AP story on the implementation of Summorum Pontificum

The AP has an item today about the older form of Mass and the reception of Summorum Pontificum.

My emphases and comments.

 Posted on Thu, Jan. 03, 2008
Vatican clarifying Latin Mass rules
By NICOLE WINFIELD
Associated Press Writer

The Vatican has begun drafting a document to elaborate on Pope Benedict XVI’s recent liberalization of the old Latin Mass because some bishops are either ignoring his move or misinterpreting it, Vatican officials said.  [This pretty much frames the issue.]

The Vatican’s No. 2, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, said in comments published Thursday that the Vatican would be issuing an "instruction" on how to put the pope’s document into practice, since there had been what he called some "uneven" reactions to it since it went into effect last year.

The document Benedict issued in July removed restrictions on celebrating the so-called Tridentine Mass, the rite celebrated in Latin before the liberalizing [Not sure about this word, following on the use of another derivative in the first line.] reforms of the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s paved the way for the new Mass used widely today in local languages.  [This is good.  It doesn’t say that the Novus Ordo is "in the vernacular" or refer to the older Mass as "the Latin Mass".  Those are misleading terms.  Well done.]

Following the 1960s reform, the Tridentine rite could only be celebrated with permission from local bishops – an obstacle that supporters of the old rite said had greatly reduced its availability.

In a gesture to such traditional Catholics, Benedict removed that requirement in his document, saying parish priests could celebrate the Tridentine Mass if a "stable group of faithful" requested it. [This quotes a mistranslation of Summorum Pontificum which is now so wide-spread that it will be very hard to get rid of.  We could use help from the major press outlets in this matter.]

Implementation, however, has been uneven, with some bishops issuing rules that "practically annul or twist the intention of the pope," Monsignor [Archbishop…. "Monsignor" is usually used in Italy as a title for a bishop.] Albert Malcolm Ranjith, secretary of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Divine Cult [Worship] and Discipline of Sacraments, said recently, according to the Vatican’s missionary news agency FIDES.  [In English we say "Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments".]

Such reactions amounted to a "crisis of obedience" toward the pontiff, he [Ranjith] was quoted as saying, although he stressed that most bishops and other prelates had accepted the pope’s will "with the required sense of reverence and obedience."

Bertone, the Vatican’s secretary of state, said the upcoming instruction would lay out criteria for the pope’s document to be correctly applied, according to an interview published Thursday in the Italian religious affairs weekly Famiglia Cristiana. He gave no date for its publication.  [When I went to the PCED, I was told "before Easter".]

He complained that reactions to the pontiff’s document had been uneven.

"Some have even gone so far as to accuse the pope of having reneged on Council teaching," Bertone was quoted as saying. "On the other hand, there are those who have interpreted the (document) as authorization to return exclusively to the pre-Council rite. Both positions are wrong, and are exaggerated episodes that don’t correspond to the pope’s intention."

Despite such incidents, the Rev. John T. Zuhlsdorf, [!] who runs a blog that has charted implementation of the pope’s document, said he had seen growth in both interest in and celebrations of the older form of the Mass.

"In some dioceses in the United States, bishops have been stepping up to the plate and not only learning the older form, but celebrating it themselves," he said in an e-mail. "Younger priests are attending workshops. Several seminaries are offering training for their priesthood candidates."  [Excellent comments, if I do say so myself!  o{];¬) ]

Even before the pope’s document was released, liberal-minded Catholics had complained that Benedict’s move amounted to a negation of Vatican II, and some bishops and cardinals publicly warned that its implementation would create a rupture in the church.

Jewish groups [Still with them?] also complained because the old rite contains a Good Friday prayer for the conversion of Jews. Bertone has said the issue could be resolved and that the church in no way intended to go against its spirit of reconciling with Jews.

Benedict’s document was also [YES!  "Also"!  This is good.  If doesn’t limit the purpose of the Motu Proprio to "reconciliation" of disaffected Catholics.] a bid to reach out to the followers of an excommunicated traditionalist, the late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, who split with the Vatican over Council reforms, notably the introduction of the new Mass.  [Though the tougher issue is surely that of the Counci’s teaching on religious liberty.]

Good article.  I am pleased that AP is following up on this important issue.

Summorum Pontificum is part of Pope Benedict’s much larger vision.  It must be tracked carefully.

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15 Responses to AP story on the implementation of Summorum Pontificum

  1. malta says:

    “The document Benedict issued in July removed restrictions on celebrating the so-called Tridentine Mass, the rite celebrated in Latin before the liberalizing [Not sure about this word, following on the use of another derivative in the first line.] reforms of the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s paved the way for the new Mass used widely today in local languages.”

    I think “liberalizing reforms” makes sense, since the reforms were liberal in
    nature, just as Trent was a very conservative council in that it sought to preserve
    tradition in the Church in the wake of the protestant reformation. VII, on the other hand,
    sought to bring us closer in line with protestants, thus it was a liberal council.

  2. Jacob says:

    [This quotes a mistranslation of Summorum Pontificum which is now so wide-spread that it will be very hard to get rid of. We could use help from the major press outlets in this matter.]

    That is the prime reason why the clarification from the Holy See should have been issued months ago instead of waiting all the way through 2007 and well into 2008.

    As my brother likes to say, ‘perfect is the enemy of good enough’. Waiting around forever trying to get a clarification perfect is just giving those who oppose the MP time to entrench themselves and prepare.

  3. TNCath says:

    I am also hoping and praying that the document of clarification will further clarify the Holy Father’s intention that de-restriction of the celebration of the Extraordinary Form will influence and hopefully inspire priests to better celebrate the Novus Ordo.

  4. Ken says:

    Excellent job, Father, with the contribution to this article. I have found this reporter to be one of the best mainstream journalists covering the Vatican and hope she sticks around a while.

    On the translation, we need to come up with an alternative to stable — reporters will hear a new suggestion if we have one.

    My only concern with the article is with Bertone and an implied solution to praying for the conversion of Jews on Good Friday, as if that is a problem.

  5. Yes, on the whole a very good article.

    I particularly admire Archbishop Ranjith’s comment that the unfavourable and even hostile reaction of some bishops to “Summorum Pontificum” amounts to a “crisis of obedience”.

    I think this phrase describes perfectly the present situation in the Church.

    Disloyal and disobedient bishops still have the power to block and frustrate papal intiatives.

    They must stop misusing their power.

  6. Tito says:

    Congratulations Fr. Z for getting that mention by Nicole at the AP. I’m
    impressed with Nicole’s reporting last year. Relative to the MSM, she’s one
    of the few reporters willing to know about the subject she reports as well
    as writing an aricle without an axe to grind.

  7. Matt Q says:

    Father Z, congrats on getting mentioned by the AP. It proves you are helping to make a difference.

    Malta wrote:

    “I think “liberalizing reforms” makes sense, since the reforms were liberal in nature, just as Trent was a very conservative council in that it sought to preserve tradition in the Church in the wake of the protestant reformation. VII, on the other hand, sought to bring us closer in line with protestants, thus it was a liberal council.”

    ()

    Yes, hence the Novus Ordo, hence the suppression of the Tridentine Mass–and the ideological terrorism which followed, hence the vandalizing of the churches and the Masonic Lodge arrangements thereof…!

    Jacob wrote:

    “That is the prime reason why the clarification from the Holy See should have been issued months ago instead of waiting all the way through 2007 and well into 2008.

    As my brother likes to say, ‘perfect is the enemy of good enough’. Waiting around forever trying to get a clarification perfect is just giving those who oppose the MP time to entrench themselves and prepare.”

    ()

    It doesn’t matter when a clarification comes down, Rome doesn’t know how to enforce anything anymore–or doesn’t want to. It’s just too painful for them for some reason.

  8. “In some dioceses in the United States, bishops have been stepping up to the plate and not only learning the older form, but celebrating it themselves,” he said in an e-mail. “Younger priests are attending workshops. Several seminaries are offering training for their priesthood candidates.” [Excellent comments, if I do say so myself! o{];¬) ]

    C’mon, Father. You can be more critical of your comments than that. I know I can’t be the only one who wants to see Fr. Z criticize the writings of Fr. Z. It’ll be like the irresistible force vs. the immovable object. ;-)

    James

  9. Stephen says:

    What a contrast between the reception of the MP and the Novus Ordo 40 years earlier! What was in the water then? or what’s in it now?

  10. Tom says:

    “Jewish groups [Still with them?] also complained because the old rite contains a Good Friday prayer for the conversion of Jews. Bertone has said the issue could be resolved and that the church in no way intended to go against its spirit of reconciling with Jews.”

    Here is a way to resolve the “issue”: The Church continues to pray the Traditional prayer in question and Her teaching on that matter remains, in clear and unmistakable fashion, known to Catholics, Jews and the world. Issued solved.

    Here is another way to solve said “issue”: Jews convert to the True Church. Issue solved.

    Here is the likely manner in which said “issue” will be “resolved”:

    The Traditional prayer in question will be suppressed and the ambiguous Novus Ordo Good Friday prayer will be inserted into the Traditional Good Friday Liturgy. Issue muddled.

  11. Tom says:

    “On the other hand, there are those who have interpreted the (document) as authorization to return exclusively to the pre-Council rite.”

    Really? I don’t know anybody who has applied the above interpretation to Summorum Pontificum.

    The document stated in clear terms the following: “The use of the old Missal presupposes a certain degree of liturgical formation and some knowledge of the Latin language; neither of these is found very often. Already from these concrete presuppositions, it is clearly seen that the new Missal will certainly remain the ordinary Form of the Roman Rite, not only on account of the juridical norms, but also because of the actual situation of the communities of the faithful.”

    I find it difficult to believe that anybody interpreted the document as having authorized the exclusive return to the “pre-Council rite.”

  12. Somerset '76 says:

    It doesn’t matter when a clarification comes down, Rome doesn’t know how to enforce anything anymore — or doesn’t want to. It’s just too painful for them for some reason.

    There is no coincidence between the strength of convictions voiced by the preconciliar Magisterium and its willingness to enforce them. Back off the force of conviction, and there goes the enforcement. The centennial of Pascendi was last September, and the 80th anniversary of Mortalium Animos was just a few days ago … and yet who in officialdom marked these anniversaries at all, let alone with an earnest recall of the points these documents made?

    Consider this: those who make issue (both rightly and wrongly) of the intransigence of the SSPX should understand that this is rooted in the certitude with which they voice their convictions — which, they insist, are no more and no less than those of the preconciliar Magisterium. And so long as we do not see such assertiveness coming from Rome, the Society is going to remain intransigent.

  13. So now the battle lines are being drawn. In my parish, we submitted a petition of 76 names (following the protocol of courtesy), and have met with obstinate slience from both the parish office and the office of the Bishop. What puzzles me is that we apparently are looked upon as troublemakers. I really detest the idea of conflict over this, but darn it, we seek only what is our birthright, and with the blessing of the Holy See to boot. I know there will still be no move to restore the TLM without some measure of coersion from Rome. I just hope that the pending document has TEETH, and that Ecclesia Dei has the jaw muscles to make those teeth clamp down where necessary.

  14. Different says:

    Richard,

    Have you met with your pastor regarding the list of names? What did he say? Will he let you have the Mass in the church if you can find a priest (I assume he doesn’t know how)? What if you do all the planning and so forth and he just let’s you use the church for a couple of hours?

    Hopefully, the diocese will provide some relief. I’ll keep your parish in my prayers.

  15. Habemus Papam says:

    This document will need to have teeth. There must be something big here. Would take so much fanfare to state what stable means and platitudes for the Jews?