The Bishop of Altoona-Johnstown, His Excellency Most Reverend Joseph V. Adamec, has issued his statement on the older form of Mass and the Motu Proprio in the The Catholic Register.
My emphases and comments.
Altoona-Johnstown Catholic Diocese – Catholic Register 08/05/2007 Bishop’s Message
For The Good Of The Household
Extraordinary Form Of The Mass
The Holy Father has issued an important document in the form of a Motu Proprio (“on his own initiative”) regarding the celebration of the Mass.
Specifically, it gives permission, under certain conditions, for priests to celebrate Mass according to the Missal of Blessed Pope John XXIII.
The Pope is not speaking merely about a language, since there is no question about Latin already being allowed for the celebration of the Mass. [Right!] Rather, it is a blanket permission for priests to be able to celebrate Mass in one of two different ways under certain conditions. [Hmmm… that same phrase twice…]
It is obvious that the Holy Father does not wish that this special permission be divisive in the liturgical life of the Church. He reaffirms the legitimacy of the Second Vatican Council and refers to a twofold use of the one rite for the celebration of Mass. Celebrating Mass in accord with the Missal published by Pope Paul VI following the Second Vatican Council continues to be the ordinary form of celebrating the Eucharist.
On reading the document, one can see that certain clarifications will need to be made before its effective date of September 14. I plan to issue brief guidelines in this regard, based on the reminder by the Holy Father that the bishop continues to be the moderator of the liturgy in his own diocese.
It is clear that any priest of the Latin Rite may celebrate Mass in the extraordinary form when celebrating privately and without a congregation being present. Individual members of the Faithful may join him, however, provided that liturgical laws are observed. It is also clear that it is the pastor who makes the decision as to whether or not the extraordinary form is used for the whole parish. His decision is to be in response to a specific request on the part of the Faithful within the parish of which he is the pastor. [It seems from this statement that the number of people to be considered may not include people not registered in the parish. Right?] It other words, a parish priest does not celebrate a regularly scheduled Mass using the extraordinary form as a result of his own preference. [However, the priest is also a member of the faithful. He is there continuously. He is able to be part of the group desiring the older form of Mass.]
Less clear is the identification of the group that may make the request for a parish Mass in Latin to be celebrated in accord with the Missal of Blessed Pope John XXIII. The Holy Father speaks of such a group as being one that has had an attachment to the former form of Mass and has consistently existed [I am not sure that this is a good way to render the provision of the Motu Proprio. This sounds as if there has to be a group how, for a long time, has wanted the old Mass. The Latin of the M.P. says that the group merely be there consistently. That does not mean that the group couldn’t form itself and identify itself as a group on, say 14 September at midnight. If they were registered parishioners, they would be a consistently present group of people.] in a particular parish. In other words, it is not to be merely a novelty. How large does such a group need to be? The document does not say. Certainly, one or two individuals may not impose [why that word?] a change upon the whole parish.
While Pope Benedict XVI is most generous in his Motu Proprio to the Faithful who continue to be [or who will become attached] attached to the former way of celebrating Mass, he admits that such celebrations will not be widespread. To quote him, “The use of the old Missal presupposes a certain degree of liturgical formation and some knowledge of the Latin language, neither of these is found very often.” Pastors are encouraged to be sympathetic to those of their congregation who request the Mass in the extraordinary form. Nevertheless, they are not obligated to learn another set of liturgical rules for the celebration of Mass. [The Latin suggests something stronger than "encouraged to be sympathetic". I wonder if a priest doesn’t have a duty to learn how to celebrate his Rite. Still, a priest is not obligated to celebrate the older rite. However, would that not mean he is not obligated to celebrate the newer?]
Since the Holy Father’s Motu Proprio does not take effect until September 14 of this year, no changes are to be made before that date.
By that time, I plan to have ready some brief guidelines. It is my intention to assist our pastors in reaching out to those who have been [or will become?] consistently attached to the older form of Mass, while maintaining a unity within our diocesan liturgical life.
I see this statement as being very "correct", though it is not welcoming. It is guarded, in its tone. The guidelines will be interesting.