As I have written before, Summorum Pontificum had basically gifted the Traditional Latin Mass to the Traditionalists, in effect giving the Trads authority over the bishops. If someone wanted a Latin Mass, they merely had to go to the pastor of a church, who was obligated to accommodate them. The only time a bishop got involved is if the pastor denied the request. The bishop was then required to accommodate the Trads, and if he couldn't or wouldn't, the matter would go to Ecclesia Dei.
From Summorum Pontificum:
Art. 5, §1 In parishes where a group of the faithful attached to the previous liturgical tradition stably exists, the parish priest should willingly accede to their requests to celebrate Holy Mass according to the rite of the 1962 Roman Missal. He should ensure that the good of these members of the faithful is harmonized with the ordinary pastoral care of the parish, under the governance of the bishop in accordance with Canon 392, avoiding discord and favouring the unity of the whole Church.
Art. 7. If a group of the lay faithful, as mentioned in Art. 5, §1, has not been granted its requests by the parish priest, it should inform the diocesan bishop. The bishop is earnestly requested to satisfy their desire. If he does not wish to provide for such celebration, the matter should be referred to the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei.
Art. 8. A bishop who wishes to provide for such requests of the lay faithful, but is prevented by various reasons from doing so, can refer the matter to the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, which will offer him counsel and assistance.
Pope Benedict XVI's actions were really unprecedented. I don't think you will ever find an instance in all the 2000 years of Church history where priests and bishops were so completely sidelined and stripped of their authority and the laity was allowed to make unilateral decisions apart from the rest of the Church. Pope Benedict, in effect, turned the authority of the Church upside down. The Traditionalists were put in charge with no supervision whatsoever.
Instead of being grateful and humble, the Trads felt emboldened. They felt invincible. They believed that they are divinely entitled to the freedom given to them by Pope Benedict, and no one, not even a Pope, has the authority to deprive them of that right.
Not only were the Trads given carte blanche with the Mass, they were allowed to use the older form of all seven sacraments. Entire churches were taken over by traditional orders as they traveled back in time to the 1950's. The post conciliar Catholic Church had no relevance in their world.
Pope Benedict said he issued SP to promote unity in the Church. Instead, the Trads have used it to create division. They complain and rebel against everything they dislike in the Catholic Church. They condemn bishops and even the Pope, and give their allegiance to disobedient and rebellious bishops, priests and other laity.
They have rejected every papal document issued by Pope Francis as heretical. They have condemned every Synod called by Pope Francis, saying the Synods will destroy the Church. They have literally declared Pope Francis a heretic and condemned him as evil, and called for either his resignation or outright removal by the bishops (which of course is not possible, but reality is not a thing with the Trads).
The Trads have repeatedly called for all the reforms of Vatican II and the post conciliar church to be rescinded. They are convinced that one day the "Novus Ordo" will be abrogated and the only Mass of the Church will be the TLM. They reject the Missal promulgated by Paul VI, as it is now called, as inferior at best and heretical at worst.
In their hubris, they have forgotten that Pope Francis is the one in charge. He calls the shots. They and the entire world have now been reminded that what one pope giveth, another can take away. Pope Francis saw the great harm being caused by this small but very loud and bombastic group, and he said "No more!"
In his Letter to the Bishops accompanying the Motu Proprio, Pope Francis wrote:
A final reason for my decision is this: ever more plain in the words and attitudes of many is the close connection between the choice of celebrations according to the liturgical books prior to Vatican Council II and the rejection of the Church and her institutions in the name of what is called the “true Church.” One is dealing here with comportment that contradicts communion and nurtures the divisive tendency — “I belong to Paul; I belong instead to Apollo; I belong to Cephas; I belong to Christ” — against which the Apostle Paul so vigorously reacted. In defense of the unity of the Body of Christ, I am constrained to revoke the faculty granted by my Predecessors. The distorted use that has been made of this faculty is contrary to the intentions that led to granting the freedom to celebrate the Mass with the Missale Romanum of 1962. Because “liturgical celebrations are not private actions, but celebrations of the Church, which is the sacrament of unity”, they must be carried out in communion with the Church. Vatican Council II, while it reaffirmed the external bonds of incorporation in the Church — the profession of faith, the sacraments, of communion — affirmed with St. Augustine that to remain in the Church not only “with the body” but also “with the heart” is a condition for salvation.
The Trads have been stoking rebellion against Church authority for decades, and now they are shocked that the Church has finally pushed back. The reaction of the Trads to Traditionis Custodes has been predictable. The Trads deny that they have caused disunity and division in the Church. They admit a few "fringe" elements have caused a little disruption, but the vast majority of Trads are loyal Catholics who just love the TLM.
I was a part of the Rad Trads for seven years, and I can state from personal experience that 99% or more of the Traditional Movement has most definitely rejected "the Church and her institutions in the name of what is called the 'true Church.' " I have consistently written about their rejection of the Church and warned of schism for several years now.
The Trads have once again rejected the authority of the Pope, saying he has no right to restrict the TLM. They believe that Pope Benedict did not just give them permission but actually confirmed the fact that the TLM could never be abrogated. It is interesting that whenever they make this statement, they never give any proof. They never quote anything from Summorum Pontificum that supports this claim. The reason is very simple: Pope Benedict XVI never made such a claim. Pope Benedict always talked about permission being granted to celebrate the TLM. Neither Pope Benedict nor any other Church authority has ever said the TLM cannot be abrogated.
Despite Pope Benedict's stated intentions to unify the Church, Summorum Pontificum did not heal divisions in the Church. It exacerbated the divisions and added fuel to the fire to the point where it is like a raging storm within the Church. And that storm is now intensifying. The Trads have been in soft schism for years. It seems almost inevitable that they will be in official schism in a matter of time.
In their deluded thinking, they believe the Traditional Latin Mass has more authority than the Pope. Like all schismatics before them, they believe they have an obligation to obey God before obeying the Church, as if this was somehow two different things. In the Trads' minds, "obeying God" means fighting for the TLM and "Tradition" (as they define it) and resisting Church authority basically to the death.Peter Kwasniewski, Radical Traditionalist in the first degree, has written a couple of articles for onepeterfive.com in which he says that Trads are now basically called to war. The first article is entitled, "It’s Time to Imitate Our Forefathers: Never Give Up!" He urges his readers not to be afraid to resist Church authority because one day their current disobedience will be recognized as obedience:
One thing we must keep front and center in our souls: what we are fighting for is good, sacred, Catholic, and worthy of our deepest devotion. It cannot be all of a sudden forbidden or declared dangerous. And we are not disobedient for holding fast to it or seeking it. The traditional movement would not exist at all if, at the beginning of the final phase of “liturgical reform,” Catholics had not persistently gone against the wishes and even the legal determinations of Paul VI and other bishops. Paul VI began to relent just a little; and John Paul II acknowledged that the traditionalists’ aspirations were rightful; and then Benedict XVI opened up the treasury to everyone. That initial “disobedience” was not once and for all condemned; its legitimacy was eventually accepted, because the traditionalists had in fact fought on the basis of true principles and for true goods that the Church needs and will always need.
It is no different today in 2021. We must do exactly as our forefathers in the traditional movement did, and be cowered by no one’s threats, dissuaded by no one’s animosity, deterred by no obstacle, seduced by no “good enough” or “tolerable” alternative.
I always find it so interesting that Trads will never use the terms "Saint" or "Pope" when speaking of St. Paul VI or St. John Paul II. The Trads always show their true intentions.
Kwasniewski refuses to admit that since the Mass of Pope Paul VI was implemented, the popes have tried to show compassion and empathy for the Trads, with the thinking that if they got to celebrate their Mass - which of and by itself is a good, holy Mass - then they would be happy and stop causing division in the Church. Never once did any of these popes say that the disobedience of the Trads was "legitimate."
Even though the excommunication of the SSPX bishops was lifted by Pope Benedict XVI, he never vindicated their disobedience. From the Decree lifting the excommunications:
This act signifies a desire to strengthen reciprocal relations of trust, and to deepen and stabilize the relationship of the Society of St Pius X with this Apostolic See. This gift of peace, coming at the end of the Christmas celebrations, is also meant to be a sign which promotes the Universal Church's unity in charity, and removes the scandal of division.
It is hoped that this step will be followed by the prompt attainment of full communion with the Church on the part of the whole Society of St Pius X, which will thus bear witness to its genuine fidelity and genuine recognition of the Magisterium and authority of the Pope by the proof of visible unity.
This was issued almost 12 years ago, in December of 2009. The SSPX has never made any moves to attain "full communion with the Church", still refusing to recognize the validity of Vatican II and/or the Mass of Pope Paul VI. So much for recognizing the "legitimacy" of disobedience.
In the second article, entitled "Transitioning from a Time of Peace to a Time of Struggle", Kwasniewski basically instructs his readers in the art of war against Church authority. First, he completely denigrates Pope Francis:
Yes, I know: we are under siege again, from a pope who has proved implacably hostile to any other way of living Catholicism than that which chimes in with his one-world progressive humanistic interreligious all-are-welcome agenda. Yes, it is true: the icy chill of official disfavor is blowing against us after decades of gradual thaw under John Paul II and Benedict XVI.
. . .If Pope Francis and his allies really believe they can rip the love of sacred tradition out of the hearts of millions of Catholic clergy, religious, and laity simply by a papal pronunciamento and a sinister scowl, they are more to be pitied for their delusionality than blamed for their malice. In point of fact, the more they try, the more incandescent this love will glow. [Emphasis original]
"The more incandescent this love will glow"?! Notice that Kwasniewski shows no concern for love in the Church and among brethren. He shows no concern for unity in the Church. He just cares about "love of Tradition" and everything else be damned. Spewing division, animosity and hate against the Magisterium is just fine as long as it promotes "the incandescent love of Tradition".
Kwasniewski then tells the Trads that they are on a battlefield:
That being said, the post-Traditionis world will still be a battlefield. It will flare up here and there into intense conflict. Some priests will be suspended, stripped of faculties, exiled. Among these, some will go independent and others will go underground, saying Mass in living rooms or forests. Large, flourishing parish communities may get the ungracious axe. Good bishops who prudently dispensed from the onerous provisions of Traditionis may, upon forced or canonical retirement, be replaced by Bergoglian clones.
Hard to believe this is written by someone who honestly tries to present himself as a good, faithful Catholic. Sounds a lot like a modern Martin Luther.
Kwasniewski then describes the likely persecution the Trads can expect to receive from Church authority. He compares the plight of the Trads to persecution under the Roman Emperors and in England at the time of the Reformation, comparing Benedict and Francis to Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth, respectively:
We can also think of the Catholics in England at the time of the Reformation. Within a period of decades the country went from a regime hostile to Catholics to a respite under Queen Mary, only to be thrust again into the Protestant Elizabeth’s reign, under whom so many martyrs shed their blood.
For us, too, Benedict’s reign was followed by Francis’s, and we know not what the future holds. Things could get very much worse: I’ve heard rumors about further intended liturgical suppressions that make my blood alternately freeze and boil. The essential task of the Christian, however, remains the same as always: to believe in, to follow, and to bear witness to Christ, even at the cost of life.
Kwasniewski most obviously does not believe in the primacy of the Papacy. His statements indicate that he does not believe the Keys to the Kingdom were given to Peter and that Peter holds the authority to loose and bind in the Church. Kwasniewski believes only in "Tradition." That is his only authority, and he will fight anyone and everyone with whom he disagrees, including and maybe most especially Peter.
We should resist the well-meaning but treacherous advice: “Just give up on the fight; don’t make an idol of the Mass…” This implies that whenever we love something enough to live for it, to fight and die for it, we are making it an idol—as if only God could deserve such total commitment. But this is false. Although God alone is to be adored, that does not mean He alone deserves our commitment. We should be ready to die for our wife, child, or neighbor; for the good of virtue; for the sake of the truth; for our fatherland. We should be ready to live and die for the Mass or any sacrament or any dogma of the Faith.
Kwasniewski is using very fancy language to tell his readers to disobey Church authority, framing it as an act of love. The TLM is not THE Mass. It is a FORM of the Mass. The Eucharist is as available in the "Ordinary Form" as it is in the TLM. But that is not what Kwasniewski would have you believe. He is telling you to go against the Church and be ready to literally die for a form of the Mass, all the while denying Christ in the Church. This is absolutely diabolical.
The sad reality is that the Trads are not sacrificing their physical lives, but their eternal salvation.
The Trads are in a tough position right now. They are at a crossroads. They can either submit to the authority of the Pope and accept the post conciliar Church, or they can leave and start their own Church. Kwasniewski and his ilk will not win against Christ and His Vicar. They will lose just as all schismatics have lost through the centuries.
The Trads have put themselves in this position. They have acted out of hubris and arrogance, basically claiming that through their obedience to Tradition as they define it, that it is they, not Peter, who have the Keys to the Kingdom.
May God have mercy on their souls.