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  • Writer's pictureBree A. Dail

Vatican Secretariat of State Issues Decree "suppressing" private masses at St. Peter's Basilica

Updated: Mar 13, 2021

Private Mass at Altar of St. Michael in St. Peter's Basilica

VATICAN CITY—In a surprising development shortly before the holiest of Liturgical celebrations in the Catholic Church—namely Holy Week and Easter—the Vatican Secretariat of State has issued a decree “suppressing” all Masses said in private at St. Peter’s Basilica.

The decree states that the move is meant to “ensure that Holy Masses in St. Peter’s Basilica take place in an atmosphere of recollection and liturgical decorum”, permitting priests (and even Bishops) to concelebrate only during specific times, and at specific altars.

St. Peter’s Basilica is the central of the Four Major Basilicas in Rome, and considered the heart of Christendom.

Traditionally, priests have been permitted to say private masses on the side altars constructed specifically for this purpose, especially in the early morning hours. Many faithful rely on these Masses for their daily prayer.

The Vatican Press Office has been contacted for comment, and this article will be updated if response is provided.

The following is my (quick) english translation of the document.


UPDATE (1) 19:43—Three hours ago, I contacted Holy See Press Officer, Matteo Bruni, for comment on this developing story. Questions to authenticity are standard protocol in the Vatican. It seems I’m not the only one to wonder why it’s so hard to read the signature in this document, or why no tracking number is included. The document exists, however (unlike rumored documents pending from the Vatican in the past) this story may take a very interesting turn if it proves inauthentic (or a bait document).

UPDATE (2)—13Mar2021, 9:05AM:

Not having received a response from

the Holy See Press Office last night, I sent a third inquiry via email to Matteo Bruni. As I was nearby, I walked to the press office in case the doors were open (as it’s Saturday, this would not be normal). They were not, but I was notified that by 7am masses this morning, the document had been displayed on the door of the sacristy in St Peter’. This also has been confirmed by other journalist.

No response from the Press Office as of 9:45am Rome time.

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