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Bishop Paprocki (L), Cardinal Cupich (R)Twitter screenshot/ABC 7 YouTube screenshot

SPRINGFIELD, Illinois (LifeSiteNews) — Cardinal Cupich has doubled down on his restrictions on the Latin Mass, imposing prohibitions on the the Canons of St. John Cantius in neighboring Springfield diocese via the local bishop, and having a “catechesis” drawn up for Latin Mass devotees to “fully appreciate” the Novus Ordo.

Bishop Thomas John Paprocki, bishop of Springfield, Illinois, since 2010, announced the latest implementation of Traditionis Custodes via an insert in parish bulletins. 

The new rules affect the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius, who serve in Springfield diocese but remain under the authority of Cardinal Blaise Cupich, in the Archdiocese of Chicago. 

Under the terms of Paprocki’s document, the Canons are forbidden from celebrating the Latin Mass on the first Sunday of the month. “All Masses celebrated by the Canons Regular in the Diocese of Springfield will be celebrated on the first Sunday of the month according to the Novus Ordo.”

Additionally, there is to be a “plan of catechesis” drawn up which will “assist” devotees of the traditional Mass to come to terms with the changes. 

“A plan of catechesis will be presented to assist and accompany those attached to the former rite to fully appreciate the restoration of the liturgy and the teachings of the Council.”

LifeSiteNews contacted the diocese about the catechesis, and was told that no finalized plans are in place so far, but that it would likely “examine the teachings on the liturgy in the documents of the Second Vatican Council as understood in continuity with the ancient liturgical traditions of the Catholic Church.”

‘Litmus test’ of Vatican II liturgy

All priests of the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius serving in Springfield are to “affirm in their written petition to celebrate the sacraments in the earlier liturgical form that the restored liturgy of the Council is the unique expression of the lex orandi of the Roman Rite.”

This was described by some as a “litmus test” of the Novus Ordo having precedence over the Latin Mass.

Such directives appear to have come at the request of Cardinal Cupich, rather than having originated entirely from Paprocki himself. The Springfield bishop noted in his addendum to the third directive: “As requested by the Archbishop of Chicago.”

LifeSiteNews contacted the Springfield diocesan spokesman, who re-iterated “the Canons are able serve in the Diocese of Springfield based on the permission of the Archbishop of Chicago. Therefore, Bishop Paprocki’s policy is in line with Cardinal Cupich’s December policy changes regarding the celebration of the Traditional Latin Mass according to the Roman Missal of 1962.”

The Canons of St. John Cantius serve St. Katherine Drexel parish, comprised of two churches: St. Patrick and Sacred Heart. The parish is dubbed “Springfield’s ‘Home of the Latin Mass,’” with two Sunday traditional Masses, and at least one such Mass on weekdays. 

First Friday devotions at Sacred Heart, 2019.

In order for these other celebrations of the traditional liturgy to continue, and to comply with Traditionis Custodes, Paprocki has designated Sacred Heart as a “non-parochial church,” since Pope Francis widely prohibited the Latin Mass from occurring in parish churches.

Given that the Vatican recently further restricted the traditional sacraments, Paprocki complied with this directive, allowing priests to request permission to “celebrate the Sacraments according to the Rituale Romanum of 1952,” but not to request permission to use the Pontificale Romanum, which contains the sacraments of Confirmation and Holy Orders.

The diocese noted that though Paprocki’s document banned the Latin Mass on first Sundays, “on all the rest of the days of the month” the Canons were still able to offer the Latin Mass. 

The traditional Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, which also ministers in the diocese, was spared from any restrictions, as Paprocki ruled its personal parish of St. Rose of Lima “is effective for the spiritual growth of the faithful and is therefore retained.”

Back in the immediate aftermath of Traditionis Custodes, Paprocki marked himself out by employing Canon Law to dispense priests in the diocese from the Papal restrictions. Drawing on can. 87, §1, Bishop Paprocki allowed the Canons of St. John Cantius and the FSSP to continue as normal. Such a permission will remain unchanged, “unless directed otherwise by the Holy See,” the diocese noted.

Cardinal Cupich exercising his power

Paprocki’s document, effective January 25, thus brings priests of the Chicago archdiocese serving in Springfield in line with Cupich’s own decrees regarding the traditional liturgy, seemingly under the request of Cupich himself. Cupich’s directive, published two days after Christmas, requires all priests, deacons, and instituted ministers to request permission to celebrate the Latin Mass either publicly or privately after January 25.

Cupich’s policy firmly prohibits celebrations of the Latin Mass on the first Sunday of each month, as well as on Christmas, the Triduum, Easter Sunday, and Pentecost Sunday, and further bans saying Mass ad orientem without permission.

Just as in Springfield, Cupich referenced a process of “accompaniment” of Catholics who prefer the traditional Mass, in order to “to help them understand the essential principles of renewal called for in the Second Vatican Council and appreciate how the reformed Mass introduces them to a greater use of Scripture and prayers from the Roman tradition, as well as an updated liturgical calendar of feasts that includes recently canonized saints.”

Cardinal Cupich, known for his widespread deviation from Church teaching on a variety of issues, continues to exercise increasingly firm control over his archdiocese. Just last week, the cardinal accused one of his priests of inciting “animosities or hatred against the Apostolic See or an ordinary” after the cleric publicly criticized Cupich’s ban on saying Mass ad orientem.

Father Anthony Buś, C.R., took issue with the liturgical restrictions, saying that faithful Catholics were “cruelly demoralized — thrown into confusion” by them. As a result, Buś was summoned to meet Cupich, and then sent to a ten day retreat to “reflect on my priesthood.”

Back in July, Cupich reportedly placed “tremendous pressure” on the National Catholic Bioethics Center to change the guidance issued by the center against mandatory injection for COVID-19.

Catholic outrage at Paprocki’s decree

Bishop Paprocki’s letter has been met with frustration and sadness by Catholics online, with many expressing surprise that “one of the good ones” was restricting the Latin Mass.

Others queried why traditional Catholics were being punished, when the attendees of the Novus Ordo were more likely to reject Church teaching.