In this article, we present a summary of the responses of various bishops around the globe to the Motu Proprio of Pope Francis Traditionis custodes (“Guardians of the tradition”).
Newsdesk (July 22,2021 8:30 PM Gaudium Press) – Pope Francis’ July 16 motu proprio Traditionis custodes, concerning liturgies before the 1970 reform, restricted the use of the Traditional Latin Mass. It states that it is a bishop’s “exclusive competence” to authorize the use of the Latin Mass according to the 1962 Missal in his diocese.
Bishop Edward Malesic of Cleveland USA wrote on July 19, “I will be consulting with my advisors and those currently responsible for the celebration of the Eucharist according to what has been termed the Extraordinary Form of the Mass. At this time, I grant temporary permission for those priests competent in celebrating the Eucharist according to the 1962 Missal to continue to do so in private and in churches that as of July 16, 2021 have publicly scheduled these Masses,”
In Milwaukee USA, Bishop Jerome Listecki has announced that the Latin Mass will continue as scheduled at St. Stanislaus, a church administered by the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest; the institute is a society of apostolic life with an emphasis on the traditional Latin Mass. He said that any other priest who celebrates the Latin Mass will have to inform him that they will continue to do so, and “explain the circumstances under which they will celebrate.”
Archbishop Alexander Sample from the Archdiocese of Portland via Twitter stated, “I know that many of you will want me to comment on the Holy Father’s new legislation regarding the traditional Latin Mass,” said Sample on July 16. “I never respond precipitously to things like this. I need time to pray, reflect and study this new law so that I can respond in mercy, charity and truth.”
Several German Catholic dioceses have confirmed that they are making no immediate changes in the wake of Pope Francis’ motu proprio. Limburg diocese, led by Bishop Georg Bätzing, the president of the German Catholic bishops’ conference, said: “The practice that has been tried and tested so far — priests specially commissioned for the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite carry out the celebration at fixed locations (e.g. the Deutschordenskirche in Frankfurt) — will not change for the time being.”
Bishop Gebhard Fürst of Rottenburg-Stuttgart has also confirmed that Masses will continue to be offered in the traditional form in his diocese in southwestern Germany. Diocesan spokesman Gregor Moser said on July 20 that Bishop Fürst “welcomes the decision of the pope to place more responsibility for the liturgy in the hands of the respective diocesan bishop. He sees this as a further step in the realization of this principle of subsidiarity, which Pope Francis has been very concerned about since the beginning of his term of office.”
The Diocese of Augsburg in southern Germany, where Traditional Latin Masses are also celebrated, said: “The motu proprio of the Holy Father requires an in-depth study of the text, which Bishop Bertram [Meier] is currently undertaking. Conclusions from this for the Diocese of Augsburg can only be made afterward.”
The Archdiocese of Berlin said that it could not foresee when the motu proprio would be implemented, given that the diocese is in the midst of the summer vacation.
Archbishop Peter Comensoli, in a video filmed in front of the high altar at Melbourne’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral, said that “there are a number of priests in our archdiocese and a good number of God’s people who have been celebrating the Mass in the 1962 ritual of Pope St. John XXIII, and who will now need to adapt and make some adjustments in what can happen in our archdiocese into the future. For some, it will be not an easy moment to make an adjustment, and I want to acknowledge that. But for most of us, and most of our priests of the archdiocese, we will not really notice much of a difference because we have been using this ritual that I’m holding here now for some 50 years, and it’s something that we’re quite familiar with and is common to us.” Arch Comensoli admits that “it will not be an easy moment to adjust for some, and I want to acknowledge that. But for most of us, and most of our priests of the archdiocese, we will not notice much of a difference because we have been using this ritual that I’m holding here now for some 50 years, and it’s something that we’re quite familiar with and is common to us.”
In a statement on July 22, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines issued a statement on supporting Pope Francis’ motu proprio Traditionis custodes. “We express our obedience to and communion with the Supreme Pontiff as he leads us in the realization of the unity of the Church by means of the proclamation of the Gospel and in a particular manner in the celebration of the Eucharist.”
Comments by Cardinal Mueller can be found on our website.
(With files from CNA)