Some Thoughts on ‘Traditionis Custodes’ and the Roman ‘Lex Credendi’

We at Saint Benedict Center are saddened by the new motu proprio, Traditionis Custodes. We also hold that Quo Primum retains its full force in granting to every priest of the Roman Rite the right to celebrate Holy Mass according to the traditional Roman Missal. For those who think this statement is radical, I point out that Pope Benedict stated it as a matter of fact (not a matter of his own legislation) that the traditional rite had never been abrogated. 

Here is a “roundup” of some worthwhile online articles that consider this new motu proprio from different perspectives:

As six is not the best of numbers, I will offer a seventh reading recommendation in light of Pope Francis’ curious assertion that “The liturgical books promulgated by Saint Paul VI and Saint John Paul II, in conformity with the decrees of Vatican Council II, are the unique expression of the lex orandi of the Roman Rite” (emphasis mine). I refer readers to something I wrote a dozen years ago on the ancient Latin axiom the Holy Father here invokes: Lex Orandi Lex Credendi.”

This axiom teaches us that the liturgical tradition of the Church preserves her traditional doctrine. It is why popes often reference ancient liturgical texts when defining doctrine, as Ven. Pope Pius XII did in defining the Assumption of Our Lady (cf. Munificentissimus Deus 16-19), and, before him, as Bl. Pope Pius IX did in defining the Immaculate Conception (cf. Ineffabilis Deus, subheading “Liturgical Argument”). Lex ordandi lex credendi, in other words, teaches us that the font of doctrine that we call “Apostolic Tradition” (as distinguished from Holy Scripture) is found in the Church’s liturgical tradition. To restrict that tradition (even if only in “the Roman Rite”) to liturgical books that are 52 years old does violence to the very concept of tradition and uproots the axiom itself from its historical framework.