Your Eminence, That’s Just Mean

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Cardinal Wilton Gregory, Archbishop of Washington, DC

The Paulus Institute, a Catholic organization dedicated to the Traditional Latin Mass (TLM) had arranged to have a Pontifical Mass celebrated in the Extraordinary Form on August 14, the Vigil of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC. A Pontifical Mass is one celebrated by a bishop or pope in the Extraordinary Form. The Mass had been planned a year ago, but the COVID pandemic postponed it. The celebrant was to be Archbishop Thomas Gullickson, a retired American priest who spent years in the Church’s diplomatic service, most recently as papal nuncio (ambassador) to Ukraine.

However, after Pope Francis issued his letter Traditionis Custodes, which limited the use of the TLM/Extraordinary Form and assigned authority for celebrating it to the local bishop, Cardinal Wilton Gregory, archbishop of Washington, removed his permission to celebrate the Mass, effectively cancelling it. The Paulus Institute requested that Cardinal Gregory reconsider in light of the fact that there was no justifiable reason for cancelling it, and that many people had already made arrangement and financial commitments to travel in order to attend. Cardinal Gregory declined to reconsider, and the Mass remains cancelled.

I’m sorry, your Eminence, but that’s just mean.

I don’t regularly attend the TLM. I’ve only been to two in my life, and both of those in the last couple of years. However, my middle daughter and her husband are quite devoted to it, and I have other friends who are. Their faith is strong, and their dedication to the Church is deep. It seems to me that the only reason Cardinal Gregory cancelled the Mass is because he is hostile to the TLM and doesn’t care about disappointing those devoted to it, or even punishing them for their devotion to it.

There was no reason whatsoever for cancelling this Mass, which had been planned for over a year and had to be postponed through no fault of those organizing it.

This is not how you treat people. Cardinal Gregory has been around long enough, and he has been a priest long enough, to know that you treat people with kindness and graciousness. A pastor ought to be pastoral toward his flock. This action is the opposite. It’s gratuitous, petty, and mean. If Cardinal Gregory doesn’t like the TLM and doesn’t want it celebrated regularly in his archdiocese, that’s his prerogative. But, to cancel a Mass that has been planned and looked forward to for over a year because of Pope Francis’ letter that was published less than a month ago simply can’t be justified.

Shame on you, Cardinal Gregory!

Be Christ for all. Bring Christ to all. See Christ in all.

2 thoughts on “Your Eminence, That’s Just Mean

  1. As always a good article, but in this context, isn’t the “pontifical” a reference to a solemn mass celebrated by a bishop, not a reference to intentions of the pope?


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