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BRISTOL, England (ChurchMilitant.com) - A bishop who created an official provision for regular LGBTQ+ Masses in his diocese has become the first bishop to ban the Traditional Latin Mass (TLM) in England following Pope Francis' motu proprio Traditionis Custodes.
Bishop Declan Lang of Clifton diocese wrote to the Benedictine monks in the Community of Our Lady of Glastonbury banning the regular celebration of the TLM within hours of the publication of Francis' motu proprio imposing draconian restrictions on the TLM.
"Following the motu proprio and instruction from Bishop Declan, the 12.30 pm Latin Mass at Glastonbury will be the final Latin Mass here," monks Fr. Bede Rowe and Fr. Anselm (Alexander) Redman from the Glastonbury community posted on Rowe's blog.
"Our community continues to offer our prayers for the parishes which have been entrusted to our care," the monks, who also serve the New Rite Mass in local parishes, added.
Glastonbury Monastery's webpage on the Holy Mass was noticeably blank after the announcement, while the page for "The Office" continued to advertise the seven monastic offices chanted by the monks.
"I am deeply shocked that Bp. Lang has acted so quickly to end the provision of the TLM in his dioceses," Dr. Joseph Shaw, chairman of the Latin Mass Society of England and Wales (LMSEW) told Church Militant.
However, 63 new members joined the LMSEW over the weekend, Shaw said, noting that the society gets around 40 new subscribers every three months.
Shaw explained that the bishop's heavy-handed decision "appears to contradict the instruction of Traditionis Custodes that where a group of faithful attached to the ancient Mass exist the bishop should find a location for them to attend it (Art. 3.2)."
"To the knowledge of the Latin Mass Society, no other bishop in England and Wales has acted in this way," Shaw lamented, commending the decisions taken by several bishops, including the ordinaries of Westminster, Southwark and Portsmouth to carry on the TLM.
Shaw said Lang's decision is "particularly surprising in the case of Glastonbury, a hotbed of the New Age and the occult and where Bp. Lang has only recently authorized a new Benedictine community where both forms of Mass would be celebrated."
A Latin Mass-watcher in England told Church Militant that "Clifton at one time had more TLMs than any other diocese — five every Sunday! The priests there were unusually self-assertive. Lang gradually made life difficult for them and closed most of these down."
Critics slammed Lang for shutting down the TLM but promoting so-called LGBTQ+ Masses in his diocese by creating a center at the parish church of St. Nicholas of Tolentino, Bristol, for the celebration of liturgies flouting Catholic teaching.
Father Richard McKay, parish priest of St. Nicholas, states "Bp. Declan wishes to express pastoral care and concern for our Catholic LGBT+ community" and so has asked his church "to celebrate a series of Masses for this community and their friends and family and all who wish to take part."
The church's altar features a heart and a cross painting in the "rainbow" colors of the LGBTQ+ movement. The LGBTQ+ Mass has an alternative and unauthorized creed that affirms "the rich diversity of all creation and the diverse identities of all human persons."
The creed does not mention the virgin birth, crucifixion, atoning death, resurrection, ascension, or Second Coming of Christ but affirms a Jesus "who walks lovingly with us in our human condition and in all the struggles we encounter in life's pilgrimage" and "listens to the cries of every human heart for acceptance and love."
In a statement, McKay and parish representatives slammed the CDF:
The CDF have caused not only pain and sorrow, but also much justifiable anger — the kind of anger Jesus expressed in the Temple when the true face of God was hidden behind ritual, law, and abuse of religious power. We share that anger but like Jesus seek ways to channel it into prophetic and sacrificial love, with on-going support of our beloved and loving LBGTQ+ community.
Clifton diocese covers the West of England and includes Bristol, Gloucestershire, Somerset, Wiltshire, Bath and Northeast Somerset. It includes the world-famous site of Glastonbury, famous for the avant-garde Glastonbury Festival and pagan worship for the summer solstice.
Anthropologists Ruth Prince and David Riches describe the town as one of the New Age's movement's "major centers" of the West in their book The New Age in Glastonbury: The Construction of Religious Movements.
Glastonbury is also the hub of goddess worship with a goddess temple dedicated to the "exploration and celebration of the Divine Feminine" — the first of its kind to have opened in Europe in 1,500 years.
Dr. Marion Bowman, president of the Folklore Society and senior lecturer in religious studies at Britain's Open University, observed how many Christians view Glastonbury as the "cradle of English Christianity … allegedly brought there by Joseph of Arimathea."
More recently, it has been "a great center of Marian devotion," Bowman writes, with annual Catholic and Anglican pilgrimages to Glastonbury competing with the "goddess procession."
Church Militant contacted Bp. Lang for a response on his canceling the TLM while continuing to back LGBTQ+ Masses. The bishop did not respond as of press time.