Excitement over very strange news piece: a Memo on seminarians and the old Mass

There is a little item from Adkronos piece going around which has a few people excited.  However, this item is simply weird.

 Citta’ del Vaticano, 17 nov. (Adnkronos) – E’ allo studio una circolare rivolta ai seminari in cui si chiede di insegnare ai futuri sacerdoti anche la celebrazione della messa in latino. A quanto si apprende da autorevoli fonti, il dicastero presieduto dal cardinale Dario Castrillon Hoyos, tra i principali caldeggiatori del ritorno della messa secondo il rito preconciliare, starebbe pensando ad una circolare indirizzata ai seminaristi che nella pratica vuole rivolgersi direttamente a quei vescovi che, ‘disobbedendo’ al motu proprio del Papa, non ne vogliono sapere di celebrare la messa secondo il rito di San Pio V.

We will leave aside the simply dreaful Italian.  Second, a main point of this item is that the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei" would be putting out a memo (circolare) to seminarians

That is, of course, absurd.  However, something prompted this bizarre little piece.  So, after some digging, we find this longer piece in Adkronos:

Here are the bullet points:

  • There are "disobedient" bishops out there.  While the president of the conference, Archbp. (Card.) Bagnasco of Genoa implemented the document, some other Italian bishops were relatively cold about it.
  • The Pontifical Commission is preparing a memorandum for seminaries which asks them to teach seminarians also to say the older form of Mass.  This is from the concern of Card. Castrillon Hoyos that seminarians may have bishops who are "disobedient" in this matter.
  • The memorandum is still in an "embryonic state".
  • The director of the Holy See’s publication Latinitas, Fr. Anacelto Pavanetto is happy about all this: "This initiative could be a first step for getting the situation into hand.  Because until there is a strong hand, there will always be disobedient parish priests and bishops who refuse to celebrate Mass in Latin".  (I’m unsure whether he means the old Mass or also the Novus Ordo.)
  • "In this regard, the director of the Vatican journal recalled that ‘until three years ago there was a meeting every week to prepare documents addressed especially to seminary instructors and more generally to those teaching in institutes of the Catholic Church, which were precisely about the fact that the Latin language is obligatory.  Then, once Pope Wojtyla died, nothing else was done about it.  The problem (the director insisted again) is that no one has the courage to take humanism up again.  So, I say that a memo addressed for future priests could be an important step, but a strong hand is necessary above all"
  • The article recalls, as WDTPRS also did, that the President of the PCED had an audience with Pope Benedict a few days ago.
  • The article points out that many priests don’t know how to say the old Mass, and they need to study it.  In that case the PCED could placed priests who know the older form at the disposal of those who make requests.

That last point is absurd, of course.  As much I love the idea of a phone ringing in the offices of an expanded Commission, priests in cassocks and birettas sliding down fire poles, dashing to motorcycles, zipping off on jets with their Vatican passports to say Mass for groups who make requests…. Vincenzo could have fun with that… I think the resources the PCED could provide would be of a more general nature.

Hmm… there could be some amusing short stories based on that idea, couldn’t there…. but I digress.

Anyway, here is the longer Adkronos piece in Italian.

Città del Vaticano, 17 nov. (Adnkronos/Ign) – ‘Disobbedienti’, contro il ‘motu proprio’ di Ratzinger sulla messa in latino che liberalizza il vecchio rito di San Pio V. Autori dell’obiezione silenziosa, del sabotaggio senza clamore non solo i parroci ma anche alcuni vescovi del Belpaese, da Torino a Palermo. E se mon. Bagnasco a Genova ha subito applicato il documento papale, all’ombra di Superga il card. Poletto avrebbe ammonito che ”la liturgia non può essere una stravaganza personale”, augurandosi che ”nessuno esca con queste richieste”, mentre a Palermo l’arcivescovo Romeo, secondo alcune fonti riferite oggi da ‘La Stampa’, avrebbe addirittura avuto delle consultazioni riservate con alcuni colleghi per tentare di frenare l’applicazione del ‘motu proprio’. Autorevoli riserve sono state inoltre espresse dal card. Martini e dall’arcivescovo di Pisa Plotti. Il malumore per il ritorno del vecchio rito preconciliare è stato raccolto anche dal segretario della Congregazione per il Culto, l’arcivescovo Albert Ranjith, che ha denunciato le "proteste" di diversi vescovi.

La circolare, sempre a quanto riferiscono le fonti, sarebbe ancora allo "stato embrionale" ma, a quanto si afferma, è tutta intenzione dell’Ecclesia Dei presieduta dal cardinale Castrillon emanare una circolare in cui ci si rivolge direttamente ai seminari, chiedendo l’introduzione dello studio del rito tridentino per i futuri preti. Un’iniziativa, questa, alla quale si sta pensando "seriamente" da qualche tempo e che riceve il plauso del direttore di ‘Latinitas’, don Anacleto Pavanetto. Afferma il presule: "Questa iniziativa potrebbe essere un primo passo per riprendere in mano la situazione. Perché finché non ci sarà una mano forte ci saranno sempre parroci e vescovi disobbedienti che si rifiutano di celebrare la messa in latino".

La situazione sconforta il dicastero del cardinale Castrillon che nei giorni scorsi è stato ricevuto in udienza privata dal Papa. Tra i problemi legati alla celebrazione della messa secondo il rito di San Pio V c’è anche il fatto che molti sacerdoti non sono ‘abilitati’ per la celebrazione, nel senso che non ricordano a memoria il vecchio rito e non se la sentono di rimettersi a studiare. In questo caso l’Ecclesia Dei, sempre a quanto riferiscono le fonti, mette a disposizione suoi sacerdoti disposti ad andare a celebrare la messa in latino per quanti la richiedono. 

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22 Responses to Excitement over very strange news piece: a Memo on seminarians and the old Mass

  1. I may be wrong, but isn’t “seminari” — the plural of “seminario” –
    the word for “seminaries.” I believe
    that Italian for “seminarians” is “seminaristi.”?

  2. Berolinensis says:

    Father, this is today confirmed by Marco Tossati of La Stampa. According to an article of his (my translation): “In fact, the Vatican – the Commission “Ecclesia Dei” – wants to issue a circular letter in order to require the study of the old Mass in the seminaries.”
    He is also putting it in the context of a response of the Vatican to a “revolt” of some bishops against the Motu Proprio. See: http://paparatzinger-blograffael…a- riunioni.html

  3. Yes… I know its a story.  I posted the story.  We know it is intended for SEMINARIES.

    However: “una circolare indirizzata ai seminaristi”

  4. Berolinensis says:

    Father, I don’t know whether “Yes… I know its a story. I posted the story.” was intended as a reply to my comment. If so, I apologize, it was just meant to show that this isn’t just something by some obscure agency, but also mentioned by a quite well-known vaticanista like M. Tosatti, whose article, as far as I can see, you hadn’t posted. Here it is:

    MARCO TOSATTI

    CITTÀ DEL VATICANO
    Una rivolta strisciante, contro il «Motu Proprio» di Benedetto XVI che liberalizza la vecchia messa di san Pio V: da Torino e Milano, fino a Palermo, passando per alcune diocesi del centro, è in corso una vera e propria silenziosa forma di sabotaggio.

    Che non è appannaggio solo dell’Italia; e infatti il Vaticano – la commissione «Ecclesia Dei» – vuole emanare una circolare per chiedere lo studio della vecchia messa nei seminari.

    E proprio ieri l’Osservatore Romano insisteva: «Sulla liturgia è necessario confrontarsi senza alcun pregiudizio».

    L’esperto don Nicola Bux ricorda che «la tradizione è necessaria e l’innovazione ineluttabile, ed entrambe sono nella natura del corpo ecclesiale come del corpo umano. Non si oppongono ma sono complementari e interdipendenti».

    Ma i casi di «obiezione» serpeggiano. A Torino, il 2 ottobre scorso il cardinale Poletto, parlando con il clero giovane, secondo quanto afferma il sito «Una vox» (mai smentito) avrebbe messo in guardia dal celebrare la Messa nella forma straordinaria del Rito Latino, dicendo: «La liturgia non può essere una stravaganza personale… Mi auguro che nella diocesi di Torino nessuno esca con queste richieste». E avrebbe aggiunto: «A Torino ci sono i picchiati del latino, quelli che vanno alla Misericordia!». E naturalmente il sito tradizionalista si chiede se il porporato «non intenda dare del “picchiato del latino” anche al Sommo Pontefice, il Papa Benedetto XVI, il quale è uscito con questa “stravaganza personale”»?

    Da Torino alla Sicilia, dove, secondo informazioni di ottima fonte l’arcivescovo di Palermo, Paolo Romeo, avrebbe avuto delle consultazioni riservate con alcuni colleghi della conferenza episcopale siciliana per vedere se fosse possibile una qualche azione in modo da frenare l’applicazione del Motu proprio.

    A Milano la diocesi si era trincerata dietro la diversità di rito (ambrosiano) per annunciare che il Motu proprio non sarà applicato nei territori dove vige la liturgia ambrosiana. La decisione è stata presa perché nel documento papale si menziona soltanto il «rito romano».
    Un’altra voce contraria era quella del vescovo di Alba, monsignor Sebastiano Dho, che sul settimanale paolino «Vita pastorale» si diceva perplesso sulla possibilità di seguire la liturgia tridentina non solo nella Messa ma anche nei Sacramenti.
    Ma forse l’episodio più curioso, e inquietante, riguarda la Curia di Chieti, di cui è presule monsignor Bruno Forte. I titolari di un sito religioso ligure, che ha pubblicato sia il Motu Proprio che il vecchio messale, hanno ricevuto una telefonata dalla Curia arcivescovile di Chieti, che delicatamente criticava la loro decisione. «Ma che c’entra la Curia di Chieti, noi siamo di Chiavari, e il nostro vescovo non ci ha detto niente», hanno risposto. «E poi quando esce un documento del Papa, quale vescovo può impedirci di metterlo sul sito»? Nel seguito della telefonata, surreale, è stato detto al responsabile del sito che «la Cei non vuole». È stato facile obiettare che a Genova, il presidente della Cei, monsignor Bagnasco ha applicato subito il documento papale. «Ma forse è meglio scoraggiare», è stato l’estremo tentativo dell’interlocutore di Chieti. La contrarietà del cardinale Martini, che da Gerusalemme si è espresso subito contro la decisione papale è nota, così come quella di monsignor Brandolini, Vescovo di Sora, Aquino e Pontecorvo e membro della Commissione liturgica della Cei: «Non riesco a trattenere le lacrime, sto vivendo il momento più triste della mia vita di vescovo e di uomo», ha detto. Era il braccio destro di monsignor Bugnini, autore della riforma liturgica nel post Concilio.

    © Copyright La Stampa, 18 novembre 2007

  5. chris K says:

    Besides that accompanying original letter to bishops re: the TLM, shouldn’t one expect now some kind of a further instruction/appeal to parish priests/pastors, by-passing bishops, that would back up the authority of the priest on his own to encourage the Latin and to learn it which ever way he chooses? The priests would then have something of their own to offer up to unsupportive bishops. Also, brother priests who witness the foot dragging and excuses of the others could admonish or refer them to such an instruction/letter. This would really help in our diocese. That emphasis in the article above of the need of a strong hand really hits the nail on the head.

  6. A seminarian says:

    This is very odd as it would seem that such a letter could not come from the PCED, but rather, the Congregation for Catholic Education. It has been my understanding that the PCED simply does not have this sort of authority. Just an observation.

  7. chironomo says:

    I’m sure most of you do read other, less like-minded blogs, but I was visiting one in particular today, and I can tell you this much… they are going NUTS about all of this…It seems that they are finally coming to see that the their original idea that SP would have “no real effect” was a major delusion…and they are coming to quickly realize that they are being boxed in by the actual law of the Church and they don’t know what to do… it’s a little bit humorous actually!

  8. Hank_F_M says:

    One good rumor deserves another.

    From Catholic Citizens

    The Extraordinary Form in English

    IT SHOULD BE CLEARLY UNDERSTOOD BY ALL THAT THE EDITION OF THE 1962 MISSAL PUBLISHED IN THE UNITED STATES IN 1964 IS IDENTICAL TO THE EDITIO TYPICA OF THE MISSAL PUBLISHED IN 1962 IN EVERY RESPECT EXCEPT THAT THE PARTS OF THE MASS ENUMERATED ABOVE a) THROUGH g) ARE IN ENGLISH INSTEAD OF LATIN. ALL RUBRICS, ALL PRAYERS, ALL OTHER TEXTS ARE IDENTICAL IN BOTH THE 1962 AND THE 1964 EDITIONS OF THE MISSAL OF BLESSED POPE JOHN XXIII.

    The use of the vernacular (English) in the celebration of the Extraordinary Form of the Mass is therefore legitimate and is clearly in keeping with the mind of the Second Vatican Council and Pope Benedict XVI.

    +Rene Henry Gracida, Bishop Emeritus of Corpus Christi

  9. GCC Catholic says:

    Hank,

    Though I’d gladly change position on this if PCED or the Holy Father say otherwise:

    1962 != 1964

    Unless the Holy Father or PCED say that it does. I would think that the Holy Father would have expressly permitted the Missal of 1964 if it were in fact permitted. Knowing the mind of the Pope ‘clearly’ is a pretty generous claim, even for a bishop.

    (N.B. ‘!=’ means ‘not equal’)

  10. pdt says:

    Having participated in accreditation procedures at both the community college and graduate school level, I’ve seen what happens in the secular world when schools intend to maintain their credibility. Even my old high school must resubmit every five years through the Western Associatioin of Schools and Colleges.

    If the Catholic Church does not have a similar progam to validate the curriculum of its seminaries then it should be no surprise that we are in such dire straits.

  11. Vincenzo says:

    Father Z wrote:

    “That last point is absurd, of course. As much I love the idea of a phone ringing in the offices of an expanded Commission, priests in cassocks and birettas sliding down fire poles, dashing to motorcycles, zipping off on jets with their Vatican passports to say Mass for groups who make requests…. Vincenzo could have fun with that..”

  12. Federico says:

    Chironomo: “…but I was visiting one in particular today,…”

    Which one?

  13. Vincenzo: I’m laughing so hard right now I’m crying. Thanks for the good laugh (and Father Z for the storyline) as I head off to work!

  14. David2 says:

    Holy Incense, Tradman!

  15. Bernard says:

    The 1964 edition of the Missal of Blessed John XXIII. Can that be correct, given that John XXIII was dead, Paul VI was Pope in 1964?

  16. Bernard says:

    Researching my own question; Bishop Gracida is refering to permission granted by the Holy See to US Bishops for venacular translations of the 1962 Missal to be used.
    Not to the 1964 Missal which suppressed certain prayers and introduces venacular.
    Right. Boy oh boy.

  17. chironomo says:

    Federico… I hate to name names, but their initials are C.A.T.H.O.L.I.C S.E.N.S.I.B.I.L.I.T.I.E.S…..

  18. chironomo says:

    Hmm… I just discovered via a google search that there are several blogs by that name (actually it’s Catholic Sensibility… I guess they only have one). My comment was concerning one of the discusion threads… several taking part used terms like “heavy handed” to describe the current wave of reforms and this possible move to instruct seminaries to teach the EF in particular. While I don’t disagree with everything that Todd (Catholic Sensibility) has to say concerning liturgy, it is clear that the “open-ness” and acceptance of all viewpoints does not include ALL viewpoints…

  19. Bernard of Arezzo says:

    Regarding Hank and Bernard’s discussion: In all seriousness, how much authority in these matters does a Bishop Emeritus have, even within his own diocese? Much less out side of it? Is all this just academic?

  20. dcs says:

    Regarding Hank and Bernard’s discussion: In all seriousness, how much authority in these matters does a Bishop Emeritus have, even within his own diocese? Much less out side of it? Is all this just academic?

    I would imagine it is just academic. Bp. Gracida isn’t the Ordinary of the Diocese of Corpus Christi any more; Bp. Carmody is. So Bp. Gracida’s opinion is just that — an opinion.

  21. Bernard says:

    Hopefully the argument is just academic and Bishop Gracida’s opinion is welcome for what its worth. The suspicion could be that some other Bishops have actively looked for loopholes in Summorum Pontificum in an attempt to subvert the Pope’s Motu Propio. Hopefully the clarifications from PCED will take care of any anomalies.

  22. RichR says:

    Bp. Gracida presided over a Pontifical Tridentine Nuptial Mass for a friend of mine, Jeff Ostrowski. Our schola travelled down to Corpus Christi to sing at the event. The Bishop approved for a special altar to be made for the occasion so that an ad orientem Mass could be offerred. The FSSP came down, and it was a great event. He has also weighed in heavily on pro-abort politicians (even going so far as to excommunicate some). He has also recevied the support of the previous Holy Father in controversial matters such as artificial food/hydration to prolong life. He also co-authored a very bold statement against activist bishops with an acquaintance of mine, Fr. Patrick Serna (who is a parochial vicar of an FSSP parish):

    http://www.intellectualconservative.com/2006/10/30/a-mechanism-for-restraint-an-analysis-of-a-proposal-to-rein-in-activist-bishops/

    I would expect the good Bishop to be friendly to the EF and traditional Cahtolicism, given his history.