And now for your Motu Proprio parsing pleasure…
Someone sent me a transcript of a statement by His Excellency Most Reverend William Murphy, Bishop of the Diocese of Rockville Centre, NY. It was in His Excellency’s column in The Long Island Catholic of 12 September.
My emphases and comments.
The Mass of Blessed John XXIII
This Friday, September 14, the motu proprio of Pope Benedict, “Summorum Pontificum,” goes into effect. Just this past July the Holy Father made public his letter in which he established the Mass in Latin of Blessed John XXIII, the 1962 Missal, as an extraordinary rite for the whole Latin Church. This means that, while the Mass as we know it in our parishes remains the ordinary rite, the priest has the option to celebrate the “old Mass” if he so wishes and has the ability to understand and pray the Latin. [Pretty decent, all in all.] More importantly for the lay faithful, the motu proprio makes this Mass more readily available for those who wish to participate in the Mass as it had been established after the Council of Trent and been celebrated until the revision of the Mass ordered by the Second Vatican Council. [I like this. He also stresses the fact that this form of Mass has been around for a long time. That is an important point, even if it is not in itself a great reason to prefer the older form. There are far better reasons for that.] It is important to note that there is only one eucharistic liturgy of the Catholic Church of the Latin Rite. Now, however, we have been blessed by Pope Benedict with two ways of celebrating the liturgy. [Nice! Positive!]
Here in our diocese, thanks to Bishop McGann, we had the Mass of Blessed John XXIII being celebrated monthly at the former St. Pius X Prep Seminary in Uniondale as well as at Sacred Heart in Cutchogue. Over the past years I have been pleased [Nice!] to have the Mass at Pius X in Uniondale celebrated weekly. In addition, last year we renewed a monthly celebration of the extraordinary rite at Sacred Heart in Cutchogue. At the next celebration in Cutchogue, Father James Pereda, who has been handling these Masses for me, will examine the ways we can make that Mass at Sacred Heart in Cutchogue a weekly event, [Another thing to like. He delegates to someone who is favorable and he is pleased when the results are good.] every Sunday. In addition, ["…. But WAIT! There’s MORE!] the pastor of St. Matthew Parish in Dix Hills has indicated his willingness to provide the Mass weekly in his parish. In this way we will be able to offer in all three vicariates the Latin Mass of Blessed John XXIII to those who wish to worship in that rite. [And… remember… there could be more, if pastors receive petitions.]
The motu proprio of the Holy Father has set forth the Holy Father’s desire for this use of the Mass of 1962. He hopes that its greater use will bring back some Catholics who have disassociated themselves from the Church after the Council. He wants it to be available for priests [YES YES YES! The PRIESTS! Thank you, Your Excellency, for remembering that this is also for the good of priests.] and for those lay people who will derive spiritual benefit from it. He is convinced, and I am of one mind with him, that having the richness of both Masses will be a benefit to the whole Church. [Wonderful. I would be happy to -shake this fellow’s hand-… er um… kiss His Excellency’s ring!] Thus we will continue to have the ordinary form of Pope Paul VI every Sunday in our parishes and the extraordinary form that can be celebrated on Sundays where there is a stable community [ugh] of faithful who wish it and where the parish has the priests and the resources to provide it. [This is entirely reasonable.]
The motu proprio itself explains that not all the questions that may arise during its implementation are answered by the Holy Father’s letter. This will be a “work in progress” as we see here in our diocese what are the desires of the faithful, how well these can or cannot be handled by the pastors, what options should be used to implement the letter in the most helpful way possible. Our diocesan Office for Worship is working with [not against] pastors as questions are raised, enquiries made and the proper response to the pastoral needs of the people are answered according to the norms the Holy Father [Not some chancery mandarin hostile to the Motu Proprio] has decreed. For example, the pastors have been sent a document from the U.S. bishops’ Committee on the Liturgy. This contains 40 questions and answers to various elements that need clarification in order to determine how best to implement the pope’s letter. In addition, the U.S. bishops have sent five other questions to the Holy See for clarification [!] and the motu proprio itself indicates that the Holy See is working to provide further helps regarding readings and the like that were not available in the Missal of Blessed John XXIII. Whenever pastors are faced with the possibility of the Mass on Sunday in their own parish, they need to abide by the norms of the pope’s motu proprio and they are urged to check with our Office for Worship which will help them in determining whether or not this Mass actually can take place in their parish. [Hmmm…. actually, I think the pastor can determine that for himself, if I read the MP correctly… and I think I do.]
In the meantime, the diocese is moving forward to work out the various issues that this new initiative has given to us. Let me give you two examples of the kinds of challenges we are seeking to meet. [I like this approach. He is direct and clear.] Father Pereda has been able with the help of a few priests to provide celebrants for the Mass at Uniondale and now at Cutchogue. Most priests today have never celebrated the Mass in Latin. [And none of them in English, given the quality of the lame-duck ICEL version we are sadly still using… but I digress… pay no attention to my irrelevant shot at the truly lousy old ICEL translation we are using as we wait and wait and waaaaaiiiit for the new translation, now years in the drafting….] Over the summer, the Office for Worship had to find out how many priests of our diocese could celebrate and were available to celebrate the Mass. Another issue was to find out where we could get the proper books, [A good point!] the Missale Romanum of Blessed John XXIII. The bishops’ Committee on the Liturgy provided that information with the 40 questions and answers that we received at the end of August.
Anyone my age remembers the Mass that nourished our spiritual life until the post-conciliar changes. All of us know how much the Mass of Paul VI has become the source and summit of our lives in the Church for almost 40 years now. As an altar boy I loved the Mass that was the center of our life as a parish in my boyhood home. I love it still. As a priest, I was joyous in having been ordained and, shortly thereafter, been in that first group of priests to make the transition to the Mass that nourishes us today in every parish in our diocese and around the world. It is the one same eucharistic sacrifice that has been the heart of the Church which received it from the Lord at the Last Supper when he told his first apostles, “Do this in memory of me.” The Church has been ever faithful in doing just that so that the Mass in Latin or Greek, in English or any other “mother tongue” is always the Mass of Jesus Christ, the one true source of life; for here we hear God’s Word proclaimed to raise and transform the hearts and minds of the people, here the priest proclaims the eucharistic prayer that brings the Kingdom of God once again into our world, here we are nourished by the Body and Blood of the Lord who has redeemed us and gives us His Spirit. May we be ever grateful to God and to the leadership of our beloved popes who have faithfully overseen our celebration of the One True Sacrifice of the Mass today in both the forms we now enjoy.
Another great statement from a diocesan bishop!
It is simultaneously warm, direct, and concrete.
He does not seem in the least anxious that his own authority is somehow going to be snatched away.
He sees this as a gift, though it also presents challenges. It will be of benefit. It is not an obstacle or set back.
There are no threats in it, no intimidation.
I especially like the fact that he included a declaration that this older form of Mass is also for the spiritual good of priests.
As a matter of fact, that might be the most important thing the bishop said.
Now… wasn’t that nice? Aren’t you glad to took the time to read that?