The Dispatch

More bishops issue statements on Latin Mass, following papal document

July 19, 2021 Catholic News Agency 21
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 / 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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News Briefs

Politics divides, but Christ unites: Madison bishop confronts Catholic ‘acrimony’

January 29, 2021 CNA Daily News 2

CNA Staff, Jan 29, 2021 / 04:14 pm (CNA).- The polarization of American politics means that Catholics must be a force for unity rather than “divisively tribal,” and clergy especially need to be careful that they don’t let their personal politics compromise their Christian mission, Bishop Donald Hying of Madison has said.
 
“All Catholics have to be careful to engage in political life in a manner that reflects the Gospel, but clergy need to exercise special caution so that their political activity is consistent with their vocation in the Church,” he said in a Jan. 27 reflection on the “current state of general acrimony.”
 
Clergy should not voice “overt and purely political opinions regarding individuals, parties, election results, the current news cycle,” nor should they engage in ad hominem attacks.
 
“Such actions threaten to politicize the Church and divide our people even more,” he said.
 
“I am not implying that we should be silent in the face of evil, injustice, and wrongdoing, but we need to stick with the moral issues and refrain from the personal attacks,” Hying said.
 
While bishops, priests and deacons can vote and hold political opinions, Hying said, their task is “to preach and teach the Catholic faith to the laity and to lay out the revealed priority of moral issues.” Pastors who fail to preach the truths of the Catholic faith, however, “fail in loving our people.”
 
“The task of the laity is to form their consciences and apply the teachings of the Church to the spheres of politics, economy, society, and culture,” said the bishop.
 
He reflected on the state of the country in January 2021: “the anger and vitriol is palpably toxic.”
 
 “Our cultural, political, and social divisions, exacerbated by COVID; the elections; and the violence in our streets and cities have unfortunately entered into the Church and are seriously wounding our unity in Christ,” he said.
 
“We now seem to have Biden Catholics and Trump Catholics, perhaps just the latest incarnation of traditional and progressive Catholics, but a division that is louder, angrier, and far less compromising than all the previous rifts in the Body of Christ.”
 
“Any words of moderation, actions of conciliation, benefit of the doubt given to another point of view, or attempt to find middle ground is dismissed as betrayal and disloyalty to the truth,” he said.
 
“If we do not even desire to heal the divisions among us, how can we ever rediscover our unity in Christ? The bishop asked. “The painful experience of these past months tells me that we as fallen human beings can become divisively tribal. We instinctively associate with the people who think, act, and live as we do.”
 
He emphasized that Christ calls members of his body to “a far greater reality, indeed a supernatural unity, founded in the very life of the Most Blessed Trinity.”
 
“Jesus served, loved, died, and rose from the dead to establish a New Covenant in His Blood, a redeemed humanity of every race, tribe, and tongue, incorporating every culture, nationality, class, and people into the Church,” Hying continued. “For us Christians, water is thicker than blood, for the communion we discover in the waters of Baptism is far deeper and significant than the ties of race, nation, political party, and even family.”
 
“If we are bound together in Christ as His Mystical Body, then how can we keep tearing each other apart? We are brothers and sisters in Christ,” he said.
 
He suggested Catholics should spend the time before Easter in deeper prayer, penance, and almsgiving.
 
“How can I be more patient, kind, gentle, and compassionate to others, especially those I disagree with? Get off social media and get in front of the Blessed Sacrament. Stop watching so much news and start reading the Good News. Spend the time on volunteer service to help the poor instead of writing angry emails,” said the bishop, who added: “Examine your conscience regarding the sins of calumny, rash judgment, violent anger, and malicious speech. And then go to confession.”
 
At the same time, Hying said vocal partisans are not necessarily representative of Catholicism.
 
“Most Catholics are simply trying to live their faith, focus on Jesus Christ, become holy, and do God’s will. Many people had questions and concerns about some of President Trump’s policies and actions, as many do about President Biden,” he said.
 
He said that the Catholic bishops in the US do consider abortion the “preeminent” national issue because it is “intrinsic evil as the deliberate taking of human life in its fragile beginnings.” At the same time, he said, “‘preeminent’ does not mean ‘only’.”
 
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has always tried to work with every presidential administration to support moral policies and oppose others, said the bishop.
 
“The fact that President Biden is a baptized Catholic who attends Mass and asserts faith as the guiding principle of his life gives greater urgency to the need to challenge those of his policies which are opposed to moral teaching based on the natural law,” he said. “Some may mistakenly assume the Church is taking political sides, but Her actions are always inspired by the truth of God’s revelation and the dignity of the human person. And that cuts both ways, as the Word of God is ‘sharper than a two-edged sword’,” said Hying, quoting the Letter to the Hebrews.
 
To the Madison diocese’s north is the Diocese of La Crosse. Before the 2020 elections, La Crosse diocesan priest Fr. James Altman’s Aug. 30 video went viral for saying “You cannot be Catholic and be a Democrat. Period.”
 
Bishop William Callahan of La Crosse sought to correct the priest, saying he inflicted a “wound” upon the Church.
 
“Unfortunately, the tone Fr. Altman offers comes off as angry and judgmental, lacking any charity and in a way that causes scandal both in the Church and in society. His generalization and condemnation of entire groups of people is completely inappropriate and not in keeping with our values or the life of virtue,” Callahan said Sept. 9.
 
Altman’s video won support from Bishop Joseph Strickland of Tyler, who praised him on Twitter Sept. 5.
 
Father James Martin, S.J., editor-at-large of America magazine, wrote an essay claiming that Catholic leaders’ criticism of President Joe Biden’s stance on abortion helped contribute to the conditions for the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol. He named Altman and Bishop Strickland, among others, as well as Bishop Richard Stika of Knoxville.
 
In a brief response, Bishop Stika rejected the claim. He stood by his criticism of Biden’s abortion stand and again noted the contradiction between the president’s professed Catholic faith and his support for abortion.


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