In a note issued today, Cardinal Mauro Gambetti, the archpriest of St. Peter’s Basilica, clarified some of the controversial restrictions that were imposed in March.
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Until the middle of the 20th century, the chapter members had to be in the basilica on a daily basis to pray the hours, be in adoration, and serve in the liturgical celebrations.
The bishop emeritus of Hong Kong wrote: “Pain and indignation invade my heart to hear certain incredible news: They have forbidden private masses in St. Peter’s!?”
The cardinal recalled how many saints, visiting the basilica over the centuries, have “perpetuated this beautiful tradition” and that now it is no longer possible for priests to individually celebrate Masses on altars over the tombs of saints, leaving the altars as “mere works of art.”
A decree of the Secretariat of State prohibited private Masses at the side altars of St. Peter’s Basilica beginning March 22, instead inviting priests to take part in several concelebrated Masses held each day at the basilica.
‘Like a Museum’: Dead Silence in St. Peter’s Basilica as Suppression of Individual Masses Comes into Force
Cardinal Gerhard Müller, prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, told the Register March 22 that the directive will have the effect of making clergy working in the Vatican “more like functionaries and with less priestly identity.”
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The former prefect of the Apostolic Signatura calls it ‘a direct violation of universal Church law.’
Until now, the 45 altars and 11 chapels in St. Peter's Basilica have been used every morning by priests to celebrate their daily Mass.
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