said.
Butorac, an American who has lived in Rome since 2014, told CNA that his experience in Rome did not match up with what some dioceses around the world are doing in regards to the implementation of Traditionis Custodes.
“I’ve been saying for a while that as other diocese are banning the Latin Mass because ‘Rome made them,’ the Bishop of Rome has not stopped the several dedicated traditional Latin Mass parishes or the other churches that offer the extraordinary-form Mass,” he said.
“But it was kind of frustrating that it wasn’t clear from the beginning, as that gave people a chance to come up with their own ideas and, in some cases, play to people’s fears,” he added.
For families with longtime attendance at the traditional Mass, Monday’s news was welcomed.
For Matthew McGuire, a father of five children under the age of 13 living in Indiana, the only form of the Mass his children know is the extraordinary form. McGuire told CNA that he and his family have attended an FSSP parish since 2005.
“In the wake of Traditionis Custodes, there was the expected anxiety, as parishioners wondered why their Mass had been targeted,” he told CNA. He said there was a general wondering of what would become of the FSSP and other similarly traditionalist communities.
“Our pastor asked for patience,” said McGuire. “And it is a great relief to get the recent news.”