In July of this year, Pope Francis released a highly controversial motu proprio, titled “Traditio custodes,” which severely limits the availability of the Traditional Latin Mass, also known as the Extraordinary Form of the Mass. Some dioceses have chosen to continue their current use of the Mass. Others have completely banned the use of the Extraordinary Form of the Mass. The Traditional Latin Mass has been offered in Alpena, Elmira, Cedar, and periodically in Manistee.
As a response to this highly controversial motu proprio, the activist Administrator of the Diocese of Gaylord, Walter Hurley, has decided to limit the availability of the Extraordinary Form of the Mass. This will most likely serve to increase the presence and activity/parish growth of the Society of St. Pius X which provides a weekly Traditional Latin Mass in Mancelona.
In a peculiar shift in priests earlier this year, Fr. Scott Lawler (who said the Traditional Latin Mass) was placed on temporary leave. He has returned to the Diocese but our sources have notified us that the Traditional Latin Mass will no longer be allowed in Alpena. We have also received word that the most active Traditional Latin Mass parish in the Diocese, Holy Rosary in Cedar, will only be allowed to offer the Traditional Latin Mass once on the weekend and once during the week. This is reflected in the latest bulletin. We have also received word that more restrictions may be in the works later this year.
Anyone who has been to Holy Rosary understands the positive growth that occurs in a parish that regularly offers the Traditional Latin Mass. This parish continues to be a booming center of Catholic life on the Leelanau Peninsula. The limiting of it is confusing and troubling to many faithful. Sources who have known former Gaylord Diocesan Bishop Bernard Hebda stated it was the Bishop’s intention to have a Traditional Latin Mass available in the Diocese and that no one in the Diocese would be more than a 90 minute drive from a Traditional Latin Mass should they choose to attend one. The latest moves by Bishop Hurley will change that.
The Society of St. Pius X has had a presence in the Diocese for many years. Offering the Traditional Latin Mass from the Diocese brought many of those who were attending the Society parish back to a Diocesan church. This very well may change. This may not have gone unnoticed by the Society of St. Pius X when they celebrated the Traditional Latin Mass in Cheboygan to celebrate the ongoing restoration of St. Charles Borromeo Church. (https://gaylordfaithfulnews.org/2021/08/08/laity-lead-the-future-as-diocesen-leadership-left-in-the-dust/). No Diocesan presence was to be seen.
Is this move simply a clueless, incompetent bureaucratic blunder? Or is it an attempt to further undermine the progress that has been made in honoring those faithful Catholics who prefer the Traditional Latin Mass? Does the Diocese even care if Catholics leave?