St Peter’s Basilica, Like a Museum Without Holy Masses in Side Altars

CP&S commentThe sudden order last week cancelling all celebrations of the Traditional Latin Mass in St Peter’s Basilica has caused a shockwave of both sadness and indignation throughout the Catholic world, and whose repercussions we are still hearing. Dr. Robert Royal wrote on ‘The Catholic Thing’ a few days ago about:

“[…] 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.

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

This may seem a small matter, especially during the COVID lockdowns, when there are few pilgrims entering St. Peter’s anyway. But this was not an order issued in response to the potential dangers from the virus at side-altar Masses, nor does it bear any explanation that this is just a temporary measure that will be suspended when conditions are “safe.”

No, it reflects yet another instance of the Church – or at least some high-placed officials in the Vatican – reducing the breadth and depth that Catholicism should offer to God’s holy people.

I call as witness the ever-prescient John Henry (now Saint) Newman who wrote more than a century and a half ago about the feeling in a “great cathedral”:

as I have said for months past that I never knew what worship was, as an objective fact, till I entered the Catholic Church, and was partaker in its offices of devotion, so now I say the same on the view of its cathedral assemblages. I have expressed myself so badly that I doubt if you will understand me, but a Catholic Cathedral is a sort of world, every one going about his own business, but that business a religious one; groups of worshippers, and solitary ones – kneeling, standing – some at shrines, some at altars – hearing Mass and communicating, currents of worshippers intercepting and passing by each other – altar after altar lit up for worship, like stars in the firmament – or the bell giving notice of what is going on in parts you do not see, and all the while the canons in the choir going through matins and lauds, and at the end of it the incense rolling up from the high altar, and all this in one of the most wonderful buildings in the world and every day – lastly, all of this without any show or effort – but what everyone is used to – everyone at his own work, and leaving everyone else to his. (Letter, September 24, 1846)

[…]

Cardinal Burke (here) has explained in detail the irregularities in the document proclaiming the new rules. And that too is a retreat from an older Catholic understanding that rules matter because they assure fairness. And if circumstances arise in which they become unfair, the rules are changed to other rules, so that we don’t just have a regime of “executive orders” in the Church. (As we all know, ignoring rules in various areas has led to anarchy and the widespread belief that rules may be simply overruled by someone’s “truth.” Witness the open rebellion by hundreds of German-speaking priests who have declared that they will continue to bless “same-sex unions” and are outraged at the Vatican asserting in a recent document (here) that the Church cannot bless “sin.”)

Other commentators have pointed out the practical – even the pastoral – disasters that the new regulations about Masses in St. Peter’s will present to future pilgrims. One memorable experience when you visit Rome is a kind of pick-up Mass with a priest who speaks your language (how many can follow Mass in Italian or – alas – even Latin, the universal language of the Church?). You may find yourself half-asleep, jet-lagged, dizzy from dragging yourself out of bed at 5:30 for a 6 AM Mass. But it’s an experience you never forget, especially if the altar you happen to be assigned is above the tomb of a pope like John XXIII or JPII.

But both the irregularities in law and the inconveniences to pilgrims, important as they may be, are as nothing – at least in the present writer’s estimation – to the loss of a Catholic sensibility that Newman noted in the passage above, at a time when he was still a new Catholic and years earlier had even been repelled by certain Catholic beliefs and practices he had encountered traveling in Italy.

A great spirit, however, a Catholic spirit, could see through his own prejudices and English habits and respond to “altar after altar lit up for worship, like stars in the firmament” in a cathedral. Is there no one with a similar Catholic sensibility in the Vatican in a position to do something about the new rules – no one who sees “the sort of world” Newman sensed in the Milan Duomo, a world that reaches up into the very heavens?

And further, under a pope who has sought to decentralize things in the Church that do not need to be rendered narrowly uniform everywhere, is there no one who resonates to the embodiment of what Newman saw as a kind of image of the diversity within the Church Universal: “at the end of it the incense rolling up from the high altar, and all this in one of the most wonderful buildings in the world and every day – lastly, all of this without any show or effort – but what everyone is used to – everyone at his own work, and leaving everyone else to his.”

That was once, before this morning, a fair description of St. Peter’s on an ordinary day as well – and of a Catholicism at one with the many languages and customs of its faithful peoples.

On the day the order became effective, Edward Pentin wrote :

“The side altars of St. Peter’s basilica were almost all devoid of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass this morning as a Vatican directive suppressing individual Masses being celebrated in the upper part of the basilica came into force, a break with the usual custom of allowing individual priests to freely celebrate their daily Mass at the basilica’s many altars

Finally, Father Z reminisces on what St Peter’s Basilica was like once upon a time on any morning …. and will, tragically, be no more:

”Mornings in the Basilica.  Priests drift in and out of the door leading to the sacristy.  “Lingua?”  “Español… English, Inglese… Latino… Italiano… Deutsch…”. People follow priests to altars.  Priests say Mass, asking anyone who showed up if they want to receive Communion and then counting out the hosts needed.  Masses said, quietly, even if the priest turns around to read the Scriptures in whatever language.  Another priest over there is doing the same, a different part of the Mass, still only at the Gloria, but far enough away that most of the time you barely hear the other guy.  Priests finish up and leave the altar with a bow as other priests wait patient to take the available altar.  They nod as they pass each other.  People who were just at Mass drift off, to go to work, go to kneel somewhere else in the Basilica to pray. Newly arrived lay people, religious, wait for another Mass to start.

Everyone at his own work and leaving everyone else to his.

That’s what the Basilica of St. Peter’s is – was – like early in the mornings before the tourists came.  Not perfect, but pretty good, all in all. I said my morning Mass in the Basilica for so long that they gave me my own locked cabinet for my things.

But, you can hear someone say,

“Do you really think you should be doing that?”

FFLF, friends.  I think that explains something of what is going on with the Suppression.  It is aimed at the activities (TLM and ad orientem, hence Tradition and the Roman ‘genius‘, Romanitas).  But even more it is aimed at the people who want and enjoy those aspects of our common Catholic identity, our inheritance, our patrimony, our rites.  And…We Are Our Rites.”

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3 Responses to St Peter’s Basilica, Like a Museum Without Holy Masses in Side Altars

  1. Reblogged this on Zero Lift-Off and commented:
    A Foreboding Sign
    Another sign of the times folks; just like the many ugly sinful and ridiculous things going on every minute of every day! Don’t get me wrong, there’s still so much good to be thankful for because if there wasn’t and this was all passé God would, as a metaphor here, just shovel this whole thing up and toss it into the lake of fire.

    But now to put this in proper perspective and just say it like it is; this action is a clear sign that what many have said in recent years and I’m one of them; how Bergoglio has clearly strayed from the tenets of the Church and Holy Scriptures in many regards to this act against it, because we can say that Bergoglio got “Woke” along with many in the Church hierarchy apparently, and joined the huge push this past year to bring on NWO; which is all the obvious precursor to bringing the Antichrist out into the open to be the ruler of this out of control madhouse of a world!

    This is all so way beyond secularist and is now in your face blatant diabolical action by the minions of hell itself! Even if the Church hierarchy would try to justify his action by saying the Latin Mass is outdated and out of touch with the public or faithful that would be a lie. It would be and is a lie because as I’ve stated before this Mass TLM brings the participating parishioners into a great awareness of the Holy Spirit coming into the Mass instilling the inner joy of knowing that the Father and Jesus are there over the Church joining the faithful bringing a great blessing! I’ve been brought to tears in the Latin Mass of a great joy that I never feel and experience in any other setting even the any other Mass. So that is supposed to be outdated and out of touch? Hog wash, and a LIE! If there wasn’t an evil conspiracy afoot then why would they have pushed it aside this way and instead at least say we can offer both Latin and the New more protestant secular version alternately through the day! To dismiss the Latin Mass outright is an obvious affront to the Church, the faithful and most assuredly Our Father in Heaven with Jesus!

    “This may seem a small matter, especially during the COVID lockdowns, when there are few pilgrims entering St. Peter’s anyway.” Let me add here; this was timed this way to take advantage of the disarray of the Church and world at this time because of the PSYOP Hoax Plan-Demic that is all meant to derail many layers of society and especially the Church and Holy Eucharist being administered to the faithful and in the Traditional way! Clearly; all work of the Devil and his minions to, as I said; pave the way for the arrival of the Antichrist.

    Even before I read what St. John Henry Newman had said about the subject or knew these previous sentiments, this is what I meant about the absolute feeling and awareness of the mystical presence of God participating in the Latin Mass!
    “I call as witness the ever-prescient John Henry (now Saint) Newman who wrote more than a century and a half ago about the feeling in a “great cathedral,” and I want to condense what he continued to say what to me is the very essence of how important all of this is when he continued by saying, “– altar after altar lit up for worship, like stars in the firmament – or the bell giving notice of what is going on in parts you do not see, and all the while the canons in the choir going through matins and lauds, and at the end of it the incense rolling up from the high altar, and all this in one of the most wonderful buildings in the world and every day – lastly, all of this without any show or effort – but what everyone is used to – everyone at his own work, and leaving everyone else to his. (Letter, September 24, 1846)

    In recent commentary here is what I had to say about this matter.
    “I know that my soul has been very moved and inspired when I partake in the Full Latin Mass; as I know from experience Jesus is there and I feel His Holy Spirit coming down from heaven with the Father to join us in the Mass, blessing those who are participating in this most Divine inspired true way of expressing our devotional love for our Lord Savior Jesus and the Father in heaven! I’ve had many tears in this traditional Mass at times and they are always tears of sweet joy that are coming to me from the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, because the Lord really touching my soul at that time most intimately and acknowledging His presence and love for me, as in no other setting can this occur to this degree; which nothing on earth can compare to this realization that my God is with me and will not abandon those who believe/worship Him in this way! Amen.”

    “And so far as his argument that the world had changed I totally disagree because it’s the people that have changed, and, God and Jesus are the same always so our communing with them in Holy Mass remains static, or plainly our souls are just that which we truly are; not our exteriors of body/flesh or daily life on earth; and therefore that is what we want to awaken to the mystical power of the Holy Spirit the focusing of our inner souls to the mystical presence of God and be totally receptive to Jesus Christ and through Him the Father to grow our deep heart felt faith not alter appearances or procedures as this New Age approach is planning to do! In this case especially in life, less is more; that which is not contrived or noisy but simple and peaceful coming from our core is all we need to bring to the ceremonial alter of the Mass!”

    God bless you.
    Brother in Christ Jesus,
    Lawrence Morra III

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  2. This is correct. It is aimed at us. And FP/PF cannot usher in The Anti-Christ with all these masses going on. He is clearing the landscape for what he has planned. He cannot invite the AC in, until the masses which assail the demons are quietened. You may think I am exaggerating. I am not.

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  3. kathleen says:

    It can no longer be called “a strange decision”. It comes straight from the top, Pope Francis himself! Francis has tried to cover up his command to ban the celebration of the TLM in side altars of St Peter’s Basilica by priests either staying or passing through Rome, but his cover has been blown. From GloriaTV:

    “The author of the unsigned document which forbids all private Masses in St Peter’s, is Archbishop Peña Parra, the second man in the Secretary of State, Korazym.org reports (March 15).

    Peña is accused of having been involved in homosexual scandals. As most members of the Roman Curia, he would execute any orders coming from above.

    Korazym.org has learned that the provision was issued at Francis’ personal behest who asked for discretion (cover-up).

    The document has no protocol number and can thus not be officially traced. There is still no reply on the issue from the Vatican press office.

    The timing of the decree confirms the cover-up. Francis retired Cardinal Angelo Comastri, 77, the Archpriest of St Peter’s basilica only on February 20, and acted behind the back of Comastri’s successor, Cardinal Mauro Gambetti.

    Forcing priests to concelebrate in times of Covid is just another aspect of Francis’ incomprehensible decision.”

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