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Bishop William Michael MulveyDiocese of Corpus Christi

(LifeSiteNews) — The bishop of the diocese of Corpus Christi (Texas) has issued a decree suspending the sole diocesan-approved Traditional Latin Mass (TLM).  

In a letter dated April 4, 2023, Bishop William Michael Mulvey cancelled the TLM offered at St. John the Baptist Church. According to the parish bulletin, Catholics had had the opportunity to assist at the old rite there on Sundays at 12:15 p.m. and on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 12:05 p.m.   

Referring to Traditionis Custodes, promulgated by Pope Francis on July 16, 2021, Bishop Mulvey wrote that he had issued a dispensation for the Traditional Latin Mass to continue in St. John the Baptist Catholic Church. Canon 87 par.1 of the Code of Canon Law had permitted him to do so. 

“For almost two years, the Traditional Latin Mass has been celebrated at St. John the Baptist by Reverend Rodolfo D. Vasquez, pastor of St. John the Baptist,” Mulvey wrote. “Last week, Reverend Vasquez submitted his resignation as pastor of St. John the Baptist effective April 10, 2023.”   

Citing a lack of other priests in the diocese able to offer Mass according to the 1962 missal, Bishop Mulvey has put its celebration on hold.  

“Until an alternative can be determined, it is necessary to suspend the Traditional Latin Mass until further direction on the issue can be obtained,” he said. 

A message reportedly from Father Vasquez appeared on a parishioner’s Twitter feed on 8:37 a.m. March 31 with the following message in full. Apparently, this message was issued prior to Vasquez’s resignation as reported by the bishop: 

Due to the Vatican’s instruction on the regulation of the TLM and the new authority to override the local Bishop’s dispensation, Bishop Mulvey has advised us that the TLM at St. John’s has come to an end. No ceremonies from the 1962 Missal can be offered during the rest of this week nor next week (Holy Week). The Bishop did allow us to offer Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday as our last Masses in the TLM.

We all knew that this was coming sooner or later and unfortunately there is nothing that can be done. The decisions are now solely carried out at the Vatican. [The] Bishop was generous in dispensing this when the Motu Proprio was first issued in July 2021.

As a result therefore, noon Masses are suspended until such time as further pastoral action can take place. This includes Mass today (Friday) and First Saturday Mass tomorrow.

I will ask you for your prayers and assure you [of] mine in this very difficult time.

Katrina Keat, a former choir director at St. John the Baptist, told LifeSiteNews that Vasquez “was a great boss who loves the EF [Extraordinary Form] Mass very much.” 

WATCH: ‘Mass of the Ages’ controversy revisited – Total Latin Mass ban incoming?

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Meanwhile, a Mariachi Mass will be offered at the cathedral church of Corpus Christi this upcoming Sunday, apparently in accord with Sacrosanctum Concilium of the Second Vatican Council. The document includes a section called “Norms for adapting the Liturgy to the culture and traditions of peoples” which states:  

Even in the liturgy, the Church has no wish to impose a rigid uniformity in matters which do not implicate the faith or the good of the whole community; rather does she respect and foster the genius and talents of the various races and peoples. Anything in these peoples’ way of life which is not indissolubly bound up with superstition and error she studies with sympathy and, if possible, preserves intact. Sometimes in fact she admits such things into the liturgy itself, so long as they harmonize with its true and authentic spirit [SC, 37]. 

It is unclear at this time why Vasquez resigned. LifeSite could not confirm if Vasquez’s resignation preceded or followed the suspension of the Mass. Neither the diocesan spokesperson nor the priest who heads up Divine Worship and the Sacraments for the diocese responded to questions about the suspension of the Traditional Latin Mass and the Mariachi Mass by publication deadline.  

READ: FBI admits to seeking informants within the Diocese of Richmond, SSPX

The Society of St. Pius X, which does not have diocesan sanction, offers the Traditional Latin Mass in Corpus Christi every third Sunday at 4:30 p.m.   

For further news regarding the Traditional Latin Mass or the Mariachi Mass, please contact the diocese of Corpus Christi at (361) 882-6191.