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Cancellation of Westminster Old Rite Triduum – Latin Mass Society of England and Wales

Cancellation of Westminster Old Rite Triduum – Latin Mass Society of England and Wales

Cancellation of Westminster Old Rite Triduum – Latin Mass Society of England and Wales


Briefing from the Chairman

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Cancellation of Westminster Old Rite Triduum

The LMS has issued a press release about the cancellation of the TLM Easter Triduum in the Archdiocese of Westminster (reported in National Catholic RegisterCatholic HeraldThe Tablet). This celebration attracted up to 200 people and had been taking place for 25 years.

Here I want to reflect on how this lamentable development fits into the bigger picture.

The Triduum has not been formally refused permission by the Dicastery for Divine Worship (DDW): rather, Cardinal Nichols chose not to seek permission for it, as with the two annual Masses at the High Altar of Westminster Cathedral which served as the LMS’ annual requiem and AGM Mass. It seems that axing these celebrations is a concession on his part to the stated programme of Traditionis custodes, to close down the TLM, in stages.

One reading of this decision is that as annual events they are not as pastorally important as a weekly Sunday celebration, they are all particularly prominent. They can be sacrificed (as the Cardinal put it) ‘for the sake of the wider provision’.

The Cardinal has also suggested that the Latin Mass Society is not an appropriate body to make requests for a celebration under Traditionis custodes, not being a ‘stable group’. We of course represent ‘stable groups’, but that is his view, which is why the appeal against his initial decision came from a priest on behalf of the ‘stable group’ at the regular Sunday TLM in St James’, Spanish Place. However, this approach did not change the outcome.

Bishops around world are faced with the DDW policy of reducing the number of TLMs in parish churches. Surviving celebrations are permitted for two years, renewable on the condition that the people are ‘educated’ about the liturgical reform in the meantime. (I have yet to hear of any attempt to meet this condition.) Eac©2024 Latin Mass Society | 9 Mallow Street, London EC1Y 8RQh permission incurs a fee of €250.

In the meantime, new non-parochial TLMs continue to be established, often at the behest of the DDW, to substitute for parish locations. Is the policy to eliminate the TLM, or simply to exclude it from parish churches? In the Archdiocese of Westminster, where there are few non-parochial churches, it comes to the same thing, but that is not so everywhere.

Another complicating factor is the different treatment of diocesan clergy and the traditional Institutes; yet another derives from the varying attitude of bishops. The overall effect of the policy is therefore very uneven.

In the meantime, with apologies for the inconvenience, our policy of providing information about Mass times only to members is clearly the right one. Non-members who want to see where the Triduum will be celebrated in England and Wales need to join us: if, that is, they share our aims.

The Latin Mass Society was founded as a campaigning organisation, and we remain that. We will continue to expose the injustice and destructiveness of the current policy, and to support celebrations of the Church’s ancient liturgy wherever we can. This liturgy is every Catholic’s patrimony: as Pope Benedict expressed it: “What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful.”

Joseph Shaw sig

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