The Dispatch

More bishops issue statements on Latin Mass, following papal document

July 19, 2021 Catholic News Agency 22
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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Cardinal Müller critiques Pope Francis’ ‘harsh’ response to extraordinary form, compared to German Synodal Way

July 19, 2021 Catholic News Agency 2
Gerhard Cardinal Müller, prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, at a penance service in St. Peter’s Basilica, March 29, 2019. Credit: Daniel Ibáñez/CNA.

Rome, Italy, Jul 19, 2021 / 16:00 pm (CNA).

The former head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has critiqued the Pope Francis’ recent restrictions on extraordinary form Masses as “harsh” compared to his modest response to the “massive attacks on the unity of the Church” posed by the Synodal Way in Germany.

Gerhard Cardinal Müller authored an analysis July 19 of Traditionis custodes, Pope Francis’ July 16 motu proprio on the use of the Roman liturgy prior to the reform of 1970.

Pope Francis explained his decision in an accompanying letter to bishops, in which he wrote: “In defense of the unity of the Body of Christ, I am constrained to revoke the faculty granted by my Predecessors.” The pope said he was saddened that the celebration of the extraordinary form was now characterized by a rejection of the Second Vatican Council and its liturgical reforms.

Cardinal Muller responded: “One may measure Pope Francis’ will to return to unity the deplored so-called ‘traditionalists’ … against the degree of his determination to put an end to the innumerable ‘progressivist’ abuses of the liturgy … that are tantamount to blasphemy.”

“The paganization of the Catholic liturgy – which is in its essence nothing other than the worship of the One and Triune God – through the mythologization of nature, the idolatry of environment and climate, as well as the Pachamama spectacle, were rather counterproductive for the restoration and renewal of a dignified and orthodox liturgy reflective of the fulness of the Catholic faith.”

The German cardinal highlighted that many teachings of the Second Vatican Council are “being heretically denied in open contradiction to Vatican II by a majority of German bishops and lay functionaries (even if disguised under pastoral phrases).”

“Here we have a threat to the unity of the Church in revealed faith, reminiscent of the size of the Protestant secession from Rome in the sixteenth century,” he said.

“Given the disproportion between the relatively modest response to the massive attacks on the unity of the church in the German ‘Synodal Way’ (as well as in other pseudo-reforms) and the harsh disciplining of the old ritual minority, the image of the misguided fire brigade comes to mind, which – instead of saving the blazing house – instead first saves the small barn next to it.”

In the critique published in English by The Catholic Thing, the cardinal said that the motu proprio’s “clear intent is to condemn the Extraordinary Form to extinction in the long run.”

“Without the slightest empathy, one ignores the religious feelings of the (often young) participants in the Masses according to the Missal John XXIII (1962). Instead of appreciating the smell of the sheep, the shepherd here hits them hard with his crook,” he said.

Much of the cardinal’s analysis focuses on unity in the Church, which he says is “rooted in unity in God through faith, hope, and love” and does not require “sterile uniformity in the external liturgical form, as if the Church were like one of the international hotel chains with their homogenous design.”

“Pope Francis tries to explain the motives that have caused him, as the bearer of the supreme authority of the Church, to limit the liturgy in the extraordinary form. Beyond the presentation of his subjective reactions, however, a stringent and logically comprehensible theological argumentation would also have been appropriate,” Muller said.

“For papal authority does not consist in superficially demanding from the faithful mere obedience, i.e., a formal submission of the will, but, much more essentially, in enabling the faithful also to be convinced with consent of the mind.”

The German cardinal underlined that Pope Francis “rightly insists on the unconditional recognition of Vatican II.”

“Nobody can call himself a Catholic who either wants to go back behind Vatican II (or any other council recognized by the pope) as the time of the ‘true’ Church or wants to leave that Church behind as an intermediate step towards a ‘new Church,’” he said.

Cardinal Müller, the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith from 2012 to 2017, also said that the Church must not “pass on its responsibility for unity in cult to the Bishops’ Conferences … Presumptions that one may “improve” the verba domini (e.g. pro multis – ‘for many’ – at the consecration, the et ne nos inducas in tentationem – ‘and lead us not into temptation’ – in the Our Father), contradict the truth of the faith and the unity of the Church much more than celebrating Mass according to the Missal of John XXIII.”

The cardinal’s statement comes at a time when many bishops in Europe have yet to respond publicly to the motu proprio on the extraordinary form. 

The Archdiocese of Munich and Freising told CNA Deutsch that it is “currently examining the relevant implementation / regulation.”  The Archdiocese of Berlin said when the motu proprio would be implemented cannot be foreseen there in the middle of the summer holidays.

The motu proprio stated that it is a diocesan bishop’s “exclusive competence” to authorize the use of the 1962 Roman Missal in his diocese.

“A little more knowledge of Catholic dogmatics and the history of the liturgy could counteract the unfortunate formation of opposing parties and also save the bishops from the temptation to act in an authoritarian, loveless, and narrow-minded manner against the supporters of the ‘old’ Mass,” Cardinal Müller said.

Bishops are appointed as “shepherds by the Holy Spirit,” he explained, not “merely representatives of a central office – with opportunities for advancement.”

“The good shepherd can be recognized by the fact that he worries more about the salvation of souls than recommending himself to a higher authority by subservient ‘good behavior.’ If the law of non-contradiction still applies, one cannot logically castigate careerism in the Church and at the same time promote careerists,” he added.

“Let us hope that the Congregations for Religious and for Divine Worship, with their new authority, do not become inebriated by power and think they have to wage a campaign of destruction against the communities of the old rite – in the foolish belief that by doing so they are rendering a service to the Church and promoting Vatican II.”


The Dispatch

Opinion: Not so pastoral

July 16, 2021 Amy Welborn 57

Let’s do an Occam’s Razor on this new Motu Proprio. It seems pretty simple to me: A number of bishops wanted the tools to restrict celebration of the Traditional Latin Mass (TLM), and Pope Francis […]