Posted By: Damian Thompson at Feb 16, 2009 at 22:12:00
The Latin Mass Society had asked Archbishop Burke, Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura and a former Archbishop of St Louis, to celebrate its annual solemn Mass. He had accepted. Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor, who is the bishop of Westminster Cathedral, has now reportedly forced the LMS to rescind the invitation.
Archbishop Burke, one of the Pope's right-hand men, is now welcome to take part in the ceremony but not to celebrate, I gather. This news is hardly credible - yet I have it on impeccable authority. I'm profoundly dismayed that the leader of the Catholic Church in England and Wales should take this step, at a time when Pope Benedict's enemies are trying to sabotage his liturgical reforms.
The chain of events is as follows. Last year, the Latin Mass Society invited Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos to celebrate its annual Mass at the cathedral. This was the first time a cardinal had celebrated the traditional rite in the cathedral for 40 years. Neither Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor nor any of his bishops attended the service.
On the contrary: the Cardinal is believed to have said that this invitation constituted a breach of etiquette. The Mass will now probably be celebrated by one of his auxiliaries. The LMS has had to go through the humiliating business of contacting Archbishop Burke in Rome and saying: "Sorry, but the invitation to celebrate is withdrawn."
What a shameful episode.