The Vatican’s Divine Worship dicastery issued a “responsa ad dubia” in December that said that according to Traditionis custodes, sacraments cannot be celebrated using the liturgical books Rituale Romanum and the Pontificale Romanum promulgated before the Vatican II reforms.
Priests in the Washington Archdiocese who wish to offer Mass according to the Roman Missal of 1962, either privately or publicly in the archdiocese will be required to obtain written permission. Gregory said that priests making the request must “explicitly affirm in writing, ‘the validity and legitimacy of the liturgical reform dictated by the Second Vatican Council and the Magisterium of the Supreme Pontiffs,’ and demonstrate an appreciation ‘of the value of concelebration, particularly at the Chrism Mass.’”
Monsignor Charles Pope, pastor of Holy Comforter-St. Cyprian Catholic Church in Washington, D.C., will serve as Gregory's delegate "in the pastoral care" of the designated Latin Mass communities, Gregory states.
"This delegate will also serve as a moderator of all the clergy and instituted members who have received permission to celebrate the Eucharist using the Roman Missal of 1962 to ensure that provisions of Traditionis custodes, the Response ad dubia, and these norms are followed," the decree states.
In his letter, Gregory referenced the faithfulness of many adherents of the Traditional Latin Mass.
“In the time I have served as Archbishop of Washington, I have discovered that the majority of the faithful who participate in these liturgical celebrations in the Archdiocese of Washington are sincere, faith-filled, and well-meaning. Likewise, the majority of priests who celebrate these liturgies are doing their very best to respond pastorally to the needs of the faithful,” Gregory wrote in the letter.
He went on to say, however, “It is clear that the Holy Father’s sincere intention is to bring about greater unity in the Church through the celebration of the Mass and sacraments according to the 1970 Roman Missal of Pope Paul VI, which was the fruit of the renewal in the liturgy that the Second Vatican Council called for."
The neighboring diocese of Arlington, Virginia, issued a directive in January barring baptisms and weddings in the Extraordinary Form that were not already scheduled from taking place in the diocese. Twenty-one of the diocese’s 70 parishes offer the Latin Mass, one of the highest percentages among U.S. dioceses.
Pope Francis signed a decree in February confirming that the Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP) can continue to use the liturgical books in force in 1962.
This is a developing story.
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