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Two weeks after Pope Francis’ Traditional Latin Mass restrictions, US bishops continue to respond

Joe Bukuras   By Joe Bukuras for CNA

(Image: Thoom/Shutterstock)

Washington D.C., Jul 30, 2021 / 10:15 am (CNA).

Two weeks after Pope Francis issued his motu proprio restricting the use of traditional liturgies, bishops throughout the United States have continued to address the impact the letter will have on their respective dioceses.

Many bishops, such as Bishop Michael Fisher of Buffalo, have chosen to grant their priests temporary permission to continue celebrating the Traditional Latin Mass while they themselves take time to study the document, Traditiones Custodes.

“At this time,” Fisher wrote in his July 21 statement, “I grant temporary permission for those priests competent in celebrating the Eucharist according to the 1962 Missal to continue to do so at the times and places that, as of July 16, 2021, have publicly scheduled these Masses.”

In other episcopal sees, bishops have allowed Traditional Latin Masses to continue at some parishes, while prohibiting them or restricting them at other parish churches.

In the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas, Archbishop Joseph Naumann told priests in a July 27 statement that he had already allowed two locations – St. John Vianney Latin Mass Community in Maple Hill and the St. Rose Philippine Duchesne Parish in Mission Woods – to continue offering the Traditional Latin Mass. The two communities are served by the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, a community dedicated to the Traditional Latin Mass.

At other parish churches, however, Mass according to the 1962 Roman Missal cannot be regularly scheduled on Sundays and holy days, he said. Proposals to celebrate the extraordinary form require discussion with him or his delegate “well in advance,” Naumann said.

For priests of the archdiocese who “at times” wish to celebrate the Traditional Latin Mass, they “may continue to do so for the present,” Archbishop Naumann said, adding that they must contact him by Oct. 1, 2021 for continued permission to do so.

The papal document, issued on July 16 and effective immediately, recognized the “exclusive competence” of individual bishops to authorize the use of the 1962 Roman Missal in their respective dioceses.

One of the provisions of the papal document – Article 3, § 2 – says that bishops should designate a location for Latin Mass communities that is not a “parochial church.” Some U.S. bishops have already issued canonical dispensations from this provision for parish churches already offering the Traditional Latin Mass.

Bishop Carl Kemme of the Diocese of Wichita joined the dioceses of San Bernardino, Springfield in Illinois, Biloxi, Toledo, Knoxville, and San Angelo in granting priests a canonical dispensation from Art. 3, § 2 of the motu proprio.

Elsewhere, some dioceses have communicated internally with their priests on Traditiones custodes, but have not yet issued public statements.

In the Diocese of Austin, Fr. Daniel Liu, rector of St. Mary Cathedral, posted on the Facebook page of the St. Joseph Latin Mass Society that Bishop Joe Vásquez allowed his parish to continue offering the extraordinary form of the Mass. The bishop gave his approval “as he continues to gather information and discern how the motu proprio Traditionis custodes will be applied,” Fr. Liu wrote.

The St. Joseph Latin Mass Society, meanwhile, told CNA that Vasquez has allowed the extraordinary form to continue throughout the whole diocese.

CNA reached out to the dioceses of Green Bay and Santa Rosa to confirm that their respective bishops had issued guidance on the Holy Father’s motu proprio.

The Diocese of Green Bay told CNA that Bishop David Ricken had given private guidance to priests on the motu proprio, and the Santa Rosa diocese said that Bishop Robert Vasa “may have” communicated with priests. Neither diocese would share that guidance publicly with CNA.

Cardinal Wilton Gregory of Washington D.C., who had allowed celebrations of the Traditional Latin Mass to continue while he reviewed Traditionis custodes, this week withdrew his permission for the celebration of a solemn pontifical Mass that was to be offered Aug. 14 in D.C.

The Mass, scheduled to be at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, was organized by the Paulus Institute, a group dedicated to promoting the sacred liturgy.

Donna Bethell of the Paulus Institute said in a statement to CNA on Tuesday that Cardinal Gregory “cited Traditionis custodes as the reason” for his decision, “without further specificity.”


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18 Comments

  1. It would seem that while being deliberately blind to the impending schism in Germany over basic morality, sin,and tradition, the Pope has decided to attempt to forment a schism in the US over a lot of nothing, which is the ongoing use of a past format of the Mass. Question: How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?? Answer: Does it really matter?? The Pope is not American, which in this case is unfortunate. The fastest way to get an American to do something forbidden or impossible is to tell him he can’t.

    • Up here in Maine the Latin Mass is doing nicely, and I’m not positive but I think that it has become MORE popular since the MP was issued – your last point hit the nail on the head.
      The Bishop here seems to be taking a hands off approach, which is just fine with me and many others – if it ain’t broke DON’T FIX IT.

      • Interesting you say that. Just a few months ago, the diocese in which I reside finally got, after many long years, a parish willing to host a Tridentne Rite and a Bishop willing to allow it.
        .
        The MP caused such a stir that members of my parish questioned our priest about it, who felt the need to address the issue from the pulpit–no, the Byzantine Rite is not going to be shut down like the Tridentine Rite. I really had not had much interest in the Tridentine Rite for many years now, but now I’m curious. The Latin Bishop here is “studying” the MP and the Tridentine Rite is able to going on. I hope to attend in September.

  2. I would like to know where was the reasoning that both rites of Mass were there to help each other and not cause rupture. While ordained in the ordinary rite I come to see the extraordinary rite as a great means to inject a deeper sense of reverence and holiness. Please Holy Father think again!

  3. I continue to be baffled(maybe not for long) as to why this decree and why now? This to me and to many folks watching this as low hanging fruit for the Pope. With other much more serious worldwide Catholic issues in front of him why is Frances doing this now and what’s really behind it all? I have heard many reasons and quite many are serious allegations that Frances is small minded, vindictive and outright mean. I don’t know any of that.
    This form of worship to me seems innocent. No more a problem than a Folk Mass, and 12 am midnight Mass or whatever.
    I smell a rat

  4. The “new-Zeitgeist-church” headed by the Pontiff Francis, as declared by his spokesman “Rev.” Rosica, “breaks Catholic traditions whenever he wants because he is free from disordered attachments. Our Church has indeed entered a new phase: with the advent of this first Jesuit pope, it is openly ruled by an individual rather than by the authority of Scripture alone or even its own dictates of tradition plus Scripture.”

    What these two men believe, and other men like them such as “ex-Eminence McCarrick” and “His Eminence” Gregory and the late “Eminence” Danneels is apparently some new-age cult that perceives Bishops and Bishops of Rome as superior to Scripture and Tradition. Put plainly, they see themselves by the fact of their mere attainment of an office that their judgment is superior to the revelation of God and to the accumulated judgment and practice of faithful men and women who preceded them.

    Hence they are so brazen that they now even show their contempt for the First Commandment, as did the Pontiff Francis when he orchestrated idolatry in Rome in 2019, after six years of subverting the lower commandments.

    Hence they reveal the only ground they stand on, their personal attainment of office, by outlawing the prayers of the Holy Mass that preceded their own corrupted and disfigured formation, and in their blindness issuing diktats that contradict the preceding Pope, because he was a man unlike them, a faithful Bishop and Pope who put Scripture and Tradition before himself and his own exercise of office.

    They are the “dry wood” Jesus spoke of, one fateful Friday, some 2000 years ago…

    • During my lengthy process of conversion to Catholicism, from atheism, it was during the turbulent seventies and eighties. I did read a lot of books by liberal theologians to make sure I wasn’t missing something, but I only came across a single intelligent thought when one of them argued for a married priesthood by pointing out that the ordained undergo distortions to their personality development when they have no one in their life willing to point when they are being idiots. He had a very good point.

  5. Given that canonists, some members of the College of Cardinals, cannot agree on the legality of Traditionis Custodes, and the legal principle that a doubtful law is not binding, the bishops should just ignore it. But since they care more about politics and cash, and they are moral cowards, they will bend to Bergoglio and continue to jeopardize souls. Shame on their craven heads.

    • One of the reasons for growth may be that Tridentine Rite parishes were open while NO parishes were “locked down” or doing “Zoom Masses”. My parish showed some growth because people wanted to worship in-person and in a relatively “mask optional friendly” atmosphere. This same fact is true in a friend’s Protestant church: people would find a church (many smaller, non-“Mainline” churches with “solid Bible preaching”) willing to be in person and without masks or S.D.

      • Those who attend TLM are more likely to be educated. For those educated, it is more likely that they would be able to see through the fog of lies that the media has created. This would make it less likely for a mask “mandate” to be enforced.

  6. The basic message seems to be that the Bishops are free to do what they will in their respective dioceses.

    Please – just leave it alone – if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. I’ve found that those who go to the Latin Mass are much more devout – some of them have to travel 100 miles or more each way to get there EVERY WEEK. What purpose is served by depriving them of their worship?

    Personally what bothers me about this the most is the simple fact that it is a slap in the fact to Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and St. John Paul II, Francis’ 2 most immediate predecessors.

    This move does nothing to heal the divisions in the Church, rather it increases them.

  7. I think a firestorm has been ignited over this motu proprio Traditiones Custodes in my parish. About 20- 25 parishoners have indicated a desire to go to a TLM,a low mass with song. There is no priest who can celebrate a Latin Mass in our area but the desire is strong enough to find one near by. Is this happening all over?

  8. Nora Gallinari above – Interesting but not entirely surprising. Ironically, the misnamed TC has made a lot of people aware of the TLM who were previously unaware or indifferent. It will be interesting to observe the fallout among the laity.

  9. And yet the Vatican accedes to the atheistic Chinese regime’s demand that it approve the selection of Chinese bishops. With the regime’s intention of making sure the Chinese Church/Mass are “patriotic”. Cardinal Zen has spoken far more eloquently on this sad matter than I ever could.

  10. It seems we have entered a new phase in the Catholic Church. For years I behooved that Bishops did not do anything for the people. Now Bishops are speaking up for the TLM and its adherents. This makes me proud of our Bishops. Of course, there are Bishops who think as Francis does, they are bad news. We, Traditionalists, have not separated ourselves from the Church, it is the likes of Francis who has separated himself from us through schism. The SSPX never separated from the Church, the Modernists Church broke away from them. We must now take St. Pius X’s condemnation of the Modernist heresy to heart. There is a Catechism on Modernism written by a priest at the time of the official condemnation, it pleased St. Pius X and he called for its widespread dissemination. I have started reading that Catechism and I found it condemns everything Francis has done and is doing.

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