Costa Rican bishops prohibit celebration of extraordinary form liturgies

The Metropolitan Cathedral in San Jose Costa Rica Credit Bas van den Heuvel Shutterstock The Metropolitan Cathedral in San Jose, Costa Rica. | Bas van den Heuvel/Shutterstock.

The Costa Rican bishops’ conference on Monday declared that no expression of the liturgy prior to that of 1970 is authorized for use in the country’s eight dioceses.

“From now on the use of the Missale Romanum of 1962 or of any other of the expressions of the liturgy prior to 1970 is not authorized,” the bishops’ conference stated July 19. The bishops added that "no priest is authorized to continue celebrating according to the old liturgy."

The bishops said that in communion with Pope Francis they have welcomed his motu proprio Traditionis custodes, which establishes restrictions on the celebration of the Traditional Latin Mass.

"As a fruit of the pastoral discernment that we carried out in communion with many other members of the faithful, the bishops of the Episcopal Conference of Costa Rica are convinced that there is no objective justification for using the liturgy prior to the 1970 reform among us.”

“Always in communion with Pope Francis, we have welcomed the Motu Propio ‘Traditionis Custodes’. Each of us has made the corresponding theological-pastoral discernment," they added.

The bishops stressed that "what the Roman Pontiff has published is the result of a synodal process in which our Costa Rican Bishops’ Conference has also participated." In addition, the motu proprio "has been reflected upon at the diocesan level" as well as "collegially."

Regarding their decision, the bishops explained, "we have never had a group of faithful who adhered and continue to adhere with much love and affection to the previous liturgical forms."

They also argued that “some believed that these old liturgical forms were 'particularly suitable for them,'” but “in reality they did not have a level of liturgical formation and access to the Latin language that would allow them 'full, conscious and active participation in liturgical celebrations required by the nature of the liturgy itself.'”

They added that "those who show an affinity for the old forms do not always express their appreciation for ‘the validity and legitimacy of the liturgical reform, the dictates of Vatican II and the Magisterium of the Supreme Pontiffs’”.

The bishops said that seminarians and new priests will have a formation "clearly directed to the appreciation and practice of the liturgy made pristine again by the Second Vatican Council, which is ‘the only expression of the lex orandi of the Roman Rite’”.

"It is clear that the liturgy reformed by Vatican Council II has all the conditions to elevate the human being and strengthen his spiritual life, while responding in a balanced way to the authentic anthropological and cultural needs of the person praying in our times," they said.

The Costa Rican bishops noted "that our liturgy, celebrated according to the books promulgated by Saints Paul VI and John Paul II, must be preserved from any element originating from the old forms … In our celebrations, prayers, vestments or rites that were typical of the liturgy prior to the 1970 reform must not be introduced," they added.

Finally, the Costa Rican bishops prayed for the intercession of the Virgin Mary "so that the believers who live in Costa Rica know how to live and nurture ecclesial communion also through the Liturgy, which must be a ferment and culmination of unity."

The bishops’ statement is signed by Bishop Jose Manuel Garita Herrera of Ciudad Quesada, president of the conference; Bishop Mario Enrique Quiros Quiros of Cartago, vice president of the conference and president of the national liturgy commission; and Bishop Daniel Francisco Blanco Mendez, auxiliary bishop of San Jose de Costa Rica and secretary general of the conference.

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