WINONA, Minnesota (LifeSiteNews) – Bishop Robert Barron of Winona, Minnesota, has announced that he has “no intention” of banning the Traditional Latin Mass from his diocese, but has decided to move it from its present location at Sts. Peter and Paul Parish to another, as yet undetermined, location within the diocese.
Following weekend comments on Twitter from concerned faithful who attend the Traditional Latin Mass at Sts. Peter and Paul, in Mankato, Minnesota that quickly gained circulation on social media, claiming the diocese Winnona-Rochester was getting rid of the ancient liturgy, the diocese clarified in a statement that the bishop had “no intention” to do so, but was relocating the Latin Mass community following Pope Francis’ motu proprio, Traditiones Custodes.
In its statement, issued February 13, the diocese said,
This morning, a blogger unrelated to the Diocese of Winona-Rochester posted an inaccurate comment about the future of the usus antiquior (i.e., the “Traditional Latin Mass”) in the diocese. Bishop Robert Barron, in his pastoral concern for all the faithful of his Diocese, including those with a special attachment to the Traditional Latin Mass, has no intention of eliminating the celebration of the Mass in this form in the Diocese of Winona-Rochester. Rather, in seeking to follow the Church’s laws more faithfully, the Diocese is currently in the process of discerning appropriate “locations where the faithful adherents of these groups may gather for the eucharistic celebration” which, as per the Vatican document Traditiones Custodes, are to be places other than parish churches. Every effort is being made to find sacred spaces for this purpose which suitably reflect the beauty and dignity of the liturgy.
Priest-blogger Father John Zuhlsdorf, known as “Father Z,” corrected an initial post about the matter, writing on his blog, “I had first posted about this based on the tweets of a distraught parishioner, clearly upset that the parish is losing the Vetus Ordo. I just received an email from a priest with additional information.”
That priest wrote to Father Z:
As someone who is aware of Bishop Barron’s decision, the Mass was not canceled. It was moved from a parish where it was being celebrated on a table to a college chapel where there is a high altar and altar railing. This is the chapel where high masses in the diocese are usually celebrated, and the request to move the Mass came at the request of the priest responsible (Fr. Patrick Arens) for the community as a way of ensuring their stability and also closeness to the young people at the college who support the Mass.
Barron also granted the SSPX permission to celebrate mass and sacraments in the same chapel, and assigned the priest responsible for the traditional community with the task of ensuring good relations with the SSPX.
As shown in a photo posted by Zuhlsdorf, the college chapel features a beautiful traditional high altar under a marble baldacchino. The transfer of the Latin Mass to the college chapel in question, although removing the celebration of the Church’s ancient liturgy from a parish church of the diocese, may be a boon for traditional Catholics given the beauty of the high altar and chapel, which were designed and built precisely for the celebration of the ancient rite of the Roman Mass.
However, the move comes as traditional Catholics continue to be marginalized by being moved out of parishes and restricted in other ways in what is perceived by many as a top-down systematic attack on the Church’s beautiful ancient liturgy.
“I understand that most TLM-goers are used to being mistreated by the hierarchy, but I’m not going to praise a bishop who treats the TLM like an ugly step-sister who needs to be kept upstairs during dinner, just because he didn’t outright kill her,” Crisis magazine editor-in-chief Eric Sammons tweeted February 13.
LifeSiteNews reached out to the parish and the Diocese of Winona for clarification and comment on the situation. The diocese referred LifeSiteNews to its official statement and said that Barron wants the Latin Mass to continue being celebrated within the diocese. However, it would not confirm either that the college chapel had been officially designated as the new “location” for the Latin Mass or that the SSPX would be allowed to offer Mass there.