Save the Latin Mass & its Chaplain Fr Rowe Perth, Australia

Perth, Western Australia


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Save the Latin Mass & its Chaplain Fr Rowe Perth, Australia


28% funded

Campaign beneficiary:

Saint Anne's Latin Mass Community

Created By:

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Fr Michael Rowe

Rector of St Anne's Church

Category: Persecuted Christians

Start Date: March 8, 2022

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Any future donations and funds raised will be used for the support of Fr Rowe and the Latin Mass and ongoing support and maintenance of the Latin Mass apostolate, live streaming and the promotion of the Latin Mass & Fr Rowe.  

Thank you for your ongoing support and prayers.  

Fr Michael Rowe

****** 12 DECEMBER 2023 ******

Archbishop Costelloe’s open letter to St Anne’s.

Response from Fr Rowe:

Tuesday 12 December, 2023

Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe



Statement of Rev. Fr Michael Rowe on the Latin Mass in Perth


My Dear Faithful,


It is no secret that the Latin Mass Community at Belmont within the Archdiocese of Perth has had numerous problems with their Archbishop and the Archdiocese in the last few years.


I have received notification from the Archdiocese of Perth that I have been removed as Rector of St Anne’s Church and effectively as chaplain of the Latin Mass Community. That letter confirms that I remain a priest in good standing since I have retained faculties within the Archdiocese of Perth. This fact thankfully is an implicit admission that I have done nothing objectively wrong to suggest otherwise.


The Archbishop has published an open letter to the faithful of St Anne’s, Belmont on his decision in these matters; that letter appears to suggest the only reason for my removal is a refusal on my part to apply to the Archbishop for permission to celebrate the traditional Latin Mass pursuant to article 5 of the Pope Francis’s motu proprio Traditionis Custodes (TC). Whilst the Archbishop has not directly lied in saying this, I reject that characterisation as being an accurate representation of the entire situation in its correct perspective. I believe the Archbishop’s version of events in his open letter has the potential to be misleading and I put out this statement explaining the situation with its true context set in place.


History of the Latin Mass Community in Perth


In 1996 Emeritus Archbishop Barry James Hickey established our community and appointed me its first chaplain. His Grace granted us the use of the old Pro Cathedral in Perth city.


In 2008, since we had outgrown the use of the Pro Cathedral, the Emeritus Archbishop wrote to me on 16 April 2008 announcing his intention to establish us as a Quasi-Parish and moved us to our present location of St Anne’s Church at Belmont. The Emeritus Archbishop announced his intention to appoint me as the Parish Priest of this Quasi Parish. It was clear that St Anne’s Church had been given back to the Archdiocese by the Parish of Belmont as they no longer desired to be responsible for its maintenance and since all their Masses were now in the neighbouring parish church of Cloverdale, with whom they shared a parish priest. It was clear and in writing that the Emeritus Archbishop, whilst then in office as Ordinary, was giving St Anne’s to our community as our “permanent location”.


After much fundraising and donations from you the faithful who worshipped in the traditional Latin rites in Perth during 2008 – 2010, much of our community’s own funds were spent (along with funds also spend by the Archdiocese under Archbishop Hickey’s leadership) on improving the land and properties at St Anne’s making it fit for the traditional Latin Mass and fit for our purposes.

Midnight Mass of Christmas was celebrated by me in St Anne’s Church in 2009, that was our community’s first Mass there, and then on St Patrick’s feast day the following year, 17 March 2010, we had the official blessing and opening of St Anne’s Church as the new permanent location given for the exclusive use of the Latin Mass Community.


By way of letter dated 9 July 2010, Archbishop Hickey appointed me as the Rector of St Anne’s Church, being a non-parochial church, and reaffirmed my appointment as spiritual leader of the Latin Mass Community. In that July 2010 appointment letter, Archbishop Hickey gave me all the faculties relevant to a Parish Priest specifically for the Latin Mass Community.


Our community has grown exponentially since that time, growing from around 30 people when we started in 1996 in the Pro Cathedral to the 850 odd ‘parishioners’ that now regularly attend Latin Masses at Belmont. Over that time our community has fostered at least 9 vocations to the priesthood and religious life, and continues to be a thriving parish with frequent baptisms, confirmations, first Holy Communions and marriages coming from within this community.


Over the last 15 years, we have calculated that over $1 million has been spent on improving the land and property at St Anne’s Belmont, as we were under the impression from Archbishop Hickey’s letters that we were established there permanently as a Quasi-Parish. Archbishop Costelloe and the Archdiocese now under his leadership did not share that view and had other ideas for St Anne’s.


History of Problems with the Archdiocese


Those who have been long term ‘parishioners’ of the Latin Mass in Perth know of the troubles our community has had with the Archdiocese under its current leadership since 21 March 2012 onwards, when the Most Rev. Timothy Costelloe SDB was installed as Archbishop. The Archbishop’s statements and pastoral letters seem to suggest that he is merely following the directions of the Pope in Traditionis Custodes and that he has no choice other than to do the Holy Father’s will. With great respect to the Archbishop, this is hard to believe given that the troubles and animosity he has shown to the Latin Mass Community and myself long pre-date the publication of Traditionis Custodes.


Archbishop Hickey, as our Ordinary, was happy to accept vocations for priestly formation attached to the St Anne’s community with a view to those men being attached to St Anne’s and the Latin Mass Community as priests. There were at least 3 such potential vocations for the Latin Mass Community specifically in the Archdiocese of Perth under my rectorship and Archbishop Hickey’s leadership. One such man was already in seminary formation in Rome specifically for the Archdiocese of Perth with a view to being dedicated to ministry in the Latin Mass Community at St Anne’s. One of Archbishop Costelloe’s first priorities as Archbishop of Perth, the day after he was installed as Archbishop was to contact that seminarian and cancel the path he was placed on by Archbishop Hickey. Beyond this point it was no longer possible for diocesan vocations from the traditional Latin Mass Community to be accepted in Perth. I was regretfully placed in the unenviable position of needing to send any potential vocation away to explore his vocation elsewhere during the current Archbishop’s tenure.


The Archbishop, during his entire eleven year tenure as Archbishop of Perth has not once made a pastoral visit to St Anne’s or made any attempt to meet with, let alone consult with the people who worship at St Anne’s Church. This is despite being having been invited numerous times. There was an occasion in the latter months of 2018 when a parishioner reported to me that one afternoon Archbishop Costelloe was seen walking around the St Anne’s Church property at Belmont with the Vicar General, the Parish Priest of the neighbouring Cloverdale Parish and a lay employee from the Chancery. None of those attending this site meeting at St Anne’s thought to inform me, nor invite me. It was only because a parishioner had seen them and told me that I found out. Upon asking why a visit to St Anne’s was made by those present the first response from Archdiocesan officials was to outright deny that any such visit to St Anne’s had taken place. Later, I was told by the auxiliary bishop of Perth that the reason the Archbishop had visited the St Anne’s was because the Parish Priest (PP) of Cloverdale had requested permission to sell part or all of the land at St Anne’s to build a new house for the clergy in the Cloverdale Parish. The auxiliary bishop informed me that in light of this request from the Cloverdale PP the Archbishop visited to get a sense of how the Latin Mass Community use the land so he could properly consider the Cloverdale PP’s request. It is rather unusual that such a visit would happen at a time of the day when all the buildings were closed and locked up and ordinarily no one else would be present. Since the purported reason for the pastoral visit was so the Archbishop could gain an understanding of how the Latin Mass Community use the land, it was even more strange that the Archbishop had not thought to ask me to be present to open the buildings and show them how our community uses the space.


From late 2018 onwards our community was well and truly in the Archbishop’s sights. In October 2018 the Archbishop published a decree purportedly merging the territorial parishes of Belmont and Redcliffe with Cloverdale and that as a result the land at St Anne’s Belmont now belonged to that new Cloverdale-Belmont-Redcliffe parish entity. I was eventually informed that the Archbishop had approved the Cloverdale PP’s request to sell land and that the neighbouring nursing home, owned by Catholic Homes Incorporated, would buy the land from the Archdiocese. I was informed that I would need to negotiate with the Cloverdale PP the terms on which we could temporarily stay at St Anne’s but eventually we would have to leave and the Archdiocese had no where else for us to go. These actions are not consistent with the Archbishop’s statement in his 11 December 2023 letter, “it has never been my intention that either the celebration of the Mass using the Roman Missal of 1962 be discontinued at the church of St Anne, or the community itself be ‘closed down’”.


I was formally informed of the Archbishop’s decree and decision in this regard in writing on 31 January 2019. This decree had been enacted without consultation of myself as Rector of St Anne’s Church and without consultation of the people who worship at St Anne’s, who are all interested parties and would be affected. I sought canonical advice and am advised that consultation of all interested parties is necessary step for the validity of any such decree. This is one such reason I reject the validity of the October 2018 decree.


During the entire calendar year of 2019, I wrote numerous letters to the Archbishop inviting him to visit Belmont and consult with me and the Latin Mass Community and/or I sought a meeting with him to discuss and resolve the issues at hand. I wrote numerous times, at least 6 times within that year and did not receive one substantive reply. Most letters were ignored, all invitations to visit St Anne’s or requests to meet with me were ignored and during that entire time I received one letter accusing me of being “combative and aggressive” when all I sought to do was to meet with the Archbishop to discuss what was in the best interests of the souls of my faithful and how we can continue to respond to their pastoral needs. Not once was any of my efforts to reach the Archbishop answered.


Having sought canonical advice, I then sought to prevent a sale of the St Anne’s property while the issues were being sorted out. So, I sought civil legal advice and filed a caveat on the land with the Registrar of Titles. I then mounted a canonical challenge to the Archbishop’s decree dated October 2018; however, the Congregation for the Clergy refused to hear my petition because it was outside of the peremptory time period of 10 canonical days. With Rome having rejected my canonical petition, all canonical avenues were exhausted.


Having exhausted all available options within the Church’s internal systems, and being ignored by the Archbishop at every step of the way in the lead up to this point, after a year of trying to resolve this amicably with the Archbishop and through the Church’s internal processes, I had no option but to take my claim to the civil courts.


On 23 December 2019, I filed a claim in the Supreme Court of Western Australia seeking a declaration that the Latin Mass Community has property rights over the St Anne’s property. The legal battle was long and protracted and finally came to an end this year (2023) not in our favour.


The above summary in this section is a skeletal overview of the dispute, there is a full timeline of events with supporting documents available. Anyone who is interested is welcome to contact me for further details about same.


My Actions with Respect to the Legal Dispute


From 2018 onwards until the present time, the legal dispute over rights to the use of the St Anne’s Church land has been stressful, long and not a decision I took lightly. I knew at the outset that litigation carried great risk, and whatever the case at civil law: win or lose, I knew there was a greater risk that the friction with the Archbishop would likely result in my personal persecution by him.  That prediction has proved right.


I did not take any decision to engage in a legal dispute with the Archbishop lightly. Given it concerned St Anne’s and the good of the Latin Mass Community, I consulted that Community before undertaking any such important decisions. I made clear to the Community that I personally could have a stress free and a comfortable life if I do not challenge the Archbishop’s decision to take St Anne’s away from us but if I do, I do so at great risk to myself and I would be prepared to do so solely for the good of souls of those devoted faithful who worship in the Latin Mass at St Anne’s. With the support of my people, and at great risk to myself, animated by a pure desire for the good of souls, I took the risk of a legal challenge. It did not go our way.


In doing so I have no regrets because at all times the only thing that motivated me was to fight for the good of those souls at St Anne’s and having such a fight for the salvation of souls was worth it. I took this heavy decision only inspired by the Church’s maxim Salus animarum suprema lex (the salvation of souls is the supreme law). For this reason, I have taken great risk upon myself but I do not regret it. If anything, it is only because I took the heavy risk of litigation that the people of the Latin Mass Community have had an extra 5 years of stability worshipping at St Anne’s while the legal battles were underway. Had I not  challenged any of the Archbishop’s decisions in 2018, the likelihood of St Anne’s being sold and the Latin Mass Community dying out for lack of a venue is quite probable.


Impact of Traditionis Custodes


During the protracted legal battle, Traditionis Custodes was released, although while the matter was before the civil courts the Archbishop was not quick to seek to enforce it.


Once the legal battle was over and the decisive victory was the Archbishop’s, he then sought to enact a decree implementing the motu proprio. A copy of that decree can be found on the Archdiocese of Perth’s website and is referred to in the Archbishop’s recent open letter to the people who worship at St Anne’s.


The decree was heavily restrictive and required all priests to apply for permission to say the Latin Mass pursuant to article 5 of TC. Conditional to such approval being considered (not even necessarily granted, but merely considered by the Archbishop) I was provided a document typed up by the Archbishop’s delegate, Monsignor Michael Keating, requiring me to sign a declaration attesting to the following:


1.     That … “I do not deny the validity and the legitimacy of the liturgical reform dictated by Vatican Council II and the Magisterium of the Supreme Pontiffs”;


2.     That I accept the “…legitimacy of the concelebration of the Eucharist that appropriately expresses the unity of the priesthood, of the sacrifice and also of the whole People of God”;


3.     That… “I acknowledge that the liturgical books promulgated by Saint Paul VI and Saint John Paul II in conformity with the decrees of Vatican Council II are the unique expression of the lex orandi of the Roman Rite”;


4.     That… “I acknowledge the identity and unitary expression in the Roman Rite is found in all the liturgical books promulgated by the authority of the Supreme Pontiff”;


5.     That… “I shall maintain the observance of all the laws in the Code of Canon Law regulating the Sacred Liturgy and in particular the laws promulgated by Pope Francis in his motu proprio”;


6.     “…that having been granted the authorisation to celebrate Mass using the Roman Missal approved in 1962 by Pope John XXIII, I shall use this missal to the exclusion of any other Missal approved for use prior to the year 1962”; and


7.     “…that I shall not celebrate the sacraments or other liturgical actions except in accordance with the approved liturgical books, to the exclusion of all other liturgical books.”


I have serious problems with some of the above propositions which simply contain factual errors or attempt to assert things that I simply do not believe are true. I cannot in good conscience sign such a document with the above propositions because I do not believe they reflect the truth of Catholic doctrine and dogma as passed down in the Church throughout history. Just because the Holy Father and the Archbishop of Perth believe these statements to be true that does not necessarily of itself make them true, such statements have to be carefully considered in the light of continuity of Catholic tradition. Rather than reflecting the truth of Catholic doctrine and dogma as passed down in the Church throughout history, my concern with these statements is that they represent a rupturing from such truth and tradition.


The fact that I have been unable, in good conscience, to sign the document requested of me for permission to be granted under article 5 of TC does not in and of itself make me a disobedient priest as the Archbishop’s open letter appears to imply. It is not because I have refused to apply for permission that I have been cancelled, but the Archbishop has made it practically impossible for me to meet the conditions to apply for permission in the first place. Firstly, the Archbishop required that I sign a statement with the above troubling propositions and secondly, my reasonable requests for meeting with the Archbishop’s delegate to discuss the decree (such as being permitted a support person and an accurate recording of the meeting), were vehemently denied.  




The tenure of Archbishop Costelloe’s 11 year reign in Perth has brought many challenges to our Latin Mass Community. Seminarians attached to the Latin Mass Community have been cancelled and as a result other vocations have necessarily been sent elsewhere. There have been challenges to our use of St Anne’s Church and land, which was supposed to have been given to us by Archbishop Hickey as our “permanent location”.


Yet despite these trials and tribulations over the last 11 years, in particular, the stress of the litigation over the last 5 years, our Latin Mass Community has grown exponentially. St Anne’s Latin Mass community in Belmont now has over 850 worshiping parishioners and has actually become one of the busiest parishes in the entire Archdiocese.


It has been an absolute privilege for me to have served you as your pastor the greater part of my 30 years of priestly life. I have experienced many joys and shared with you the numerous sorrows over the last few years.


Despite the differences of opinion we have with them, we respect the Holy Father, Pope Francis and Archbishop Timothy Costelloe. We acknowledge them to legitimately hold their respective offices even if we do not understand and agree with all of their actions. We continue to pray for them in each and every Mass offered at St Anne’s.


For now, the Archbishop has chosen to deprive me of my roles of Rector of St Anne’s and pastor to the Latin Mass Community. Although the Archbishop has confirmed that I retain faculties and therefore remain a priest in good standing. Despite not holding those appointments in any official capacity, I remain open to each and every one of you with the heart of a pastor, indeed with the heart of a Good Shepherd as all priests are called to be. I will continue to support you all and keep you in my prayers and Masses.


As I have stood by you over these years, I hope and pray too that you will stand by me and that we may be a good support to one another in these challenging times. I would ask you to consider giving generously so that we can continue the good work began at St Anne’s. Donations can be received at our Life Funder page here: Save the Latin Mass @St Anne's Perth Aus, Perth - Western Australia | LifeFunder

Whatever the future holds I will also be in support and always a pastor to all who love the immemorial traditions of the Holy Roman Catholic Church and I will always endeavour to uphold them for you.


Rev. Father Michael Rowe

 Fr Michael Rowe and St Anne’s Latin Mass Parish.


Further information about St Anne’s can be found on the following links:



If you wish to receive a copy of the bulletin and notices by email, please email the following address: Each month the notices will be emailed to you.


FR MICHAEL ROWE: Ph: +61 8 9277 2251

PO Box 337





  Where there is daily live streamed Sung Mass.

PERTH  -  LATIN  MASS  SUPPORTERS  &  EVENTS:  (Latin Mass Supporters Perth)  (Perth Catholic Event Notice Board)



St Anne’s Church


If you wish to receive a copy of the bulletin and notices by email, please email the following address: Each month the notices will be emailed to you.


FR MICHAEL ROWE: Ph: +61 8 9444 9604

PO Box 337





  Where there is daily live streamed Sung Mass.

PERTH  -  LATIN  MASS  SUPPORTERS  &  EVENTS:  (Latin Mass Supporters Perth)  (Perth Catholic Event Notice Board)

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