News from around the Archdiocese of Liverpool



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I have kept my head down during the recent liturgical controversy but some of you may have noticed that Pope Francis has put new restrictions on the celebration of Holy Mass according to rites which were used before the reforms of Vatican II.  


However, I am sure that the Pope’s motu proprio (Traditionis Custodes) will have passed most people by and they will wonder what all the fuss is about.  It is true that there is a small number of Catholics who are devoted to the ‘old mass’.  In Warrington we are fortunate to have the Priestly Fraternity of St Peter which was founded by Pope St John Paul II.  They conduct their liturgy according to the pre-conciliar rites and offer pastoral care to those Catholics who choose that way of worship.


One thing that annoyed many Catholics is that those devoted to the old ways of worship often describe themselves as ‘traditional’.  I think that they have hijacked the word for their own use.  Pope Francis has reclaimed the word ‘tradition’ by clearly stating that the bishops are the guardians of the tradition.  Tradition has a particular meaning in theology; it refers to St Paul when he says that he passes on to us what he has received.  In other words, tradition is a living concept not something stuck in the past.  The Mass which I celebrate daily is the one which I received from Pope St Paul VI and Pope St John Paul II and is therefore the ‘traditional’ Mass.  The point I am making is more than simple semantics; it is about the very life of the Church itself.


Most Rev Malcolm McMahon OP

Archbishop of Liverpool

From the Archbishop’s Desk

Tradition has a particular meaning in theology