WATCH: Explore Pope Francis' encyclical 'The Joy of Love'

Father Nick Welsh and Sister Anna Marie have begun a three week tour of Pope Francis' encyclical Amoris Laetitia ("The Joy of Love"). Watch the first two sessions on YouTube or below.

The final lunchtime talk is at 1:30pm on Monday 24 January on Zoom. Register now at

The talks coincide with the “Amoris Laetitia Family” Year 2021-2022. Amoris Laetitia is an apostolic exhortation written by the Holy Father about Love in the family. Read it here.

Holy Father introduces limits on celebration of Tridentine Mass

After consulting the bishops throughout the world, Pope Francis has decided to modify the norms regulating the use of the 1962 missal granted 14 years ago by his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, as the “extraordinary form of the Roman Rite”, writes the Vatican News.

The Pope has published the Motu proprio Traditionis custodes, dated 16 July 2021, regarding the use of the Roman liturgy prior to 1970.

It is accompanied by a letter in which he explains the reasons behind his decision. Here are the main points.

In the letter accompanying the document, Pope Francis explains that the established concessions granted by his predecessors for the use of the 1692 Roman Missal were above all “motivated by the desire to foster the healing of the schism with the movement of Mons. Lefebvre”.

The request directed to the Bishops to generously welcome the “just aspirations” of the members of the faithful who request the use of this Missal was also motivated by “the ecclesial intention of restoring the unity of the Church”.

Pope Francis observes that, “many in the Church came to regard this faculty as an opportunity to adopt freely the Roman Missal promulgated by St. Pius V and use it in a manner parallel to the Roman Missal promulgated by St. Paul VI”.

The Pope recalls that Pope Benedict XVI’s decision promulgated with the Motu proprio Summorum Pontificum (2007) was sustained by the “confidence that such a provision would not place in doubt one of the key measures of Vatican Council II or minimize in this way its authority”.

Fourteen years ago, Pope Benedict declared “unfounded the fear of division in parish communities, because ‘the two forms of the use of the Roman Rite would enrich one another’”.

However, the responses to the recent questionnaire circulated by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith among the Bishops, Pope Francis writes, “reveal a situation that preoccupies and saddens me, and persuades me of the need to intervene”.

Benedict’s desire to ensure unity, Pope Francis says, has “often been seriously disregarded”, and the concessions offered with largesse have instead been “exploited to widen the gaps, reinforce the divergences, and encourage disagreements that injure the Church, block her path, and expose her to the peril of division”.

The Pope said he is “saddened by abuses in the celebration of the liturgy on all sides”.

In addition, he deplores the fact that the “instrumental use of Missale Romanum of 1962 is often characterized by a rejection not only of the liturgical reform, but of the Vatican Council II itself, claiming, with unfounded and unsustainable assertions, that it betrayed the Tradition and the ‘true Church’ ”.

To doubt the Council, Pope Francis explains, “is to doubt the intentions of those very Fathers who exercised their collegial power in a solemn manner cum Petro et sub Petro in an ecumenical council, and, in the final analysis, to doubt the Holy Spirit himself who guides the Church”.

This is the final reason Pope Francis gives for his decision to modify the past concessions:

“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 (1 Cor 1:12-13). In defense of the unity of the Body of Christ, I am constrained to revoke the faculty granted by my Predecessors”.

NB This decree of the Holy Father does not affect the celebration of the post-Vatican II Mass of St Paul VI in Latin or the use of the Latin language in liturgical music in a Mass celebrated in English.

To read the unabridged Vatican News article, please click here.

LIVE: a special blessing from Pope Francis at 5pm

Pope Francis will pray before an empty square at St Peter's Basilica today to give a special blessing in response to the coranvirus outbreak.

It takes place today at 5pm (6pm Rome) and those who participate by watching or listening live will receive a plenary indulgence.

Watch it online at the Vatican's YouTube channel:

The #PrayTogether initiative will include the Word of God, Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, and an Urbi et Orbi blessing. The blessing “to the City [of Rome] and to the World” is normally only given on Christmas and Easter.

Pope Francis said: "We will listen to the Word of God, we will raise our supplication, we will adore the Blessed Sacrament, at the end I will impart the Urbi et orbi Blessing, and you will have the possibility of receiving a plenary indulgence.

"We want to respond to the virus pandemic with the universality of prayer."

The Urbi et orbi blessing is subject to the conditions foreseen by the recent Decree of the Apostolic Penitentiary. To find out more about a plenary indulgence, click here.


EVENT: The fight for Europe's migration policy

A recent cover of the Catholic Herald depicted Pope Francis and controversial right wing Italian politician Matteo Salvini fighting over Italy.

The article summary stated that both men were competing 'for the hearts and minds' of voters.

Much of this has been over migration, a debate that stretches across Europe and throws up many questions, chief for Catholics being 'What's the Christian response?'

John Dalhuisen (main picture), a leading thinker on human rights and migration policy, hopes to unpack the main migration themes at an event hosted by the Archdiocese on Thursday night, to help you get a clearer picture of a complex issue facing politicians.

He said: "There must be space for some element of utilitarian thinking. You have to factor in the maximum possible good to the most people based on a set of political and practical predictions of what will happen. You can’t just apply fundamental moral norms if the application of those norms have predictably adverse outcomes.

"You need to work out not the best imaginable policy consistent with moral preferences, but the best possible set of policies that I can actually be acquired."

John has previously been the Europe Director at Amnesty International and Special Adviser to the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights.

He added: "There is an ideological battle between two protagonists that are central to this debate – Matteo Salvini and Pope Francis.

"The most popular politician among church-going Catholic Italians is Salvini. That is something the church needs to reflect on. It’s not obvious that Francis’ message on migration and how he is communicating it, is winning.

"It’s not just him, it’s the whole penumbra of more politically engaged Catholic organisations that are also advocating positions that are very easily dismissed by politicians."

Closed or Open Doors? The Fight for Europe's Migration Policy, with John Dalhuisen, is on at 7pm at the Gillis Centre, 100 Strathearn Road, Edinburgh this Thursday (20th Feb). Register now on Eventbrite (click here). Entry by donation.

This event is sponsored by the Caritas, Justice and Peace Commission of the Archdiocese of St Andrews & Edinburgh. Follow John Dalhuisen on Twitter: @DalhuisenJJ