Card. Burke reacts to the St. Peter’s Mass Suppression: rescind it immediately


Card. Burke’s statement can be read at his page: HERE

At the National Catholic Register (which is a Catholic paper and not to be confused with the Fishwrap), there is a piece by Ed Pentin about Raymond Leo Card. Burke’s reaction to the move to suppress individual priests’ Masses in the Vatican Basilica and force priests to concelebrate, as well as marginalizing the growing number of priests saying the Traditional Latin Mass.  The horrid order issued 12 March goes into effect on 22 March.

Card. Burke in one the Church’s eminent canonists.  He is the former head of the Church’s supreme court, the Apostolic Signatura.

Burke says that the suppression should be rescinded because it violates the Church’s universal law.   Firstly, there is no protocol number, which I noted in my original post, and there is no signature.  Burke also points out that the Secretariat of State, which issued the decree, is not the competent dicastery for the liturgical life of the Basilica.  Also the decree was not directed to the man in charge of the Basilica, the Archpriest, but rather to the Fabbrica which maintains the structure.

However strange the decree was, which prompted some to think it was fake, it wound up on the door of the sacristy of the Basilica, thus showing that someone means business.

Burke also noted that the decree was a violation of Can. 902:

Can. 902 Unless the benefit of Christ’s faithful requires or suggests otherwise, priests may concelebrate the Eucharist; they are, however, fully entitled to celebrate the Eucharist individually, but not while a celebration is taking place in the same church or oratory.

He also notes the point in SC 57, which I mentioned in my original post. The Fathers of the Second Vatican Council wrote in the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium, 57, §2: “Nevertheless, each priest shall always retain his right to celebrate Mass individually…”.

Burke underscores that according to Summorum Pontificum a priest in good standing does not need “authorization” to use the 1962 Missale Romanum. This bad decree says that “authorized” priests may say the TLM, only in the Clementine Chapel, at certain times… which I assume they would have to share with priests who want to say the Novus Ordo.

Card. Burke makes a good point about the weasel words at the top of the decree, the excuse given for the draconian suppression: to foster an “atmosphere of recollection and liturgical decorum”… as if that wasn’t already the case in the Basilica with the individual Masses at the different altars. Yeah, even once in a while there would be some visiting priest who, not being used to say Mass near other priests saying Mass, would get a little too loud, but that was not usually the case. I said Mass in the Basilica for many years, for a long while at the same time when then Msgr. Burke and other American priests were also saying Mass there. We know what we are talking about.

The Pentin article states that “this is a change some in the Vatican have been pushing for many years, going back to when Cardinal Virgilio Noè was archpriest of the basilica from 1991 to 2002.” And, yes, I can confirm that this is much like those days. I was ordained in 1991 and I started saying the TLM right away. They bullied me in the sacristy and harassed me, but they couldn’t really do much of anything to me: I reported them to Card. Mayer, the President of the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei” and they eventually left me alone, though they were frosty. Eventually sacristans changed and time passed and things eased up.

It will be interesting to see what happens from all of this.

One thing is certain: there is still a lot of hatred for the Traditional Latin Mass among those in power. But the clock is ticking on them, just as it is on everyone else. Eventually, they will be replaced. And among their future successors are a lot of priests who respect and venerate the Traditional Mass and celebrate with the older Missale. This recent attack is going to galvanize men in their determination to defend Tradition for the sake of the good of the Church.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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This entry was posted in ¡Hagan lío!, Liberals, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Pò sì jiù, Save The Liturgy - Save The World, Si vis pacem para bellum!, SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM, The Coming Storm, The Drill, The future and our choices and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. matt from az says:

    Ham-handed moves like this rarely turn out differently than the authorities want them to. The Law of Unintended Consequences always wins.

  2. matt from az says:

    I should have obeyed the warning to preview and think before posting. I meant to say that ham-handed moves like this rarely turn out the way the authorities want.

    My apologies.

  3. TonyO says:

    Since this dictat seems to be neither from the entity with authority to legislate it, nor to the entity with authority to enforce it, wouldn’t all priests / sacristans have the right of it to simply IGNORE it completely as a null document?

    It strikes me that if people go about obeying it as if it were authoritative, and eventually everyone gets used to bowing to this document, there might end up being nobody who actually thinks they have authority to RESCIND it. Which is just the pitiable and silly muddle that naively obedience-minded people get themselves into, and just the sort of no-level-playing-field intended by the nefarious sorts who relish the mayhem created by “rules” like this.

  4. Kathleen10 says:

    Some things are worth fighting for. We’ve grown entirely too pacifist and resigned.
    I hope Card. Burke maintains a presence in this. He is needed.
    I agree with the thought here. Scripture teaches that if something is of God you won’t be able to get rid of it and you only end up fighting God. Why do these men not believe that. The TLM will only increase and grow. Persecute it and it enlarges. At our diocesan TLM it has become obvious that the TLM is the future. We now see beautiful young families with children, and they know each other and the children most likely will attend the local Catholic elementary school. The NO is dying on the vine, but the TLM is the future. Put it in the catacombs. You can’t get rid of it.

  5. Amateur Scholastic says:

    Meanwhile, in the past week alone, an ICKSP parish is being set up in the Diocese of Plymouth (in England), while South Carolina is getting a new diocesan TLM.

    We’re going to win this. Even those who hate the Mass of All Time are now realising it.

  6. Brick by brick, people.

    Brick by brick.

  7. Pingback: Francis Effect: The End of the Traditional Latin Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica | Catholicism Pure & Simple

  8. clare joseph says:

    Hurray for Cardinal Burke’s statement at his website.
    Another interesting article has now been published on the topic of this decision at Church Militant:

  9. WVC says:

    Off topic, but don’t forget Daylight Savings Time tomorrow (Spring Ahead).

  10. surritter says:

    Brick by brick is true, but this move is effectively wiping out numerous bricks that we needed.

  11. surritter: Not really… I suspect that it will strengthen the resolve of a lot of priests. Strike them down and they will rise up stronger.

    Succisa virescit.

  12. ChrisP says:

    Like a fish’s gill, edicts like this can provide counter-current exchange.

    It can provide information on what the powers do not like. Conversely, it identifies, by reaction, who likes what the powers do not.

    Maybe that’s the plan. Trial balloon.

  13. “But the clock is ticking on them, just as it is on everyone else. Eventually, they will be replaced.”

    That’s why they are making one last big push to hold back the clock while they still can. The little bit of optimist in me is hoping that the political situation in the world is similar: that we are seeing the last violent gasps of a dying group of people who know they don’t have a chance in the long run if only on account of the numbers. They can still make more of a mess and make life miserable for their opponents in the short run, and it will be a harder mess to clean up, but in the long run, things are going in the other direction.

  14. And Father Peter Stravinskas has a thoughtful essay on this at Catholic World Report.

  15. catholic patrolman says:

    Amateur Scholastic, may I ask which church in South Carolina has recently added a diocesan TLM?

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  17. ajf1984 says:

    As our esteemed host alluded to in his original post, I am curious as to how this diktat treats our Eastern Catholic brothers and sisters. Does it banish any priests of the Eastern Catholic rites from the altars of St. Peter’s altogether? Unless they are bi-ritual and could concelebrate a Novus Ordo Mass, that is…? I would be interested to hear/see reactions to this statement from the Eastern Catholic perspective, since it seems the Secretariat’s document didn’t even consider them worthy of being relegated to a single chapel for 2 hours, as the Extraordinary Form has been. So much, I guess, for breathing with both lungs…anyone know if Fr. Pacwa, SJ, has made any comments about this?

  18. Georgemartyrfan says:

    Would this be an opportunity for civil disobedience?

  19. sggreener says:

    What worries me is the outcome that may come from the survey of the World’s bishops Rome conducted to ascertain their attitude to the TLM (is that a reasonable summary?). There is a saying: “you never call a meeting unless you know the outcome”. So, had Rome already decided the outcome, with the survey the precedence? Will Rome use that survey against us Traddies? Should someone create a reverse survey (SurveyMonkey?) where we laity rate our bishop’s performance with regards to the TLM within his diocese? Then we can have a true, 360 degree, basis for understanding the situation?

  20. Pingback: On the St. Peter’s Mass Suppression Stunt viewed from the Left | Fr. Z's Blog

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