Nichols told the clergy of Westminster archdiocese in July 2021 that he intended to grant faculties to priests seeking to celebrate Traditional Latin Masses as long as they fulfilled the conditions of Pope Francis’ motu proprio.
Correspondence about Traditionis custodes between Nichols and Archbishop Arthur Roche, the English prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, was published in November 2021.
The “Responsa ad dubia,” issued on Dec. 18, 2021, placed further limits on the use of pre-Vatican II liturgical books.
One of the questions it answered was whether it was possible, “according to the provisions of the motu proprio Traditionis custodes, to celebrate the sacraments with the Rituale Romanum and the Pontificale Romanum which predate the liturgical reform of the Second Vatican Council.”
The Pontificale Romanum contains the rites and ceremonies usually performed by bishops and the Rituale Romanum is one of the official ritual books used by a priest or deacon for rites not found in the Roman Missal, which is used for Mass.
In its response, the Congregation for Divine Worship said: “After discernment, the diocesan bishop is authorized to grant permission to use only the Rituale Romanum (last editio typica 1952) and not the Pontificale Romanum which predate the liturgical reform of the Second Vatican Council.”
“This permission is to be granted only to canonically erected personal parishes which, according to the provisions of the motu proprio Traditionis custodes, celebrate with the Missale Romanum [Roman Missal] of 1962.”
“It should be remembered that the formula for the Sacrament of Confirmation was changed for the entire Latin Church by St. Paul VI with the apostolic constitution Divinæ consortium naturæ (Aug. 15, 1971).”
Referring to observations by the LMS about the status of the “Responsa ad dubia” in canon law, Joseph Shaw urged Cardinal Nichols and his fellow bishops in England and Wales to review their stance.
“In light of the canon law guidance which we have published, which confirms that the recent Responsa ad dubia issued by the Congregation for Divine Worship, which appear to prohibit the use of the 1962 Pontificale, does not have the force of law, we call on His Eminence, Cardinal Nichols, and the Bishops of England and Wales, to reconsider their position, before real pastoral harm is done, and damage to the fabric of unity which will not easily be repaired,” he wrote.