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Vatican Bans Latin Mass in Marian Shrine for Thriving Spanish Walking Pilgrimage

By Michael Haynes
 Lifesite News

July 9, 2024

A thriving traditional pilgrimage in Spain has been prohibited from holding its customary end of pilgrimage traditional Mass in the Marian shrine of Covadonga.

In a July 6 social media post, organizers announced that the Vatican had intervened to restrict the Our Lady of Christendom traditional-Mass walking pilgrimage, which draws numerous young families despite being only in its fourth year in Spain.

A  letter from the pilgrimage organizers stated that "the Archbishopric of Oviedo has informed us that they have received instructions from the Dicastery for Divine Worship indicating the Traditional Latin Mass is not to be celebrated in Covadonga."

As such, the Our Lady of Christendom pilgrimage schedule is to be reorganized: Mass on the third and final day of the pilgrimage will be offered at the campsite in the morning before pilgrims begin the day's hike.

"This situation must not be a reason for us to be saddened," wrote the organizers. "Instead, it should strengthen us in persevering in the love and devotion that we profess for the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar within the bosom of Holy Mother Church."

Rather than being permitted to offer the traditional Mass at the ancient site of the Marian shrine of Covadonga - the culminating highlight of the pilgrimage - pilgrims will instead sing the Te Deum in front of the exposed Blessed Sacrament before making a consecration to Mary.

Now only in its fourth year, the Our Lady of Christendom pilgrimage is attracting a swiftly growing number of pilgrims, as evidenced in the 2023 group photo. It has attracted numerous young people, families and clergy, with pilgrims also beginning to come from outside Spain - very much in imitation of the famous Chartres pilgrimage.

 The Church and the Mar... Best Price: $32.10 (as of 04:20 UTC - Details) Its aim, the organizers  note, "is the sanctification of the soul through the graces asked [of] Our Lord, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, by the offering of prayers, sacrifices and mortifications during three days. During these days of pilgrimage we especially commend our Homeland and the Holy Father."

Modelled on the Chartres pilgrimage, which is centered around the traditional Mass, the Our Lady of Christendom pilgrimage places great emphasis on the Mass as the "basis of the Christian life." The organizers write:

The Church has always taught that the Holy Liturgy is one of the ways by which the Good God communicates to us His Grace, that is, the Trinitarian Life itself; it also teaches us the truths of Revelation in a particularly admirable way (lex orandi, lex credendi), for it is inspired by the words and deeds of Our Savior. With this in mind, NSC-E wants to make known and loved the Mass celebrated according to the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, whose celebration was favored and recommended by Pope Benedict XVI's motu proprio Summorum Pontificum. {Emphasis original}

The news comes amidst increasing implementation of Traditionis Custodes and rumors of future, more severe restrictions on the ancient rite of the Mass. Nor is such a measure without precedent: last year the international Ad Petri Sedem ("To the Seat of Peter") pilgrimage was, for the first time,  prohibited from offering a traditional Mass in the Vatican upon order of the Vatican's Archpriest Cardinal Mauro Gambetti. The cardinal was described as acting "due to a superior order."

 Commenting on the Vatican's restrictions of the Spanish pilgrimage, liturgist and author Dr. Peter Kwasniewski called the measure "sheer irrationality, if it is not diabolism."

"Such an attitude can only be founded on contempt for the bimillennial heritage of the Catholic Church, contempt for the workings of the Holy Spirit, and contempt for the baptized faithful, sealed with the mark of Christ," he wrote, and questioned the rationale of curtailing a rite that is attracting so many young people:

Can you imagine any other religion in the world saying: "Although it was unexpected, our youth nowadays are flocking to the most ancient and most demanding form of worship we have. Let's ban it and cause them as much pain as possible!"

The Archbishop of Ovideo has been contacted for comment, and this report will be updated upon receipt of a response.