Oklahoma bishop to replace Cardinal Castrillón at Mass honoring Pope

Bishop Edward J. Slattery has decided that he will celebrate a solemn high Mass honoring the pontificate of Pope Benedict after organizers decided that providing security for Cardinal Dario Castrillón Hoyos would be too costly. Cardinal Castrillón was recently found to have supported a bishop's attempt to evade reporting an abusive priest to civil authorities.

Bishop Slattery of the Diocese of Tulsa will now preside at a traditional Latin Mass at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C on April 24, honoring the fifth anniversary of the inauguration of the Holy Father.

Cardinal Darío Castrillón Hoyos of Colombia was originally asked celebrate the Mass, but a 2001 letter was made public late last week which showed that he praised a French bishop's decision not to report a sexually abusive priest to the police.

Bishop Slattery, 69, spoke positively to Washington Times on Thursday about his new involvement with the celebration and of the Paulus Institute, which is coordinating the Mass.

“I admire these people,” Bishop Slattery said of the Institute, which has been planning the Mass for three years.

“They are very good Catholics and so I felt, 'If you need me to come, I'll come.' They know I have a history of liking our (Latin) liturgy,” the bishop said. The prelate also noted that the event is “a very special moment” for the Church and that the faithful need the extraordinary form of the Mass “to not lose our roots.”

Paul King, president of the Paulus Institute, told the Washington Times that the decision to choose another celebrant for the Mass had a lot to do with potential picketers and the costs associated with heavier security.

When asked if he thought Cardinal Castrillón was disappointed, King responded, “I think so.”

“He's an interesting person and a devout person,” King added.

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