I baulk at charging Pope Francis with vicious political thuggery over the Motu Proprio Traditiones Custodes, the papal document whose objective is ‘to disappear’ the Mass of the centuries. There remains in me a modicum of respect for the papacy despite Francis’s papal profligacy. But I am less reluctant to refrain when it comes to Professor Andrea Grillo at the Pontifical Athenaeum of St. Anselm in Rome who Dr Peter Kwasniewski calls ‘The Mind Behind the Motu Proprio’ in another outstanding article in OnePeter5.
Indeed, if Andrea Grillo is the virtual author of Traditiones Custodes, I have no hesitation in calling him not only a political thug, in the worst sense of the phrase, but a two-faced hypocritical scoundrel. He, and those like him, don’t have the honesty and backbone to state exactly what their views mean. The image he projects of concern for the same Church of the ages is pretence.
It is only necessary to read Dr Kwasniewski’s first paragraphs in summarizing Grillo views on the Catholic liturgy to know that Grillo belongs to the Church of Rupture. He is a paid-up member of the apostate mob of middle and high Church managers who despise and ridicule those refusing to become members of his brilliant new church.
There are, of course, thousands like Grillo feverishly working to destroy the Church that won’t be destroyed no matter how far they sink their claws into it. They are recognizable by the Marxist dialectic always implicit in their rhetoric. It’s the idea that history proceeds in sets of truths that constantly supersede each other in their advance towards the Omega Point, where all conflict is resolved in an earthly paradise.
The destroyers within the Church are the same as the destroyers outside the Church, seeking to realign humanity with their Marxist ideas. They are the same ferrets and weasels that occupy Toad Hall (an image I have frequently used.) We need a Badger, Rat and Mole with the courage to really take the fight up to Toad Hall occupiers. What does that mean?
It means all bets are off. It means using similar tactics to those occupying the visible Church. It means taking the Church underground with priests refusing the treasonous apostate path of working with the destroyers. It means the faithful supporting those courageous priests. It means Masses in homes, halls and other such venues. It happened in the 1970s when the dissenters suppressed the Mass of the centuries. It should happen again. It must happen again.
Andrea Grillo: The Mind Behind the Motu Proprio
Andrea Grillo (born 1961) is a professor of Sacramental Theology and Philosophy of Religion at the Pontifical Athenaeum of St. Anselm in Rome (Sant’Anselmo) and of Liturgy in Padua at the Abbey of Santa Giustina. With the promulgation of Pope Francis’s motu proprio of July 16th, 2021, Traditionis Custodes, he has become a more important figure in Catholic thought. Many indications point to Professor Grillo as an author or at least inspirer of the document, serving as the Pontiff’s “house” liturgist and theologian, as he is often called in Rome. He joins many others from Sant’Anselmo who have exercised a disproportionate progressive influence.
The Foundations of the Motu Proprio
For years now, Professor Grillo has espoused avant la lettre the tenets of Traditionis Custodes, maintaining that the Mass of Paul VI represents the exclusive rite of the Roman Church and that the Traditional Latin Mass should be legislated in such a way that its disappearance is assured.
In an open letter dated March 27, 2020, a full sixteen months prior to the motu proprio, Professor Grillo (along with some 180 signatories) boldly described the Traditional Latin Mass as “closed in the historical past, inert and crystallized, lifeless and without vigor…there can be no resuscitation for it.” “Continuing to nourish a ‘state of liturgical exception’—one that was born to unite but does nothing but divide—only leads to the shattering, privatization, and distortion of the worship of the Church.” Furthermore, the letter puts forth the following:
- The intention of Summorum Pontificum (SP) was pacification and reconciliation.
- Unfortunately, SP led to division, conflict, and a “liturgical rejection” of the Second Vatican Council.
- Certain seminaries where both the NOM and the TLM are expected to be learned represent the “greatest distortion of the initial intentions” of SP.
- It is time for the abolition of the “state of liturgical exception” introduced by SP.
- All powers concerning the liturgy must be restored to diocesan bishops and to the Congregation for Divine Worship. This has multiple implications. (a) The Ecclesia Dei Commission and Section IV of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith with authority over liturgical matters must be terminated. (b) The CDF has been acting as a substitute in exercising competences either conferred on bishops by the Second Vatican Council or ordinarily entrusted to the Congregation for Divine Worship by the pope; this irregular situation must end. (c) The CDF has undertaken to elaborate “liturgical variants” of the ordines without having the historical, textual, philological and pastoral competences. (d) The CDF seems to ignore, precisely on the dogmatic level, a grave conflict that arises between the lex orandi and the lex credendi, since it is inevitable that a dual, conflictual ritual form will lead to a significant division in the faith. (e) The CDF seems to underestimate the disruptive effect this “reservation” (as in, Indian reservation) will have on the ecclesial level, by immunizing a part of the community from the “school of prayer” that the Second Vatican Council and the liturgical reform have providentially given to the common ecclesial journey.
It is clear from reading Grillo’s Italian articles online that he considers the liturgical reform to have been, on the whole, very good; that the major obstacle to its success has been a regrettable tendency for clergy and laity to maintain or reintroduce bad practices or resources from the past that get in the way of the reformed rites’ shining forth in their clean lines and new orientations; that a preoccupation with “liturgical abuses” on the part of John Paul II and Benedict XVI and the curial officials they appointed did nothing but reassert a Tridentine legalistic mentality that threatened to quench the openness to adaptation and freedom characteristic of the Novus Ordo (indeed, he says expressly that it is more important to advance the “use” of an active communal liturgy than to correct “abuses,” since the latter effort reflects a superseded vision of worship as a clerical box-checking exercise); and that the parallel existence of the traditional Mass as well as the Ratzingerian Reform of the Reform movement threaten the integrity of the reformed rites as given by Paul VI.