Norms on the Motu Proprio imposed on priests by the Bp. of San Diego

Here is a document issued by His Excellency Most Reverend Robert H. Brom, Bishop of San Diego, to the priests of that warm and sunny diocese.  It came with a very short cover letter and a summary of the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum.

Take careful notice of the title of the following document.  Emphases (except in the titles) and comments are mine.

APPLICATION TO THE DIOCESE OF SAN DIEGO

Priests

According to the Apostolic Letter, Summorum Pontificum, priests are authorized to use the Roman Missal of 1962 in the celebration of Masses without the people on any day except in the Sacred Triduum (art. 2).  The faithful who spontaneously request it may be admitted to these private celebrations (art. 4).

Notwithstanding this authorization, priests should not attempt celebrating Mass according to the Roman Missal of 1962 without competence as regards both the rubrics involved and the Latin language required (cf. the cover letter of Pope Benedict to his Apostolic Letter). [It seems to me that some priests might read this and take it to mean that they need to know Latin well.  That is NOT what Summorum Pontificum says.]

They may do so in churches and chapels only with the permission of the appropriate authority, and may not advertise these private celebrations.  [So, His Excellency is saying that these Masses must be.... secret?]

Religious Communities

Religious communities may have celebrations of Mass according to the Roman Missal of 1962 as authorized by the Apostolic Letter (art. 3).

Pastors and Parishes

In any parish, a stable group of parishioners [This is NOT what the Motu Proprio says.  First, this is based on a mistranslation.  The Latin does not say "a stable group".  The Latin says that there must be a coetus, which can mean as few as 3 people (and can include the priest himself!) and they must be present consistently, or continuously. "continenter exsistit"] who are attached to the older form of the Roman Rite may request the celebration of Mass according to the Roman Missal of 1962 on weekdays or even on Sundays and feasts (art. 5.1 & 5.2).

Pastors may accede to such requests only when they come from their own parishioners [I wonder if this is in keeping with the Motu Proprio.  This is an ambiguous point.] and when a compent priest is available to preside.  [Notice that no citation of the M.P. is given here.]

Pastors must see to it that the good of these parishioners is harmoniously reconciled with the overall pastoral good of the parish, always avoiding discord and fostering unity (art. 5.1)

 Subject to these same conditions, pastors may permit celebrations of Mass according to the Roman Missal of 1962 in particular circumstances such as weddings and funerals (art. 5.3).

As the good of souls may suggest, pastors may grant permission to use the older ritual in administering the Sacraments of Baptism, Matrimony, Penance and the Anointing of the Sick, i.e., Extreme Unction (art. 9.1).

Again, pastors may grant such permission only to their own parishioners, [The "good of souls" suggests a much wider practice.  Say, for example, a priest with a hospital or nursing home in the territory of his parish finds non-parishioners requesting the older forms for granny who is dying and wants the older Last Rites?  It strikes me that the principle of odiosa restringenda and the "good of souls" suggests a much wider practice.] and when there are celebrants available with rubrical and linguistic competence.

 Just as in celebration of Mass according to the Roman Missal of 1962, there may be no intermingling of parts from the new Roman Missal, so in administering the other Sacraments according to an older ritual, there may be no intermingling of parts from the new rituals[This bishop clearly things that the newer Lectionary cannot be used with the older Mass.  I wonder if this means that a community would, today, be forbidden by this bishop to celebrate the feast of St. Maximillian Kolbe, rather than the Vigil of Assumption, as it is in the old calendar?]

 Special Permission

 Permission of the pastor is required for any other priest to preside at a parochial celebration of Mass according to the Roman missal of 1962 or at a parochial celebration of the other Sacraments according to the older rites.

 Permission of the Bishop is needed by any priest who wishes to preside at a celebration of Mass according to the Roman Missal of 1962 or at a celebration of the other Sacraments according to older rites outside of a parish church, for example, in chapels.  [Huh?  What if the pastor has juridiction in those chapels?]

 Permission of the Bishop also is required for individuals or groups of the faithful who desire interparochial or non-parish based celebrations of Mass according to the Roman missal of 1962 or celebration of other Sacraments according to older rites  [??  Does this mean that people from other parishes cannot attend the older Mass if celebrated in parish X?  Or does it mean that there is going to be, say, a conference and the organizers want to have the older form of Mass, the pastor of the territory cannot make the decision, but rather the bishop?]

                                                Signed:            /+ Robert H. Brom     

                                                                        Bishop of San Diego

 August 1, 2007
 

This document strikes me as being just as open to the Motu Proprio as it has to be, but no more.  While making references to "the good of souls" it does not seem really seem to consider the possibility of flexibility. 

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86 Responses to Norms on the Motu Proprio imposed on priests by the Bp. of San Diego

  1. Federico says:

    On the matter of chapels, my comments at: http://blog.360.yahoo.com/blog-VlIE0og3fKPtAYXH6LtrtpRXj5wp?p=29 may be interesting.

  2. Indra says:

    Regarding the “stable group of parishioners” comment, I wonder if most bishops read the motu proprio in the original Latin, or do they just read the USCCB translation? On another note, how much Latin does an average bishop know?

  3. Chironomo says:

    Again… while this document (begrudgingly) allows the (minimal) application of the (strictest interpretation of) norms set forth in the (Bishop’s interpretation of the) Motu Proprio, based on the fact that the Bishop feels it is necessary to define not what freedoms will be given to, but what restrictions will be placed upon those who wish to avail themselves of the extraordinary form, either this particular Bishop has some reason to fear a surge of traditionalism in his Diocese, or he is just plain hostile to the Church’s tradition. What I still don’t understand (sarcasm warning!!) is why all of these guidelines and restrictions are even necessary since there is no interest in the Traditional Mass, and the Motu Proprio was intended solely for the Lefevrians in France. France is a long way from San Diego….

  4. MIKE says:

    Frederico –

    You are right and I respect your profession – Father Z has pruned my rash comment(as expected). I was really more peeved at the overly-legalistic attitude.

    m

  5. Federico says:

    Boko, you are correct.

    The phrase libenter suscipiat is subjunctive. I believe (based on canonical tradition) that it is a jussive subjunctive; some of my colleagues read it as a hortatory subjunctive. Either way, it’s more prescriptive than mere permissive language (which would have read suscipere potest) but allows the pastor a minimum discretion (which would have been eliminated by suscipere debet and would have required explicit exceptions in the law).

    Federico

  6. Chironomo says:

    I did notice in the Bishops letter that he readily substituted “may” in those places where the document, even in the english translation, indicated “should”, such as in the phrase “pastors should readily accede to their requests”. At times, SP even goes as far as to use the ominous “strongly urged”… as in “…(bishops) are strongly urged to accomodate..”. I’m making quotes here without the document in front of me, so excuse any specific errors, but I think that this set of guidelines fails to apply the general application of canon law allowing that provisions which grant specific freedoms should be interpreted and applied broadly, and provisions which place restrictions should be interpreted and applied narrowly. Clearly, SP grants freedoms, and as such should be interpreted and applied broadly, exactly the opposite of what the Bishops guidelines set out to do. Please correct me if I’m wrong on this…

  7. Belloc says:

    What my namesake said about puritanism applies here:

    Collegiality is an evil out of the pit.

    I also think a reflection on Father Wiltgen’s history of Vatican II, The Rhine Flows Into the Tiber, is in order.

    On pages 231-232 is an account of the battle over the defintion of collegiality appearing in Lumen Gentium. After describing the purposely ambiguous nature of the words and how they got there, Father Wiltgen, a self-described liberal himself, says,

    “Pope Paul, finally realizing he’d been deceived, broke down and wept.”

    He’s been weeping ever since.

  8. Christopher says:

    Peace be with you.

    Referring to your insight of the ambiguity of the parishoner-pastor, requesting, it seems that Summorum Ponticum intends for the pastor of those particular souls, though this seems to make the use of the 1962 Form the same as in the 1970 Form- as jurisdiction ought to be, now.

    It is interesting that he uses the word “chapel.” Most specifically because that doesn’t really mean anything at all. Firstly, a generic chapel, as if in a hospital- unless a Catholic Hospital under the bishop- is not under the jurisdiction of the bishop and falls under canon law governing “Mass in suitable places other than a church.” And secondly, there really aren’t any places other than the Bishop’s residence that have chapels- outside of Europe that is. Even those places in Seminaries and in religious houses (i.e. the abbey) are not chapel, strictly speaking- usually not in religious houses. They are oratories. So it seems odd that “chapel” ought to be the example. [satire] Good thing we are using narrow interpretations, or there would be actual difficulties arising from that statement. [/satire] Improtantly, though, oratory usage cannot be restricted by the bishop, under the law of Summorum Pontificum, as it is expressly mentioned. And further, any church that is not parochial or “conventional” is under the direct jurisdiction of the rector, without need of the bishop’s express permission. Concerning your comment, though, Fr. Z, the non-parish church guideline didn’t seem to concern pastors or juridical boundry, but the jurisdiction of the non-parish Sacred Site. Though, it is not in keeping with Summorum Pontificum to attempt to reserve permission to the bishop.

    Anyway, more seriously, I think that there is a fundamental error in the understanding being put forward to us. Summorum Pontificum does not only govern the use of the 1962 Form. It governs both forms. Every statement made concerning the 1962 Form either 1. does not apply because the jurisdiction of the law of the whole church it obeyed over the whim of a bishop in true obedience; or 2. governs also the uses of the 1970 Form. Which, in a way, actually cracks down on the proper use of jurisdiction of individual priests, which may be tied into some intentions in Summorum Pontificum.

    May God bless you.
    Holy Mary protect you.
    -Christopher

  9. Federico says:

    Christopher,

    There are chapels everywhere, not just in Europe. Check out canon 1226 to see what a chapel is.

    Federico.

  10. Federico says:

    Yes, I should have THOUGHT before posting my last comment. Apologies for the duplication….

    Christopher,

    parish, church, oratory, chapel, and shrine are all different and are defined in the Codex Iuris Canonici. Look at Book IV, Part III.

    Federico.

  11. Eric says:

    I am not sure what the minute parsing of episcopal guidelines accomplishes, other than giving people an opportunity to be angry about something they should be happy about (the motu proprio). In the comments to postings on this blog I read people angry and bitter that a bishop would DARE to suggest that priests should understand what they are saying, that people should belong to parishes, that bishops ask to know where the old missal will be used. And of course, comments such as “Collegiality is an evil out of the pit” are just plain ridiculous and display a total lack of knowledge of ecclesiology.

    In regard to these particular norms out of San Diego, what is wrong with requiring those who request the old missal to be from the parish? The pastor is not a freelance regional minister who can do whatever he wants over a vast area. He is responsible for his parishioners; if nonparishioners wish to avail themselves of the good will of a particular pastor, let them join that parish. To imply that the motu proprio somehow intended for pastors to minister to people who are not his parishioners (or non-parishioners within his boundaries) is disingenous and contrary to custom.

    Secondly, the motu proprio referred to a “group.” The decision was apparently made not to define that term. So the definition is left to the bishop. If one does not even grant to the bishop that degree of minimal authority, then why do we need bishops? It seems that some commenters view bishops only as meddling intermediaries between the individual Catholic and the pope. This sort of Ultramontanism is destructive and stifles the life of the particular Church. Bishops have the righ to interpret what is not defined, and to suggest that three people could force a pastor to schedule a Sunday Mass just for them when the Sunday schedule is already packed is a perfect example of the sort of attitude that will cause implementation of the motu proprio to go down in flames.

    Of course private Masses cannot be publicly announced. That would make them public. If one wants strict adherence to the letter and the spirit of the motu proprio from others, how could one then coyly look for loopholes such as a printed parish schedule that defines one of the Masses as “private” (wink, wink, nudge nudge)? If it’s private, let it be private. Of course people are welcome to attend. An example of letting people know short of public announcement: Parishioner: “Father, I heard about this motu proprio and I’d love to attend the Tridentine Mass.” Priest: “That’s lovely Mary. I haven’t heard from anyone else about this, but I will start saying my private mass according to the old missal on weekdays at 10 a.m. You’re welcome to attend and invite whomever you like. If it goes well and we get a good number of people, I may add a public celebration on Sunday as well” What’s wrong with that approach?

    How do you read that an “interparochial or non-parish based celebration” means that people will be forbidden from attending Mass outside their own parish? Such a mass would be “parish-based.” And an interparochial celebration is one planned jointly by more than one parish. Really, Father, I think you’re reading way too much into this and it just feeds an overall attitude of contempt and bitterness among your readers. As to the issue of a conference, if it includes a celebration using the old missal and is parish-based, celebrated by a priest of the parish, it’s clear it would be allowed. If it’s some conference being organized that will use a hotel room for the older use, or ask to use a nearby parish church, what’s wrong with the bishop being informed? He has a right to know about conferences in his diocese. Hey, even another bishop would be required to get permission from the ordianry, so why should Father So-and-so from the Third Annual Latin Mass Fan Club Conference be any different?

  12. Prof. Basto says:

    Such restrictive rules strike me as contempt towards the express wishes of the Holy Father, who asked Bishops and Priests to be generous and to make room for everything that Faith itself allows

    You don’t see people suggesting that you can only request Sacraments in the ordinary form at one’s parish: John Doe want to go to confession, and then the priest shuns him: go ask your canonical parish priest. That just doesn’t happen.

    Those regulations are totally in disagreement with the request of the Holy Father’s expanatory letter and with the grundnorm of the Church’s law: the good of souls.

  13. Christopher says:

    Peace be with you, Fredrico.

    Thanks for the post! I specifically just meant chapels. I don’t know of any private chapels in the North America or Australia, save those of a Bishop’s Mansion.

    If you know of any, I would greatly appreciate knowledge of them!

    May God bless you.
    Holy Mary protect you.
    -Christopher

  14. Christopher says:

    May Peace be with you.

    Eric,
    You have a very important point considering parochial jurisdiction. I think that the role of what a parish is, and not just “what church I go to,” is too much ignored by many American Catholic today. I think that this may bring about an awareness of the importance of a “parish.” Though, in terms of ministry, it seems helpful to remember that a priest is the priest for the diocese, not just a parish.

    As for the bishops and their authority: Their authority is to govern for protection and stewardship. By Staff and Rod, but not the rod where the staff ought to be. It is an interesting comment “between individual Catholics and the Pope.” To be honest, if there is interference, there ought not to be, as all members of the corporate body are one. Now, granted, we must acknowledge authority where it exists, but in the case of the group, that is something that is left up to the individual priest, for this refers to requests as being at the discretion of the pastor. Here, a bishop who would have himself change that would be running meddling interference.

    As for private masses, all Masses are a public action of the Church. Private Masses only now refer to Masses “celebrated without the people.” Private Masses are celebrated all the time, there are just people there. The weekday Mass in an average parish is a private Mass. A Private Mass is just one that is intended to be able to be celebrated without the people.

    And most certainly, you are right, the bishop ought to know what is going on in his diocese. Though, I would like to know, is it necessary to gain permission to celebrate the 1970 Form in the hotel with groups such-and-what?

    As for the bishop vs. Fr. so-and-so, Fr. So-and-so has the faculty in that diocese, where the other bishop does not have that legal jurisdiction, so speaking.

    May God bless you.
    Holy Mary protect you.
    -Christopher

  15. Vita says:

    In case anyone is interested, there will be a daily Mass, celebrated in the same manner
    as in the the Roman Missal of 1962 at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church in Hillcrest
    at the corners of Washington, Polk and Normal Streets, beginning on September 14, 2007, at
    12:15PM. Apparently Father Dillard, pastor of St. John’s, has read the letter, and gleaned
    from it that his parish can offer that mass, and so they will. Father Rex Defor has been
    pleased to be given that task. He will hear confessions at 11:45AM for those in need, and
    offer Mass at 12:15PM. There will be daily masses as long as Father Rex Defor is present,
    in town, to offer them.

    Personally, I don’t care to pick apart the bishop’s letter and find more to gripe about, I
    just want to go to Mass, adore the Lord, and offer it all up to Him. He is the one Who will
    move hearts, and THAT ought to be the focus, not what some piece of paper says.

    God Bless you all.

  16. RBrown says:

    When Bishop Brom took over San Diego in 1990, there were 474,000 Catholics and 258 priests. In 2004 there were 930,000 Catholics and 234 priests.

  17. Eric and Christopher,

    Actually a “private” Mass is not one where no people are present. The presence or absense of people is not determinative. A “private” Mass is one that a priest says “out of devotion” on a day when he is not otherwise obliged to say Mass. He may not say a “Mass of Devotion” as a second Mass of the day (even if the other he says is one where he is merely a concelebrant). The reason is that the justification of a private Mass is that otherwise the priest (and the Church) would be deprived of the fruits of his saying Mass that day.

    Strickly speaking, announcement of the Mass would not make it not private (sorry about the double negative). I would be “public” if it was being said as part of the priest’s pastoral responsibility: a regularlly or occasionally scheduled parish Mass, or wedding, or a funeral. In the case of public Masses a priest may say more than one a day (unlike Masses of Devotion). He may binate (say two) for need and trinate (say three) for grave need.

    What the MP is doing by requiring a “coetus” for “public” celebration is quite logical: a “public” Mass is said for pastoral need of the laity. Likewise the pastoral need of one group (esp. if small) cannot be used to trump the pastoral need of another group. Since conflicts of pastoral need are (by the terms of the MP) to be referred to the bishop, I don’t see why he couldn’t determine how many people should make up the “coetus.” On the other hand, why he should do so preemptively rather than wait till a problem is referred is lost on me. The MP seems to suggest he should wait.

  18. CBM says:

    Fr. Z,
    please elaborate on the question of what constitues a “private” mass. this is yet another bishop that states that these masses may not be advertised. one comment does address it but I would like something more subtantial.

  19. Richard says:

    I have a someone unrelated question for Father Z:

    What is to become of the SUBdiaconate? It is another MAJOR order again now? Much calls for the subdeacons in the old form of the Mass, but according to Vatican II, “The major order of the subdiaconate no longer exists” (Ministeria Quaedam, 4). Will the “subdeacons” now be basically laypeople whom we just call subdeacons, or would the major order be “reinstituted” in a sense?

  20. Richard says:

    In San Diego there’s a Byzantine priest named Fr. Sergius Maria (at his monastery at 22nd and Broadway in Golden Hill, downtown) who has celebrated the Tridentine Mass with permission of his bishop who is in another country and more or less without the permission of Bishop Brom. Would he now be able to celebrate the older form of the Mass without the bishop’s permission. Given that he’s pretty much the pastor of his own monastery? Would he have to follow all these guidelines of the bishop still?

  21. Jordan Potter says:

    Eric said: In regard to these particular norms out of San Diego, what is wrong with requiring those who request the old missal to be from the parish?

    It’s wrong because it is adding a restriction that is not found in universal church law, and it is being added by someone who does not have the authority to add it.

    To imply that the motu proprio somehow intended for pastors to minister to people who are not his parishioners (or non-parishioners within his boundaries) is disingenous and contrary to custom.

    The motu proprio says what it says, and it doesn’t say the coetus must be a group of persons who are all registered at the parish of the priest whom they are asking to celebrate the old Mass.

    Secondly, the motu proprio referred to a “group.”

    No, it referred to a coetus, which means two or more persons. “Group” is an English word. The motu proprio is written in Latin, not English.

    The decision was apparently made not to define that term. So the definition is left to the bishop.

    That’s a serious non sequitur. If a word in a legal document of the Church needs definition, how does it follow that each bishop has permission to invent a different definitions as he sees fit? Isn’t it more likely that Universal Law must be, can only be, interpreted and defined by the Universal Pastor?

    If one does not even grant to the bishop that degree of minimal authority, then why do we need bishops?

    Are you seriously arguing that if bishops aren’t allowed to interpolate their own legislation into a papal motu proprio, then there wouldn’t be any need for bishops at all?

    Bishops have the right to interpret what is not defined

    Sometimes, if they are given that right.

    to suggest that three people could force a pastor to schedule a Sunday Mass just for them when the Sunday schedule is already packed is a perfect example of the sort of attitude that will cause implementation of the motu proprio to go down in flames.

    You’re missing the point. The argument isn’t that three people can force a pastor to schedule a Sunday Mass just for them. The point is that the Church does not dictate a minimum number to make a coetus, and does not require all members of the coetus be registered at the parish where they approach a priest with their request. Nor does the Church say a bishop may institute their own legislation that contradicts or contravenes universal law. The motu proprio calls on pastors to be generous and willing to work with the legitimate desires of those who approach them with requests for the old Mass. It does not say, for example, “If they don’t belong to your parish, ignore them, or if there aren’t at least 50 of them, ignore them.

  22. This Bishop’s statment is exactly as you describe it Father, a reductio ad absurdum. So absurd, that it makes one almost laugh.

    William A. Torchia, Esquire
    Philadelphia

  23. Janet says:

    Fr.Z,
    Bp. Foley has published a statement on the MP in our latest issue of diocesan newspaper, “One Voice’.
    I just transcribed it and emailed it to you, in case you want to use it here. To my gullible eyes, he seems to be open to it. But I’ll enjoy your your opinions on it greatly.

  24. Tim H says:

    Interesting, I cannot imagine that Bs. Brom’s auxiliary had anything to do with this letter. I certainly hope not anyway.

  25. As to the request for a definition of a “private” Mass. As I write above. A private Mass is one said for the priest’s private (own) devotion, rather than for public reasons. Daily Masses in a parish are not private because they are said for the spiritual need of the people who attend them.

    There is some confusion over the term “without a congregation” which is used in the current Missal. There are two rites provided, one “with a congregation” and one “without a congregation.” Strickly speaking, the use of one rite or the other does not make a Mass public or private. The reason for this is because the creators of the new Missal thought certain rubrics only made sense when a congregation was present. And in fact since the 3d ed. of the Missal the two rites have become virtually identical. In the old rites, there was only one formula for Mass, used whether a congregation was present or not.

    The only differerence I know of in rubrics in the old (Dominican) liturgy was that at a Mass without any one present but the priest (not even a server), the Confiteor was that used a Prime by a priest reading office alone. But that was a highly irregular situation, Mass without a server, I mean. And I don’t know if the Roman Rite did this.

  26. RBrown says:

    What is to become of the SUBdiaconate? It is another MAJOR order again now? Much calls for the subdeacons in the old form of the Mass, but according to Vatican II, “The major order of the subdiaconate no longer exists” (Ministeria Quaedam, 4). Will the “subdeacons” now be basically laypeople whom we just call subdeacons, or would the major order be “reinstituted” in a sense?
    Comment by Richard

    Ministeria Quaedam is not a document of Vat II. Vat II closed in 1965, MQ was promulgated in 1972.

    BTW, the FSSP has subdeacons.

  27. On the acolyte / subdeacon question. I think it is signficant that the modern ritual of making an acolyte (handing over of the elements) is that of making a subdeacon in the old rite. The old rite of making an acolyte was the handing over of a candle. The rite for making a lector (handing over the book) is the same in both rites.

    Please correct me if I am wrong, but I believe that the Ecclesia Dei Commission answered a dubium a while ago in which they said that those installed as acolytes in the new rite may serve as subdeacons in solemn celebrations of the TLM.

  28. Hope this does not dublicate, I think I just fouled up a post.

    Correct me if I am mistaken, but I believe that the Ecclesia Dei Commission answered a dubium a while also and said that those installed as acolytes may serve as subdeacons at TLM.

    To me this makes sense. The old rite ordination of a subdeacon and the modern of for installing an acolyte use the same form: handing over the elements. The old rite for making acolytes involved handing over a candle. The form for making lectors (handing over the book) is the same in both rites.

  29. Gavin says:

    You know, based on a lot of the discussion on this and other blogs, I’m guessing the Pope may come out with some further explanatory remarks about the who/what/when/wheres of the extraordinary form. It certainly wouldn’t hurt things with all the contradictory interpretations out there.

  30. Eric says:

    Jordan,

    I think you misunderstand the role of the bishop. He is not given authority to govern only as permitted by the Holt See, he receives it by virtue of ordination. Thus, the bishop interprets univeral law and applies it for his diocese. You seem to imply that all forms of governance are determined by the Holy See and it is up to the pastor to implement those rules. That would be erroneous. As an example, there is a requirement that engaged couples undergo preparation prior to marriage. The pastor does not determine what that preparation is; each diocese has guidelines, which may be dispensed with by the pastor only in extreme situations.

    In the same way, because coetus is not defined, the bishop can interpret what that means for his diocese. In a small rural diocese, where it is common for parishes to consist of a couple hundred people, a bishop may leave it up to the pastor to determine. In such a case, three or four people could be enough. In a large urban diocese, where parishes may be made up of 5,000 or 10,000 households, a bishop could interpret it otherwise.

    You are mistaken in saying that the bishop cannot indicate that those requesting the old missal must be from the parish. In no way does canon law envision the pastor in a larger role than the head of a parish. His role is to serve the people of that parish and the wider community within those borders. Just because the motu proprio does not reference the canonical jurisdiction of the pastor does not mean it intends to wipe away canon law in regard to the pastor’s jurisdiction. In fact, by concentrating much of the structure for the use of the old missal in the parish, one could make the case that the spirit of the motu proprio is in fact opposed to the idea of regional celebrations attracting people from all over a diocese, as was the set-up with the indult system.

    I’m still at somewhat of a loss to understand why supporters of the motu proprio are so upset at the idea that the use of the old missal is to be tied to a parish. Help me out here. What exactly is the problem with making it a ministry rooted in the parish for the spiritual good of the parishioners? Wasn’t the parish basis of the availability of the old missal something everybody here was looking forward to? Now it seems some feel it is an unecessary imposition. I mean, if Fr. Whatsit at your parish of St. Dymphna won’t do it, and the pastor over at St. Philomena will, why not just join St. Philomena? I truly don’t understand what the issue is here.

    Christopher,

    The bishop does indeed need to give permission for an outside group to celebrate mass even with the new missal. Witness the recent brouhaha over the bishop in one diocese refusing permission for a national gay ministry conference to celebrate Mass at their convention in his diocese (I don’t recall which). Bishops do have this authority and exercise it regularly, although it may be transparent to us because permission is usually given.

  31. Eric says:

    Jordan,

    I think you misunderstand the role of the bishop. He is not given authority to govern only as permitted by the Holy See, he receives it by virtue of ordination. Thus, the bishop interprets univeral law and applies it for his diocese. You seem to imply that all forms of governance are determined by the Holy See and it is up to the pastor to implement those rules. That would be erroneous. As an example, there is a requirement that engaged couples undergo preparation prior to marriage. The pastor does not determine what that preparation is; each diocese has guidelines, which may be dispensed with by the pastor only in extreme situations.

    In the same way, because coetus is not defined, the bishop can interpret what that means for his diocese. In a small rural diocese, where it is common for parishes to consist of a couple hundred people, a bishop may leave it up to the pastor to determine. In such a case, three or four people could be enough. In a large urban diocese, where parishes may be made up of 5,000 or 10,000 households, a bishop could interpret it otherwise.

    You are mistaken in saying that the bishop cannot indicate that those requesting the old missal must be from the parish. In no way does canon law envision the pastor in a larger role than the head of a parish. His role is to serve the people of that parish and the wider community within those borders. Just because the motu proprio does not reference the canonical jurisdiction of the pastor does not mean it intends to wipe away canon law in regard to the pastor’s jurisdiction. In fact, by concentrating much of the structure for the use of the old missal in the parish, one could make the case that the spirit of the motu proprio is in fact opposed to the idea of regional celebrations attracting people from all over a diocese, as was the set-up with the indult system.

    I’m still at somewhat of a loss to understand why supporters of the motu proprio are so upset at the idea that the use of the old missal is to be tied to a parish. Help me out here. What exactly is the problem with making it a ministry rooted in the parish for the spiritual good of the parishioners? Wasn’t the parish basis of the availability of the old missal something everybody here was looking forward to? Now it seems some feel it is an unecessary imposition. I mean, if Fr. Whatsit at your parish of St. Dymphna won’t do it, and the pastor over at St. Philomena will, why not just join St. Philomena? I truly don’t understand what the issue is here.

    Christopher,

    The bishop does indeed need to give permission for an outside group to celebrate mass even with the new missal. Witness the recent brouhaha over the bishop in one diocese refusing permission for a national gay ministry conference to celebrate Mass at their convention in his diocese (I don’t recall which). Bishops do have this authority and exercise it regularly, although it may be transparent to us because permission is usually given.

  32. Richard says:

    Thanks for the good information in response to the subdiaconate question.

  33. Richard says:

    And I would like to wish everyone a happy 25th anniversary of the Apostolic Letter, Ministeria Quaedam!

  34. David M.O'Rourke says:

    Subdeacons are ordained in such Religious Orders as the Institute of Christ the King and the Fraternity of Saint Peter although they apparently don’t have the same canonical status they had before Myseria Quaedam. But they can and do function as subdeacons.

    However, in practice, in pre-Vatican II times both the deacon and subdeacon were almost invariably priests since the only deacons and subdeacons were in the seminaries. I have seen two deacons used (one as subdeacon) and on one occasion a seminarian in Minor Orders who functioned as what was then referred to asd a dummy or wooden subdeacon. Aside from having to be in Minor Orders a dummy subdeacon was bound by three restrictions, the only one of which I remember was not wearing all of the vestments. I believe that the punishment for ignoring ALL THREE RESTRICTIONS was excommunication but there seem to have been no consequences for ignoring one or two of the restrictions. In practice, as I remember, the dummy subdeacon simply left off the maniple and did everything else as usual.

    But even that was rare. In 99% of the Solemn Masses in parish churches and even Cathedrals, the Sacred Ministers consisted of three priests.

    David M. O’Rourke

  35. Henricus says:

    When Bishop Brom took over San Diego in 1990, there were 474,000 Catholics and 258 priests. In 2004 there were 930,000 Catholics and 234 priests.

    Our tiny indult community — with an average attendance of 100 per Sunday — has 3 boys starting in the seminary this fall. A single regular TLM overflows with grace not only for its adherents but for the whole diocese.

    The question is not why some bishops look for loopholes to avoid faithful implementation of the motu proprio, but why don’t all bishops search out every possible way of encouraging interest in the older form of Mass and helping their priests prepare for it, so as to open their dioceses to the rich spiritual benefits that will result?

  36. Stephen says:

    Eric -
    RE: Parish membership. Does not the law of the Church make “parish membership” depend upon where one lives? Registration does not make someone a member of a parish, as I understand it. Whoever lives within the territorial boundaries of a particular parish is, de facto and de jure, a member of that parish. Registration somewhere else does not change that.

  37. Federico says:

    Christopher,

    there are scores of chapels throughout North America. In the Arlington diocese, for instance, I know of at least two: one at a lay Catholic school (see my commentary: http://blog.360.yahoo.com/blog-VlIE0og3fKPtAYXH6LtrtpRXj5wp?p=29) and one at a residential location. The point with chapels is that they’re private, and not open to the public so you would not necessarily know about them.

    Other comments…Many misunderstandings about the power of governance. Yes, in general diocesan bishops enjoy ordinary power of governance over their subjects. No, they cannot issue particular law for their diocese which is contrary to universal law nor can they dispense from the prescripts of Divine law nor those element of merely ecclesiastical law that are reserved. This is a huge topic and cannot be treated properly in a single posting on a blog, only elements and application to some specific cases.

    Federico.

  38. Eric says:

    Stephen,

    I believe you are correct in that parish membership is still officially based on geography. However, the practice in this country has been interpreted a bit more loosely, allowing people to become members by registration. The only time I’ve seen the geographic boundaries trotted out in regualr parish practice was when a priest was looking for an excuse not to do a wedding.

    Now it seems to me that the official policy would be even more restrictive to the implementation of the motu proprio. But as long as the looser interpretation holds in most dioceses, why not take advantage of that? For example, in this statement by Bishop Brom, I’ll bet $5 he was not thinking of parishioners in terms of geographic location. Hey, I’ll even up it to $10!

  39. Daniel A. says:

    Eric, I believe people are worried about the meaning of “belonging to a parish”. For instance, I have recently moved to a new city, and my girlfriend, who lives in this city, goes to mass at her territorial parish of St. Anthony’s. Whenever I have visited I have gone to St. Anthony’s, I know people there, and I go to the Tridentine mass there. However, I live closer to Holy Spirit. If my bishop enacted rules like Bp. Brom has, would I be able to attend the TLM at St. Anthony’s? Or would I have to request one at Holy Spirit? I plan to register at St. Anthony’s, but there is the issue of physical territory and not simple registration. I don’t know if diocese have maps that show which parish each area should fall into, but it seems to me that a bishop intent on preserving the idea that requests must come from the priest’s own parishioners might not allow a parishioner to simply switch to a new parish without moving.

  40. Federico says:

    Richard,

    Priests of Eastern Catholic Churches are not incardinated into the diocese of the Latin Church where they may be living. In fact, Catholic dioceses overlap. So the Eastern priest you describe is under the “jurisdiction” (pardon the word) of his Eastern bishop. Normally, bishops will try to harmonize with their brother bishops of different Churches sui iuris but at the end of the day they’re each responsible for their own flocks. Remember that Catholics are free to attend liturgy at any Catholic Church regardless of the rite of ascription.

    Other commenters: parishes can be territorial or personal. So can dioceses (for instance, the diocese for military personnel). There can be multiple jurisdiction for any given lay person, but all clerics are incardinated in one and only one diocese. The most common type of parish and diocese is territorial.

    Please note that when a parish is territorial, the pastor is not merely responsible for the salvation of Catholic souls living in his territory, but for all souls living in his territory (except where a Latin and one or more Eastern parishes share territory, in which case each pastor’s jurisdiction is based on national origin of the non Catholics — I’m not making this up! For instance, if a Latin priest converts a Russian he’s obliged to ascribe him to a different Church sui iuris but I digress…)

    Federico.

  41. Eric says:

    Christopher,

    You said “Though, in terms of ministry, it seems helpful to remember that a priest is the priest for the diocese, not just a parish.”

    Excllent point. A pastor, however, is not a pastor for the whole diocese, but for his parish only. So when the motu proprio talks about approaching a pastor, for example, it’s not just about getting any priest to celebrate Mass. It assumes a certain juridical context.

  42. Eric says:

    Daniel,

    There are a couple of considerations here.

    First of all, if you walked into the parish office at St. Anthony and asked to register, I would be astonished if they would ask you where you live. If that’s where you attend Mass, are involved in ministries and pay your parish support, they would likely say “Welcome.” I don’t know of any parish where they would require you to live within the parish boundaries to register. In our parish office, we have a map showing the area of the Archdiocese with our parish boundaries drawn in. There’s a little star on the map for each registered household. Only a quarter of the stars are within the parish boundaries. And this map was sent to us by the Chancery Office. Why is this the case? Because some time ago dioceses and parishes realized that people will attend Mass at the parish they like the best, regardless of where it is. It’s better for them to like where they are than to try to force them to attend Mass someplace they don’t like.

    Secondly, if you were to register at Holy Spirit and the next week set an appointment with the pastor to request a Tridentine Mass, he would probably ask himself, “Who is this guy, and why doesn’t he just go to St. Anthony’s?” Long-time parishioners who are involved in the parish will have more credibility with the pastor to make such requests. Now by saying this, some may scream for my head. But the reality of the situation is that the pastor has to weigh many factors in making such a decision. If 10 strangers were to walk into his office, hand him registration forms and say “We are now officially parishioners and hereby make a formal request that you schedule a public Sunday celebration of the Tridentine Mass,” I assure you that pastor will find a way out. And not, as the 10 strangers will assume, because he is a heretic who hates the old missal. But because that’s just not the way things are done!

    So my advice would be to register at St. Anthony’s where you feel at home. In the unlikely event they turn you away, you could always register at Holy Spirit (and support that parish) and just attend Mass in your girlfriend’s parish.

  43. Tom Burk says:

    The “appropriate authority” would be Summorum Pontificum, would it not?

    The idea of a territorial parish has been pretty much dismantled by the state of the liturgy – many flee the banal and heretical. It has been years since I went to Mass based on the geographical location of my residence, and I suspect that is true for many others as well.

  44. Tom Burk says:

    The “appropriate authority” would be Summorum Pontificum, would it not?

    The idea of a territorial parish has been pretty much dismantled by the state of the liturgy – many flee the banal and heretical. It has been years since I went to Mass based on the geographical location of my residence, and I suspect that is true for many others as well.

  45. Craig Kelso says:

    I am a San Diegan AND a recent convert to Catholicism. My dealings with His Excellency have been limited, but always polite. I don’t hold any ill feelings toward Bishop Brom. But it seems to me, as others have pointed out, His Grace is missing the point. San Diego is home to nearly 1 million Catholics. It’s a rich, rich diocese both in terms of numbers and raw monies (current legal troubles notwithstanding). The Trads, of which I count myself, are a TINY fraction of San Diego’s Catholic community. Currently, and this might be where all of the ‘chapel’ talk originates in the letter, we’re allowed to celebrate the Old Rite in Holy Cross Cemetery’s chapel. It’s PACKED every Sunday — this without much publicity at all. The congregation is young. You know the drill if you’ve done any reading about the Ancient Rite’s growing popularity: faithful in droves, knowledgeable of their doctrines, live in accordance with the Church’s teachings, etc. WE’RE THEM, in San Diego. Only, we’re treated like ugly stepchildren. We’re pushed aside, over-regulated, and never promoted as a viable part of the diocese. Many, many diocesan workers have expressed their interest to change that over the years, but they always seem to get so far. The Holy Father has not attempted to legislate and bog down. He doesn’t want a linguistic game to be played. He simply asks that people, like those at Holy Cross, be treated with the respect their spiritual rights demand. IF this Bishop wants a faithful, attentive, learned, and pious flock, he ought to retract his ‘letter’ and simply go about making sure EVERYONE in the diocese who wants the Mass of Pius V gets it. He needs the Trad community … perhaps now more than ever. We need a leader … perhaps now more than ever. Pax tecum, Craig Kelso

  46. Eric says:

    Tom Burk,

    In the church, people (bishops, priests, deacons) have authority. Documents are not “appropriate authority.” Documents guide those with authority or are issued by those with authority. The authority remains with the person, not the document.

  47. M.Z. Forrest says:

    Only in this country do parochial boundaries have little meaning.

    Placing the elephant into the room, a priest can perform 2 and at most 3 masses on a given day. In your typical parish, the parish priest will already be preforming 2 masses on a Sunday. No interpretation of SP will support compelling a parish priest to drop one of his NO Ordo liturgies that has 400 congregants for a stable group of 3 that want the extraordinary use. In larger parishes this may not be as much of an issue.

  48. Eric says:

    Craig,

    I think I understand some of your feelings about being treated like “ugly stepchildren.” And part of that may have been due to deficiencies in the indult system, which is now done away with.

    However, this brings new challenges for you. One new challenge will be to move away from the comfort of your indult community and back into parish life, to consider yourself part of your parish rather than “the Trad community.” This won’t happen overnight, but it will be necessary at some point to say goodbye to that cemetery chapel, and then you might realize how much you will miss it! But you must go into your own parish, because that’s what the Holy Father is asking you to do. It sounds like you’ve had good dealings with Bishop Brom in the past, so I would imagine you are well-suited to approach him in the future if you need his help.

    And I wish you all the best. Leaving the comfortable — however deficient that situation may be — is not always easy!

    Peace!

  49. Craig Kelso says:

    Eric,

    THANKS for the thoughtful reply.

    Ideally, a parish is what I want.

    I am NOT comfortable in the indult situation or whatever. It’s retarded. It’s silly.

    All it does is make people crazy. Our little community is filled with people who NEED a leader, who NEED a parish home.

    THAT’S JUST MY OPINION.

    I am not writing for the SDTLMS.

    Buuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuut, I was in a parish. That parish was very good to me, but the liturgy was corrosive and ultimately infuriating. The religious education was, well, lacking to say the least. It was not good, and that parish was considered to be one of the healthier in the diocese.

    My family left.

    We hopped, and finally found Holy Cross.

    It’s a blessing; an ironic oasis in a desert of liturgical nightmares.

    It is my fundamental hope that the Bishop moves the community to a parish that is faltering or petering out, and says, “Here it is. It’s your chance. A church, a plot of land, go to it. No one else has been able to make it work.” Man oh man would we make that place shine.

    I know what you’re getting at, however. The Holy Father wants us in the parishes; but in San Diego, there are obstacles, HUGE ones.

    I am hopeful.

    I know there are people in the diocese who are working to petition their pastors. I also know pastors are gearing up to point them toward the cemetery: cold, forbidding, hardly any parking, and a little tough to feel like a real parish. After having been slapped down by a pastor, lugging themselves to a cemetery chapel, the average person will simply give up and go back to their parish (this has been the formula for two decades). The liturgical officers will then CONTINUE to count this person among those who care not for the Ancient Mass. Ugh.

    I AM NOT COMPLAINING.

    It’s just obvious, that’s all.

    I love having two Masses on Sunday, having a little community dedicated to making Feast days happen, and working with all of them.

    I just want for them what the ON EAGLES WINGS and CLOWN MASS Catholics have, a parish.

    Pax tecum,

    Craig Kelso
    +

  50. Prof. Basto says:

    Wasn’t the group of three leading Conservative Council Fathers at the Second Vatican Council known as Coetus Internationalis Patrum ?

  51. Basto: That might be interesting to chase down!

  52. michigancatholic says:

    Eric. NO. I’m doing this the other way around. I’m searching out an regularly held extraordinary mass scheduled after Sept 14th and will be heading there as soon as possible.

    Yes, I will attend the N.O. but only when necessary–ie if I have a time conflict and it’s the only way to get to mass. But I’m done with yodeling, honky tonk piano and lady lay ministers on a regular basis. I can’t take the ugly anymore. My liturgical nerves are shot.

    When it’s finally possible to have the extraordinary form every Sunday and Holy Day, why on earth would I not attend it? I’ve waited for reverence and beauty for years.

  53. michigancatholic says:

    Eric, I don’t give a rip whether I fit into someone’s little category or not–ie however someone wants to interpret the number of people necessary to request a mass.

    I’ve moved around for years to avoid mass abuses in order to preserve my faith. It’s been a necessity, and I know lots of other people who’ve been forced to do the same thing. I stopped crying a long time ago. I’m used to it and I KNOW I can drive if & when I need to. There are priests who care about us and there will be masses available for us. The Motu Proprio guarantees it even more securely than Ecclesia Dei did.

    You should know: It was the N.O.’s rampant and ever-present sloppiness that taught me that an N.O. mass is an N.O. mass. During the 90s, I spent several years telling myself, “a mass is a still a mass” in order to keep my chin up about the abuses I was constantly seeing. And then I realized it was true; the goal became to worship the best I could and simply avoid irregularities strategically.
    So, if you think my attitude about finding a mass is cold, the N.O. mass and its happy-clappy adherents taught it to me.

    RE your concern about parish life & all that: The extraordinary mass community may give me the first taste of actual parish life I’ve known in many years. I can finally turn off my fears of being ambushed. I can stop flinching and participate.

  54. Kathy says:

    Just eavesdropping. I know almost nothing about canon law, but I know a good discussion when I see one.
    Very impressive, everybody.

  55. Jordan Potter says:

    Eric said: I think you misunderstand the role of the bishop. He is not given authority to govern only as permitted by the Holy See, he receives it by virtue of ordination. Thus, the bishop interprets univeral law and applies it for his diocese.

    I think you misunderstand the role of the bishop, Eric. Of course he receives authority by virtue of his ordination, though of course he may never govern in a way that is contradictory to the laws of the Church and the rulings of the Holy See. He is not given authority to interpret universal law and apply it for his diocese in such a way that he can impose new, unauthorised obligations on his faithful. For example, some bishops have attempted to deny Catholics the sacrament of confirmation even though they were properly disposed to receive the sacrament and had asked lawfully for it. In their dioceses, they may want all Catholic youth to receive the sacrament in the eighth grade, or in high school, or whenever. Whenever such Catholics have appealed over the bishop’s head to the Holy See, the Holy See has always upheld their rights and politely reminded the bishop that he may have a “policy” regarding confirmation, but he does not a law or rule that all in his diocese must follow or else.

    Again, consider the question of the sign of reverence when receiving Communion. In the U.S., the “norm” is to receive standing, and to make a slight nod of the head. Many Catholics who kneel or genuflect when receiving Communion have been denied the sacrament, and they appealed to Rome on the question, and Rome again reminded the bishops that no one may ever been denied Communion for worshipping the Blessed Sacrament by kneeling to receive, regardless of whatever their papally-approved norm says.

    So it is unquestionable that no bishop may ever institute a law in his diocese that goes contrary to the laws of the Church. He has no authority to interpolate into a papal motu proprio the words “a coetus means 50″ or 30 or whatever number suits his fancy, any more than he can decree for his diocese that there is no Sunday obligation. Again, nothing less that the authority of an oecumenical council backs up the right to celebrate Mass in Latin, so bishops have no authority in their dioceses to say, “Only vernacular Masses here!” He may as well say, “In our diocese, thou shalt commit adultery and covet thy neighbor’s wife.”

    You seem to imply that all forms of governance are determined by the Holy See and it is up to the pastor to implement those rules.

    It is certainly the case that without the directive, or the tacit or explicit approval of the Holy See, there are no binding rules in the Catholic Church. It is also certain that any rule that has been determined by the Holy See must be implemented by the pastor, except where the Holy See grants an indult.

    As an example, there is a requirement that engaged couples undergo preparation prior to marriage. The pastor does not determine what that preparation is; each diocese has guidelines, which may be dispensed with by the pastor only in extreme situations.

    There is local law and there is universal law. Policies regarding marriage preparation are matters of local law. With the motu proprio we have universal law.

    In the same way, because coetus is not defined, the bishop can interpret what that means for his diocese.

    But not in such a way as to issue a one-size-fits-all arbitrary number that must be followed under an obligation of obedience. The law of the Church sets no number and says nothing about bishops having a right to set a number for their own dioceses. Their role is as moderator or umpire when a pastor has difficulty meeting a request for the old Mass, not to preemptively decree that no priests may heed such requests without first obtaining his permission (and passing a Latin quiz). That would legally apply if the old Mass were restricted under an indult, but the Church says it’s not an indult, it’s a right of all priests of the Roman Rite.

    In a small rural diocese, where it is common for parishes to consist of a couple hundred people, a bishop may leave it up to the pastor to determine. In such a case, three or four people could be enough. In a large urban diocese, where parishes may be made up of 5,000 or 10,000 households, a bishop could interpret it otherwise.

    All the more reason why a bishop can’t just invent a one-size-fits-all arbitrary number for coetus. Even within a diocese, there are rural parishes and there are urban parishes.

    You are mistaken in saying that the bishop cannot indicate that those requesting the old missal must be from the parish.

    There is no law of the Church that says those requesting the old Mass must be from the parish, and bishops can’t just make up laws out of whole cloth, but have to apply the law that actually exists in the Code of Canon Law. Therefore a bishop cannot invent a requirement that anyone requesting the old Mass must be from the parish. He can recommend it if he likes, but he can’t decree it and enforce it, any more than he can tell an 8-year-old young Catholic who is ready for confirmation, “Wait until you’re 14.”

    His role is to serve the people of that parish and the wider community within those borders. Just because the motu proprio does not reference the canonical jurisdiction of the pastor does not mean it intends to wipe away canon law in regard to the pastor’s jurisdiction.

    How does offering a Mass for some visitors, or for some who have not yet registered with his parish, impinge on a pastor’s jurisdiction? Should I call the pastor and ask his permission the next time I travel out of state and fulfill my Sunday obligation in his parish?

    In fact, by concentrating much of the structure for the use of the old missal in the parish, one could make the case that the spirit of the motu proprio is in fact opposed to the idea of regional celebrations attracting people from all over a diocese, as was the set-up with the indult system.

    Here you appeal to the “spirit” of the motu proprio rather than the letter. In other words, you are effectively conceding that there is in fact no law on the books that requires those who desire the Johannine Missal to all belong to the parish. But even more, there is also no law that allows a bishop to impose such a rule on his flock.

    If the Holy Father had wanted such a restriction, he could have and would have included it in his motu proprio. But if he’d done that, it would have imposed an unjust burden on those who desire the old Missal, which I think is why he did not include such a law in his motu proprio.

    I’m still at somewhat of a loss to understand why supporters of the motu proprio are so upset at the idea that the use of the old missal is to be tied to a parish.

    Eventually it will be tied to parishes, but at this time that is a practical impossibility in most cases (which is probably why some bishops are improperly imposing that restriction).

  56. “For instance, if a Latin priest converts a Russian he’s obliged to ascribe him to a different Church sui iuris but I digress…)”

    Only if he’s already baptized though right?

    We read in the (Roman) Code of Canon Law:

    Can. 111 … §2. Anyone to be baptized who has completed the fourteenth year of age can freely choose to be baptized in the Latin Church or in another ritual Church sui iuris; in that case, the person belongs to the Church which he or she has chosen.

    And there’s a similar provision in the Eastern Code.

  57. Federico says:

    Yes, true enough. The normal case is conversion of the Orthodox who come into full communion.

  58. Chironomo says:

    I think what reveals the nature of this Bishop’s letter to me is the number of times the phrase “need to obtain permission” or “requires permission” or or other similar wording implying that even if you don’t need permission to say the Mass according to the 1962 Missal, you need to obtain permission for some aspect of setting it up as a regular occurance in a parish. to me, this seems to be obstruction… plain and simple. There seems to be two types of reactions from Bishops… those who come forward and demonstarate how they are going to implement the Motu proprio and promote the traditional Mass so that it grows and flourishes (Bishop Burke in St. Louis for instance) and those who come forward and demonstrate how they are going to restrict the application of the Motu Proprio so that the Traditional Mass cannot flourish. All parsing of Canon Law aside… I think there is a very obvious tone of obstruction about this document and others from a number of other Bishops. This does not fall into the category of “serene reception”.

  59. Christopher says:

    Peace be with you.

    Concerning the Nationality issue, while that is a provision, it is actually regular to refer that person to the rite under which they would have been born, had they been born into a Catholic family. It is a strange thing, I think. But some time ago Fr. Mitch Pachwa from EWTN has addressed this issue on his radio show.

    Eric,
    About the group: I was not implying a group of outside the diocese, I meant a group that was within the diocese. For example, there are priests who come and pray the Holy Mass so that the youth group of a region may come together, even though the pastor of that youth group is not available. Does the bishop need to be aware of this celebration of the 1970 Form? It seems that if it were the 1962 Form, it would not be necessary.

    If I may make a comparison, it seems without the Law of Summorum Pontificum the 1962 Form and the 1970 Form would function (as it has been for decades) like Hong Kong and China, proper: Two systems, One country (the country being the Roman Church). However, this is destroyed in the Law of Summorum Pontificum because they are now two forms of the ONE Roman Rite. It would seem ridiculous that if only the 1962 Form existed, the Low Mass Form and the Solemn High Mass Form would be treated as diverse as the 1970 and 1962 Forms are attempting to be treated. To be honest, this Law that the Holy Father has legislated seems to merely expand all forms available of the Holy Mass, much like the diversity between the 1962 Low Mass Form and the 1962 Missa Canta Form. These are one Rite now.

    May God bless you.
    Holy Mary protect you.

  60. Christopher says:

    M.Z. Forrest,

    Though, isn’t it going to be important: For so long it has been expected that those attached to the 1962 Form must make themselves integrated to a parish and must also accept the 1970 Form, and that is usually expected to be shown by attendance and participation. However, now the time has come where those who feel attached to the 1970 Form but integrate into History and accept the 1962 Form, which ought to be shown by attendance.

    May God bless you.
    Holy Mary protect you.
    -Christopher

  61. M.Z. Forrest says:

    Christopher,

    I am probably in the camp that Father Zuhlsdorf would say is giving the party line. I don’t the SP will have much impact. If there are 10% more masses offered under the extraordinary use, I will be happy. I anticipate the accomodation will continue to be offered predominately in the form of the personal parish in this country. France and other places (what the SP was actually targeting) will see a greater impact. The Los Angeles area in this country will probably see more licit celebrations of the extraordinary rite offered. Going forward, I think you will see parochial boundaries re-established and a movement toward actually living within the Church’s ecclesiology.

  62. M.Z. Forrest says:

    Christopher,

    I am probably in the camp that Father Zuhlsdorf would say is giving the party line. I don’t think the SP will have much impact. If there are 10% more masses offered under the extraordinary use, I will be happy. I anticipate the accomodation will continue to be offered predominately in the form of the personal parish in this country. France and other places (where the SP was actually targeting) will see a greater impact. The Los Angeles area in this country will probably see more licit celebrations of the extraordinary rite offered. Going forward, I think you will see parochial boundaries re-established and a movement toward actually living within the Church’s ecclesiology.

  63. Barb says:

    I think Bishop Brom is obstructing the M.P. In the diocese of Springfield/Cape Girardeau we are forbidden the extraordinary rite. No census is being taken by Bishop Leibrecht or his priests to determine how many people actually want the extraordinary rite and where the distribution of most of the people are. Yet he is meeting with his Presbyteral Council and his Pastoral Council to discuss the M.P. He is not meeting with any of us whom he knows to desire the extraordinary rite. We expect serious difficulty in obtaining it anywhere as when we have politely approached the priests in the Springfield area they have blown up at us. Two pastors have even put in writing “disinformation” and raving comments like: “If I had to say the Mass in Latin, I would have to preach the sermon in Latin.”

    Nothing would make me happier than to belong to a parish and have a full parish life. That is what everyone I know of wants. But most of us cannot stomach the parish Novus Ordos and either have to drive 3 hours one way to get to the extraordinary rite or make do in the chapel of a Carmelite monastery. We are not wanted in the parishes because we wear veils or hats and most kneel to receive Holy Communion and stay to make a thanksgiving after Mass. We have been totally marginalized. This M.P. was meant to open the doors for us to be accepted and real Catholics and to awaken respect for our traditional sacred liturgy. That is not happening. I can imagine, since Bishop Leibrecht is ducking behind the USCCB liturgy committee, his Presbyteral Council and his Pastoral Council that we are not going to get anywhere. Instead we will be dished up a combination of what the Trautmanns, Broms, and the bishop of Gaylord, Michigan are doing. This is not the care of souls, it is a political agenda designed to keep the natives from staging a takeover, a thing greatly feared by some older priests in our area (not going to happen, of course) and, no doubt, by the bishop. Otherwise, why not take a census and make a “pastoral” decision. How can anyone make a judgment on how to implement the M.P. without data?

  64. RBrown says:

    I think you misunderstand the role of the bishop. He is not given authority to govern only as permitted by the Holy See, he receives it by virtue of ordination. Thus, the bishop interprets univeral law and applies it for his diocese.

    I agree that a bishop is not just the pope’s vicar, but his authority to govern comes from the Holy See.

    If the bishop receives the authority to govern by virtue of ordination, then what is the difference between the ordinarius loci and the auxiliaries or a retired bishop living in the diocese?

  65. Henricus says:

    Not everything that’s happening is due to the motu proprio, and it’s sometimes hard to correlate cause and effect. But at Mass in my local parish this morning I saw incense used (liberally) for the first time in years (though I’ve heard of its being used sometimes at Christmas and Easter vigil Masses I didn’t attend). Burse and chalice veil have just recently appeared here. When the music leader announced that, “at the request of Fr. …..” (our newly ordained assistant), all 4 verses of the opening hymn (O Sanctissima) would be sung in Latin, there was an audible “Ooooh!” from someone, though I couldn’t tell whether its intended sense was negative or positive. Almost certainly, this was the first time it had ever been sung in Latin in this fairly new church, but the Assumption congregation of about 200 seemed to sing it more vigorously that this (or any similar hymn) is usually sung in English in this parish.

  66. Pardon me…I just googled Fr. Sergius Maria and ran across this website.

    http://www.olfatima.com/pastor.html

    http://www.olfatima.com

    Is this a Catholic Church in full communion with Apostolic See of Rome? Is Fr. Sergius?

    I mean no disrespect here. I was just wondering…

    Also, those who are Russian-Byzantine Catholic normally fall under the jurisdiction of the local Latin ordinary. Case in point – Father Chrysostom Frank’s Byzantine-rite community is under Archbishop Chaput’s care in Denver. I do believe, though, that Archbishop Chaput collaborates with Bishop John Michael Botean of the Romanian Greek-Catholic Eparchy of St. George in Canton, OH (a national jurisdiction) in the pastoral care of this parish.

    Of course, we all know what can happen when situations like that go wrong, as was witnessed in the days of Archbishop John Ireland, former Archbishop of St. Paul/Minneapolis and co-founder of the Orthodox Church of America and the Polish National Catholic Church. Fortunately, times have changed.

    In ICXC,

    Gordo

  67. lorenzo says:

    hi father,

    i just wanted to point out the inconsistencies between your post here and your pointed commentary on the most reverend r. daniel conlon, bishop of steubenville, ohio. you made quick work of his misspelling of the “moto” (sic) proprio, but you yourself appear to be less than well versed in the art of english grammar and spelling. “The bishop clearly things” appears to be quite out of sorts, while I am also not sure that “juridiction” is truly available in the lexicon of common english phraseology.

    just thought i would help you avoid future criticism… or should i say, “critizm.” have a blessed day.

    lorenzo

  68. lorenzo,

    Cheap shot.

    I will only point out that there is a marked difference between an official diocesan communication and a blog post in terms of what should be expected as far as spelling, grammar, etc etc.

    God bless Father for the work he does here for the good of the Church.

    In ICXC,

    Gordo

  69. jaykay says:

    Pots and kettles, motes and beams…

    Y’know, in reading the post(s) above I was moved to reflect on some of the more basic rules/conventions, such as starting sentences with a capital letter, using a capital I when referring to one’s self, using capitals when referring to personal names or places. Oh, just little things…

  70. Cathy Dawson says:

    Lorenzo,

    I would imagine that “things” was a typo. I’m sure Fr. Z knows his grammar. He posts a prolific amount of
    information on his blog and it would be surprising if there weren’t a few typos now and then. A blog is a
    much more informal thing than letters issued by bishops. If Father spent more time proofing for typos, we’d
    probably see less stuff posted. I’m ok with typos.

    Cathy

  71. Eric says:

    RBrown said “I agree that a bishop is not just the pope’s vicar, but his authority to govern comes from the Holy See.

    “If the bishop receives the authority to govern by virtue of ordination, then what is the difference between the ordinarius loci and the auxiliaries or a retired bishop living in the diocese?”

    It’s clear in the teaching of the Church that bishops do NOT receive their authority from the Holy See. See the Catechism nos. 862, 883, 886, 894 and 895, for example. The relationship between their authority and the authority of the pope is that of communion, not delegation. Now of course communion assumes that the bishops accept the pope’s authority, otherwise they would not be in communion. Still communion is not exactly order-making or order-taking.

    Now you ask about auxiliary bishops. This is a sticky issue. Theologically and ecclesiologically, some would say that strictly there should be no auxiliary bishops (different from coadjutors, of course, which there is no question about). Those who question the role (not authority) of auxiliaries as a concept say that if a bishop requires help, it means the diocese is too large and should be divided, each diocese with one bishop. In the same way, they say, curial officials should not be made bishops, as they do not have a diocese (although there’s nothing to keep them from being made cardinals). In the ancient tradition of the Church, each bishop must have a diocese. Of course, the end-run around this is that curial officials and auxiliaries are made bishops of titular sees, which means they technically have full episcopal authority in that no longer extant diocese, which may be a patch of sand in North Africa.

    All these quiblles aside, by virtue of ordination even auxiliaries have episcopal authority through membership in the college of bishops, as referenced in the above Catechism citations.

  72. Eric says:

    Gordo:

    You ask whether the Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church of Spring Hill is a Catholic church.

    Here’s a telling indication from their site:

    “After four years of the SSPX party line being pounded into our heads: “we accept the Pope when he’s Catholic” (How could the Pope ever be anything other than a Catholic?), and unable, at that time, to reconcile the contradiction of accepting the authority of a pope who hinders the practice of the True Faith, Father entered the Traditional Seminary of the Congregation of Mary Immaculate Queen where he completed his studies for the priesthood under the tutelage of the seminary rector Bishop Mark Pivarunas from whom he received the subdiaconate in 1995. Father was ordained to the diaconate in June 1995 by Bishop Pivarunas and was assigned to the large Traditional parish of Mount St Michael in Spokane Washington State in the Pacific North-West of the United Sates of America.”

    So no, it is not a Catholic church, as the current pastor is part of a sedevacantist group. A big red flag in situations like this is where you see a tiny church that claims a bishop as its pastor. Breakaway groups almost always have numerous bishops tending to small numbers of people.

  73. Legisperitus says:

    Speaking of having to “know Latin well”…

    I believe the Code of Canon Law already requires all priests to be proficient in Latin. If a man not proficient in Latin is qualified to be a priest, then he should be qualified to say the old Mass as well.

  74. Liam says:

    San Diego recently filed for bankrupcy, can this letter be produced as evidence?

  75. Eric,

    You wrote:

    “So no, it is not a Catholic church, as the current pastor is part of a sedevacantist group. A big red flag in situations like this is where you see a tiny church that claims a bishop as its pastor. Breakaway groups almost always have numerous bishops tending to small numbers of people.”

    Thanks for the excellent tips and great analysis. The website is really deceptive to the untrained eye (I’m not hip on the seds…I spend most of my time studying the Orthodox. I could tell something was amiss, though, given the bishops “travelling” history.

    So…all this begs the question – What about Fr. Sergius Maria?

    In ICXC,

    Gordo

  76. RBrown says:

    It’s clear in the teaching of the Church that bishops do NOT receive their authority from the Holy See. See the Catechism nos. 862, 883, 886, 894 and 895, for example. The relationship between their authority and the authority of the pope is that of communion, not delegation. Now of course communion assumes that the bishops accept the pope’s authority, otherwise they would not be in communion. Still communion is not exactly order-making or order-taking.

    There is nothing in those texts from the catechism that justifies your opinion or contradicts mine.

    Delegation has nothing to do with this question–but rather with Vicars Apostolic. That the bishops are in communion with the pope has nothing to do with whether he is the source of jurisdiction.

    Now you ask about auxiliary bishops. This is a sticky issue. Theologically and ecclesiologically, some would say that strictly there should be no auxiliary bishops (different from coadjutors, of course, which there is no question about). Those who question the role (not authority) of auxiliaries as a concept say that if a bishop requires help, it means the diocese is too large and should be divided, each diocese with one bishop. In the same way, they say, curial officials should not be made bishops, as they do not have a diocese (although there’s nothing to keep them from being made cardinals). In the ancient tradition of the Church, each bishop must have a diocese. Of course, the end-run around this is that curial officials and auxiliaries are made bishops of titular sees, which means they technically have full episcopal authority in that no longer extant diocese, which may be a patch of sand in North Africa.

    Your comments confirmed what I wrote and contradicted your own position:

    1. Auxiliary and retired bishops are as much in Episcopal Orders as an ordinarius loci, nonetheless, they do not have jurisdiction in the diocese in which they live.

    Rome, i.e., the pope, can reverse the status of an ordinarius loci and his auxiliary, making the auxiliary the ordinarius loci and retiring the ordinarius loci to be auxiliary. The change is one of jurisdiction, which, as I have noted, has the Successor of Peter as the Source.

    2. A Titular Diocese isn’t necessarily an old diocese now controlled by infidels, as in North Africa. For example, Bp Marion Forst retired from his diocese, then later moved to the archdiocese of KC,Ks. He was given the titular diocese of Leavenworth, which was once the Archdiocesan See and still is in the diocese of KC,KS.

    All these quiblles aside, by virtue of ordination even auxiliaries have episcopal authority through membership in the college of bishops, as referenced in the above Catechism citations.
    Comment by Eric

    Auxiliaries have potestas ordinis (which here means the power to ordain) but not potestas iurisdictionis in the diocese in which they function as auxiliaries. Likewise, any bishop who resigns as a bishop (e.g., Bp Vogel of Basel) still has potestas ordinis, just as any any priest who resigns still has the Sacramental power to consecrate the Bread and Wine.

    To hold that Episcopal Orders includes iurisdictionis means that any bishop could grant faculties for confession.

  77. Greg Smisek says:

    Prof. Basto wrote:

    Wasn’t the group of three leading Conservative Council Fathers at the Second Vatican Council known as Coetus Internationalis Patrum ?

    The Rev. Father Ramón Anglés wrote: “With Bishops Morcillo (Madrid), Castro Mayer (Campos), de Proenca-Sigaud (Diamantina) and 250 more prelates, Archbishop Lefebvre created a ‘traditionalist commando’ within the Council, the ‘Coetus Internationalis Patrum’, composed by traditional Fathers who tried to stop the over-powerful influence of the rich and popular Modernist wing directed by Cardinal Bea.” (A Biography of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre; quoted in Wikipedia, “Coetus Internationalis Patrum,” footnote 1.)

    An Angelqueen.com discussion provides names of many of the cardinals, bishops, and others. (I could only get to it via the Internet Archive for some reason.)

  78. dcs says:

    Eric writes:
    So no, it is not a Catholic church, as the current pastor is part of a sedevacantist group. A big red flag in situations like this is where you see a tiny church that claims a bishop as its pastor. Breakaway groups almost always have numerous bishops tending to small numbers of people.

    I share your qualms about this small church with a bishop as its pastor but the bishop in question, Terrence Fulham, is not a sedevacantist (even though he was ordained by one).

  79. Prof. Basto says:

    Greg,

    Yes. You are correct. I don’t know what made me think that this was a group of three.

  80. Allan says:

    It seems to me that Bishop Brom has enough problems with the homosexual priest scandel and does himself a disservice by throwing roadblocks in front of loyal Catholics, who wish to attend the old Latin mass.

    Since he is being attacked by non-Catholics and Catholics alike in the legal system, he could use the friends and allies of traditional Catholics.

  81. dcs,

    If he was ordained by one, what is his current status canonically vis-a-vis Catholic communion?

    Gordo

  82. dcs says:

    Gordo asks:
    If he was ordained by one, what is his current status canonically vis-a-vis Catholic communion?

    I am not a canonist but I would guess his status is somewhat irregular.

    I’m not promoting him in any way, just noting that he is not a sedevacantist (any more).

  83. Federico says:

    Eric and RBrown,

    On your argument about episcopal power, Petrine power, and the boundaries…You’re both making good points and you’re both right to some extent. I’ve seen your comments and there are two threads: the first is in regard to the power of governance of bishops, what is its source, and what are its limits; the second concerns faculties and other matters associated with the sanctifying power of bishops, and its source. I will provide some thoughts about both, beginning with the first thread; these are just some thoughts, the topics are huge…And hopefully Fr. Z. will not consider this too much of a rat hole ;-).

    Of the potestas regiminis of bishops
    Diocesan bishops, that is the bishops who are given responsibility to govern a certain portion of the people of God, have power of governance (potestas regiminis) that flows from the fullness of orders and from appointment; they need both.

    The authority on this is found in Lumen gentium 27 which reads (emphasis mine):

    Bishops, as vicars and legates of Christ, govern the particular churches entrusted to them through their counsel, exhortations, example, and even by their authority and sacred power […] although its exercise is ultimately regulated by the supreme authority of the Church, and can be circumscribed by certain limits[…] Bishops have the sacred right and the duty before the Lord to make laws for their subjects, to pass judgment on them and to moderate everything pertaining to the ordering of worship and the apostolate.[…]

    The pastoral office or the habitual and daily care of their sheep is entrusted to them completely; nor are they to be regarded as vicars of the Roman Pontiffs, for they exercise an authority that is proper to them, and are quite correctly called “prelates,” heads of the people whom they govern. Their power, therefore, is not destroyed by the supreme and universal power, but on the contrary it is affirmed, strengthened and vindicated by it, since the Holy Spirit unfailingly preserves the form of government established by Christ the Lord in His Church.

    Thus, diocesan bishops enjoy ordinary legislative, judicial, and executive power which derives from both the sacramental character they received, and appointment to their position. This power is limited by the universal law. Universal law has two sources, divine and human (merely ecclesiastical laws). Diocesan bishops cannot dispense from precepts of the law that are divine. Thus, they cannot dispense from the requirements for ordination and ordain a woman. On the other hand, they can dispense from merely ecclesiastical law provided the law is not reserved (so, for instance, they can dispense from the Eucharistic fast).

    Note that the bond between a bishop and his diocese is strong. On this point, check out (if you’re interested) Innocent III’s decretal Quanto personam (which is also a very good exposition of the pope’s vicarious Divine power).

    Now the heart of your argument…interpretation of universal law. Only the legislator or his delegate interprets the law authentically (canon 16). Yes, the bishop is a legislator, but not thelegislator for Summorum Pontificum; canon 16 refers to the one who authored a law. Thus, if there is a genuine dubium about the meaning of coetus it can only be authentically settled by the Holy Father or by his delegate (who his delegate is I discuss below).

    In the meantime, I think a genuine dubium exists (and I think that is what the argument you’re having is about) and canon 17 should be utilized. According to canon 17, people resolving an ambiguity in law should, in the first instance, make recourse to parallel places (if there are any). In making recourse to parallel places, I’ve looked at the canonical use of the word coetus. I’ve seen some coeti as small as 5 and, as a result, I would find it odd that bishops could interpret the word to set a minimum higher than that (this is the argument I made in my commentary). That’s not to say they could not in good faith come to a different conclusion, but I think they would lose if the matter were brought up on an administrative recourse.

    Having said that, who would the final arbiter be? Good question, and one some colleagues and mine have been arguing over. Does the Ecclesia Dei commission have an implicit grant of legislative authority provided by the motu proprio itself? I don’t think so, I think their power remains strictly executive. In this case, they cannot promulgate an authentic interpretation of the word coetus without having the Holy Father approve it in forma specifica (which, I suppose, they could do).

    On the other hand, since they have executive power of governance they are competent to hear administrative recourses from those who might be aggrieved by a bishop’s overly restrictive interpretation of the word coetus. But their determination of such cases, as specified in canon 16 § 3 would only bind for that particular case; it would be interesting, but would not constitute an authentic interpretation which, in my opinion, will have to wait for the council for texts.

    Of the bishops’ sanctifying function
    You also raised a point about faculties and other matters which don’t really pertain to potestas regiminis or to the motu proprio. On this matter I think you are debating an issue which is settled neither theologically nor ecclesiologically, although the implications are clear juridically.

    To start, here’s an interesting preliminary note on Lumen gentium:

    N.B. Without hierarchical communion the ontologico-sacramental munus, which is to be distinguished from the juridico-canonical aspect, cannot be exercised. However, the Commission has decided that it should not enter into question of liceity and validity. These questions are left to theologians to discuss-specifically the question of the power exercised de facto among the separated Eastern Churches, about which there are various explanations.

    Let’s use an example to show the theological confound and the juridical solution: what is the source of faculties to provide sacramental absolution?

    One group of sacramental theologians (Italy’s Card. Tettamanzi is one of these – I’ve read a beautiful piece by him on this topic; I’ll provide a reference to if I find it again) holds that the fullness of orders provides faculties for confession. These episcopal faculties then flow to presbyters who are subject to and in communion with their bishops (whether diocesan, personal, or universal such as in the case of the bishop of Rome). This theory explains that schismatic bishops (Orthodox, sedevacantists, whatever) retain their faculties because they are divinely provided through the sacramental character received. Presbyters who are similarly schismatic but who are in communion with and under the governance of such bishops, receive their faculties through that bond. As a result, absolution received from one of these priests or bishops is valid but illicit. After all, didn’t Jesus send the apostles (granting the first bishops direct faculties)?

    The other side of this argument is held by theologians who hold that faculties flow from the bishop of Rome to the bishops in communion with him and thence to their presbyters. According to this theory (which is outlined in some material bearing the imprimatur of the former bishop of Arlington) schismatic priests and bishops receive their faculties out of the necessity of providing for the good of souls. In other words, this is a form of “emergency” situation without which the faithful who look (however erroneously) to these shepherds for guidance would be mislead and would be denied grace and opportunity for salvation.

    The law, in this case, does not take sides. Bishops have faculties by the law itself and they exercise it validly everywhere but licitly only if the local bishop has not prohibited them. In other words, bishops can be asked not to exercise their faculties, but if they do in spite of it, absolution remains valid. Does the law provide the faculties (thus it’s a grant of the supreme legislator) or does the law merely recognize what God has already provided? Theologians can argue it all day, but we simple lawyers don’t need to take sides.

    Therefore, enjoy the argument, but don’t assume you’ll come to agreement.

    Federico.

  84. RBrown says:

    Federico,

    Let me preface my response by saying that by education and practice I am a theologian not a canon lawyer. On the other hand, to a great extent canon law is a combination of the contemporary theology of the Church combined with certain practices. And so I feel free to be critical of parts of the Code and the documents/theology on which they are based as long as I don’t contradict the doctrine of the * Church. Two examples of which (though outside the matter at hand) are canon 230, which is based on Ministeria Quaedam, and canon 276, based on Presbyterorum Ordinis. I think both the canons and the documents are recipes for disaster.

    To the matter at hand, I will essentially reproduce my comments written some time ago on the other board, with a few addenda relevant to your remarks:

    1. I don’t care much for the contemporary attempt to consider potestas regiminis and potestas iurisdictionis as equivalent (cf. the Code 129). Historically (cf certain Fathers and St Thomas), Jurisdiction (potestas iurisdictionis) has referred to (and been based on) the Church’s authority over certain Sacraments: It is grounded in the power to bind and loose–thus the Sacrament of Penance and its necessary relationship to potestas ordinis.

    2. This Sacramental authority extends not only to teaching doctrine (the Sacraments are confected by means of words) but also to judging human behavior (morality–who is qualified to receive the Sacraments).

    3. Aside from his Sacramental authority (which includes both potestas ordinis and potestas iurisdictionis), the ordinarius loci has NO governing authority over lay people unless they work for the Church. He cannot tell then where to live or work. In fact, even with priests, over whom he done have governance, the only coercion is often via the Sacraments (e.g., suspensus a divinis or prohibition of any Sacraments except private mass).

    4. The use of potestas regiminis, which as you have noted is not directly related to Sacramental power, appears for the first time in the 1983 Code. As I noted above, I consider its appearance as equivalence to potestas iurisdictionis to be most unfortunate—language much too imprecise for either theology or a code of law. As you have noted, PR is not directly related to Sacramental power (i.e., validity re faculties), while PI, as I have noted, in fact is.

    5. As I said above, Episcopal authority is circumscribed by Teaching and Sanctifying, both of which are contained in the Sacramental Authority of the ordinarius loci. Aside from those two, there is no distinct power of temporal rule, except with the pope and the Vatican.

    6. The irony of the advent of the use of the phrase potestas regiminis is that it comes at a time when Ecclesial jurisdiction has been more and more drained of its actual authority. Some easy examples:

    * Although years ago the German Prince Archbishops did in fact have the power of governance, those days are long gone.

    * Currently, marriage in the US is almost always adjudicated by civil courts, with diocesan marriage tribunals acting only after divorce has been granted. This is little else than subjecting Ecclesiastical jurisdiction to Civil Law. (Of course, in certain S American nations, those with the utriusque represent the two sides.)

    * Further, in France Ecclesiastical jurisdiction is not recognized by Civil Law—after a couple is married in a church, they must then go through a civil ceremony. Further, French monasteries must pay taxes—according to Civil Law, the Abbey of Fontgombault is considered a pottery factory.

    * As we both know, US dioceses are organized according to civil law as a sole corporation. Whatever advantages there are to this, it undermines the status of the parish as a juridical person. Although this increases the civil juridical authority of the ordinary (and liability—cf the big judgments in the sexual scandals), it decreases his Ecclesial authority because it subjects Ecclesial jurisdiction to civil law.
    _________________

    Addenda:

    1. The Tettamanzi position (potestas regiminis) is basically the old German Theory (AKA Episcopal Theory), that pastoral authority comes directly from God in Episcopal consecration. Thus any relationship between the pope and bishops or between an ordinarius loci and his priests is merely a legal one.

    2. The irony of that approach is that it strengthens the position of the ordinarius loci relative to the Pope. BUT, on the other hand, it weakens the bishop relative to his diocese because it undermines the concept of the Church as Mystical Body. Why? Simply because it reduces the bond between a bishop and his priests to merely one of legality.

    This merely legal bond effectively contradicts the concept of the Church as Mystical Body of Christ.

    3. And so, we should not be surprised that the document that really began the revival of the Church as Mystical Body Theology (Pius XII’s Mystici Corporis) maintained the distinction between potestas ordinis and potestas iurisdictionis (whose source is the pope).

    4. Despite Mystici Corporis the Germany Theory has leaked into official Church documents such as the code (nb: The Rhine flows into the Tiber).

    5. Kudos to Cardinal Tettamanzi for seeing the consequences of potestas regiminis relative to validity of absolution. But, in addition to undermining the concept of the Church as Mystical Body, it also is a distorted approach to the Sacrament of Penance. But that is a topic for another day

  85. RBrown says:

    Federico,

    Let me preface my response by saying that by education and practice I am a theologian not a canon lawyer. On the other hand, to a great extent canon law is a combination of the contemporary theology of the Church combined with certain practices. And so I feel free to be critical of parts of the Code and the documents/theology on which they are based as long as I don’t contradict the doctrine of the Church. Two examples of which (though outside the matter at hand) are canon 230, which is based on Ministeria Quaedam, and canon 276, based on Presbyterorum Ordinis. I think both the canons and the documents are recipes for disaster.

    To the matter at hand, I will essentially reproduce my comments written some time ago on the other board, with a few addenda relevant to your remarks:

    1. I don’t care much for the contemporary attempt to consider potestas regiminis and potestas iurisdictionis as equivalent (cf. the Code 129). Historically (cf certain Fathers and St Thomas), Jurisdiction (potestas iurisdictionis) has referred to (and been based on) the Church’s authority over certain Sacraments: It is grounded in the power to bind and loose–thus the Sacrament of Penance and its necessary relationship to potestas ordinis.

    2. This Sacramental authority extends not only to teaching doctrine (the Sacraments are confected by means of words) but also to judging human behavior (morality–who is qualified to receive the Sacraments).

    3. Aside from his Sacramental authority (which includes both potestas ordinis and potestas iurisdictionis), the ordinarius loci has NO governing authority over lay people unless they work for the Church. He cannot tell then where to live or work. In fact, even with priests, over whom he done have governance, the only coercion is often via the Sacraments (e.g., suspensus a divinis or prohibition of any Sacraments except private mass).

    4. The use of potestas regiminis, which as you have noted is not directly related to Sacramental power, appears for the first time in the 1983 Code. As I noted above, I consider its appearance as equivalence to potestas iurisdictionis to be most unfortunate—language much too imprecise for either theology or a code of law. As you have noted, PR is not directly related to Sacramental power (i.e., validity re faculties), while PI, as I have noted, in fact is.

    5. As I said above, Episcopal authority is circumscribed by Teaching and Sanctifying, both of which are contained in the Sacramental Authority of the ordinarius loci. Aside from those two, there is no distinct power of temporal rule, except with the pope and the Vatican.

    6. The irony of the advent of the use of the phrase potestas regiminis is that it comes at a time when Ecclesial jurisdiction has been more and more drained of its actual authority. Some easy examples:

    * Although years ago the German Prince Archbishops did in fact have the power of governance, those days are long gone.

    * Currently, marriage in the US is almost always adjudicated by civil courts, with diocesan marriage tribunals acting only after divorce has been granted. This is little else than subjecting Ecclesiastical jurisdiction to Civil Law. (Of course, in certain S American nations, those with the utriusque represent the two sides.)

    * Further, in France Ecclesiastical jurisdiction is not recognized by Civil Law—after a couple is married in a church, they must then go through a civil ceremony. Further, French monasteries must pay taxes—according to Civil Law, the Abbey of Fontgombault is considered a pottery factory.

    * As we both know, US dioceses are organized according to civil law as a sole corporation. Whatever advantages there are to this, it undermines the status of the parish as a juridical person. Although this increases the civil juridical authority of the ordinary (and liability—cf the big judgments in the sexual scandals), it decreases his Ecclesial authority because it subjects Ecclesial jurisdiction to civil law.
    _________________

    Addenda:

    1. The Tettamanzi position (potestas regiminis) is basically the old German Theory (AKA Episcopal Theory), that pastoral authority comes directly from God in Episcopal consecration. Thus any relationship between the pope and bishops or between an ordinarius loci and his priests is merely a legal one.

    2. The irony of that approach is that it strengthens the position of the ordinarius loci relative to the Pope. BUT, on the other hand, it weakens the bishop relative to his diocese because it undermines the concept of the Church as Mystical Body. Why? Simply because it reduces the bond between a bishop and his priests to merely one of legality.

    This merely legal bond effectively contradicts the concept of the Church as Mystical Body of Christ.

    3. And so, we should not be surprised that the document that really began the revival of the Church as Mystical Body Theology (Pius XII’s Mystici Corporis) maintained the distinction between potestas ordinis and potestas iurisdictionis (whose source is the pope).

    4. Despite Mystici Corporis the Germany Theory has leaked into official Church documents such as the code (nb: The Rhine flows into the Tiber).

    5. Kudos to Cardinal Tettamanzi for seeing the consequences of potestas regiminis relative to validity of absolution. But, in addition to undermining the concept of the Church as Mystical Body, it also is a distorted approach to the Sacrament of Penance. But that is a topic for another day

  86. Federico says:

    RBrown,

    I appreciate the reply. I would like to know the web site you reference, and a way to contact you would also be helpful.

    I am an attorney (civil) and completing the third year of my JCL. My training in theology and ecclesiology is limited to the two year preparatory cycle required to enter the JCL program (I was lucky — and I don’t mean that sarcastically — to have started studying canon law when the program was lengthened from 2 years to 2+3.) As a result my bias is a legal one.

    You are right that the code reflects theology and ecclesiology, but I would be very cautious about reading too much theology and ecclesiology into it. The law needs to maintain order and predictability; there is no question but that Divine prescripts find their way to the law, but that is not the majority of the law itself. The 1983 code does have a higher content of magisterial implementation than the 1917 code or the corpus before it (book V, for instance, is almost a direct pull from conciliar documents). Still, there are limits and plenty of areas where the code does not take theological sides yet provides an elegant and unambiguous juridical solution; faculties for absolution, for instance, but there are others.

    Similarly, notwithstanding the use of terminology which I think is orthogonal to the discussion at hand, it is pretty clear that current law is influenced by and must be interpreted in the light of Lumen gentium. The passages I cited clearly argue for the bishops’ juridic power flow deriving from appointment as well as the episcopal character. Whatever the case, the responsibility of bishops vis-à-vis Summorum pontificum is clear (much to the chagrin of some of them).

    At the same time, I understand your discomfort with much of the code. It was cobbled together by committees (coeti, several of which were, ironically, smaller than groups of faithful some bishops would require in the context of Summorum Pontificum, but I digress) and shows all the limitations of such disjointed efforts. The 1917 code was much tighter; the 1990 CCEO is a vast improvement. Still, it’s the law and, by and large, it works.

    That being said, I fear that canon law is overlooked and underestimated. It is the ugly duckling of the sacred sciences. This, I believe, is a grave error (and one of the fundamental reasons I undertook canonical studies).

    Certainly canonical studies are critical to form professionals who can defend rights and apply the law and proper procedures correctly. But the importance of this discipline is much, much deeper.

    It is my hypothesis that many of the failures of the Church to exercise its legitimate potestas regiminis (and, so you know where I’m coming from, I believe it is very legitimate) are rooted in two mistakes:
    1. A rejection of legal frameworks, which is also a rejection of the Church’s millenary history and lessons of the past; in this view lawyers (mostly civil lawyers) are a necessary evil required to keep courts (mostly civil) from interference. The situation in the US over the last few years should illustrate the folly of this position, nevertheless it is held.
    2. A fearful nod to modernism, triggered by or coincident with the French revolution, which has the Church retreating to a merely spiritual (sanctifying and teaching) sphere; in this view, any exercise of potestas regiminis can only happen within the Church and is not properly extended further.

    These two errors lead to an abdication of the Church’s legitimate temporal power and in turn lead to all the examples you cite; none of this is, I suggest, inevitable. Bishops need to embrace the law, not just the civil law but canon law as well. They should be insisting that their diocesan counsel be well versed in canon law (keep your eyes, for instance, on this course which should get offered again soon). At the same time canon lawyers need to learn the civil law. Together, these disciplines need to restore the Church’s influence. Gratian’s suggestion that legista sine canonibus parum valet, canonista sine legibus nihil is as true today as it was in the twelfth century.

    If the Church is not served by professionals who understand Her and understand the civil society, She will not be able to go toe to toe with civil rulers. She will therefore continue to play an indirect role in the unfurling of history and limit Herself to influencing indirectly, tentatively. We can do better.

    Federico