New policy requires all Chicago clergy to obtain permission to celebrate Latin Mass


From January 25, 2022, all clergy in the Archdiocese of Chicago will need the Archbishop’s permission to celebrate Tridentine Mass, according to a new Archdiocesan policy that Cardinal Blase Cupich promulgated on December 27.

The five-page policy sets out the Archdiocese’s plan for implementing Traditionis Custodes, the apostolic letter that Pope Francis published on July 16 which limits the use of the pre-Vatican II liturgy, ordering priests and deacons that their written requests to offer the pre-conciliar Latin Mass must include an average attendance to these liturgies and that priests are obliged to celebrate Mass in the Reformed rite during major solemnities such as Christmas and Easter.

“My intention in sharing this policy is to encourage you to reflect on the duty that we each have to assist our people at this time of Eucharistic renewal by rediscovering the value of liturgical reform in the rites entrusted to us by Vatican Council II. . Written in a covering letter to priests.

The cardinal released his policy just over a week after Francis approved new clarifications regarding restrictions on the Latin Mass. These clarifications, published on December 18 by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, prohibit ordinations and priestly confirmations in the old rite and limit the frequency with which priests authorized to celebrate pre-Vatican II mass can do it.

Cupich wrote that after Francis published Traditionis Custodes, the cardinal consulted liturgists, priests and leaders of religious communities who have experience of ministry to Catholics who regularly attend Mass according to the old rite.

Cupich wrote in his letter to priests that he hoped that the publication of the Archdiocesan policy would be “an opportunity to renew your understanding of the foundations of liturgical renewal and to share this with your communities”.

After January 25, any priest, deacon and ordained minister of the Archdiocese of Chicago wishing to perform the ancient rite will not only have to make an official request in writing, but their requests must include a “declaration of agreement” which they will abide by. the norms established in the policy of the archdiocese.

If the Archdiocese grants authorization to celebrate the Latin Mass, it will also be understood that the priests authorized to offer this liturgy and to ensure the pastoral care of the traditionalist communities will do so as delegates of the Archbishop.

The use of regular parish churches for Mass in the old rite will only be permitted if it is not possible to use another church, oratory or chapel. The use of a parish church for the Latin Mass also requires that the Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments grant this favor at the request of the Archbishop.

If the traditional Latin Mass is permitted, readings from Scripture will need to be proclaimed in the vernacular, using the official translation of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Homilies should also reflect the norms and guidelines of preaching indicated by Vatican Council II and post-conciliar documents.

Priests authorized to celebrate Mass in Latin will be required to celebrate Reformed Rite Mass on the first Sunday of each month. And in the Archdiocese of Chicago, only the post-conciliar liturgy can be celebrated on Christmas, the triduum, Easter Sunday and Pentecost Sunday.

“The guiding principles for the reception and implementation of this Motu Proprio must be the unity of the Church and the recognition that the Vatican Council II and its reforms are not only an authentic action of the Holy Spirit, but are also in continuity with the Tradition of the Church ”, declares the policy .

This recognition, adds the policy, implies “full acceptance” that the liturgical reforms promulgated by Popes Paul VI and John Paul II “are the unique expression of lex orandi of the Roman Rite “, in accordance with the decrees of the Second Vatican Council.

Signaling Vatican II’s call for a Reformed liturgy, Cupich signed the policy of his archdiocese on December 25, the 60th anniversary of Humanae Hithe apostolic constitution by which Pope John XXIII convoked the council.

In his letter to priests, Cupich said that he had also asked the Archdiocesan Office of Divine Worship to develop materials and opportunities “for catechesis and liturgical formation” for the lay faithful “so that all can achieve a a better understanding and a deeper acceptance of the and a renewed liturgy which is part of the precious heritage of Vatican Council II. “

“The challenge that awaits us, as pastors, is therefore to help these brothers and sisters to understand that the Reformed Liturgy continues to embody the spiritual depth of the previous liturgy and that it has been enhanced by the restoration of elements in the tradition. who had become underestimated, ”Cupich wrote.

The Archdiocese of Chicago is the latest of a handful of dioceses that have instituted policies to implement the Pope motu proprio. The Diocese of Charleston has restricted Latin Mass to four churches in South Carolina. The Archdiocese of Cincinnati has also limited the 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 according to the old rite.


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