Philadelphia: implementing Summorum Pontificum – every silver lining has a cloud

I begin this entry by saying that I am shocked and saddened.  There is a silver lining in Philadelphia today, but every silver lining has a cloud, as they say.  

Usually people want to hear the good news first.

A priest friend of mine wrote to me some good news about the number of priests in the City of Brotherly Love who want to learn the older form of Mass with the 1962 Missale Romanum.  Here is part of his note to me (edited):

Philadelphia began its training session for the old Mass.  There were almost thirty priests!  The first session was an introduction to various spiritual and theological aspects of the Traditional Mass by Msgr. Michael Magee, a Philadelphia priest who just came back from five years at the Congregation for Divine Worship.  Msgr. Sangermano, a pastor in the diocese, will lead the next five weeks of practica.

There is some background discussion regarding whether or not the guidelines [More on this in a moment] should be sent to Ecclesia Dei for review. 

"the guidelines…."

 

And thus we come to the bad news, the proverbial cloud obscuring the silver lining.

This I have received from various sources.  However….

 

The Catholic Standard & Times, the newspaper of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, printed an article about the older form of Mass and the implementation of the Supreme Pontiff’s Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum.

Let’s have a look, with me emphases and comments.

Mass in ‘Extraordinary Form’
Priests receive guidelines for traditional Latin Mass

 By Lou Baldwin
Special to The CS&T

Cardinal Justin Rigali has sent a letter to all priests of the Archdiocese announcing he has promulgated guidelines for the implementation of new norms set by Pope Benedict XVI for the Mass familiar worldwide through the 1960s, which was celebrated mainly in Latin.

The Holy Father issued the new norms last July in his apostolic letter, Summorum Pontificum.

In Cardinal Rigali’s Jan. 8 letter, he encouraged all priests who wish to celebrate the 1962 Roman Missal Mass — now officially called the Extraordinary Form of the Mass of the Roman Rite — to avail themselves of a six-week program that will be offered by the Theological Institute for Priests at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary. [So far, so good.]

The program, which begins Jan. 24, “will offer priests the opportunity to study the theology and rubrics of the Extraordinary Form so that Mass may be celebrated with the proper dignity and understanding,” the Cardinal wrote.  [And excellent idea!]

The 1962 Mass contained the final amendments, promulgated by Blessed John XXIII, to the Tridentine Mass, which was originally issued by St. Paul V in 1570 after the Council of Trent.

The amended 1962 Mass was in general use through the Second Vatican Council.

In 1970, Pope Paul VI promulgated the missal that is now officially the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite.  [So far, this is accurate.  Someone did their homework.]

Two archdiocesan parishes, Holy Saviour in Norristown and Our Lady of Consolation in Philadelphia, were already celebrating, with the necessary indult, a weekly Mass according to the 1962 missal prior to the issuance of Summorum Pontificum.  [This point of Summorum Pontificum being, of course, that an indult is no longer necessary.  the MP gives PASTORS the ability to determine in their parishes how to repond to requests from the faithful for the older form, without the permission or even consultation with the bishop.  One can understand that sometimes consultation is a good idea, given the complexities involved in a new initiative.  But the Holy See’s norms do not foresee any necessity for consultation.  Also, the Holy Father explained in the cover letter that accompanied the MP that part of the reason he issued the provisions was to relieve bishops from the need to review such matters.]

“I am grateful to these parishes for their generous response to the needs of the faithful as they continue to celebrate the Mass according to the Extraordinary Form,” Cardinal Rigali wrote.

The guidelines, the Cardinal said, were issued “after consultation with the Council of Priests as well as with other priests of the Archdiocese. I pray that these guidelines will assist all clergy to respond appropriately and generously to the pastoral needs of the faithful in their care.”  [So far so good.  "appropriately and generously"… that’s good.  We like this.]

Father Brian P. Hennessy, assistant to the vicar for the clergy, said the six-week series will be presented by Msgr. Charles L. Sangermano and Msgr. Michael K. Magee, both of whom have been celebrating Extraordinary Form Masses at the parishes where they are offered.

Father G. Dennis Gill, a former director of sacred liturgy at the North American College in Rome, commented: “This was not an easy decision on the part of the Holy Father. One of his chief aims is the authentic celebration of the sacred liturgy, whether in the ordinary or the extraordinary form.  [Yes!  Fr. Gill get’s it (at least in this quote).  All celebrations of Holy Mass must be reverent, "authentic".  When priests learn the older form, it will help their celebration of the newer form of Mass.  This is happening time and time again when younger priests get to know the old Mass.]

Aside from any reconciliation with disaffected Catholics because of liturgical reform,” Father Gill said, “Pope Benedict’s desire is to promote the celebration of the sacred liturgy in either form, with the sacrality of the older form mentoring the current form.”  [Fr. Gill put it very well.]

Lou Baldwin is a member of St. Leo parish and a freelance writer.

Okay, that was pretty good, right?  I found the tone very positive, the information correct, and the explanation more than adequate.  So far so good.

And now let’s have a glance at the highlights of the "guidelines" published for those same priests in Philadelphia who are being called upon to be "generous", etc.


Highlights of Cardinal Rigali’s coordinating guidelines for the implementation of Summorum Pontificum:

• A priest is qualified [Remember that Summorum Pontificum uses the world idoneus for "qualified… capable".  This refers primarily to him being in good canonical standing for saying Mass at all, together with the minimum expertise needed to do so.  The distinguished canonist and Archbishop of New York, Card. Egan, explained that this means the priest must be able to pronounce the Latin properly.  We hope for more, always, of course: but law that extends the rights of people in the Church must be interpreted favorably for the people concerned, and not restrictively.  But let’s go on….]  to celebrate the Extraordinary Form when he possesses the requisite knowledge of the rubrics of the Mass and he is competent in the Latin language.  [What does competence mean here?] If he wishes to celebrate the Extraordinary Form publicly, he must demonstrate this required competence to the regional auxiliary bishop or his delegate.  [Soooo…. there will be a test.  The priest is to go before a bishop or his delegate and be tested, put through his paces.  Will this now also be done for all the other priests of the diocese regarding the Novus Ordo?  Does it not seem reasonable to apply the same stringent standards to the more widely spread use of the Roman Rite?] The same requirement holds for deacons who are asked to participate in a Mass or sacred liturgy in the Extraordinary Form.

• For Masses without a congregation, the Extraordinary Form may be celebrated any day except during the Easter Triduum. The faithful may attend such a Mass if they ask to be admitted of their own free will. An additional Mass is never to be celebrated at the same time a public Mass is being celebrated in the same church or oratory.

• A public Mass in the Extraordinary Form with a congregation may be celebrated when a stable group [You would think that by now someone might be found in a city as wonderful and prestigious as Philadelphia who would know by glancing at the Latin text of Summorum Pontificum, the only official text, that "stable group" is a bad translation.]  of the faithful makes a request of the pastor. The pastor must first consult with the regional auxiliary bishop before acceding to such a request.  [Please show me in Summorum Pontificum where that is required.  The MP says that the PASTOR makes the determination.  I will at the same time observe that this does NOT say that the parish priest must obtain permission: he must "consult".  But this might be a rather intimidating hoop to jump through.  And to what purpose?  I guess I can imagine a few reasons, … I guess.] The Mass may be celebrated by a priest who has demonstrated his competence to celebrate in the Extraordinary Form.  [Just like all the other priests who use the newer form of Mass are going to be tested for their competence?]

• The Extraordinary Form may be permitted by the pastor for the celebration of other sacraments, funerals or occasional celebrations when requested by the lay faithful. The pastor is to consult with the regional auxiliary bishop before acceding to such a request and also, if he cannot accede to the request, he must consult the regional auxiliary bishop.  [Again… Summorum Pontificum does not in any way indicate that any consultation is necessary.  It strikes me as simply weird to require a Pastor, whom the Supreme Pontiff says has the right to use the old Rituale Romanum, should have to submit to an additional layer in the decision making process.  This is contrary to what the Motu Proprio intended.]

• Religious orders and congregations who wish to celebrate Mass in the Extraordinary Form may do so. However, if they wish to celebrate in this manner often, habitually or permanently, the decision must be taken to major superiors. If such celebrations are to take place in a parish church entrusted to the care of the religious, the archdiocesan coordinating guidelines must be followed. 

The Motu Proprio is pretty clear.  The Holy Father’s explanations were clear.  The provisions have placed these decisions in the hands of pastors of parishes.  The diocesan bishop gets involved only when the priest can’t or won’t respond appropriately to the requests of the faithful.

But the most troubling thing about this is the double standard that is being set up.

Are priests using the Novus Ordo going to be so scrutinized?  How about non-American priests, who don’t have English as their mother tongue?  Will they now be required to demonstrate their competence in English before they can say Mass?  Will the priests be required to show they know the rubrics for the Novus Ordo?  Will English-speaking priests be tested for competence before they are allowed to say Mass in, say, Spanish?  Where does the testing begin and end? 

I was very glad to read the article from the paper, truly.  I am concerned that a double-standard is being set up.

Unless even in this cloud there is an additional silver lining.

Perhaps these guideliness are saying that the Novus Ordo is simply less important, less meaningful than the older form of Mass.  The older, extraordinary form is so important… so much more engaging and meaningful that it, not the newer form, needs such care. 

Could that be it?

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48 Responses to Philadelphia: implementing Summorum Pontificum – every silver lining has a cloud

  1. John F. says:

    It was St. Pius V, not Pope Paul V

  2. Henry Edwards says:

    Perhaps these guideliness are saying that the Novus Ordo is simply less important, less meaningful than the older form of Mass. The older, extraordinary form is so important… so much more engaging and meaningful that it, not the newer form, needs such care.

    Could that be it?

    Yes, obviously, that must be it. What else could it be?

    Seriously, wouldn’t we all agree that careful and proper celebration of the extraordinary form is vitally important, whereas looser standards for celebration of the ordinary form have been generally accepted.

  3. Interestingly, you never see this requirement.
    “A priest is qualified to celebrate the Ordinary Form when he possesses the requisite knowledge of the rubrics of the Mass and he is competent in the vernacular language.”
    Yet you can easily find places it is violated too … as the pope pointed out in his explaination of Summorum Pontificum.
    Of course, aren’t priests of the Roman Rite supposed to know Latin no matter what form of Mass they say? [cough]Canon Law #249[/cough]

  4. Mark says:

    It seems that what is happening is that bishops are acknowledging the motu proprio, but are taking great pains to remind spiritual fathers that they are not to encourage their spiritual children to these salutary means of salvation, but that the children must attain the “secret knowledge” (read sarcasm here) of these rites and request them without any prompting from a priest. What I find particularly disquieting is that something as simple as the traditional blessings are not to be used without making a big deal out of it and informing the ordinary…so if someone has a St. Benedict’s medal and wants it blessed, the priest can’t encourage them to have it blessed in the old rite, and even if they want it blessed in the old rite, the priest has to say, “okay, we can do that…but first I have to write to the bishop and make a case for why it is pastorally expedient for me to bless this medal…then I will get back to you…call me in a couple of weeks and I will bless the medal.” Some bishops are talking about priests not having time to deal with the old rite stuff…what about dealing with all this unnecessary red tape?

  5. BK says:

    “There is some background discussion regarding whether or not the guidelines should be sent to Ecclesia Dei for review.”

    No one should assume that someone else will or has sent problematic diocesan guidelines to Ecclesia Dei. If you are personally affected by your bishops’ or cardinals’ guidelines, respectfully contact Ecclesia Dei to inform them of the document in question and specifically request their timely intervention.

  6. Mac McLernon says:

    I’ve never seen a meme on your blog, but there’s a first time for everything…you’ve been tagged

  7. Andrew says:

    For Latin rite clergy shouldn’t there be a Latin competency screening of candidates for Episcopal Consecration?

  8. Father M says:

    I wouldn’t begin to presume what is in the mind of the Cardinal or of his liturgical advisers, but of course this could be intimidating especially to newer priests. Nevertheless, I do like the idea of some standards being held up for the EF. I get nervous when I hear a priest colleague say something like “I’m sure I could do this if I had to, it doesn’t seem so hard.” And the Mass is to be prayed, then some Latin beyond “accurate pronunciation,” makes sense. I think we can do both things, if Bishops and others seize the moment. Priests are in fact free to say the older Mass. But a Bishop should try to raise the liturgical consciousness and competence of his Diocese–by offering in a truly collaborative way the necessary training for priests, and strongly encouraging as many priests as possible to update (!) themselves so as to “promote the celebration of the sacred liturgy in either form, with the sacrality of the older form mentoring the current form.” I would like to see gentle peer pressure to encourage the right celebration of both forms of the Mass. In the end, Father, there is at least as much silver lining as dark cloud in the Philadelphia case. Yes, the guidelines are not envisioned in SP, and the old kinds of abuses could continue, but I thought I heard real openness there. And we DO need have accountability for the way Holy Mass is celebrated. In the older form, too, we must be sure we are doing the red the right way, and praying the black the right way.

  9. Steve says:

    If you’ve ever seen Justin Cardinal Rigali offer Mass, you know how precise and reverent he is. If you’ve ever attended a Novus Ordo Mass in the diocese of Philadelphia, you know how teeth-grindingly sloppy and irreverent the priests can be. One of my parochial vicars *always* takes shots at what he refers to as the rigid, holier-than-thou fogies who haven’t come to terms with Vatican II. He also ad-libs constantly. Without oversight, the presbyterate here would put new and sardonic meaning into the term “Extraordinary Form of the Mass.” It would be vaguely Mass-shaped; that’d be about the extent of the resemblance.

  10. tertullian says:

    “celebrated with the proper dignity”

    where o’where have these Mandarins been for the last 45 yrs? When have they scrutinized the “liturgy” of their liberal brethren so critically? The answer, of course, is self evident. I call upon the right-minded clergy of Philadelphia to, in the immortal words of the good folks at Nike, “Just do it!”

  11. RosieC says:

    Fr Z said: [Just like all the other priests who use the newer form of Mass are going to be tested for their competence?]

    Pardon me if I’m being really obtuse, but is this covered in Seminary?

  12. jack burton says:

    I’m starting to warm up a bit to some of the “restrictions” some bishops are attaching to the motu proprio. I experienced my first extraordinary form Mass at a novus ordo parish recently and it was a mess. The rubrics were pretty much thrown out the window, the priest had horrible pronunciation and forgot whole lines of prayers quite frequently, the organist didn’t have a clue and the congregation was doing all the novus ordo postures. It was of course quite moving to see the Roman rite celebrated in this parish but I fear that they have no intention of celebrating it properly.

  13. A Philadelphian says:

    I was pretty disappointed with the guidelines. I had heard so many good things about Cardinal Rigali that I thought he would be really behind the MP. Am i mistaken in thinking that is the first word the Cardinal has offered since the promulgation of te MP? Perhaps Cardinal Rigali is just “playing the cards” conservatively? I’m not sure what to think about this. I am, however, grateful that 30 priests signed up for training — that rocks.

  14. I take it you’d rather have a lot of priests who’ve never said a Tridentine Mass making a mess of the rubrics and mangling the pronunciation? Father, I don’t know if you’re as close to schism as your commenters, but calling a man like Cardinal Rigali a traitor is something no faithful priest would tolerate. Consequently, I have to start doubting that you’re faithful to the Church, since you show such gross disrespect for the authorities Our Lord appointed. Holiness and faithfulness do not lie in endless quibbling about words.

  15. John H says:

    For all those interrested, I can tell you that this has already affected the would-be first TLM in Chester County, PA since the implementation of the NO. A young priest excited about saying the Mass spent a great deal of his own time to learn the rubrics with the priests from the Norristown community, as well as priests from Mater Dei in NJ. After getting approval from his more-than-reluctant pastor to say the Mass monthly, the plug was pulled. I’m not going to list any names, I just ask you to please pray for all the parties involved.

  16. Henry Edwards says:

    I wonder whether no one else sees this possibility … That a bishop may see no effective way to get a grip on the prevailing celebration of the Novus Ordo by priests of a certain age. But Summorum Pontificum offers a chance for a new start with a clean TLM slate. So that with the assurance of reasonable standards the celebration of the TLM can truly be a model of liturgical propriety for the diocese, seeding improved celebration of the Novus Ordo as well.

    Hence, might it not be entirely positive for a bishop to both encourage his priests’ interest in the TLM and set standards for their preparation that prevent sloppiness from infecting the TLM also?

    We are already hearing disturbing stories about what can happen when the bishop turns a blind eye to unmonitored and inadequately prepared TLM celebrants. It is no answer to say, Well, we’ve see that all along in the Novus Ordo. That, indeed, may be precisely the point. Doesn’t the TLM deserve steps to insure that it be done right?

  17. Fr. John says:

    I think Fr. Z is absolutely right about the double standard being set up – and it will not help the position of those seeking to block celebration of Holy Mass in the extraordinary form. Repeating what I submitted last week. In my Diocese we have foreign priests who labor hard and long to learn English, and still only marginally are able to celebrate a NO Mass and the sacraments. The same is true for we Anglo priests and the use of Spanish – sometimes, we’re pretty marginal. Again, no one is “testing” us nor are ANY standards of performance established and monitored. The only guidance is “do your best.” So, this is to our benefit: we simply have to become very capable in Latin, knowledgeable about the organic development of the Liturgy, and know the spiritual and practical dimensions of the rubrics. These are not just good things – they are sublime ones. We are still in the pulpits and before the altars of our churches. We hold all the important cards in this card game. We’re not going to be the first ones to blink.

  18. jack burton says:

    I hope the Vatican releases more stuff to help the implementation of SP. If restrictions and ‘tests’ really are out of bounds for bishops (which seems odd) I suppose another way to combat pitiful extraordinary form Masses would be to provide channels and resources for priests and encourage them to learn everything. I can’t fault the pastor who celebrated the EF so poorly the other day since it is a difficult thing to learn for a busy pastor and I think some people go into it not realize how different it really is from the novus ordo. I wish they would have at least provided the congregation with SOMETHING because there were no materials provided and I’m sure most of those people had never been to the TLM. The congregation seemed confused and I think they should have been told how to act since people kept responding with ICEL novus ordo responses and standing or sitting as in the novus ordo. It was extremely weird.

  19. I agree that proper preparation for the celebration of the Mass is most necessary. Young priests are eager to learn, and want task masters. In the past one of my functions was to prepare deacons to properly celebrate the Mass according to rubrics. I had a check list and would critque every detail, to the point (I am sure) of getting on their nerves. At the end of the training I would tell them if this isn’t the most important training that you have received in preparation for the priesthood, then I would encourage you to approach the Bishop to postpone or even cancel plans for your ordination. I thank God that I took this stand, and often was moved to tears to watch thse young priests offer the Divine Sacrifice with precision, but more importantly with profound devotion.

  20. Father M says:

    Henry Edwards–“I wonder whether no one else sees this possibility … That a bishop may see no effective way to get a grip on the prevailing celebration of the Novus Ordo by priests of a certain age. But Summorum Pontificum offers a chance for a new start with a clean TLM slate.” That makes so much sense. I hope that is, in fact, being done in Philadelphia and elsewhere. We ARE at a ground floor moment. I want to encourage priests to say the Vetus Ordo but because of the way the NO is taught (or not) there is a dangerous do-it-yourself attitude out there. And in fact, we’re dealing with a living tradition where people like hieromonk Gregory are needed to help priests re-find their way as priests. Yes, most priests drawn to the older Mass and sacraments have had a rough, sometimes very rough ride over the years. But the rubrics and language of our tradition are sublime things and should be treated as sublime. By all means, give priests all they need to get underway, but mentor and tutor constantly, and make a commitment to respect for the tradition.

  21. dcs says:

    Lou Baldwin wrote:
    Two archdiocesan parishes, Holy Saviour in Norristown and Our Lady of Consolation in Philadelphia, were already celebrating, with the necessary indult, a weekly Mass according to the 1962 missal prior to the issuance of Summorum Pontificum.

    It seems to me that the point of Summorum Pontificum was not just that an Indult is no longer necessary, but that it never was necessary. So to call the Indult “necessary” isn’t exactly accurate.

    While one of the archdiocese’s TLMs is in Holy Saviour parish in Norristown, it is actually being celebrated at a mission church in Black Horse (Plymouth Township), Our Lady of Mount Carmel. And I am surprised that the article didn’t mention the TLM at Our Lady of Lourdes in Overbrook.

  22. schoolman says:

    I am starting to like this “competency” thing. Maybe the Holy Father will begin to screen Bishop candidates for their understanding and competence in the EF, Latin, traditional devotions, gregorian chant…After all, these are the folks who are the “moderators” of the liturgy each in their own place.

  23. TNCath says:

    Hopefully, all of this will be cleared up when Ecclesia Dei publishes its clarification of the Motu Proprio before Easter, D.V.

  24. Derik C says:

    Given the way OF is celebrated, I find it understandable to
    make sure that priests wishing to get aquainted with
    the EF understand that rubrics/spirituality/theology
    of the Mass are not made to be bended.

    In this light, I would suggest to take advantage of the
    situation: given that *all priests* can pray the EF, lets
    have training for everyone.

  25. The guidelines say:

    The Extraordinary Form may be permitted by the pastor for the celebration of other sacraments, funerals or occasional celebrations when requested by the lay faithful. The pastor is to consult with the regional auxiliary bishop before acceding to such a request.

    So, is the intent of this to say that a request for Confession is included, and that no priest can request the Extraordinary Form for any of the Sacraments such as Confession or the Last Rites, at all, ever. At any rate, it is certain in this text that no laity can be granted their request say, for Confession, unless this goes through regional auxiliary bishop. I see. To that I say, in Fr Z’s overly polite language (I might use other words): B as in B, S as in S. That’s not being uncharitable for all those of pious ears who have, then, obviously not read the Scriptures. It’s reality.

    //

    I unfortunately see freak-me-out clown/theatre/playtime Masses frequently. I would like to see the priests suspended a divinis until they can pass an exam on the rubrics and then follow the rubrics. I’m so sick of it that, instead of a double-standard with no exams for the N.O., I now want exams for everyone. And, if it happens to be that a majority of priests and bishops (no double standards there either) are to stop celebrating the sacraments until they can do so validly and licitly, so be it. Whatever happened to governance in the Church. It is NEVER expedient just to watch horrific abuse and, then, yawn, saying that it is just toooooo haaaaard. That’s also B, S as in S. True fathers discipline their children out of love for them.

    //

    Hey Mac McLernon. OFF TOPIC: You mentioned “meme”… What’s that? And what’s a tag? Sorry to be so technologically ignorant.

  26. Larry Brooks says:

    Fr. Z.
    I normally like your blog. But you seem to be caught up in this issue of Bishops regulating the Liturgy. I know that the MP gives priests the right to celebrate the EF without further permission at least in private. But the MP also notes that the bishops authority is not compromised. I believe this refers to the Bishop’s obligation under Canon Law to oversee the Liturgy in his diocese. I keep seeing the “demand” that NO priests be required to be proficient in the celebration of the NO. Clearly there is a difference between the two forms. Priests in the NO celebrating in their native language clearly are proficient in the language and hence can read what they are to do and say what they are to say. I am reasonably certain that at the seminary some program is set up to teach the seminarian who is about to be ordained how to celebrate the sacraments including Mass. Whether they do celebrate the Mass (NO) according to the rubrics is another matter. I do know that in my diocese if complaints are sent to the bishop the priest is talked to by the bishop. Clearly a priest who is just beginning to clebrate the EF needs to LEARN how to do it and that needs to be verified by the Bishop according to Canon Law. So lets just assume that Cardinal Rigali has just a teency weency more authority in these matters than a non-incardiated priest, and has a duty before the Almighty to fulfill his obligations according to Canon Law. Also let’s wait and see what ED says…it just may be that his Emminence has been in contact with them…just maybe.

  27. Truth is, of course, it’s own authority (with our consciences formed by the Church, with that Church being headed by the bishop of Rome, whose pastoral reach trumps, if one must put it that way, that of any local bishop, and that not being problematic for any Catholic).

    Regarding the interpretation of law regarding what is beneficial to recipients, one might read the blogs of some of the commentators here, who are canon lawyers. They have some excellent blogs.

    ========================

    Liturgical terrorists who demand that the hearing of a Confession (in whatever usage) by a priest who has faculties be cleared firstly with any bishop should be forthwith suspended a divinis and dismissed as incompetent from their role in assisting with the “moderation” of anything liturgical.

  28. Matt Q says:

    Father Renzo wrote:

    “Truth is, of course, it’s own authority (with our consciences formed by the Church, with that Church being headed by the bishop of Rome, whose pastoral reach trumps, if one must put it that way, that of any local bishop, and that not being problematic for any Catholic).

    Regarding the interpretation of law regarding what is beneficial to recipients, one might read the blogs of some of the commentators here, who are canon lawyers. They have some excellent blogs.

    ====================

    Liturgical terrorists who demand that the hearing of a Confession (in whatever usage) by a priest who has faculties be cleared firstly with any bishop should be forthwith suspended a divinis and dismissed as incompetent from their role in assisting with the “moderation” of anything liturgical.”

    ()

    Father, with that said, why then do these bishops act like the Pope is a figurehead, rather than an actual Boss who has authority over **them**?

    The way some of these bishops act, it seems like they think they are more part of Canterbury than Rome.

  29. Jon Roberts says:

    Paul V or Paul VII ? This whole business is madness !

  30. bryan says:

    Well, living in the Archdiocese, I can tell you that, at least at my home parish
    (which I resigned from…) the quite-with-it Monsignor pastor made a point, from the
    ambo, of verbally blasting anyone who viewed the EF as “relics who can’t move forward”
    and “out of touch with current trends”.

    This in a parish where applause is de rigeur at the end of Mass, and most of Advent
    Masses featured tambourines and guitar solos. Quite appropriate, wouldn’t you say,
    for a penitential season.

    No wonder that it’s going on. I pray for the clarification document. It is time to
    take the velvet glove off the iron fist of the Vatican.

  31. Peterk says:

    I’ve always wondered if these same hurdles were used when Spanish-language Masses were being implemented. I’ve firmly believed for the last 20+ years that the Church Hierarchy is bishops and archbishops fear the extraordinary Mass, and have done everything within their power to prevent it being said. this is just exemplified by the various diocesan interpretations of the motu propio

  32. dcs says:

    Larry Brooks writes:
    But the MP also notes that the bishops authority is not compromised.

    Well, the explanatory letter notes this, not the MP itself. The only “authority” mentioned in the MP itself is the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, which is said to “exercise the authority of the Holy See” with respect to the application of the MP. Still, since Summorum Pontificum is really about clarifying the status of the old Missal, and not changing its status, one might say that the bishop’s authority is not compromised because he simply never had the authority to prohibit the use of the old Missal in the first place. And the explanatory letter alludes to this when it states that the older “Missal was never juridically abrogated and, consequently, in principle, was always permitted” (my emphasis).

    Now I do not think there is anything sinister about Card. Rigali’s “guidelines”; I simply find them disappointing and I do not think they are in harmony with the MP. Where in Summorum Pontificum, for example, do you find anything about auxiliary bishops?

  33. Josiah says:

    Some of you people need to cool it with the Rigali attacks. I think he’s a very good pastor, just yesterday we were informed that all parishes have to offer confession every Wednesday of lent for an hour and a half.Most parishes give you 15 minutes before mass, and he’s already complained about that.He celebrates the mass which reverence that you almost never get to see in the archdiocese, and though there’s a lot that needs to be reformed, cardinal Rigali isn’t at fault.I can understand why he wants priests to say the extraordinary form reverently,he wants everyone to say mass reverently.I’m surprised at his sending out guidelines, but he’ll be at my parish (Our lady of lourdes, where we do have the tridentine every sunday)For confirmations next saturday, so I’ll be sure to bring it up. He’s nothing like levada, or trautman or any of those bishops. He’s a faithful shepherd.

  34. adamsaj says:

    the question of a double standard needs to be addressed. [in theory] it is the seminarys job to make sure a priest is qualified to celebrate the sacraments. therefore [in theory] there is no double standard.

    true, in practice this system has almost completely broken down, but that only means that the inbalance is caused, not by testing priests who want to celebrate the TLM, but by a lack of scrutiny to the NO. we have already seen what this breakdown has done to the NO, and i for one would not want to see it happen to the TLM.

    like you, Fr., i also see the problem with the possability of a test being administered by a bishop with an agenda. it seems to me that the best solution is for groups like ICRSS and FSSP to take the place of the seminary in trainining and making sure they are qualified. it seems to me that these groups would be both fair to the priest and demanding enough to ensure the liturgy is properly celebrated.

  35. An unanswered (I think) question from above:

    “Fr Z said: [Just like all the other priests who use the newer form of Mass are going to be tested for their competence?] Pardon me if I’m being really obtuse, but is this covered in Seminary?”

    Yes, and a am sure other priests with regular seminary educations can confirm this. When I was in studies, we were required to take a graded three-credit course that was a liturgical practicum. All in the class performed a “dry Mass” three times, were videotaped, and critiqued by the instructor and other students. The instructor (a Jesuit not a conservative by any means) insisted that we learn all the rubrics and how to chant the collects. You could not graduate and be ordained without passing this class.

    The problem is not training in the O.F., it is a pervasive tendency toward “inculturation” to American casual entertainment styles. So long as a critical mass of priests fail to follow the rubrics, other priests will assimilate to the bad behavior. It have seen even quite “traditional” prists pick up bad habits (like using the Kyrie by itself as a penitential rite), seeming unclear that just because everyone does it, it might not be correct.

    It would be a pity to see a similar sloppy culture develope in the world of the E.F. Proper preparation from the beginning and careful monitoring of practice is the only way to prevent this.

  36. RBrown says:

    I believe this refers to the Bishop’s obligation under Canon Law to oversee the Liturgy in his diocese.
    Comment by Larry Brooks

    The authority of the pope is universal and is not compromised by any diocesan bishop. The Vicar of Christ always is the first and last authority on liturgy.

    Thus, from Vat II (SC):

    22. 1. Regulation of the Sacred Liturgy depends solely on the auithority of the Church, that is, on the Apostolic See and, as laws may determine, on the bishop.

  37. Thomas says:

    I am a bit disheartened by the response of my Archdiocese, but hopefully everything will be clarified in the near future and the Extroardinary Form will thrive. Here is a link that might be something to think about in regards to Cardinal Rigali:
    http://jeff.ostrowski.cc/magiera/history/details/index.htm

    He allowed this FSSP priest to celebrate his first mass in the Cathedral several years ago.

  38. Fr. McF says:

    Speaking as a Philadelphia priest interested in celebrating the “Extraordinary Form,” Cardinal Rigali … has spent most of his priestly life in Rome, working directly for the Holy See. As a pastor, he evidently loves the Blessed Sacrament, the Sacred Liturgy, and his priestly sons and the seminarians entrusted to his care. In my dealings with him, he has always been traditionally pious and orthodox.
    Am I happy about the “guidelines”? They’re not ideal, they’re a bit too restrictive, but at least they’re out. I hope that the “Directory” from Ecclesia Dei comes out soon, too, so that it can clarify a lot of things like this. Unfortunately, we just have to wait, and not let the perfect to be the enemy of the good.
    Philadelphia is a big diocese, with many priests, and with quite a substantial bureaucracy, which often affects the way things happen. For example, some priests are quite open about their “fear” of the Traditional Mass. While I don’t understand the source of that fear, I’m sure His Eminence and the chancery took it into consideration when responding to Summorum Pontificum. The Cardinal also ordered that the aforementioned training session take place for priests, as well as some sort of training for the seminarians, showing that he’s not afraid of the TLM, and that he wants it celebrated properly.
    Let us not forget that Cardinal Rigali himself permitted a solemn high traditional Mass in his own Cathedral a few years ago for a newly ordained FSSP priest.

  39. Maureen says:

    Although it’s clearly important to do a good job of pronouncing Latin, doing the rubrics, etc., it seem sthat a good many people here are making the best the enemy of the good.

    I mean, you’re beefing about the congregation?! It’s the first Tridentine Mass they’ve ever attended, and you expect them to be perfect???

    It takes a child a good long time to learn how and when to kneel and sit and stand, and that’s with someone sitting beside them to provide both a visual aid and physically moving them about. Adults are slower learners than kids. And nobody is going to be able to watch a Tridentine video of the congregation, becaause they just don’t do that on YouTube. (And if they did, somebody _else_ would complain that the video’s congregation didn’t do things the way they do things at St. XYZ. You know they would.)

    So if it bothers you, jump in and help! If you’re not planning on helping, quit rubbernecking at mortals and pay attention to why you’re there, why don’t you?

  40. Anyone priest who is interested should buy a copy of the re-print of 1963 edition of Fr. J. O’Connell’s “The Celebration of Mass”.

    Available here:
    http://www.aquinasandmore.com/index.cfm/title/The-Celebration-of-Mass/FuseAction/store.ItemDetails/SKU/59043/index.htm

    I would AVOID Dom Alcuin Reid’s revision of Fortescue’s “Ceremonies of the Roman Rite Described” as Father Alcuin has some funny ideas.

  41. Matt Q says:

    Josiah wrote:

    “Some of you people need to cool it with the Rigali attacks. I think he’s a very good pastor, just yesterday we were informed that all parishes have to offer confession every Wednesday of lent for an hour and a half.Most parishes give you 15 minutes before mass, and he’s already complained about that.He celebrates the mass which reverence that you almost never get to see in the archdiocese, and though there’s a lot that needs to be reformed, cardinal Rigali isn’t at fault.I can understand why he wants priests to say the extraordinary form reverently,he wants everyone to say mass reverently.I’m surprised at his sending out guidelines, but he’ll be at my parish (Our lady of lourdes, where we do have the tridentine every sunday)For confirmations next saturday, so I’ll be sure to bring it up. He’s nothing like levada, or trautman or any of those bishops. He’s a faithful shepherd.”

    ()

    Guess what? You think Rigali’s a great pastor, fine. Knock your socks off. We think otherwise. It’s our opinion, just like it’s your opinion he’s a “good pastor.”

  42. Matt Q says:

    Jack Burton wrote:

    “I’m starting to warm up a bit to some of the “restrictions” some bishops are attaching to the motu proprio. I experienced my first extraordinary form Mass at a novus ordo parish recently and it was a mess. The rubrics were pretty much thrown out the window, the priest had horrible pronunciation and forgot whole lines of prayers quite frequently, the organist didn’t have a clue and the congregation was doing all the novus ordo postures. It was of course quite moving to see the Roman rite celebrated in this parish but I fear that they have no intention of celebrating it properly.”

    ()

    Jack, what makes you think a “competency” test for the Tridentine Rite any more means the priest is going to follow its rubrics when they don’t even follow the rubics of the Novus Ordo? Novus Ordo Masses are said just as crappy, but I give credit to the priest whom at least made the effort to say the Usus Antiquor at all.

  43. Josiah says:

    It’s great how we’re all deciding whether a bishop is good or not based one single decision. God forbid that we take into account anything els he’s done. No, he put restrictions on SP, so he’s automatically a terrible bishop.He’s just like Mahoney, except he discourages liturgical creativity and is the exact opposite of him Except for that, they’re exactly the same.[/sarcasm]
    Yes, we are entitled to our own opinions, but calumny and criticism are not the same thing.

  44. Michael says:

    I want to say a word for Cardinal Rigali, whom I have had the pleasure to meet and talk to on a couple of occasions, and with whom I have been most impressed. From what I have seen he is a most faithful and devout pastor who is sincerely working for the salvation of souls and the good of his flock, one who is very loyal to our Holy Father. The tone of things in the archdiocese has certainly improved under him, e.g., just look at the positive changes in the Cathedral, such as moving the tabernacle back to the high altar and the removal of some very dubious “art”. I do not get the impression reading this that he is trying to flout the intention of the Holy See and the good purpose of Summorum Pontificum. Rather, it seems to me that he is actually trying to ensure that this form of the mass is reverently and appropriately celebrated, and for that purpose he has made training available for those who wish to learn how to do so. It also appears to me that he is trying generally to improve the reverence with which the liturgy of Paul VI is being celebrated. Nor does it appear to me that the Cardinal is trying to prevent people from using the liturgy of John XXIII—though others in the archdiocese may be. I am a little concerned by the need for consultation and the requirements, as they certainly seem to exceed Summorum Ponitificum which was precisely designed to make things easier, but much depends on how this is applied, and whether this policy is appropriate will be clarified by Ecclesia Dei. In the meantime, I do have confidence in Cardinal Rigali as my pastor, and I am willing to trust that he will act as is best. It is certainly true that with the early morning TLM at Our Lady of Lourdes I do have a TLM in this diocese that I can occasionally attend with my difficult schedule and many responsibilities, something I did not have before, and for this I am profoundly grateful to our Holy Father, to the parish of Our Lady of Lourdes, and to His Eminence who, from all that I have seen, has been most supportive of that parish.

  45. Henry Edwards says:

    Fr. McF: For example, some priests are quite open about their “fear” of the Traditional Mass.

    I wonder whether you could explain what “fear” means here.

    I want to think it means something other than an antipathy for or disapproval of what our Supreme Pontiff has decreed to be a valid and living form of the Roman rite. Different people certainly can have different preferences, but surely no good Catholic should harbor antipathy for what is and always was sacred and holy.

  46. jack burton says:

    Matt Q asked: “Jack, what makes you think a “competency” test for the Tridentine Rite any more means the priest is going to follow its rubrics when they don’t even follow the rubics of the Novus Ordo? Novus Ordo Masses are said just as crappy, but I give credit to the priest whom at least made the effort to say the Usus Antiquor at all.”

    I don’t think that a competency test for the EF will drastically change the minds and hearts of priests who violate the rubrics as a matter of principle. I do think that by setting limits and encouraging real knowledge of the rubrics et cetera the majority of priests who are well meaning will be more likely to celebrate the Mass properly.
    The Mass I recently attended is a case in point. I’ve known that priest for about eight years and while he is in many respects a “Vatican II” priest (ad libbing, didacticism, etc) he is traditional in some ways. Years ago this pastor did not make use of EM’s, altar girls, communion standing, et cetera and my understanding is that it was pressure from the Bishop that his parish “conform” to the general practices of the diocese that lead to the introduction (just a few years ago!) of EM’s, altar girls, communion standing, et cetera.
    I’m making a long story short… My only point is that I honestly believe that this priest has every intention of celebrating the EF Mass properly but just does not have the formation to do so. I believe that his Masses will improve with time as he is able to put more time into it (he is an extremely busy pastor in a diocese with a priest shortage) but if this diocese had something in place that encouraged and enabled the priests to learn everything this would be a good thing. At the very least the “competency” test is encouragement for priests who are well meaning but perhaps a bit lax due to their “Vatican II” priestly formation. I know priests who have said that their liturgical formation in seminary was practically non-existent. It is not surprising to me that many priests with sincere intentions still end up celebrating the EF Mass poorly.
    Another case is that of my mother’s parish (in a different diocese); one of the priests there celebrated the EF Mass a few weeks ago and decided that he was too hasty in doing this and postponed the next scheduled EF Mass because he felt that his command of Latin and the rubrics was not yet good enough. This is a young priest who is eager to celebrate the TLM and I am certain that this is perfectly sincere. I didn’t assist at this Mass but I imagine it was something like the one I mentioned above. While it stinks that there will not be another EF Mass at this parish for at least a month or two I am glad that this priest takes this Mass so seriously. Similarly, I think the priest in my diocese offered the EF Mass without sufficient preparation, but as far as effort is concerned I give him an “A”.
    He wore hundred year old vestments that had belonged to the original pastor of the parish, he sported the biretta which I was not at all expecting, and he gave a homily that was unlike any homily I have ever heard him give. He always preaches from the center of the Church in a very casual way and rarely having anything to do with Catholicism but at this Mass he gave a hardcode Catholic homily from the pulpit and even went on about the TLM Mass in a way that I was not expecting! I think just celebrating this Mass had an impact on this priest, even if the celebration was a bit haphazard. There was no impression given that he took this Mass lightly, I would only say that he was not sufficiently prepared, and I can understand why. The EF Mass is difficult!

    As to the double standard, yes, of course it is a double standard but I don’t really care. Yes, it would be better if the OF Mass were treated with the same seriousness but at least the EF Mass is being taken seriously. I generally try to block the OF Mass out of my mind for the sake of sanity and peace so I’m not going to dwell on this.

  47. dcs says:

    Michael writes:
    In the meantime, I do have confidence in Cardinal Rigali as my pastor, and I am willing to trust that he will act as is best.

    Might not one say the same thing about our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI? and if one says that one has confidence in our Holy Father, what does that say about bishops who issue norms in seeming contradiction with the norms that he issued?

    It is surely beautiful and good to have confidence in both the Pope and one’s own Ordinary, and to trust them both to act in our best interest. But when the latter seems to be subverting the former, how does one have confidence in both?

    “The present Norms are also meant to free Bishops from constantly having to evaluate anew how they are to respond to various situations.” — from the explanatory letter accompanying Summorum Pontificum.

    It is true that there are some very nice renovations going on in the Cathedral. And it is true that Card. Rigali allowed Fr. Magiera to celebrate his first Solemn Mass in that same Cathedral. And that is part of the reason why, I think, that these “guidelines” are so disappointing.

  48. paulus says:

    I read with fascination all the spin put on the article by the bloggers revenant. The restrictive bureaucracy of the auxiliary bishops is without a doubt from Rigali’s experience in that very Roman corporate structure. He IS a pastor who celebrates the NO with reverence and respect. Note well that Fr. Magiera was permitted to have his first mass with the stricture that they could not “publicize” the fact. While these guidelines impose hoops to jump through to get the EF going in places in Philadelphia Archdiocese, it is a very good sign that the cardinal wishes the priests to perform the rite properly.

    It does strongly smell of “this must come from the people and not a priest” – for a public EF Mass.

    Something not mentioned in all this surprisingly is that we should also have learned from the implementation of the NO just what a mess is made when rushing headlong into something. Mother Church never moves swiftly, so the delay here is normal. It is good that training is being offered. I wish it had been [why isn’t it?] mandatory for all priests. If everyone is trained then there is no excuse or impediment to the faithful who wish to attend Mass in EF. It should certainly be mandatory from now in all seminary training! I look forward to the day that Cardinal Rigali celebrates the EF at his cathedral.