REQUEST TO PRIESTS from Fr. Z

Reverend and Dear Fathers, Latin Rite priests, especially those of you who are in dioceses where bishops say they are going to test your Latin skills before "allowing" you to use the 1962 Missale Romanum which Summorum Pontificum says is a legitimate option in our Roman Rite.

Have any of you actually seen one of these tests or taken one?

I am very eager to hear all about what they involved or see a copy.

I am looking for information from PRIESTS OR BISHOPS.

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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10 Responses to REQUEST TO PRIESTS from Fr. Z

  1. yahoo says:

    I have seen such a test. If I remember correctly, the priest was asked to translate a collect, describe the manual actions during the offertory (with the text in Latin in front of him), and translate part of the Canon.

  2. Fr. Steve says:

    Whatever their requirments are for Latin, they shouldn’t be more than what they require for the celebration of any other foregin language Mass that they demand be offered for “pastoral reasons.” Some of us offer Mass in other languages not our own, such as in Spanish, for the sake of the pastoral need even though we ourselves don’t understand 80% of what we’re saying. I know enough for it to be valid, and pronounce well enough for it to be edifying, and execute it precise enough for it to be licit. But it will take time for me to become so proficient in the use of the language that I could say I know Spanish well and pass a test with flying colors. So don’t get me wrong for pastoral reasons we should improve our knowledge of other languages. But it shouldn’t be expected to happen over night with Spanish, Latin or any other language. But the effort should be made and not hindered by exessive and unnessary legislation that makes it seem like a parish pastor lacked the common sense enoungh to decide weither his offering of the Mass is invalid, illicate or a scandle for the faithful.

  3. Fr. Steve: Thanks for the reply. It is good to have a comment from a PRIEST.

  4. Father M says:

    Father,
    The bishop in our diocese sent me Bishop Trautman’s suggested exam which is pretty much as described above–a collect, some rubrics to be translated. I have offered the older Mass for several years and the bishop is awarethat I have training in classical languages and I believe he was honestly looking for input from me. My comments were in the tenor of what Father Steve said: What we ask of priests who offer Mass in Spanish should apply for the older rite also. In other words, we ask for basic comprehension, and a willingness to PREPARE for the celebration of Mass in a language that is as yet somewhat unfamiliar. My only concern about the kind of exam suggested is that a particular examiner could turn what seems to be a common sense exercise in something torturous (parse this, explain why non is used instead of ne, what kind of subjunctive is this, and so on). As much as I love Latin and Greek, I think it is more important to bring priests and congregations into the ancient liturgical forms. The love for Latin will almost certainly follow. And with that will come an even deeper connection to this beautiful Mass.

  5. Fr Renzo di Lorenzo says:

    I offer the Mass of Blessed John XXIII in a diocese where no exams are demanded. I don’t think there should be any exams, unless there is a problem which may have to be brought to the attention of the bishop. For instance, another, much older priest in this diocese, who knows Latin perfectly well, offers what seems to be a hybrid Mass. Those who rightly expected to participate in a Mass according to the 1962 Missal (at the order of the bishop), complained to the bishop. No test followed, but I think there should have been one. The Holy Father knows perfectly well, and laments that not many priests know Latin, but he also presumes that priests have enough common sense not to put themselves forward if they cannot possibly do what Holy Mother Church asks of them. Thus, in line with the M.P. and its accompanying letter to the bishops, only have a test, such as is described by Father M above, when a problem develops. Yet, even in that case, pedagogical material should be provided to the priest, if needed, so that he can study like any other student, though his study should be all the more zealous because of the subject matter involved.

    Fr Z, since it seems that PCED could hardly avoid commenting on exams that most bishops themselves could not hope to pass, and since it also seems that they would want to be politically correct in encouraging the active participation of the bishops, I would hope that the result would be something like I have described: only in the case of necessity, when a problem arises.

  6. Fr Renzo di Lorenzo says:

    Of course,

    “SAY THE BLACK, DO THE RED”

    should be the answer to the first question on any such exam:

    What is the most important rubric in the Missale Romanum ?

    “WDTPRS”

    should be the answer to the second question on any such exam:

    What is an important source to know WDTPRS ?

    Thanks, Fr Z.

  7. Fr. Renzo: You have passed with flying colors, of course.

    Fr Z, since it seems that PCED could hardly avoid commenting on exams that most bishops themselves could not hope to pass, and since it also seems that they would want to be politically correct in encouraging the active participation of the bishops, I would hope that the result would be something like I have described: only in the case of necessity, when a problem arises.

    Very good points here. In a manner of speaking this is a variation on the “those who live in glass houses” approach to demanding tests they cannot themselves pass.

    Also, as I said in quite a few of the examinations I have done of various “norms”, there is a double standard at work if bishops want to test priests for competence with the 1962 Missal and yet do not do so for the Novus Ordo as well.

    That said: I sure would like to see one of these tests!

  8. Father E says:

    I just found out my diocese is not going to be putting out any guidelines until Ecclesia Dei sends out a clarification document. There was some discussion of using Bishop Trautman’s guidelines but recent press has highlighted problems with his guidelines. The Bishop only ask that we inform him of any EF Masses being said so he record them for future reports. We do not need his permission.

  9. Fr. E: recent press has highlighted problems with his guidelines.

    No kidding?!

  10. Fr. Scott Bailey, C.Ss.R. says:

    Fr. Z:

    I have not seen or heard of any exams either for the diocese (Boston) or Congregation (Redemptorists). At a recent gathering of the province provision was made for any priest who wished to celebrate according to the EF, the supposition being that the priest have sufficient knowledge to do so (pronunciation, rubrics). The priest himself was left to make that determination. I believe that to celebrate the TLM in our oratories and churches even should the bishop have norms or guidelines (if he legally could) they would not apply unless the Mass is a public parochial Mass.

    Thank you for recording the prayers in Latin each week. They are a great help to me.