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By Phil Lawler, Catholic Culture, Feb 10, 2023

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at CatholicCulture.org.


Since Pope Francis issued Traditionis Custodes, restricting the use of the traditional Latin Mass, some bishops have issued dispensations, allowing their priests to continue using the Tridentine liturgy. Now Cardinal Arthur Roche, the prefect of the Dicastery for Divine Worship, has ruled that bishops do not have the authority to grant those dispensations. But now a new question arises: Does Cardinal Roche have the authority to make that ruling?

In January, Cardinal Roche wrote to an American bishop, telling him that he must ask for permission from the Vatican before granting a dispensation for his priests to celebrate the traditional liturgy. (I have obtained a copy of the cardinal’s letter, and of the American bishop’s letter informing his priests of the Vatican judgment. But the letters are redacted so that I do not know the bishop’s name or his diocese; I am told it is in California.) …

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