There is news from the Archdiocese of Anchorage in Alaska about the implementation of the provision of Summorum Pontificum.
Shall we have a look with my emphases and comments. The following is from a letter from Archbishop Roger Schwietz the in the Catholic Anchor of 22 February.
Implementing ‘old Mass’ takes time to do right
Brothers and Sisters in Christ
On July 7, 2007 Pope Benedict XVI issued the Moto Proprio "Summorum Pontificum." In this apostolic letter the pope examined the development of the Roman Missal. He traced the development from the time of St. Gregory the Great until the last changes that were authorized by Pope John Paul II.
While Pope Benedict XVI sees the Roman Missal approved by Paul VI in 1970 as the "ordinary expression of the Lex orandi (Law of Prayer) of the Latin Rite Catholic Church," he also authorized the Roman Missal approved by Pius V and revised by Blessed John XXIII as an "extraordinary expression of that same Lex orandi."
Pope Benedict goes on to say that these two expressions of the Lex orandi will not lead to a division of the Lex credendi (Law of Belief).
Pope Benedict has expanded the special indult, "Quattor abhinc anno," issued by Pope John Paul II in 1984. [I wonder if this is accurate. There is no longer any indult. Now priests have the faculty to say this Mass.] In the 1988 document, "Ecclesia Dei," Pope John Paul II requested that the indult be given generous usage. In "Summorum Pontificum," Pope Benedict indicates that it is permissible to celebrate the Sacrifice of the Mass following the Roman Missal, issued by Blessed John XXIII in 1962, without requesting a special indult from the Holy See or from one’s bishop.
Every priest may celebrate the "old Mass" without the people on any day except that of the Sacred Triduum. If people, of their own free will, ask to be admitted to this celebration, they are to be permitted to do so.
In parishes where there is a stable group of faithful [Not a good translation.] who adhere to the earlier liturgical tradition, pastors should ensure the welfare of these faithful. The pastor should do so in a way that avoids discord and favors unity of the whole Church. While there may be multiple celebrations of the "old Mass" during the week, there may be only one such celebration on a Sunday.
In a letter to the bishops, issued the same day, Pope Benedict makes some interesting statements. He notes that he anticipates a "liberalization" of the 1962 Missal. There would be new prefaces and the potential addition of new saints. Additionally, a priest must be willing to celebrate the Novus Ordo issued by Pope Paul VI. Thus, a priest must be willing to celebrate the "new Mass" if he wished to ever celebrate the "old Mass." He is prohibited from only celebrating the 1962 Rite.
As a result of the Moto Proprio, and the accompanying letter, the bishops in the United States have asked for clarification on a number of points. To date those clarifications have not been received. In order to celebrate the Mass according to the 1962 Roman Missal, several challenges must be dealt with.
First, the 1962 Roman Missal must be celebrated with all of the rubrics in place. These would include a sanctuary that has 3 steps, an altar rail, and an altar that does not face the people and is permanently attached to a wall. [There are mistakes here. If there are not three steps, which is ideal, the altar can still be used. This is NOT prescribed in the Missale Romanum. An altar rail is NOT prescribed: people can kneel anywhere, at a prayer bench, for example. An ad orientem altar is NOT prescribed. As a matter of fact, there are directions in the Missale Romanum on how to incense a free standing altar. Mass was celebrated at free standing altars in Roman Basilicas. So, this is simply … well… wrong.]
The priest must use all of the approximately 400 rubrics required for a licit and valid celebration of the Mass. [Instead of using, say, half of those prescribed for the Novus Ordo? Sorry… couldn’t resist. But don’t be intimidated by this comment about 400 rubrics. Piece o’ cake, frankly, especially when you learn the principles behind them.]
The priest must be able to use the Latin language in the appropriate fashion. [That is reasonable. This probably means that, minimally, he can pronounce the words properly.]
All of the vestments must be those that are approved for the 1962 Roman Missal. [? Okay… so?]
There must be a stable community that desires and will benefit from the celebration of the 1962 Rite. [This is based on an inaccurate translation of the Latin of Summorum Pontificum. I am sure this will be clarified by the Pope in an upcoming document.]
There are also some effects on the participants in these Masses. [Such as… say… edification? A sense of having "been to church"? An increased desire for reverence and the tradition of Roman liturgy? Gratitude for being Catholic?]
Women, for instance, would not be permitted to be present at the Baptism of their children. [HUH?? Ummm… noooo….] Women would also need to be "Churched" (a rite of purification after childbirth) before they could return to the sacraments. [Nooo… although this is a wonderful custom. I wonder if this wasn’t put in here simply to shock or scare people.]
There would be no lectors or eucharistic ministers. [YAY!]
The readings for Mass would be from the one year and not three year cycle. [YAY!]
All servers would have to be male. [YAY!] So where do we go from here? [Straight to the petition list?]
Some priests in the Anchorage Archdiocese are now being trained in the Latin language. They are also learning the rubrics of the "old Mass." [Excellent.] We are discerning potential locations for the liturgy. [Though pastors of parishes can make this decision for their own parishes without additional "discernment" by a committee.]
We are exploring potential physical changes in the sanctuary. There is still much work to be done and I ask that you continue to pray as we try to discern the best way to implement the teachings of this Apostolic Letter.
We are all waiting for the Holy Father’s upcoming document, of course, but I don’t think we have to wait for that document to know that some of the things in the above are simply wrong.