Synod Forced to Acknowledge What Young People Really Want: An End to TLM Restrictions

Pope Francis likes to talk of the “God of Surprises.” In this connection, Pope Francis praised St. Peter, “who had the freedom not to hinder God’s grace, and not to “silence the din that the Spirit makes when he comes to the Church.”

For Francis and his allies, one of the greatest surprises of the ‘consultation of the laity’ conducted as part of the Synod on Synodality must have been the consistent and vocal support for the Traditional Latin Mass and opposition to restrictions. This ‘din’ in favor of the Latin Mass was so widespread in American synodal listening sessions- including those that we attended- that support for Latin Mass and opposition to restrictions was mentioned in the USCCB’s National Synthesis Report. As Joseph Shaw has documented, the United States was far from being isolated in this respect, as reports from England, Ireland, Scotland, Australia, Canada, and France note a desire for celebration of the Traditional Latin Mass. One Scottish diocese noted perceptively a generation gap:  “The sheer difference of what the young think the Church is, the generation for whom to be Christian at all is to be effectively an everyday martyr. What the world looks like to young students is so different from what it looked like to my parent’s generation where Christianity was normal.” Thus, “the consensus seemed to be that there should be a place for a variety of forms of worship, both traditional and contemporary, and in particular that both the Traditional Latin Mass (extraordinary form) and the Novus Ordo should be reverently celebrated and warmly embraced.”

At World Youth Day, the Vatican asked for handwritten prayer intentions “for the synod and the Church.” The results posted by the official Vatican Synod account show overwhelmingly that the Catholic youth- of all cultures- want a return to traditional Catholicism. A sample (courtesy of Matthew Hazell):

  • “do not forbid the Tridentine Mass”
  • “a return to orthodoxy and tradition”
  • “priests dedicated to their vocation”
  • “that Catholics who find spiritual fulfilment in the TLM may be accepted and allowed to attend the Mass of their choice”

That an official Vatican Twitter account would post such messages in favor of orthodoxy is itself something of a shock. But, according to an observer who was at World Youth Day, the Vatican had little choice: “90% of the post-it notes in São Domingos had this sort of message on it.”

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