Bp. of Arlington makes a statment on the Motu Proprio

The Bishop of Arlington, Most Reverend Paul S. Loverde, has made a statement on the Motu Proprio in the The Catholic Herald.

My emphases and comments.

 

  On the 1962 Latin Mass

By Bishop Paul S. Loverde
Herald Columnist
(From the issue of 9/13/07)

The following letter from Arlington Bishop Paul S. Loverde is addressed to all priests of the diocese [Okay… he is talking to priets and letting other listen in.] and shared here with the lay faithful.

Sept. 13, 2007

Dear Brother Priests,
As you well know, on July 7, 2007, our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, promulgated an Apostolic Letter given Motu Proprio entitled Summorum Pontificum (The Care of the Supreme Pontiffs for Divine Worship): On the Use of the Roman Liturgy Prior to the Reform of 1970. In this Apostolic Letter, the Holy Father decrees that the celebration of the Mass in the Roman Rite encompasses two forms: the ordinary form, as contained in the Missale Romanum (the Roman Missal) of Pope Paul VI, promulgated in 1970; and an extraordinary form, as contained in the Missale Romanum first promulgated by Pope Saint Pius V following the Council of Trent and which, after several revisions under subsequent popes, was promulgated again in 1962 by Blessed John XXIII.

In Summorum Pontificum, Pope Benedict XVI reminds us that the Mass celebrated according to the Missal of Paul VI (the Novus Ordo Missae) remains the ordinary [probably in the sense of "usual"] expression of the Church’s law of prayer (lex orandi), while the Mass celebrated according to the Missal of Blessed John XXIII is to be regarded as the extraordinary expression of the law of prayer and should enjoy due honor “on account of its venerable and ancient use” (Summorum Pontificum, art. 1). Thus, these two forms are “two uses of the one Roman Rite.”

Before reflecting further on this Apostolic Letter and its implications for us, in light of my authority and responsibility as the moderator [It’s like they follow a template.] of the liturgy in this diocesan church (cf. Sancrosanctum Concilium, 22), I want to underscore, as both a reminder and an exhortation, that the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, whether in the ordinary or in the extraordinary form, be marked by a profound reverence for the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in our midst. [This is very good.] As our Holy Father states, the Church of Christ should “offer worthy worship to the Divine Majesty ‘for the praise and glory of his name’ and ‘for the good of all his Holy Church’” (Summorum Pontificum, paragraph 1).

In his “Letter to Bishops Accompanying Summorum Pontificum,” Pope Benedict notes the pastoral value, riches and holiness of the normal form — the forma ordinaria — of the Eucharistic Liturgy. “It is clearly seen that the new Missal will certainly remain the ordinary Form of the Roman Rite, not only on account of the juridical norms, but also because of the actual situation of the communities of the faithful” (Letter Accompanying Summorum Pontificum). [which is not a juridical document.] Therefore, the Holy Father reminds us, “The most sure guarantee that the Missal of Paul VI can unite parish communities and be loved by them consists in its being celebrated with great reverence in harmony with the liturgical directives. This will bring out the spiritual richness and theological depth of this Missal” (Letter Accompanying Summorum Pontificum).

Even as Pope Benedict XVI clearly envisions that the ordinary form — the Missal of Paul VI — will continue to be widely celebrated, he acknowledges that “in many places celebrations were not faithful to the prescriptions of the new Missal”(Letter Accompanying Summorum Pontificum). Moreover, the Pope also makes clear that “not a few of the faithful, including many young persons, have found in the Mass celebrated according to the Missal of Blessed John XXIII — the extraordinary form — a prayerful and spiritually uplifting encounter with the Lord, one that is nourished by the rules of the Church’s tradition. For this reason, as well as seeking to attain “an interior reconciliation in the heart of the Church” (Letter Accompanying Summorum Pontificum) with those for whom, sadly, the liturgy has become a source of division, Pope Benedict has decreed that the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite may be celebrated according to the conditions established in Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum. [Right.] I invite you to read attentively the text of Summorum Pontificum, not only to understand the conditions the Holy Father sets forth, but also his underlying vision of aiding the entire Church to progress in unity and organic continuity with the heritage of our liturgical tradition. [This is very good.  I am noticing that more bishops are starting to talk about the MP in terms of Benedict’s larger vision.  This is very good.] In our Holy Father’s words, “What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too. … It behooves all of us to preserve the riches which have developed in the Church’s faith and prayer, and to give them their proper place” (Letter Accompanying Summorum Pontificum).

Since 1969, priests have been trained in the seminary for the proper celebration of the Mass in accord with the Missal of Paul VI. In his “Letter Accompanying Summorum Pontificum,” the Holy Father referenced the need for “a certain degree of liturgical formation and some knowledge of the Latin language” in order that the Mass celebrated according to the Missal of Blessed John XXIII be carried out worthily and well. When permission was given in the spring of 2006 for the celebration of the Mass according to the 1962 Missal in two of our parishes (Saint Lawrence, Alexandria, and Saint John the Baptist, Front Royal), I appointed several priests to celebrate that form of the Mass with the request that they be sufficiently prepared. [This was reasonable.] Other priests may have also received training in the past. In keeping with the spirit of our Holy Father’s desire that the Mass in its extraordinary form be celebrated “worthily and well,” I request that priests send me a letter outlining the manner of their preparation prior to celebrating the Mass in its extraordinary form. [hmmm… this is not really required by the Motu Proprio, is it.  On the other hand, if it is just for the bishop’s opportune knowledge of who can do what, then it could be useful.  At the same time, the MP says all priests of the world have the right to use the older book at least in private.  Here the principle fabricando fabri fimus kicks into play.] In this way, I and our faithful will be assured that priests are capable of celebrating the extraordinary form of the Mass in a fitting and deserving manner. Moreover, I have asked our Office of Sacred Liturgy to arrange opportunities for training [This is very good.] in the celebration of the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite and the celebration of the sacraments according to the older ritual. Such training is intended to assist you in responding with generosity [nicely phrased] to the requests of the faithful and in serving their pastoral and spiritual needs. Further details will be communicated to you when such arrangements have been finalized.

Several of our pastors have received requests from their parishes to celebrate publicly the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite (cf. Summorum Pontificum, art. 5, §1). I ask that pastors inform the Office of Sacred Liturgy of their decision to celebrate publicly the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite. [Exactly right.  The pastor, the parish priest, makes the decision and let’s the chancery know for their opportune knowledge.  Very good.]  An updated list may then be maintained and will also be posted on the diocesan web site in order that the faithful may know in what parishes public celebrations of the extraordinary form occur.

May the two expressions of the law of prayer (lex orandi) bring about a renewal in our love and reverence for the liturgy!

Faithfully in Christ
Most Reverend Paul S. Loverde
Bishop of Arlington

All in all, a very good letter.  He makes some excellent points, especially about Pope Benedict’s vision for the Church through liturgy. 

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13 Responses to Bp. of Arlington makes a statment on the Motu Proprio

  1. Jeremy says:

    Isn’t this the bishop who permitted Indult Masses…along with female altar boys???

  2. Henry Edwards says:

    I request that priests send me a letter outlining the manner of their preparation prior to celebrating the Mass in its extraordinary form.

    Seriously, should it not be a prime responsibility of any bishop to insure that every Mass in his diocese, whether ordinary or extraordinary, is celebrated “worthily and well”? No bishop worth his consecration would allow an unqualified priest to celebrate any Mass, nor to celebrate without even examining his qualifications. However comical one might consider this, it would be natural to assume that recent graduation from an approved seminary assures qualification to celebrate the newer Mass. But qualification to celebrate the older Mass is a different matter that must be examined afresh.

    Surely the last thing we need is a bunch of Tridentine Masses celebrated sloppily by unqualified priests. But I fear that is exactly what will happen unless quality control is maintained. Or is a thing’s propensity for abuse sufficient excuse for not doing it at all?

  3. fr.franklyn mcafee says:

    If I am not mistaken deacons in the seminary prior to 1965 had to take an examination on the rubrics and assure the rector or faculty that they could celebrate the divine mysteries well.So today a bishop must see that those who celebrate the older mass know how to do it,but he must not be seen as doing it as an obstuctionist.I strongly believe that Bishop Loverde (my bishop)is doing this to make certain that the mass is said well.In mydiocese the bishop is quick to correct any priest who seriously violates the rubrics of the Pauline missal.He refused to bless a church until it had conformed to regulations i.e. pews,tabernacle in the sanctuary,and a crucifix with a suffering Christ .I notice that those who are saying that there are no priests who would say the 62 rite improperly are laity.I can think of a few who think they know how to say the usus antiquior -and they don’t know.What they think to be the 62 mass is what others have told them or what they remember. And they are not open to correction.

  4. dcs says:

    Henry Edwards writes:
    Seriously, should it not be a prime responsibility of any bishop to insure that every Mass in his diocese, whether ordinary or extraordinary, is celebrated “worthily and well”? No bishop worth his consecration would allow an unqualified priest to celebrate any Mass, nor to celebrate without even examining his qualifications. However comical one might consider this, it would be natural to assume that recent graduation from an approved seminary assures qualification to celebrate the newer Mass. But qualification to celebrate the older Mass is a different matter that must be examined afresh.

    What you suggest is reasonable on its face. However, it seems to me that if a bishop takes it upon himself to determine whether a priest is qualified, then he himself ought to be capable of celebrating the extraordinary use. Imagine a would-be Ph.D. in mathematics trying to defend his dissertation before a panel of English professors!

    So the idea of “quality control” is all well and good, but who is capable of controlling the quality? Some bishops (Abp. Burke and Bp. Bruskewitz come to mind) are capable of making this determination, because they celebrate the extraordinary use themselves from time to time. But how can a bishop who doesn’t celebrate the extraordinary use at least occasionally make a determination as to how a priest under his jurisdiction is qualified? Of course he can appoint someone else to make that determination, but then how does he determine who is qualified to be so appointed? Etc.

    So it seems to me that a bishop can best fulfill this responsibility to ensure that all public Masses in his diocese are celebrated “worthily and well” by being trained in the extraordinary use himself (assuming he’s been trained in the ordinary use already ;-)). Is this too much to ask of our bishops?

  5. “Isn’t this the bishop who permitted Indult Masses…along with female altar boys???”

    No, it is not. Of the roughly 75 parishes and missions of our diocese, only about 12 (last time I counted) used female altar servers.

    From where I sit (and I’ve got a really good view), there will be no undue attempts to prevent the celebration of the classical Roman liturgy in the Diocese of Arlington. Bishop Loverde has made ample provision for assisting those priests who wish to learn the Old Mass. Ensuring their competency is only reasonable, and given his support, even more so. He acted on such intentions months in advance of his public statement.

    I believe a man is judged more by what he does than by what he says. Fair enough, don’t you think?

    Or don’t you?

  6. Papabile says:

    David:

    H.E. Loverde most certainly did allow female altar servers at the discretion of the pastor…. at the same time as he allowed two indult Masses to begin. He did this, KNOWING the majority of the Priests in the diocese were opposed to it.

    In fairness, Bishop Keating had done the same, but restricted it to universities, convents, etc.

    In any case, while H.E. Loverde may provide the training, he’s not much for the extraordinary use. Will he obstruct it? I don’t think so.

  7. Papabile:

    The wording of the quote appeared to suggest that both were allowed in the same sitting. Thank you for the clarification. You are correct that the Old Mass is not Bishop Loverde’s preference. That this is so, has not stopped other bishops. I know for a fact that it will not stop him.

    In addition, and in fairness to Bishop Loverde, the norms for female altar servers for this diocese are written in such a way that, should females ever constitute a majority of servers at a parish, the practice of allowing them would be discontinued.

  8. mike says:

    Fr McAfee

    I sent the the chancery a note requesting dispensation from geographical boundaries (I’m in Reston and currenty attend mass in DC). That was 2 months ago and no response. Is a dispensation necessary? Is this even allowed? Do you all want my type at St John? I thought it would be nice to be a parishoner in the diocese I live in.

    Thanks. m

    (PS re Altar girls and indults- my recollection is that the declaration on both came out the same week. One indult parish is far in the sticks and the other is at least 45 minutes from my house. It was a meek gesture in my mind. The diocese is very orthodox when compared to some of the horror stories I’ve read but it is not traditional whatsoever from where the bishop sits ie boring novus ordo for all of my 40 yrs.)

  9. Father Anonymous says:

    Loverde is a taxing politician. i am not a priest in Arlington but I have many friends who are and they regard him as just that, a politician with a Napoleon Complex. I think that his statement is positive, but can only be read from that perspective. Had the pope not allowed the Traditional Mass, Loverde would have been at the front of the line issuing a statement on how we have to get beyond the T.M. Thank God Bishop Keating, the previous ordinary in Arlington, who although he didn’t allow the T.M., laid a good foundation of orthodoxy and fidelity among the clergy.

  10. mike says:

    Couple of traditional type priests got the bum’s rush when they started ferreting out some of the clerical depravity that was going on in their parishes. If iron fisted is orthodox then Arlington has it in spades.

    m

  11. fr.franklyn mcafee says:

    Mike,You dont need the bishop’s permission to join another parish but you do need that pastor’s consent.Technically you also need the permission of the pastor of the parish you reside in.My policy is to ask the prospective parishioner to write me a letter asking to join and state it is for spiritual reasons.I generally say yes and do not require that the person ask their own pastor which could be embarassing.We have a good number os people from other [arishes.Of course you do not need permission to attend anywhere just to officially join.Youalso should stay within your own diocese.

  12. mike says:

    Fr. McAfee,

    Thanks! I’ll follow through.

    m

  13. Still nothing from the Diocese of Richmond to the south.