As you may know, last summer, Pope Francis issued a motu proprio (executive decree) titled “Traditionis Custodes” which in Latin means “Guardians of the Tradition.” The document provides instructions regarding the celebration of the Tridentine or Latin Mass and stresses the importance of the local bishop’s oversight over its celebration.
The Tridentine Mass has always been a part of our diocese and in recent years these Masses have been celebrated daily at St. Patrick Oratory in Green Bay and occasionally in other parishes and locations. The Tridentine Mass is part of the fabric of our local church.
A few days after the reception of this motu proprio, I sent a letter to all the priests of our diocese indicating that until I received further clarification from the Vatican, the permissions and practices that were in place prior to the motu proprio remained in force. On Sept. 14, I met with all of the priests of our diocese who have publicly celebrated the Latin Mass to provide both support and guidance.
This past December, the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments issued their Response in Dubia to certain questions regarding the motu proprio. With this response from the Holy See, I now must act.
After much prayer and consultation, I have decided that the public celebration of the Mass using the Missale Romanum of 1962 will take place exclusively at St. Patrick Oratory in Green Bay. St. Patrick Oratory has been, and continues to be, the home for the vast majority of Catholics in northeastern Wisconsin who deeply appreciate this form of the Mass. I am fully in support of those who worship at St. Patrick Oratory and I wish to state clearly that this community of the faithful is a rich blessing for our diocese.
Brothers and sisters, I have a deep love of the sacred liturgy in each of its forms. We are fortunate within our diocese to have a vibrant community at St. Patrick Oratory by which this ancient and noble form of the Mass can be fostered and preserved. Please join with me in praying that more and more people will come to know our Lord Jesus Christ and to worship him in spirit and in truth.
In addition, I want to emphasize the importance of unity in the church, which is one of the four marks of the church. This unity can and does coexist within a diversity of peoples and styles of worship. But our unity comes from our commitment to the faith established by Jesus Christ, who is made present to us in the Eucharist. This faith has stood for 2000 years, and it is this faith that draws us together as one in our variety of liturgical expressions. Let us hold fast to this faith and commit ourselves each day to growing as disciples of our Lord, Jesus Christ!
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