English language liturgy director attacks Francis over Latin Mass

liturgy director criticises Francis

The head of a Catholic Church commission that prepares English translations of liturgical texts has attacked Pope Francis’ recent decision to reimpose restrictions on celebrating the Latin Mass.

Msgr Andrew Wadsworth, executive director of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy, criticised Traditionis Custodes, “as full of errors and generalisations” in a series of new social media posts.

In a since-deleted post, Wadsworth likened the motu proprio to “an atomic bomb” that “fell on the Church”. He blamed it for making him sick as if it were “a visceral reaction to this wound that has been inflicted on us.”

In the same post, Wadsworth, 59, compared himself to an inmate on death row “awaiting news of when his sentence will be carried out.” This referred to the uncertainty as to what his home diocese in the UK and the Archdiocese of Washington, where he currently lives, will do regarding the Latin Mass in the future.

Among the posts that Wadsworth has shared since mid-July are lengthy statements and essays critical of the apostolic letter. Some were written by Francis’ most consistent critics, such as Cardinals Raymond Burke and Gerhard Müller, the former prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Wadsworth’s Facebook page also includes posts like the critical essay from The Spectator that features a political cartoon version of a haughty-looking Francis with the headline, “Pope Francis is losing his culture war.”

On July 16, Wadsworth posted a link to the text of Traditionis Custodes. A follower of his responded by commenting with a translation of 1 Peter 5:3: “Never be a dictator over any group that is put in your charge, but be an example that the whole flock can follow.”

Wadsworth “liked” the comment.

Wadsworth, a priest of London’s Westminster Archdiocese, has served as executive director of the ICEL Secretariat since 2009. Headquartered in Washington, ICEL was originally set up in 1963 by bishops’ conferences across various English-speaking countries to aid in the production of English-language liturgical texts following the reforms of the Second Vatican Council.

Responding to a priest who had commented on a July 18 post of his depicting a lonely broken heart “emoji,” Wadsworth wrote that he had celebrated the Latin Mass since the day after his ordination in 1990.

“Everything that I understand about being a priest is in some sense related to this form of the Mass,” he wrote.


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