Chicago Priests Must Now Get Permission to Celebrate Latin Mass

Chicago Priests Must Now Get Permission to Celebrate Latin Mass blase cupich presides over mass Cardinal Blase J. Cupich presides over a Simbang Gabi Mass at the Old St. Mary's Catholic Church in Chicago, Illinois, on Dec. 20, 2018. (KAMIL KRZACZYNSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

By Peter Malbin | Tuesday, 28 December 2021 12:03 PM

Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich announced that he has prohibited the celebration of Traditional Latin Masses on the first Sunday of every month, Christmas, the Holy Triduum, Easter Sunday, and Pentecost Sunday.

The Cardinal applied norms issued by Pope Francis in his July 16, 2021, letter known as "Traditioniscustodes" (Guardians of Tradition), which called for sweeping restrictions on the celebration of the Traditional Latin Mass.

As of Jan. 25, 2022, all priests, deacons, and instituted ministers in the Chicago archdiocese must request and receive permission from the Archbishop of Chicago to celebrate the Eucharist using the antecedent liturgy, that is the Roman Missal of 1962, either privately or publicly.

Traditional Latin Masses can no longer take place in a parish church unless both the archbishop and the Vatican agree to grant an exemption.

"My intention in sharing this policy is to encourage you to reflect on the duty we each must assist our people in this moment of Eucharistic revival by rediscovering the value of the liturgical reform in the rites given to us by the Second Vatican Council," Cardinal Cupich wrote in an accompanying letter.

Cardinal Cupich said he began a consultation process as soon as "Traditionis custodes" was published, Vatican News reported.

"Liturgists as well as those priests and leaders of religious communities" ministering to communities who "attend Mass celebrated in the earlier form" were among those consulted, he writes. Most of the priests and faithful in the Archdiocese "always celebrate the Mass" with the new rite, he admits. However, he asks Chicago’s parish priests to "to be aware of the developments surrounding Traditionis custodes," and says they need to be able to answer questions about it.

Cardinal Cupich hopes that this policy will foster a renewed understanding of the "foundations of the liturgical renewal," in accordance with Pope Francis' own desire. He also hopes that the priests will share this with their respective parish communities.

The Cardinal says that the Archdiocese’s liturgy office will be providing materials and support to priests in providing "liturgical catechesis and formation" so the faithful "can come to a better understanding and deeper acceptance of the restored and renewed liturgy that is part of the precious heritage of the Second Vatican Council."

National Catholic Reporter noted that the Archdiocese of Chicago is the latest in a handful of dioceses that have instituted policies to implement the pope's motu proprio. "The Diocese of Charleston has restricted the Latin Mass to four churches in South Carolina. The Archdiocese of Cincinnati has also restricted celebration of the pre-conciliar liturgy to four churches. In the Archdiocese of Denver, parishes that have hosted Latin Masses may continue to do so, but St. John Vianney and Redemptoris Mater seminaries will no longer train priests to celebrate Mass in the old rite."

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