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Msgr. Agostini celebrates Mass in the Vatican for the 2022 Ad Petri Sedem pilgrimage.Michael Haynes/LifeSiteNews

VATICAN CITY (LifeSiteNews) –– For the first time since its inception, the international traditional Mass pilgrimage held in Rome annually will not be granted permission for a traditional Mass inside St. Peter’s Basilica.

Since it began in 2011, the Summorum Pontificum pilgrimage, now known as the Ad Petri Sedem pilgrimage, has drawn thousands of Catholics to Rome from across the globe out of love for the traditional Mass and sacraments. With the exception of disruption caused during the COVID-19 restrictions, the pilgrimage has always included the celebration of a traditional Mass inside St. Peter’s Basilica.

The details of previous celebrations of the pilgrimage’s Masses inside the Vatican are recounted by Fœderatio Internationalis Una Voce (FIUV) president Dr. Joseph Shaw, who detailed the pilgrimage’s gradual progression from using side chapels around the Basilica in 2007 to celebrating Mass at the Altar of the Throne.

Such was the position last year, with an estimated 1,700 people gathering in Rome and worshipping in the Church’s traditional rites at the Altar of the Chair of St. Peter. Monsignor Marco Agostini – part of the Vatican’s Secretariat of State and one of the Papal Masters of Ceremonies – celebrated the Mass for pilgrims in the 2022 event, although prior pilgrimages had been marked by bishops or cardinals offering the Vatican liturgy.

READ: ‘Tremendously encouraging’: Over 1,000 people join Latin Mass pilgrimage at the Vatican

However, in an update provided by the organizers in recent days, news of the cessation of the traditional Mass for the pilgrimage in the Vatican has been provided. Referencing a “a significant and sensitive change” – the pilgrimage runs Friday, October 27 through Sunday, October 29 – the organizers revealed the traditional Mass could not take place.

The statement read:

since Cardinal (Mauro) Gambetti – certainly due to a superior order – is not authorizing the celebration of a Mass this year (i.e., the directive is only for this year, and even so, subject to a possible last-minute change), our celebration there will consist of:

1. The procession to the tomb of the Prince of the Apostles and the chanting of the Credo

2. The chanting of the office of Sext of the Holy Apostles Simon and Jude at the altar of the Chair

3. The veneration of the relics of the Holy Apostles Simon and Jude (their bodies are in the Vatican Basilica); the blessing; and a final chant.

Cardinal Gambetti is the Archpriest of St. Peter’s Basilica, Vicar General of the Pope for the Vatican City and President of the Fabric of Saint Peter’s since February 2021. Shortly after Gambetti began his new role in 2021, private traditional Masses were nearly banned in the basilica, and priests ordered to concelebrate Novus Ordo Masses rather than say such liturgies privately. The restrictions came from the Vatican’s Secretariat of State, though some speculated if Gambetti was ultimately behind the move.

In late June 2021, the cardinal also issued restrictions on the use of Latin in Masses in the Papal Basilica, widely stipulating Italian for the liturgy.

However, with the more recent issuing Pope Francis’ motu proprio Traditionis Custodes and Cardinal Arthur Roche’s subsequent dubia and Rescript, global provision and access to the traditional Mass has been widely restricted.

READ: Cdl. Roche says Latin Mass needs to be restricted because the ‘theology of the Church has changed’

In a statement issued to LifeSiteNews, Shaw noted that “this is naturally a great disappointment, whether it is a delayed response to Traditionis Custodes or connected with the scheduling of the events of the Synod on Synodality, which concludes the following day.”

The Traditional Latin Mass has been celebrated publicly for international groups of Traditional Catholics since 2007, thanks to the hospitality of Pope Benedict and Pope Francis, and the success of these events has emphasized Traditionalists’ strong attachment to the See of Rome and the Papacy. The Pilgrimage will still take place this year, and despite everything Traditional Catholics all over the world will continue to venerate the tombs of the Apostles and to pray for the Pope, as we continue to work for the good of the Church as a whole in everything that we do.”

Dr. Peter Kwasniewski, a previous participant and speaker at the pilgrimage and accompanying conference, criticized the Vatican’s move, although he was not entirely surprised.

“For the first time since the Summorum Pontificum pilgrimages in Rome have begun, a Latin Mass in the Basilica of St. Peter’s has been denied to the pilgrims,” he wrote.

Naturally, one might have been surprised that it continued as long as it did … and it is also possible that the decision could be reversed, by means of continued negotiations.

Frankly, the thought that the immemorial rite of the Church of Rome, offered by countless popes, cardinals, bishops, and pilgrim priests, would be forbidden at the heart of the Vatican is so absurd it can hardly be put into words.

The Ad Petri Sedem pilgrimage takes place on the last weekend of October, beginning with vespers at the Pantheon celebrated by Bishop Athanasius Schneider on Friday evening and ending with solemn Mass at the Chiesa della Santissima Trinità dei Pellegrini run by the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP) on Sunday.

It also coincides with the Pax Liturgica conference on October 27, held at the Augustinianum in the shadows of the Vatican.

READ: ‘Don’t comply with this tyranny’: Latin Mass conference in Rome promotes hope and resolve

Last year’s conference saw addresses from liturgical scholars and distinguished clerics such as Monsignor Nicola Bux, who formerly served as an adviser to the Congregation (now Dicastery) for the Doctrine of the Faith. The 2023 event will see Dr. Shaw deliver one of the addresses alongside Bishop Schneider.

LifeSiteNews has contacted the office of the vicariate of the Vatican, asking why permission for the Mass has not been granted, and will update this report upon receiving a response.