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.
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