Please note that the Latin Mass that usually takes place at the Church of Our Lady of Lourdes and St Peter Channel at 7.30pm on Thursdays will NOT take place on Thursday 13th January. The Mass will resume the following week.
Although I do not subscribe to The Tablet, I am always interested to see what it has to say on matters concerning the Latin Mass. I discovered that last week's edition included three letters (including one from myself) on the subject, all of which were highly critical of the policy coming from the Pope Francis and the Vatican of attempting to extinguish the Mass that so many of us love. The letters are reproduced below.
The following are extracts from the sermon given in St Peter's Basilica by Pope Francis on the Feast of the Epiphany:
"Have we been stuck all too long, nestled inside a conventional, external and formal religiosity that no longer warms our hearts and changes our lives?"
"Do our words and our liturgies ignite in people's hearts a desire to move towards God, or are they a 'dead language' that speaks only of itself and to itself?"
It seems that Pope Francis is continuing to deride the Latin Mass, and is now doing so in his sermons.
Thursday 6th January is the Feast of the Epiphany and a Holyday of Obligation. In the Middlesbrough Diocese, there will be a Sung Mass at 6pm at St Wilfrid's, York; and a Low Mass at the Church of Our Lady and St Peter Chanel in Hull The Mass in Hull will be offered for the repose of the soul of Peter Miles, a long time member of the Latin Mass Society, who died before Christmas.
On New Year's Eve, Rorate Caeli posted an absolutely brilliant article on the subject of Traditionis Custodes and the Responsa ad Dubia.
It is worth reading carefully and then passing on to anyone you think may be interested.
There seems to be plenty of evidence that one of the consequences of Pope Francis' motu proprio, Traditionis Custodes, has been to boost interest in the Latin Mass. Certainly, attendance at the Sunday Mass at the York Oratory has been growing in recent months. Also, some of the new faces are travelling considerable distances to attend the Mass. Last Sunday, I spoke to a student from Middlesbrough, who had travelled by train, and people from Sheffield that I had not seen before.
Reports on the internet suggest that Latin Mass congregations are also growing in America and other countries. I think that this is particularly true at churches run by traditional orders of priests, where additional Masses are having to be added on Sundays to accommodate the increased numbers.
It also seems to be the case that the Latin Mass movement is attracting a degree of support from Catholics who prefer the Novus Ordo Mass. I was recently told by by one Latin Mass supporter that his mother, who would never consider attending a Latin Mass, was greatly dismayed by the actions of Pope Francis.
Listed below are the Christmas Latin Masses that will be celebrated in the Middlesbrough Diocese:
Mass at Midnight
The York Oratory Sung Mass, preceded by carols at 11.15
Our Lady & St Peter Chanel, Hull. Low Mass
St Joan of Arc, Catterick Low Mass 8am
St Joseph, Stokesley Low Mass Noon
Readers will, no doubt, be aware that the Vatican (more specifically the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments) has published a document intended to clarify Pope Francis' motu proprio, Traditionis Custodes. This new document from the pen of Archbishop Roche, former Bishop of Leeds, is in the form of responses to 11 dubia. It would seem from the nature of the dubia that these are nor actual questions sent in by bishops, or indeed lay people, but rather a series of questions concocted to allow Archbishop Roche (with the authority of the Pope) to turn the screw a bit tighter on the availability of the traditional Mass.
The actual dubia and the responses can be found on the Vatican website, or perhaps more easily on the Rorate Caeli website, so I will not attempt to summarise them here. Suffice to say that the document is clearly designed to stifle the offering of the Latin Mass in a way that goes far beyond the provisions of traditionis custodes itself. Please try to seek out the document and study it for yourself.
I am sure that readers will agree that the 11 dubia and their 11 responses constitute 11 reasons why supporters of the Tridentine Mass should redouble their efforts to promote it. Opportunities will arise to do this as part of the Synodal discussions that are now taking place or are about to take place.
I would urge all readers to use all opportunities to continue to promote the Latin Mass with a renewed vigor.