'The just are paying for sinners': A Costa Rican Traditional Latin Mass supporter on Traditionis custodes

extraordinary form Shalone Cason via Unsplash.

A group which has promoted the celebration of the Traditional Latin Mass in Costa Rica has lamented that with Pope Francis’ motu proprio Traditionis custodes, "the just are paying for sinners."

José Pablo Arias, president of the Summorum Pontificum Costa Rica Association, told ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish language news partner, that “the motu proprio affects those groups that have conducted themselves well, that have always sought communion and harmony in the celebration of the Traditional Mass.”

"Those groups that have not done so, the motu proprio does not affect them, because they will continue to celebrate, they will continue to criticize the pope, they will continue to criticize the Second Vatican Council.”

“Most of them are outside visible communion with the Church. In reality, as we say in Latin America, ‘the just are paying for sinners,’” he added.

For Arias, those who in fidelity to the Church and the pope have participated and promoted the Traditional Latin Mass “in some way we are being treated as second class Catholics only because of our liking for and our love for the liturgy that has sustained the Church for so many years and has produced so many saints.”

Traditionis custodes was published July 16 to regulate the celebration of the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. With this document, Pope Francis modified the provisions given by his predecessor, Benedict XVI, in his motu proprio Summorum Pontificum.

In a letter that accompanies and explains the motu proprio sent to the world’s bishops, Pope Francis noted that “I am nonetheless saddened that the instrumental use of Missale Romanum of 1962 is often characterized by a rejection not only of the liturgical reform, but of the Vatican Council II itself, claiming, with unfounded and unsustainable assertions, that it betrayed the Tradition and the ‘true Church.’”

The president of the Summorum Pontificum Costa Rica Association stressed that in its eight years of existence they have always worked "in full harmony and communion with the ecclesiastical authorities."

"We have always had meetings, we have had direct communications with the bishops, in which we tell them about our work and we have explained to them our particular charism," he said.

"We never questioned the authority of the Second Vatican Council, we have never questioned it at all, nor the validity and legitimacy of the new Mass, absolutely not," he emphasized.

The Summorum Pontificum Costa Rica Association currently has a presence in the Diocese of Alajuela.

The Costa Rican bishops’ conference has been one of those that has responded most harshly against the Traditional Latin Mass after the publication of Traditionis custodes.

In a July 19 statement the Costa Rican bishops declared that “from now on the use of the Missale Romanum of 1962 or of any other expression of the liturgy prior to 1970 is not authorized.”

In addition, they stated that "no priest is authorized to continue celebrating according to the ancient liturgy."

The bishops of Costa Rica also said that "we have never had a group of faithful who adhered to and continues to adhere to with much love and affection to the previous liturgical forms."

The president of the Summorum Pontificum Association said that the group received the statement from the Costa Rican bishops "with great pain," because "we have always sought the pastoral care of our bishops."

"We have always tried to act in absolute, full and unwavering communion with our ecclesiastical authorities," he said.

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Arias said the Costa Rican bishops went "beyond what Traditionis custodes calls for," which does not contemplate the total elimination of the celebration of Mass in the extraordinary form, but rather its obligatory approval by each prelate.

Arias said that they have turned to the apostolic nuncio in Costa Rica, Archbishop Bruno Musaró, "as a form of intermediation” seeking "some type of a harmonious dialogue" with Bishop Bartolomé Buigues Oller of Alajuela.

So far, he lamented, Bishop Buigues "has absolutely closed the door on us", but they trust that through the nuncio there may be a new opportunity for dialogue in "the coming weeks."

Arias recognized that there are groups with "a radical position" that "hide behind Traditional Mass to criticize the pope or to criticize the Second Vatican Council."

However, he pointed out, “when these types of groups exist, the correct thing would be to try to correct them in particular and specifically them, and not close off the possibility of celebrating a Traditional Mass, which will only affect those groups that have been obedient.”

He pointed out that the groups that have remained in disobedience to the pope and the Second Vatican Council "are going to continue celebrating the Traditional Mass, because they are not interested in having visible communion with the Church."

Arias stressed that his love for the traditional Mass is not about experiencing "a fad or something eccentric."

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“I got to know this Mass from a spiritual point of view and also an intellectual point of view, with a profound knowledge of each one of its rites and prayers. And I have found a depth of theological richness that has helped me draw closer to God,” he said.

Participating in this liturgy, he continued, “has helped me to find the Mystery of Christ in the Eucharistic sacrifice in a profound and full way”.