PONTIFICAL TLM in WASHINGTON DC CANCELED: “unable to obtain the necessary permission”

Keep in mind that the Pontifical Mass was to be celebrated in honor of the anniversary of the election of Pope Benedict.  This year will also bring the 60th Jubilee of the Holy Father’s ordination.

March 9, 2011
Contact: Paul King

WASHINGTON, DC–The Paulus Institute for the Propagation of the Sacred Liturgy regrets to announce that the Pontifical High Mass in the Extraordinary Form scheduled to be offered at the high altar of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception on April 9th is cancelled.

The Paulus Institute had organized the Lenten Mass in honor of the Holy Father on the sixth anniversary of his election to the papacy. It was to have been the second such Mass, the first having been offered at the National Shrine last year before a capacity congregation of over 4,000. Unfortunately, this year’s scheduled celebrant, Archbishop Augustine DiNoia of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments in Rome, withdrew his acceptance of our invitation as a result of changed circumstances.

Although the Paulus Institute has worked for the past several weeks to proceed with the Mass in the end we were unable to obtain the necessary permission.

“We deeply regret this turn of events,” said Paul King, president of The Paulus Institute.  “We are very disappointed, well aware that thousands of Catholics throughout the United States have made plans to attend.  Countless others around the world would have watched and prayed with the EWTN broadcast and wanted the DVD.

“This conclusion is most unfortunate, but we are not standing still.  We are looking forward to a number of activities and events for the future, both near and long term.”

The Paulus Institute offers its encouragement to those faithful new to the traditional form of the Mass and those familiar with it.  As Pope Benedict has said, “what was sacred before remains sacred now.”  What nourished the saints of the last thousand years still nourishes us today.

# # #

Contact: Paul N. King

Mail: The Paulus Institute
PO Box 30172
Bethesda MD 20824

It seems the Archdiocese of Washington DC did not want the Mass to be celebrated.

I don’t, however, understand how this meshes with the somewhat independent status of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

Although this year the Mass would originally have been during Lent, and then rescheduling was attempted, this is what the Archdiocese did not permit to be repeated:


UPDATE 12 March 15:20 GMT:

I received an addendum to the Press Release from the Paulus Institute:


CONTACT:  Paul King (pking@KingPLLC.com)
MARCH 11, 2011

April 9th Pontifical High Mass – addendum

WASHINGTON, DC— The Paulus Institute would like to clarify that Msgr. Walter Rossi and the Shrine are not at all responsible for the cancellation of the Apr. 9 Mass, and indeed have been very helpful.

For information about forthcoming activities of The Paulus Institute see www.paulusinstitute.org.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. RichR says:

    Permission for what, exactly? we all know a priest does not need permission from his Ordinary to offer a TLM, but doesn’t a visiting priest need permission to offer a Mass in another priest’s parish (OF orEF)?

  2. Glen M says:

    This is a disappointing and disturbing story. There are too many instances of bishops discouraging the Extraordinary Form, yet allowing pro-abortion politicians to receive Holy Communion. Where is there obedience to the Chair of St. Peter?

  3. Rellis says:

    There are only two sources of permission, and one is totally acceptable under S.P.:

    1. Cardinal Wuerl. His permission is decidedly NOT needed, and if he is the impediment, the entire Traddie world suddenly has a new least favorite guy.

    2. Msgr. Rossi, the rector of the Shrine. His permission is needed to do any event at the Shrine, including a TLM. If his permission was revoked, it’s a fair question to ask why. Unfortunately, his blocking authority remains intact under S.P.

    I’m guessing it’s Msgr. Rossi. Cardinal Wuerl has backed off some of his former intransigence against tradition.

    If those who were more directly involved than I would care to comment, that would be helpful.

  4. wmeyer says:

    RichR has asked the question which leaped to my mind. Interesting, however, that even if permission is needed in the case of a visiting priest, it would be withheld when the priest in question is from the CDW. Hard to imagine that as other than a thumbing of the nose at the Vatican.

    Most disappointing.

  5. MarkJ says:

    This is why we need to redouble our efforts at promoting the TLM whenever and wherever we can. If there is one near you, support it with your attendance and your money. Invite other Catholics to come along and experience it. Promote it at other parishes that do not yet have it. Do everything to get it established in as many parishes as possible, then pray… and support. We must remain ever vigilant and active… Satan never relaxes his efforts and we can’t either.

  6. Jon says:

    Living only two hours from the Basilica, having attended last year, with plans to attend again this year, I am deeply saddened, and profoundly angered.

    The event last year was HUGE, and it promised to be just as big this year. It’s obvious to me, and no, I’ve had conversations with no one, but one would have to be without eyes and ears not to know it, that pettiness and desperate obfuscation are at work here.

    If in fact Msgr. Rossi is the reason for the cancellation, certainly a word from his cardinal archbishop would reverse that.

    No, I’m not afraid to say it. Donald Wuerl should NEVER have received a red hat.

    Like last year, when Cardinal Hoyos was suddenly unable to attend, and a solution was found, perhaps an appeal and invitation to the man who was His Eminence Wuerl’s classmate is in order.

    Does anyone know what Cardinal Burke is doing April 9th?

  7. bernadette says:

    Well that is distressing, especially since I already purchased my non-refundable airline tickets!

  8. Henry Edwards says:

    Could it be that someone did not want the perhaps unexpectedly rousing success of last year’s solemn pontifical Mass at the Shrine to be seen again this year? Nor for the wholesome participation of an overflowing congregation of so many faithful Catholics of all ages–but including especially so many youth and young families–to be seen on television around the globe?

    I know nothing of protocol at this level, but recall past telecasts of various special Masses from the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, in which the Archbishop of Washington was frequently thanked publicly for his hospitality to the event.

  9. Tina in Ashburn says:

    This news is SO disappointing!!!!!!

    The 9:00 AM Sunday Mass at St Mary’s in DC, near Chinatown, has been a Tridentine Mass for years and years, and is still going strong. If that goes, then we do have a problem in DC.

    Rather, I suspect other forces – my understanding is that Msgr Rossi is not against this kind of thing.

    Also, from what I heard, pulling the Mass together last year was very, very difficult and although worked on for two years, there was a lot of sacrifice on the part of many to pull it off. As you remember, the main celebrant was missing just a few days beforehand and was barely resolved in time.

    My question is this: who can we write, call, petition, complain to in order to reinstate this much loved occasion? We need more details on what is going on too, lest folks make some rash accusations.

  10. Centristian says:

    In light of the provisions of Summorum Pontificum, it is rather perplexing. That some authority should resist a group’s attempt to celebrate a Tridentine Mass seems very passe’, at this point, particularly in consideration of the fact that “thousands of Catholics throughout the United States have made plans to attend.” I’d really be interested to learn who denied permission for this and why. I have to imagine there was a compelling reason; it is hard to imagine what, however.

    Could not there have been a compromise offered so not to utterly dissappoint those thousands planning to attend in hopes of high liturgy? Could they not celebrate a pontifical Mass according to the ordinary form, if not the ’62 Missal, but in Latin, ad orientem, and with “old school” solemnity? I wonder if that potential solution even occurred to anyone.

  11. Henry Belton says:

    Well, if there’s no welcome at the inn, maybe there’s a stable out back? – What’s plan B? No need to cancel – only need to relocate. We need to make it happen.

  12. Tina,
    Re what you say about difficulties: yes, but it SHOULDN’T be that difficult. That’s the quandary.

  13. irishgirl says:

    This is so disappointing! Not that I would have been able to attend it-but I was looking forward to watching it again on EWTN, hopefully with Father Goodwin and Father Z as ‘narrators’!
    Somebody in the Washington Archdiocese has got some serious ‘splaining to do! They’re going against the spirit and letter of SP!

  14. teomatteo says:

    I deserve to have a better explanation than ‘permission slip was not signed’.

  15. Athelstan says:

    “I’m guessing it’s Msgr. Rossi. Cardinal Wuerl has backed off some of his former intransigence against tradition.”

    I can’t speak to details, but I will say that evidence increasingly points to Msgr. Rossi in the Shrine’s resistance to the traditional liturgy. He has already scotched the weekly TLM at the Lourdes chapel, and refused other requests (all quite proper and accommodating) as well, one recent one-off (and it seemed to me, grudging) private celebration notwithstanding. It seems quite possible that he had his excuse to cancel this event, and he took it readily.

    This is not to say that there is any love for the TLM in the archdiocesan chancery. But my feeling is that Cardinal Wuerl is indifferent, and unwilling to compel the intransigents in his realm from working to tightly seal off the TLM as much as possible.

    I don’t think that the existing TLMs (quite early on Sunday) at St. Mary’s and Old St. John’s will be eliminated. But I see no prospect that any improvement will be made to the traditional liturgy situation for the foreseeable future.

    Let us all pray for the hope that this event might yet be somehow restored. Perhaps respectful, thoughtful letters or emails urging a reconsideration or reschedule to the Shrine might be of help as well.

  16. Titus says:

    Permission for what, exactly?

    See the comment from “Rellis,” above: you don’t need anyone’s permission to celebrate an EF Mass, but you need the rector’s permission to use the basilica for anything.

    Although, since the Shrine is a a basilica, the rector isn’t the final authority: the use of the building is actually a matter of papal cognizance. Anyone have the ear of the Apostolic Nuncio? (Caveat: I think this is the case; I know it used to be, but I really don’t know how the current law works, although I would love to know.)

  17. New Sister says:

    Like predicting the weather, selecting cardinals is one of the areas NOT covered by Papal Infallibility.

  18. digdigby says:

    “Could not there have been a compromise offered so not to utterly dissappoint those thousands planning to attend in hopes of high liturgy? Could they not celebrate a pontifical Mass according to the ordinary form, if not the ’62 Missal, but in Latin, ad orientem, and with “old school” solemnity? I wonder if that potential solution even occurred to anyone.”

    Why is there always a ‘hiss’ underneath your solicitudes? Your last obfuscation on holy water ‘not really being that big a deal and mostly just a symbol’ clued me in. When I read you, the hair stands up on my arms.

  19. Katherine says:

    There are too many instances of bishops … allowing pro-abortion politicians to receive Holy Communion. Where is there obedience to the Chair of St. Peter?

    Since the occupant of the Chair of Peter and his predecesor have given communion, I guess they are disobeying themselves.

  20. PghCath says:

    Query: are the priests who staff the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception priests of the Diocese of the District of Columbia? Who appoints the Rector?

    If Basilica staff is responsible for the cancellation, note the following from the Basilica’s website: “The Basilica depends solely on the generous offerings of people like you to continue its mission — serving as a national sanctuary of prayer and pilgrimage for hundreds of thousands of our brothers and sisters in Christ.”

  21. tabellarius says:

    People are maybe too fast to blame just the priests at the Shrine? Can we make that assumption? This seems more like the Archdiocese. Could the priests at the Shrine really take this stand on their own without the backing or the direction of the Cardinal?

    I bet this is hostility at the Latin Mass by the Cardinal. It was he, I’ll wager. Now that he has his red hat he can do what he wants.

    It would be good to know the reason why they said no. There has to be a reason.

  22. aladextra says:

    As someone involved with the planning of this Mass, I can offer a full-throated defense of the Shrine. The cancellation of this Mass had nothing to do with the Shrine. The denial of permission came from of the Archdiocese of Washington.

  23. albizzi says:

    Which permission was sought?
    After all the Motu proprio has dispensed the priests willing to celebrate mass in the EF from any permission seeking from the local bishop or anybody else.
    Am I wrong, Fr Zuhlsdorf?

  24. albizzi: Which permission was sought?

    This is a good question. There are formalities which must be observed. In general, when a bishop is invited to come into a different diocese, it is proper to ask the local bishop first. However, the Shrine is a different matter. My understanding, which is admittedly imperfect, is that all US bishops, either Latin or Eastern, can treat the Shrine as if it is their cathedral away from home, that is, they can use the crozier, the throne, etc. Usually, if a bishop comes into another diocese, he needs permission from the local bishop to use the pastoral staff and throne.

    So, technically, for the Shrine it isn’t necessary to have permission for an American residential bishop to come. But Archbp. DiNoia is not a residential bishop, American though he is.

    The real problem here is that this was to be the OLD MASS.

    I suspect that, eventually, the reasons behind this will be made known. There is an old saying Italian that the devil makes great frying pans but not lids: eventually everyone can see what is cooking.

    When the reasons for this come forth, people will be able to decide what to think about the players involved. Until then, don’t leap to too many conclusions or commit the sin of rash judgment.

  25. Childermass says:

    Do these closet quasi-schismatics have any idea how much fuel they give to the SSPX when they obstruct the celebration of the traditional Roman rite as if it were dangerous to faith and downright indecent?

    How can those priests and prelates go out of their way to suppress the Roman Church’s ancient and sacred liturgical Tradition while generously allowing all kinds of liturgical shenanigans? What on Earth is wrong with reverence and solemnity in the worship of Almighty God? What on Earth was so terrible about the Catholic Church before 1970 that any remnant of it must be suppressed?

    We truly live in an era of diabolical disorientation. 

    I hate to vent, but this attitude is unconscionable to me. Is it because I am too YOUNG to understand that the “experts” were right in knowing what was best for us when they changed everything? 

  26. iudicame says:

    To: wrr@bnsic.org
    Dear Msgr. Rossi,

    My kids and I attended last year’s Pontifical Mass and were edified by the experience and so this morning’s news that this year’s Mass has been canceled is quite disturbing. We live nearby and often visit the Shrine and encourage our friends to do the same. However, this recent turn of events gives me pause in considering my future support and commitment. I humbly pray that you will reconsider the situation at hand. [This looks just like the “rash judgment” against which I warned in a comment above. I am disappointed.]




  27. Athelstan says:

    aladextra says:

    As someone involved with the planning of this Mass, I can offer a full-throated defense of the Shrine. The cancellation of this Mass had nothing to do with the Shrine. The denial of permission came from of the Archdiocese of Washington.

    Well, I find this comment intriguing, and if true, I will happily retract my earlier comments about Msgr. Rossi. And indeed, Fr. Z is right to caution us about the dangers of rash judgment.

    I can only say, as someone reasonably in the know about the Shrine’s resistance to the TLM in the past, that this seemed much of a piece with that pattern. But having said that, I readily acknowledge that there is a good deal of hostility to the TLM in the archdiocese’s leadership, and so aladextra’s comments do not completely surprise me. If true, it points to a more serious problem at work.

    Let us pray that hearts will be changed, and that a solution can yet be worked out.

  28. iudicame says:


    Dear Archbishop,

    I am disturbed to hear that the pontifical
    Mass at the Shrine has been canceled. Please look into this
    situation as it bears on my financial commitment to this diocese.

    Thanks. mb


  29. matthew m says:

    Who knows, exactly. My grapevine mentioned it to me last week, so evidently they have known for awhile, but trying to “fix” it in time. I am an eternal optimist, so I seriously doubt there was some big conspiracy. Both the Archbishop and Rector “approved” last years event, so, why would there be a “change” of heart or direction for this year. Besides, it might actually come down to money, as we all know that any large event costs money, and with it being in the Lenten/Eastide Season, the Shrine (as any parish), gets more than her fairshare of visitors. I do know that we often times get criticized, justified or not (I believe), for having all this “rich” history, cathedrals, etc, yet there are so many suffering. Not I do not agree, but in our PC environment with the struggling economy, so many in need and several dioceses having to file for Chapter 11, it is something to consider?)

  30. iudicame says:

    The Archbishop’s Appeal envelopes were available at the church last Sunday and we listened to his pre-recorded message after Mass…It sounded sincere…Watch and wait…


  31. iudicame says:

    Out of Office AutoReply: Paulus Inst. Mass
    From: “Chancery”
    Date: Fri, March 11, 2011 11:18 am
    To: “Mike xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
    Priority: Normal
    Options: View Full Header | View Printable Version | Download this as a file | Add to Address Book | View Message details


    just saying…m

  32. Golatin5048 says:

    “Does anyone know what Cardinal Burke is doing April 9th?”
    AMEN! I think Card. Burke should fill in! Anyone have his email? ;)

    This is truly sad and interesting situation. I am wondering why/ how the Archdiocese of Washington did this. After all the numbers last year, and all who have planned to come from all over, and EWTN covering it, why they would do such a thing.

    Let us pray it was for some good reason that they canceled it.

  33. TNCath says:

    Hmmmmm and uh-huh. Well, regardless of who refused permission for the Mass to take place, the bottom line is that because last year’s Mass was so successful, so well attended, and internationally watched via E.W.T.N., it is obvious that officials of the Archdiocese of Washington are afraid that if they allow this Mass to continue to be celebrated annually at the Shrine, it will only further the use of the Extraordinary Form.

    Quaeritur: What if Archbishop DiNoia simply came to the Shrine one day and requested to say Mass as many priests who visit the Shrine often do? What would keep him from saying Mass in the Extraordinary Form, and who would or could tell him he couldn’t?

  34. APX says:

    bernadette says:
    Well that is distressing, especially since I already purchased my non-refundable airline tickets!

    That’s one of the first things that came to mind when I read about people’s travel plans being canceled.

    I’m obviously missing something somewhere, but after watching that video, I’m angered and don’t understand why anyone in their sound mind would want to stop that Mass from occuring. What? Are they afraid Catholics will see what what they’re missing out on and start a full-fledge EF revival? Really, I don’t get it. Maybe I’m too young.

    Someone needs to stand up and be accountable for this and explain why they weren’t willing to give permission for this to go forward.

    This has me so annoyed and aggravated that I’m making the 320 km roundtrip drive next weekend to attend the TLM in my neighboring city.

  35. Lucas says:

    One of my good friends works at the Shrine and I can say with pretty strong conviction that 2 of the 3 priests are the Shrine are strongly anti-tradition. That said, the Shrine seems to benefit most from this Mass(the collection I’m assuming goes to them) so I would doubt they said no.

  36. PghCath says:

    I think the best thing would be for everyone here to POLITELY write Cardinal Wuerl and Msgr. Rossi to simply express our interest in and love for the Extraordinary Form. Yes, I know I suggested above withholding financial support for the National Shrine. That, however, seems an option only after the game has been lost. This Mass can still be salvaged. As such, we ought not offend those who could make it happen.

    That said, I am angry.

  37. iudicame says:

    Father Z

    [This looks just like the “rash judgment” against which I warned in a comment above. I am disappointed.]

    This man has an interest in this Mass – I hope I am encouraging his continued interest. This is obviously a political situation and my position is not one of judgment.


  38. Fr_Sotelo says:


    You stated, in regards to the authority of the Rector of the Shrine: “Unfortunately, his blocking authority remains intact under S.P.” I agree that it is unfortunate if the Rector has blocked the Mass.

    However, I do believe that the Pastor or Rector of a church must always have the authority to determine which celebrations will take place in the church under his charge. The local guy in charge usually has the best interest of the church at heart (not always, but usually) and there is no need, even for the EF Mass, to overstep his authority and allow for possible micromanaging of the properties of the church.

    I shudder to think that I could be overruled in my decisions as pastor, forcing me to invite into my parish groups that I consider to be questionable to say the least as far as being from the liberal and dissenting crowd.

    It is right for Rossi to be allowed to be in charge. What we may not know is all the details involved in his decision not to invite a repeat of the EF Solemn High Mass. I agree with the rest of the comments that it is premature to judge this as an anti-EF Mass decision, or to assume that all blame must be placed at the feet of the Rector of the shrine.

  39. New Sister says:

    @PghCath – you are so right, and will do — with ten times the politeness as I, too, made rash judgment. Thank you.

  40. wolfeken says:

    For those who already booked planes, trains and buses to Washington, D.C. — come anyway. It’s a beautiful time of year, and the cherry blossoms will be in full bloom.

    There are TLMs (including High Masses on Sunday the 10th) offered in the region every day you’ll be here, although just not in the basilica shrine.

    I would, however, not be silent, on this matter. Write Cardinal Wuerl (and, yes, it was 100% his doing) and be sure to CC several key men in the Vatican. This is an outrage, but all the more reason to keep attending the TLM as often as possible.

  41. Sword40 says:

    Fr. Z,
    Correct me if I am wrong but doesn’t a priest need to have the Bishops permission to celebrate a Mass if he is from outside the Diocese? Our group is currently going through a similar situation. We have a priest willing to celebrate the TLM and our local pastor has given his permission but the “volunteer” priest is from another diocese and the Chancery is doing its “paperwork”. [This doesn’t have anything to do with a simple priest coming to the Shrine to say the older form of Mass. This concerns a bishop coming to the Shrine. This is a very different situation.]

  42. jjoy says:

    Perhaps the Shrine in Hanceville could host the event…

  43. amenamen says:

    To play devil’s advocate (not literally, I hope) for a moment.
    It would be bad manners, or worse, for a parishioner to invite a visiting priest to “say Mass for us” at the local parish without the pastor’s approval. Likewise, it is not a trivial matter for a group of laymen (or priests) to invite a Vatican archbishop to “say Mass for us” without the prior knowledge and consent of the local bishop, or archbishop or cardinal archbishop.
    Did the Paulus Institute not obtain permission from the local archbishop before inviting another archbishop, and before advertising this Mass? If so, that was a mistake. [You are speculating. My understanding is that Paulus Institute had been in contact with the Archdiocese. I am not sure how that fits with the way the Shrine is set up, but I know they were in contact.]
    There is a beautiful sense of protocol that should surround the celebration of Mass, and I would hope that the organizers know this.

    However, I still hope that the Archdiocese will grant approval, even at this late date. Why not?
    Even if there was (possibly) an error in protocol, that can be forgiven. There are a lot of faithful Catholics, of great good will, who would greatly appreciate this opportunity.

  44. Traductora says:

    Very puzzling. I just read, btw, that Robert Mickens’ “Letter from Rome” in the Tablet today said that the new instruction on Summorum Pontificum includes a requirement that all seminarians learn Latin and that all seminaries teach seminarians to celebrate the EF. I don’t know if this is true or just a wild rumor or speculation on the part of Robert Mickens, but if true, this would be huge. And it would certainly be the only way to go about normalizing the “extraordinary” form and making it non-controversial.

  45. Traductora: You should read this blog more often. I covered that here too.

  46. Traductora says:

    Ooops! I always miss the good stuff (not that it’s not all good). Looking for it right now…

  47. Dave N. says:

    “Archbishop Augustine DiNoia of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments in Rome, withdrew his acceptance of our invitation as a result of changed circumstances.”

    Now THERE’S a sentence “fraught with background” that Erich Auerbach would have loved.

  48. Henry Edwards says:

    APX: after watching that video, I’m angered and don’t understand why anyone in their sound mind would want to stop that Mass from occurring.

    Of course, I know what you mean and how you feel. But after watching the video that Father Z inserted at the end of his post—and let me urge anyone who hasn’t seen it already to stop right now and do so—I don’t think it can fail to show you plainly why someone might have so desperately wanted this next pontifical EF Mass canceled as to risk the resulting embarrassment and public controversy.

    That 3-minute video on last year’s pontifical solemn Mass was put together months ago as a preview to the DVD of the Mass. But likely one could not have not have selected 3 minutes from the 3 hours of footage that would have struck more fear in the hearts of visceral opponents of the traditional Latin Mass of the ages.

    From the opening with the angelic voices (and faces) of young folks singing music of our Latin tradition with such evident joy and zest. . . . . . To Fr. Goodwin commenting that, as the Holy Father remarked in his letter to the bishops accompanying SP, the restoration of the TLM in the life of the Church is very much centrally a movement among young people who are very hungry for a return to the kind of devotion and reverence that this ancient liturgy embodies. . . . . To Father Z’s remark that this is all about our Catholic identity, of who we are, and how we have worshiped in the past, how we can worship once again. How this pontifical Mass is a great ceremony with beauty and transcendence and mystery that helps us to reconnect with how we have worshiped Almighty God for so many centuries. How the Holy Father has made it a project of his pontificate to revitalize our Catholic identity, and for us to understand what we believe as Catholics in continuity with our glorious past.

    Perhaps there were entirely different considerations that we know nothing of yet. However, whatever fuller or more official explanation may emerge, I think it these 3 minutes make it obvious why some might so dread it being seen again by millions around the world, for 3 hours on global Catholic television. Again, anyone who hasn’t already watched the clip above should do so, and try to imagine what some of these folks must have felt when they saw it for the first time.

  49. Nathan says:

    I, too, am sorely disappointed that the Pontifical High Mass is cancelled. I’m not sure, though, there is enough public and verifiable information to come to any conclusions about why it was cancelled and who was behind it.
    In Christ,

  50. Centristian says:

    Of course, it could be that Archbishop Di Noia withdrew his acceptance of the invitation, thus causing the cancellation, for reasons concerning himself, and not for reasons concerning the form of the Mass that was to be celebrated.

    I can’t seem to find any further explanation, at the moment, regarding what is meant by “changed circumstances”, but I think it is useful to bear in mind that the cancellation may have nothing at all to do with the fact that this Mass is being celebrated according to the extraordinary form.

    If we employ occam’s razor, a sudden intervention by the cardinal-archbishop of Washington in the events schedule of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception reflecting some killjoy agenda to suppress celebrations of Mass using the 1962 Missal becomes the least likely explanation. A sudden, unforseen personal circumstance involving the celebrant becomes the most likely.

    We’ll just have to wait and see.

  51. mibethda says:

    At this point it seems prudent to suspend judgment as to whom was responsible for the cancellation and what the reason for it may have been. While some may find it tempting to place the responsibility at the foot of Cardinal Wuerl, it is interesting to note that Bishop Slattery – in a recent interview – stated that the request to offer the Mass last year came to him directly from then Archbishop Wuerl who asked him to do it as a personal favor since Cardinal Castrillon’s withdrawal left the event without a celebrant. From the Bishop’s comments, it sounds as though the Archbishop made an extra effort last year to see that the Mass take place.

  52. ikseret says:

    The official press release cam out today (3/11).

    But, when I looked on the National Basilica webpage 3 days ago (3/8) there was no listing of this Mass on their schedule nor on their calendar.
    Now, if they had had it on, which they didn’t, logically they’d put a notice that it was canceled.

    Whoever is in charge of the basilica’s website, either acting with knowledge from above or on his own, knew this event planned about a year in advance was not going to happen.

    Also, the basilica is in Wuerl’s territory as archbishop of Washington. I can’t imagine he has nothing to say about this Mass going on here. … or maybe I should say about it not going on here.

    Finally, there is still 1 month left. Is there no bishop that will or can say this Mass?

  53. ikseret says:

    A suggestion:
    Why not write, call, and fax the Basilica asking why this event was not on their schedule even before the press release canceling it?

    Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
    400 Michigan Avenue, Northeast
    Washington, D.C. 20017

    Main Number


  54. MichaelJ says:

    You seem to have missed Paul King’s statement that “we were unable to obtain the necessary permission.”. Archbishop Di Noia may have, in fact, withdrawn his acceptance due to personal reasons as you suggest, but its not quite so easy to “shave away” the fact that permission was sought and the Mass was canceled because permission was denied.

  55. Giambattista says:

    Some people are using the word “disappointing”. I think it is absolutely disgusting.

    HOWEVER, I believe the cancelation of this very high profile TLM will work to our benefit from several angles. The people who made arrangements to attend are going to be furious. If they weren’t militant before this, they will be now. This can only serve to strengthen the resolve of those advocating for the TLM.

    Many of us have been getting quietly kicked in the teeth since SP came out in 2007 and nobody would notice. The very public nature of this particular Mass and the subsequent treatment of those THOUSANDS makes this time different and this is not going to go unnoticed – by those who would have attended AND the pope (out of those thousands of people who would have attended, not to mentioned watched on TV, the probability that one of them has a contact with the Holy Father is pretty good – and this Mass was for him!).

    Yes, this is absolutely disgusting. But at the same time I have a smirk on my face because I know that whoever revoked this “permission” has just kicked a hornets’ nest. This is not over by a long shot! :-)

  56. Banjo pickin girl says:

    Maybe Archbishop DiNoia can’t be there because there has been a change in his schedule of a personal nature. Like when I cancelled my vacation trip last year I had been planning for months because I was not up to a long drive. Speculating on the reasons for it only makes people madder and madder.

  57. amenamen says:

    @You are speculating.
    Yes, I was only speculating. The devil made me do it.

  58. RichR says:

    I was watching the video tagged onto the OP, and I immediately recognized one of the commentator’s voices as that of Fr. Calvin Goodwin, FSSP. But the other voice was strangely familiar. After searching multiple websites without success, I finally realized where I have heard that voice before……

  59. Sandra_in_Severn says:

    It may have been related to a recent discussion and planning within the GLBT communities about protesting against the Catholic Church. I have this from a college student I tutor sometimes. It’s all “hear-say” but I wonder if the Washington D.C. Archdiocese might have more substantial information about it.

    In all my years of military service, I have learned from observation: the reasons we do what we have done is often times NOT related to the widespread conjecture and second guessing.

    Please pray for the Archbishop and his staff, the Rector of the Shrine, and especially for those that hate us.

  60. Gail F says:

    The many people who had planned to go to this event need to contact the shrine AND the cardinal and respectfully ask why it will not take place. Call, write, email — they need to do it all. They need to say that they have made reservations and lost money and given up other things, and have been told at pretty much the last minute that it will not happen — and so they are owed an explanation. Ask them to be good pastors and take care of their sheep. I think it is jumping to conclusions to imagine that this mass was canceled so close to its taking place as some kind of conspiratorial thing — note that the Paulus Institute isn’t exactly forthcoming about what happened either — but that doesn’t mean you don’t deserve to be told why. Demand (politely) to be told why. Being nasty and accusatory will not help anyone, but if hundreds or thousands of people write and call for explanations, they will make a big impression.

  61. MissOH says:

    I am so disappointed. We attended last year and I literally had never been to an event at the Shrine that had such a large congregation. There were so many other families with children and there was so much, dare I say, active participation. I know this mass was going to have a very different “feel” since it was going to be during Lent as opposed to during Eastertide but I feel certain the congregation would have been as large and prayerfully involved.

    I will definitely be contacting my bishop who happens to be Cardinal Wuerl, as well as the rector of the shrine. I also find it ironic that this comes out within a week or two of the bishops annual appeal. I have tried to be supportive in all ways of the archdiocese and the shrine, but I look across the Potomac where 1 in 5 parishes offers the EF including several with week day masses and on my side of the river it is difficult (though still better than our sister archdiocese in this state). My prayers continue.

  62. RichardT says:

    Wasn’t there a cancellation of a Pontifical Mass a few years ago in London, with the Latin Mass Society having invited Cardinal Burke (before he was a cardinal) without having realised rather late in the day that as a visiting bishop he needed the local bishop’s permission? If I read and remembered the reports correctly, the diocese was offended at not having been asked earlier, and refused permission.

    I seem to remember a comment at the time that had Burke already been a cardinal, permission would not have been needed.

    As has been said, we don’t know whether this is an issue with the diocese, the Shrine or the invited bishop. But I’m just pointing out that it isn’t an entirely unprecedented problem.

    Is the lesson perhaps that we need to be very careful to get these things right? [You are speculating.]

  63. brianvzn says:

    This is such a shame. It almost feels as if it is an attack not only on the Traditional Latin Mass, but on the Pope himself. We will probably never know all the facts of what happened. Yesterday I was upset to learn that USCCB has a Lenten Calendar, which you can look at here, http://usccb.org/lent/ which has daily suggestions for prayer and reflection that puts most of the focus on healthcare reform, CCHD, and other “social justice” issues.

    We must pray for Holy Mother Church with much passion, because She is being attacked not only from the outside, but more painfully from the inside.

  64. becket1 says:

    And to think of all those who already bought non-refundable plane tickets for this event. I highly doubt the USCCB will cancel the LA Liturgical Congress later this month. You know the “Dancing Deacon” and incense bowls.

  65. James Joseph says:

    I had waited all year for this.

    I was raring to go…

    Certainly, I am glad that I didn’t purchase the airline tickets.

  66. I received an addendum to the Press Release from the Paulus Institute:


    CONTACT: Paul King (pking@KingPLLC.com)
    MARCH 11, 2011

    April 9th Pontifical High Mass – addendum

    WASHINGTON, DC— The Paulus Institute would like to clarify that Msgr. Walter Rossi and the Shrine are not at all responsible for the cancellation of the Apr. 9 Mass, and indeed have been very helpful.

    For information about forthcoming activities of The Paulus Institute see http://www.paulusinstitute.org.

  67. dcs says:

    The latest press release from the Paulus Institute seems more remarkable for what it does not say than what it does say.

  68. Denis says:

    There’s no mention of how helpful His Eminence, Cardinal Wuerl, has been.

  69. Mitchell NY says:

    Very sad to say the least. Looks like a repeat of what happened in NY’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral in 1996. An overflowing Church for the Tridentine Mass. After that it was said “Never again in my city” And it has not been since. I know petitions have been sent to have it again and NY’ers and continually denied. I pray this does not happen at the Shrine. As many people have expected the event and have scheduled vacations, tickets, etc., and preparations have been made I hope they can find a replacement and reschedule with another celebrant. Cardinal Wuerl perhaps? This is Holy Mass and whoever is cancelling, and ruining plans for thousands should explain. Not allow rumor to abound. They are treating this like a concert event. We should all pray when the clarification letter comes out that it somehow regulates the 1962 Missal into parishes and Cathedrals so that it becomes more normal in the Church. It is still way too stigmatized and people can not get to know a treasure when it is cancelled, concealed, hidden, obstructed, and denied to the very people who are supposed to benefit from it. Souls…..

  70. New Sister says:

    Mr. Henry Edwards – you’re blaming the cancellation on Fr Z’s commentary? ;-)

  71. nanetteclaret says:

    After having watched that short video and comparing it to what I have to endure at my local parish, I was uplifted but got a sinking feeling at the same time. All I can say is, “I’ve been cheated and robbed!” This is not just a casual comment, but a visceral gut reaction – my body reacting to my soul having been cheated and robbed.

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