Bishop Jeffrey Monforton of Diocese of Steubenville, Ohio Forbids Latin Mass at Franciscan University


The Diocese of Steubenville's bishop, Jeffrey Monforton, immediately took effect the prohibition of the Latin Mass at Franciscan University. However, the students, staff, faculty, and others can still attend Latin Mass weekly at St. Peter's Church in Steubenville, a parish church located about a mile from the campus.

Prohibition of Latin Mass at Franciscan University

Bishop Jeffrey Monforton, who serves the Diocese of Steubenville in Ohio, issued an order that immediately stopped celebrating the Latin Mass on the Franciscan University grounds. According to the Catholic News Agency, there will be no change to the weekly celebration of the Latin Mass at St. Peter's Church in Steubenville. This parish church is approximately one mile from the institution's grounds. As mentioned, the church celebrates the Latin Mass every week and on the first Sunday of each month. In addition to the regular Mass, they also include High Mass which is usually celebrated monthly. 

The Latin Mass at St. Peter will be permitted to continue as the bishop seeks an official dispensation from the Vatican for that church despite canceling the Latin Mass on the campus. Moreover, the diocese says the decision is related to a Vatican order. Still, the order only appears to restrict Latin Masses in parish churches, not non-parish churches or chapels like Franciscan University's chapel. However, the Vatican order's relationship to the bishop's new rules is unknown.

As per the National Catholic Register, despite the university's efforts to retain Latin Mass, the bishop still decided to cancel it. As a result, the university plans to provide monthly shuttles to St. Peter's Church for students who want to attend the Mass. On Monday, Mar. 6, the president of Franciscan University, Father Dave Pivonka, wrote an email saying that he discussed the bishop's choice with Juventutem-Franciscan, the campus Latin Mass club, on Thursday, Mar. 2. 

Father Pivonka explained that he believed it was important for the students to be aware of all the friars' care and concern for them. He was greatly edified by this gathering and the time they spent together, as well as the commitment of everyone to continue praying for peace and Bishop Monforton and everyone involved.

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Pope's Decision to Getting Rid of Latin Mass

ABC News reported that as an indication of the ongoing friction with Catholic traditionalists, Pope Francis had taken action for the third time to stop the celebration of the old Latin Mass. In a new legal decree published on Tuesday, Feb. 23, Pope Francis asserted again that the Holy See is required to approve new celebrations of the old rite. Specifically, the Holy See must sign off on decisions made by bishops to designate other parish churches for the Latin Mass or to let newly ordained priests celebrate it. Francis made these assertions in the context of the Latin Mass.

Following Pope Francis' great decision in 2021 to reimpose restrictions on celebrating the old Latin Mass that had been relaxed in 2007 by then-Pope Benedict XVI, Catholic traditionalist blogs and websites have been reporting for weeks that a further crackdown on the old Latin Mass was in the works.

Related Article: Pope Francis Takes Firm Stand to Limit Latin Mass: A Controversial Move to Modernize Catholic Worship