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Bishop Edward ScharfenbergerDiocese of Albany, NY

ALBANY,  New York (LifeSiteNews) —A diocese in the United States has halted the celebration of the Traditional Latin Mass (TLM) in parishes following clarifications to the Pope’s restrictions on the rite last month 

On February 28, the Diocese of Albany, NY announced over its website that the celebration of the TLM is now “on hold” in diocesan parishes in accordance with the Vatican’s recent Rescript of Pope Francis’ 2021 Motu Proprio Traditionis custodes. 

“In light of the rescript, which the Vatican sent last week, the celebration of the Usus Antiquior [TLM] is currently on hold in parish churches in the Albany Diocese,” the statement reads. “As we explore various possibilities, the Usus Antiquior can continue at Our Lady of Martyrs Shrine in Auriesville, which is not a parish church in the diocese.” 

The diocese also emphasized in its statement that the current restriction is not a total ban on the traditional rite.  

“To be clear, this is not a ban on Latin Masses,” the statement continued. “The original language of the Novus Ordo is Latin and that can and is still being performed. And neither is the Usus Antiquior ‘banned’ if suitable venues can be found within the current parameters of the rules. As our statement says, we are exploring possibilities.” 

Prior to this announcement, the TLM had been celebrated both in both Holy Family Parish in Little Falls, and St Ann’s Church in Fort Ann.  

Following the announcement, many traditional Catholics have taken to social media to express their heartbreak and righteous anger. 

One user posted a picture of himself receiving Holy Communion at one of the parishes where the TLM may no longer be celebrated. 

“Receiving communion today at the final TLM in our parish,” he stated. “Bishop Scharfenberger of the Albany NY diocese ended the Latin Mass.” 

“What kind of horrible does someone need to be to willfully and willingly compromise with such evil?!?” someone tweeted in response. “What kind of shepherd decides to tear away nourishment for his flock? What kind of bishop suppresses a Mass?” 

“Very sad,” said another Twitter user. “The Latin Mass is rich in history.” 

RELATED: Pope Francis issues new document limiting the powers of bishops to allow the Latin Mass in their diocese 

‘Bishop Sharfenberger is doing what he can in a tough situation.’

But while many lamented the loss of the TLM in the parish churches, others tweeted the happy news that, despite the restrictions, Catholics who love the Usus Antiquior still have options in the Albany diocese.   

“Just a heads up from a regular TLM attendee at St. Joseph’s in Troy: they no longer have the noon Latin Mass on Wednesdays, but still do Sundays, Mondays, and Fridays,” tweeted one user. “Hope to see you there!” 

According to their website, St Joseph’s in Troy has been a Carmelite community since 1970 and is still run by Carmelite priests. As such, it is not under the jurisdiction of the diocese and is free to continue offering the TLM, as was confirmed on Twitter.  

“The Carmelite Latin Mass in Troy is still going on and is immune from TC,” the user tweeted. “The Auriesville shrine will also be allowed to celebrate the TLM during shrine season (May-October).” 

“Bishop Sharfenberger is doing what he can in a tough situation,” the user added. 

Following Cardinal Arthur Roche’s rescript, priests and bishops have expressed their support for the TLM, as well as their indignation at the appearance of further restrictions on bishops’ ability to allow the rite. Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield, Illinois strongly defended bishops’ right to allow the Old Mass, stating that they are much better able to judge their own diocese than Rome is.  

RELATED: Bishop Paprocki questions latest Latin Mass restrictions, defends fidelity of traditional Catholics 

Cardinal Roche published the rescript on February 21, clarifying elements of Traditionis custodes and stating that the 2021 motu proprio had “reserved in a special way to the Apostolic See” the right to provide dispensations for the following:  

  • “the use of a parish church or the erection of a personal parish for the celebration of the Eucharist using the Missale Romanum of 1962 (cf. Traditionis custodes art. 3 §2);” and; 
  • “the granting of permission to priests ordained after the publication of Motu proprio Traditionis custodes to celebrate with the Missale Romanum of 1962 (cf. Traditionis custodes art. 4).”  

Roche also declared that bishops who had already provided dispensations for the Latin Mass in their diocese must inform the Vatican.  

“Should a diocesan bishop have granted dispensations in the two cases mentioned above, he is obliged to inform the Dicastery for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, which will assess the individual cases,” the rescript states.  

Roche is the head of this dicastery.  

As previously reported on by LifeSiteNews, following the original publication of Traditionis custodes and Roche’s subsequent Responsa, some diocesan bishops invoked Canon 87 §1 in order to allow a parish church to be used for the traditional Mass, since this had been banned under the Pope’s document. By using Canon 87, a bishop can dispense from “universal and particular disciplinary laws” for the faithful in his diocese when he deems that “it contributes to their spiritual good.”