Rorate Caeli

New TLM Shrine in Cleveland Shows that the Growth of the TLM Remains Unstoppable, Even Under Traditionis


Established in 1892, St. Elizabeth of Hungary in Cleveland, OH was the first parish specifically for Hungarians in the United States. It continues to be a center of Hungarian culture in Cleveland. The physical beauty of the stunning church, completed in 1922, "rightly inspires the Christian faithful to worship," in the words of Cleveland's current Bishop. Edward Malesic.

St. Elizabeth offers a Low Mass on most Saturdays. one of ten parishes in the Cleveland Diocese to offer to the Traditional Latin Mass. Thanks to Traditonis Custodes, those ten must apply to Cardinal Roche for permission to continue holding the Traditional Latin Mass. According to sources, Bishop Malesic requested permission from Cardinal Roche for the Masses to continue. But he has taken an additional step to safeguard those of his flock attached to the Traditional Latin Mass from the specter of losing the Mass that nurtures and sustains their faith.

Per decrees issued on July 28, he merged St. Elizabeth with another parish, St. Emeric, designating St. Emeric as the parish church. That allowed him to designate historic St. Elizabeth as a diocesan shine "for the promotion of the Christian heritage of the Hungarian people as well as for divine worship according to the liturgical books in use prior to the reform of 1970." This will allow those attached to the traditional form of the Mass and other sacraments in Cleveland Diocese to continue to be provided for by the Church.

Thanks to the cruelty of Traditionis and its heavy-handed implementation by Cardinal Roche, the fate of the nine other parishes in the Cleveland Diocese with the Traditional Latin Mass remains in flux. Indeed, we need to restore Summorum Pontificum-- now more than ever. But Bishop Malesic's re-designation of St. Elizabeth shows how bishops can still provide for the faithful attached to the Traditional Latin Mass, even in the face of obstacles. His wise pastoral action ensures that the celebration of the Traditional Latin Mass remains in a beautiful and fitting structures-- as opposed to gymnasiums and cafeterias. And he ensures that the faithful may have access to the other traditional sacraments, besides Mass. These have proven to be major issues in the Archdiocese of Washington and Diocese of Arlington, where the faithful have been relegated to inadequate buildings and have difficulty accessing traditional sacraments other than Mass.  

The forced dispersal of Old St. Mary's in Washington, D.C., for example, could have been avoided had Cardinal Gregory agreed to the pleas of St. Mary's pastor to re-designate it as a shrine. The re-designation would have fit Old St. Mary's perfectly: it is a historic church with a distinctive tie to Washington, D.C.'s German community. But Cardinal Gregory said no and, as a result, Old St. Mary's has lost the vast majority of its regular Mass-goers and donors. 

But fortunately, it seems that bishops are becoming wiser about how to implement Traditionis in manner that avoids causing unnecessary hurt and destruction. With parish mergers becoming widespread, bishops can re-designate beautiful historic parish churches as shrines for the Traditional Latin Mass, ensuring the survival of both the historic church and the TLM community. Let us thank God for wise shepherds like Bishop Malesic!