“The Traditional Latin Mass is the bedrock of my wife and I's spiritual life. It gives an amazing depth of meaning and richness to our lives, and we greatly wish to pass it on to our children,” he said. “It has borne amazing fruit within our diocese, in terms of Mass attendance, conversions, and vocations.”
Peters, a lawyer who attends St. John the Beloved in McLean, Virginia, previously shared his personal connection to the Traditional Latin Mass with CNA. In 2020, he converted to Catholicism from Judaism. He said that his first experience seeing the Traditional Latin Mass in 2019 “blew me away,” and that “any doubt about converting went away immediately.” He was married, in the Extraordinary Form, in October.
Besides his own relationship with the Traditional Latin Mass, Peters said that it holds great significance in the Church.
“The TLM has been the lifeblood of the Church, the source and summit of Catholic life, for thousands of years,” he said. “At a time when there has been an enormous, and catastrophic, decline in Catholic belief and vocations across the globe, the growth of the TLM has been a beacon of light and hope.”
“Suppressing the TLM would be enormously damaging to the Church,” he concluded. “We pray for a wise and careful implementation of Traditionis Custodes.”
He stressed that he and the petitioners support Burbidge with prayer.
“I want Bishop Burbidge to know we are praying for him and for the continuation of the traditional Mass and sacraments, and that we greatly appreciate how generous he has been in permitting celebration of the Mass and sacraments in the Old Rite to date,” Peters said.
When Burbidge issued his directive, it came as a response to the “responsa ad dubia” published by the Congregation for Divine Worship in December. Among the things listed in the responsa, the congregation said that, according to Traditionis custodes, sacraments cannot be celebrated using the Rituale Romanum and the Pontificale Romanum promulgated prior to the reforms following Vatican II.
In a letter to bishops accompanying Traditionis custodes, Pope Francis said that the celebration of the Traditional Latin Mass “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.'”
The pope also claimed that communities dedicated to the Traditional Latin Mass had “exploited to widen the gaps, reinforce the divergences, and encourage disagreements that injure the Church, block her path, and expose her to the peril of division.”
The petition says those characterizations do not apply “in any way” in the Arlington diocese.
(Story continues below)
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“Traditional Latin Mass attendees in this diocese are marked by deep reverence and love for the Church and a burning desire to live our Catholic faith as fully as possible, not a sense of disunity and schism,” it reads.
The Diocese of Arlington did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Former Washington, D. C., correspondent Katie Yoder covered pro-life issues, the U.S. Catholic bishops, public policy, and Congress for Catholic News Agency. She previously worked for Townhall.com, National Review, and the Media Research Center.
Christine Rousselle is a former DC Correspondent for Catholic News Agency. Prior to working at CNA, she was the managing web editor of Townhall.com; she has a BA in political science from Providence College.