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Archbishop William Lori of BaltimoreArchdiocese of Baltimore/YouTube

BALTIMORE (LifeSiteNews) — Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore has announced that a Vatican indult allowing a diocesan Traditional Latin Mass (TLM) in his archdiocese will expire in August and that the sole Latin Mass there will be offered by the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP).

Catholic commentator Fred Simon posted to X on Monday evening a copy of Archbishop Lori’s letter to his parishioners, dated March 13, explaining that after Pope Francis issued the Latin Mass-suppressing motu proprio Traditionis Custodes in July 2021, the Archdiocese of Baltimore was granted an indult by the Vatican to allow a TLM to “temporarily continue” at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in the northwestern part of the archdiocese, the oldest in the U.S.

“The purpose of the indult was to allow those who had become accustomed to Mass according to the Missal of 1962 to receive catechesis and formation so they would come to welcome and embrace the Novus Ordo,” the archbishop wrote.

“After much careful and prayerful consideration, I have discerned that for the pastoral good of all the faithful of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, the celebration of the liturgical rites and pastoral care according to the Missal of 1962 within the Archdiocese of Baltimore on or after Aug 1, 2024 will be entrusted solely to the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP) at the National Shrine of St. Alphonsus Liguori in Baltimore,” he announced.

The shrine is located in the city of Baltimore, about a 90-minute drive from St. Mary’s in Hagerstown, Maryland, where Archbishop Lori explained that the Latin Mass would cease after July 28. Latin Masses have been continuously offered there since 2012 after Pope Benedict XVI’s motu proprio Summorum Pontificum, which clarified that the Latin Mass was never abolished and that no priest needs his bishop’s permission to offer 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,” Pope Benedict XVI wrote.

Pope Francis’ Traditionis Custodes attempted to undo this 2007 motu proprio, declaring that the Latin Mass is not to be offered in “parochial” churches, that priests ordained after Traditionis Custodes have to apply for permission to offer the Latin Mass, and that bishops may restrict the TLM.

Liturgical scholar Dr. Peter Kwasniewski called Traditionis Custodes “the exact antithesis of Summorum Pontificum,” declaring at the time, “In the whole history of the Church, there has never been so dramatic a rejection of a Pope’s predecessor.” Kwasniewski has written that priests must resist Traditionis Custodes and its accompanying Responsa ad dubia “regardless of threats or penalties,” since obedience to these documents would undermine the very mission of the holy Catholic Church.

‘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 [Aquinas] says, a law against the common good is no valid law,’” he said in a speech during the 2021 Catholic Identity Conference. 

The suppression of the Latin Mass at St. Mary’s in Hagerstown is a particularly heavy blow to Latin Mass attendees in Maryland because it is the only TLM that has been offered in the northwestern part of the state, now leaving a large swath of the region deprived of the Latin Mass. One parishioner at St. Mary’s shared on X that the nearest TLM will now be an hour’s drive away.

Its suppression will also hit hard for young Catholics attending the Collegium Sanctorum Angelorum, an authentically Catholic college near St. Mary’s. The college highlights the availability of a nearby TLM as an important asset to the formation of its students.

The continuing Latin Masses offered nearest to St. Mary’s are in Charles Town, West Virginia, at the Priory of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and in Fairfield, Pennsylvania, at the Carmel of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph.

LifeSiteNews contacted Archbishop Lori for comment but has not received a response as of the time of publication.

Dr. Winnie Heartstrong, who moved to Hagerstown in 2021 in order to attend the TLM at St. Mary’s, has started a petition to Pope Francis asking him to “uncancel” the TLM worldwide, as well as a petition to Archbishop Lori to preserve the TLM at St. Mary Catholic Church in Hagerstown, Maryland. She has hired a canon lawyer to defend the canonical right of the faithful to the Tridentine Mass.

Dr. Heartstrong has asked that the Catholic faithful not only sign the petitions, but do their “best to push back against the abuses of Traditionis Custodes.”

“Write to your bishop, form a prayer group, or hire a canon lawyer to represent you, if possible,” exhorted Dr. Heartstrong.