My friend Jan and I waited for one hour on her sundeck for the traditional Hawaii National Guard Missing Man formation flyover on Veteran’s Day, intended to start, we had been informed at 10 am. The planes usually start this formation at Punchbowl cemetery and fly to and over Pearl Harbor before landing – the single “missing man” plane landing first, followed by the others. I wanted to post a FB live but that did not work out as planned. In fact the “missing man” plane separates from the others in flight closer to Punchbowl and not where we were waiting.

I have amazing photos of Punchbowl from my first visit but they are on my external hard drive in Rome so perhaps I’ll post another day! Here’s a link: National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific Punchbowl Hawaii | Pearl Harbor Tours

If I find a good video of today’s flyover, I will post it.

Wishing all Veterans a very special and beautiful Veteran’s Day – may it be bright and filled with friends, family and love! Know you are in my prayers!

I leave Hawaii tomorrow night, flying to San Francisco, then Newark and then Rome! Until next time, have a splendid weekend!


Welcome to another, new edition of Vatican Insider. My very special guest in the interview segment – Fr. Hans Zollner, a German Jesuit, theologian and psychologist, returns this weekend for Part II of our conversation.

In 2012 at Rome’s Jesuit-run Gregorian University, he founded and was president of the Center For Child Protection. In April 2021 that became the Institute of Anthropology, Interdisciplinary Studies on Human Dignity and care (IADC) that he now directs.

Father Zollner is a licensed psychotherapist and is regarded as one of the leading ecclesiastical experts in the field of safeguarding from sexual abuse, especially in the Catholic Church.  We talk about the Institute, also known as the Safeguarding Institute, the courses and degrees it offers and how dioceses around the world are adopting similar programs. Don’t miss a word of this conversation!

IN THE UNITED STATES, you can listen to Vatican Insider (VI) on a Catholic radio station near you (stations listed at or on channel 130 Sirius-XM satellite radio, or on OUTSIDE THE U.S., you can listen to EWTN radio on our website home page by clicking on the right side where you see “LISTEN TO EWTN.” VI airs at 5am and 9pm ET on Saturdays and 6am ET on Sundays. On the GB-IE feed (which is on SKY in the UK and Ireland), VI airs at 5:30am, 12 noon and 10pm CET on Sundays. Both of these feeds are also available on the EWTN app and on ALWAYS CHECK YOUR OWN TIME ZONE! For VI archives: go to and write the name of the guest for whom you are searching in the SEARCH box. Below that, will appear “Vatican Insider” – click on that and the link to that particular episode will appear.




As you may be aware, as I wrote yesterday in this very spot, there has been much consternation in Catholic circles – hierarchy and faithful – about Pope Francis’ recent nomination of a pro-abortion member to the Pontifical Academy for Life. I have prepared a Special for the interview segment of “Vatican Insider,” on this nomination and related issues.

I look at how the academy has changed from its original makeup and focus under its founder, Pope St. John Paul, when it was re-tooled by Pope Francis, and how Francis also re-instituted his predecessor’s John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family to the point where it is unrecognizable for original members.

I ask: Why would a Pope appoint as an academician someone who is pro-abortion. Abortion is the taking of an innocent human life. The academy is FOR life. Now, people are asking: Is it truly the Pontifical Academy for Life?

The bottom line of my piece is: What are we to make of the remarkable dichotomy between the Church’s Magisterium and Pope Francis’ pronouncements on protecting and defending all life from conception to natural death and the appointment of people to Church institutes and academies who do not defend and protect that life?

So tune in this weekend for that analysis.

IN THE UNITED STATES, you can listen to Vatican Insider (VI) on a Catholic radio station near you (stations listed at or on channel 130 Sirius-XM satellite radio, or on OUTSIDE THE U.S., you can listen to EWTN radio on our website home page by clicking on the right side where you see “LISTEN TO EWTN.” VI airs at 5am and 9pm ET on Saturdays and 6am ET on Sundays. On the GB-IE feed (which is on SKY in the UK and Ireland), VI airs at 5:30am, 12 noon and 10pm CET on Sundays. Both of these feeds are also available on the EWTN app and on ALWAYS CHECK YOUR OWN TIME ZONE! For VI archives: go to and write the name of the guest for whom you are searching in the SEARCH box. Below that, will appear “Vatican Insider” – click on that and the link to that particular episode will appear



As I looked for an image of St Joseph and the Holy Family, I chanced across this one on Pinterest! If this does not make you smile, perhaps even laugh, nothing will!


Patriarch Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, announced in a letter to Catholic bishops, priests, men and women religious and the lay faithful of the Middle East that, in this special year dedicated to St. Joseph, the Middle East will be consecrated to the Holy Family.

Prepared by the “Justice and Peace” committee of the Council of Catholic Patriarchs and Bishops in the Middle East, the consecration will take place during Mass for the annual “Peace Day for the East” on Sunday, June 27.

Patriarch Pizzaballa wrote that, “a Mass should be celebrated in each one of the countries belonging to the Council of the Catholic Patriarchs in the Middle East, and thus all the patriarchs and bishops are invited to participate in this intense prayer, and to be in a profound Communion of prayer together during this blessed day.

“On the occasion of the Year of Saint Joseph,” he added, “we will also proceed in the consecration of our beloved Middle East to the Holy Family, and for this reason, a special gesture will be included in the Mass which will be celebrated in the Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth on Sunday, June 27, 2021, at 10:00 am, with the participation of all the Ordinaries of the Holy Land.” (picture NC Register)

“We will bless a specially painted Icon of the Holy Family inlaid with relics from the same Basilica of the Annunciation. The icon represents the painting of the Holy Family of Nazareth, which rests above the altar of St Joseph Church, in Nazareth, where, according to tradition, the Carpenter’s house was.

“Once blessed,” noted Patriarch Pizzaballa, “the Icon will go on a pilgrimage, starting from Lebanon, to the countries of the East, until its arrival to Rome towards the end of the year of St. Joseph, on December 8, 2021. From Rome, the Icon will travel back to the Holy Land where it will remain. In Rome as well, the Holy Father Pope Francis will give his special Apostolic Blessing for the ‘Peace Day for the East’.”



Unless it has become part of the ‘cancel culture,’ today is Flag Day in America!


Are you flying the flag at your home or wearing a flag pin? Here’s some history from Flag Day Celebrated (

On June 14, 1777, John Adams spoke about the flag at a meeting of the Continental Congress in Philadelphia. He said, “Resolved, that the flag of the thirteen United States shall be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the Union be thirteen stars, white on a blue field, representing a new constellation.” There have been twenty-seven official versions of the flag so far; stars have been added to it as states have entered the Union. The current version dates to July 4, 1960, when Hawaii became the 50th state.

On May 30, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson issued a presidential proclamation establishing a national Flag Day on June 14.

According to American legend, in June 1776, George Washington commissioned Betsy Ross, a Philadelphia seamstress, to create a flag for the new nation in anticipation of a declaration of its independence. (Flag Day Celebrated (


Robert Royal

Monday, June 14

The American bishops will begin their regular June meeting (virtually) the day after tomorrow. High on the agenda: a “Catholic” president who not only flouts teachings on abortion, sex, and marriage but whose administration is hell-bent on curtailing religious liberty when it resists the sexual revolution. Or in formal language: the question of “Eucharistic coherence.” For the uninitiated, this abstract term raises a simple question: Should persons like Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi and hundreds of others who promote the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of innocents yearly, and give grave public scandal, present themselves to receive Communion?

The answer is: No.

The term “Eucharistic coherence” was first used in a 2007 document issued by the Latin American bishops at Aparecida, Brazil. The chair of the drafting committee: Jorge Bergoglio, then cardinal archbishop of Buenos Aires, now Pope Francis. The Aparecida Document (click here) says clearly and forcefully:

We hope that legislators, heads of government, and health professionals, conscious of the dignity of human life and of the rootedness of the family in our peoples, will defend and protect it from the abominable crimes of abortion and euthanasia; that is their responsibility. Hence, in response to government laws and provisions that are unjust in the light of faith and reason, conscientious objection should be encouraged. We must adhere to “eucharistic coherence,” that is, be conscious that they cannot receive holy communion and at the same time act with deeds or words against the commandments, particularly when abortion, euthanasia, and other grave crimes against life and family are encouraged. This responsibility weighs particularly over legislators, heads of governments, and health professionals. (¶ 436)

What answer will our bishops give to this very question? Ironically, certain members of the American episcopate (Cardinals Cupich and Tobin notably), who have not been elected by their fellow bishops to positions of authority, have gone to Rome to try to block the American bishops from saying precisely what Cardinal Bergoglio and the Latin American bishops’ conference said.

Those who are in authority at the bishops’ conference decided, through regular procedures, to look into this question again, given our current president and speaker of the house. It’s remarkable that controversies have already erupted over the mere fact that this meeting will discuss the Communion question. Any statement – if one does appear – will be issued only after a second round of discussion and voting at the bishops’ annual meeting in November.

Some American prelates seem in a near panic that the Church will actually do something about wayward brothers and sisters who have put partisan politics above their faith. And who promote a false view of what Catholics can and cannot do in a pluralistic country like ours.

Why that’s happened is a question for another day. But some 67 bishops signed a letter (here) to USCCB President Archbishop Gómez opposing not only discussion among the bishops but committee work to draft texts. Cardinal Dolan, initially a signer, withdrew his name when he was later sent the actual text. And there are rumors that other bishops were misled into signing before they saw what it proposed.

But the discussion is going ahead. So herewith, some brief suggestions for how the bishops should proceed, if they’re really serious.

The great Dr. Samuel Johnson once advised his brilliant biographer James Boswell: “My dear friend, clear your mind of cant. You may talk as other people do. . . .it is a mode of talking in Society: but don’t think foolishly.”

Relevant instances of cant:

Dialogue. Some bishops try to delay or even prevent action against anti-Catholic Catholics by saying that we need to be “in dialogue” with them about mutual interests. To be sure. But that’s beside the point. Everyone, for example, wants a clean environment, help for the poor, proper treatment of authentic refugees. But who needs “dialogue” for that? A serious Catholic may think that the slaughter of nearly 1 million human beings in the womb every year, which is going on right now, might be more urgent than, say long-term domestic and foreign policy positions.

Calling for “dialogue” on abortion is classic “cant”; it has gone nowhere, is going nowhere, and will go nowhere with political offenders. We know that to a moral certainty. Continue talking with the wayward for the sake of their souls, but please don’t think – or try to convince the rest of us – that such dialogue will produce public results. Conversion is what’s needed here, and it won’t come by political “dialogue.”

Weaponization of the Eucharist. The bishop of San Diego, Robert McElroy, has said that sanctions against Biden-like politicians would be “weaponization of the Eucharist.” I agree, in the sense that it’s employing the Eucharist against the wickedness and snares of the devil. I disagree that it’s an attempt to beat the dissenters into submission. That’s pure cant. Does anyone think Joe or Nancy or others will feel threatened by the withholding of Communion, or will change their ways? I wish they would, but they’ve talked themselves out of this part of Catholicism long ago. And are even proud of it.

 “What about. . .?” When people in the Church try to highlight the massacres of innocents in abortion, we’re accused of not caring about women, the poor, the environment, refugees, etc., which are also Catholic concerns. Indeed, they are. But they’re normal political questions with multiple possible responses. How, say, do we best fight poverty – antipoverty programs or economic growth? The answer will always be a mix, and the mix will change over time, as does the problem.

 Dialogue, weaponization, other concerns – it’s all cant, and we shouldn’t take our eyes off the real issue. A Catholic in public life can’t hide behind these dodges when you’re vigorously promoting policies that Aparecida called “unjust in the light of faith and reason.”

The death of the innocents is the pre-eminent issue in Catholic social concerns today. Our bishops, singly and together, must say so and act like they believe it.

LINK TO ARTICLE IN THE CATHOLIC THING: Dear Bishops: Clear Your Minds of Cant – and Can’t – The Catholic Thing


A remarkable appointment was made by Pope Francis today who named a Korean bishop as the new head of the Congregation for Clergy, accepting the resignation of Cardinal Beniamino Stella who turns 80 in August. Cardinal Stella is five years over the mandatory age of 75 for a prelate to present his resignation to the Pope, although, as can be seen in Stella’s case, the Pope does not always accept resignations immediately. That story is below.

Link to the English weekly edition of L’Osservatore Romano: ING_2021_024_1106.pdf (


My special guest this week in the interview segment of Vatican Insider is the indomitable, ever knowledgeable and enthusiastic Teresa Tomeo. I’ve turned the tables on her. I’m her guest on Catholic Connection on EWTN and Ave Maria radio on Wednesdays but now she is in Rome and is my guest for Vatican Insider. For years we’ve wanted to do her show and mine live and together and this week we had the chance to do both. So don’t miss a minute of our fun conversation.

IN THE UNITED STATES, you can listen to Vatican Insider (VI) on a Catholic radio station near you (stations listed at or on channel 130 Sirius-XM satellite radio, or on OUTSIDE THE U.S., you can listen to EWTN radio on our website home page by clicking on the right side where you see “LISTEN TO EWTN.” VI airs at 5am and 9pm ET on Saturdays and 6am ET on Sundays. On the GB-IE feed (which is on SKY in the UK and Ireland), VI airs at 5:30am, 12 noon and 10pm CET on Sundays. Both of these feeds are also available on the EWTN app and on ALWAYS CHECK YOUR OWN TIME ZONE! For VI archives: go to and write the name of the guest for whom you are serarching in the SEARCH box. Below that, will appear “Vatican Insider” – click on that and the link to that particular episode will appear.


Vatican News
Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Cardinal Beniamino Stella and appointed 69-year-old Lazarus You Heung-sik, bishop of Daejeon, Korea, as Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy. The new Prefect knows the Pope and welcomed him to his diocese during the Pope’s trip to Korea in August 2014.

Born in 1951 and ordained a priest for the Diocese of Daejeon, Lazarus You Heung-sik became a coadjutor in the same diocese in 2003 and two years later assumed full responsibility. The new Prefect was the head of the Korean Bishops’ Conference’s Peace Committee and traveled to North Korea four times.

The appointment of a Korean bishop to the Congregation for the Clergy follows that of Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle at the head of Propaganda Fide and testifies to Pope Francis’ attention to the Asian continent.

In recent days, the bishop of Mondovi, Egidio Miragoli, wrote a letter to the clergy of his diocese to inform them that he had received from the Pontiff the task of “making a visit, on his behalf, to the Congregation for the Clergy,” on the eve of the announcement of the change in the leadership of the Dicastery.

The visit follows the one made by Archbishop Claudio Maniago to the Congregation for Divine Worship, after the acceptance of the resignation of Guinean Cardinal Robert Sarah. It is very likely that this from now on will be the practice adopted by Pope Francis also for the other Dicasteries on the occasion of the turnover of the person in charge.

The appointment to the Clergy was long overdue: the current Prefect, Cardinal Beniamino Stella, is in fact about to turn eighty years old next August 18. An apostolic nuncio and then president of the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy, Stella had been appointed to the Clergy in September 2013, a few months after the new Pope was elected.

Francis ruled that Cardinal Stella “remain in charge” of the Congregation “until the new Prefect takes office.”


As you know from my column yesterday, I spent part of the afternoon at the Angelicum university, my alma mater for a course on Canon Law, with Teresa Tomeo and Fr. Benedict Croell, director of development at the Ang. I was thus delighted to learn today that, for the first time in its history an American Dominican was named Rector! Read more below. There’s also the exciting story of an historic heart transplant at the Vatican administered pediatric hospital Bambino Gesu!


The Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (known as the Angelicum) in Rome today announced the appointment of a new Rector Magnificus, Fr. Thomas Joseph White, O.P.

St. Thomas Aquinas was called “the Angelic Doctor,” thus the affectionate nickname for this university.

Fr. White, a native of Atlanta, Georgia, is the first ever American named to this post. (photo from

The Congregation for Catholic Education gave approval for the appointment by Fr. Gerard Timoner OP, Master of the Order of Preachers. Fr. White, a member of the Dominican Province of St. Joseph (USA), is currently the director of the Angelicum’s Thomistic Institute and professor of theology.

In its announcement of the appointment, the Dominican Order noted that the university currently has approximately 1,000 students from nearly 100 countries, with representation of seminarians, priests, religious and lay students alike. As Fr. White notes, “The Angelicum is a school of future missionaries, where students can study theology so as to be in the service of a missionary Church. Growth in knowledge of the mystery of Christ is meant to lead to growth in love, and the two together form an integral witness to the Catholic faith.

“This aim,” wrote Fr. White, “resonates deeply with what Pope Francis wrote recently in a letter addressed to the Dominican Order on the occasion of the 800- year anniversary of St. Dominic’s death: ‘In our own age, characterized by epochal changes and new challenges to the Church’s evangelizing mission, Dominic can …serve as an inspiration to all the baptized, who are called, as missionary disciples, to reach every ‘periphery’ of our world with the light of the Gospel and the merciful love of Christ’.”

The announcement included a biography of Fr. White, noting he graduated from Brown University with a B.A. in religious studies (1993) and completed his Masters and Doctorate of Philosophy at Oxford. In 2003 he entered the Dominican Order’s Province of St. Joseph, where he was ordained to the priesthood in 2008 in Washington, D.C. He completed an S.T.L. at the Pontifical Faculty of the Immaculate Conception at the Dominican House of Studies, where he also served as a professor of theology for 10 years. He was the founding director of the Thomistic Institute in Washington D.C, an institute for intellectual evangelization on secular university campuses, now present on over 60 campuses across the US and Europe.

Fr. White came to the Angelicum in 2011.


Italian news agency ANSA) reported today that Italy has performed the world’s first heart transplants from COVID-positive donors to virus-negative recipients in Bologna and Rome.

A 64-year-old man got a new heart at Bologna’s Sant’Orsola Hospital and a 15-year-old boy received one at Rome’s Bambino Gesù Hospital. The recipients did not get COVID after the transplants, hospital sources said.

The man got his heart at the end of April and the boy in mid-May.

The recipients suffered from very serious and potentially life-threatening heart conditions. Both benefitted from an exemption for the two hospitals granted by the national transplant centre (CNT), which has banned other transplants from COVID-positive donors.

The Bambino Gesu hospital headlined on its website, “Covid: first pediatric transplant in the world from positive donor to negative recipient.”

The site continued: “This is the first pediatric case, one of the first two cases ever authorized by the National Transplant Center. The 15-year-old boy, who received a new heart, was treated with monoclonal antibodies. In the hospital of the Holy See, in 2 weeks, 6 heart transplants were performed.

“An organ transplant from a SARS-CoV-2 positive donor to a negative patient was carried out for the first time in the world in the pediatric field. The 15-year-old boy, who received a new heart, was treated with monoclonal antibodies to eliminate the risk of developing Covid-19. The intervention required special authorizations from both the National Transplant Center (CNT) and the Italian Medicines Agency (AIFA). Over two weeks, from May 4 to 19, the teams of professionals of the Department of Cardiac Surgery, Cardiology and Heart-Lung Transplantation of the hospital carried out a total of 6 heart transplants.”



Teresa Tomeo’s “Catholic Connection” radio show, a joint EWTN and Ave Maria program, has been connecting this week in Rome as Teresa airs her show from a different place each day in the Eternal City. If you listen to her daily on “Catholic Connection” from 8 to 10 am ET, you know that Teresa and I connect on Wednesdays at about 9:40 am (3:40 pm in Rome).

Today was something we have talked about for a few years – actually doing the show live and together!

I joined Teresa and John Hale of Corporate Travel Service at the Angelicum, the Domincan university in Rome whose full name is the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas. Thomas Aquinas was known as the “Angelic Doctor,” thus the nickname for this prestigious university. Parts of this building in the center of Rome go back 451 years!

Fr. Benedict Croell, head of the Ang’s development office and Sr. Maria Silva, OP, preceded me as Teresa’s guests this afternoon with great information and stories about the university.

Teresa set up her recording system in Aula 11 (aula means hall or a very large classroom), the very hall where on June 19, 1948 Fr. Karol Wojtyla (St. Pope John Paul), a student for two years at the Angelicum, defended his doctoral thesis on faith according to St. John of the Cross.

I’m sure a few things have changed but here are a few photos of Aula 11, mainly the stunning tile floor:



There are so many stories from around the world that deserve our attention and yet rarely make front page, above-the-fold, news. If they are not of strategic interest or importance to our country’s civilian, diplomatic and military leaders, we may never know of certain events.

There have been countless stories over the years about religious persecution around the world. There are so many of our brothers and sisters we should pray for daily and Myanmar, as you will read, is a spot that should be at the top of our prayer list.


Fides News agency, an information service of the Pontifical Mission Societies, has reported that Sunday’s attack on Our Lady of Peace church in Demoso, Kayah State in eastern Myanmar, was perpetrated by the Burmese army, the sixth church to be attacked by the country’s military.

Pope Francis tweeted today: Today at 1:00 pm International Catholic Action is calling for the dedication of “one minute for peace,” each according to his or her own religious tradition. Let us pray in particular for the Holy Land and for Myanmar.

The Pope has asked for prayers for Myanmar a number of times recently and on Sunday, May 16, he presided over a special Mass for Burmese Catholics living in Rome as they all prayed for peace in this nation. There have been months of violence since a military coup overthrew the country’s elected government in February.

In its report on the Demoso bombing, Fides said a local priest said no victims were reported but damage to the church was severe  Several nearby buildings were also damaged. (photos from

“For weeks now,” says Fides, “the local Church has made its facilities available to the displaced people fleeing the bombings: next to the church complex, there is a nursing home run by the Sisters of Reparation where, together with the older nuns, there are about 150 vulnerable people from Dongankha village, including women, the elderly and children.”

Father Francis Soe Naing, another local priest, told Fides: “We have appealed to the military not to attack churches because many people, especially the most vulnerable, are taking refuge in them. But the appeal has fallen on deaf ears.”

Acording to Jesuit Fr. Wilbert Mireh, “One of the reasons they are attacking the Catholic Church is that, by collaborating with many donors, the Catholic Church has taken initiatives to help more than a third of the total population of Kayah State (more than 300,000 people) who have been forcibly displaced due to indiscriminate attacks by the military regime. Another reason why they attack churches is because they no longer have a shred of humanity or heart.”



I have been following the numerous recent reports, most of which started in Italian publications and blogs, about the possible abrogation, or at least a major revision of Pope Benedict’s 2007 Apostolic Letter motu proprio, Summorum Pontificum, that spelled out the conditions and circumstances in which priests of the Latin Church could celebrate what Benedict called “the missal promulgated by Blessed John XXIII in 1962.” That is, how to celebrate Mass and the sacraments in the manner used before the liturgical reform that was a result of Vatican Council II. Benedict was very clear that that 1962 missal had never been “juridically abrogated.”

In his Letter to the bishops that accompanied the motu proprio, Benedict XVI established that “in the history of the liturgy there is growth and progress, but no rupture. What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful.”

Called by most the Traditional Latin Mass, the TLM is fast-growing and flourishing wherever it is experienced.

I grew up in the pre-Vatican Council II years (1962-65), and thus well remember the Latin Mass – the only language universally used for Mass until the vernacular was allowed following the council. International travel was wonderful in the pre-council years because no matter where you were, you understood the Mass and knew the responses in Latin. You may not have understood the homily in Paris or Prague, but the Mass was clear. (NCRegister photo)

Certainly, Mass in the vernacular was a new idea but gradually took over and now just seems normal to anyone born after the council ended in 1965.

What seemed to be missing to many of us who grew up when I did was a certain solemnity that identified the Latin Mass.

That solemnity is present in the Traditional Latin Mass and what is truly fascinating is the fact that it is that solemn beauty that is now attracting younger generations. The TLM is not merely a nostalgic look at the past for older generations.

If you recall, a March 12 unsigned instruction from the Secretary of State, approved by Pope Francis, banned the celebration of individual masses by priests in St. Peter’s Basilica at one of its dozens of chapel altars. Limits were specifically set on the Latin Mass and priests wishing to celebrate the TLM could use only the Clementine Chapel in the Vatican grottoes and celebrate Mass at 7am, 7:30, 8 or 8:30. Otherwise, priests wishing to say Mass could concelebrate in two chapels and only those chapels where they face the faithful.

By the way, the Clementine Chapel is the smallest in the basilica yet sumptuous in décor and historical to boot. Behind the grate on the wall in front of the altar is the tomb of the first Pope, the Prince of the Apostles, St. Peter!

As I have been reading about the possible changes the Pope will make to Summorum Pontificum, I have been wondering about the number of vocations born within a TLM settting. Has anyone researched this?

I offer two very interesting articles about what seem to be looming changes in Summorum Pontificum.

In Crisis magazine, Eric Sammons looks at possible changes in the Traditional Latin Mass and lays out the TLM history of the last 60 years: Pope Francis Sets His Sights on the Latin Mass (

Sammons starts by noting, “The rumors appear to be true: Pope Francis is planning to rescind Summorum Pontificum, Pope Benedict’s 2007 motu proprio liberalizing the celebration of the traditional Latin Mass (TLM), which Benedict dubbed the “Extraordinary Form” of the Latin Rite. This at a time when the TLM has been flourishing while most of the Church is experiencing significant declines. Before exploring why Pope Francis is considering this radical move, it might be helpful to briefly review the history of the TLM over the past 60+ years.”

Among other things, he asks the question on most lips: “No matter what we guess the impact might be, the question remains: Why would Pope Francis do this? If a CEO decided to shut down the fastest-growing division in his company, it would be a head-scratcher for sure. So why would Pope Francis look to limit the reach of what is, in terms of growth, the most successful movement in the Church today?”

On June 10, the third Summorum Pontificum Convention will commence in Mexico. According to its website, this will be “an international Catholic gathering in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico – land of the Cristeros – dedicated to promoting the liturgical, spiritual, theological, and artistic traditions of the Church. The convention takes its name from Pope Benedict XVI’s Motu Proprio from 2007 in which he wrote about the traditional Roman Rite, “What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too.”

And here is an excellent piece by Philip Lawler in Catholic Culture:


By Phil Lawler ( | Jun 02, 2021

The rumors are true. My sources in Rome—too many and too reliable to be doubted—confirm that a document is circulating at the Vatican which, if given papal approval, would significantly restrict use the “extraordinary form” of the liturgy, the traditional Latin Mass (TLM).

This document is in draft form. It could be amended. It might never be released. But it would not even be under discussion without at least tacit approval (if not active support) from Pope Francis. And if it is released in anything like its current form, it would be a pastoral and doctrinal disaster. It would thwart a powerful movement for reform in the Church, and it would—paradoxically—undermine the Pope’s own authority.

Let me explain.

In Summorum Pontificum, his apostolic letter of 2007, Pope Benedict XVI gave the Catholic faithful much wider access to the TLM. With this new document, styled as an “instruction” for the “implementation” of Summorum Pontificum, Pope Francis would in effect repudiate the work of his predecessor, and at the same time cut off the blood supply to the fastest-growing part of the universal Church.

Pope Benedict wrote Summorum Pontificum because he recognized, in the growing demand for the traditional liturgy, an authentic movement of the Holy Spirit within the Church. The desire for the TLM is not prompted by nostalgia; the overwhelming majority of people in the pews are not old enough to remember the liturgy that was universal before Vatican II. At a time when the Catholics are leaving the Church by the thousands, and young people especially are deserting the faith, traditionalist parishes are seeing explosive growth, marked in particular by an influx of young families.

So why would any Catholic prelate, intent on evangelization, want to interfere with the growth of traditional Catholicism? Why mess with success? Could it be because the obvious pastoral health of the traditionalist communities makes for an unpleasant contrast with the failures of the rapidly shrinking parishes in the Catholic mainstream? As I observed just a few weeks ago, it is revealing “that the one liturgical option liberal Catholics cannot abide is the option for the ancient liturgy.”

In Summorum Pontificum, Pope Benedict declared that any priest has the right to celebrate the traditional liturgy, without requiring an “indult” or special permission from his bishop. The draft document would reportedly rescind that permission. To be perfectly honest, in practice this change would not have too much impact on the availability of the TLM, because any prudent diocesan priest already knows that if he displeases the bishop by offering the TLM without his approval, he will likely suffer reprisals. In that way, contrary to the spirit of Summorum Pontificum, many bishops have continued to smother the demand for the traditional liturgy.

However, the requirement of episcopal approval (which is only one of several new restrictions being proposed) would have a very significant effect in another way. In Summorum Pontificum Pope Benedict also made it clear that—contrary to a widespread impression—the TLM had never been abrogated. “What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful,” Pope Benedict explained.

Clearly, if Pope Francis now effectively forbids the celebration of the TLM, and/or says that the traditional liturgy is harmful—or gives diocesan bishops the power to do so—then he is directly contradicting his predecessor. And if Pope Francis can contradict the teaching of Pope Benedict, what is to prevent a future Pontiff from contradicting Pope Francis? Anyone who is genuinely interested in preserving papal authority (as opposed to gaining a temporary advantage in intramural debates) should recognize the mischief this draft document could cause.

Ironically, the Catholic leaders who are lobbying for a heavy-handed use of papal power in this instance have spent the past several generations railing against the invocation of papal authority in other cases—including the case of Summorum Pontificum. But the rightful authority of the Roman Pontiff is severely limited. He can only proclaim the truths passed down in the Catholic Tradition. If he contradicts the teaching of previous Pontiffs—if he suggests that what was once sacred is sacred no longer—he attacks the base on which his own authority rests.

This draft document, then, represents not just a problem for traditionalists, but a grave danger for the Church. It should be vigorously resisted by anyone who cares about the mission of evangelization, the integrity of doctrine, and the preservation of papal authority.