The Archdiocese of Washington has issued a letter to priests about the implementation of Summorum Pontificum. Someone sent it to me by e-mail but it is in the hated pdf format.
It contains a strange statement.
After talking about a committee to be established "to assist pastors in evaluating and responding to requests for the regular and public celebration" of the older form of Mass, the letter goes on:
In the near future, Archbishop Wuerl will appoint a Coordinator of the Extraordinary Form to serve as chaiman of the special committee. Because the archbishop has the responsibility to foster a common discipline in the celebration of the sacrament within the archdiocese (C. 392), his permission must be received prior to making any permanent commitments by a parish for the public celebration of the Extraordinary Form on a regular basis. This also is in accord with Article 5 of Summorum Pontificum which state that public or regularly scheduled Masses be offered under the guidance of the bishop in accordance with canon 392, avoiding discord and favoring the unity of the whole Church. To request this permission pastors first must seek the review and counsel of the Coordinator of the Extraordinary Form, who will then present a recommendation to the archbishop.
Excuse me… but does it seem to you that even though they acknowledge the existence of Summorum Pontificum out of one side of their mouths, they are actually ignoring its existence in what they say with the other side? The way I read this, it sounds like they have simply forced all priests back to the status quo ante, as if the Motu Proprio didn’t exist at all and the diocesan bishop still had control over all public celebrations. In other words, even though SP Art. 5, § 1 says that pastors make these decisions, the archbishop is claiming for himself that right and, at the same time, is imposing an additional layer of burocracy on the process. Or am I getting this wrong?
The letter goes on:
Priests seeking to celebrate the rite for the very first time with or without the people [??] should ask for a review of their abilities by the Coordinator and the special committee. Additionally, pastors are reminded that visiting priests who request to celebrate the Extraordinary Form with the archdiocese should present a letter of good-standing (C. 903) which attests to their abilities in this form.
For pity’s sake.
Yes, I know that it could be argued that they are only trying to be sure that celebrations of Mass are reverent and properly carried out. But… I think they are really trying to crush the implementation of Summorum Pontificum, making it a titanic pain in the rear to get involved with it.