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Raymond Arroyo (left), Cardinal Gerhard Müller (right)EWTN / YouTube

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ROME, March 22, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) – Cardinal Gerhard Müller has denounced a recently issued Vatican decree that suppresses individually said Masses at St. Peter’s Basilica and confines Latin Masses to the basilica’s crypt chapel.

“Nobody is obliged to obey it,” Müller told Raymond Arroyo on ‘The World Over,’ arguing that the Vatican’s Secretariat of State, which issued the letter, doesn’t have “disciplinary competence” or “theological competence” “about the liturgy [in] St. Peter.” 

These statements by the prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith  resemble those of Cardinal Burke, who said that the Secretariat of State is “not competent for the liturgical discipline of the Church and, in particular, for the liturgical discipline at the Basilica of Saint Peter.”

The note in question, which was circulated on March 12, states that “individual celebrations” of Mass “are suppressed,” and that priests who were once able to say Mass at one of the many altars in St. Peter’s Basilica are now limited to “concelebrated” Masses at two locations, during a two-hour time slot.

The directives are enforced beginning March 22.

Müller pointed out to Arroyo that “nobody can be forced to concelebrate, because the normal form of the holy Mass is one priest is celebrating, representing Christ.”

“Perhaps [there is] the possibility of concelebration of the bishop and his priest in the diocese and the cathedral, but the concelebration only of priests together is not a normal form,” Müller continued.

He also noted the absurd contradiction of forcing two priests to say Mass in close proximity to each other, while COVID-19 is simultaneously being used as a pretext for other restrictions in the Vatican City State including “the restriction of movement and assembly of people, physical distancing, isolation and quarantine,” and “vaccination protocols.”

“Now we are living [in] the corona time, everybody is speaking about the social distance, and now they are forced to con-celebrate, to come together,” said Müller.

“This letter is very strange, and this argumentation and the terminology — holy Masses are ‘suppressed’ — doesn't sound very Catholic,” said Müller.

Now that Latin Masses have been confined to one altar in the Vatican Grottoes, “Everybody is forced to listen in Italian” in the Basilica, noted Müller.

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A senior Church prelate is strongly opposing a new Vatican proposal to ban private Masses and restrict traditional rite Masses at the world's premier church, St. Peter's Basilica in Rome.

Cardinal Raymond Burke said that the new directions, issued by Pope Francis’ Secretariat of State, should be "rescinded" since they are "contrary to" and in "direct violation of" universal Church law.

Therefore, we ask you to SIGN and SHARE this petition, which is directed to Pope Francis and the current and just retired Archpriest of St. Peter's Basilica (Cardinals Mauro Gambetti and Angelo Comastri, respectively), and which asks them to rescind the new directive banning private Masses and restricting traditional rite Masses at St. Peter's.

On March 12th, the Vatican’s Secretariat of State circulated a note with details of new dispositions restricting all “individual” Masses in Saint Peter’s, with special, even more restrictive measures for the traditional rite.

The note, which was unsigned, stated among other things that "individual celebrations are suppressed."

In response, Cardinal Burke said the new rules cause the faithful, and above all, priests, the "deepest concerns."

In particular, he addresses the celebration of private or "individual" Masses at the Basilica, something that the new document appears to target, writing:

The document imposes concelebration upon priests who wish to offer the Holy Mass in Saint Peter’s Basilica, which is contrary to universal Church law and which unjustly conditions the primary duty of the individual priest to offer the Holy Mass daily for the salvation of the world (can. 902).

In what church more than in the Basilica of Saint Peter would a priest desire to offer the Holy Mass, which is the most perfect and fullest way in which he carries out his priestly mission? If an individual priest wishes to offer the Holy Mass in the Basilica, once the directives in question are in force, he will be constrained to concelebrate, in violation of his freedom to offer the Holy Mass individually.

Quoting from the Council of Trent, Burke then emphasized the fact that the whole Church benefits spiritually from every Mass that is said, whether with people attending or without, stating:

The holy council would certainly like the faithful present at every Mass to communicate in it not only by spiritual devotion but also by sacramental reception of the Eucharist, so that the fruits of this most holy sacrifice could be theirs more fully.

But, if this does not always happen, the council does not for that reason condemn as private and illicit Masses (can. 8) in which only the priest communicates. Rather, it approves and commends them, for they too should be considered truly communal Masses, partly because the people communicate spiritually in them and partly because they are celebrated by a public minister of the Church, not for his own good alone, but for all the faithful who belong to the body of Christ’ (Session XXII, Chapter 6).

Please SIGN now and support the call to Pope Francis and the current and just retired Archpriest of St. Peter's to rescind the new directives which would severely restrict priests from offering private and traditional rite Holy Masses at St. Peter's Basilica.


Cardinal Burke: Vatican’s ban on private Masses in St. Peter’s Basilica should be ‘rescinded’ -

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“But there are some sisters who are taking part in these Masses who are not able to speak it, to understand the Mass in Italian, and therefore why is [it] not allowed to celebrate the holy Mass in Latin, [the] language of the Church, or in the languages of the priests and the participants of the languages of their countries where they are coming from,” Müller continued.

Commenting on the decree’s narrow restriction of the number of Masses that can be said in St. Peter’s Basilica, Müller said, “We must be happy to have everywhere the holy Mass, because the holy Mass is a center of the Catholic sacramental life and also of the spirituality of every priest.”

The decree’s impact falls heavily on “a great number of priests in the Curia who have no other possibility to celebrate because they are living in the Vatican,” Müller further noted. 

When Arroyo pointed out that the decree had “no clear signature except for the initials of the deputy secretary of state,” and that “the new rules were never formally announced,” Müller said, “I think they [did not have] a good conscience and therefore they made these maneuvers.”

“This letter doesn't look intelligent enough to convince us,” said Müller.