Official statement of the D. of Peoria on Summorum Pontificum

An official letter, or instruction, I am not sure what to call it, has been issued by the Office of Divine Worship of the Diocese of Peoria, headed I am guessing by Fr. Stanely Deptula, whose name appears at the top. 

I want to emphasize that this is not over the signature of the Bishop, Most Reverend Daniel Robert Jenky.  

My emphases and comments

Office of Divine Worship

607 NE Madison Avenue
Peoria, Illinois 61603
Telephone: 309-671-1561
Fax: 309-671-5079

To:         Priests of the Diocese of Peoria
From:      Fr. Stanley Deptula
Date:      September 10, 2007
Re:          Celebrations of the "tridentine" Mass

On September 14, 2007, the Motu Proprio of the Holy Father regarding the celebration of the Mass according to the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite will take effect. While Bishop Jenky expects ["Theoden King has decided that Eomer should be banished."] that the vast majority of our parishes and parishioners will not experience any changes [hmmm… that "expects" in what sense of the word?] in their celebration of Mass, after discussions at the recent Presbyteral Council some concerns remain among the priests and faithful of our diocese.

For Lay Faithful desiring to participate in Mass celebrated according the Missal of 1962 (the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite or the so-called "Tridentine" Mass):

Currently, two parishes in our diocese offer the Traditional Mass every Sunday. By the end of the calendar year, we expect [there it is again] that five parishes throughout our diocese will offer this Mass regularly and at a variety of times for the convenience of the faithful. A full listing of these parishes will be available soon.

For Lay Faithful desiring to participate in Mass celebrated according to the Missal of 2000 (the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite or the so-called "Novus Ordo" Mass):

[Now pay attention to the vocabulary here…] The "Novus Ordo" Mass is the ordinary way [So… what does "ordinary" mean here compared to "extraordinary".  This is something that needs more consideration.] of celebrating Mass. Parishioners need not fear that the Traditional Mass will be imposed on them or that they will be "surprised" by a pastor arbitrarily choosing to change the way that Mass is celebrated in a parish. [I wonder if this, by the dichotomy set up by paragraphs consciously dividing the faithful into these two groups that, as a consequence, the faithful who want the 1962 form of Mass "need not hope" that their needs will be met in their parishes, even if there is a group who desires it.] Most Catholics in our Diocese will not experience any change in they way they experience Sunday Mass because of this Motu Proprio.  [Will abuses be corrected if their are any?]

For Pastors desiring to celebrate Mass according to the Missal of 1962:

While [Notice… another interesting choice of words, no?  It sets us up for a contrast, just watch…] the Motu Proprio gives permission for the Private Celebration of Masses according to the Traditional Rite, [without further permission of the Holy See or local bishop] it also states repeatedly the Bishop’s obligation to safeguard the celebration [cf. "the Party Line"] of the Sacraments in his diocese. In coming statements, Bishop Jenky will provide means for priests who wish to learn the linguistic and ritual requirements of the 1962 Missal.  [Okay… that is positive.]

As the "chief moderator" of the liturgy [cf. "the Party Line"]  in this Diocese, and in accord with Motu Proprio, the Bishop will not allow [!?!] any priest to celebrate the extraordinary form without his first demonstrating a working understanding of Latin [in other words, a test.  Remember, everyone, this goes beyond the provisions of the Motu Proprio.  The MP says a priest must be idoneus, "capable… qualified".  This refers to a minimum qualification, not expertise.  As Cardinal Egan pointed out, the priest must be able to pronounce the words properly.  He does NOT have to have a "working understanding" of the Latin language.  Just what does that mean, "working understanding"?  A priest who does what I do, who is a writer and theologian, focused on the Fathers of the Church, has to have a working knowledge of Latin.  But for me a working knowledge is different from, say, a parish priest who needs Latin for entirely different reasons.  Of course it is better if the all priests know Latin well.  However, what the statement in this worship office memo implies goes far beyond the provisions of the Motu Proprio.] and a knowledge of the rubrics of the 1962 Missal. Pastoral sense and theological principal make it clear […] that priests ought not to celebrate a Mass, even privately, if they are unable to ofter the Mass properly and reverently. No priest may impose his personal ritual preference on his parish.  [And no one but the Roman Pontiff could have issued Summorum Pontificum.  Note that we have a reference to "pastoral sense" and "theological principle".  Pastoral sense should also include the spiritual well-being of priests, too.  I think tests and a measure of intimidation might be inconsistent with that.  "Theological principal" is invoked.  I guess this means that the priest must understand what he is saying?  Okay, tests begin immediately also for non-hispanic priests pretending to understand what they are saying when they say Mass in Spanish, or other languages.  Let’s start the tests for the foreign born priests serving in a parish so we can ascertain if they really grasp the English of the Mass, colloquial language used in the confessional and the harder to understand language of children, what people say in counseling or marriage prep.  Let’s test the parishioners to see if they understand the foreign born priest’s accented English.  And if we want to talk about "pastoral sense" and "theological principle", let’s talk also about the interpretive principles of canon law, whereby laws which favor people (e.g., a priest) are to be interpreted as generosly as possible (odiosa restringenda).  I must say even the way this memo is written is simply dire.]

For Pastors who are unable to offer Mass according to the 1962 Missal when approached by parishioners: The Holy Father asks pastors to offer Mass according to the Traditional Rite when a stable group of parishioners request. A number of Cardinals [Oh yes?!?  Who would they be precisely?  I hope readers here will try to dig up their names and send them to me.  And when are they to listened to if the distinguished canonist and Latinist Card. Egan has pretty clearly explained the MP in very different terms?] have commented that a "group" of parishioners could mean anywhere from 40 – 300 parishioners. [Oh my oh my oh my… does this stumble badly.  The MP does not apply a minimum number in any way.  The word coetus is probaly as small as three, and the priest himself can be one of them.] All of the requests that have come to the attention of the Office of Divine Worship or the Bishop’s Office have been from individuals or very small groups. Pastors should refer these small groups [Actually, I think the MP says pretty explicitly that the pastor is to receive the petitions of groups favorably.  Does it not?]or individuals to the various, regular celebrations of the Traditional Mass that are offered around our diocese.

If any priests do not have a copy of the actual document released by the Holy See and would like one, please contact Laurie at the Chancery– 309-671-1561.

Folks… this is … well… not one of the best pieces I have seen on the Motu Proprio.

Please note that this was not issued over the signature of the Bishop.

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