Bishop of Motherwell Diocese Suppresses Traditional Latin Mass

Carfin Grotto, Motherwell

I think in promulgation of Summorum Pontificum in 2007 was perhaps the first time something the "Church" or "Rome" did that actually translated into a tangible change in my own experience of the Catholic faith. I was studying Catholic Theology at the Maryvale Institute in Birmingham at the time and recall animated discussions among students about what it meant. I had no idea what it meant, I'd never been to a Traditional Latin Mass. I did know that I loved the inclusion of Latin in the Novus Ordo Mass although I wasn't sure why!

The Moto Proprio resulted in my Parish Priest introducing the vetus ordo once a month. I went out of curiosity but fell in love and continued to attend, drawn to the beauty and sincerity of the ancient liturgy, the Mass my grandparents and their grandparents knew.

For the other three weeks of the month I attend the usual Mass in my Parish. I'm fine with a reverent Novus ordo Mass, but I find it really hard to see the liturgy warped, personalised, degraded and made into a form of entertainment as I have experienced often. I feel this damages the pedagogy and reduces an act of Sacrifice and worship to an act which doesn't understand itself or what it is for. This means those experience also don't know what it is for.

Carfin Grotto is a shrine in Scotland dedicated to Our Lady of Lourdes which opened in the early 1920's. Back in June there was a large gathering of Catholics for a Traditional Latin Mass. Little did these faithful pilgrims know what was about to happen:

The above gathering is what Pope Francis has decided is so problematic for the Church that it must be stopped.

The bishop of Motherwell — Bishop Joseph A. Toal, where the grotto is located, has given instructions that the 8am Traditional Latin Mass at St Mary’s Cleland be discontinued from the 15th August. Is this a reaction to the popularity of the above gathering?

Bishop Toal advises the faithful that all Catholics of the Diocese should worship according to the Missal of 1970 in their geographical parishes, asking them to be ‘home birds’ although thus far no other Masses have been suppressed. Una Voce Scotland have a map of parishes where you can attend a Traditional Latin Mass in Scotland.

The people are obviously devastated by this as demonstrated by this message & heartfelt letter to the bishop which was posted on social media:

And the bishop's response?

Seriously, what sort of Father would write to a member of their flock in this way? I suppose at least they got a response — I certainly never have from my bishop!

I think this demonstrates everything that's wrong with our bishops and this instruction from the Pope. It smacks of clericalism, superiority and exacerbates individual bishops' prejudices which can only serve to polarise the faithful. It offers no bread: no teaching, no explanation. It punishes Catholics for being faithful and marginalises those who have found their faith renewed by attending the Traditional Latin Mass. It shows Traditiones Custodes, just like Summorum Pontificum, has a real tangible effect on the faithful and it seems to me, a particular group of the faithful: those who are engaged and interested in the liturgy and in living a Catholic life in conformity with Church teaching.

What do you think the effects will be? Positive, or negative?

Anyone want to guess who the next Archbishop of Glasgow will be?


  1. I emailed the nuncio and did not get so much as the courtesy of an acknowledgement. In our clericalised church, despite the pontification about clericalism, the laity are treated like dirt.


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