Vatican denies Latin Mass request at Melbourne Cathedral

“We shall return”, a buoyant Fr Glen Tattersall said at the final Traditional Latin Mass at St Patrick’s Cathedral in Melbourne on Wednesday evening.

The Australian reports the Cathedral was packed for the Mass – it estimated there was a congregation of around 850 people.

“They came in business suits, in strollers, on trams and in fluoro tradie gear. Most were rugged up in heavy coats against the Melbourne winter which did not dim the spirit of the cathedral lit with candlelight and optimism” reports Tess Livingston in The Australian.

Melbourne Archbishop Peter Comensoli sat in the Sanctuary, but did not address the crowd.

On Monday Comensoli received the news that the Vatican had denied his request to hold the Traditional Latin Mass at Melbourne’s St Patrick’s Cathedral.

The decision from the Dicastery for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments was published on Monday on the news portal “Zenit“.

“While we recognise that Mass according to the Missale Romanum of 1962 has been celebrated in the Cathedral Church for some time, we are nonetheless constrained to deny this request” the response stated.

The Vatican stated that liturgies in a bishop’s church should serve as a model for the entire diocese.

“It does not seem appropriate for the antecedent liturgy to be celebrated in the place that should serve as an example for the liturgical life of the entire diocese” said the statement.

The Dicastery’s Secretary, Bishop Vittorio Francesco Viola, signed the response.

Viola emphasised that “The Cathedral is the first place where the celebration of the liturgy must use the current liturgical books, which form the unique expression of the lex orandi of the Roman Rite”.

Lex orandi refers to what is prayed.

It is often used in conjunction with lex credendi which together translated from the Latin means: “the law of what is prayed [is] the law of what is believed”.

It is also sometimes expanded as lex orandi, lex credendi, lex vivendi, which again translated from the Latin means “the law of what is prayed [is] what is believed [is] the law of what is lived”.

Congregation at St Patrick’s Melbourne final old rite Latin Mass

Latin Mass restrictions

While the cathedral request was denied, the Vatican allowed the Traditional Latin Mass to be celebrated at Saint Michael and Saint Philip parishes in Melbourne for two years.

After this period, Comensoli must seek renewed permission from the Vatican to continue these services.

The Vatican suggested that a contemporary form of the Mass could be celebrated in Latin at the cathedral for the group favouring the Traditional Latin Mass, potentially using the same altar as the pre-conciliar form.

Archbishop Comensoli’s request, made in June 2023, came in the wake of Pope Francis’s 2021 Motu Proprio “Traditionis custodes” (“Guardians of the Tradition”). This publication restricted the celebration of the Traditional Latin Mass.

The rules were further tightened in February 2023, mandating that bishops need the Holy See’s permission to authorise such Masses in parish churches.




The Australian

CathNews New Zealand


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News category: World.

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