A kind reader sent me a transcription of the guidelines for implementing Benedict XVI’s Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum in the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown where His Excellency Most Reverend Joseph V. Adamec presides. We have seen this diocese’s work on the Motu Proprio before back on 5 August. The original statement was very guarded. Now we can see the actual guidelines.
I did not make the transcription. I had to clean it up a bit. So, with that disclaimer…
My emphases and comments.
For the celebration of Mass in the Extraordinary Form
Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown
The Holy Spirit has prompted our Holy Father [This is a promising start!] to address the matter of the [so-called] Tridentine Mass. With his issuance of a Motu Proprio, taking effect on the 14th of September, 2007, Pope Benedict XVI has allowed priests [Well… okay. But we need to start moving away from the idea that this is a special permission. It is now merely part and parcel of the priests regular options.] of the Roman Catholic Church to celebrate Mass according to the 1962 Missal, without any further permission but under certain conditions. Since it is important to read the document carefully, I wish to issue the following guidelines for our Diocesan Church. This I do for the sake of liturgical unity and integrity, in accord with the Holy Father’s admonition to us bishops. In his letter accompanying the Motu Proprio, he wrote the following: "… I very much wish to stress that these new norms do not in any way lessen your own authority and responsibility, either for the liturgy or for the pastoral care of your faithful. Each Bishop, in fact, is the moderator of the liturgy in his own Diocese." [cough]
The Holy Father acknowledges the fact that many priests may not demonstrate a rubrical or linguistic ability to celebrate the extraordinary form of the Eucharistic Liturgy. In that case, a priest may not celebrate that particular form of Mass nor is he obligated to learn to do so. [This is an odd way to put it, no?] Provided that a priest possesses the required rubrical and linguistic ability to celebrate the extraordinary form of Mass, the following come into play.
1. The Roman Missal promulgated by Pope Paul VI is to be regarded as the ordinary expression of the law of prayer [This is a very odd phrase. Lex orandi lex credendi isn’t really a juridical point. It is a theological concept. This statement seems to be mixing categories in a strange way.] of the Catholic Church of the Latin Rite. A priest celebrating Mass according to the extraordinary form may not do so exclusively; but, needs to celebrate also the Mass in the ordinary form as an expression of his not denying the validity of the Mass commonly used today. [This is strange. If a priest were in, say, a parish established by the bishop where only the older form is celebrated, then he would not be "required" there to say the newer Mass. But this language of "may not" and "needs" in order to prove he doesn’t "deny" something is odd. What jumped into my mind when I read this, and this is truly an exaggeration on my part, is the requirement during the era of persecutions in the early Church that Christians offer a sacrifice of incense to the genius of the Emperor. An exaggeration, of course. But in a weird way, I had this image of a priest being jumped in the dark, a hood put over his head, and being taken to a dark room where diocesan chancery personnel would then invite Father to celebrate the newer Mass in their presence as a sign of "unity".]
2. Any priest of the Latin Rite that [who] has the rubrical and linguistic ability may celebrate Mass in the extraordinary form without the Faithful (privately) at any time except during the Sacred Triduum. Christ’s Faithful who spontaneously request it, may join the priest. No permission is required.
3. Communities or Institutes of Consecrated Life or Societies of Apostolic Life of either pontifical or diocesan rite may use the extraordinary form of the Mass for their community celebrations in their own oratories by permission of their own major superior.
4. Should a pastor decide [And the provisions of Summorum Pontificum say that the "pastor…parochus" is the one to decide.] to celebrate or allow the celebration of one of the regularly scheduled Masses in a parish in accord with the extraordinary form (Missal of Blessed John X)(ffl), it must be in response to a request from a group (coetus/association) ["association"…hmmm… that makes coetus sound a bit more formal, or formalized, that is, less fluid, than it is.] within his particular parish (member parishioners) that has existed and has been attached to the previous liturgical tradition steadfastly (that is: for some time; stabiliter [NO! NO! NOT STABILITER! NO! The word is CONTINENTER!] existit NB: This was subsequently clarified. ) [This is very interesting. Whoever wrote this is trying to stick closely to what the Latin of Summorum Pontificum says. For that the writer is to be commended. However, if that is the case, there are problems. First, to say "existed and has been attached" suggests two verbs in the Latin. In the Latin the concept "attached" is expressed in an active participle going with the fidelium (genitive plural) who make up the coetus. This confusion of the verbal forms creates an problem down the line with the idea of "steadfastly", even if the writer of this document (and I can’t think the bishop would have misquoted the Motu Proprio), had actually quoted the M.P. accurately. The adverb continenter goes with exsistit and not with adhaerentium! What the diocesan statement suggests is that the attachment of the coetus fidelium has to have been steadfast. What the provision in Summorum Pontificum says is that the coetus has to be around steadfastly. It does not have to apply to the presence of a group in the past. It can also refer to the present and future. So, this statement is looking in the right direction, I think. It is sloppy, however.]. He may not do so as a result of his own personal preference. [Remember: the priest himself can be one of the faithful who make up of the coetus.] I ask that requests be presented to the pastor in writing, including names and addresses. These should be kept on file at the parish. [And then the pastor, or perhaps trusted parishioners wearing armbands, must stand at the entrance of the church and match the addresses on file with the id’s of those attempting to enter for Mass, saying: "Give me your PAPERS!" Once the id’s are confirmed, the attendees will be required to wear a yellow traditional looking cross on their clothing while on the premises.] In order to preserve unity within a parish, the Parish Pastoral Council is to be consulted in regard to any change. [A parish council does not have any authority in this matter, nor are parish councils mentioned by the Motu Proprio. The PASTOR is, however.] Groups composed of individuals belonging to various parishes are to approach the Diocesan Bishop. [So that they can be examined, their addresses confirmed. "No papers?! RAUS MIT EUCH!"]
5. The entire schedule of Masses in a parish may not be in accord [What does that mean?] with the extraordinary form, as this would make it a "personal parish" for which the diocesan bishop’s permission is required.
6. Whenever Mass is celebrated according to the extraordinary form, all rubrics for that form of Mass must be observed; including prayers, language, vestments, Holy Communion under one form on the tongue, only boy altar servers, and postures (both of the celebrant and the faithful if present [Okay… this seems to say that people may not stand (even if they are crippled) nor may they receive Communion in the hand, even if they prefer. Got it.] ). The Roman Canon is always used. [Does the writer not know that this is the only possibility in the older book?]
7. In order to assure that a priest has the rubrical and linguistic ability to celebrate the extraordinary form of Mass within the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown, acknowledgement of such is to be obtained from our Diocesan Office of Liturgy. ["Guten Abend, Pater. Dein Ausweis, bitte!"] This is only logical. [Nooo… this is only a double standard. Will priests saying the newer Mass be required to obtain a special "license", or should I say Ausweis, from some chancery mandarin whose Latin and rubrical knowledge should be a matter of scrutiny? Let’s say there is a priest from Nigeria celebrating the newer form of Mass in that diocese. Will he be examined to determine if every person in the congregation can understand him at the altar and ambo? Say there is a home-boy of the diocese who is to say Mass in Spanish. Will there be a test? Will the chancery also test priests to see if they understand the readings at Mass? What of the ordinary prayers? What do they really mean? Will they test their knowledge of the GIRM? THAT would be only "logical" given this "guideline".] Many of our priests have never celebrated Mass according to the Missal of Blessed John XXIII. [And I wonder if we can say also, "Many of our priests have never adhered to all the rubrics of the Novus Ordo."] Others, who have, have not done so for some time. Our seminaries assure bishops that those leaving to function as priests have the necessary knowledge and facility to celebrate Mass in the current form. Perhaps, in the future, they will also do the same in regard to the extraordinary form. In the interim, the matter will be handled ["Your PAPERS! AUSWEIS SCHNELL!] on a diocesan basis.
The Holy Father asks for charity and pastoral prudence in any consideration of celebrating the Mass in accord with the extraordinary form (according to the Missal of Blessed John XXIII). That same charity and pastoral prudence need to be exercised within our own Diocesan Church. The guidelines delineated above are intended in such a spirit of charity and prudence. [cough
I take this opportunity to encourage the appropriate reverence and harmony in celebrating the Mass according to either form, ensuring the unity of which it is to be a sign. [This is a very good statement.] The Eucharistic Liturgy of the Church is a treasure currently entrusted to us to preserve and pass on to future generations of the Faithful.
(Most Rev.) Joseph V. Adamec
Bishop of Altoona-Johnstown
August 20, 2007
What would the modern day ecclesiastical equilvalent of the Horst Wessel Song be,… perhaps Gather Us In?
I’m just musing, of course. Just a non sequitur.