Cardinal Cupich has issued the following policy, which takes effect Jan. 25.
The intention of the “motu proprio,” “Traditionis Custodes” (“TC”), is to re-establish throughout the Church of the Roman Rite a single and identical prayer that expresses its unity, according to the liturgical books promulgated by the saintly popes Paul VI and John Paul II, in conformity with the decrees of the Second Vatican Council. Previous norms, instructions, permissions and customs that do not conform to the provisions of “TC” are abrogated.
The guiding principles for receiving and implementing this “motu proprio” must be the unity of the church and the recognition that the Second Vatican Council and its reforms are not only an authentic action of the Holy Spirit but also are in continuity with the tradition of the church. This recognition means the full acceptance that “the liturgical books promulgated by St. Paul VI and St. John Paul II, in conformity with the decrees of Vatican Council II, are the unique expression of the ‘lex orandi’ of the Roman Rite.”1 In this light, as Pope Francis declared, “we can affirm with certainty and with magisterial authority that the liturgical reform is irreversible.”2
Respecting the principle that the diocesan bishop is the moderator, promoter and guardian of all liturgical life, Pope Francis, by issuing “TC,” has returned competency to the local bishop for the regulation of the use of the liturgical forms antecedent to the Second Vatican Council as an exceptional concession. “It is the duty of the bishops, ‘cum Petro et sub Petro,’ to safeguard communion, which, as the Apostle Paul reminds us (cf. 1 Cor 11:17-34), is a necessary condition for being able to participate at the eucharistic table.”3
Consequently, each diocesan bishop is to decide if and when it may be opportune to grant by way of exception the use of liturgical forms antecedent to the liturgical reforms of the Second Vatican Council (“Missale Romanum” of 1962 and “Rituale Romanum” of 1952). In his letter to Bishops around the world to accompany the text of “motu proprio” “Traditionis Custodes,” Pope Francis makes clear that the local bishop is to take his decision in a way that ensures that in his diocese there is a return to a unitary form of liturgical celebrations or, at least, significant movement in that direction.
Pastorally fulfilling the aims of “TC” will require pastors to accompany people in coming to an understanding of the link between the way we worship and what we believe,4 keeping in mind the Holy Father’s desire that pastors are to lead the faithful to the sole use of the reformed liturgical books.5 The archdiocesan Office for Divine Worship will offer assistance to pastors in this regard by developing catechetical resources. Accompaniment may also take the form of visiting with the faithful who have regularly attended Mass celebrated in the earlier form to help them understand the essential principles of renewal called for in the Second Vatican Council and appreciate how the reformed Mass introduces them to a greater use of Scripture and prayers from the Roman tradition, as well as an updated liturgical calendar of feasts that includes recently canonized saints. It may also mean creatively including elements that people have found nourishing in celebrating the pre-Vatican form of the Mass, which has always been an option in the Mass reformed by the Council, e.g., reverent movement and gestures, use of Gregorian chant, Latin and incense, as well as extended periods of silence within the liturgy.
The policy set forth here aims at fully implementing the “motu proprio,” “Traditionis Custodes” as well as the provisions of the “Responsa ad Dubia,” issued by the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments (CDWDS). It comes into effect in the Archdiocese of Chicago on the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul the Apostle, Jan. 25, 2022.
Provisions of the policy
1. As of Jan. 25, 2022, all priests, deacons and instituted ministers need to request and receive permission from the Archbishop of Chicago to celebrate the Eucharist using the antecedent liturgy, that is, the Roman Missal of 1962, either privately or publicly, all the while faithfully observing the other requirements of this policy. Those making such a request in writing “should be suited for this responsibility, skilled in the use of the “Missale Romanum” antecedent to the reform of 1970, possess a knowledge of the Latin language sufficient for a thorough comprehension of the rubrics and liturgical texts and be animated by a lively pastoral charity and by a sense of ecclesial communion.”6 Additionally, in making this request they must explicitly affirm “the validity and legitimacy of the liturgical reform, the teaching of the Second Vatican Council and the Magisterium of the Supreme Pontiffs,” and demonstrate an appreciation “of the value of concelebration, particularly at the Chrism Mass.”7
2. The written request should note the average attendance at such celebrations as well as their frequency and location, along with a statement of agreement to abide by the norms set forth in this document. While the rule found in the “Responsa ad Dubia” that “it is not possible to grant bination on the grounds that there is no ‘just cause’ or ‘pastoral necessity’’” is to be observed for weekdays,8 it also applies to Sundays. However, it may be that in some rare circumstances there is a just cause for which the archbishop may grant the favor of bination for Sundays.
3. If permission is granted by the archbishop to celebrate the Eucharist using the antecedent liturgy, that is the Roman Missal of 1962, the understanding is that the priest entrusted with these celebrations and with the pastoral care of these groups of the faithful, serves as the delegate of the archbishop.9
4. In the churches, oratories or chapels in which there have been one or more groups celebrating the Eucharist according to the Missal prior to the reform of 1970, the priest ministering to these groups may request this practice to continue after Jan. 25, 2022, except for the days noted below.
5. A parish church can only be used for such celebrations if it is established that it is impossible to use another church, oratory or chapel. Use of a parish church requires the CDWDS to grant this favor at the archbishop’s request.10 This concession, if granted, is to be limited to the faithful adherents of these groups. Moreover “… such a celebration should not be included in the parish Mass schedule, since it is attended only by the faithful who are members of the said group. Finally, it should not be held at the same time as the pastoral activities of the parish community. It is to be understood that when another venue becomes available, this permission will be withdrawn. There is no intention in these provisions to marginalize the faithful who are rooted in the previous form of celebration: They are only meant to remind them that this is a concession to provide for their good (in view of the common use of the one ‘lex orandi’ of the Roman Rite) and not an opportunity to promote the previous rite.”11
6. Priests and those groups that receive permission from the Archbishop of Chicago to celebrate the Mass using the Missal of 1962, are bound on the first Sunday of the month to celebrate Mass only using the Missal of Paul VI. If Latin is used, then the faithful should be provided the means to participate in the responses. Mass is also ordinarily to be celebrated “versus populum,” unless permission is granted otherwise by the archbishop. Additionally, all celebrations of the church’s liturgies on Christmas, the Triduum, Easter Sunday, and Pentecost Sunday are to use exclusively the liturgical books promulgated by St. Pope Paul VI and St. Pope John Paul II, either in the vernacular or in Latin, and ordinarily “versus populum,” unless permission is granted otherwise by the archbishop. The intention of these requirements is to foster and make manifest the unity of this local church, as well as to provide all Catholics in the archdiocese an opportunity to offer a concrete manifestation of the acceptance of the teaching of the Second Vatican Council and its liturgical books.
7. If this permission is granted to celebrate Mass using the Missal of 1962, it will be with the understanding that:
a. the Scripture readings must be proclaimed in the vernacular, using the official translation of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and the homily is to reflect the norms and directions for preaching indicated by the council and post-conciliar documents.
b. as noted above, if the CDWDS, after receiving a request from the archbishop, grants the favor by way of exception to a parish church to celebrate Sunday Mass using the Missal of 1962, the parish must provide a full schedule of Masses on that same Sunday, using solely the Roman Missal of St. Paul VI. As a rule, these Masses are to be celebrated in the vernacular and ordinarily “versus populum,” unless permission is granted otherwise by the archbishop.
8. In those churches in which the Mass according to the Roman Missal of 1962 has been celebrated on weekdays for groups, the priest ministering to those groups may request permission on their behalf for this practice to continue after Jan. 25, 2022. He should note the average attendance and the days of the week. If the favor of celebrating the Mass according to the Roman Missal of 1962 on selected weekdays is granted, the Scripture readings must be proclaimed in the vernacular, using the official translation of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and the rule forbidding bination is to be observed. If this permission is granted to a parish church by way of exception by the CDWDS, the parish must provide on that same weekday at least one Mass in the vernacular, “versus populum,” using the Roman Missal of St. Pope Paul VI on those days and celebrated by a priest other than the one celebrating Mass according to the Roman Missal of 1962.
9. All other sacraments are to be celebrated using the liturgical books promulgated by St. Pope Paul VI and St. Pope John Paul II. These rites may be celebrated in Latin. Permission to use the “Rituale Romanum” prior to the liturgical reform (1952) for the celebration of other sacraments may be granted by the archbishop on a case-by-case basis. Requests for permission must be made exclusively on behalf of groups of the faithful authorized to celebrate the Eucharist following the “Missale Romanum” of 1962. The priest making such a request should first discuss with the faithful the possibility of using the reformed liturgical rites, which may be celebrated in Latin with proper catechesis of the faithful. He must keep in mind the value of seeking the good of those who are rooted in the previous rite but also demonstrate that he is accompanying them towards the common use of the one “lex orandi” of the Roman Rite. No permission will be given to use the “Pontificale Romanum,” predating the liturgical reform of the Second Vatican Council, as it has been abrogated.12
10. This policy will be reviewed in two years.
From the Office of the Archbishop of Chicago, December 25, 2021, the 60th anniversary of Apostolic Constitution, “Humane Salutis,” by which Pope St. John XXIII convoked the Second Vatican Council.
1. “Traditionis Custodes,” art. 1.
2. Pope Francis, address to the participants in the 68th National Liturgical Week, Rome, Aug. 24, 2017. See also Archbishop Arthur Roche, Prefect, Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments, “Responsa ad dubia,” Dec. 18, 2021, “The text of the ‘motu proprio’ and the accompanying letter to the bishops of the whole world clearly express the reasons for the decisions taken by Pope Francis. The first aim is to continue ‘in the constant search for ecclesial communion’ (‘Traditionis Custodes,’ preamble) which is expressed by recognizing in the liturgical books promulgated by the popes St. Paul VI and St. John Paul II, in conformity with the decrees of the Second Vatican Council, the unique expression of the ‘lex orandi’ of the Roman Rite (cf. ‘Traditionis Custodes,’ No. 1). This is the direction in which we wish to move, and this is the meaning of the responses we publish here. Every prescribed norm has always the sole purpose of preserving the gift of ecclesial communion by walking together, with conviction of mind and heart, in the direction indicated by the Holy Father.”
3. “Responsa ad Dubia”
4. See Prosper of Aquitaine, “Patrologia Latina,” 51, pp. 209–10: “Let us consider sacraments of priestly prayers, which having been handed down by the apostles are celebrated uniformly throughout the whole world and in every Catholic Church so that the law of praying might establish the law of believing [‘ut legem credendi lex statuat supplicandi’].”
5. See “Responsa ad Dubia”: “As pastors we must not lend ourselves to sterile polemics, capable only of creating division, in which the ritual itself is often exploited by ideological viewpoints. Rather, we are all called to rediscover the value of the liturgical reform by preserving the truth and beauty of the rite that it has given us. For this to happen, we are aware that a renewed and continuous liturgical formation is necessary both for priests and for the lay faithful.”
6. “TC,” Articles 3, 4.
7. “Responsa ad Dubia”
9. “TC,” Articles 3, 4.
10. See “Responsa ad Dubia.”
12. Also see Responsa ad dubia, “It should be remembered that the formula for the Sacrament of Confirmation was changed for the entire Latin Church by Saint Paul VI with the Apostolic Constitution Divinae consortium naturae (15 August 1971).”