The Order of Malta, also known as the Knights of Malta, appears to have issued an “order” banning the saying of the Latin mass from her according to a report:
The Grand Master of the Order of Malta has banned all liturgical ceremonies in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite.
A letter from Fra’ Giacomo Dalla Torre was sent to all grand priory and national association presidents saying that “henceforth all the liturgical ceremonies within our Order must be performed according to the ordinary rite of the Church (rite of St. Paul VI) and not the extraordinary rite (Tridentine rite).”
“This decision applies to all the official liturgical celebrations such as investitures, masses during our pilgrimages, memorial masses, as well as the feasts and solemnities of the Order,” Dalla Torre continues, adding that superiors should inform their subordinates so that the order is “immediately put into practice.”
The use of unusual terminology, such as “rite of St Paul VI”, and the misspelling of “Summorum Pontificum” led to doubts over the letter’s authenticity. A spokesperson initially told the Catholic Herald on Monday evening that the letter was not genuine, but later confirmed that it was in fact real.
The letter says that while Summorum Pontificum leaves priests free to decide which form of the Roman Rite to celebrate, it also allows the Major Superior of a religious institute to decide on the use of the Traditional Latin Mass within their community.
Fra’ Dalla Torre gives no explanation for the decision.
The move will likely increase tensions within the Order, which has been plagued by divisions since a 2016-17 dispute which resulted in Pope Francis asking Matthew Festing to stand down as Grand Master in January 2017.
Dalla Torre was formally elected as his successor the following year, a position he now holds for life.
If this is found to be true, it is a very significant thing, for the “Latin mass” is not the “Mass of Paul VI”, but comes from St. Pius V during the 16th century, who wrote the following about it:
Let all everywhere adopt and observe what has been handed down by the Holy Roman Church, the Mother and Teacher of the other churches, and let Masses not be sung or read according to any other formula than that of this Missal published by Us. This ordinance applies henceforth, now, and forever, throughout all the provinces of the Christian world, to all patriarchs, cathedral churches, collegiate and parish churches, be they secular or religious, both of men and of women – even of military orders – and of churches or chapels without a specific congregation in which conventual Masses are sung aloud in choir or read privately in accord with the rites and customs of the Roman Church. This Missal is to be used by all churches, even by those which in their authorization are made exempt, whether by Apostolic indult, custom, or privilege, or even if by oath or official confirmation of the Holy See, or have their rights and faculties guaranteed to them by any other manner whatsoever.
This new rite alone is to be used unless approval of the practice of saying Mass differently was given at the very time of the institution and confirmation of the church by Apostolic See at least 200 years ago, or unless there has prevailed a custom of a similar kind which has been continuously followed for a period of not less than 200 years, in which most cases We in no wise rescind their above-mentioned prerogative or custom. However, if this Missal, which we have seen fit to publish, be more agreeable to these latter, We grant them permission to celebrate Mass according to its rite, provided they have the consent of their bishop or prelate or of their whole Chapter, everything else to the contrary notwithstanding. (source)
I don’t write this to attempt to “attack” or “take sides” in the current disputes about the mass in the Church, or to engage in baseless speculation. Rather, I note this because there is a great divide in the Church right now that is easy to see and is going to get worse to the point that the split that already exists is going to fully manifest not into a schism, but it appears into a “church-within-a-church”, noting the words of the prophecy of La Salette:
“Rome will lose the faith and become the seat of Antichrist. Yet the Heathen Rome will disappear. See, here is the Beast with its subjects that claims to be the Savior of the world. Proudly it rises in the air to go straight to Heaven, but it will be strangled by the Archangel Michael and cast down. And the earth, which for the past three days was in continuous Convulsions opens her fiery jaws and swallows him with all his cohorts forever into its hellish abyss. Eventually will water and fire cleanse the earth and the works of human pride will be destroyed and all will be renewed Then will all serve God and glorify
One cannot attempt to restrict the centuries-long established forms of the mass outside of the authority of the Church and think this will not have negative effects.
It will be interesting to see the progress of the Order of Malta in the years going forward.