A Memorandum from the Diocese of Pittsburgh

Here is the MEMORANDUM for the Diocese of Pittsburgh.  My emphases and comments.

Vicar for Canonical Services
DEPARTMENT FOR CANON AND CIVIL LAW SERVICES
DIOCESE OF PITTSBURGH

MEMORANDUM

To: Priests
From: Father Lawrence A. DiNardo, V.E., Vicar for Canonical Services
Father Edward L. Yuhas, Director, Department for Worship

Date: July 7, 2007

Re: Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum

Today at noon at the Vatican Our Holy Father issued an Apostolic Letter in the form of a Motu Proprio entitled Summorum Pontificium on the use of the Roman liturgy prior to the reform of 1970. The Holy Father states that the document is the fruit of much reflection, numerous consultations and prayer. [Thus, you might think that the Pope really means business.] In order that you might be able to respond to questions that might arise concerning the specifics of the document, the following points of information are presented to assist you in your ministry.

• The Roman Missal promulgated by Pope Paul VI is to be regarded as the ordinary expression of the law of prayer of the Catholic Church of the Latin Rite. The Roman Missal promulgated by Saint Pius V and published again by Pope Blessed John XXIII in 1962 is to be considered the extraordinary expression of the law of prayer. The two expressions of the law of prayer of the Church in no way lead to a division in the law of prayer of the Church, for they are two uses of the one Roman Rite.

• In Masses celebrated without people, any priest of the Latin Rite, whether secular or religious, can use the Roman Missal published by Pope Blessed John XXIII in 1962 or the Roman Missal promulgated by the Supreme Pontiff Paul VI in 1970, on any day, except in the Sacred Triduum. For celebration in accordance with one or the other Missal, a priest does not require permission, neither of the Apostolic See nor by the Diocesan Bishop. The faithful, who spontaneously request it, may be admitted to this celebration. It is important to note that the celebration of the Roman Missal of Pope Blessed John XXIII is not permitted at regularly scheduled weekday or Sunday. [I think this is just plain wrong.  Of course, this is only "Memorandum".  It has no real importance whatsoever other than to shape opinion before the provisions go into effect.]

• In parishes where a group of faithful attached to the previous liturgical tradition exists stably, pastors are exhorted to willingly allow public Masses for the people using the Roman Missal of Pope Blessed John XXIII but no more that one per Sunday and feast days. [Unless the parish has been set up for exclusive use of the old forms.] The celebration of baptism, penance, anointing of the sick, weddings and funerals in the older rite is permitted in these parishes. In our diocese, the only parish that qualifies under this norm [I can’t see how that can be gleaned from Summorum Pontificum.  The provisions of the MP state that after 14 September any pastor can use the Rituale Romanum and give permission to other priests to do the same.  When this is extended to all pastors, that does not mean this is limited, or can be limited, to one place.] is Holy Wisdom Parish (Saint Boniface Church) located on the Northside of Pittsburgh. Since 1989 the Diocese of Pittsburgh has approved the celebration of the Roman Missal of Pope Blessed John XXIII of 1962. This extraordinary expression of the law of prayer of the Catholic Church is celebrated on Sundays and holydays of obligation at Saint Boniface Church (Holy Wisdom Parish). In addition, the diocese has permitted at Saint Boniface Church the celebration of baptism, penance, weddings and funerals according the rites of 1962 and has granted permission for the celebration of the Roman Missal of Pope Blessed John XXIII on other special occasions. Finally, the celebration of the Triduum using the 1962 Roman Missal has also been permitted at Saint Boniface Church.  [Okay… but all of this is not relevant.  Soon the new norms will be in force.  Whatever there was in place before, can be reaffirmed and other places can be established.]

The newly promulgated Motu Proprio becomes effective on September 14, 2007, the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. The full text and translation will be sent to you in the near future. Until the effective date of the Motu Proprio and until there is further direction from the diocese, there may not be any change in the present practice regarding the Roman Missal of Pope Blessed John XXIII.

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24 Responses to A Memorandum from the Diocese of Pittsburgh

  1. Syriacus says:

    Father, I ask you and all the readers; …what about the parish Vespers? Are there particular regulations to ban trad ones e.g. on Sunday?

  2. Jasna Gorak says:

    Really, this fellow reminds me of an old style Soviet Bureaucrat trying to tell us that even though the whole world saw the Berlin Wall come down in 1989, it means nothing, and the life of the ‘People’s Socialist Republics will remain the same.

    Sorry! Although the poor man may indeed believe his own doubletalk, we’re not going to engage in the double think! It just ain’t gonna work anymore!!

    In case the good Father hasn’t realized it, the People of God have more sources of information at their disposal than diocesan ‘Pravda’, and quite frankly,if they want to have any credibility at all with either their fellow clergy or the faithful, this kind of ‘spin’ is going to have to stop.

    It’s really more worthy of a liberal political ‘operative’ than a Catholic priest.

  3. dad29 says:

    Although your commentary is concise and certainly uncovers “issues” with the statement, my reading of the last paragraph of the Pgh statement allows one to understand that the “memo” is effective UNTIL 9/14.

    Milwaukee has a situation similar to that in Pgh; there is a group, now located in a very convenient near-downtown church (and a very nice church, indeed!!) numbering about 400 souls, which uses the Joannine Rite exclusively.

    The Archdiocese reported last week that ‘there were no calls’ about the MP.

    Neither Milwaukee nor Pgh. KNOW what’s going to happen. Maybe there will be a dozen groups of ‘stable members’ around the Archdiocese which ask for the Joannine Use. Maybe not.

    But for the time being, Milwaukee and Pgh seem to think that the existing arrangement will be sufficient–because there is simply not enough information on which to base an alternative decision.

    For that I think they deserve to be “held harmless.”

  4. Syriacus: what about the parish Vespers?

    It seems to me that, since the MP makes it clear that clerics will have freedom to pray the Breviarium Romanum, then if one of more clerics want to do so with public celebration of Vespers, with the assistance of willing and interested lay people, that would be perfectly fine.

  5. Serafino says:

    Thank you for your comments, Father. At this point, it is clearly obvious that the proper understanding and implementation of the Motu Proprio, Summorum Pontificium has been rejected by most of the bishops in the USA. In my opinion, priests who are subject to their Ordinary ( who in most instances are very ordinary indeed!) fearing reprisals will be so intimidated that they will not avail themselves of the Missal of Blessed Pope John XXIII.

    Canon lawyers who have already been consulted seem to indicated, that bishops are exceeding their authority in the various restrictions, interpretations and requirements for the use of the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite.

    They sight references by our Holy Father, that it is the pastor of the local parish who is charged with the implementation of Summorum Pontificium without the further permission from the Holy See or the Bishop.

    Bishops are required to become involved, only when there is some difficulty which the local pastor in unable to resolve. In this case, the bishop is called upon to help with implementation of the MP, not add restrictions.

    I am sure, that Our Holy Father realized this would happen. It is for this reason, that the Pontifical Commission E.D. has been charged with protecting the rights of both priests and laity who want to celebrate Holy Mass according to the directives of Summorum Pontificium. I think they are going to be very busy.

  6. Kris says:

    But for the time being, Milwaukee and Pgh seem to think that the existing arrangement will be sufficient—because there is simply not enough information on which to base an alternative decision.

    And there never will be “enough information” given to the faithful if this pea game continues in the instructions given by those trusted with the duty to inform about the change rather than the status quo.

  7. Mark says:

    Father,

    What can be done to halt these misunderstandings? I mean, what can be done to stop a Diocese from acting ultra vires?

  8. Tom Burk says:

    Without people? Fr. DiNardo, priests are people too!

    I thought the MP said “private” masses. The good bishop in Raleigh, NC seems to realize that his people can actually read.

  9. Jonathan says:

    In case anyone is unaware, the see of Pittsburgh has been vacant for over a year with the departure of Bishop Donald Wuerl (now Archbishop) to Washington, D.C. Hopefully, God will send to those of us in Pittsburgh a good and holy bishop who holds the older form of the Roman Rite in high esteem. Although the current diocesan administrator, auxiliary Bishop Paul Bradley, could and probably should be more pro-active with regard to SP, perhaps he thinks it best to maintain the status quo until the new bishop comes on the scene.

  10. RBrown says:

    At this point, it is clearly obvious that the proper understanding and implementation of the Motu Proprio, Summorum Pontificium has been rejected by most of the bishops in the USA.
    Comment by Serafino

    I don’t think we know that.

  11. dad29 says:

    Kris, perhaps I was not clear.

    At this time (July 15, 2007, 1508 CDT) NONE of the US Bishops have the FOGGIEST idea of how many of the Faithful will ask for the Joannine Rite in their parishes.

    That’s what I meant when I said ‘there’s not enough info’ on which to base a decision–which decision would include 1) what to do with the existing Joannine Rite church(es), (if any) and 2) how to best serve the new requests of the Faithful (if any.)

    Hope that helps.

    Trust me, the information is out there. Quite a few newspapers (including the Nat’l Cath(?) Reporter) have given it prominent space.

  12. It is my understanding that the seemingly anti-motu proprio position of Pittsburgh is unique.The canonist,vicar general,who wrote it and said that there is no need because they have one already,himself celebrates the 62 missal every sunday.Indeed he is the pastor of the indult parish! Obviously the reverend pastor does not wanrt to share the financial benefit of his indult congregation.It reminds me of the situation of the indult parish in Washington,St.Mary.The pastors there were praying that the bishop of Arlington (across the Potomac) would never sanction the 62 missal there.St.Mary was able to redecorate the church primarily through the generosity of the latin mass community.Again the pastor opposed the creation of other indult parishes in the DC archdiocese.Someone ought to write an article on the economic implications of the motu proprio.

  13. Kris says:

    At this time (July 15, 2007, 1508 CDT) NONE of the US Bishops have the FOGGIEST idea of how many of the Faithful will ask for the Joannine Rite in their parishes.

    Thanks dad29! My own meaning was that if this is going to be considered some kind of final communique to the people it really tells them nothing and even looks like it’s trying to hide what’s new. Therefore, any “interest” or count will never reflect an accurate number. Yes, papers have covered the news, but we all know the spin placed upon those headlines and those are what most folks in the pews read. I know what the general misguided impression of those parishioners steeped only in the “ordinary” mass is, at least in the random questioning I’ve begun. Everyone of them needs to attend or experience an extraordinary mass just to truly familiarize themselves with it before they can even compare with any real knowledge. They truly need to understand the real concerns of the Holy Father for the entire Church. Communiques such as this one appear to fool the public, at least for the time being, that the status quo has taken care of everything (even this MP) without communicating that the power has been given to the people! That certainly is no way to conduct any true survey.

  14. Recently I asked the priest in question to clarify his position. I received a very polite reply, which I have since published:

    Critical Mass: The View From Pittsburgh

    “This memorandum is only the first glance at understanding the Motu Proprio and is not intended to be the final practice in the diocese… The Diocese has had a long history of implementing the Latin Mass and granting provisions beyond what has been provided for in the norms. I think that the same will be said of the Motu Proprio.”

    Whether in Pittsburgh, or in nearly Steubenville, it remains to be seen how many “stable groups of the faithful” will come forward. Some bishops may find they have underestimated the demand for the classical use of the Roman Rite. Personally, I am loathe to assign motives to all cases where a diocese does not have a plan at the ready, as the ink on the decree is drying (although I am willing to make exceptions of, say, Erie or San Diego). It matters less to me what a bishop says at the offset, than what he does later.

  15. michigancatholic says:

    I think there are some people in charge counting on the fact that some people won’t ask for the Johnine mass, for whatever reason. I think that’s just an “out of the gate” problem though, one that will become immaterial over time. Once the extraordinary form is located so people know where to go, they will on some frequency.

    I think there might be a lot of dread about that among the bishops and their staffs, but I don’t think, at the end of the day, they’re going to be able to do much about that. The damage they can inflict is only temporary and I think it comes with significant risk to them.

  16. Bill Redic says:

    Fr. Franklyn McAfee wrote:
    It is my understanding that the seemingly anti-motu proprio position of Pittsburgh is unique.The canonist,vicar general,who wrote it and said that there is no need because they have one already,himself celebrates the 62 missal every sunday.Indeed he is the pastor of the indult parish!

    A correction of fact: Since the indult Mass was moved to Fr. DiNardo’s parish in 1994, he has never celebrated that Mass. Two priests have been assigned as chaplain for the Latin Mass Community: Fr. Eugene Dougherty from 1994 to 2001, and Fr. Kenneth Myers from 2001 until today.

    The history of the TLM in Pittsburgh from 1970 to 1999 is available online at:

    http://mysite.verizon.net/vzewdcj1/PDA/history.htm

    A happy note related to that history: If you go to chapter 4, and scroll down about halfway, just beyond the title “1995 until today: stability”, there is a photo of Bishop Donald Wuerl administering Confirmation. The server holding the book for Bp. Wuerl, Matthew Talarico, was ordained to the priesthood on June 15 by Archbishop Burke of St. Louis for the Institute of Christ the King, and today celebrated his First Solemn High Mass here in Pittsburgh.

  17. RBrown says:

    First, the diocese of Pittsburgh has been without an ordinary since Bp Weurl was moved to DC. It is beyond me why Fr DiNardo and Fr Yuhas took it upon themselves to issue that statement. In so far as the Motu Proprio doesn’t take effect until Sep 14th, why wouldn’t they have waited?

    And Fr DiNardo’s explanation of his error is weak.

    Second, most bishops will do what Rome wants although there will be a few exceptions, like Pope Donald of Erie. It must be made clear that the Pope is very serious about liturgical reform–and not just by documents. There must be implementation.

    The availability of mass acc to the Missal of 1962 will largely depend on the Pope’s men, e.g., Bertone, Castrillon Hoyos, Arinze, Filoni, Ranjith, and the various Nunzii Apostolici.

  18. “It is beyond me why Fr DiNardo and Fr Yuhas took it upon themselves to issue that statement.”

    Because they are acting on behalf of the duly-appointed administrator of the diocese, who is in a position to issue such statements, or to appoint someone to do the same. What is more difficult to do, as a practical matter, is to formulate policy on an ongoing matter, without someone firmly in place. If we are to assume that the good Father’s “explanation of his error is weak,” it is nonetheless an admission of error, which he took the time to explain to a correspondent to whom he owes nothing.

    It could be worse.

  19. Different says:

    Maybe Fr. DiNardo and the Auxiliary Bishop determined that there is not a substantial need for immediately adding John XXIII Masses. They have one available now and, apparently, the attendance is not overwhelming. Perhaps, they are taking that as a sign that the “need” is not great.

    The document appears to be a well intended response and probably a lot better than silence.

  20. RBrown says:

    Because they are acting on behalf of the duly-appointed administrator of the diocese, who is in a position to issue such statements, or to appoint someone to do the same.

    You are assuming too much. There is nothing in his original statement nor in his reply to you that indicates that he is not acting on his own.

    What is more difficult to do, as a practical matter, is to formulate policy on an ongoing matter, without someone firmly in place.

    True. Then the correct strategy would be to wait.

    If we are to assume that the good Father’s “explanation of his error is weak,” it is nonetheless an admission of error, which he took the time to explain to a correspondent to whom he owes nothing.

    It could be worse.
    Comment by David L Alexander

    It’s nice that he replied to you, but that doesn’t change the problem: He decided to issue a memorandum on behalf of the diocese that he himself describes as “the first glance at understanding the Motu Proprio and is not intended to be the final practice in the diocese”.

  21. RBrown says:

    Should be:

    Because they are acting on behalf of the duly-appointed administrator of the diocese, who is in a position to issue such statements, or to appoint someone to do the same.

    You are assuming too much. There is nothing in his original statement nor in his reply to you that indicates that he is not acting on his own.

  22. RBrown says:

    Maybe Fr. DiNardo and the Auxiliary Bishop determined that there is not a substantial need for immediately adding John XXIII Masses. They have one available now and, apparently, the attendance is not overwhelming. Perhaps, they are taking that as a sign that the “need” is not great.

    The document appears to be a well intended response and probably a lot better than silence.
    Comment by Different

    Disagree. The memorandum basically interprets Summorum Pontificum as if it were Quattuor Abhinc Annos or Ecclesia Dei.

  23. Different says:

    RBrown,

    How so?

    Thanks

  24. RBrown:

    My assumptions do not hold a candle to yours. A diocesan official has issued a statement that bears the seal of the diocese. From that, I make the not-so-broad leap that he is speaking for the diocese. Where is your proof that he is not?

    “True. Then the correct strategy would be to wait.”

    Then you could complain that the diocese is ignoring the decree.

    “He decided to issue a memorandum on behalf of the diocese that he himself describes as ‘the first glance at understanding the Motu Proprio and is not intended to be the final practice in the diocese’.”

    If the statement is “not intended to be the final practice,” it is implicit that the diocese is open to a change in practice. If they intended it to “be the final practice,” you might have a quarrel. But they have no such intentions, so you have no cause for complaint.