Bishop Kemme Issues Diocesan Directives for Pope Francis’s Traditionis Custodes, Apostolic Letter
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
On July 16, 2021, Pope Francis issued Traditionis Custodes,(TC) an Apostolic Letter issued “motu proprio,” which means “on his own initiative,” and its accompanying letter to bishops concerning the use of the Roman Liturgy prior to the Reform of 1970. Since bishops were not given advance notice of this document, I thought it prudent to take some time to study the Apostolic Letter and to consult with leadership, and canonical and liturgical advisors before issuing directives as to how Traditionis Custodes will be implemented in the Diocese of Wichita.
Having now taken this time and exercising my exclusive competence in this matter given to me as your diocesan bishop by Pope Francis (Article 2), I now issue directives for the good of the faithful of the Diocese of Wichita, especially those who are spiritually drawn to the Liturgy of the Mass in the Extraordinary Form, or more specifically using the Missal of St. John XXIII in 1962. These directives are effective immediately.
- Because there appears to be scant evidence that the faithful mentioned in the previous paragraph “deny the validity and the legitimacy of the liturgical reform, dictated by Vatican Council II and the Magisterium of the Supreme Pontiffs” (TC, Article 3.1), I direct that the current Liturgies in the Extraordinary Form and in those locations where it is regularly offered continue indefinitely, namely
- St. Joseph Parish, Wichita offered each Sunday, twice during the week and on Holy Days of Obligation.
- Pius X Student Center in Pittsburg, offered on the first Sunday of each month.
- Blessed Sacrament Parish, Wichita, offered each Thursday.
- St. Mary’s, Newton, offered each Saturday morning.
- Additional Masses in the Extraordinary Form at other locations or changes to the current arrangements require the Bishop’s explicit authorization.
- To offer the Mass in the Extraordinary Form both privately and publicly, all current priests of the Diocese of Wichita must request this faculty in writing (TC, Article 5). This applies also to visiting priests. It is to be noted that private Masses may be celebrated in the presence of one or several persons. This faculty will be granted habitually, unless otherwise restricted.
- Since Traditionis Custodes Article 8 abrogates “previous norms, instructions, permissions and customs that do not conform to the provisions of the present Motu Proprio,” the faculty granted to priests will also include permission to celebrate other Sacraments and sacramentals according to liturgical books approved in 1962.
- Canon 87 1 of the Code of Canon Law states, “A diocesan bishop, whenever he judges that it contributes to their spiritual good, is able to dispense the faithful from universal and particular disciplinary laws issued for his territory or his subjects by the supreme authority of the Church.” Given that at present there are no other suitable locations readily available for Mass in the Extraordinary Form, I therefore grant a dispensation from Traditionis Custodes Article 3 §2, which prohibits the use of parochial churches for the use of Mass in the Extraordinary Form.
By way of conclusion, I wish to offer words from Pope Francis’ accompanying letter to bishops. He wrote, “I ask you to be vigilant in ensuring that every liturgy be celebrated with decorum and fidelity to the liturgical books promulgated after Vatican Council II, without the eccentricities that can easily degenerate into abuses.” These words are an invitation to me as bishop and to all our priests and to those who assist us to ensure that the Liturgy of the Mass in the Ordinary Form is offered with the reverence and true devotion that it requires. Thank you and God bless you.
Humbly Yours in Christ,
Most Reverend Carl A. Kemme D.D.
Bishop of Wichita