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By Evan Myers, First Things, June 20, 2022
Evan Myers is assistant editor at National Affairs.
For centuries, Catholics around the world gathered in their local parishes to worship God in Latin, the official language of the Church and its liturgy. Today, however, guidance from Pope Francis threatens the Traditional Latin Mass (TLM), and multiple priests and parishioners in the Archdiocese of Washington (which encompasses D.C. and several Maryland counties) fear that in the coming weeks, Cardinal Wilton Gregory will permanently remove the Old Mass from parochial settings. Setting debates about the virtues and vices of the TLM aside, Gregory’s decision will have serious, real-world consequences for parochial life in D.C.: from uprooting longstanding communities committed to the extraordinary form of the Mass to relegating the TLM to a centralized location that lacks the care of a designated pastor.
Gregory’s decision is unlikely to affect most of the nearly 650,000 Catholics living in the archdiocese who attend the Novus Ordo—a form of the Mass promulgated in 1969 after the reforms of the Second Vatican Council and celebrated by most Catholics today, typically in the vernacular. But Msgr. Charles Pope, the pastor at Holy Comforter-St. Cyprian on Capitol Hill, warned that this sort of “one-size-fits-all” policy will “deeply hurt” the roughly 1,200 parishioners who attend the TLM on a weekly basis. …
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