Archd. of San Francisco’s norms on Summorum Pontificum

I received a fax of the norms on Summorum Pontificum issued by His Excellency Most Reverend George H. Niederauer, Archbishop of San Francisco.

There was an article in the San Francisco archdiocesan newpaper about the norms, and it wasn’t exactly pointing to a bright future for the rights of San Franciscans, lay and clerics, who want the older Mass.  But I really didn’t want to write about the norms without having seen them. 

Now I have seen them.

I don’t have the time or energy, or the desire frankly, to type all this out, so let me share the highlights. 

First, in the cover letter, the Archbishop writes: "please find attached to this letter norms which are to be adhered to throughout the Archdiocese."  The Archbishop also names two priests to whom he delegates matters concerning the implementation of the norms.  Of course, that means the Archdiocese’s local norms, not the norms for the universal Church in Summorum Ponitifcum.

Going on to the norms themselves… the more I read , the more something was familiar about them. 

For example, here are the first couple paragraphs of the Introduction section in the San Francisco norms:

 

On July 7, 2007, Pope Benedict XVI issued a motu proprio apostolic letter concerning the extraordinary form of the Celebration of the Mass and Sacraments. The title of this letter, Summorum Pontificum, is taken from the first two words of the original Latin text. Summorum Pontificum

At the same time, Pope Benedict XVI issued a separate letter to all the bishops on the occasion of the publication of the letter Summorum Pontificum in which the Holy Father explains the rationale for providing for and regulating liturgical celebrations according to
the 1962 Missal.

Hmmm….  a quick search of this blog and .. voila… I found something. 

Here are the first couple paragraphs of the Introduction section of norms for a different diocese:

On July 7, 2007, Pope Benedict XVI issued a motu proprio apostolic letter concerning the extraordinary form of the Celebration of the Mass and Sacraments. The title of this letter, Summorum Pontificum, is taken from the first two words of the original Latin text. Summorum Pontificum

At the same time, Pope Benedict XVI issued a separate letter to all the bishops on the occasion of the publication of the letter Summorum Pontificum in which the Holy Father explains the rationale for providing for and regulating liturgical celebrations according to
the 1962 Missal.

Identical, as far as I can tell.

The Archbishop of San Francisco reissued the norms Bp. Donald W. Trautman imposed on the Diocese of Erie.

However, when it comes to section 5.6, which concerns the size of the so-called "stable group"… can you believe these folks are still clinging to that bad translation? … there is a variation.   Bp. Trautman thinks (incorrectly) that the "stable group" must consist of at least 25 people.  In the norms for San Francisco,  Archbishop Niederauer thinks the group must be  "at least 30 persons who, in the same location and in an ongoing manner…".  Etc.

 

I believe this to be contrary to the provisions of Summorum Pontificum.  I am confident this will be clarified and that the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei will say that no bishop can impose such a number, which is not determined in the Motu Proprio.  I suspect that, even now, were a group of people objected to this unreasonable restriction, they would receive a good hearing in Rome. 

At the same time it is reasonable to suppose that a parish-wide initiative cannot be easily undertaken for a very small group… or can it? 

There are all sorts of parish initiatives made for groups than smaller than 30 people.

I think we all know what this is really about.

There are other problems with the norms for San Francisco.  But since they are essentially the same as Bp. Trautman’s, you can just look at them in that other entry.

In effect, the norms issued for San Francisco represent a restriction of the rights of priests and lay people to enjoy the provisions of the Holy Father’s derestriction of the older form of Mass.

I wouldn’t worry too much about this, however.  I think they will have to be swept away fairly soon.

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44 Responses to Archd. of San Francisco’s norms on Summorum Pontificum

  1. Jeff Pinyan says:

    Quod fuit,
    ipsum est, quod futurum est.

    Quod factum est,
    ipsum est, quod faciendum est.

    Nihil sub sole novum.

  2. Prof. Basto says:

    THE Vatican, either the Pope himself or the PCED, should issue a document vacating all episcopal rules, either issued by local dioceses or by Episcopal Conferences, that attempt to regulate that subject already regulated by papal legislation.

    I mean, the Holy See should be clear about it: all episcopal rules concerning Summorum Pontificum’s implementation are voided, and of absolutely no effect whatsoever, being utterly null and unauthorized, and all the subjects of the Church are released from any duty of applying such null and void local norms.

    Perhaps the awaited document by the PCED making clarifications regarding the Motu Proprio could include some clause to that effect.

  3. AMDG says:

    Too bad for the priests and faithful in San Francisco. Such an amazing place in that every few blocks in
    many parts of the City there is a tabernacele with the real presence, in place and available. And this
    even after all of the Church closings.

    The best option for those able is to go across the Bay to the Diocese of Oakland, where @ St. Margaret Mary
    the TLM is offered, daily I believe now, and with burgeoning support.

  4. Allan Potts says:

    Superb idea and post Prof. Basto. It could not happen too soon.

    Adeste fideles, ad captandum vulgus, et clerum.

  5. EDG says:

    Well, the Bp of San Fran is actually being pretty generous. I live in St Augustine, FL, where there is a 50 person minimum, and they all have to be registered, envelope-receiving members of that parish. (In the case of the Cathedral, not, say, from among the 75-100 people who always show up for daily mass but may actually be members of another nearby parish.)

    And then what? There are parishes that have met this requirement and where the letter has been sent to the pastor and the bishop, but we still have not a single additional classical Roman rite mass in this diocese. I think Prof Basto is absolutely right, all of the local restrictions should be overturned by Rome.

    That said, the choice of Neiderauer for Abp of San Francisco still mystifies me.

  6. Marcin says:

    Is it therefore true that Bp. Trautman has become a leader of a peculiar episcopal party, and that members of that party are required to voice this party’s line word by word? I wonder who is next to produce a membership card…

  7. Nick says:

    What is wrong with 25-30 people? That is below what I would consider enough people (100).

    I think it is fair to set a semi-official number, that way you can demonstrate if there is enough demand and the Bishop is SUPPOSED to find qualified priests to meet their request. You cant have 3 people here and 10 people in other city of the diocese demanding their own TLM on a regular basis, there just isnt enough resources.

    If a priest has the time and qualifications and wants to schedule a TLM for 10 people then THANKS BE TO GOD! But other than that the Bishop cant be forced to accommodate for a few people here and there.

  8. Mrs. Kimball says:

    Triditional Latin Mass every Sunday St Marys Vacaville 350 Stinson Ave 2pm December 24th Mass at 10pm January 1 Mass at 2pm

  9. Mrs Kimball says:

    TLM every Sunday 4pm St Mary’s 350 Stinson Ave Vacaville Ca

  10. Nick: What is wrong with 25-30 people? That is below what I would consider enough people (100).

    However… Nick doesn’t get to make those decisions.

    The Lawgiver (Pope Benedict) made a determination not to place a minimum number in Summorum Pontificum. No bishop can place restrictions on this document.

    The principle of interpretation of canon is that matters here is that when a law is given which favors rights or expands them, then that law must be interpreted in such a way as to favor people’s rights, not limit them.

    Furthermore you wrote: But other than that the Bishop cant be forced to accommodate for a few people here and there.

    Here is another problem. The BISHOP doesn’t get to make these decisions according to Summorum Pontificum. The provisions say that the PASTOR of the parish makes them. Bishop may be of support, but may not hinder.

  11. Supertradmom says:

    The Bishops in question are not the only ones setting norms for numbers. At one of the Catholic colleges where the Tridentine Mass is being allowed, and where I attend regularly, the Head Chaplain is reconsidering continuing that Mass, as there are “only” 40 people attending: 30 students and 10 local adults or staff members. He told me that if more students do not attend, he will discontinue it. Three priests on campus now say that Mass on a rotating schedule. The other two do not care about numbers.

  12. Supertradmom says:

    The Bishops in question are not the only ones setting norms for numbers. At one of the Catholic colleges where the Tridentine Mass is being allowed, and where I attend regularly, the Head Chaplain is reconsidering continuing that Mass, as there are \”only\” 40 people attending: 30 students and 10 local adults or staff members. He told me that if more students do not attend, he will discontinue it. Three priests on campus now say that Mass on a rotating schedule. The other two do not care about numbers.

  13. jpd says:

    As a 50 year attendee at Saint Margaret Mary, Oakland; I would echo the comments by nick. The institute does NOT use the 1962 Missal. The 1944 version and earlier. It is possible to be disobedient with the Traditional Mass also. jpd

  14. michigancatholic says:

    The point, Nick, is that the bishop does NOT have the right to set a number. Nor does he have the right to prohibit the TLM at any time. Further, the point is that bishops have been setting out these ridiculous statements and they are exceeding their authority by doing so.

    I agree with Prof Basto. I’d like to see a statement vacating any authority the bishops are usurping on this account. They do not have the right to interfere. Their role is to moderate in the case of disputes, such that laypeople can have the EF. That’s IT. And they’re clearly not doing that, but something else.

  15. Tiny says:

    Sometimes I think there’s too much emphasis on the individual parish. In my mind, that sort of represents the bottom line gurantee of MP, that people at the parish level may organise. I think for practical reasons a diocesan wide approach is appropriate. For example, the resources of one parish may only be able to support one TLM a month, a First Friday for example. But if many parishes are considered, and their resources pooled, perhaps they could have the TLM every Sunday or even daily. Thus, I see the role of the Bishop as someone who helps coordinate the MP in his diocese, rather than being completely hands off.

  16. a priest says:

    If I were to do a Mass for Charismatics, a so called “Charismatic Mass”, a “Folk Mass”, a “Children’s Mass”, or any other “kind” of Mass, whether it is legitimate or not would never be questioned by the Bishop or his chancery staff!

    Why then should any Bishop or his staff question a TLM!

    I have seen priests say Masses for Charismatics with only a dozen people present (in my past life), the Bishop never said a word. In fact, they never said a word about the Liturgical abuses taking place at all of these “special” Masses. If only they would have, we would not be in the mess we are today.

    But along comes the Holy Father’s directives, and they impose restrictions. Just like American Bureaucrats.

  17. Bill says:

    “I wouldn’t worry too much about this, however. I think they will have to be swept away pretty soon.”

    Your lips to God’s ears. Fr. Z!

  18. michigancatholic says:

    Except, Tiny, that’s not how it has worked in practice in most places. It is not the bishop’s perogative to be able to say “only this place, only this time” anymore. The MP made that very clear. The Ecclesia Dei provision is gone–everyone needs to recognize that, bishops and laity alike.

    Priests can say the EF any time they see fit. Period. This could hardly be a bigger imposition on tradition than what we had before–even if particular priests aren’t very good at saying the EF. They can always learn and that’s worth the world right there. I believe this is what Pope Benedict thinks and I think he’s right.

    One must not let the better be the enemy of the good.

  19. Larry says:

    I’m a San Franciscan, and I find all of this very discouraging. Many of our churches are nearly empty. Local parochial schools have closed or are struggling. Vocations to the priesthood from this archdiocese are and have been anemic. And yet our leaders stubbornly insist, despite all evidence to the contrary, that the reforms of the 2nd Vatican Council have been a glorious success and that we must not stifle all of this progress by returning to the “bad old days” of Latin Masses. I hope and pray that Father Zuhlsdorf is right and that these restrictions will be swept away soon. We need the TLM in this city. However, for that to happen, it will take more than new guidelines from Rome. It will take tremendous courage and faith from some of our local priests, as they’ll be putting themselves at odds with an establishment that is strongly opposed to the Tridentine Mass in particular and Catholic tradition in general.

  20. Matthaei says:

    If I were to do a Mass for Charismatics, a so called “Charismatic Mass”, a “Folk Mass”, a “Children’s Mass”, or any other “kind” of Mass, whether it is legitimate or not would never be questioned by the Bishop or his chancery staff!

    Why then should any Bishop or his staff question a TLM!

    I have seen priests say Masses for Charismatics with only a dozen people present (in my past life), the Bishop never said a word. In fact, they never said a word about the Liturgical abuses taking place at all of these “special” Masses. If only they would have, we would not be in the mess we are today.

    But along comes the Holy Father’s directives, and they impose restrictions. Just like American Bureaucrats.
    Comment by a priest — 19 December 2007 @ 9:07 pm

    Refreshing words to see. Thanks!

    I have seen very odd liturgies going on with only two or several people in the pews. The message is clear: our bishops have plenty of concern and time to worry about the TLM but don’t give a hoot about inane banalities that only offend God and contribute to the general demise of all religion.

    That speaks volumes.

    BTW: I’ve heard there are 60 Anglican bishops appealing for admission to the Catholic Church, as they are sick of having to “update” their services with the latest novelties, and want to return to the Faith of our fathers. Perhaps their influence would be beneficial!!

  21. Anon says:

    If there any people from the Archdiocese of San Francisco out there, I would
    love to get together and see what we can do! I heard, just maybe St Veronica’s
    may have the TLM.

  22. Fr Ray Blake says:

    There has been a lot of talk about the size of the group. Presumably the reason why the Pope has not speicified its size, and left the decision to the Pastor, is simply that if you are the chaplain of an old peoples home with only a handful of people able to attend Mass, a group is going to be quite different from that of a parish served by one man where there are several thousand attending Mass. Similarly in a large parish were there are “surplus” priests the requesting group could be quite tiny.
    What the Pope is concerned about is people having access to choice.

  23. Serafino says:

    You don’t need a degree in theology or in canon law to understand the meaning and intent of the Holy Father’s Summorum Pontificum However, in dioceses where bishops have placed “restrictions,” illegal as they are, priests find themselves in a very difficult position.

    Many priests would face sanctions, including removal from their pastorates, for “disobeying” their bishops. Intimidation, bullying and threats are common tactics in many chanceries. As one canon lawyer said, bishops have almost total discretionary power over priests, and the code of canon law for the most part is a “bishops code.” In a certain sense, the laity is in a better position than priests, in applying pressure to the powers to be in the diocese.

  24. A.Williams says:

    Anon,

    I lived in S.F. for about 40 years, but am currently overseas. However, a good bet for getting a TLM in S.F. might be to contact the Sisters of Perpetual Adoration on Ashbury Street…two blocks up from Haight. They have a cloisterd Monastery there. They are also totally orthodox in every aspect of the faith. I’ve been a friend and supporter of them all my life. Also, I actually attended a TLM Mass there once before by an Italian Priest who was visiting. So, you might want to talk with Sr. Rosalba, the Current Mother Superior, she’s very friendly, holy and sensible…and just might be receptive! They also have a large support base, with many devout priests at hand who might be interested in helping.

  25. Henry Edwards says:

    MichiganCatholic: It is not the bishop’s perogative …

    But wouldn’t you agree that a worthy bishop would want the ancient Mass that so promotes the faith to be available throughout his diocese, and would therefore take the initiative to try to coordinate the pooling of parish resources to this end. Where necessary, as it is in many dioceses where Catholics are so thinly spread that there may not be adequate groups in individual parishes.

  26. Jim says:

    My bishop did not need 2,000 plagiarized words; he accomplished the same thing with a wink and a nod. I have taken refuge in the Eastern rite.

  27. Matthew Robinson says:

    Lord, deliver your Church from Episcopalianism.

  28. M.Z. Forrest says:

    Considering that a number of dioceses have implemented minimum numbers, there is every possibility that those who insist they lack the power to do this are simply wrong. No one has a right to a Charismatic mass or a Teen mass. Priests don’t need political cover from rabid Charismatics denying their rights. It is really quite pathetic, people declaring themselves white matyrs because they can’t force a priest to offer a TLM for them and their brother. I can point to areas throughout my state where thousands of Hispanics can’t find a mass in their language. There really seems to be a contest in the comments to see who can make the most ridiculous demand for parish resources. Resources aren’t infinite.

  29. Different says:

    Isn’t the point in SP that a priest can choose to offer the TLM for any size group (or even no one) that he wishes…but that he MUST provide the Mass when a “number” of the faithful request it? Would it really be problematic for a diocese to put a number on that IF they were saying:

    Requests by 1-29 people = priest can say the TLM at his discretion.
    Requests by 30+ people = priest MUST find a way to offer the TLM for the people.

    This would seem very helpful and useful as it does not restrict the priests from offering the TLM, but informs them of when they really must find a way to offer it in their parish (or nearby, I suppose).

    Unfortunately, it seems as if some of the bishops are turning this to a negative and saying you may NOT offer the Mass unless you have XX number of people…I’d like to see that turned around to something like the above.

  30. dcs says:

    M.Z. Forrest writes:
    Considering that a number of dioceses have implemented minimum numbers, there is every possibility that those who insist they lack the power to do this are simply wrong. No one has a right to a Charismatic mass or a Teen mass. Priests don’t need political cover from rabid Charismatics denying their rights. It is really quite pathetic, people declaring themselves white matyrs because they can’t force a priest to offer a TLM for them and their brother. I can point to areas throughout my state where thousands of Hispanics can’t find a mass in their language. There really seems to be a contest in the comments to see who can make the most ridiculous demand for parish resources. Resources aren’t infinite.

    I do not think you have understood the argument. The point is that Summorum Pontificum gives rights to priests. No, no one has the right to a Charismatic Mass or a Teen Mass but does a priest need special permission or a minimum number to offer it? I think not. You are arguing against a straw man. It is up to the pastor to decide whether numbers are sufficient; moreover, the pastor can offer a public TLM whether a group has requested it or not.

  31. Jason in San Antonio says:

    This episcopal statement makes me question the supposed imminency of any clarifications from the PCED. What leader in his right mind would issue a set of rules when there’s the rumor of their being overruled so soon? No wise leader sets himself up to be undermined. I hope his excellency doesn’t know something we don’t.

    That said, I agree with Prof. Basto that a statement to the effect that all episcopal statements purporting to “clarify” SP are hereby preempted would be helpful.

  32. M.Z. Forrest says:

    DCS,

    The Erie regulations allow a small group to approach a priest for a private TLM. (5.4 of Erie.) They are not governed under the pastoral regulation of 30 persons (25 S.F.). 5.5 could be problematic except that you would need an obstinate pastor who refused to just do a private mass and couldn’t find two dozen people. The hypothetical circumstance required for there to be a conflict seems contrived.

  33. dcs says:

    Mr. Forrest,

    The point is that it is up to the pastor to celebrate the Mass or to arrange with someone else to celebrate it, even publicly. There need not be any request for it, he has the authority to arrange it himself. If the pastor sees a need for a public Mass then there is no reason he should be forced to offer a private one instead.

  34. pdt says:

    Our diocese is subordinate to the SF Archdiocese. According to our bishop, he has been given a Latin test that must be taken by any priest who intends to say the TLM. (I presume that it must come from somewhere up the chain.) He has said that despite beginning his priesthood saying Mass in Latin, and despite studying the language for 6 years, he feels that he would be unable to pass the test himself. I don’t think there is particular positive movement towards a TLM here in the visible future.

  35. Mike says:

    Jason,

    “No wise leader sets himself up to be undermined.”

    That adjective is the whole point, isn’t it?

    Mike

  36. Habemus Papam says:

    Matthew Robinson: right! We are Papists, for goodness sake, not Episcopaleans.

  37. Habemus Papam says:

    There is no such thing in Law as a Charismatic Mass or a Teen Mass. There is the Ordinary Form (Novus Ordo) and the Extraordinary Form (Tridentine).

  38. pdt: According to our bishop, he has been given a Latin test that must be taken by any priest who intends to say the TLM. (I presume that it must come from somewhere up the chain.) He has said that despite beginning his priesthood saying Mass in Latin, and despite studying the language for 6 years, he feels that he would be unable to pass the test himself.

    I would very much like to see this claim substantiated. Is there any way you could get me a reference for this? Better yet, get me the TEST ITSELF?

  39. Mrs Kimball says:

    Bay area folks stop by St Mary’s in Vacaville any Sunday at 4pm We have a wonderful TLM . Merry Christmas to you all. Ave Maria

  40. JARHEAD462 says:

    Oh, those poor hispanics!
    Here is a thought….If the Mass was still in latin, then those who can’t speak the tounge of the native tounge of the place in which they live or visit can follow the Mass anywhere in the world…wasn’t this the way it was before Vatican….head hurting…..too much logic…..I can see light!! beautiful light!

  41. Henry Edwards says:

    …where thousands of Hispanics can’t find a mass in their language.

    I’ve heard the claim that many Hispanics could understand Mass in Latin better than in the mangled Spanish mouthed by some U.S. priests who apparently haven’t been given a rigorous Spanish test before being allowed to celebrate Mass in that language.

  42. dcs says:

    Our diocese is subordinate to the SF Archdiocese. According to our bishop, he has been given a Latin test that must be taken by any priest who intends to say the TLM.

    !

    Do you mean that your bishop is taking orders on Summorum Pontificum from his metropolitan (i.e., the Archbishop of San Francisco)? How curious.

  43. ALL: Please note that I have deleted a few rabbit holes from this string of comments.

    Also, I am still very interested to see that TEST mentioned in a comment above.

  44. Al says:

    Some made the comment about the mangling of the spanish language in
    masses being offered and I would agree. I would think some sort of
    profiency would be welcomed by those cherishing the TLM.

    Afterall, would you want just anyone “saying” the mass or
    “praying the mass”?

    I am somewhat jealous of some of the areas that have priests longing
    to offer the Latin mass. I think someone longing to rather being forced
    to would be optimal situation. How do we get our priests to long to? My
    nearest option for the Latin mass is in Seattle and that’s a boat ride
    away. I am going to make that ride, because I long to experience this
    liturgy.