Cardinal Cupich Restricts the Traditional Missal

December 30, 2021

Cardinal Blase Cupich issued a new policy for the Archdiocese of Chicago that restricts the celebration of the traditional Mass and other sacraments using liturgical books prior to Vatican II.

Under the decision, which will take effect on January 25, priests, deacons, and ordained ministers who wish to use the “old rite” must submit their requests to the Cardinal in writing and agree to abide by the new standards.

These rules specify that traditional Masses must include readings from Sacred Scripture in the vernacular, using the official translation of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

In addition, celebrations cannot take place in a parish church unless the Archbishop and the Vatican agree to grant an exemption.

The new rules also prohibit the celebration of the Tridentine Mass on the first Sunday of each month, at Christmas, during the Sacred Triduum, Easter Sunday, and Pentecost Sunday.

Based on Pope Francis's motu proprio Traditionis Custodes, the policy of the Archdiocese of Chicago was published on December 27 and first reported by Vatican News.

The new Chicago rules mirror those set out in an explanatory document regarding Pope Francis's edict issued on December 18 by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, responsible for matters relating to the sacred liturgy. They are also inspired by the rules set up for the Diocese of Rome, making them significantly worse.

“My intention in sharing this policy is to encourage you to reflect on the duty we all have to help our people at this time of Eucharistic renewal by rediscovering the value of liturgical reform in the rites given to us by the Second Vatican,” Cardinal Cupich wrote in an accompanying letter to priests, reports Vatican News.

The Vatican’s explanatory document indicates that the intention of Traditionis Custodes is the “reestablishment of the Roman rite in the whole Church as a unique and identical prayer expressing its unity, according to the liturgical books promulgated by popes Saint Paul VI and Saint John Paul II , in accordance with the decrees of the Second Vatican Council and in line with the tradition of the Church.”

The explanatory document notes that Traditionis Custodes stipulates that the sacraments cannot be celebrated using the liturgical books of the Rituale Romanum and the Pontificale Romanum promulgated before the reforms of Vatican II.

The Pontificale contains the rites and ceremonies usually performed by bishops and the Rituale concerns the celebration of the sacraments.

The suppression of the celebration of the traditional Mass for fixed days – the first Sunday of each month, Christmas, the Holy Triduum, Easter, and Pentecost Sunday - is particularly odious. It is reasonable to ask two questions: What is the purpose of this kind of ban? And who will be the next bishop to further reduce the days authorized for the celebration of the Tridentine Mass?