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Traditional Latin Mass in the Diocese of Savannah's cathedral of St. John the BaptistSavannah Latin Mass community/Facebook

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SAVANNAH, Georgia (LifeSiteNews) – The Roman Catholic bishop of the Diocese of Savannah has issued a decree ordering that the Latin Mass come to an end in the diocese as of next May.

In a July 15 statement, Bishop Stephen D. Parkes conveyed the express orders from the Vatican’s Dicastery for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments (CDW) announcing the end of the regular celebration of the Tridentine Mass in the diocese.

Following Pope Francis’s July 2021 restrictions on the Mass as contained in Traditionis custodes, Bishop Parkes had written to the CDW in April, requesting “permissions” to continue the Latin Masses currently in situ in the diocese.

Under the precepts from the Vatican, the weekly Latin Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of St. John the Baptist will be moved to Sacred Heart parish as of August 7, 2022. This is permitted to continue only until May 20 next year, at which point the directive indicates that the Mass will come to a complete end.

Masses in three other churches are permitted to be celebrated only “on a monthly basis until May 20, 2023,” at which point they shall also cease.

“The Mass according to the Missale Romanum of 1962 may be celebrated at the parish of Sacred Heart (*) in Savannah on a weekly basis until May 20, 2023,” wrote the CDW.

Screenshot of Bishop Parkes’ letter

Bishop Parkes wrote he was “grateful to the Dicastery for granting the above permissions” for the upcoming year, saying that he has been present at a number of Traditional Masses. As such, he spoke of how he “recognize[d] the reverence and beauty of these liturgies.”

“I am also aware that the eventual cessation of these Masses will be difficult for many of the faithful in our Diocese,” said Parkes. “Please know of my pastoral concern for you.”

Parkes added how the clergy who celebrate the Traditional Masses will “accompany the attendees in the coming months as the transition is made to Mass in conformity with the decrees of the Second Vatican Council.”

Liturgical scholar Dr. Peter Kwasniewski described the new restrictions as “arguably the most rotten fruit that has yet been excreted by the tree of Traditionis Custodes.” He suggested Catholics devoted to the Traditional liturgy should “[w]ork toward setting up an underground network of Masses for when the time comes. Contact the Coalition for Canceled Priests. And so forth.”

Bishop Parkes had written to the CDW after its prefect, Cardinal-elect Arthur Roche re-affirmed and extended Pope Francis’s restrictions on the Mass in a December 2021 Responsa ad dubia.

Roche, the staunchly anti-traditionalist head of the CDW, has since given a number of interviews in which he described the current provision of the Latin Mass as “a pastoral concession” granted by Pope Francis, that was not in line with changes Vatican II wrought upon the Catholic Church.

The Savannah restrictions were announced amidst swirling rumors of a severe clampdown by Cardinal Blase Cupich against the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest (ICKSP) in Chicago.

According to a prominent Catholic layman familiar with the matter, Cupich has asked the ICKSP clergy to sign a document with a number of contentious points, including stating that the Novus Ordo rite is the only true expression of the Roman rite. Given the ICKSP’s reported refusal to sign the document, it is believed that Cupich has ordered them to end their public Masses by the end of this month.

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