A Catholic Cathedral: “A Sort of World”
Unless there’s a last-minute change of orders in the hours between this being written and the opening of St. Peter’s Basilica Monday morning, the Church in Rome will have taken another, bizarre, almost inexplicable step in an age that can little afford the West’s central spiritual institution to go even more wobbly.
I refer, of course, to the strange decision to prohibit Masses being said in St. Peter’s on side altars, often on the spur of the moment, in various languages; and to restrict everyone attending Mass in the Basilica to the few central services offered only in Italian and Latin.
This may seem a small matter, especially during the COVID lockdowns, when there are few pilgrims entering St. Peter’s anyway. But this was not an order issued in response to the potential dangers from the virus at side-altar Masses, nor does it bear any explanation that this is just a temporary measure that will be suspended when conditions are “safe.”
No, it reflects yet another instance of the Church – or at least some high-placed officials in the Vatican – reducing the breadth and depth that Catholicism should offer to God’s holy people.