In a July 16 letter to priests following the release of the document, Cardinal Gregory said he would “prayerfully reflect” on the pope’s letter “in the coming weeks,” in order “to ensure we understand fully the Holy Father's intentions and consider carefully how they are realized in the Archdiocese of Washington.”
"In the interim, I hereby grant the faculty to those who celebrate the Mass using the liturgical books issued before 1970 to continue to do so this weekend and in the days to come, until further guidance is forthcoming,” he stated.
Bishops around the United States have responded to the motu proprio in the last two weeks, with many of them granting temporary permission for priests who already celebrate the Traditional Latin Mass to continue doing so. Some bishops have granted canonical dispensations for parish churches from the papal restrictions on Latin Mass locations.
On July 27, the Paulus Institute reported that Cardinal Gregory’s permission for the Tridentine Mass at the National Shrine had been withdrawn per Traditionis custodes.
Although the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception is located within the territorial bounds of the Archdiocese of Washington, it is not a diocesan church. Archbishop Wilton Gregory, as Washington archbishop, is ex officio chairman of the shrine’s board of directors.
Pope Francis’ letter accompanying his motu proprio stated that liberalizations in the use of the Traditional Latin Mass had been “exploited” to promote disunity within the Church.
“I am nonetheless saddened that the instrumental use of Missale Romanum of 1962 is often characterized by a rejection not only of the liturgical reform, but of the Vatican Council II itself, claiming, with unfounded and unsustainable assertions, that it betrayed the Tradition and the ‘true Church’,” Pope Francis wrote.
In its July 29 letter, the Paulus Institute – which had organized previous pontifical Masses in 2010 and 2018 at the shrine – denied that such division had been a part of the celebrations.
“None of the allegations of disunity and division presented in Traditionis Custodes and in the accompanying letter to bishops can rightfully be said to apply to this pontifical Mass,” the letter stated.
Citing the Second Vatican Council’s constitution on the sacred liturgy Sacrosanctum Concilium, the institute said that “the Usus Antiquior, is a millennial treasure of the sacred Deposit of the Faith—and as such is a right enjoyed by entitlement by the Catholic faithful.
This story was updated on July 31 with Cardinal Gregory's July 30 letter.
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