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Cardinal Wilton GregoryMark Wilson / Getty Images

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (LifeSiteNews) – The archdiocese of Washington, D.C. is expected to ban the Traditional Latin Mass (TLM) from all parish churches, according to several anonymous priests from the archdiocese. 

Speaking to The Pillar, the priests hold that pro-LGBT Cardinal Wilton Gregory approved a directive that would implement Pope Francis’ motu proprio Traditionis Custodes (TC), which limited the use of the TLM, in the archdiocese.  

The directive, the priests allege, would ban the TLM from all archdiocesan and parish churches and push the Mass to a Franciscan monastery in Washington’s  Brookland neighborhood.

“The cardinal has been clear: ‘We are going to do what the pope asks,’” one priest told The Pillar. “That means no EF in parish churches.” 

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According to a source close to the chancery, the archdiocese is waiting to release the document once feedback from both clergy and laity from the archdiocese’s synodal listening sessions is processed. According to The Pillar, the listening sessions, part of the Synod on Synodality, ended in late May. It is not clear if the results of the sessions will impact the document’s release.  

One priest told The Pillar that he finds the situation Gregory is in ironic. “It’s ironic really … the rationale is that Traditionis requires the old Mass not to be celebrated in parish churches. But closing the old Mass in some of those places will effectively close the parish, too. What community is that supposed to serve, exactly?” 

The priest continued, saying “All the clergy of the diocese know this will be the effect, no one sees the need or the benefit, pastorally speaking, but I don’t think any amount of ‘listening’ and ‘reflection’ is going to move the needle.” 

Another priest close to the chancery told The Pillar that he thinks Gregory is in a corner. “It’s the capital. There is a small but very vocal, very visible traditional liturgical community here, and everyone is watching.” 

“I think the cardinal is in a corner. What’s he to do? Implement anything less than the letter of the law and it will look like you’re ignoring the pope – and setting an example for others to do the same. Do it without listening to your own clergy and people in the synodal sessions and you’re being unpastoral, and not following the pope’s lead either,” the priest concluded. 

Last year, Gregory cancelled a Solemn Pontifical High Mass that was scheduled to be said by Archbishop Thomas E. Gullickson at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. The Mass was originally postponed a year because of COVID-19. When asked why he cancelled the Mass, Gregory said that the use of the 1962 Missal “would seem … to be at odds with the restrictions” imposed by TC. 

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Gregory would not be the first bishop to issue strict limitations of the TLM in his diocese. In January, Cardinal Blaise Cupich of Chicago issued a decree that imposed strict restrictions on the TLM in Chicago. The decree also banned Masses form being celebrated ad orientem and banned the TLM on the first Sunday of the month, as well as on the feasts of Easter, the Triduum, Pentecost, and Christmas. Pope Francis recently appointed Cupich to the Congregation of Divine Worship, the Vatican office that governs liturgy.

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