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The St. Joseph’s side altar, St. Peter’s Basilica

By Robert Royal, The Catholic Thing, March 22, 2021

Dr. Robert Royal is editor-in-chief of The Catholic Thing, president of the Faith & Reason Institute in Washington, D.C., and currently serves as the St. John Henry Newman Visiting Chair in Catholic Studies at Thomas More College. ..


Robert RoyalUnless there’s a last-minute change of orders in the hours between this being written and the opening of St. Peter’s Basilica Monday morning, the Church in Rome will have taken another, bizarre, almost inexplicable step in an age that can little afford the West’s central spiritual institution to go even more wobbly.

I refer, of course, to the strange decision to prohibit Masses being said in St. Peter’s on side altars, often on the spur of the moment, in various languages; and to restrict everyone attending Mass in the Basilica to the few central services offered only in Italian and Latin.  …