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St. Mary Cathedral in Austin, TexasArlen Nydam /

AUSTIN, Texas (LifeSiteNews) — The bishop of the Diocese of Austin in Texas has affirmed in an official statement that the Vatican directed the forthcoming suppression of the Traditional Latin Mass in Austin’s diocesan cathedral.

In a letter to the parishioners of St. Mary Cathedral obtained by LifeSiteNews, Bishop Joe S. Vásquez noted that he had “granted a dispensation” for the cathedral to continue Masses according to the Missal of 1962 when Pope Francis’ Latin Mass-restricting motu proprio Traditionis Custodes was issued. Meanwhile, he “discerned the best way to implement [its] guidance.”

“As required by the rescript of the Holy Father issued in February of last year, I submitted the case of the celebrations according to the 1962 missal at the Cathedral parish to the Vatican Dicastery for Divine Worship to receive the guidance and direction of the Holy See,” wrote Vásquez.

“Following the guidance of the Holy See, the dispensation for celebrations according to the 1962 missal at the Cathedral will come to an end on March 19, the feast of St. Joseph,” the bishop announced.

He explained that he had instructed the cathedral clergy to offer Novus Ordo Masses at 7:30 am and 3:30 pm on Sunday, said ad orientem and in Latin. He added that the Masses will be accompanied by “the Church’s beautiful treasury of Gregorian chant and sacred music.”

The Vatican’s reported instruction to cease the Traditional Latin Mass at St. Mary Cathedral enforces Traditionis Custodes, which instructs bishops not to have Latin Masses in “parochial churches.”

This has been a tremendously painful blow,” the St. Joseph Latin Mass Society, responsible for providing for the TLM at St. Mary Cathedral, told LifeSiteNews in a statement, noting that the TLM has been held at the cathedral since 2007.

The Latin Mass community at the cathedral succeeded in integrating with the wider cathedral parish. We provided a great counterexample to the ‘standoffish Trad’ stereotype. This effort makes the action even more painful; we lose not only the liturgy we love, but our parish family. Cruelty was not the intention, but cruelty is the effect,” stated the Society.

Theologian and liturgist Dr. Peter Kwasniewski slammed the decision in a statement, declaring, “The Catholic Church cannot abolish her most venerable rites without contradicting herself, betraying her solemn obligations, and incurring the wrath of God.”

Kwasniewski has argued that obedience to God requires that Catholics disobey Traditionis Custodes, since the motu proprio harms the Church’s common good.

He noted in a speech at the 2021 Catholic Identity Conference that “the traditional liturgical worship of the Church, her lex orandi, (‘law of prayer’)” is a “fundamental” “expression of her lex credendi, (‘law of belief’), one that cannot be contradicted or abolished or heavily rewritten without rejecting the Spirit-led continuity of the Catholic Church as a whole.”

“Since the liturgy truly is the ‘font and apex of the Christian life,’ the home of divine revelation and the primary agent of our transformation in Christ, it follows that to abolish or prohibit or in any way work against the venerable Roman Rite that was humbly received… and lavishly praised for century after century of uninterrupted growth is the most notorious and damaging attack on the common good possible or imaginable,” Kwasniewski argued.

“If this is not the kind of good the Church’s authority exists to protect, one may well ask what goods would qualify?” Kwasniewski continued. He went on to cite a statement from the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX):

‘The traditional Mass belongs to the most intimate part of the common good in the Church. Restricting it, pushing it into ghettos, and ultimately planning its demise, can have no legitimacy. This law is not a law of the Church, because, as St. Thomas says, a law against the common good is no valid law.’”

Kwasniewski concluded that in the case of Traditionis Custodes – when an authority commands something contrary to God’s divine or natural law – “We must obey God rather than men,” as is declared in the Acts of the Apostles and affirmed by Pope Leo XIII.

The indult Latin Masses that will continue to be offered in the Diocese of Austin are a 1:30 p.m. Mass at the St. Dymphna Center of St. Martin de Porres Catholic Church in Dripping Springs, 25 miles from Austin; a 4 p.m. Mass in Brenham, 90 miles from Austin; and an 11:30 a.m. Mass in Waco, 100 miles from Austin. 

The SSPX also offers Latin Mass on the second and fourth Sundays of each month in Austin at the Aiden Hotel.