Rorate Caeli

Houston, We Have A Problem: The Latin Mass

The Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston in Texas is the fifth largest diocese in the U.S., a result of the explosive growth around the City of Houston -- the fourth largest city in the U.S. -- and its surrounding counties.  It has a massive priest shortage, with just 150 active archdiocesan priests of the 435 priests serving, retired or residing in the 146-parish archdiocese.  There are 411 "permanent deacons" in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston.

In recent years the archbishop, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, had been friendly toward those who worship at the traditional Latin Mass.  He established a personal parish in 2011.  Led by the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter, Regina Caeli parish has been enormously successful.  Each time this writer visits Regina Caeli there seem to be dozens more families and young adults at Mass there.

A handful of other parishes around the archdiocese have introduced the traditional Latin Mass into their liturgical life, including some with regularly scheduled Sunday TLMs.  Sadly, this will change due to news announced today.

For some inexplicable reason, Cardinal DiNardo announced on September 1st he has suppressed traditional Latin Masses at three of the four diocesan parishes that have been offering the TLM.  Moreover, he has banned all other sacraments using the old books outside of the one personal parish in the archdiocese.

Locals cannot point to a problem that warranted this harsh response to Pope Francis' recent motu proprio.  Most other U.S. bishops, archbishops and cardinals have granted explicit permission for all TLMs in their dioceses to continue as usual.

But not in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston.

Saint Theresa's in Sugar Land has had the traditional Latin Mass over the span of the last three pastors of the suburban parish.  It currently has a TLM three times per week, including every Sunday.  Its Sunday TLM is now banned, and its weekday TLMs are to be cut by 75%.  Moreover, it is 28 miles from Regina Caeli, the FSSP's personal parish.  With Houston's increasingly congested traffic, that is a long drive.

Prince of Peace church in Houston has a traditional Latin Mass every Sunday at 12:30 p.m.  Its Sunday TLM is now banned. Showing no mercy whatsoever, Cardinal DiNardo has even prohibited a weekday TLM there.

Saint Bartholomew in Katy started TLMs last year.  Cardinal DiNardo, extending so much charity, will allow them to have two weekday TLMs per month. 

Cardinal Cupich did not go this far.  Cardinal Tobin did not go this far.  Cardinal O'Malley did not go this far.  For some reason, Cardinal DiNardo -- considered by most to be much friendlier toward tradition -- was the first U.S. cardinal to restrict the traditional Latin Mass.  The question that should be asked of him is:  Why?  Of all the problems in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston -- and there are many -- why are a handful of traditional Latin Masses such a high priority to restrict?

Furthermore, why does Cardinal DiNardo grant permission for protestants to use his cathedral for their "ordinations" but Catholics who attend the traditional Latin Mass cannot worship using the 1962 books at their parish?