In a five-page document setting out the new rules, Bishop Michael Burbidge, Bishop of Arlington, Virginia, explains that their aim is to “strengthen ecclesial communion” within the diocese in accordance with the motu proprio Traditionis Custodes, as well as the more specific restrictions the Vatican issued in December.
Because of this, 13 parishes in the diocese will have to stop celebrating the Traditional Mass beginning September 8, in accordance with the bishop’s new rules enacted on July 29 in accordance with the liturgical directives of Pope Francis.
Eight other parishes can continue the celebration of these Masses. But none of these eight parishes can publish the schedules, deaths, or celebrations in its bulletin, on its website, or on social networks, in accordance with Vatican requirements.
“The unique expression of the sacred liturgy is found in the liturgical books reformed according to the desires of the Second Vatican Council and promulgated by Popes Saint Paul VI and Saint John Paul II,” Bishop Burbidge states in the document. These rules will come into force on September 8, the feast day of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary.
According to a statement published on the website of the Diocese of Arlington, Bishop Burbidge reveals that he submitted a “request for a dispensation from Traditionis custodes” to the Dicastery for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, so that “the approximately 2.5% of Catholics who prefer this liturgical form” in the diocese can continue to have access to it.
“As a result, three parishes [out of the 70 in the diocese] have been authorized to continue the celebration of the Traditional Latin Mass in the parish church, for a period of two years,” the statement continued. This permission “may be extended with the approval of the Dicastery, as long as the work of reunification of the celebration of the Holy Liturgy continues.”
In January, Bishop Burbidge had already banned the use of the “extraordinary” form for baptisms, marriages and other sacraments, in line with Vatican guidelines.
The “normalization” therefore continues, with the clear goal of totally eliminating the Traditional Mass from the liturgical landscape. The only crumbs that are left - for the moment - are intended to make the faithful wait until the reunification is completed.
After having emptied the churches through the liturgical reform, it is now a question of preventing them from filling up again, by burning the bridges with a past which they consider to be definitively over. But the abusive prohibitions under Paul VI did not prevent the traditional Mass from continuing; those of Francis will not have more success.