The Novara Three: UPDATE

On the blog Rinascimento Sacro, there is an update about the three priests in the Diocese of Novara, in N. Italy, who have run into a conflict with their Bishop, H.E. Most Rev. Renato Corti over the use of the older form of Mass according to Summorum Pontificum.

Three priests have decided they will not celebrate Mass on Sunday because they cannot say the TLM.   Only the TLM.

Summorum Pontificum says that one Sunday Mass in a parish can be TLM.  Effectively, these priests don’t want to use the Novus Ordo at all in their parishes.

People are staying away from the churches in protest over how the priests are being treated.  In one place, Vogogna, where the patronal feast was to be celebrated, there was no Mass for the first time in 500 years.  Another priest was sent out, but found only three women in church.  After giving the priest a piece of their mind, they left.

As amusing, and alarming, as that is, the really interesting point is in this quote from the article:

"The bishop," Fr. Secci continued, "told us that we are right concerning the fundamental issues.  Acting on his advice we contacted Msgr. Camille Perl, Secretary of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, who told us that the bishops could grant us a three year experimental period, backing up his words with the concept that we weren’t in the letter of the Motu Proprio, but in its mens ("its ‘spirit’, ‘internal logic’).  And so I’ll cite Msgr. Perl’s words that the three year experimental period could be granted because ‘law follows life, and not vice versa.’"

Frankly, I find the suggestion of Msgr. Perl to be excellent. 

It will be interesting to see what happens to these priests.  They just might get suspended for real. 

But then the question is going to be this: "If a priest wants to say Mass but with only the old book, can he be suspended?"  Given the fact that many priests have never followed the rubrics of the Novus Ordo, and have not been suspended, would that be just?

Do the words of Msgr. Perl say something about the forthcoming clarifications the Commission must publish?  Probably.

We shall see.

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120 Responses to The Novara Three: UPDATE

  1. danphunter1 says:

    So the position of the three priests might be upheld.
    This is potentially excellent news.
    Call me naive but I still find it incredible that certain priests are consecrated bishops, princes of the Church, and then take it upon themselves to invent their own church, and heres the clincher, and pretend to be in union with the Church!
    God bless those three priests.

  2. Deborah says:

    I think we will see more of this as more of our priests grow to love the traditional Roman rite. In some regions we may see entire parishes turn into TLM communities.

  3. Tony says:

    Dan,

    I certainly hope you are right, and that these priests’ right to celebrate might be upheld – if it gets that far. As they say on the Iron Chef cooking contest TV show: “Bring it ON!”

    Having said that, I must say I am stunned at the apparent news that, in at least one of these parishes, the parishioners appear all to have ‘gone Trad’ to a man. Astonishing!

    Tony
    Canberra
    Australia

  4. kat says:

    Could these priests be “adopted” by FSSP and then not be required to say the NO? Our priest was a diocesean priest and overcome by the beauty, majesty, and holiness of the TLM went to Nebraska to study at FSSP’s seminary. This group and others like it are exempt from this SP rule.
    I would assume that the diocese would have the authority to give permission for such a thing, but if they are suspended who has authority over them?

  5. Claire says:

    Am I the only one who’s disturbed that 600+ people skipped Sunday Mass!? Not to minimize the importance of the Liturgical issue, but is skipping Sunday Mass (which was a mortal sin the last time I checked) really an acceptable way to protest anything!?

  6. Patronus says:

    I agree with Claire’s consternation. That totally rings of ideology over profound faith.

    Not to mention that, unless I’m missing something, at face value the priests are simply wrong to be insisting on exclusive use. Sure, this may prompt a somewhat favorable clarification from Ecclesia Dei, but still. Why hail these guys into martyrs if they’re overextending their “rights”?

  7. danphunter1 says:

    The bishop has no right to order these three priests to offer the NO.
    The priests on the other hand do have a right to offer exclusively the Tridentine Mass.
    Claire, the majority of the parishioners assisted at an FSSPX mass, which fullfilled their Sunday obligation.
    I have been told this by a Society priest.
    God bless the Church.

  8. John F. says:

    One word to remember no matter how difficult: OBEDIENCE.

  9. kat: Could these priests be “adopted” by FSSP and then not be required to say the NO?

    No way! Keep this a diocesan issue. Priests shouldn’t have to flee into a specialized group to be able to say Mass with the older book.

  10. John says:

    Didn’t we just have a Motu Proprio that was supposed to secure the rights of priests who want to say the Traditional Mass?

  11. Deborah says:

    \”One word to remember no matter how difficult: OBEDIENCE.\”

    Obedience, first and foremost to the Sumpreme Pontiff, the Bishop of Rome. Priests make a vow of Canonical obedience to their bishop. That means their bishop cannot dictate obedience outside of their legitimate authority which must be in accord with law.

    Priests and the laity also have a right to voice their concerns and petition the Holy See when they feel a bishop\’s decision is unjust. Also, let us not forget that the bishops are to be obedient to the Pope. It is not to be considered disobedience when priests and laity stand up for their canonical rights as members of the Catholic Church.

  12. David says:

    Obedience, yes…but there comes a time when us laity have no other choice than to vote with our feet. How else are we to deal with an intractable bishop? After all, “we are the Church.” ;-) hehehe.

  13. Ottaviani says:

    One word to remember no matter how difficult: OBEDIENCE.

    It is because of a false notion of obedience that we are in the post conciliar confusion for forty years running!!! Obedience in all things, except those that go against what the church has always done and taught.

    To address Fr. Z’s point of whether a priest can use one liturgical book only. I believe this concession must be allowed for traditional priests, just as other priests who have no desire to celebrate the old rite are protected. No one would ever force a Byzantine priest to celebrate the Novus Ordo – why force a traditional priest to celebrate the new rite, when all Roman rite priests are not obliged to celebrate the Novus Ordo?

    Besides as I have said here before: the 1986 Papal Commission on the Tridentine Mass, admitted that no priest can be forced to say the new mass. Cardinals Raztinger, Oddi and Stickler were on the commission.

  14. Andy K. says:

    Patronus,
    Because the NO and the TLM are now equal rites, is it wrong for a priest to say exclusively the NO?

    (Or am I misunderstanding the situation here?)

  15. Brian Mershon says:

    “One word to remember no matter how difficult: OBEDIENCE.”

    An unjust order which emanates from an unjust law, no matter who is ordering whom, is not legitimate, nor is the law truly a law.

    This is from St.Thomas. I wonder whom those who continue to state “obedience at all costs” and then bury their heads, reconcile their faith with reason… and St. Thomas.

    Whom do they quote from the Church to back up their specific private judgment?

  16. Serafino says:

    “Given the fact that many priests have never followed the rubrics of the Novus Ordo, and have not been suspended, would that be just?”

    Since when have bishops ever been just? Often the only time priests get any justice is when a canon lawyer is called in, and the case is taken to Rome.

  17. Patronus says:

    I sympathize with the traditional liturgical movement, but I hope you all realize that completely unfounded polemical extremes like those you are endorses are exactly why we are failing to evangelize those less catechized faithful who would listen to an otherwise more prudent and less inflammatory argument.

    From Summorum Pontificum:
    “Art. 5. § 1 In parishes, where there is a stable group of faithful who adhere to the earlier liturgical tradition, the pastor should willingly accept their requests to celebrate the Mass according to the rite of the Roman Missal published in 1962, **and ensure that the welfare of these faithful harmonises with the ordinary pastoral care of the parish, under the guidance of the bishop** in accordance with canon 392, avoiding discord and favouring the unity of the whole Church.

    § 2 Celebration in accordance with the Missal of Bl. John XXIII may take place on working days; **while on Sundays and feast days one such celebration may also be held**.”

    I don’t know whether this particular Italian bishop is vocally for or against the implications of the motu proprio; but at face value, it is abundantly clear from the Holy Father’s own document that these three priests are overstepping their bounds.

    I find the overeagerness to jump on the broad anti-obedience and ideological bandwagons very disturbing, especially given what Summorum actually says.

  18. Isaac says:

    Since there is a desire for a one word solution “obedience”, dare I say that my one word sentence solution would be:

    A priest should not be ‘forced’ to celebrate any of the two rites exclusively.

    Naturally, while we’d be obsessed with the ideological and canonical consequences of these three, it would also do us some good to reflect on the pastoral nature of the post Vatican II church, which if held in high esteem would necessitate the bishop to not make it harder on those who want the TLM.

    Thus, if I were in his place, I really would not take a huge issue with priests who do not want to celebrate the Novus Ordo, considering that there really is little demand for it, especially in that context. Also, while I do assist at an SSPX chapel, I find it quite fascinating that the Bishop would rather leave his flock ‘mass-less’ on a Sunday of a valid and licit (my emphasis) rite of their valid choice. It has nothing to do with NOM vs TLM. This should be about charity and being pastoral, should it not?

    Would we approve of bishops who force vernacular masses with hymns only at the sung novus ordo masses at St Agnes, the Oratory and Westminster Cathedral? Surely not. If the news reports are true, it seems to me this is a situation where the bishop could have easily avoided this situation and made things easier on Catholics to fulfil their Sunday obligation.

    You don’t need to be a trad to recognize this.
    Isaac

  19. Isaac says:

    Dear Patronus;

    You quote:

    From Summorum Pontificum:
    “Art. 5. § 1 In parishes, where there is a stable group of faithful who adhere to the earlier liturgical tradition, the pastor should willingly accept their requests to celebrate the Mass according to the rite of the Roman Missal published in 1962, and ensure that the welfare of these faithful harmonises with the ordinary pastoral care of the parish, under the guidance of the bishop in accordance with canon 392, avoiding discord and favouring the unity of the whole Church.

    § 2 Celebration in accordance with the Missal of Bl. John XXIII may take place on working days; while on Sundays and feast days one such celebration may also be held.”

    Yes. This is all true to the letter. I am not saying this is any less important when I propose that even if applying the SP to its last punctuation mark, what all of us need is charity. Thus, canonically, legally the bishop may be right and the priests wrong by all accounts, but honestly don’t you think that this situation could be so easily avoided if you’d just leave the TLM parishioners in peace to celebrate the rite of their choice?

    It is not a grave sin to love the TLM exclusively just like it would not be wrong for some parishes who if (even if this may be rare) they clearly prefer the Novus Ordo, would not like to see their Sunday mass schedule completely replaced with Tridentine Masses.

    This would be a completely different case if there was a real substantial majority in the parish who desired their Novus Ordo Missae. The fact that 600 odd people would go to the SSPX chapel to fulfil their obligation should be a signal to the Bishop that evidently these Catholics are as sure as hell to not incur a mortal sin from being disobedient to Church Law. But would not this have been so much more prudent to just give them another two or three masses on a Sunday?

    It may not be ‘right’ to say this, but thank God the SSPX was there to help these Catholics assist at a mass.

    You are completely right by pointing to the word and letter of SP, but I would opine that pushing Catholics to legal extremes as soon as possible after the SP should never be a goal of any initiative at reconciliation.

    Isaac

  20. Matthew Robinson says:

    Truly, what these priest and parishoners did, is what all Catholics should have done in the early 1970′s as soon as the New Mass was introduced and found to be wanting.

    Thank God these laity support their priests!

    Is the historic Catholic liturgy so abhorrent, and in fact so “evil” for souls as to warrant priests being suspended over it?

    This is the unanswered question. The Traditional Mass deserves more than “tolerance”.

  21. techno_aesthete says:

    Patronus,

    From an earlier post by Fr. Z,

    \”In Father Alberto Secci’s parish, parishioners insisted that they would only attend a traditional Latin Mass celebrated by Father Secci. Six hundred people signed a petition in support of their parish priest.\”

    In this case, it appears that the pastor was ensuring \”that the welfare of these faithful harmonizes with the ordinary pastoral care of the parish\” and the bishop is overstepping his bounds.

  22. John F. says:

    A few points:

    The quoting of the 1986 Pontifical Commission is moot at this point, Summorum Pontificum supersedes that decision because of the way the Holy Father issued his new directives via Motu Proprio.

    The Holy Father clearly states that the celebration of TLM is to be limited to one Mass on Sundays and Holy Days.

    Summorum Pontificum states that the use of the Extraodinary form is NOT to supplant the Odinary form but is rather an alternative form of the Roman Rite.

    These priests are NOT exercising their rights to use the TLM but are rather exploiting their rights. The MP clearly states that the people attached to the NO are not to be marginalized in their parishes the same way those attached to the TLM are not to be marginalized. If the priests feel that their ordinary is being unjust they should follow the appropriate procedures in place and appeal to Ecclesia Dei.

    The argument that the directive from the bishop is unjust and therefore not to be followed is ridiculous. The Holy Father has stated that ALL priests must accept the validity of BOTH rites and as such the priests are not being ordered to to do anything illicit or invalid. If the priests were being ordered to do something illicit or illegal THEN they would be justified to disregard the order of the bishop and this is NOT the case here.

    As for obedience to the Holy Father over the bishop. The priest has the opportunity to appeal to Rome if he feels his ordinary is unjust. This doesn’t mean that he remedy the situation on his own BEFORE appealing to Rome. The biggest problem Rome has with the SSPX is selective obedience. Just as traditional Roman Catholics accuse liberals of “cafeteria catholicism” it seems they are doing the same thing here.

    Obedience and humility are in order here, not open reactionary rebellion. The militant behavior on either side is what the Holy Father is wanting his flock to avoid. Prayer and patience has what has gotten the expanding use of TLM were it is today not disobedience and militancy.

  23. Patronus says:

    I think, above all, that there is not enough concrete information about this case. Even if there was only a small pocket of people at the parish who wanted the ordinary form, that should be more than enough pastoral reason to retain OF Masses (especially since everyone here would make the argument that the reverse holds true for a small pro-1962 Missal group at a parish). Think about it.

    I think some of you are also trying to give this situation a character it might not actually have..

    I also want to know if these priests even went prudently to the bishop asking if even a majority of their Masses could be in the extraordinary form. Something about this whole situation sounds messed up. It need not only be the bishop who could have easily avoided this – perhaps the priests could have, too.

  24. Tom says:

    Sounds like the three priests are the kind of “hardcore traditionalists” that certain people knock. But they are the kind of uncompromising “hardcore traditional” Catholics (priests) who will help to revive the Church.

  25. Geoffrey says:

    “Do all within the Church, act only within the Church! We must beware of putting ourselves against our Mother… Sweet is the hand of the Church, even when it batters us!” —Saint “Padre” Pio of Pietrelcina

  26. Andrew says:

    “The Holy Father clearly states that the celebration of TLM is to be limited to one Mass on Sundays and Holy Days.”

    No it doesn’t say that. It doesn’t say “only” one. And it doesn’t limit any priest from saying however many TLMs he wants to in one day.

  27. Hmmm, something about this bothers me. While I certainly sympathize with the priests desires, I don’t know if going on strike is the way to do it. I would think that a priest’s job first and foremost is to provide the Sacraments. Whether they like the form of Mass or not should not be a reason to not say Mass, since both forms are valid and licit. Certainly it would be better to go through the proper channels, first the bishop, then Ecclesia Dei, BEFORE going off and doing something that could be an act of disobedience.

    My first question would be: Did Msgr. Perl really say that? And even if he did, this “experiment” has to be with the bishops approval.

    A second question would be: is the mens of the Motu Proprio really what these priests are doing, if the pope himself said in his explaination of the motu proprio, “The total exclusion of the new rite would not in fact be consistent with the recognition of its value and holiness.”

    A third question: Would it not be a mortal sin for these people to skip a completely valid Mass on Sunday? I thought you couldn’t do evil to do good?

    Like I said, I cetainly sympathize with them, but I’m not sure I condone this way of dealing with it. It’s not like they are being forced to say an invalid Mass, an illicit Mass … or even an unholy Mass. And if that many people in the parish want things traditional, then I would bet that their Novus Ordo Masses could be amazingly edifying.
    I just don’t see where the bishop is forcing them to do something sinful or illicit by expecting them to say a Novus Ordo Mass.

    Now, I do put some of the weight on the bishop, if that many people want the TLM and nobody wants the Novus Ordo, then the bishop would be wise to not force the issue. Still, I would think this is not an overly onerous request of the bishop.

    I don’t see why the priests wouldn’t just have one Novus Ordo Mass and then be able to tell the bishop, “nobody shows up to the Novus Ordo, can’t we just have all TLMs now?”

    I just find the whole situation a bit scandalous no matter who is at fault.

  28. RBrown says:

    Msgr Perl’s suggestion reminds me of a word I heard often in the Fundamental Morals class–epikeia (equity) which refers to the mind of the lawgiver.

  29. RBrown says:

    I might add that I wonder whether the Bp of Novara realizes that something revolutionary happened on Apr 19, 2005.

  30. RBrown says:

    My first question would be: Did Msgr. Perl really say that? And even if he did, this “experiment” has to be with the bishops approval.

    Maybe Rome will “encourage” the Bp of Novara to give his approval.

    A second question would be: is the mens of the Motu Proprio really what these priests are doing, if the pope himself said in his explaination of the motu proprio, “The total exclusion of the new rite would not in fact be consistent with the recognition of its value and holiness.”

    It has already been establish that “The total exclusion . . . ” refers to denial of the validity of the NO.

    A third question: Would it not be a mortal sin for these people to skip a completely valid Mass on Sunday? I thought you couldn’t do evil to do good?

    That question could equally be asked of the bishop. By denying the priests the right to use the 1962 Missal, he created the circumstances of the laity missing mass.

  31. dcs says:

    John F. writes:
    The Holy Father clearly states that the celebration of TLM is to be limited to one Mass on Sundays and Holy Days.

    I don’t think that’s quite so clear; Summorum Pontificum doesn’t say anything about limiting.

    Summorum Pontificum states that the use of the Extraodinary form is NOT to supplant the Odinary form but is rather an alternative form of the Roman Rite.

    Could you please cite the relevant article of Summorum Pontificum?

  32. schoolman says:

    From what I have heard so far it would seem that there has been a lack of prudence on both sides. The “all or nothing” position of the priests — at least at this early stage — seems a bit reckless and only serves as a pretext for opposing bishops to crack down on “rebels” and reinforce their arguments against the Holy Father’s reform initiative. What if the Holy Father’s plan (letter and spirit) is the correct remedy at this time? Sure, it will not be to our complete liking in all cases. But is it for the good of the whole Church at this time? Should we have more patience and let events take thier natural course?

  33. dcs says:

    Patronus writes:
    Even if there was only a small pocket of people at the parish who wanted the ordinary form, that should be more than enough pastoral reason to retain OF Masses (especially since everyone here would make the argument that the reverse holds true for a small pro-1962 Missal group at a parish).

    Yes, but does that mean that the pastor must celebrate the Mass himself? It’s already been established that he need not celebrate the traditional Mass himself even if he must allow for its celebration. So why must he celebrate the Novus ordo? Some other priest can do it. For example, the FSSP parish in Scranton, St. Michael’s, has a Novus ordo Mass on Saturday evenings. But the FSSP priests stationed there do not celebrate it.

  34. As an Orthodox priest of the Russian Usage I can certainly sympathize with
    the plight of the three priests. However,to openly defy the bishop is
    not the canonical way to approach the dispute. Obey the bishop and then have
    recourse to the Holy See. I have been in parishes where the translations,
    while accurate, were horrible and an affront to the sacredness of the Liturgy.
    Again, recourse to the proper higher canonical authority would be the preferred
    norm.

  35. John F. says:

    to dcs: What part of “while on Sundays and feast days ONE (1) such celebration may also be held” is not clear? One is one no matter how you read it.

    “The total exclusion of the new rite would not in fact be consistent with the recognition of its value and holiness.” This quote is from the Holy
    Father’s explanatory letter sent to bishops regarding Summorum Pontificum.

    If these people do not want to follow the spirit of the Holy Father’s intents as well as the letter of the laws he sets forth maybe they should just follow the SSPX into schism where they will not have to worry about the NO at all. Malcontents such as these are of no use to the Church

  36. Larry says:

    Claire has the valid point concerning the “faithful” who failed to attend Mass. (Mortal Sin, objectively. But I believe you are incorrect in assuming that the priests were suspended for not saying the NO. In point of fact based on the story line they deliberately disobeyed Canon 530 #7 by refusing to celebrate “any Mass” on Sunday to which they are obligated. I am also certain that disobeying an ordeer of the lawful superior re: the Bishop they also placed themselves in in danger of suspension. But their big misstake was in failing their duty to the faithful entrusted to their care. Obedience to lawful authority in all that is not sinful is a key fact in the Christian Catholic Faith

  37. “An unjust order which emanates from an unjust law, no matter who is ordering whom, is not legitimate, nor is the law truly a law.”

    This is true, it’s not applicable. The law they are refusing to obey is the precept of Sunday Mass attendence (unless they’re all going to a neighboring town or something.) And the Priests are similarly obliged… and I’d imagine one is obliged to say the missa pro populo. Those laws are not unjust. This is the same problem with “civil disobedience” activists (many of them Catholic peace activists) who stage demonstrations blocking streets or pouring blood on draft files, or crossing the fences of military installations. But laws against crossing the fences of military installations or damaging files or blocking streets are not unjust, so they can’t be broken just to draw attention to other unjust laws. Similarly in this case.

    They could insist on their interpretation of the law and celebrate the old mass exclusively and dare the Bishop to lock them out if they think the law is on their side, but I don’t see how they can refuse to celebrate (or attend) Mass.

  38. Dob says:

    They should say the NOM as the bishop insists. Of course a few modifications to the rubrics of the NOM are allowed. The priest is encouraged to make it his own. If those modifications just happen quite by accident to transform the NOM into the TLM then everyone could celebrate a happy coincidence. No one need worry because it is the same rite regardless.:-)

  39. Phil says:

    I’m sorry to say so, but I cannot escape the conclusion that these 3 priests were looking for a fight. They could have done the scheduled (costumary) Mass as a TLM, and simply offer a NO on another time that Sunday as well. If no-one in the parish choose to attend the NO, nothing would be lost, and their argument would have gained a lot of strength. Not to mention that there wouldn’t have been any incitement to skip Sunday Mass or disobedience towards the Bishop. Now they have caused all of the above and the bishop can still claim (I don’t know if he does or even want to, but he could) that exclusive use of the TLM is not in this parish best interest. Local priests may often be right about the particulars of their parish, but they can be wrong as well – one of the reasons why we have bishops in the first place.

    Campaigning for your causes is one thing, picking a fight with your bishop – and over the back of your parishioners – is quite another. In all honesty, I see very little difference with the tactics employed by many on the ‘left’ wing.

  40. Maureen says:

    The Latin of the motu proprio doesn’t say “one (1)”. It says “celebratio” and it says “una”, as in either “one” or “a”.

    “You can have a Mass in this way on feastdays and Sundays” is not the same as “There can be one (1) Mass on Sundays and feastdays, and the number of the Mass can be one. There shall not be two, neither shall there be .50; and six is right out.”

    What these priests are doing is foolish; it does their cause no favors. But it’s fairly clear that “una” isn’t intended to stop people from having more than one Mass of Pope John XXIII per day in the same place. If it had been, it would have admonished the FSSP and the other groups to stop having more than one. It would also have included a lot more “must” and “shall not” language, instead of ‘Sure, you can have one.’

  41. chironomo says:

    Talk about your “stable group of the faithful”… a whole church at that! Was this maybe the sort of thing that Benedict hopes to review after three years?

  42. Ottaviani says:

    John F.

    I think you should read an earlier entry of Fr. Z on the motu proprio’s interpretation by the Canon Law Society of Great Britain here. The clause “one such celebration on a Sunday” does not mean “only one such celebration”. Look at the mind of the legislator. Pope Benedict is being kind to the his children of the traditional movement. He isn’t restricting them in no way, in regards as to how many times they may celebrate the traditional mass on a Sunday or a weekday.

    Secondly how is quoting the deliberations of the 1986 Commission a “moot” point? It didn’t offer any indult. It merely established what traditional Catholics (and even Novus Ordo bishops) had known all along, that:

    1. The traditional mass has never been abolished

    2. Priests aren’t obliged technically to say the new mass.

    Maybe Fr. Z could chip in here?

  43. Tom S. says:

    I think that many of you are misreading several the points of the motu proprio, and its application in this situation. It appears, based on the story here, that this is a parish with just one Sunday mass. It also appears that this is a parish where the overwhelming majority, perhaps nearly all, of the parishoners want the older mass. That being the case, why can\’t their one mass be said using the 1962 Missale?

    In a larger sense, this brings up an issue that will need to be addressed. In situations where an additional mass is impossible or impractical (my parish has 7 Sunday masses already, plus Saturday vigil), the older mass will have to supplant an existing Novus Ordo mass. In this case, is a significant group to be denied their right to the older mass even if one or two (or even a significant minority) of the parishoners want to keep the Novus Ordo in that time slot?

    Inevitably this will happen, and inevitably someone will complain and it will need to be addressed.

  44. RBrown says:

    The Holy Father clearly states that the celebration of TLM is to be limited to one Mass on Sundays and Holy Days.

    That refers to a parish, not a priest.

    Summorum Pontificum states that the use of the Extraodinary form is NOT to supplant the Odinary form but is rather an alternative form of the Roman Rite.

    These priests are NOT exercising their rights to use the TLM but are rather exploiting their rights. The MP clearly states that the people attached to the NO are not to be marginalized in their parishes the same way those attached to the TLM are not to be marginalized. If the priests feel that their ordinary is being unjust they should follow the appropriate procedures in place and appeal to Ecclesia Dei.

    The argument that the directive from the bishop is unjust and therefore not to be followed is ridiculous. The Holy Father has stated that ALL priests must accept the validity of BOTH rites and as such the priests are not being ordered to to do anything illicit or invalid. If the priests were being ordered to do something illicit or illegal THEN they would be justified to disregard the order of the bishop and this is NOT the case here.

    As for obedience to the Holy Father over the bishop. The priest has the opportunity to appeal to Rome if he feels his ordinary is unjust. This doesn’t mean that he remedy the situation on his own BEFORE appealing to Rome. The biggest problem Rome has with the SSPX is selective obedience. Just as traditional Roman Catholics accuse liberals of “cafeteria catholicism” it seems they are doing the same thing here.
    The militant behavior on either side is what the Holy Father is wanting his flock to avoid. Prayer and patience has what has gotten the expanding use of TLM were it is today not disobedience and militancy.
    Comment by John F.

    It would be fairly easy to remedy the situation. If a priest only wants to use the 1962 Missal, then he will simply say the second mass in a different parish.

    Obedience and humility are in order here, not open reactionary rebellion.

    This situation calls for pastoral prudence by the bishop.

  45. Prof. Basto says:

    I\’m sorry, it hurts to say this, but, as much as I have sympathy for those priests and the for the parishoners, something strikes me as odd here. There is something wrong with their attitude, and I agree with the concerns already expressed here by the poster Roman Sacristan .

    Even if the Bishop was wrong, the right thing to do would be to file an appeal with Rome, istead of taking justice on one\’s own hands, as if priests were judges over their bishops. By going on strike (what newspapers are terming an auto-suspension), the priests have omited themselves from the discharge foremost duty, which is to provide the Sacraments for the Christian people.

    I pray for them, and I hope Rome finds in their favour, but I think they are at extreme peril of being found as having acted wrongly.

  46. Jeremy says:

    It is interesting to note that the bishop of Novarra preached the annual Lenten Retreat for Pope John Paul II in 2005.

  47. Patronus says:

    Like I said, I’d like more information about this situation.

    It is probably within the intent of Summorum Pontificum to allow for more than one extraordinary form Mass at a parish on Sundays, etc. However, the question here is the total exclusion of the ordinary form. Given Art. 5.1 in Summorum, as well as Benedict’s explication in the accompanying letter, it seems clear that total exclusion of the ordinary form is not the intent – particularly if the parish in question is not a personal parish, and if it still retains a group that prefers the ordinary form.

    So, again I say, not enough information. But given a reasonable judgment from the information given (even if the parish only typically has one Mass on Sundays), it seems that the priests overstepped their bounds. At the very least, they were wrong not to appeal through the proper chain of authority.

  48. peretti says:

    Prof. Basto, Why shouldn’t priests be judges over their bishops? The bishops act as if they themselves are judges over their pope. I hear what you are saying, though.

  49. dcs says:

    John F. writes:
    “The total exclusion of the new rite would not in fact be consistent with the recognition of its value and holiness.” This quote is from the Holy Father’s explanatory letter sent to bishops regarding Summorum Pontificum.

    Which doesn’t address your statement that SP states that the traditional Mass can’t replace the Ordinary Mass.

    If a priest can’t be compelled to offer the traditional Mass, it’s hard to see how he can be compelled to offer the new Mass. If the traditional Mass is just a “form” of the one Roman Rite, it’s hard to see how anyone’s rights are being trampled upon because their parish priest celebrates the traditional Mass rather than the new. He’s not imposing a different Rite upon them.

  50. Brian Mershon says:

    Samuel Howard,

    Let’s simplify this for our audience:

    The priests wanted to offer Mass for the congregants and it seems like a goodly number wanted the Traditional form.

    The bishop disallowed his priests from offering Mass to the parishioners in the form in which they wanted. This goes against the spirit and the law of the motu proprio.

    No priest is obliged to offer the Novus Ordo–EVER! He is obliged to offer the sacraments and the Mass. They wanted to. The bishop refused to let them. He refused to allow the lay Catholics what they rightly desired.

    Therefore, his command was unjust.

  51. TerryC says:

    I too would like more information on what exactly happened. I agree that these priest look like they were trying to start a fight. I also have to wonder if the bishop did not act because he had some reason to believe that these priest were refusing to say the NO because they believe it invalid. If they (the priests) have stated such a thing in the past or if the bishop had some reason to believe that a substantial number of the parish held this view I could see that he (the bishop) might feel strong action was necessary to address this.
    I must also agree with Hieromonk Gregory, this was badly handled by the priests. If they had a real problem with the bishop there are legal mechanisms within the Church to address that. By going on strike they have made this a public brawl which only serves to create strife, and in the long term does their cause no good.
    I believe that this is product of the shortage of vocations (as are many cases of liturgical abuse.) Some priests feel they are a rare commodity and that a bishop needs them so bad in the parishes that they can get away with a lot, because the bishop won’t dare suspend or fire them. I fear some bishops fail to take action for the same reason against non orthodox priest, because they are worried where they will find a priest to replace one they dismiss from parish service.

  52. Brian Mershon says:

    From SP, the legislative document: “the Roman Missal promulgated by St. Pius V and reissued by Bl. John XXIII is to be considered as an extraordinary expression of that same ‘Lex orandi,’ and must be given due honour for its venerable and ancient usage.”

    Strike One for the bishop.

    From SP Art. 5. In parishes, where there is a stable group of faithful who adhere to the earlier liturgical tradition, the pastor should willingly accept their requests to celebrate the Mass according to the rite of the Roman Missal published in 1962, and ensure that the welfare of these faithful harmonises with the ordinary pastoral care of the parish, under the guidance of the bishop in accordance with canon 392, avoiding discord and favouring the unity of the whole Church.

    Strike Two for the bishop. The priests adhered to what the seemingly majority of the laymen wanted and the bishop said NO! Let’s see what else SP says.

    Art. 7. If a group of lay faithful, as mentioned in art. 5 õ 1, has not obtained satisfaction to their requests from the pastor, they should inform the diocesan bishop. The bishop is strongly requested to satisfy their wishes.

    It seems the laymen did not need to consult the bishop because the priests were perfectly willing to grant their requests. Again, it seems that the bishop overstepped his bounds per SP, the officially and legally binding document.

  53. Maria says:

    “In one place, Vogogna, where the patronal feast was to be celebrated, there was no Mass for the first time in 500 years.”

    Am I the only one who thinks the above is kind of sad?

    Besides that it is all very interesting and Brian Mershon seems to have a sensible point…

  54. Maria says:

    Besides which–I wonder how it happens that a whole parish suddenly decides “No N.O.”? You’d think the parishioners would have already been going to the SSPX instead of their parish?

  55. danphunter1 says:

    Maria,
    When the Holy Tridentine Mass was derestricted it also derestricted mens hearts to realize that now we have the great mass of the saints at our disposal.
    Their minds are no longer clouded by the fabrications of the NO mass.
    They recognize in a clearer way that they have rights to assist at the Tridentine Mass, always and everywhere.
    That is why they went to the FSSPX church to satisfy their Sunday obligations, when they did and not before.
    God bless you.

  56. Patronus says:

    These arguments here seem to keep going round and around in circles. Brian Mershon’s post quotes SP, but his take on the same passages I and others have pointed to before is still dependent on information that is lacking.

    I still think it’s absurd to simply label this bishop as anti-old use. And nobody has sufficiently addressed the question of the rights of the parishioners who prefer the new Mass. We surely cannot simply assume there are none in that parish, without the requisite information. The bishop would be at some sort of fault if and only if the bishop refused to make the parish a personal parish when it was clear that everybody in the parish was okay with that change. And even then, the priests did not work within the appropriate chain of authority.

    Lastly, statements like “Their minds are no longer clouded by the fabrications of the NO mass” are not endearing or helpful to those of us who actually wish to accept the spirit of Summorum Pontificum, which does care immensely for the ordinary form.

  57. Brian Mershon says:

    “And nobody has sufficiently addressed the question of the rights of the parishioners who prefer the new Mass. We surely cannot simply assume there are none in that parish, without the requisite information.”

    I’m certain there are a multitude of parishes in the diocese where they could go to fulfill their Sunday obligation. Their “rights” as you say, are certainly supplied for in spades somewhere nearby.

    If the bishop forbade the priests from offering the TLM, the bishop disobeyed the Pope, which is grave matter. The reasoning behind it makes no difference whatsoever.

    I think we should also clarify we are reading through a translation and just because the reporter characterized what the priests did as a “strike” doesn’t mean the priests themselves said or thought that. They may have simply come to the conclusion, like many priests before them, that with their Catholic-formed consciences, they could no longer offer the Novus Ordo. There are many instances of this happening. And there is nothing objectively fault-worthy about that.

    I personally pray and hope that many other priests would come to the same conclusion. They were perfectly willing to be pastoral and provide for the needs of their parishioners.

    My family has had to attend the Novus Ordo for years, and still does, and we would strongly prefer not to. Even where the TLM is offered weekly, I still have to attend the TLM daily (except for Wednesdays) in the Novus Ordo. Those who prefer the Novus Ordo should just go to the TLM, like we’ve had to for years.

  58. Different says:

    To those defending the actions of these priests:

    Would you be so strong in your support of them and your criticism of the bishop if the circumstances were reversed? What if the bishop had ordered them to celebrate a TLM and they had refused saying, “people here don’t want that, they all want the NO”? Would you criticize the bishop who suspends his priest for refusing to say the TLM? I think it’s worth considering how you would evaluate this if the roles were reversed.

    I think it comes down to the proper attitude of obedience on the part of the priests. Maybe their bishop is being unjust and unfair, but that doesn’t mean they are free to disobey. They should obey and protest and appeal to the authorities above their bishop.

    Lastly, we should remember that Pope Benedict did say: “The total exclusion of the new rite would not in fact be consistent with the recognition of its value and holiness.” Was he just kidding here??? Or does this perhaps reveal something of his attitude in all of this, namely a hope that ALL priests will fondly embrace ALL forms of the roman rite.

  59. Nathan says:

    + JMJ +

    Interesting discussion, but there still seems a lot that’s not publicly known. It seems to me that the “pro-priests” or “pro-bishop” argments depend a lot on how each poster inferred from the facts presented.

    In Christ,

  60. Brian says:

    Different wrote:

    To those defending the actions of these priests: Would you be so strong in your support of them and your criticism of the bishop if the circumstances were reversed? What if the bishop had ordered them to celebrate a TLM and they had refused saying, “people here don’t want that, they all want the NO”? Would you criticize the bishop who suspends his priest for refusing to say the TLM? I think it’s worth considering how you would evaluate this if the roles were reversed.

    Well… if a bishop did that, he’d be overstepping his bounds, just as would any Bishop who (against the wishes of the parishioners and the priests in question) ordered “all NO Masses”; the bishop would be violating justice, albeit in the other direction. No good would be done in *either* case.

    I think it comes down to the proper attitude of obedience on the part of the priests. Maybe their bishop is being unjust and unfair, but that doesn’t mean they are free to disobey. They should obey and protest and appeal to the authorities above their bishop.

    I’m really torn, on this point. On the one hand, there’s tremendous precedent in the Lives of the Saints for religious and priests obeying orders (from a superior or bishop or what-have-you) which were clearly unjust; St. Louis de Montfort, St. Martin de Porres, St. [Padre] Pio, and St. Maximilian Kolbe come to mind.

    But it’s one thing for a bishop to issue an uncharitable (and unjustified) order which is within his prerogatives–such as closing a parish or parochial school, expelling (or excluding) a religious order from his diocese; it’s another thing entirely for him to issue an order which violates laws which supercede his own authority (e.g. relevant directives of the Holy Father, canon law, etc.). I think it can be argued (and reasonably) that the bishop has violated the Motu Proprio (which is certainly a relevant directive from the Holy Father), which is not within his authority to do.

    I suppose it could be argued that the “summum bonum” would ask the priests to accede to the unjust command, and to appeal through official channels; but I’m not sure anyone could say that such a course of action would be obligatory in justice.

    Lastly, we should remember that Pope Benedict did say: “The total exclusion of the new rite would not in fact be consistent with the recognition of its value and holiness.” Was he just kidding here??? Or does this perhaps reveal something of his attitude in all of this, namely a hope that ALL priests will fondly embrace ALL forms of the roman rite.

    That may be… but (as others have mentioned) this could easily apply to the more global idea, “Let’s not declare the NO to be invalid” and “Let’s not expunge the NO from the face of the earth as if it were some sort of moral imperative.” (Yeah, I know… that’s certainly arguable. :) ) The Motu Proprio need not be read so as to insist on NO Masses at all parishes throughout the world (which would be bizarre, at very least).

    In Christ,
    Brian

  61. Tom S. says:

    Brian Mershon is absolutely right in both of his posts.

    The question here is did the Bishop act wrongly with regards to this situation. I think that clearly he did. Based on the information available, it appears that it was HE who forced the situation. The priests appear to have been acting within their rights, and with the approval of the vast majority of their parishoners.

    It is also apparent that the priests reacted badly. They should have offered some compromise while Rome was consulted. Perhaps a Latin Novus Ordo, with the addition of a lot of the old rubrics. Do that until the situation could be worked out. That having been said, I also wish that more priests would fall so in love with the older mass that they could hardly bring themselves to celebrate the new one.

  62. kat says:

    “Even if there was only a small pocket of people at the parish who wanted the ordinary form, that should be more than enough pastoral reason to retain OF Masses (especially since everyone here would make the argument that the reverse holds true for a small pro-1962 Missal group at a parish). Think about it.”

    Okay, I thought about it. I was not born yet when the NO came into being, and I wasn’t Catholic until 1999, but what I have read and heard from people who were there and Catholic was that a small minority of progressives decided that they wanted to “change the Church.” They tore out the altars, destroyed statues of Saints, demonized those who wanted the old Mass… Millions of Catholics left the Church, thousands left religious orders and the priesthood, and those faithful to the old form who were left were told to, “shut up or leave.” Any attempt to bring the TLM back were told that, “No one wants that anymore.”

    Finally a strong Pope gave permission for priests to say the TLM, knowing the majority of bishops were against the old form. After 40 years of prayers and fighting the system there is a glimmer of hope and priests are eager to reclaim the Catholic Mass as it is supposed to be. If some get a bit pushy, I don’t blame them.

    There are lots of churches in most towns in Italy, we lived in Naples which boasted 300 churches just in the city limits. Those few, if there are any, who prefer the NO want to attend the new Mass can go somewhere else. There is no TLM anywhere in the diocese, the bishop has forbidden it. The souls who want the TLM have no other church to attend, except the SSPX, and while that is allowed, it isn’t what SP stated as the Pope’s mandate.

    The basic argument is the hypocrisy: a priest doesn’t have to say the TLM even if there is a large group who request it. A priest who doesn’t want to say the NO is suspended for it, even if ALL of the parishoners support the priest.

    Think about it.

  63. Different says:

    Good post, Brian…thanks

    I have no doubt that when St. Pio was ordered to stop saying Mass publically, that he and many of his followers were very disappointed. But he never disobeyed. He accepted this as a cross and obeyed. It seems to me that today we could use more priests and laity setting strong examples of obedience. Maybe such obedience could be a good example for many of the liberal priests who pick and choose what instructions they will follow.

    I still believe that Pope Benedict sees value and holiness in both forms of the Mass. I would hope in the years to follow that all seminaries will require priests to be well-versed in the celebration of both forms. I think we can look to parishes like St. John Cantius in Chicago as models for how the two forms coexist, complement each other, and are celebrated by all the priests. It helps to break down the idea of two separate “churches” and break down the “either/or” mentality. In my mind, if you’re a priest of the roman rite, you should be ready, willing, and able to celebrate ALL the Sacraments of that rite whenever needed or asked.

  64. RBrown says:

    There are two schools of thought regarding Obedience.

    The first is the Franciscan school (adopted by the Jesuits). In this approach obedience is required of every subject when the command does not directly contradict the moral doctrine of the Church.

    The second is the Thomist school. In this approach a subject is not obligated to obedience when there is objection of conscience even though the command does not directly contradict the moral doctrine of the Church.
    _____

    An example would be giving Communion to public officials who are pro-abortion. If a bishop would order a priest to do it, according to the Franciscan school of thought he would be obligated to do it. On the other hand, according to the Thomist school, he would not be obligated if his conscience objected.

  65. John F. says:

    Why should we marginalize the adherents of the Novus Ordo the same way that we were marginalized for years by making them \”go somewhere else\” as has been repeatedly suggested in the posts above. We should be caring and charitable to them and considerate of their needs above and beyond what was ever given to us in the past. Retaliation is NEVER an acceptable motive in making spiritual decisions. The attitude that \”We should do to them what they did to us\” is totally uncalled for and should not even be considered by a true Roman Catholic. None of the saints formed by the TLM would ever agree with that type of thinking. The martyrs are never quoted as saying \”Slay my killers\” as their last words. No on the contrary they prayed for those that were killing them.

  66. Different says:

    RBrown,

    I think in your example the Franciscan School of thought would also expect that the priest would disobey the bishop on the pro-abort Communion example because giving Communion to such a person has been shown to be against canon law. As Archbishop Burke has demonstrated the priest has a moral obligation to withhold Communion from one who persists in manifest grave sin. With that understanding, both the Franciscan and the Thomist would choose to disobey the bishop’s command. It seems somewhat clear in this situation that these priests are not being asked to do anything immoral at all.

  67. michigancatholic says:

    Sounds like a townfull of people just got their craws full after all these years of dissembling and decided to finally do what should have been done 40 years ago–prudently make arrangements to get their mass requirement taken care of and then take a stand for what’s right. *And perhaps they saw something almost no one is realizing yet.*

    No matter how this came about, no matter how this comes out, no matter what each of us thinks of it, one thing about it stands out: It’s ground-breaking. *Can a bishop force his own personal preference of forms on an entire parish when they (to a man!) have requested the other form? (both forms licit & valid) *It’s never been officially decided.**

    What happened 47 years ago didn’t decide it because people were told the TLM was no longer allowed–abrogated. They believed it and so this exact situation never presented itself. There was always, for the great majority of laypeople, only one perceived widespread course of action, whether they liked it or not–the progressives saw to that. *BUT*, now we know without a shadow of a doubt that the Missal of 1962 was never abrogated. There are two rites, both forms licit and valid.

    So. *Can a bishop force his own personal preference of forms on an entire parish when they have requested the other form? (both forms licit & valid) *It’s never been officially decided.**

    (Note that this doesn’t say that one N.O. couldn’t be said, even if in private, or two so that no one would be left out. It says exactly what it says above, no more and no less.)

  68. Brian Mershon says:

    “I have no doubt that when St. Pio was ordered to stop saying Mass publically, that he and many of his followers were very disappointed. But he never disobeyed. He accepted this as a cross and obeyed.”

    The obedience displayed by St. Padre Pio and numerous other saints who were monks or nuns included acts (of long periods of time) of heroic virtue. A Catholic is NEVER REQUIRED to display HEROIC virtue.

    Secondly, the obedience of those who are part of religious orders and/or nuns, is a higher hierarchic level of obedience than that of a parish priest. If the bishop ORDERED one or all of his priests to stand on their heads while offering Mass, the would be REQUIRED to disobey. St. Padre Pio NOT offering Mass publicly did not affect a congregation where he was pastor. We are mixing apples and oranges and I see this happening with regard to “obedience” all the time.

    It MIGHT be more virtuous to obey an unjust order, but St. Thomas states that sometimes a priest, seminarian or even a layman, in certain circumstances, is REQUIRED to disobey and ujust command or order, and sometimes, even publicly, and sometimes EVEN if it is a bishop giving the order, if harm will come to souls.

    It sounds like in this case, most of those forbidden Mass went SSPX and fulfilled their Sunday obligation. I wonder how many of those parishioners who REFUSE to attend the TLM went to another parish so they could have the Novus Ordo so they could fulfill their Sunday obligation?

    Finally, the lives of the saints are instructive, but the exact actions they performed in their day and time and place and STATE IN LIFE, could vary greatly from those of us who are layman in the 21st century. If we did EXACTLY as they did, in fact, in certain circumstances, this would not only not be heroic virtue and not be admirable, but could be faulty and blameworthy.

  69. michigancatholic says:

    The Vatican, remember, reserves to itself the authority for declaring a mass valid &/or licit. The Vatican has said both the OF and the EF are valid and licit. The bishop, it seems to me, cannot say otherwise without usurping the Vatican’s authority on the point.

    So there must be provision, according to SP, for all the people wanting to go the EF. If the bishop were the only one to request the OF, perhaps a small mass could be said for him? If he cares to come and ensure it’s being done, that is.

  70. danphunter1 says:

    Mr Mershon
    We couln’t agree more and Ecclesis Dei will soon show these priests as acting within canon law and therefore their God given rights.
    God bless the Church.

  71. Patronus says:

    I thought John F.’s last comment was a very good exhortation.

    Brian Mershon said:
    1. “If the bishop forbade the priests from offering the TLM, the bishop disobeyed the Pope, which is grave matter. The reasoning behind it makes no difference whatsoever.”

    2. “They may have simply come to the conclusion, like many priests before them, that with their Catholic-formed consciences, they could no longer offer the Novus Ordo…I personally pray and hope that many other priests would come to the same conclusion.”

    3. “They were perfectly willing to be pastoral and provide for the needs of their parishioners.”

    My responses:
    1. Can we quit pretending that the bishop forbade the priests to pray the old Mass? I saw absolutely nothing about the forbidding of the extraordinary form – only the forbidding of its exclusive use, in line with SP. And even if the folks could just go to another parish, what John F. said is important – we should not force them out of their own parishes.

    2. That’s just subversive, if it entails all this disobedience and chaos.

    3. How do we know that??? If there’s one thing I’ve never seen from extreme proponents of the “TLM,” it’s any sort of pastoral sense. Sorry.

  72. danphunter1 says:

    Patronus,
    The Bishop forbade the priests from offering the Tridentine Mass.
    God bless you.

  73. RBrown says:

    I think in your example the Franciscan School of thought would also expect that the priest would disobey the bishop on the pro-abort Communion example because giving Communion to such a person has been shown to be against canon law.
    Comment by Different

    Although I personally don’t think Communion should be given to pro-abort politicos, I also don’t think it is all that explicit in canon law.

  74. Jordan Potter says:

    Brian Mershon said: The obedience displayed by St. Padre Pio and numerous other saints who were monks or nuns included acts (of long periods of time) of heroic virtue. A Catholic is NEVER REQUIRED to display HEROIC virtue.

    On the other hand, Jesus told us to say of ourselves that when we have done our duty and nothing more, we are unprofitable servants. God invites us to follow the example of St. Pio, and He never invites us to do things that are bad for us.

    I think the bishop in this case is way out of line, but I don’t necessarily agree with the priests’ response (though I understand their response).

    It sounds like in this case, most of those forbidden Mass went SSPX and fulfilled their Sunday obligation.

    I know this doesn’t have anything to do with your point, Brian, but I wanted to observe that the Sunday obligation is not absolute, but can be dispensed with for legitimate cause, including unforeseen hardship. Thus, if Mass for some reason is not offered in your parish on a Sunday, and it would be a hardship to go to Mass elsewhere, then the Sunday obligation is lifted.

    If there is an illicit Mass or Divine Liturgy being offerred nearby, it is *permitted* to fulfill the Sunday obligation by assisting there, but under these circumstances there would be no Sunday obligation to fulfill.

  75. Different says:

    Brian,

    I agree that if the priests were forbidden from saying the TLM, they would be justified in disobeying such an unjust command. But that’s not the situation here is it? The bishop asked the priests to say a Mass in the ordinary form of the roman rite in addition (presumably) to saying the Mass in the extraordinary form of the roman rite. Is this really such an imposition??? The bishop asks them to celebrate a Mass in an approved form and they refuse because “we don’t like that version?” That’s just not right.

    And would you be as critical of this bishop if this whole situation were a bishop ordering a priest to celebrate a TLM in addition to his NO Masses???

    This should NOT be about the TLM “beating or winning” against the NO. Let’s kill that idea. This is about offering the Mass of the roman rite in both it’s expressions.

  76. Brian Mershon says:

    “Can we quit pretending that the bishop forbade the priests to pray the old Mass? I saw absolutely nothing about the forbidding of the extraordinary form – only the forbidding of its exclusive use, in line with SP.\”

    Everyone keeps saying this, but please show where in the motu proprio it says this? Alas, it is NOT there at all.

    What EVERYONE is mistakenly referring to is the LETTER accompanying the MP, which says:

    \”What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful.\”

    So why did the bishop prohibit these priests from offering the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass?

    \”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.\” Again, why did the bishop prohibit the priests from offering the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass?

    \”Needless to say, in order to experience full communion, the priests of the communities adhering to the former usage cannot, as a matter of principle, exclude celebrating according to the new books. The total exclusion of the new rite would not in fact be consistent with the recognition of its value and holiness.\”

    As \”a matter of principle.\” One NEED not offer the Novus Ordo to not exclude it as a valid rite \”in principle.\” Msgr. Ignacio Barreiro, Chaplain to His Holiness, explains this point VERY WELL in an upcoming article to be published by the Latin Mass Society of England and Wales.

    Finally, the letter and spirit of the Pope\’s letter accompanying SP, while respecting the office it emanates from, and should be received with a religious assent of mind and will certainly, HAS NO CANONICAL VALUE.

    Only the MP itself, has canonical weight, and should be interpreted by the letter and spirit of the legislator, whom is Pope Benedict XVI.

    One must not be forced to offer the Novus Ordo. One must recognize its validity, thereby, its \”holiness,\” but one does not have to offer it. Otherwise all of the FSSP, ICR and other exclusive TLM communities are in violation of this precept. So would be all Eastern-rite Catholic priests. Of course, the point is essentially moot because the letter has no canonical weight. Summorum Pontificum does. It is very clear.

    The priests attempted to offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in one of the forms(sic) of the Roman rite and the bishop forbade them.

  77. Brian Mershon says:

    Jordan Potter,

    \”On the other hand, Jesus told us to say of ourselves that when we have done our duty and nothing more, we are unprofitable servants.\”

    The Church interprets Sacred Scripture. The principle I laid out is sound. It is an interpretation of Sacred Scripture and Tradition. Sacred Scripture, and our own personal interpretation of it, is not applied to the official teaching of the Church. It is instructive for understanding the letter and the spirit, but we do not understand the Church\’s teaching AS COMPARED TO our own personal interpretation of Scripture.

    Your second point is clearly true. Once Mass was not offered, the laymen were under no obligation to attend Holy Mass that day, although it would be virtuous for them to do so elsewhere.

  78. michigancatholic says:

    The attitude that “We should do to them what they did to us” is totally uncalled for…

    Absolutely, I agree with you. But those who would use force on the traditionalists in the Church do need to be told the truth in living color, while being cared for. They *must* recognize that one cannot engage in lies, violence, sabotage and disobedience for ideological purposes. The most heinous acts of the progressives fall into the categories of lying, violence, sabotage and disobedience. These are evil acts and even more so when done (supposedly) in the name of religion.

    Both sorts of masses should be allowed, as needed, such that people can fulfill their mass obligations in peace. The force needs to stop. IT could have stopped with this bishop; it should have stopped with this bishop. It has as yet not stopped with this bishop (or indeed with many others). We have a duty in truth to call it out.

  79. Different says:

    RBrown,

    Have you read this?: http://www.therealpresence.org/eucharst/holycom/denial.htm

    “[T]he discipline requires the minister of Holy Communion to forbid the Sacrament to those who are publicly unworthy….It must also be recalled that ‘no ecclesiastical authority may dispense the minister of Holy Communion from this obligation in any case, nor may he emanate directives that contradict it.’”

    I think he makes a very strong case that canon law is explicit and that the moral obligation is there for all who distribute Communion.

  80. M.Z. Forrest says:

    Having read the comments here, a few brief thoughts.
    * Parishes are erected for purposes of territory, form, and rite.
    * A pastor, which each of these three priests are, are obligated to provide for that parish as established.
    * It is reserved to the bishop to erect or alter a parish.
    * For those who look suspiciously upon any pastor not allowing the extraordinary form, I think it is an act of hubris not to condemn a pastor for denying the parishoners’ rights to the ordinary form in a parish erected for that purpose and for which he accepted the appointment by the bishop.
    * This bishop has true patience and appears to be attempting to make an accomodation, an accomdation that from afar appears to be without merit.

  81. M.Z. Forrest says:

    My apologizes for the fomatting. The preview didn\’t show how awful it would look.

  82. Brian Mershon says:

    Where does it say anywhere that a parish would be erected for the ORDINARY form of the Roman rite. We have Roman rite parishes.

    Parishes can be erected as personal parishes for the exclusive use of the Traditional form of the one Roman rite, but there is no place ANYWHERE where it says a parish must be the home to the missal of Pope Paul VI.

    Correct me if I\\\’m wrong, M.Z.

    What RIGHTS does a parishioner have to the \\\”ordinary form\\\”? Parishioners have rights to the sacraments. These priests were perfectly willing to offer Holy Mass and the sacraments. It appears the bishop forbade them from doing so by violating their well-formed Catholic consciences.

  83. Prof. Basto says:

    Mr. Mershon

    I beg leave to disagree with suggestion that the cover letter accompanying the Pope’s Motu Propio has no canonical weight whatsoever.

    Clearly a Letter adressed by the Supreme Pontiff to the entire Catholic Episcopate accompanying a Legal Document signed together with it has value.

    “What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful. 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. Needless to say, in order to experience full communion, the priests of the communities adhering to the former usage cannot, as a matter of principle, exclude celebrating according to the new books. The total exclusion of the new rite would not in fact be consistent with the recognition of its value and holiness”,

    The above passage, for instance, teaches us that we cannot totally exclude the new rite, but that we cannot forbid or consider the old one harmful, having instead a duty to preserve the riches that flow from it, given that what earlier generations held as sacred is and must be sacred for us too.

    Furthermore, apart from containing some papal teaching, the letter, given that its intent was to explain the reasons for the Motu Proprio is indeed a valid canonical tool for the juridical interpretation of the law . In other words, while the cover letter is part of the law itself, it is a privileged source for the interpretation of the law, given that it shows, it expresses, the intent of the legislator at the same moment of the promulgation of the legal document. It cannot be said, therefore, that it has no weight.

  84. Prof. Basto says:

    If the Bishop’s order was unjust and not binding then the legitimate solutions would be either

    (i) to seek remedy from Rome or;

    (ii) if there is no time to seek remedy from Rome without harm to the welfare of souls, to ignore the unjust command of the Bishop (at which point one assumes the risk that, if the Bishop’s order is upheld by Rome, then the priest violated obedience).

    But even in scenario (ii), the consequence of ignoring the Bishop’s unjust directive would be to keep offering the TLM against his permsssion, not going on strike.

    Priests are Priests, not common workers. They cannot go on strike. They cannot declare themselves autosuspended, and then simply let that portion of the Lord’s flock commited to their care deprived of the Sacraments of the Church.

    The problem here is that, even if the Bishop was unjust, the solution was inadmissible. By going on strike the priests did the wrong thing. So, in the end, Rome can well reverse the Bishops unjust command and at the same time sanction the priests for having abandoned, even if temporarily, the sacred duties of the priesthood. Both parties are wrong, and the fault of the Bishop does not justify the wrong done by the priests. Both deserve reprimand from Rome.

    I pray, however, that mercy prevails towards the priests.

  85. Different says:

    Brian,

    Your argument is good if the bishop was denying the right of the priests to celebrate either form of the Mass. But that’s not what happened. The bishop requested that they celebrate one form in addition to the either. This seems reasonable. The bishop obviously thought part of his flock would be served by the ordinary form of the Mass and he aske dthat this be done, but not at the expense of the extraordinary form.

    I am still curious to hear whether you would be defending a priest who refused his bishop’s request to say the TLM. If that priest were to tell the bishop “I will only say the NO”…would you defend him in the same manner???

    Once again, if a priest of the roman rite is asked by his bishop to celebrate a form of the mass of that rite (and not at the expense of the other form), he ought to do so.

  86. Brian Mershon says:

    Prof. Basto:

    \”Furthermore, apart from containing some papal teaching, the letter, given that its intent was to explain the reasons for the Motu Proprio is indeed a valid canonical tool for the juridical interpretation of the law.\”

    Absolutely correct and I agree. Canonists should interpret the canons of MP in light of the Pope\’s explanatory letter.

    \”In other words, while the cover letter is part of the law itself,

    I think you meant to say \”is NOT part of the law itself\” Correct?

    \”it is a privileged source for the interpretation of the law, given that it shows, it expresses, the intent of the legislator at the same moment of the promulgation of the legal document.\” Correct and agreed.

    \”It cannot be said, therefore, that it has no weight.\”

    I agree. I guess it all depends upon how we interpret \”weight.\” Perhaps a better word should have been used. My original point stands though.

    Nearly everyone quoting this \”no exclusion\” clause has referred to it as being part of the MP. It is not.

    Also, it forbids, \”in principle\” a priest from denying the validity of the Novus Ordo. It makes no provision ordering any Roman rite priest priest from offering the Missal of Pope Paul VI.

    Your more precise explanation is appreciated. My primary point is that the letter is not the law. It could be used for reflecting upon and interpreting the law, but it is NOT the law.

    Also, any priest in good conscience can choose to offer EXCLUSIVELY the Traditional form(sic) of the one, Roman rite without scruple or conscience. Both SP and Quo Primum affirm this.

  87. Prof. Basto says:

    Brian,

    If people have the right to request the TLM, as asserted by the Motu Proprio, if that is a legitimate aspiration, and if the TLM is the extraordinary form, then surely the ordinary form must be at least on an equal legal footing, if not on a superior one.

    So, surely, under present law, there is a right to the ordinary form. Otherwise, if your interpretation prevailed, to the effect that there is a right to the TLM but not one to the NO, then the NO wouldn\’t be the ordinary form.

    Just as there is a pastoral need to the TLM, which is my preferred form of the Mass, by the way, there can be also a pastoral need for the NO, and the priest is not to deprive the Christian people from that form of the Roman rite that is still legaly the ordinary one.

    However, I believe that the Bishop was wrong in forbidding the TLM. The correct solution would be either appeal to Rome or to ignore the Bishop and follow the Motu Proprio. But those options do not include, in any way, shape or form, a strike.

    That is unworty of the duties of the clerical state.

  88. Brian Mershon says:

    “Otherwise, if your interpretation prevailed, to the effect that there is a right to the TLM but not one to the NO, then the NO wouldn’t be the ordinary form.”

    I never said there was a RIGHT to either form of the one Roman rite. I said that Canon law provides that the laity have a right to the sacraments, including Holy Mass.

    I tried a Google translation of the entire article, and the translation left a lot to be desired. I couldn’t tell if “strike” were the words the reporter used or actually used by the priest. I suffice to conclude that the cultural differences between Italy and the U.S. do not cover whatever another interpretation of “strike” might be in both Italian and/or Spanish. Certainly, the reporter or priests don’t mean in the same way that it applies to unions in the U.S. Maybe a bad translation.

    I cannot judge the mind of the priest. If in good conscience he can no longer offer the Novus Ordo, then the appropriate re-assigment perhaps should be made if the vast majority of the parishioners prefer the Novus Ordo. Hard to say.

    I do not believe the terms “ordinary” and “extraordinary” as used in the MP are to be interpreted as canonical terms in the same way that “ordinary” and “extraordinary” ministers of Holy Communion has come to be interpreted. The Pope goes to great pains to say that the ordinary form of Mass is such because that is the current situation today. If the TLM becomes the more frequently celebrated Mass, then surely the MP allows for that. In that case, perhaps another legislative act will be forthcoming.

  89. Brian Mershon says:

    “I am still curious to hear whether you would be defending a priest who refused his bishop’s request to say the TLM. If that priest were to tell the bishop “I will only say the NO”…would you defend him in the same manner???”

    There are thousands of such priests. They are legion–literally (OK, that’s a bad joke!!!). I think your question is quite irrelevant to the topic we are discussing. There are ample parishes and opportunities for laity and priests to offer the Novus Ordo exclusively. In 99% of all the parishes in the Roman church, that is indeed the case.

    Again, this applies to the right of the priest to offer the TLM at the request of a significant number of laymen. He does not need to even CONSULT his bishop, per the MP, in order to do this.

    The days of the indult are over people!!! I know it is difficult for everyone to understand, but the TLM was NEVER abrogated. Any priest who was punished for continuing to offer it incurred no fault, penalty or sin for offering the TLM, with or without permission.

  90. M.Z. Forrest says:

    No, you fundamentally misunderstand the issues because of the assumptions you bring to the game. This is not about saying a mass. It is about the pastoral care a pastor owes his flock. A parish isn’t a synonym for a church.

    Can. 515 §2. It is only for the diocesan bishop to erect, suppress, or alter parishes. He is neither to erect, suppress, nor alter notably parishes, unless he has heard the presbyteral council.

    Can. 518 As a general rule a parish is to be territorial, that is, one which includes all the Christian faithful of a certain territory. When it is expedient, however, personal parishes are to be established determined by reason of the rite, language, or nationality of the Christian faithful of some territory, or even for some other reason.

    Can. 519 The pastor (parochus) is the proper pastor (pastor) of the parish entrusted to him, exercising the pastoral care of the community committed to him under the authority of the diocesan bishop in whose ministry of Christ he has been called to share, so that for that same community he carries out the functions of teaching, sanctifying, and governing, also with the cooperation of other presbyters or deacons and with the assistance of lay members of the Christian faithful, according to the norm of law.
    (The entire section: http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG1104/__P1U.HTM )

    Summorum Pontificum speaks to 518:
    Art. 10. The ordinary of a particular place, if he feels it appropriate, may erect a personal parish in accordance with can. 518 for celebrations following the ancient form of the Roman rite, or appoint a chaplain, while observing all the norms of law.
    In regards to the requirements for celebrating the ordinary:
    Art. 5. §1 In parishes, where there is a stable group of faithful who adhere to the earlier liturgical tradition, the pastor should willingly accept their requests to celebrate the Mass according to the rite of the Roman Missal published in 1962, and ensure that the welfare of these faithful harmonises with the ordinary pastoral care of the parish, under the guidance of the bishop in accordance with canon 392, avoiding discord and favouring the unity of the whole Church.
    Arguably Article 1 should be sufficient, but that has already been cited by others.

  91. michigancatholic says:

    For the sake of legality, yes, Prof Basto you are right: The priests should have offered the EF for the people of the parish as they had petitioned them to do–and then the OF, even if it were only attended by the mice, for the bishop’s sake. [Not like the N.O. would ever have been in any shortage however. There are N.O. masses all over the place, both here and in Italy.] The priests also probably, as you say, hurt their cause by being too quick to act. However, I’m still not sure what the forerunning events of all this were……I’m sure there was a lot more than we’re hearing.

    And Brian, on this you are correct: The MP has come. Priests are under no obligation to seek permission from the bishop to say the EF for the people who wish it. The bishop simply cannot prevent it, no matter what his politics are. These priests could have said the OF with anybody or nobody present, just expressly to make the old man happy, right after they said the EF for the people who wanted it. Perhaps they were protesting a requirement to say an extra N.O. in an empty church? I don’t know, but it’s possible.

    The headline here is still not being heard though. It’s NOT that the priests didn’t say mass; masses are all over in Italian towns. It’s not that there is animosity in the Church; we know all that already. It’s not that priests and bishops are having words, or that decisions are being waited on from Rome; what else is new? It’s not really mostly about priests and bishops at all.

    *The headline is that there are 2 licit and valid forms at the same time and LAYPEOPLE have the freedom to go to both or either one, even only one exclusively, exactly as they see fit. The headline is that the LAYPEOPLE of this town rebuked force as a tool to get them, the LAYPEOPLE, to do what the local bishop wanted because he tried to force his hand with them, the LAYPEOPLE. And it didn’t work.*

  92. Brian Mershon says:

    M.Z. Not sure what you are arguing since all you did was cut and paste from the Code of Canon law. Don’t understand how that makes an argument nor follows the line we were discussing.

    If the vast majority of the parishioners wanted the extraordinary form of the one Roman rite and the priest has every authority to give it to them, what is the problem?

    I know of at least one pastor, soon to be made a monsignor and chaplain to His Holiness, who will most likely replace his current 11 a.m. Novus Ordo mass with the TLM permanently and weekly in 2008. He has already done it periodically since the Motu Proprio.

    Of course the laity have four other Novus Ordo Masses (three in English and one in Spanish) to avail themselves each weekend, but nonetheless, he is replacing the Novus Ordo with the TLM rather than at our previous 3 p.m., 5:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. timeslots.

    Again, M.Z., if you disagree with a point I have made, please explain it clearly. I’m afraid what you see as obvious by cutting and pasting from the Code is pretty much lost to me, and I venture to say, probably with other readers also.

  93. michigancatholic says:

    The reason this is a big deal is precisely because it’s all about the laypeople. Just like the changes after Vatican II, which were absolutely bent on changing the spiritual and moral lives of lay Catholics in an attempt to bring us into the mainstream. But the changes just took things away, finally.

    Paradoxically, the Catholic church, in the intervening 40 years, has become more clerical than at scarcely anytime in her history because of the changes which took place after V2. Everything is explained in terms of documents, clergy, lay ministry this and that. There is scarcely anything else that goes on.

    I contend that the MP is far more about laypeople than many people have considered to this point, except maybe Pope Benedict XVI. It’s very much about laypeople because the receptive part of public worship is also very much our vocation. We are the ones who face the front of the church every Sunday and pray together. We are not invisible.

  94. Mark says:

    Claire Wrote: Am I the only one who’s disturbed that 600+ people skipped Sunday Mass!? Not to minimize the importance of the Liturgical issue, but is skipping Sunday Mass (which was a mortal sin the last time I checked) really an acceptable way to protest anything!?

    That’s assuming “skipping Sunday Mass” to mean ANY and ALL Sunday Masses. Perhaps, and this is my hope, that they are limiting their protest to their parish. If it were me, I would travel outside the parish or even outside the diocese to meet my obligation at another parish, or chapel as necessary by any means regardless of cost.

    In Christo,

    Mark

  95. michigancatholic says:

    Me too, but the opportunity surely would have been there, I believe. Italian towns are peppered with churches. It’s the churchiest place I’ve ever been (and not just in Rome).

  96. RBrown says:

    Have you read this?: http://www.therealpresence.org/eucharst/holycom/denial.htm

    “[T]he discipline requires the minister of Holy Communion to forbid the Sacrament to those who are publicly unworthy….It must also be recalled that ‘no ecclesiastical authority may dispense the minister of Holy Communion from this obligation in any case, nor may he emanate directives that contradict it.’”

    I think he makes a very strong case that canon law is explicit and that the moral obligation is there for all who distribute Communion.
    Comment by Different

    1. If Abp Burke is correct, then it seems to me we’ve had some popes, incl JPII and BXVI, who have been negligent. And if they’ve been negligent, then maybe they shouldn’t have been receiving the Eucharist.

    2. He makes a very strong case that it is explicit, but he does not make a very good case that c 915 is to be applied to pro abort politicos.

    a. It is certainly to be applied to those who perform abortions or, say, work in Planned Parenthood.

    b. Politicos, however, are another matter. Some Catholics are actively pro abortion by–it applies to them. Others, however, take a more wishy washy approach (pro choice)–and I think it’s problematic whether they fall under the canon.

    Having said that, I am opposed to giving Communion to politicos in either situation, but obviously in the second case for reasons different from Abp Burke.

  97. Patronus says:

    RBrown, it may be an interesting read and discussion but it’s way off-topic here.

    Brian Mershon, all I want to know is where you see in the article that the bishop is forbidding the praying of the extraordinary form. At face value, that was not the issue – the exclusivity is the issue. All I’m trying to say is that this particular case is NOT about a bishop blocking a priest’s right to pray the XF for his parish. And, as has been said by several people already, there’s not enough information to make a judgment against the bishop on any grounds.

    [I feel like I'm going around in circles with these questions and arguments because we are. I've already seen the same stuff posted two or three times by different people.]

  98. schoolman says:

    Folks, I think the logic here is clear in regards to the ordinary Parish setting. If the faithful have a right to ask for the XF and Priests have a duty to respond — then we must grant that the same logic applies to faithful seeking the OF. The difficulty seems to be that priest have duties and rights — but so do the faithful — as do the Bishops. All have their part to play and one can’t simply demand that his “rights” be observed in an absolute manner — since these are always relative to his duty to also uphold the rights of others.

  99. RBrown says:

    RBrown, it may be an interesting read and discussion but it’s way off-topic here.
    Comment by Patronus

    Not really. The constant invocation of obedience was obfuscating the question at hand, and so I noted the difference between the Franciscan and Thomist Schools, which would likely come to different conclusions in this matter.

    My last response was to clarify further the matter.

  100. Brian Mershon says:

    http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/

    Italian diocese forbids all TLM until “further rules.”

    This just about sums it up. Also, all of this is based upon the assumption that the story above and the CWNews story and the post above are all true and accurate accounts of what has happened.

    The bishop ordered his priests to offer the Novus Ordo. They refused.

    No priest is obligated, if his well-formed Catholic conscience forbids it, from offering a specific form of the one Roman rite. The bishop cannot order priests to offer it just as he cannot forbid them to offer the TLM.

  101. schoolman says:

    Brian, these are two different cases in different dioceses. It was an administrator (not Bishop) who attempts to forbid all TLM until further notice. Clearly he has no authority to make such a general demand. I expect this administrator will be corrected in short order.

  102. Different says:

    Brian,

    You dismissed my question on how you would respond if the matter were reversed. You said it wasn’t relevant. But it is. It gets to how we apply laws and in what way priests ought to obey the requests of their bishops. It is good to reverse the facts in order to see if perhaps your opinion is being swayed by your own personal preference of liturgies. It seems that you are under such influence. I would imagine if a bishop reprimanded a priest who refused the bishops request to offer a TLM in addition to the NO, you would completely support the bishop in his action…am I wrong? It seems also that part of your argument is “well, there’s lots of priests who would refuse a request to say the TLM.” Well, that may be true, but it doesn’t make it right.

    If a bishop makes a reasonable request that a priest celebrate a certain liturgy in his parish WITHOUT FORBIDDING HIM TO CELEBRATE ADDITIONAL MASSES IN A LITURGY OF HIS CHOOSING, the priest is bound to obey. Take Fr. Z for instance, we all know that he truly loves the TLM and has done much to preserve it. If his bishop were to request that he say a NO Mass in addition to his other Masses, should he just refuse and tell the bishop that he will not celebrate Mass rather than celebrate the NO Mass? No, of course not.

    On another note, I’m not sure these three priests are doing much to help the traditionalist movement. They project the attitude that if they don’t get their way, then they’ll just take their ball and go home. It just promotes the flawed liberal opinion that all traditionalists are just one small controversy away from schism….not a good thing.

  103. Brian Mershon says:

    Dear Different,

    Thank you for the personal psychological analysis and assumption and presumption on what I would think and how I would respond. I am glad to see you are a mindreader.

    I am sorry you have such low opinions of traditionalist Catholics. The ones I have met of all stripes–wounds and imperfections, sins and all–are doing everything they can in a culture of death and in a rancid environment within a crisis of the Church to raise their children and assist their spouses in becoming saints.

    You can call it \”taking their ball and going home\” all you want. As a former professional baseball player, perhaps it an adept in analogy. Your explanation is lacking and your analogies don\’t fit and your presumptions are wrong.

    I for one hope more and more priests will not let how the TLM forms them affect the manner in which they offer the NO. I hope instead that frequent celebration of the TLM will make them recognize how they have been lied to and robbed of their authentic priestly patrimony for nearly 40 years and decide to make a clean break.

    THAT is my personal preference. No priests can be disciplined or forced to offer the Novus Ordo liturgy. The more who do not–it is not for the betterment of a select few traditionalists–but for the betterment of their priestly sanctity and for the good of the entire Church.

    May God be with you. Lights out. Please do not presume what my opinion is on things when I have not given it explicitly. You do not know me from Adam.

  104. Louis E. says:

    It was Msgr Giusto (Administrator of Savona-Noli) who said his diocese was to have no TLMs,although I wonder if there are other parishes in Novara where there is a TLM offered by a priest who also offers the Novus Ordo.
    Have any other dioceses actually said “the answer to unity is to have no Traditional Masses” besides Jakarta?

  105. Brian says:

    Hi, everyone,

    First of all, my apologies if I caused any confusion; I’m a different fellow than Brian Mershon (my esteemed co-name-holder! :) ), and I was the one to post on 29 November 2007 @ 12:28 pm.

    As I re-read the original article/post, the fact which strikes me most is that the request for the TLM at the given parish was virtually *unanimous* (at least, judging from the number of people who “boycotted” that particular parish’s Mass after the priests were reprimanded). Given that, what possible motive could the bishop have had for denying the TLM request (and possibly a “personal parish” for the TLM, if the numbers are any indicator), out of hand? Wouldn’t it have been far more logical (and charitable, IMHO) for the bishop to have said, “Wow… *all* the people in the parish want this? Let’s discuss options…”…?

    That’s what gets me: as many have already mentioned, there are probably Mass locations-a-plenty in that area of Italy (meaning that the “denial of Mass” due to a denial of the N.O. is practically a non-issue, pastorally), and virtually the entire parish *wanted* the TLM as their “standard Mass”. What’s to reject, here?

    That being said, I still (in my own private views) have great difficulty with clerical, etc., disobedience in anything which doesn’t involve a demand that they violate Divine Law. (Does that make me a Franciscan? :) I’m a member of the Militia of the Immaculata, so maybe…) My personal take is that the priests might well be within their canonical rights to refuse what seems to be a canonically invalid directive from the bishop, but the insubordination is spiritually ill-advised. I seriously doubt that anyone’s salvation would have been placed in danger by having some NO Masses amongst the TLM Masses, especially given the apparent orthodoxy of the priests in question!

    In Christ,
    Brian

  106. Patronus says:

    “I for one hope more and more priests will not let how the TLM forms them affect the manner in which they offer the NO. I hope instead that frequent celebration of the TLM will make them recognize how they have been lied to and robbed of their authentic priestly patrimony for nearly 40 years and decide to make a clean break.”

    This just sounds too subversive. I think the Holy Father’s great hope is clearly that the celebration of the extraordinary form WILL change priests’ approach to the ordinary form.

  107. Different says:

    Brian Mershon,

    I apologize if I offended you in any way. I do not presume to know what you think on matters. As I mentioned above, I think how we apply standards of obedience is important and I think it is important that it be done well. It is also clear that this should not be TLM vs NO. Pope Benedict seems to want nothing like that. And from your words here, you seemt to desire exactly that.

    Was my question to you unfair? How would you view it if the situation were reversed. I’ll tell you how I view it. A priest ought to submit to the requests of his bishop to offer a particular liturgy provided that his freedom to offer other liturgies is not impeded in any way. This applies whether the request is for a NO mass or a TLM. It cuts both ways.

    Your comment that I have low opinion of traditionalist catholics is completely false, if I may remind you of your words to me “you do not know me from Adam.” I DO have a low opinion of the ACTION of priests who would disobey a simple request from their bishop that still respected their freedom to offer the liturgy of their choosing.

    You say that “no priest can be forced to offer the NO liturgy.” Can a priest be forced to offer the TLM? I think yes (I know it isn’t happening right now, but I pray for the day when it does).

  108. Brian Mershon says:

    “A priest ought to submit to the requests of his bishop to offer a particular liturgy provided that his freedom to offer other liturgies is not impeded in any way.\”

    The motu proprio says that the priest does not have to do this. Obey you and the bishop\’s \”guidelines\” or the simple words of the Pope? Hmm…

    Also, I said that my personal opinion was that I hoped more diocesan priests started saying the Traditional Roman rite exclusively. Neither of us know whether the Pope desires it or not. I think for him, it is not as much of a controversy as it is for everyone else.

    I personally believe the Novus Ordo is gone in one to two generations. The new seminarians and priest, almost all of them, want to celebrate the TLM. The Novus Ordo seminaries are closing. The traditional seminaries are packed to the rafters. It is only a matter of time and guaging \”the signs of the times\” as Gaudium et Spes states.

  109. Different says:

    Brian,

    You said: “the motu proprio says that the priest does not have to do this.”

    Where?

    You said: “Neither of us know whether the Pope desires it or not.”

    I take it from this quotation: “Needless to say, in order to experience full communion, the priests of the communities adhering to the former usage cannot, as a matter of principle, exclude celebrating according to the new books. The total exclusion of the new rite would not in fact be consistent with the recognition of its value and holiness.” That he DOES NOT desire the exclusion of celebrating according to the new books. Was he kidding here??? Or lying??? Why would he write this unless he meant it??? It seems that a priest who refuses to celebrate the NO is doing this “as a matter of principle” which is exactly what Pope Benedict said he did NOT want. And yeah, I know this quotation is not in the motu proprio, but that doesn’t mean it ought to be ignored, particularly since it addresses nearly this exact situation.

    As for the seminaries, vocations are up in several diocese and not just with men who are preparing to say the TLM exclusively. The young men that I have spoken to are eager to embrace both forms of the Mass and bring that to their parishes.

  110. Patronus says:

    ” The new seminarians and priest, almost all of them, want to celebrate the TLM. The Novus Ordo seminaries are closing. The traditional seminaries are packed to the rafters.”

    There is a kernel of truth here–namely, that interest in Latin and traditional liturgical practices is up in seminaries. However, it is still a gross oversimplication. I know because I am in contact with seminarians at various different seminaries. Also, the vast difference in the number of so-called “traditional seminaries” vs. all other seminaries (many of which actually do offer a good balance) is vast.

  111. RBrown says:

    Then there was the Joe SixPack mentality – “I can’t get my tongue around Latin. Anyway, who speaks it anymore?
    Comment by mike conlon

    If you’re referring to the Common Man, I disagree. There was no push from the laity for the radical liturgical changes. And in the past 40 years they have voted with their feet about what they think about the changes–not only by Church attendance but also by the collapse in vocations to the priesthood and religious life.

    The changes were not driven by concern for the Common Man but rather by the ideology of the Community of Man masquerading as Ecumenism.

  112. Henry Edwards says:

    I know because I am in contact with seminarians at various different seminaries.

    As am I, and my impression is that the majority of younger seminarians at ordinary mainstream seminaries are interested in traditional liturgical practices. And that the tide is running so strongly in this direction — in part because Benedict XVI is so attractive to seminarians and in part because lazy liturgy is dying out with the graying generation — that this will soon be true of most seminarians in most seminaries.

  113. Patronus says:

    “As am I, and my impression is that the majority of younger seminarians at ordinary mainstream seminaries are interested in traditional liturgical practices. And that the tide is running so strongly in this direction”

    Oh, I certainly agree, don’t get me wrong. What I meant to highlight is that it’s not the case that this traditional liturgical interest is to the exclusion of the ordinary form of the Mass, as Mr. Mershon implied. Lazy liturgy is definitely going out on the whole, but this applies to both forms of the Mass. Seminarians are interested in doing both well.

  114. Ottaviani says:

    Different

    You misunderstand the quote of the papal letter where it says, “Needless to say, in order to experience full communion, the priests of the communities adhering to the former usage cannot, as a matter of principle, exclude celebrating according to the new books. The total exclusion of the new rite would not in fact be consistent with the recognition of its value and holiness.”

    Fr.Z has already mentioned that this means that no one may deny the validity of the new missal. “In principle” does not translate into “practice” – that EVERYONE must say the new rite. The diocese of Milan does not say the Novus Ordo – are they disobedient? The church cannot impose a rite on every priest under the penalty of sin. That would indeed be the worst act of the Ultramontane, which was already accomplished when Paul VI overthrew a liturgical tradition of 1500 years in 1969.

  115. danphunter1 says:

    Patronus,
    In four years of assisting at the Tridentine Mass I have yet to see a priest offer a “lazy liturgy”.
    I thnk that it is safe to state that the majority of priests, throughout the world who offer the Tridentine Mass are offering it in keeping strictly to the rubrics with great awe, humility, and reverence.
    On the other hand the majority of NO masses I have been to between 1980 and 2003 have been a wing it as you go production and almost always offered differently from mass to mass.
    The NO lends itself to laziness.
    The Tridentine Mass does not.
    God bless you.

  116. Different says:

    Ottaviani,

    You misunderstand what the Holy Father says. He says they “may not exclude celebrating according to the new books”. Sorry, but that is crystal clear. It does not mean they MUST ALWAYS celebrate that way. But it does mean if one of their superiors requests that they celebrate such a liturgy (and not exclude the other form) they ought to comply because they cannot exclude as a matter of principle. They may exclude as a matter of practicality such as in a 1962 use parish, but they may NOT exclude out of principle as these priests in Italy.

    Also, this goes both ways…as in a bishop should be able to request that his roman rite priest say a TLM in his parish and the priest ought to obey.

  117. michigancatholic says:

    Different:

    There is no danger of the OF not being said in that diocese in Italy (or anywhere else for the immediate future, either). That is not at stake here, nor has it ever been. There is no shortage of OF celebrations, therefore there is no need to FORCE people to attend them or say them. EVER.

    In like manner, I’m not sure it was necessary in this diocese to attempt to FORCE a whole parishfull of people sit through only OFs, especially since they had petitioned for the EF. They all wanted the EF if the reports are correct. Imagine that!

    Simple fact: Some people don’t like the OF much. Some people prefer the EF. It’s not a crime. People can and so have this right.

    Ramming things down peoples’ throats against their wills is a rather serious motivational defect, don’t you agree??

  118. Patronus says:

    “In like manner, I’m not sure it was necessary in this diocese to attempt to FORCE a whole parishfull of people sit through only OFs, especially since they had petitioned for the EF.”

    Have you people even read the article?? This is seriously absurd – as though folks are ignoring the actual issue at hand. All we know is that the pastors were asked not to offer the EF *exclusively*. That is not the same as no EF Masses, or only OF Masses.

    Moreover, the importance of a particular parish community should not be treated as unimportant. Regardless of whether OF Masses are plentiful, even in a churh next door, the issue here is making sure a parish ministers to its own parishioners. No parishioner should have to leave his or her parish for such reasons – and this applies to affinity for either EF or OF Masses.

  119. michigancatholic says:

    So Patronus,

    I remind you most strongly that according to Pope Benedict XVI, I have a right to the EF should I want to avail myself of it.

    If, as you say, “No parishioner should have to leave his or her parish…..for either EF or OF masses, then you’d better explain how that’s going to happen on the ground when most priests know no more Latin than my cat, due to faulty formation in the seminary.

    We don’t have an ordinary form Latin here, let alone an extraordinary form Latin, because most of the priests here simply aren’t capable of it. They could probably say the words with practice but the rubrics are a mystery to most of them, and some of them wouldn’t learn anyway for ideological reasons, believe it or not.

    So the general case you make, for both forms everywhere, isn’t a good one for practical reasons, if nothing else. Therefore, there are going to be mass centers for the EF and mass centers for the OF, as a practical matter, and people may have to go where they need to go to get what they have legitimate rights to.

    However, what’s more interesting is something Fr. pointed out in his original piece on this issue. To quote Fr. Z: “Some will argue that the Council stressed a rather new way of seeing the bishops, that is, as a kind of super-priest and pretty pope of his own local Church. Just as a Pope can speak for the whole Church, some think that the bishop can speak for the whole diocese. And since “unity” has been stressed so deeply in the comment above, especially unity with the bishop, must one conclude that if the bishop doesn’t prefer or celebrate the older Mass, then the priests should not prefer or celebrate the older Mass?”
    [NOTE: the unity comment referred to here is a product of who else but--the bishop. How conveeenient.]

    It seems the people in the parishes are really protesting the autocratic handling of the priests by the bishop and that’s what’s really at stake. To quote Fr. Z again: “People are staying away from the churches in protest over how the priests are being treated….Another priest was sent out, but found only three women in church. After giving the priest a piece of their mind, they left.”

    People can recognize an aberration of tradition and theology, when they see one. That’s the real issue. If the bishop hates the EF, he may be acting out against the EF and the freedom that the EF guarantees. The people at Novara have to be reacting to something, no?

    BTW, if this bishop is acting out, it’s not like it would be unique. Here’s another one:
    http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2007/11/incredibile-italian-diocese-settles.html
    And we’ve got lots of similar cases in the USA, except here because of the cultural situation, it’s easier to just toss up a whole mess of rules and make it seem impossible………. I trust, just like everyone else, you’ve seen a bunch of those.

  120. Patronus says:

    Until people stop reading into this particular situation more than is actually being reported, this conversation is pointless. I need not articulate what I mean by that, because it’s already been explained about 20 times above.