In a statement released Tuesday, July 20, by Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki, he said Pope Francis’ recent Apostolic Letter regarding the use of the Latin Mass “will not create much change for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.”

Anticipated for several months, Pope Francis officially issued the new motu proprio (papal decree issued on his own initiative) restricting the celebration of the Traditional Latin Mass, declaring that the liturgy of Paul VI is the “unique expression of the lex orandi (the law of praying) of the Roman Rite.”

Released July 16, “Traditionis Custodes” is written “in light of the experience” of the survey carried out by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith last year, about the Traditional Mass (also called the “Latin Mass,” the “Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite,” or the “Tridentine Mass”).

The Pope made numerous changes to the permissions granted to the celebration of the Traditional Latin Mass. One of the most salient is his statement that “The liturgical books promulgated by Saint Paul VI and Saint John Paul II, in conformity with the decrees of Vatican Council II, are the unique expression of the lex orandi of the Roman Rite.”

In Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s 2007 document Summorum Pontificum (SP), he described the current liturgy as the “ordinary expression” of the lex orandi, stating that the rite of 1962 (Latin Mass) as “never abrogated,” and “an extraordinary form.” Pope Francis does away with such language, describing the current liturgy as the “unique” and only expression.

Francis justified his decision in an accompanying letter to bishops, claiming: “In defense of the unity of the Body of Christ, I am constrained to revoke the faculty granted by my predecessors.”

The new decree contains eight articles and gives the diocesan bishop the “exclusive competence to authorize the use of the 1962 Roman Missal in his diocese, according to the guidelines of the Apostolic See.”

Francis added that in dioceses where there are already celebrations of the Traditional Liturgy, the local bishop is to ensure that any groups celebrating the Traditional Liturgy “do not deny the validity and the legitimacy of the liturgical reform” of Vatican II or Novus Ordo.

Priests who wish to continue saying the Traditional Latin Mass must now reapply to their bishop for permission. Recently, Fr. Dwight Campbell, S.T. D., pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish in Kenosha, wrote such a letter asking Archbishop Listecki for continued permission.

“I was pleased to see Archbishop Listecki’s statement on the Latin Mass and recently sent off my letter requesting permission to continue,” he said.

Fr. Campbell enjoys the tight-knit community at Our Lady of Mount Carmel, where he celebrates both the current liturgy and the Traditional Latin Mass. He has a faithful following of approximately 80-100 Catholics attending the noon Mass on Sundays.

“In my letter, I explained to the archbishop that we don’t have those attending who deny the legitimacy of the (current liturgy) and its validity and that, in fact, a number of those who attend the TLM on Sundays go to our (current liturgy) Mass during the week,” he said. “My people who attend the TLM here have expressed their desire to continue to pray the Mass in the Extraordinary Form and have it offered here. I respectfully asked his permission to continue. I am happy at his response to the Pope’s decree and am glad that we will be able to serve our people.”

Fr. Campbell said he was approached after the Masses last Sunday by concerned parishioners about whether they would continue with the Traditional Latin Mass.

Other bullet points in Archbishop Listecki’s statement on the Implementation of Traditionis Custodes include:

  • There is no indication that among those who celebrate Eucharist according to the 1962 Missal locally there is any wholesale denial of the validity and legitimacy of the liturgical reform of Vatican II.
  • Celebration of the Eucharist according to the 1962 Missal will continue at St. Stanislaus church, recently acquired by a separate holding corporation. There is no limitation on what days that Mass may be celebrated.
  • Celebrations according to the 1962 Missal on occasion in other places will be coordinated by a priest to be appointed by the Archbishop as his delegate.
  • Priests who are currently celebrating Eucharist according to the 1962 Missal are simply to notify Archbishop Listecki of their desire to continue doing so and explain the circumstances under which they will celebrate.

Teresa Hill, who frequently attends Our Lady of Mount Carmel with her young grandson, said she is happy the Latin Mass can continue.

“It is more reverent, and I love it,” she said. “The reverence is a biggie, and eliminating it would be devastating to people who love to go. My grandson, Anthony, loves attending Mt. Carmel, and I enjoy taking him there.”

Our Lady of Mount Carmel member Colana Hutchinson, agreed, saying she appreciates the reverence at the Latin Mass.

“I am so happy Archbishop Listecki will allow it to continue; it is wonderful,” she said. “Many people in other countries are having a much harder time than we are having here. Countries such as Puerto Rico and Australia are especially devastated. We are very blessed and fortunate to have it in our area. There is a much younger group that attends the Latin Mass. When we were kids, we couldn’t find a Latin Mass — we had to travel many miles to attend one in a hotel in Rockford. I am so glad we have one here in Kenosha.”