Pope Francis’ restrictions on traditional Latin Mass won’t affect St. Rose of Lima

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A Latin Mass is conducted daily at St. Rose of Lima Parish, 1009 N. Eighth, in Quincy.

QUINCY — Pope Francis cracked down last month on the spread of the old Latin Mass by reversing one of Pope Benedict XVI’s signature decisions. However, the Latin Mass celebrated daily at St. Rose of Lima, 1009 N. Eighth, is unaffected.

Pope Francis reimposed restrictions on celebrating the Latin Mass that Pope Benedict relaxed in 2007. The Associated Press reported the pontiff said he was taking action because Benedict’s reform had become a source of division in the church and been exploited by Catholics opposed to the Second Vatican Council, the 1960s meetings that modernized the church and its liturgy.

The National Catholic Register reported in late July that Bishop Thomas Paprocki, the bishop of Springfield, was dispensing two parish churches in his diocese — Sacred Heart Church in Springfield and St. Rose of Lima. He is allowing them to continue to celebrate Masses “on any or all days of the year,” according to the Roman Missal put into law by Pope Saint John XXIII in 1962.

Pope Francis’ motu proprio allows individual bishops to authorize the use of the traditional Latin Mass in their respective dioceses. Pope Benedict’s 2007 Summorum Pontificum recognized the rights of all priests to celebrate the traditional Mass. It did not require them to obtain the permission of their bishop to do so.

Francis also said bishops are no longer allowed to authorize the formation of any new pro-Latin Mass groups in their dioceses.

The new document says bishops are to “designate” the locations of traditional liturgies, adding that they cannot be offered at “parochial churches.”

St. Rose of Lima is a personal parish administered by the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP). As a personal parish rather than a territorial parish, St. Rose of Lima does not have parish boundaries. However, it is designated “for those persons in the Quincy area and the surrounding vicinity who have an affinity for the celebration of the sacred liturgy according to the extraordinary form.” 

Catholics can join the personal parish of St. Rose of Lima or the territorial parish where they have a home or both.

Father Joseph Portzer, pastor of St. Rose of Lima, declined an interview request for this story. He referred all questions to the FSSP headquarters in South Abingdon Township, Pa. 

Father William Lawrence, North American Provincial for the FSSP, was unavailable for an interview. Claudio Salvucci, director of communications, referred to a statement posted on the FSSP’s website. 

“The Fraternity of St. Peter is deeply saddened by the reasons given for limiting the use of the Missal of Pope St. John XXIII, which is at the center of its charism,” the statement read. “The Fraternity in no way recognizes itself in the criticisms made. … Many people have discovered or returned to the Faith thanks to this liturgy. We hope to be able to count on the understanding of the bishops, whose authority we have always respected, and with whom we have always collaborated loyally.”

Bishop Paprocki cited the Code of Canon Law for his decision to issue the dispensation for the two parishes. It states: “A diocesan bishop, whenever he judges that a dispensation will contribute to their spiritual good, is able to dispense the faithful from universal and particular disciplinary laws issued for his territory or his subjects by the supreme authority of the Church.”

Traditionalist Catholics immediately decried the move by Pope Francis as an attack on them and the ancient liturgy. Critics said they had never before witnessed a pope so thoroughly reversing his predecessor. The fact that Pope Benedict is alive and living in the Vatican only amplified the extraordinary nature of Francis’ move.

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