Holy Smoke

The war over the Latin Mass escalates as the Vatican slides into chaos

31 min listen

Cardinal Arthur Roche, the Pope’s famously ambitious liturgy chief, has stepped up his campaign against the Traditional Latin Mass, which he’s been trying to suppress ever since he was Bishop of Leeds 15 years ago. This week he persuaded Francis to back his ruling that the ancient Mass can only be celebrated in parish churches with his permission – thus taking the decision out of the hands of the world’s bishops, many of whom are furious at being undermined in this way. 

Traditionalists are in despair; they aren’t optimistic, to put it mildly, that ‘Uncle Arthur’ will grant permission and they fear there is worse to come. In this week’s Holy Smoke I talk to moral theologian and parish priest Fr Alexander Lucie-Smith about the mounting chaos in the Vatican. He says these sort of manoeuvres remind him of the last days of Pope John Paul II, when over- mighty cural chiefs took advantage of the pontiff’s advanced age and poor health to wage turf wars. 

The Catholic Church, he argues, is turning inwards, waging a pointless war over liturgy and wasting time on a meaningless ‘Synod on Synodality’ instead of addressing the catastrophic fall in Mass attendance, especially in Latin America and Europe. It’s a powerful interview; don’t miss it. 


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