The pilgrimage will mark the 15th anniversary of Summorum Pontificum, Pope Benedict XVI’s 2007 apostolic letter that liberalized the Church’s traditional liturgical rites.
Catholic worshipers are holding a pilgrimage to Washington, D.C., later this month to express their gratitude for the revival of the traditional Latin Mass, and as a “public act of grief” over what they call “new restrictions devastating” on the celebration of the old Mass.
“The National Summorum Pontificum Pilgrimage for the Restoration of the Latin Mass” will take place on Saturday, September 17 at 9 a.m., beginning at St. Thomas More Cathedral in Arlington and ending just over five miles away – or two hours . on foot – to St. Matthew the Apostle Cathedral in Washington.
The pilgrimage will commemorate the 15th anniversary of Sommerum Pontificum, The apostolic letter of Pope Benedict XVI of 2007 which liberalized the usus antiquior, the liturgical rites used before the reforms that followed the Second Vatican Council.
Pope Francis abrogated Benedict XVI’s Apostolic Letter in July 2021 with his motu owner Traditional custodians (“Keepers of Tradition”) and imposed a number of severe restrictions on the use of the 1962 Roman Missal.
The Pope said he made the decision because Benedict XVI’s reforms had not achieved the hoped-for unity between the two forms of the Roman Rite due to the “instrumental use” of the 1962 Roman Missal. Basing his decision on the results of a survey of bishops, but which would have shown that most ordinaries favored no change in the rules governing the ancient liturgy, he expressed his wish that the Reformed liturgy become “the unique expression” of the liturgy of the Catholic Church.
The restrictions have caused widespread consternation among followers of the Traditional Latin Mass, especially in Washington, DC, where Cardinal Wilton Gregory is restricting it. only three places beginning Sept. 21, and in Arlington, where Bishop Michael Burbidge will end traditional Mass celebrations in 13 parishes beginning Sept. 8, the feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Noah Peters, the pilgrimage’s chief organizer, told the Register that the new restrictions “will divide and threaten to destroy several thriving parish communities” in the Archdiocese of Washington and the Diocese of Arlington, as well as prevent parishioners to marry. or have their children baptized in the Old Rite. “Prosperous parishes, full of large families, converts and young people, will be dispersed,” he said.
Peters said the response to the pilgrimage “both on social media and among TLM attendees who know it has been absolutely tremendous,” and they expect hundreds of people to attend the event.
News of the initiative comes as liturgical abuses continue within the Reformed liturgy, including in Chicago, where Cardinal Blase Cupich led the charge in cracking down on the traditional Mass, including banning Leonine prayers at the end of mass and worship. against Deum (towards God). At the same time, he frequently permitted irreverent worship in his archdiocese. Peters called it a “blatant double standard” whose purpose, he says, is to “outrage traditionalists”.
“With few exceptions, one of the beautiful things about the Traditional Latin Mass is that it’s nearly impossible to celebrate it irreverently,” he said. “It’s just too demanding for priests to think about anything other than just worshiping God.”
Peters added on the contrary that an irreverent liturgy “is a scandal and an outrage” because it causes “absolutely immeasurable damage to the faith” and encourages the laity to “see the Church as unserious and undeserving of respect, and that is precisely how many lay Catholics actually see the Church today.
“The MLT is a serious and rigorous liturgy,” he continued, “and it produces serious and rigorous Catholics who challenge themselves to grow in faith and embrace even the most difficult teachings of the Church. Church”.
Peters hopes the pilgrimage will bring “prayer and sacrifice to God”, and that it will be “an act of evangelization” and an expression of “gratitude” for the traditional Mass because of “how much it has enriched our own lives and the Church”. as a whole over the centuries.
He also hopes it will help bring communities together. “We must build strong Catholic communities to survive these difficult times – and that is precisely what Traditionis compelled us to do,” Peters said. “Events like this help us meet, make friends and connect with each other. I’ve already made so many close friends in the year since Traditionis, and that helped me to grow in faith, hope and charity.
The Arlington-Washington pilgrimage follows similar expressions of dismay elsewhere over new restrictions, including a march from Paris to Rome from March 6 to May 1 by French worshipers belonging to the The Roman Way association, and an almost weekly demonstration of French Catholics in front of the apostolic nunciature in Paris.
This Saturday will mark the 50th event of this type. Last week, the participants wrote a letter to the Apostolic Nuncio, Bishop Celestino Migliore, describing their “feelings of pain and anger at the unjust persecution and, moreover, the most untimely persecution that Traditional custodians applies to the traditional liturgy.
They called it “unjust persecution because the worst abuses can develop unhindered in the new liturgy”, because a part of French Catholics “are treated as sub-Catholics” and because of what they described as a “desire to destroy vocations”. that they produce. »
Observing that “traditional vocations are multiplying”, they expressed the conviction that “the treasure represented by the ancient Roman liturgy for faith and piety will not disappear.
“That is why, on Saturday, we will meet to pray and ‘watch’ on the avenue du President Wilson [the location of the apostolic nunciature],” they wrote.