Open Letter from Cardinal Zen to Cardinal Sarah

    It has been a beloved custom of priests from across the earth to say a private Mass on one of the 45 side altars or 11 chapels when visiting the great Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome, the centre of Christendom, oft in the early morning light,. The liturgy would be with one server, or a group of pilgrims, in their own language, or perhaps in Latin, the universal tongue of the Church. As readers may be aware, this has now been forbidden by mysterious authority in an unsigned letter, as of March 22. Priests are still permitted to concelebrate in the public Masses, all said in Italian. On this anniversary of the institution of the sacraments of Holy Orders and the Holy Eucharist at the Last Supper by Our Lord, the ‘great High Priest’, we thought it fitting to publish Cardinal Zen’s heartfelt open letter to Cardinal Sarah, the former prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, begging that this ban be lifted. How much we should value and pray for our beloved shepherds, who have laid down their lives for their flock! May they once again be able to pilgrimage to Rome, to offer the Holy Sacrifice, themselves and their God!  (Editor)

    To His Eminence

    Card. Robert Sarah

    Dear Eminence,

    Pain and indignation invade my heart to hear certain incredible news: They have forbidden private masses in St. Peter’s!?

    If it were not for the restrictions imposed by the Coronavirus, I would take the first flight to come to Rome and get on my knees in front of the door of Santa Marta (now the Papal residence) until the Holy Father has this edict withdrawn.

    It was the thing that strengthened my faith most every time I came to Rome: at exactly seven o’clock I would enter the sacristy (where I almost always would meet that holy man, the Archbishop, then Cardinal Paolo Sardi); a young priest would come forward and would help me to dress in the vestments, and then they take me to an altar (in the Basilica proper or in the grottoes, that would make no difference to me, we were in St. Peter’s Basilica!). I think these were the masses that, in my life, I celebrated with more fervor and emotion, sometimes with tears praying for our living martyrs in China (now abandoned and pushed into the bosom of the schismatic church by the “Holy See” [as that document of June 2020 was presented without signatures and without the revisions of the Congregation for Doctrine]).

    It is time to reduce the excessive power of the Secretariat of State. Remove these sacrilegious hands from the communal home for all the Faithful in the world! Let them content themselves with playing worldly diplomacy with the father of lies. Let them make the Secretariat of State “a den of thieves”, But leave the devoted people of God alone!

    “It was night!” (John 13:30)

    Your Brother

    Joseph Zen, SDB

    Translation by Bree A. Dail