Cardinal Joseph Tobin spoke at a press conference at the Vatican on October 10, where he said that everyone’s concerns are being heard but that traditional Latin Mass parish closures are simply “a sign of the times.”
Tobin said that the synodal small groups are incorporating local concerns in their discussions.
But when American journalist Diane Montagna asked Tobin about active traditional Latin Mass parishes being “banished” from their churches in the U.S., Tobin had difficulty answering.
“Many Catholics who go to the traditional Mass have […] been banished from their parish church. This has happened in Washington, D.C.; it’s happened in other dioceses, where there was a traditional Mass, and then the people were sent away,” said Montagna, continuing, “and the traditional Mass was banished from that parish church, even though these parishes and communities were thriving, seeking to live a good Catholic life.”
“What do you say to the Catholics, particularly from the United States … who do not feel represented here?” she asked. “There’s nothing in the Instrumentum Laboris to address these people’s concerns. What would you say to those Catholics who do not feel welcomed?”
After a long pause, Tobin began:
“The experience of feeling banished is sadly part of the signs of the times, not simply for people who go to a traditional Mass,” said Tobin, noting that in the past he has had to close some parishes, such as a parish along a railroad that no longer existed.
“We had to make some very painful decisions,” said Tobin, explaining that those parishioners are given the means to appeal.
Tobin recalled that some parishioners appealed to keep their parishes open, but after being incorporated into their new church, they said in the end, “This was good for us. We didn’t know it at the time.”
“Now, that’s probably not—I can see that’s not satisfactory to you,” said Tobin, noting Montagna’s facial expression and adding that “there are still opportunities” for “those who love the Latin Mass.”
Tobin mentioned that Latin Mass parish appeals can be made to the Dicastery for Divine Worship. The dicastery, run by Cardinal Arthur Roche, rarely grants appeals.
“I know it has gotten a lot of grief among people who particularly identify with Latin Mass, but I don’t think they’ve been banished from the Catholic Church,” finished Tobin.