Liturgical scholar: Traditionalism has little to do with genuine tradition


Liturgical scholar Andrea Grillo (pictured) sees liturgical traditionalism as a backward-looking ideology that has little to do with the authentic tradition of the Catholic Church.

In an interview with the traditionalist blog “Messa in Latino” the professor of sacramental theology at the Benedictine University of Sant’Anselmo in Rome emphasised the importance of the liturgy for the unity of the Church.

When traditionalists describe themselves as “faithful to Rome” but cling to the pre-conciliar liturgy, they are in fact at odds with Rome: “In order to be faithful to Rome, one must adopt a ‘ritual language’ that corresponds to what Rome has communally established.”

Grillo is regarded as the mastermind of the motu proprio “Traditionis custodes”with which Pope Francis significantly restricted the celebration of Mass according to the missals of 1962.

In 2020, he was one of the signatories of an open letter with demands on how to deal with the Traditional Latin Mass which were partially taken up in the motu proprio.

Crisis of the Church cannot be overcome with a backward-looking approach

He rejected the argument that what was sacred to previous generations must also be kept sacred today.

This is a principle that does not come from theology, but is fuelled by nostalgic feelings:

“Such a principle tends to fixate the church on its past. Not on the ‘depositum fidei’, but on the colour it took on at a certain time, as if it were definitive.

” The liturgical diversity that exists today, for example with regard to the liturgies of the Eastern Catholic churches or the variants of the Roman rite in Milan or Spain, is due to the specific tradition there.

“Nobody would ever come up with the idea that, on a universal level, someone is free to remain in one version of the Roman rite or in the version replaced by a general reform.”

According to Grillo, the Church is indeed in a crisis, but this cannot be restored by restoring a “society of honour”. Read more

  • Andrea Grillo is a liturgical scholar. He is considered one of Pope Francis’ masterminds in his approach to the pre-conciliar liturgy.
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