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CORRESPONDENT

As Pope, Cardinal Try to End Latin Mass, Angry Catholics March

Organizer Noah Peters speaks to supporters of traditional Catholic Mass at St. Matthews Cathedral
Organizer Noah Peters speaks to supporters of traditional Catholic Mass at St. Matthews Cathedral in Washington, D.C., on Saturday. (John Gizzi)

John Gizzi By Saturday, 17 September 2022 07:25 PM EDT Current | Bio | Archive

Pope Francis is trying to restrict the Roman Catholic Church's traditional Latin Mass worldwide, and Cardinal Wilton Gregory of Washington, D.C., has ordered that its celebration be banned except in three locations.

But this didn't stop several hundred Catholics from marching Saturday in support of the Mass Catholics celebrated regularly for more than 500 years until the early 1970s. 

Billed as the "The National Summorum Pontificum [Pope Benedict XVI’s 2007 apostolic letter addressing the celebration of the Latin Mass] Pilgrimage for the Restoration of the Latin Mass," the march began at the Cathedral of St. Thomas More in Arlington, Virginia, and concluded five miles away at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington, D.C.

From as far away as Kansas City, Missouri; Chicago; and upstate New York, sometimes with small children in strollers, traditionalists came to the nation's capital for the pilgrimage.  Most were Catholics too young to have experienced the dramatic changes in the Mass that followed the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s. Several who spoke to Newsmax voiced their sadness over Gregory's crackdown on their Mass, which takes effect this month.

"My husband and I attended Latin Mass at St. Mary's [in Washington, D.C.] for 17 years, and we're heartbroken the cardinal did this," Erin Menke of Manassas, Virginia, told Newsmax. "We're so disappointed he never responded to our letters begging him to let Mass remain at St. Mary's."

Menke, who was joined by her husband and seven children, said they were in "wait-and-see mode while we look for a new spiritual home."

Kris Laszczewski and her brother Rich came from Chicago to be marshals in the Saturday march.

"[Chicago] Cardinal [Blase] Cupich has been grinding us under," she told us. "After Christ the King Church was closed down, we started going to St. John Cantius — and there's a Latin Mass there.”

Noah Peters of Fairfax, Virginia, the 36-year-old principal organizer of the pilgrimage, told Newsmax, "The Pope's [restriction of the Latin Mass] was so outrageous, so devastating to worshippers in the traditional rite, I felt someone had to do something about it. From St. Thomas Aquinas to [St.] Padre Pio, Catholic leaders we honor have [celebrated] the Latin Mass. Now, in trying to restrict it, the Pope has crossed a line, and we cannot accept it.”

Traditional, Latin Mass-loving Catholics, Peters said, "are not video game characters that the Pope and Cardinal Gregory can move from the Latin Mass part of the board to one with the [post-1970] vernacular Mass."

Remote to most non-Catholics, the outrage of Peters and fellow marchers began in July 2021, when Francis issued his apostolic letter Traditionis Custodes to curtail traditional worship — a dramatic reversal of the legacy of his two immediate predecessors. Pope John Paul II, in the 1988 document Ecclesia Dei, called for "wide and generous application" of previous orders permitting celebration of the Latin Mass and admonished that "respect must everywhere be shown for the feelings of all those who are attached to the Latin liturgical tradition."

Pope Benedict's 2007 document "Summorum Pontificum" went further, stating that priests could freely celebrate the Latin Mass privately, and “in parishes where a group of the faithful attached to the previous liturgical tradition stably exists, the parish priest should willingly accede to their requests to celebrate Holy Mass according to the rite of the 1962 "Roman Missal" [the last Catholic prayer book containing the words and choreography of the Latin Mass]."

For centuries, all Catholics worshiped in the same Mass, which was said exclusively in Latin and in which the priest was ad orientem (facing the same direction as the worshippers — east). Following the Second Vatican Council, it was gradually replaced by a Mass celebrated in the vernacular languages of individual countries, with the priest facing parishioners and the parishioners chanting responses to him.

In remarks to marchers at on the steps of St. Matthews, Peters pointed out that he and his wife "were married last year in the traditional rite. Because of the new restrictions, couples can't be married that way.

"Their children cannot be baptized nor receive the sacraments of First Communion or Confirmation in Latin. And we cannot be buried in the Latin rite.”

Warning that "we must not be seduced by false visions of unity," Peters called on fellow worshippers to spread their faith "even if it means worshipping in gymnasiums and parish halls," to raise their numbers attending weekly Mass "and then come back to the cardinal and get our Masses [celebrated] once again in the church."

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.


John-Gizzi
Pope Francis is trying to restrict the Roman Catholic Church's traditional Latin Mass worldwide, and Cardinal Wilton Gregory of Washington, D.C., has ordered that its celebration be banned except in three locations.
vatican, latin mass, pope francis, catholics, cardinal, wilton gregory
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2022-25-17
Saturday, 17 September 2022 07:25 PM
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