“Pope Francis has nothing against the Old Rite or the lay groups and associations that follow it,” Cardinal Darío Castrillón Hoyos told Vatican Insider.
The cardinal was formerly Prefect of the Clergy and President of the Commission that deals with the Catholic Church’s relations with the Lefebvrians and groups that celebrate the pre-conciliar Rite.
The cardinal had spoken about this in an off-the-cuff statement to members of Una Voce International, one of the associations that promote the so-called “Old Mass” celebrated according to the Roman Missal promulgated by John XXIII in 1962, the last missal introduced before the post-Conciliar liturgical reform.
“In the recent audience the Pope conceded to me, he told me he had nothing against the Extraordinary Roman Rite or those who celebrate it and spread knowledge of it, according to the spirit of Benedict XVI’s Motu Proprio "Summorum Pontificum".
Castrillón also spoke about the issue surrounding the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate who were placed under the supervision of an external Commissioner. This triggered a great deal of controversy among “traditionalist” circles.
“I would like to point out that I did not speak about this case during my meeting with Pope Francis. I have other sources but I think it’s safe to say that the insistence on the importance of celebrating the New Rite and the need for superiors to authorise the celebration of the Old Rite in this Franciscan community was in response to internal tensions within the order of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate, and not due to any negative judgement of the traditional liturgy.”
On the subject of Rome’s relations with the traditionalist world, it is worth noting that Pope Francis recently sent his blessing to the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of its foundation.
The fraternity currently has 400 members across the world (244 priests and 153 seminarists) and was founded in 1988 to welcome those who wanted to go on celebrating the Old Rite but no longer wished to follow Bishop Marcel Lefebvre after he disobeyed the Pope and ordained four new bishops without the Pope’s consensus.
Last 28 October, Francis sent his blessing, pointing out that “celebrating the holy mysteries according to the Extraordinary form of the Roman Rite… contributes to a better understanding and implementation of the principles of the Second Vatican Council, remaining faithful to the living tradition of the Church.”
This is according to a communiqué sent by the Apostolic Nuncio to Paris, Luigi Ventura, to the Abbot Vincent Ribeton, Superior of the French district.
The Pope urged members of the Fraternity of St. Peter “to actively take part in the Church’s global mission, using their personal charisma, living a holy life, a certain faith giving in a creative and generous way.”