He continued: “The pope must have thought that it would be better not to give advice, but an injunction, now that we are talking about the traditional Mass.”
“The language used looks very much like a declaration of war.”
Mutsaerts, who was named a bishop by Benedict XVI in 2010, confirmed his authorship of the blog post in a July 26 email to CNA.
Asked if he was concerned about the Vatican’s response to his essay, he told CNA: “No, I am not concerned. I don’t think Rome worries about the opinion of an unknown auxiliary bishop in this tiny country. They have other matters to worry about.”
He added that he had never celebrated the Traditional Latin Mass himself.
“And I am not old enough to know it from my youth, so my comments have nothing to do with nostalgia or anything of that kind,” he said.
Mutsaerts has published outspoken posts on his blog, “Paarse Pepers” (Purple Peppers), since 2019. Previous posts have included sharp criticism of the Amazon synod, Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation Amoris laetitia, and “cancel culture.”
The number of Catholics in the Netherlands, a country of 17 million people bordering Germany and Belgium, has fallen sharply in recent decades. But Catholics remain the nation’s biggest religious group.
The diocese of ’s-Hertogenbosch has the largest number of Catholics of any diocese in the Netherlands, according to the Dutch Catholic blog In Caelo et in Terra.
In his essay, the bishop argued that Pope Francis took a radically different approach to the Traditional Latin Mass to his predecessors.
“Pope Francis slams the door hard by means of Traditionis custodes. It feels like treason and is a slap in the face of his predecessors,” he wrote.
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Mutsaerts argued that Sacrosanctum concilium, the Second Vatican Council’s Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, was a “conservative document” that did not sanction many liturgical changes that followed.
“Only 17% of the prayers of the old missal (Trent) are found in the new missal (Paul VI). It is then difficult to speak of continuity of an organic development,” he wrote.
He continued: “Pope Francis is now pretending that his motu proprio stands in the organic development of the Church, which utterly contradicts reality. By making the Latin Mass practically impossible, he is finally breaking with the centuries-old liturgical tradition of the R.C. Church. Liturgy is not a toy of popes, but is the heritage of the Church.”
He argued that the small number of places where the Traditional Latin Masses are celebrated attract large, devout families.
He said: “Why does the pope want to deny people this? I come back to what I said earlier: it is ideology. It is Vatican II, including its implementation with all its aberrations, or nothing!”
“The relatively small number of believers (which is growing, by the way, as the Novus Ordo collapses) who feel at home with the traditional Mass must and will be eradicated. That is ideology and evil.”