Bishop’s policy on the Latin Mass in the diocese unchanged


Bishop W. Shawn McKnight issued the following statement on Dec. 23, 2021, regarding the celebration of the Mass in its pre-Vatican II form in the Jefferson City diocese:


On July 16, 2021, our Holy Father, Pope Francis, issued an apostolic letter “motu proprio” entitled Traditionis custodes, altering Church law in the use of liturgical books predating the reforms that followed the Second Vatican Council.

In my statement of July 21, I expressed my intention to study this document for careful implementation in our diocese with the goal of providing the pastoral care of those devoted to the older liturgical form and to foster the communion of the Church.

The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments recently published their responses to questions posed by some bishops about the changes. I have studied these responses and have taken them under advisement as we implement Traditionis custodes.

Apart from some minor details regarding the presentation of the pre-Vatican II Mass as a parish event, there will be no changes in its availability as celebrated by Father Dylan Schrader and hosted at St. Brendan Parish in Mexico, Missouri.

Some have asked about the fact that Traditionis custodes envisions celebrations of the older form taking place normally in non-parochial churches. Given the practical impossibility in our diocese of celebrating the older form in a sacred place other than a parish church, I am requesting the necessary dispensation from the Congregation to continue using a parish church for the diocesan celebration of Mass using the Missal of 1962.

I join Pope Francis in his desire that every celebration of the Mass manifest Catholic faith in the Eucharist and the character of the Mass as “above all things the worship of the divine Majesty.” (Vatican II, Sacrosanctum Concilium, no. 33) To this end, the Holy Father exhorts us to offer the reformed liturgy “with decorum and fidelity to the liturgical books.” (Letter accompanying Traditionis custodes)

I also challenge all the faithful of the diocese, clergy and laity, to greater active stewardship in parish life and more devout participation in the sacred liturgy, particularly the Eucharistic sacrifice, which “is the center of the whole of Christian life for the Church both universal and local, as well as for each of the faithful individually.” (General Instruction of the Roman Missal, no. 16)

I wish all the faithful of the Diocese of Jefferson City a blessed celebration of the Lord’s Nativity. May every celebration of the Eucharistic sacrifice in our diocese reflect the Church’s unity and the honor befitting “Christ’s Mass.”