Hebda allows Latin Mass to continue, will form ‘task force’ for future use

Hebda’s statement further clarified that no new public celebrations of the Latin liturgy should be introduced without his permission.

Archbishop Bernard Hebda (Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis/YouTube)

Catholics who attend the traditional Latin Mass in the Twin Cities area have been assured by Archbishop Bernard Hebda that they will not experience any major changes in their worship. At least, not in the near future.

In a statement released just hours after Pope Francis published his much anticipated motu proprio Traditionis Custodes last Friday, Hebda said the “Extraordinary Form” of the Mass will continue in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis but that he’ll form a task force to study the issue for future celebrations.

“I am happy to grant the necessary faculties so that those priests who are already celebrating the rites of the Extraordinary Form may continue to do so,” Hebda said in a public statement.

“I similarly direct that the Mass in the Extraordinary Form continue in those locations where it is currently being offered in the Archdiocese.”

According to Archdiocese’s website, the Latin Mass is regularly offered at seven parishes: St. Agnes in St. Paul, St. Joseph in Miesville, Holy Trinity and St. Augustine in South St. Paul, St. Michael in Pine Island, Sacred Heart in Robbinsdale and All Saints in northeast Minneapolis.

Hebda further remarked that he’s appointing auxiliary Bishop Andrew Cozzens to lead a task force to study the use of the liturgy in the future. Several priests who say the Latin Mass, as well as Susan Mulheron, chancellor for Canonical Affairs, will serve on the committee.

Catholics who attend the traditional Roman liturgy responded with near universal concern when the Pope’s decree was released last week. Among other things, the measure bans priests from saying the Latin Mass without their bishop’s approval, something that Francis’ predecessor, Benedict XVI, had permitted in his 2007 motu proprio Summorum Pontificum.

Liturgical expert Dr. Peter Kwasniewski told LifeSiteNews.com that the Pope’s decision to repeal the norms governing the traditional Mass is “kind of like telling millions of Catholics … to jump off a bridge or hang themselves.”

“[Francis] is delusional if he thinks that with the stroke of a pen he can just wipe out the love that people have for the traditional Catholic liturgy.”

Traditional Catholic commentator Michael Matt, editor of The Remnant, which is based in Minnesota, said that Pope Francis “locked down” the Latin Mass because “like a crucifix to a vampire, the old Catholic liturgy threatens the diabolical New World Order to which Francis has signed on.”

“The Latin Mass united Catholics from every country in the world for a couple of thousand years like no government ever could,” he continued. “And it was in the process of doing so again.”

Hebda’s statement further clarified that no new public celebrations of the Latin liturgy should be introduced in the Archdiocese without his permission.

“We are blessed in the Archdiocese by so many individuals and families who love the liturgy in both of its forms and find in the Eucharist the nourishment they need to live exemplary lives of service … let us ask Our Lady’s intercession for an even greater devotion to the Eucharist so that we might be drawn together in even greater unity as we journey together towards the eternal liturgy of heaven.”

Stephen Kokx

Stephen Kokx, M.A., is a journalist for LifeSiteNews. He previously worked for the Archdiocese of Chicago under the late Francis Cardinal George. A former community college instructor, Stephen has written and spoken extensively about Catholic social teaching and politics. His essays have appeared in such outlets as Catholic Family News and CatholicVote.org.