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This document clarifies certain questions raised in response to Pope Francis' July decree, Traditionis Custodes. This decree reversed the policy of Francis' predecessor, Benedict XVI, who in 2007 loosened restrictions on the Latin Mass in order to improve relations with schismatic traditionalist groups, according to the National Catholic Reporter.
Catholics who prefer the old Tridentine Latin Mass over the Novus Ordo Mass promulgated after the Second Vatican Council tend to be political conservatives and critics of Francis.
In his introduction to the document, Archbishop Arthur Roche, the head of the Vatican's liturgy office, said clergy "must not lend ourselves to sterile polemics, capable only of creating division, in which the ritual itself is often exploited by ideological viewpoints."
The document also specified that the old rites of ordination and confirmation are no longer valid and that Latin Mass groups should not be allowed to meet in parish churches.
Critics have accused the pope of punitively targeting small groups of devout, traditional Catholics while allowing progressive liturgical irregularities to run rampant.
"The Pope can't tell you what marriage is in Germany, but he can tell you how to print Mass times in the bulletin in Des Moines. Congrats Modernism, you win!" Catholic author and journalist Michael Brendan Dougherty tweeted, referring to the May incident that saw over 100 German Catholic priests and bishops defy Vatican directives by blessing same-sex marriages.