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Over the weekend, Catholics in England and Wales were told they will no longer be able to receive the sacrament of confirmation in the traditional Latin form — used until 1970. Church Militant's Hunter Bradford explains how British Catholics are responding.
In a letter dated Jan. 20, Cdl. Vincent Nichols told London's traditional Catholics the Vatican has officially forbidden bishops from conducting confirmation ceremonies using the pre-1970 ritual.
Latin Mass Society chairman Dr. Joseph Shaw tells Church Militant that since 2004, nearly 600 people have been confirmed in the old form — between 20 and 50 each year. Fifty people this year were seeking confirmation in the old form and are now being impacted.
In July 2021, Pope Francis released his document Traditionis Custodes, or "Guardians of Tradition," where he revoked previous permissions granted by Pope Benedict XVI allowing most priests to celebrate the Mass as designated in the 1962 missal.
In a separate letter to bishops, Pope Francis claimed he was "saddened" that the Latin Mass "is often characterized by a rejection not only of the liturgical reform but of the Vatican Council II itself, [with many people] claiming, with unfounded and unsustainable assertions, that it betrayed the Tradition and the 'true Church.'"
Shaw reveals membership in the Latin Mass Society has jumped 10% in just the last few weeks, adding that "many of those joining express their deep concern about the situation, and some even say that they were not committed to the [Traditional Latin Mass] before now."
Some London Catholics are coloring Traditionis Custodes as "an assault on the freedom and diversity of the Church." Shaw anticipates that more restrictions on the relatively small number of TLM Catholics are likely on the way.
Since July, Catholics have been flocking to the schismatic Society of St. Pius X, a group that Pope Francis has treated with kid gloves, while he continuously accuses faithful Catholics in union with Rome of being overly rigid.