Archbishop Aguer was born in 1943, and was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires in 1972. He was consecrated a bishop in 1992, and served as Auxiliary Bishop of Buenos Aires from then until 1998.
In 1998 he was appointed Coadjutor Bishop of La Plata, succeeding as ordinary in 2000. He continued as Archbishop of La Plata until his 2018 retirement, at the age of 75.
“I have never celebrated 'the ancient Mass,' not even after the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum; I would have to study the rite, of which I have distant memories, having served as an altar boy,” he noted in the opening of his essay.
He added that while attending a Divine Liturgy of the Syrian Orthodox Church, he noted “a certain resemblance to the Latin Solemn Mass, with deacon and subdeacon.”
The archbishop said he has “always celebrated, with the greatest devotion I can,” the Novus Ordo. He sang the Eucharistic Prayer in Latin at the St. Joseph Major Seminary, and noted they had form a schola in accordance with the recommendation of Vatican II's constitution on the liturgy, “which was eliminated at my retirement.”
Upon his retirement, Archbishop Aguer was succeeded by Archbishop Victor Manuel Fernandez, who is regarded as Pope Francis' personal theologian.
“It should be remembered that it is possible to celebrate the Mass currently in force in the whole Church in Latin,” Archbishop Aguer noted.
"Unfortunately, 'particular law' seems to be prohibiting Latin, as in fact it is done. If someone dares to propose celebrating in Latin, he is regarded as a misfit, an unforgivable troglodyte.”
Archbishop Aguer wrote that Latin “was for centuries the bond of unity and communication in the Church of the West. Today it is not only abandoned, but also hated. In seminaries, its study is neglected, precisely because there is no use for it. It goes unnoticed that this is how direct access to the Fathers of the Western Church is closed off, which is very important for theological studies: I am thinking, for example, of Saint Augustine and Saint Leo the Great, and of medieval authors such as Saint Anselm and Saint Bernard. This situation seems to me a sign of cultural poverty and voluntary ignorance.”
In the final part of his article, Archbishop Aguer said that while, as a motu proprio, Traditionis custodes could not have “pastoral effusions”, it could nevertheless “have been presented as a sign of pastoral love.”
“It seems that the judgement that the Church is making, in its highest level of authority, of the course of ecclesial life, proceeds according to two weights and two measures: tolerance, and even appreciation and identification, with the heterogeneous positions regarding the great Tradition ('progressives', as they have been called), and distance from or dislike for people or groups who cultivate a 'traditional' position.”
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Archbishop Aguer concluded: “I am reminded of the proposition that a famous Argentine politician brutally enunciated: ‘for friends, everything; for the enemy, not even justice'”, a reference to a statement made in 1973 by Juan Perón, who was favorably quoting Mao Zedong.
“I say this with the utmost respect and love, but with immense sorrow,” the archbishop wrote.
Walter Sánchez Silva is a senior writer for ACI Prensa (https://www.aciprensa.com). With more than 15 years of experience, he has reported from important ecclesial events in Europe, Asia and Latin America during the pontificates of Benedict XVI and Pope Francis.