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More bishops issue statements on Latin Mass, following papal document

By Matt Hadro for CNA

June 22,2013: The prostration of the ordinands during the Litany of the Saints at the Fraternity of St. Peter's Roman parish, Santissima Trinità dei Pellegrini in Rome. (Image: CNA)

Washington D.C., Jul 19, 2021 / 17:02 pm (CNA).

More U.S. bishops have issued guidance on the celebration of the Traditional Latin Mass in their dioceses, following a papal document that on Friday imposed restrictions on the use of traditional liturgy.

Archbishop Samuel Aquila of Denver, in a letter to priests of his archdiocese, has said that the celebration of the Traditional Latin Mass could continue as normal while he studied Pope Francis’ new motu proprio Traditionis Custodes (“Guardians of the tradition”).

The papal document, issued on Friday and effective immediately, allowed individual bishops the decision to authorize the use of the 1962 Roman Missal – which is in Latin – in their respective dioceses.

“At this time I need to study the document more, consult with the USCCB, and Canon Lawyers, before I make decisions on granting permission for the use of the Extraordinary Form of the Mass and the implementation of the norms given in the motu proprio,” Archbishop Aquila stated.

“I do not want to act precipitously on the document one way or another, since the limitations are great,” he added, informing priests that he would clarify the matter in an email in three weeks’ time.

“Until then things may proceed as they have,” he stated.

Other bishops from around the United States issued statements or responses in similar fashion over the weekend and into Monday, saying that they would study the motu proprio while allowing celebration of the Traditional Latin Mass to continue.

Pope Francis’ motu proprio made sweeping changes to Pope Benedict’s 2007 apostolic letter Summorum Pontificum, which had acknowledged the rights of all priests to offer Mass according to the Roman Missal of 1962, promulgated by Pope St. John XXIII. Traditionis Custodes states that it is a bishop’s “exclusive competence” to authorize the Traditional Mass in his diocese.

In addition, bishops with groups celebrating the Traditional Latin Mass in their dioceses are to ensure that the groups do not deny the validity of Vatican II, the document said. Bishops are to designate locations and times where Masses according to the 1962 Missal can be celebrated – but not at parochial churches. Readings at the Masses must be in the vernacular.

With questions arising as to the continuance of the Traditional Latin Mass in accord with the motu proprio, some bishops in the United States issued statements this weekend outlining the steps priests should take if they wish to continue offering the traditional liturgy in the short-term. The bishops said they needed to study the document to issue norms at a later date implementing its provisions.

Bishop Frank Caggiano of Bridgeport on Monday requested that all priests who offer the Traditional Latin Mass – including in private – write to him directly for temporary permission to continue doing so. He stated he would grant temporary faculties for private Masses, and hoped permanent norms to implement the document would be in place by the end of September.

Priests requesting permission to offer the Traditional Latin mass should include the date and time of the Mass, the celebrant, an approximate number of attendees, and an explanation of the pastoral need for the liturgy, he said. If the traditional liturgy has been offered on a regular basis at a particular location, priests should also say when regular celebration of the liturgy first began, he said.

As CNA already reported, the archdioceses of Oklahoma City and San Francisco, along with the dioceses of Arlington and Brownsville, allowed celebration of the Traditional Latin Mass to continue as normal.

The archdioceses of Baltimore, Boston, New Orleans, Philadelphia, and St. Paul-Minneapolis, as well as the dioceses of Charlotte, Lake Charles, Madison, and Pittsburgh are also allowing priests already celebrating Mass according to the 1962 Missal to continue doing so.

Bishop Donald Hying of Madison said that priests wishing to offer the Traditional Latin Mass could “presume” his authorization now, “but they should anticipate in the near future that I will ask them to contact me to request continued authorization,” he added.

Archbishop Bernard Hebda of St. Paul-Minneapolis said that priests wishing to offer the Traditional Mass should request authorization from him before the Solemnity of the Assumption.

“I am happy to grant the necessary faculties so that those priests who are already celebrating the rites of the Extraordinary Form may continue to do so,” he said. “I similarly direct that the Mass in the Extraordinary Form continue in those locations where it is currently being offered in the Archdiocese.”

Bishop Daniel Felton of Duluth stated on Friday that celebration of the Traditional Mass would continue at St. Benedict’s parish in Duluth; the situations at other parishes offering Mass with the 1962 Missal would “be examined on a case-by-case basis,” he said.

“As the Holy Father’s introduction notes, implementing these norms will take time. I encourage you to be mindful of the faithful who are devoted to the traditional liturgy and sensitive to their feelings at this time,” he said.

Bishop David O’Connell of Trenton said he authorized use of the 1962 Missal at five parishes, with a sixth permitted to offer the Traditional Latin Mass on First Fridays of every other month.

However, Bishop Anthony Taylor of Little Rock said that while two parishes administered by the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter would not be affected by the document, the celebration of the Traditional Latin Mass would cease at other “regular parish churches” in the diocese.

In their statements, some bishops said they needed to seek more clarity on the motu proprio as they prepared to issue norms implementing the document.

“The nuances and implications of the Holy Father’s motu proprio need some clarification, and I will seek to understand fully what the Holy See is decreeing before making any definitive decisions,” Bishop Hying stated.

Bishop Glen John Provost of Lake Charles stated that he learned of the document “through media sources without prior official communication” on the same day it was issued and went into effect. He added that the document “will be studied in due course with the input of my canonical and liturgical advisors.”

Bishop Andrew Cozzens, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis, will chair a task force to study the motu proprio, Archbishop Hebda said.

Other bishops made statements specifically to Catholics who attend the Traditional Latin Mass.

“I want to assure all the priests and faithful of our diocese, especially those who may feel disheartened or discouraged by today’s developments, of my gratitude and support for your love for the Lord and the Church, your fidelity to the Gospel and the magisterium, your deep desire for holiness and your rich spirituality,” Bishop Hying stated.

“I love all of you as your shepherd and spiritual father.”

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  1. “Until then things may proceed as they have.”

    Good idea – just drop the “until then” and everything will be fine.

  2. As Marcel Lefebvre pointed out many times, the priests attached to Tradition accept more of the teachings of Vatican II than do most priests, given how widespread is dissent throughout the Church on even the basic dogmas of the Faith. Moreover, one study after another has revealed that only 30% of Catholics who attend the Novus Ordo even believe in the Real Presence. Therefore, it is certain that those who attend the Traditional Latin Mass have a greater belief in the validity of the Novus Ordo than do those Catholics who prefer the new liturgy. But of course, only Catholics attached to the traditional liturgy are being required to prove their orthodoxy and loyalty…

  3. The only thing that makes sense with the bishops approving the TLM for the time being “while they study the papal document” is that the “holier than thous” who prefer the TLM must be big diocesan contributors. Of course, I’m a post-Vatican II convert who likes understanding the Mass in the language I actually speak. The neo-cats and others who want to remain in the past, split parishes by their attitude that they are the ones who are worshipping “correctly.”

    • Donna,

      I’ve attended the EF offered by my diocese and the Fraternity of St Peter since my conversion from Judaism as a kid in 1999. I’m my 20+ years of attending I have found that the folks I’ve encountered there have by and large been holy, charitable and deeply loyal to the Church and Holy Father. Many attend the Ordinary Form as well and are the antithesis of divisive. I’m sorry if you’ve encountered folks who have seemed otherwise but I can assure that anyone who is divisive is far from the norm and are few in number. Please attend an EF Mass again if you can, I’m almost certain that you will see young families, many of whom are converts like you and I or reverts who find they are fed in this form the same way you find yourself being fed by the Lord through the Ordinary Form. Please don’t generalize folks, especially now that they are hurting, anxious. God bless you.



    • So Donna, if Frankie Baby issued an edict that the Eastern Rites of the Catholic Church (of which there are over twenty) had to immediately start using the Roman Rite would you support that? It’s exactly the same thing.

    • Donna;

      You prefer the Novus Ordo form of the Mass, and that’s fine. I prefer the Latin Mass, but, owing to the distance I have to travel to get there, and being an old coot, I usually go the shorter distance to the Novus Ordo Mass in Augusta. BTW – I give the same amount at both Masses.

      Your main point seems to be this – that we devotees of the Latin Mass”split parishes by their attitude.”

      Would you please explain what you mean by this statement?

  4. For nearly twenty years, I taught leadership and ethics to senior military officers selected to attend war college, meaning that they were, possibly, on their way to flag rank. I was occasionally presented there with this type of question series:

    Question: “Must illegal orders always and immediately be disobeyed?”

    Response: “Such orders must never immediately be carried out.”

    Question: “What?”

    Response: “Depending upon the circumstances, delay in execution of illegal
    orders may be both principled and prudent [and let me be clear here that illegal
    or immoral orders must never be executed (we can talk later about supremely
    stupid orders)].”

    Question: “How’s that again?”

    Response: “There may be times when illegal or idiotic orders must be slow-rolled rather than publicly (even if ethically) disobeyed. Forgive the Latin but
    Odia restringi, et favores convenit ampliari = It’s sensible to contain or to restrict evil or wanton things and sensible to foster favorable or commendable ones. If a noxious order (or, um, motu proprio) cannot at the moment be wisely disobeyed, it can
    –and must–be delayed, contained, or restricted. Such delay can effect two things: (1) defusing a potentially explosive situation while prudentially preserving principle [think of it as PPP] and (2) providing time and space for wiser heads [or more propitious circumstances] to arise or to intercede.” (“Expect the Lord, do manfully, and let thy heart take courage” [Psalm 26:14 DRB].)

    Question: “So, is that why you make the big bucks?”

    Response: “Well, I’ve asked for a huge raise but, at the moment, I’m being slow-rolled.”

    All right–a fairly light-hearted approach. But the gist of this “conversation” is seriously intended. The pope’s written philippic calls for a principled and prudent waiting game–ODIA RESTRINGI. Let’s hope our diocesan music directors remind bishops about the occasional symphonic significance of ritardando, meaning SLOW DOWN.

    –Deacon J. H. Toner

    • Exactly. It is perfectly proper — especially outside the military — when an order seems confused, contradictory, or illegal, to request clarification and (depending on the circumstances) to appoint a commission to study the issue while waiting for clarification. In the military, following an illegal or confusing order can be disastrous. Had Lord Cardigan requested clarification of a garbled (deliberately so) order from Lord Raglan instead of doing what he could see was insane, the Charge of the Light Brigade would not have happened.

  5. it’s so simple. Vatican II happened, the church reformed her liturgy, the prior missal has been changed, and it’s time to unify in celebrating that single liturgical form. all the disagreement boils down to people wishing that Vatican II had never happened.

    • the prior missal has been changed,
      The 1962 Missal has never been abrogated but don’t neglect to mention that the new and improved ordinary form missal had to be changed in 2008 due to all of it’s mistakes and errors.

      You might want to brush up on the following; likely for the very first time, from Sacrosanctum Concilium, Carl.

      36. 1. Particular law remaining in force, the use of the Latin language is to be preserved in the Latin rites.


    • So, when is this “unify in celebrating that single liturgical form” going to happen with the Novus Ordo?

      As a regular traveler, I can assure you that the ONLY unity I find in liturgical form is in celebrations of the EF.

      Whenever I attend an NO mass at some new church, I spend about ten percent my time trying to figure out the “form” that the local church has invented for their celebration of their particular version of the Mass.

      If there’s a “single liturgical form” for the NO I’ve never seen it, or at the very least, not recognized it as the “correct” form among all the incorrect forms I’ve experienced.

  6. You’re probably right, Carolyn. But when we first converted (attending a wealthy Novus Ordo parish then) we were shocked to find that we were among the highest 10 percent of contributors to that parish.

    We’ve since left the Novus Ordo (back in 1999-2000) and since we’re now members of an FSSP parish, despite the fact that we are much more wealthy than we were way back when, we are now probably among the least (which is where we belong. LOL)

  7. Exactly so (“support for Baldacchino, Cordileone, Olsmsed, Wall and others”), and also responding to Greaney, above, a multitude of other instructive military analogies come to mind…

    Take, for example, the Clancy-inspired flick “Hunt For Red October,” where Marko Ramius (Sean Connery as the Soviet sub commander) remarks that the historical World War II Admiral Halsey “acted foolishly”… Ramius refers to the Battle of Leyte Gulf, the largest naval battle in history, where Halsey divided the fleet and was famously decoyed out of the picture by what he thought was the Japanese carrier fleet. (But for the intervention of U.S. destroyers against very superior Japanaese naval forces, and but for the inexplicable retreat of approaching Japanese battleships at Leyte, the Battle would have been lost, and at great cost to stranded land forces already ashore.)

    Today, while the divisive Latin Mass instruction is a threat, it is also the decoy; and the totally central regeneration of a Eucharistic Church (Eucharistic coherence) is the very historic and pivotal Battleground. And, yes, in this case, the two events are also inseparable. (Fr. Morello: as you say, “the TLM is not entirely unrelated”).

    Coming from within the Church itself (!), the accelerated (?) timing of the vaguely documented Motu Proprio is both predictable and sophomoric. The USCCB leadership must keep its eye on the ball, not “act[ing] foolishly” to divide its attention as steadfast shepherds.

  8. Bergoglio doesn’t realize it yet but this is going to bite him and the bishops in the behind big time. “Traditionis Custodes” is causing great spiritual harm and division in the Church. People are angry and fed up. Many are taking their donations and heading to the nearest SSPX chapel. Some of the biggest contributors went to the TLM. And there are priests who will go as well.

  9. The gist of the document seems to be that Bishops are free to decide whether or not they will allow the celebration of the Latin Mass. Until they do things just continue as before.

    A suggestion from a TLM devotee – if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it – just LEAVE IT ALONE.


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