The Catholic Bishop of Christchurch is warning churchgoers that old Latin Mass services planned by breakaway groups are unauthorised.
Bishop Barry Jones said he had raised the issue in a letter to the Christchurch diocese because visiting priests from traditionalist groups out of favour with the Vatican had not sought permission to hold the services.
The internal church dispute involves recent visits to Christchurch by priests from the Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX) and from members of the Transalpine Redemptorists, a monastic order based on a remote Scottish island.
Both groups have the old Latin Mass as a central part of their beliefs, but the Vatican has excommunicated SSPX clergy because of deeper divisions.
The Transalpine Redemptorists, who live on Papa Stronsay in the Orkney Islands off Scotland and sympathise with the SSPX group, have chosen Christchurch as their first overseas mission. They are setting up a church in St Albans.
Full story at The Press, Waipara, New Zealand.