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ROME, Italy (LifeSiteNews) — The Vicar General for the Diocese of Rome has restricted the celebration of traditional Catholic liturgies in the diocese, including a ban on the traditional Easter Triduum previously celebrated in Rome by a traditional order of priests.   

Yesterday Cardinal Angelo De Donatis issued a decree restricting the use of the 1962 Missal and other liturgical books throughout the Diocese of Rome in an effort to “welcome the provisions of the Apostolic Letter Traditionis Custodes.” The decree also banned the faithful from participating in the Easter Triduum at a church ran by the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter (FSSP). 

Although the decree was issued on November 9, it was dated October 7. It sets out the details for the implementation of the motu proprio Traditiones Custodes in the Eternal City, including a requirement for written permission to celebrate the traditional liturgy. 

Citing John Paul II’s 1988 instruction Ecclesia Dei, De Donatis stated that the Diocese of Rome wishes “to continue the work of ‘facilitating ecclesial communion for those Catholics who feel bound to some previous liturgical forms.’” According to the cardinal, this work has been “already underway in the City for many years.” 

De Donatis called the new decree an exercise of “lively pastoral charity” towards the faithful who “do not exclude the validity and legitimacy of the liturgical reform [and] the dictates of Vatican II, and who nevertheless wish to participate in the celebration of the Eucharist according to the 1962 Missal.” 

He quoted Traditionis Custodes which holds that the “liturgical books promulgated by the Holy Pontiffs Paul VI and John Paul II, in conformity [sic] with the decrees of the Second Vatican Council, are the sole expression of the  lex orandi  of the Roman Rite.” 

Catholics are not unanimous that these liturgical books are indeed in conformity with the decrees of the Second Vatican Council, for many liturgical experts observe that they contract the Second Vatican Council’s document on the Mass, Sacrosanctum ConsiliumFor example, this 1963 “Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy” states that “[p]articular law remaining in force, the use of the Latin language is to be preserved in the Latin rites” (6. 1.). 

According to the decree, all priests who wish to celebrate the Traditional Latin Mass must now request permission in writing from De Donatis himself. The one exception is the pastor of  Santissima Trinità dei Pellegrini (Most Holy Trinity of the Pilgrims), the Roman church served by the FSSP, who was entrusted with “the task of taking care of the dignified celebration of the Eucharistic liturgy, as well as of the ordinary pastoral and spiritual care of these faithful.” 

However, the faithful will not be able to attend the Easter Triduum according to the 1962 Missal at that church, as stipulated in the letter: “every day, except the Easter Triduum, the faithful may participate in the celebration of the Eucharist according to the  Missale Romanum  of 1962 in the parish of  Santissima Trinità dei Pellegrini  (cf. art. 3 §5,  Traditionis Custodes).”

The use of the 1962 Missal has been further restricted in a number of churches in Rome including St. Dominic and St. Sixtus, St. Celsus and St. Julian, St. Joseph in the Capo le Case district, and St. Anne at the Lateran, where Mass times have to be agreed upon by the rectors.  

Furthermore, the decree stipulates that the readings will “always be proclaimed in Italian, according to the CE.I. 2008 translation” in accordance with art. 3 §3, of Traditionis Custodes. 

The decree also issues a ban on the use of other liturgical books such as the Roman Ritual and the Ordines which are used for the celebration of certain sacraments (such as baptism and penance) or sacramentals in the traditional form.   

These new restrictions are only the latest development in a series of measures meant to drastically limit the celebration of the Traditional Latin Mass in the Eternal City and throughout the universal Church.  

Earlier this year, the Vatican imposed new directives restricting all private Masses in Saint Peter’s Basilica with special, even more restrictive, measures for the traditional rite.  

Soon after that, Pope Francis issued his Motu Proprio Traditionis Custodes which essentially abrogated Pope Benedict’s universal permission for the Old Mass, Summorum Pontificum.

Since then, many Catholics who favor the Latin Mass have voiced their consternation. 

A number of bishops and cardinals have in fact openly expressed their opposition to  Traditionis Custodes, while others, such as De Donatis, have been eager to implement it, sometimes taking the restrictions even further than what was stipulated in the document.  

 The full English translation of De Donatis’ decree can be found here.