German diocese grudgingly permits administration of the Sacraments under Traditionis Custodes

Church locations designated, administration of the Sacraments permitted

Diocese of Trier adopts rules for pre-conciliar liturgy


Maria Engelport

The “Old Mass” can be celebrated at five locations in the Diocese of Trier. Although the Roman regulations actually no longer allow any other sacraments in the pre-conciliar form, this is still possible in Trier due to a special feature.

The pre-conciliar liturgy may be celebrated in five churches in the Diocese of Trier. In addition, believers there can inquire about the administration of sacraments in the form from the time before the liturgical reform, according to the "Guidelines for the application of the extraordinary form of the Roman rite", which Bishop Stephan Ackermann published in the current official gazette of the Diocese (November edition). has given strength. In other churches and chapels in the Diocese, sacramental administration in the pre-conciliar form is not permitted.

The places of worship designated by the bishop are the church of the Maria Engelport monastery, the former parish Church of St. Martin Trier, the Church of the Bethlehem monastery in Koblenz-Pfaffendorf, the Church of St. Martin in Püttlingen and the Church of St. Petrus Canisius in Saarlouis. Upon request, the Diocese told that even before the guidelines, these churches were the only places in the diocese where the pre-conciliar liturgy was celebrated. “These places have grown organically and yet also provide good spatial coverage within the diocese so that all interested believers have access to these liturgies,” said a diocese spokeswoman.

Support from traditionalist communities

The possibility of receiving sacraments and sacramentals in the pre-conciliar form, although this is actually not permitted in principle according to the binding interpretation of the Dicastery of Worship, is based on the pastoral care of the places of worship by members of communities that celebrate the pre-conciliar form: around the church places in Treis -Karden (Engelport), Trier, Koblenz and Püttlingen-Köllerbach-Engelfangen are taken care of by members of the Christ the King and High Priest Institute, while a member of the Fraternity of Saint Peter is responsible for the Church in Saarlouis, the diocese said upon request.

The new regulations for the pre-conciliar liturgy issued by Pope Francis in the summer of 2021 through the motu proprio "Traditionis Custodes" were initially unclear on the question of the admissibility of pre-conciliar forms of the sacraments other than the Eucharist. In December 2021, the Liturgy Dicastery determined that sacraments in the pre-conciliar form can generally only be administered in staff parishes specifically established for the pre-conciliar liturgy. In German-speaking countries, such personal parishes only exist in the Swiss diocese of Chur. In spring 2022, Pope Francis confirmed in a decree for the Society of St. Peter that they could continue to celebrate all sacraments and sacramentals in accordance with the liturgical books in force before the liturgical reform. In Trier it is assumed that this exemption can also be applied by analogy to those institutes whose founding charism includes the pre-conciliar form of liturgy.

The Archdiocese of Freiburg was the first German diocese to put an executive decree on “Traditionis Custodes” into effect in November 2021, and there are also executive decrees in Dresden-Meißen and Regensburg. The diocesan decrees of Freiburg and Regensburg each point out that they apply subject to new regulations based on framework legislation from the German Bishops' Conference (DBK). It is not yet known whether and when the German bishops will make corresponding regulations.


The Permission

In order to take the applicable universal legal requirements even more precisely into account and to support the tried and tested pastoral care in the Diocese of Trier for the faithful who request the Holy Mass and other sacraments in the extraordinary form of the Roman rite through clear and transparent agreements, the following guidelines are given fixed. In the Diocese of Trier there are various locations designated for the administration of sacraments in the extraordinary form of the Roman rite. These are the following churches:

• Church of the Maria Engelport Monastery, Treis-Karden;

• Church of St. Martin, Trier;

• Church of the Bethlehem Monastery, Koblenz-Pfaffendorf;

• Church of St. Martin, Püttlingen-Köllerbach-Engelfangen;

• Church of St. Petrus Canisius, Saarlouis.

In the future, the five locations listed here, which are spread throughout the diocese, will continue to be available for the pastoral care of the faithful who gather there. In other churches or chapels, sacraments in the extraordinary form of the Roman rite are not permitted. This restriction is hereby noted. The believers who gather in the above-mentioned churches for the Sunday liturgy can, in accordance with canon law, request additional sacraments in the extraordinary form of the Roman rite in these same places from the pastors responsible there if necessary.

Trier, September 29, 2023


Bishop of Trier


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