Saturday, June 25, 2022

Pope Francis and the Temptation of Traditionalists


By Roberto de Mattei*

A dialectical relationship has emerged between Pope Francis and the world of tradition that can have dangerous consequences.

 That the Motu Proprio Traditionis Custodes of July 16, 2021, which supplements the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum of Benedict XVI.  disassembled, should not mislead.  Pope Francis does not reject the traditional Roman Rite per se, but he detests those who are faithful to that rite, or rather the caricatured image he has formed of traditionalists over the years.  The reference to "grandmother's lace" in his June 17 address to the Sicilian clergy is significant in this regard.

“Grandmother's lace" exists only in the imagination of a few progressive ideologues.  The reality of the Sicilian clergy is not that of lace, but consists, as everywhere, of priests who walk around in shirts and sandals and celebrate the new Mass in a sloppy and irreverent way.  They justify themselves by saying that form is not substance, but their very aversion to old forms shows that for many of them form comes before substance.

Pope Francis is not sensitive to the issue of liturgy, but in general he is not interested in the doctrinal debate that pitted conservatives against progressives during Vatican II and in the years that followed.  "Reality is more important than the idea" is one of the postulates of the encyclical Evangelii Gaudium (EG, 217-237).  What really counts are "not ideas" but "discernment,” he affirmed on May 19 at the headquarters of the Civiltà Cattolica before the editors of the European cultural magazine of the Society of Jesus.  “If you venture alone into the world of ideas and distance yourself from reality, you end up ridiculous.” He ascribes the ridiculous to the nonexistent traditionalist peaks, while failing to see it in the ramshackle liturgies of the progressive clergy.

When insight separates itself from ideas, it becomes personalism.  Francis tends to personalize any subject, setting aside the customs, ideas, and institutions of the Church.  In the realm of governance, personalism leads to “exceptionalism”, but extraordinary decisions, as Vaticanist Andrea Gagliarducci notes, are just extraordinary decisions, they do not create an objective and universal norm.  His relations with the Sovereign Order of Malta bear witness to this.  The Pope does not shy away from breaking the rules or changing canon law when necessary, precisely because each of his actions is a personal and therefore “extraordinary” matter.

However, Francis' opponents, the "restorers" as he calls them, run the risk of personalizing their opposition to his pontificate, forgetting that he is not only human, but also the successor of Peter and Vicar of Christ.

To some traditionalists it seems inconceivable that Pope Francis could be a legitimate pontiff, and even if they accept this in words, they deny it on the level of deeds, like him, passing practice in the name of personal insight  put the theory.  The use of calling him Bergoglio rather than Francis demonstrates this personalization tendency, which reaches its climax when he is contemptuously called "the man from Santa Marta" or "the Argentine".  A shrewd Argentine observer of the affairs of the Church has pointed out that “radicalization leads to all reality being read sub specie bergoglii.  In this way, paradoxically, our adherence to the Catholic faith is no longer based on affirmation of the faith of the apostles, but on opposition to everything that Francis does”.

The personalization of problems leads not only to the primacy of praxis, but also to the primacy of ideas over feelings.  Love and hate emancipate themselves from the two Augustinian cities in which they should be anchored, the Civitas Dei and the Civitas diaboli, and personalize themselves.  This phenomenon emerged in the context of neomodernism in the 1960s.  One has only to read the pages of Father (later Cardinal) Yves Congar's diary to feel the bitter taste of hatred of the Church's tradition spilling out of every line.  But this hatred has unfortunately infected some traditionalists who hate Pope Francis from the bottom of their hearts, with no love for the papacy: they hate the Catholics who don't think like them, with no love for the Church.  In 2016, a respectful and balanced Correctio Filialis on the errors of Pope Francis was published.  Today, criticism has lost substance and respect, and the language tends to become divisive and aggressive.

But the foundation of the Catholic religion is love.  There is a bond of perfection, says St. Paul, and that bond is love of neighbor (Colossians 3:14), by which we love God above all things for His own sake, and love ourselves and our neighbor for God's sake.  Charity has nothing to do with philanthropy or sentimentality, but Christianity without love is not Christianity.  Love of what is far away hides hatred of one's neighbor, but hatred of one's neighbor reveals the lack of love for God.  Of course, love of God in itself is superior to love of neighbor, but when both love of God and love of neighbor are considered together, love of God, according to theologians, is superior to love of God alone, because the former includes both what is known of  the latter cannot necessarily say.  Moreover, the love of God, which also extends to the neighbor, is more perfect, since He commanded that those who love God should also love their neighbor (Antonio Royo Marin op. p., Teologia della perfezione cristiana, ed. by Edizioni Paoline,  Rome 1965, p. 622).

For love of God, of the Church, and of our neighbors, beginning with those closest to us spiritually, we must be resolute and unshakable in our struggle in defense of the truth.  Every fragmentation and division comes from the devil, the splitter par excellence.  Love unites, and union creates true social and individual peace, which is based on the submission of mind and heart to the highest plans of the divine will.

 *Roberto de Mattei, historian, father of five children, professor of modern history and history of Christianity at the European University of Rome, President of the Lepanto Foundation, author of numerous books, most recently in German translation: Defense of Tradition: The Insurmountable Truth of Christ, with  a foreword by Martin Mosebach, Altötting 2017 and The Second Vatican Council.  A Hitherto Unwritten Story, 2nd ext.  Edition, Bobingen 2011.

Books by Prof. Roberto de Mattei in German (and English) and translation and books by Martin Mosebach are available from our partner bookshop.

 Translation: Giuseppe Nardi

 Image: Corrispondenza Romana

Trans: Tancred



Ed . said...

Is Mattei still pushing the jab?
He should just do pot like Holy

Anonymous said...

The most charitable thing any of us can do is point out the fact that Bergoglio is not a Catholic!

Anonymous said...

I guess Mattei thinks we need to lovingly accept cross dressing like Jorge also. These people are a joke. Compromise, compromise, compromise then defection from the faith. Just give Mattei time.

Unknown said...

We either follow the Holy Gospels and Sacred Tradition or we follow Bergoglio to wherever the "birds of a feather" he belongs with are headed. Arrivederci, Mattie!

Anonymous said...

The caricatures DeMattei descibes are made from the hatred Bergoglio gas not just of of Traditional Rites, but also in Church Teaching. Examples and things he says and things he refuses to say when something needs to be said correctly. This is not just him, because he is not that skillful at diplomacy. It requires an Italian to navigate through the veil of perceived "Holy Father!!!" innocence.

lily said...

I wasted my time reading this drivel from Mattei…thankfully I stopped after the second paragraph!

Anonymous said...

As much as I love TFP for its militancy and anti-Communism, it’s inspired by Kalergi and hoped for a Jewish-Catholic aristocracy to bring Europe into a new golden age.

Anonymous said...

I refer to the current man wearing the white cassock as Bergoglio because I don't like him. It's how I show my disapproval of him. I accept his is the pope, but it is he who has chosen to politicize the position in a way not seen in a long time. He has chosen to personalize every issue.

Bergoglio's first substantive act as pope was to dismantle and demolish the Franciscan Friars because they used the TLM. Now, he has suspended ordinations in a diocese in France because he apparently fears their formation is too traditional. He destroyed a vibrant seminary in South America with this same tactic six or seven years ago.

This papacy is grotesque because it is focused on destruction of the traditional faith and those who adhere to it. If my revulsion at Bergoglio qualifies as personalizing in the view of DeMattei, then so be it. But it doesn't change the fact Bergoglio papacy is organized around the view Martin Luther was right.

Catholic Mission said...

It is obligatory for Pope Francis and Pope Benedict to accept Vatican Council II interpreted only rationally. They presently accept only Vatican Council II interpreted irrationally : it is the same with Roberto dei Mattei

The popes from Pius VI did not accept Vatican Council II- interpreted with only a Rational Premise. Also Pope John Paul II and Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger did not tell Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre that he could interpret Vatican Council II with the Rational Premise and accept the traditional conclusion. Instead they excommunicated him for not accepting Vatican Council II (Irrational) as they did.

Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre was not informed. There is no denial from Andrea Tornelli or Fr.Antonio Spadero sj.There is no comment from Roberto dei Mattei. He wrote books interpreting Vatican Council II with the same False Premise as Lefebvre.

Spadero and Tornelli interpret LG 8, LG 14, LG 16, UR 3, NA 2, GS 22 etc as being objective non Catholics saved outside the Catholic Church without faith and baptism in 1965-2022.

I interpret LG 8,LG 14,LG 16,UR 3,NA 2,GS 22 etc as being non objective,hypothetical cases, unknown people in 1965-2022.If any one was saved as such it could only be known to God.

So for me invisible cases of LG 8 etc are not objective exceptions for the past ecclesiocentrism of the Church. For the present two popes and the Lefebvrists and liberals, LG 8 etc are practical exceptions.

So for them Vatican Council II is a theological break with the dogma extra ecclesiam nulla salus and the Syllabus of Errors. For me the Council has a continuity with the Syllabus of Errors and the Athanasius Creed with the past exclusivist ecclesiology of the Church.

All this was not known to Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre and the SSPX bishops. It was also not known to Archbishop Fulton Sheen and Cardinal Ottaviani.


The Latin laity in Dijone, France should object to new ordinations by a bishop who does not interpret Vatican Council II with the Rational Premise. Since with the False Premise he rejects the past ecclesiology upon which was based the old faith and morals of the Catholic Church.He also rejects the theology of the Roman Missal ( 1580). The new Vicar General and new bishop in Dijone, are not interpreting Vatican Council II rationally.1 The laity must demand that all future priestly ordinations must be only of those candidates who affirm Vatican Council II(Rational). This is obligatory. It is dishonest to use the False Premise.


Similarly the laity in Stasbourg, France must ask that all future priests only accept Vatican Council II interpreted rationally. This must also be a condition for future Apostolic Visitors.2

It is never Jesus without the mecessity of membership in the Catholic Church for salvation. There must be an ecclesiocentrism along with a Christocentrism. This is being obedient to Jesus and his Church.


Instead Pope Francis allows the members of The Way, to interpret Vatican Council II with the Fake Premise.

So in their catechesis there is a false rupture with the past ecclesiology.There is a rejection of the theology of the Roman Missal used at the Traditional Latin and Greek Byzantine Mass.This hermeneutic of rupture with Tradition is inevitable with the use of the Fake Premise, False Inference and Non traditional conclusion.-Lionel Andrades

Anonymous said...

++Lefebvre wasn’t excommunicated for doctrinal reasons.

Anonymous said...

5 April 2019. De Mattei on the Francis Pontificate: Six Years of ‘Hypocrisy and Lies’
A declared schism, although evil in itself, could be guided by Divine Providence toward the good. The good that could arise is the awakening of so many people who are asleep and the understanding that the crisis did not begin with the pontificate of Pope Francis but has developed for a long time and has deep doctrinal roots. We must have the courage to re-examine what has happened in the last fifty years in the light of the Gospel maxim that a tree is judged by its fruits (Mt 7:16–20). The unity of the Church is a good that should be preserved, but it is not an absolute good. It is not possible to unite what is contradictory, to love truth and falsehood, good and evil, at the same time.

19 July 2021 Traditionis custodes: a war on the brink of the abyss Tim Stanley is not wrong when, in the Spectator of July 17, he defines this as a “merciless war against the Old (sic) Rite.” ...The struggle is taking place on the brink of the abyss of schism. Pope Francis wants to hurl his critics down there, pushing them to establish, in fact if not in principle, a “true Church” opposed to him, but he himself risks sinking into the abyss if he insists on opposing the Church of the Council to that of Tradition. The motu proprio Traditionis custodes is a step in this direction. How is it possible not to notice the malice and hypocrisy of one who intends to destroy Tradition while calling himself “guardian of Tradition?” And how can one fail to observe that this is happening precisely at a time when heresies and errors of all kinds are devastating the Church (Love and bear witness to the the truth, Mattei: heresy and error are being promulgated by the POPE and devastating SOULS!!)?

If violence is the illegitimate use of force, Pope Francis’s motu proprio is an objectively violent act because it is overbearing and abusive. But it would be a mistake to respond to the illegitimacy of violence with illegitimate forms of dissent.

The only legitimate resistance is that of those who do not ignore canon law and firmly believe in the visibility of the Church; of those who do not give in to Protestantism and do not presume to become pope against the pope; of those who moderate their language and repress the disordered passions that can lead them to rash gestures; of those who do not slip into apocalyptic fantasies and maintain a firm balance in the storm; finally, of those who base everything on prayer, in the conviction that only Jesus Christ and no one else will save his Church.

Dissenting and refusing to go along w/heresy and false worship (!NEW! !rite!) isn't failure to love your neighbor or violating the unity of the church--it is obeying God which is Jesus Christ's definition of the love of God--which is our first and greatest commandment. The church is in schism. Does De Mattei make that visible? De Mattei isn't a lover of his neighbor, he is a liar and a hypocrite himself and thus the son of the devil and the hater of God. He should rebuke you all for derogation of duty (pain of mortal sin and hell fire eternal) to knowingly go along w/ (obey) someone who has declared war on the mass, is destroying the Church, preventing its worship of God and distribution of grace (the mass and sacraments), and dragging you and everyone you love to hell simply because you lack the courage to say what you should say right inside your church, instead of like the parents of the man born blind being afraid you'll get kicked out of the synagogue of satan. If every Catholic did his confirmation bound duty (instead of boldly calling bergoglio names on blogs), this schism would be over.

Catholic Mission said...

Anonymous said...
++Lefebvre wasn’t excommunicated for doctrinal reasons.

The fundamental issue was Vatican Council II. He objected on doctrine and rejected the Council and then ordained his bishops.
The popes did not tell him that he could interpet Vatican Council II with the Rational Premise in harmony with Tradition. He would have to accept Feeneyite extra ecclesiam nulla salus, since there would be no objective exceptions in the text of the Council ( with LG 8 etc referring to hypothetical and invisible cases only).
If he would have to accept the past ecclesiocentrism then it would be the popes too would have to do the same.
Anyway , no one told him about the rational option everyone had.They excommunicated him.
-Lionel Andrades