The archbishop of Newark, New Jersey, Cardinal Joseph Tobin, responded to two questions about how the Church welcomes Catholics from the “LGBTQ+” community (lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transsexuals, queer, and more) and about how it treats the faithful who love the Traditional Latin Mass (TLM).

At the Tuesday, Oct. 10, press conference on the Synod on Synodality at the Vatican, the cardinal responded to a question about those who feel “excluded” from the Church, which the working document mentions, such as divorced persons who remarry without an annulment and people who identify as LGBTQ+.

The Synod on Synodality was convened in October 2021 under the theme “For a synodal Church: communion, participation, and mission.” Participating in the session taking place in Rome this October are 364 people including bishops, religious, priests, deacons, and laypeople. For the first time, non-bishops — including 54 women — will have the right to vote.

Responding to a question posed by an Italian journalist, the cardinal recalled that a few years ago he received “a pilgrimage of people who felt marginalized due to their sexual orientation — LGBTQ+ people — in the cathedral. I couldn’t stay for the whole service because I had other commitments as well, but I welcomed them.”

“One of my auxiliary bishops, a Cuban American, had a wonderful reflection after I gave the initial welcome. He said, ‘We have a beautiful cathedral ... probably the most beautiful in North America.… Bishop Mani [Manuel Aurelio] Cruz said: ‘This is a wonderfully beautiful place, but it's most beautiful when the doors are open,’” he continued.

“So I think the real beauty of our Catholic Church is clear, when the doors are open and welcoming. And it is my hope that the Synod will help us do that in a more significant way,” Tobin said.

What would Tobin say to those who love the TLM?

Then the cardinal responded to another journalist’s question, this time in English, about what he would say to adherents of the Traditional Latin Mass in the U.S. and elsewhere who feel that they have been "banished" from their parishes since severe restrictions were placed on the old rite in response to Pope Francis' moto proprio Traditiones Custodes.

“I would say the experience of feeling banished is something that is sadly part of the signs of the times, not simply for people who very much love the Traditional Mass,” Tobin said.

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The prelate then recalled that when he was archbishop of Indianapolis, he had to close some parishes, which was part of “some very painful decisions” and that only two or three years later could it be seen that “this was good for us. We didn't know it at the time.”

“For people who love the Traditional Mass, they are still under the conditions of two motu proprios, as well as the decisions of the Dicastery for Divine Worship, there are still opportunities for it, but not perhaps what they have been accustomed to. So I know it has caused a lot of grief among people who particularly identified with that Mass, but I don’t think they have been banished from the Catholic Church,” he said.

The Vatican published Pope Francis’ motu proprio Traditionis Custodes on July 16, 2021. The text almost completely restricts the celebration of the TLM, otherwise known as the extraordinary form or the Tridentine rite of the 1962 missal.

With this document, the Holy Father changed the provisions given by his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, in his motu proprio Summorum Pontificum, which recognized the right of any Latin rite priest to offer the TLM privately and, under certain organizational conditions (a group making the request, a parish priest agreeing), it could be celebrated publicly.

Among the main provisions of Traditionis Custodes is that the bishop must be the one who authorizes the celebration of the Eucharist with the 1962 missal.

If the priest asking for permission was ordained after the publication of the motu proprio, then the Vatican must give authorization. It also established that new groups celebrating the TLM cannot be created and that any provision that does not conform to the motu proprio is abolished.

On Feb. 21, Pope Francis confirmed that Traditionis Custodes had been implemented.

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This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.