Since the end of the 19th century, Catholics have recited the prayer to Saint Michael in the face of illness, disaster and despair.
He proclaims, in part: “Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. … O Prince of the heavenly hosts, by the power of God, cast Satan and all evil spirits into hell, who prowl the world in search of the ruin of souls. ”
Before Vatican II, this prayer was often recited after Mass, even if it was not in the rubrics. In 1994, Pope John Paul II urged Catholics to embrace him – while preaching about the threats to the unborn child.
The faithful of Saint-Joseph parish in Libertyville, Illinois, stopped reciting the prayer to Saint Michael out loud after the masses last summer. As the debate continues over what the Archdiocese of Chicago has called for, the remarks broadcast live by the associate pastor have gone viral, amid a wave of worship wars in modern Catholicism.
“What I am going to say, I will say it with great respect. Following the directive of Cardinal Cupich, we want to remind everyone that the prayer of Saint Michael should not be said publicly after Mass,” declared the Father. Emanuel Torres-Fuentes. “As a priest, I must obey, and I obey this in peace.”
While the actions of Cardinal Blase Cupich made the headlines, this drama opened in July with an apostolic letter from Pope Francis entitled “Traditionis Custodes (Guardians of the tradition)”. He restricted the use of the old Latin Mass, thus undermining “Summorum Pontificum (of the Sovereign Pontiffs)” by retired Pope Benedict XVI. This document said that the post-Vatican II Novus Ordo was the “ordinary form” of Mass, but the Tridentine rite was an “extraordinary form” that could be encouraged.
Pope Francis’ letter seemed to give local bishops some freedom to control the use of the old Latin Mass. Then the Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship issued guidelines on December 18, explaining the Pope’s edict.
Many bishops, for example, had granted dispensations allowing certain diocesan parishes to use the mass in Latin. But Rome’s new guidelines said it wasn’t allowed – only the Vatican could grant exceptions. In addition, no parish authorized to celebrate Tridentine Mass could include this service in the printed mass schedules or online.
On Christmas Day, Cardinal Cupich issued his own guidelines, based on the rules of Rome. To begin with, any parish or group permitted to use the Old Latin Mass would also be required to use the Novus Ordo once a month, as well as on Easter, Christmas, and certain holidays.
Vatican News reported that Cardinal Cupich sent a letter to priests indicating that his objective was to help Catholics “to better understand and accept more deeply the restored and renewed liturgy which is part of the precious heritage of Vatican Council II”.
Critics of the cardinal have also posted online criticism of his decision requiring priests to obtain his permission to celebrate any Mass in a traditional “ad orientem” position, as opposed to the modern “against populum” option in which the clergy, while he is at the altar, faces his congregations.
“The restrictions in Chicago extend not only to the old rite, but to the Novus Ordo celebrations which look too much like the old rite” wrote Stephen White, at The Catholic thing.