CHICAGO (LifeSiteNews) – Cardinal Blase Cupich of the Archdiocese of Chicago strongly hinted at an upcoming crackdown on the Latin Mass in his diocese, suggesting in a recent article that Catholics may have to “leave behind” the traditional liturgy in light of Pope Francis’ motu proprio Traditionis custodes.
Cupich discussed his plans to implement the motu proprio in an article last week for Pray Tell, the pro-LGBT blog of Collegeville Liturgical Press, which he said came in response to questions about the document from Chicago priests.
The liberal prelate and top ally of the Pope signaled that Catholics devoted to the old Mass would require pastoral “accompaniment” to embrace what he described as “the essential principles of renewal” of Vatican II.
Pope Francis’s intention with Traditionis custodes (TC), Cupich wrote, is “to re-establish throughout the Church of the Roman Rite a single and identical prayer that expresses its unity, according to the liturgical books promulgated by the saintly Popes Paul VI and John Paul II, in conformity with the decrees of the Second Vatican Council.”
“In other words, there are not two forms of the Roman Rite, because the word ‘reform’ means something, namely that we leave behind a former way of celebrating the sacraments and adopt a new form,” he said.
Cupich enumerated “three important guiding principles for receiving and implementing TC,” which include the “unity of the church” and a “solid unequivocal recognition” among all Catholics that “the Second Vatican Council and its reforms are not only an authentic action of the Holy Spirit but also are in continuity with the Tradition of the Church.”
“A third is the role of the bishop as the sole moderator, promoter and guardian of all liturgical life in his diocese,” the cardinal added. Each local bishop is “duty bound” to implement Traditionis custodes “in a way that promotes in his diocese a return to a unitary celebratory form.”
“Pastorally fulfilling the aims of TC will require that we as pastors accompany people,” which “may take the form of visiting with the faithful who have regularly attended Mass and celebrated sacraments with the earlier rituals to help them understand the essential principles of renewal called for in the Second Vatican Council,” he continued.
Far from abolishing the Latin Mass, the Second Vatican Council mandated in Sacrosanctum Concilium, its Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, that “the use of the Latin language is to be preserved in the Latin rites.”
The Council further decreed that “steps should be taken so that the faithful may also be able to say or to sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them” and that Gregorian chant “should be given pride of place in liturgical services.”
“The post-conciliar liturgy is not what was envisioned by the Fathers of Vatican II,” Jeff Ostrowski observed in the liturgical magazine Corpus Christi Watershed.
Vatican II said Gregorian Chant was to be given “first place in liturgical services” (SC §116). Vatican II said “the treasure of sacred music is to be preserved and fostered with great care” and “choirs must be diligently promoted” (SC §114). Vatican II said “the Latin language is to be retained by clerics in the divine office” (SC §101). Vatican II specifically recommended polyphony (SC §116) for liturgical celebrations. Vatican II said the congregation is supposed to “say or to sing together in Latin those parts of the Mass Ordinary which pertain to them” (SC §54).
Pope Benedict XVI also clarified that the Traditional Latin Mass (TLM), or the Extraordinary Form, was “never juridically abrogated” by the Second Vatican Council.
“As for the use of the 1962 Missal as a Forma extraordinaria of the liturgy of the Mass, I would like to draw attention to the fact that this Missal was never juridically abrogated and, consequently, in principle, was always permitted,” he wrote in a letter accompanying his 2007 motu proprio Summorum Pontificum, which recognized the universal right of priests to say Mass according to the Roman Missal of 1962.
Traditionis custodes, issued by Pope Francis in July, abrogated Summorum Pontificum, granting bishops “exclusive competence to authorize the use of the 1962 Roman Missal.” The document purports to remove the Extraordinary Form from the Roman Rite altogether, declaring that the reformed Mass is “the unique expression of the lex orandi” of the Roman Church.
Cardinal Cupich has not released an official policy on the implementation of TC since announcing in July that he would “take time to study, reflect and consult with others on it and in due time offer a pathway for implementing what the Holy Father has asked us to do.”
Chicago is home to a large Latin Mass community, which includes the U.S. headquarters of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest and multiple nationally-recognized TLM parishes, including St. John Cantius in West Town.
Cupich has a notable record of hostility to the traditional liturgy. While he was the Bishop of Rapid City, South Dakota, he locked the doors of a parish church in an attempt to stop celebration of Latin Mass during the Easter Triduum, leaving parishioners to celebrate Mass on the sidewalk.
“There has to be some occasion on a yearly basis to reflect the fact that we are one church under one bishop,” he said at the time. “I would ask them, ‘Why do they find it so difficult, on the day of the Lord’s death, to celebrate with their bishop, who is the sign of the Lord’s unity?’”
Cupich’s strict approach to the Traditional Latin Mass contrasts with his dissident affirmations of homosexuality, for example. The Chicago cardinal has publicly endorsed allowing unrepentant homosexuals to receive Communion and funeral rites, going so far as to declare that priests may not deny the Eucharist to anyone in a state of homosexual sin.
“It’s not up to any minister who is distributing the Eucharist to make a decision about a person’s worthiness or lack of worthiness,” he said in a 2015 interview. “That’s on the conscience of those individuals.”
Cupich has made similar comments about divorced and illicitly remarried Catholics and pro-abortion lawmakers, saying in 2019, “I think it would be counterproductive to impose sanctions, simply because they don’t change anybody’s minds.”
Canon 915 of the Code of Canon Law states that those “obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to holy communion.”