We know that at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary (USA) the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum has been well and properly received. How about other seminaries? What is going on?
Here is a note (edited by me) which I received from a seminarian at the Pontifical College Josephinum in the USA.
My emphases and comments.
I am a seminarian at the Pontifical College Josephinum and am writing to tell you about what the rector told seminarians in his talk on the Motu Proprio during one of our formation conferences as part of a series he is doing on Catholic tradition. He gave us what you call the party line, although somewhat adapted to a seminary setting. …
Here are the basics of the rectors talk… based on my memory and not on any sort of official document. My comments are in parenthesis. Here’s what he said:
- He (and the other priests here) kept/keep calling it the Tridentine Mass, not the extraordinary form. [Two points about this. If we say "Tridentine" Mass, everybody knows exactly what you mean even though it is a sloppy term at best. So, I can’t get worked up about this. However, when in a professional setting (such as a seminary), better terminology should be used as a matter of course.]
- He said he has been asked what he is going to do to implement the MP, which he thought was interesting because seminaries are not mentioned in the MP. [However, the MP says that priests must be idonei to celebrate this form of Mass if they are going to tackle it. Priests have to be idonei and able to function in their RITE. This form of Mass is part and parcel of the Roman Rite for which men in that seminary are being trained. Also, remember that the 1983 Code of Canon Law requires… it doesn’t suggest it… that seminarians be "very well trained" in Latin (bene calleant). The seminary has a duty to the seminarians to form them in this regard. Not to do so seems to me to be an injustice, since they are set up to train Catholic priests in the things they need for their ministry and spiritual lives.]
- The Pope’s accompanying letter is actually more important than the Motu Proprio itself because the MP is tersely worded and meant only to be a juridical document. [This is like saying that apples are more important than oranges.]
- I don’t recall his exact words, but he said that it is clear from the Pope’s letter that the MP is meant for those who were affected by the change of the liturgy after Vatican II (i.e. those of questionable unity, etc.). [That is clearly not the case. The MP is not limited in this way.]
- The MP does not intend to set up a parallel rite to the Novus Ordo. [Odd thing to say if they do not intend to train seminarians in the older form. If there truly are not two different Rites, but one single Roman Rite in two "uses", then the seminary which must train the men in the Roman Rite had better get crackin’ and also help with the older use. Or am I missing something?]
- The Pope expects that celebrations of the Tridentine Mass will be rare because the Pope writes that these celebrations presuppose a certain level of liturgical catechesis and knowledge of Latin, which aren’t often found in parishes, [Absurd. Simply absurd.]
- The whole tone of the MP is restrictive. (Yes that is what the rector actually said). [Ha ha! That’s actually so silly that it’s funny!]
- While priests may use the 1962 missal when they so choose, that these celebrations are to be in private and the faithful may only attend of their own volition. (I guess this was in opposition to public celebrations, which I am guessing he thinks must be asked for by the faithful). [How else will people attend any Mass than "of their own volition"? I have this image in my head of priests on horseback, roping and hog-tying people and dragging them into the chapel.]
- The Pope does not intend to encourage a general wider use of the 1962 Missal in the Church, rather this is a pastoral provision for certain members of the faithful [Again, this is silly. The Holy Father is clearly providing that there be more celebrations of the older form of Mass precisely so that healing of certain dimensions of the Church’s fabric and life can begin.]
- Priests are not to promote or proselytize parishioners for this form of Mass [I cannot imagine where he got that. It seems to me that priests are perfectly free to make recommendations about this, using prudence and correct information. What they are not free to do is disparage either use of Mass.]
- He seemed to think that the priest needs to know enough Latin to pronounce words correctly and know what he is praying. [Certainly it is true the priest must be able to pronounce the words properly (within reason, of course). That is a sine qua non for celebrating any Mass in any language. But "know what he is praying"? How much knowledge must he have? It is entirely reasonable to hope that all priests have a very good comprehension, at least in general if not in every detail. But consider this: I could probably scare pretty thoroughly 99/100 priests who know some Latin just by asking a few pointed questions about a couple hard terms in the Mass texts or precisely what some word is doing in a prayer. I rush to say, however, that if he couldn’t answer, he would still be idoneus as far I was concerned provided he could read the Latin in a decent way. I also repeat that seminaries are required by law to make sure that seminarians are very well-trained in Latin.]
- I may have misunderstood, but I he also seemed to say that the faithful who request the celebrations of weddings, funerals, and the other sacraments according to the older form also have to have knowledge of Latin. [He could not have said something that weird.]
- The Novus Ordo is actually closer to the Mass of the Apostolic age [LOL! Good one!]
- The Eucharistic Prayer of Hippolytus, which is the basis for Eucharistic Prayer II, is actually older than the Roman Canon. [This is a problem. The text we call the Apostolic Constitution of Hippolytus cannot possibly be an ancient anaphora. As a result, this cannot be the case. There is good scholarship on this now, which supercedes what most priests learned in rcent years. It is hard to blame any priest who repeats this. We need to get the word out.]
- The seminary version of we are already doing enough because we have Novus Ordo Latin Mass once a month [not often enough] (on Thursdays, not Sundays, I might add), Latin is taught here, which is not done at all seminaries, we sing the Salve Regina after vespers everyday, [that’s nice but… ] we sometimes use Latin hymns and sometimes sing the Sanctus, Agnus Dei, etc in the English Mass. So the seminary is doing what it can to help us with Latin. [The issue is not the language. The issue is learning the older form of Mass.]
- He mentioned that, in the past, deacons would spend the entirety of their last year learning the rubrics for Mass.[And this is a bad thing? Would that such attention was given to the rubrics of the newer form of Mass. My course would begin with the principle "Say the Black. Do the Red". Then there would be a check to make sure students were not wearing rose-colored glasses, which makes it hard to See the Red. The older form of Mass is certainly more precise than the newer, but… harder? Not once you get used to it. This isn’t exactly like learning about string-theory, after all.]
- Since the Josephinum is not operated by a diocese, it responds to the needs of all the bishops who send men here.[I think that the people at the Josephinum should consider that the HOLY FATHER has clarified that there is one Roman Rite in two uses. At the ordination for priesthood the rector or his delegate must stand up and declare that the candidates have been trained and are suitable for ordination. I think this ought to embrace training to say Mass in their RITE.]
- Basically the whole talk, in my opinion, was to justify why the Josephinum will not be doing anything. [Then pressure must come from both bishops, seminarians and… well… other interested parties.]
(Perhaps to imply that requiring students to learn this form of Mass would overburden them, or the faculty, or the seminary schedule) They will happily assist any bishops, in whatever way possible, who would like men trained in this rite, but as of present no such requests have been made by any bishop. These things suggest that the need is not great.
I just thought someone should know how the MP was received at the only Pontifical seminary outside Italy. The thing that disturbs me the most is that I know a lot of guys here will assume the rector is right and have a wrong idea about the MP.
I must return for a moment to the main point we should derive from this.
There is, at least juridically speaking, one Roman Rite, not two. The one Roman Rite is expressed in two uses. Seminarians for the Latin Church must be trained to use their Roman Rite. Thus, they ought to be trained for both uses and not just one.
The Motu Proprio presents us with many challenges. It has really changed the whole picture for the liturgical dimension of priestly formation.
The Motu Proprio is mostly about the rights of priests. Thus, it has great importance for seminaries. It cannot be ignored in seminaries.