Monday, January 24, 2022

Traditional Confirmations cancelled in England and Wales

Bishop Sherrington, an auxiliary bishop of Westminster Diocese,
administers the confirmation 'slap'. He wears a cope and mitre, and holds a
crozier, symbols of his office.

Latin Mass Society Statement on Confirmations: January 2022

The Latin Mass Society regrets to report that Cardinal Vincent Nichols has made the decision (communicated to the Society by letter) that the Sacrament of Confirmation is not to be celebrated according to the 1962 liturgical books in the Archdiocese of Westminster. The annual celebration which has for nearly twenty years been organised by the Latin Mass Society at St James’ Spanish Place, at which candidates were confirmed by an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese—and on one occasion, by Cardinal Raymond Burke—will accordingly not take place this year, or until this decision is reversed.

We understand that another planned celebration of this Sacrament, by Archbishop Bernard Longley of Birmingham, has also been cancelled.


Comment from Joseph Shaw, LMS Chairman.

The Archdiocese of Westminster has provided an auxiliary bishop to confer Old Rite Confirmation annually since 2004; at these services 593 people have been confirmed. In recent years bishops in several other English dioceses have also organised traditional Confirmations in other parts of the country. These celebrations have been joyful occasions, attended by many children and young adults, their families, sponsors, and friends. They have been clear expressions of the importance the Societys supporters attach to their link with their bishops, and our bishopspastoral concern for us. They have enormously strengthened the sense of unity in the Church: both our sense of belonging, and, I believe, the bishopsown sense that we are indeed sheep of their flock.

The cessation of these celebrations implies the loss of much that the Bishops of England and Wales have sought, and achieved, in establishing a serene co-existence between the new and old liturgical forms. Confirmation is above all a sacrament for young people and converts. It will cut off many  from accessing it in a form ‘particularly suited to them’ (as Pope Benedict expressed it).[1] Others will be driven to seek it outside the structures of the Church.

We hope that the Bishops of England and Wales come to reconsider their decision, and allow once more the ancient Roman liturgy in all its manifestations to be part of the legitimate diversity of liturgical forms we have in this country.




Reading of the difficulties and conflicts between groups of the faithful attached to the Traditional Mass and their bishops, in some parts of the world, we have long been able to say, in England and Wales: this is not the situation here. With regard to Confirmation, and in many other ways, our bishops have shown themselves willing to see us cared for using those liturgical forms which are, as Pope Benedict called them, treasures, which attract us because of their sacrality, and in which we are ‘formed’ (Letter to Bishops, 2007).

This is no longer the case. While this situation continues, it is implied that the liturgy of the Saints, Doctors, Martyrs, and holy Popes of twelve centuries and more is suspect, and that we ourselves are not worthy of the pastoral consideration given to all sorts of groups in this country: Polish Catholics, Syro-Malabar Catholics, Ukrainian Rite Catholics, and many others, who receive pastoral care distinct from the standard English-language Novus Ordo liturgy.

I hope the Bishops of England and Wales appreciate the deeply problematic nature of this situation, particularly in light of the steps which Pope Francis has taken to legitimise the ministry of the Society of St Pius X, whose members will not feel themselves bound to observe any restrictions on the use of the Traditional Sacraments.

In light of the Canon law guidance which we have published, which confirms that the recent Responsa ad Dubia issued by the Congregation for Divine Worship, which appear to prohibit the use of the 1962 Pontificale, does not have the force of law, we call on His Eminence, Cardinal Nichols, and the Bishops of England and Wales, to reconsider their position, before real pastoral harm is done, and damage to the fabric of unity which will not easily be repaired.


[1] Letter to Bishops 2007. 


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  1. "Reading of the difficulties and conflicts between groups of the faithful attached to the Traditional Mass and their bishops, in some parts of the world, we have long been able to say, in England and Wales: this is not the situation here. "

    Say that with a straight face if you've lived in a diocese like Hallam ...

    And enough with the Sspx digs - what exactly are you implying?
    "whose members will not feel themselves bound to observe any restrictions on the use of the Traditional Sacraments"
    Yes, because an unjust law is no law at all. (St. Augustine)

    1. Hallam diocese was one of the best diocese I have lived in. The Cathedral Church of St Marie was a great example of how the Mass should be conducted. As for the SSPX they describe the Mass of the Catholic Church as being evil. That's not an implication, it speaks for itself

  2. Thank God all bishops aren't like Cardinal Nichols!!

  3. C'est grâce à la FSSPX, que la Tradition liturgique,s'est maintenue auparavant vous n'existiez pas. Ceci dit je soutiens votre action, je suis désolée que l'Angleterre catholique qui a été persécutée par un évêque catholique Cranmer, oublie son passé et persécute ses frères justement à propos de la messe. Faut il penser que les catholiques doivent tout de suite assister à la messe de leurs frères séparés les Anglicans , épiscopaliens, baptistes, méthodistes, évangélistes? On prie pour vous et vos évêques aveuglés.

  4. You completely misunderstand the legitimisation of the SSPX ministry by Pope Francis. This was done with the sole intention of helping members of the SSPX. It did not legitimise the use of SSPX sacraments by Catholics within the Catholic Church. A practicing Catholic cannot meet their Sunday obligation by attending an SSPX service.

    1. No, I'm sorry this is incorrect. A practising Catholic CAN meet their Sunday obligation at an SSPX chapel as their bishops are validly consecrated and their priests are validly ordained but they shouldn't. A Catholic cannot meet their obligation at an Anglican "Mass" as they do not ordain to a sacrificing priesthood.
      The SSPX is canonically irregular - this means that they exist outside of the heirarchy of the church which is a dangerous situation for unity but does not make their sacraments invalid.

    2. This is a misconception. The SSPX is not regulated by the Catholic Church. The obligation to attend Mass on Sunday is a regulation made by the Catholic Church it can therefore only apply to churches regulated by the Catholic Church. It makes nonsense to apply it to the SSPX. Furthermore the SSPX teach that the Mass of the Catholic Church is invalid. So if you receive communion at an SSPX Mass you are not in communion with the Catholic Church which is the body of Christ. You are in fact committing a grave sin.

    3. The SSPX actually call the Mass of the Catholic Church evil her is the link

    4. Rome has said that attendance at SSPX Masses does fulfil the Sunday obligation.

    5. Rome has not said anything of the sort. The SSPX is not regulated by the Catholic Church (see above) and it is grave sin for Catholics to receive Holy Communion in their chapels. Also Catholic priests who allow intercommunion with the SSPX are guilty of this. Where you may be confused is in the provision made to SSPX members to receive absolution.

  5. What Sunday obligation? Dispensation from it still applies in England & Wales, so presumably Catholics minded to do so could assist at SSPX Masses until the obligation is reimposed.

    1. In fact the dispensation has now ended and Sunday obligation began again on the First Sunday of Advent.

    2. It did not, at least in England and Wales. The bishops' wishy-washy pronouncement was actually clear on that.

  6. ALL of England and Wales? My reading of the Cardinal Archbishop's statement is that it applies only for his primatial see of Westminster, although the article mentions that another diocese has done the same.

    The Bishop of Worcester in the States personally uses the traditional rite of Confirmation at the two traditional chapels of the St. Benedict Center in his diocese.

  7. Surely a bishop is 'Pope in his own diocese' & therefore the "decision" by the Archbishop carries no weight in individual dioceses?