July 16, 2021
Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel
Dear Parish Family,
Like many of you, I began today with the surprising and baffling news of the Holy Father’s new Motu Propio “Traditionis Custodes”. I have read the Apostolic Letter carefully and thoroughly. I have also read much and discussed much about it with learned and well-informed individuals. Most importantly, I have taken the matter and the many questions and concerns the Letter brings up to our own “Guardian of Tradition”—Bishop David Talley. Unfortunately, there are many questions with regard to the practical application of this Letter which need to be investigated, discussed, and discerned. Therefore, there is not yet a definitive plan of action for what this will look like practically for our parish. I write to you today, as your spiritual father, to encourage you to lift up your hearts to the Lord and renew your trust in HIM.
As the Letter affirms, the Church in 2021 is the Church of the Second Vatican Council. Very much like she is also the Church of the First Vatican Council, the Council of Trent, the Council of Constantinople, and the Council of Jerusalem—she is the Mystical Body of Christ: the same yesterday, today, and forever. The words of Vatican II ring loudly in our hearts today, perhaps more than ever: “In faithful obedience to tradition, the sacred Council declares that holy Mother Church holds all lawfully acknowledged rites to be of equal right and dignity; that she wishes to preserve them in the future and to foster them in every way” (Sacrosanctum Concilium, 4). Nowhere in our local church of Memphis are these beautiful words more clearly seen and lived than in our own parish. Here at Blessed Sacrament, we are in a unique position to show and live the unity and diversity of the sacred liturgical and devotional heritage of the Church, offering the gifts and treasures of Holy Mother Church for the sanctification of all who come through our doors, in communion with the Magisterium and in union with the local ordinary and his mission for the Diocese.
Our local shepherd, the “Guardian of Tradition”, and the spiritual father of all the faithful in the land between the rivers has granted temporary authorization for our usual liturgical celebrations and observances in the “Extraordinary Form/Usus antiquior/TLM” to continue until further clarification is given on this matter. I can assure you that he is not wasting time on this and has already begun to work with the solicitude of a shepherd and father for the good of the faithful devoted to the liturgical tradition of the Church. He has asked me to encourage you not to be concerned, to place your trust in the Lord, and to continue as we have “to the glory of God.” As I mentioned from the pulpit some time ago, our Diocese has been blessed to have had pastors of souls solicitous for the good of the flock and generous in providing for their spiritual needs since the late 80s, when the “Indult” was granted by St. John Paul II. So…Sursum corda!
For the time being, I will ask you to do two things in response to the events of today: 1) Offer your prayers, penances, and sacrifices for the Holy Father, Bishops throughout the world, and the faithful who may be negatively impacted by this Letter. 2) Until a final decision is made as to the practical application of this Letter for us, I ask that every parishioner offer the Litany of the Precious Blood and the Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary for Bishop Talley and those who will be advising him. I ask that this be done on a daily basis and, if possible, before the Most Blessed Sacrament.
Be assured of my prayers for all of you, especially at the Altar. Oremus pro invicem!
Rev. Fr. Yoelvis A. Gonzalez