Liturgical theologian supports Bishop Gielen’s initiative

Liturgical theologian - Joe Grayland

Liturgical Theologian Dr Joe Grayland questions why fringe groups such as the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer are tolerated.

“They do not belong to the mainstream of the Church and do not follow the ordinary form of the Mass promulgated by Pope Paul VI in 1969 (Novus Ordo).

Last week, NewsHub alleged the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer were knowingly involved in performing exorcisms even after Bishop Michael Gielen placed a ban on all exorcisms in the Christchurch diocese.

Respecting the office of the Pope

Grayland expressed support for the decision Gielen (pictured) made to seek help from the Vatican.

He told CathNews he is perplexed as to why these groups who do not follow the pope’s instructions in Traditionis Custodes are allowed to perform any sacraments, especially something as significant as a ‘major’ exorcism.

“Why, in light of Pope Francis’ recent tight restrictions on the old Latin Rite, has the permission to perform the old Latin Rite not been withdrawn from this group?” asked Grayland.

“The actions of this group, accused of operating as a law unto themselves, disrespecting ecclesiastical authority and flouting diocesan oversight, underscore the concerns that led Pope Francis to issue his Apostolic Letter Traditionis Custodes and its accompanying letter to bishops on 16 July 2021” says Grayland.

Traditionis custodes is an apostolic letter issued by Pope Francis, regarding the continued use of pre-Vatican II rites.

It restricts the celebration of the Tridentine Latin Rite Mass.

The apostolic letter was accompanied by an ecclesiastical letter to the Catholic bishops of the world.

Grayland says discipline in these matters is important, not just for the sake of discipline but out of respect for the Pope’s teaching office.

Grayland notes the irony of the ‘Holy Sons’, the so-called traditionalist movement, contravening a traditional Church principle – lex orandi, lex credendi – how the Church prays is a reflection of what it believes.

Lex orandi, lex credendi is the work of Prosper Aquitanus (c. 390 – 455 AD), a Christian writer and a disciple of Augustine of Hippo.

In February 2023, Pope Francis accused some bishops of having a ‘closed eye’ about the need to ask permission for priests to say the Latin Mass.

Further tightening the screws on the availability of the Latin Mass, Francis told bishops that priests who acted without Vatican dispensation to the Latin Mass must seek one retroactively.

“The relevant permissions fall under the authority of the local Bishop who must seek authorisation from the Dicastery for Divine Worship before issuing a decision.

“According to the motu proprio, this step exercises the authority of the Holy See in the matter”, writes Cardinal Arthur Roche, Prefect of the Dicastery for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.

A global issue

The lack of discipline and respect for the papal office is not limited to the “Holy Sons”.

Recently, Pope Francis removed Joseph Strickland from his position as Bishop of Tyler, Texas, citing his non-compliance with the Apostolic Letter Traditionis Custodes among the issues.

Speaking on “The World Over” with ETWN’s Raymond Arroyo, Strickland told Arroyo that he didn’t respond to the Pope’s decree Traditionis Custodes because he didn’t feel that he could deprive that portion of the flock the nourishment they were receiving.

Commenting on Strickland’s removal, papal biographer Austen Ivereigh said on X – “The schism is well advanced.

“It began with rejecting Rome in the name of Tradition, looking to a counter-magisterium, seeking an alliance with secular princes (Orban, Trump) and taking refuge in pre-reform liturgy.

“Now it is developing its own martyrology.”

Global is local

The Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer arrived in Christchurch in 2009.

In 2012, Pope Benedict approved them, and they continue to be responsible for the Latin Mass chaplaincy in the Christchurch diocese.

Ecclesia Dei lists the traditional Latin Mass as offered in all dioceses except Wellington and Palmerston North.

The New Zealand Latin Mass directory also adds that the Latin Rite Mass is offered on the first and third Sundays at St Mary and St Francis De Sales Church, Rangiora.


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