Dear friends of the Charlotte Latin Mass Community (CLMC),
Laudetur Iesus Christus!
Our Charlotte Latin Mass Community has received an unfavorable response from Bishop Jugis regarding our Synod request letter of August 22nd and we wanted to share it with our community as it affects everyone. The letter is attached for your review.
As one can read, the conclusion is clear: the bishop appears to be phasing out all Traditional Masses and sacraments. The specific time frame was not shared, instead only listing the words, “in due time.”
In the first part of the letter, notwithstanding our CLMC Synod survey indicating 97-percent of respondents preferred a dedicated Latin Mass parish over our current arrangements, Bishop Jugis wrote that the current arrangements of having Latin Masses offered at a Novus Ordo parish, “has proved to … work very well to this day.”
Then, His Excellency announced that going forward he will be continuing to “implement the new course charted for the Church by Pope Francis in his Apostolic Letter Traditionis Custodes.” An implementation that involves returning “… to a unitary form of celebration [the Novus Ordo Mass] …in due time.”
The wording is unusual; however, the most simple and plain interpretation is that Bishop Jugis is phasing out all Latin Masses in the diocese on a planned schedule.
In hindsight, considering his use of the word “continue” it appears more likely that the cancellations of the Sacrament of Confirmation and the Holy Easter Triduum earlier this year for our Community may not have been isolated actions, but rather the early phases of this larger plan to suppress our traditional form of worship. We are as heartbroken by this news as everyone.
It is noteworthy that the motu proprio, Traditionis Custodes, does not require this much rigidity, but rather explicitly permits bishops (Article 3 § 2) to designate dedicated non-parish locations (such as chapels, basilicas, missions, or oratories) to serve the needs of Latin Mass faithful.
In a further demonstration of mercy, Pope Francis granted an exemption to Ecclesia Dei institutes, such as the Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP), permitting them to continue offering traditional liturgy and Sacraments without restriction. With these options, the Church permits a charitable “via media” (middle way) that provides for the spiritual needs of the faithful. Our Synod response and letter offered these options, and asked for an audience to discuss alternatives, but these offers were thus far declined.
Last year, the diocese informed the faithful that the Synod was a listening process where those on the margins of the Church, such as our Latin Mass community, would be welcomed and encouraged to communicate our spiritual needs in order to maintain communion and fully participate in the life of the Church. With this Synod we hoped that the Church was moving toward a more open dialogue with disenfranchised groups, such as ours. We hope this still remains true, but the letter makes it seem less likely.
We must, even with such news, remain hopeful and continue, undeterred, to advocate for our spiritual needs. There will be a time to consider next steps as more details are released from the diocese. For now we must drop to our knees and pray. We have said before that Bishop Jugis is in a difficult position and he needs our prayers more than ever.
This past Wednesday, in preparation for the feast of the Immaculate Conception, St. Ann parish began praying a novena to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. It continues until December 8, the feast of the Immaculate Conception. We continue to encourage everyone to participate and to keep our Community in these intentions, and most especially Bishop Jugis:
O Most Blessed Mother, heart of love, heart of mercy, ever listening, caring, consoling, hear our prayer. As your children, we implore your intercession with Jesus your Son. Receive with understanding and compassion the petitions we place before you today, especially that our parish may be consecrated to your Immaculate Heart. We are comforted in knowing your heart is ever open to those who ask for your prayer. We trust to your gentle care and intercession, those whom we love and who are sick or lonely or hurting. Help all of us, Holy Mother, to bear our burdens in this life until we may share eternal life and peace with God forever. Amen.
Let us use this Advent season of preparation for the Incarnation to offer up prayers for our spiritual Shepherd and for the preservation of the Latin Mass.
Chris Lauer & Mike FitzGerald
Charlotte Latin Mass Community