I got a very useful e-mail which I think it important to pass on to you readers everywhere.
This is from the Latin Mass Society which is in the UK and, I think, Ireland.
They are stressing that bishops of that region are seriously dragging their feet against the implementation of Summorum Pontificum to the end that they will be able to report to the Holy See that there is little or no interest in the older forms of the sacraments. Thus, they are undermining the long-term implemention of Summorum Pontificum, not just the short term.
Thus, the LMS is saying that it is important to establish a paper trail, some statistics which may in fact be more accurate than what some bishops put together.
For what my opinion is worth, I think this is a good idea.
Remember, this is for the UK. Organizations elsewhere may need to be created to see to this for their own regions.
Here is the letter with my emphases and comments.
Dear Latin Mass Society Member,
Provision of the Traditional Mass and Sacraments I am sorry to say the LMS is receiving mixed reports as to the willingness of some bishops to enter into the spirit of the Holy Father’s Motu Proprio, ‘Summorum Pontificum’. While it is early days it is becoming clear that some bishops are ignoring the fact that with the Motu Proprio we have entered a whole new world. [Some bishops are approaching this issue as is Summorum Pontificum didn’t exist and that they still have the authority to permit and forbid all things having to do with the extraordinary use.]
For instance, it is quite clear that the Holy Father foresees that there should be regular parish Masses on Sundays and Holy Days where these are requested or the parish priest prefers, and that personal parishes should be erected where there is a need. [Problem: That definitely is something that bishops do have the authority to do.. or not do, as they see fit.] Several bishops have also instructed their priests to report to them all requests for the Traditional Mass and Sacraments. [I suppose they have that authority, though it seems likely that this is simply a kind of burocratic harassment. I suggest that parish priests in fact do report every single request, no matter how small, even when Mrs Joe Bagodoughnuts wants her rosary blessed. Everything, requesting an ancknowledgement for receipt of the letter.]
As you know, the bishops propose to send a report to Rome in three years time and they are already collecting statistics as to the level of demand. [PAY ATTENTION] No requests equal no demand! Hence it is very important that all LMS members and supporters make formal requests, preferably in writing, [Not "preferably", rather: absolutely. In law, quod non est scriptum non est in mundo.] to their parish priests for regular celebrations of the Traditional Mass and Sacraments.
The procedure as laid down in the Motu Proprio is as follows: [No… yes and no, but what follows is still a good procedure.]
You should approach your parish priest with a request that he offer the Mass and Sacraments to include Sundays and Holy Days. There is NO MENTION in the Motu Proprio of ‘stable groups’ or of minimum numbers, but obviously if you gather together a number of names, [That point is not in the Motu Proprio, but it is entirely reasonable.] this is helpful. Your request to the priest should be in writing, [Again, this is not in the Motu Proprio, but it is not only reasonable, it is necessary I think.] polite and should make no comment about the new rite. [YES! Don’t be snarky in making the request. That becomes part of the record too!] The Motu Proprio asks the priest to accept your request “willingly”. If the priest cannot or will not grant your request you should write to the bishop, again remaining polite and making no comment on the new rite. The Motu Proprio states: “The bishop is strongly requested to satisfy [your] wishes.” If he cannot, he is to refer the matter to the Ecclesia Dei Commission in Rome. You should do so as well in writing and politely.
At this stage, if not before, it is important that you copy all correspondence, including priests’ and bishops’ replies, to the LMS office so we can build up a picture nationwide of what is happening. [Whew! They are willing to take this on! In that case send a donation too!]
Note: The Ecclesia Dei Commission is urgently preparing a document to give guidelines on how the Motu Proprio is to be interpreted. They need to know how bishops are currently interpreting the Motu Proprio. Hence, the LMS will shortly send its own dossier to the Ecclesia Dei Commission to help in their preparation of the document. Our dossier will include an analysis of the bishops’ ad clerums [An Ad clerum is an official notice sent by a diocesan chancery to the clergy of the diocese.] and a file of evidence on how individual requests have been treated. When writing to the LMS please state whether you wish your particular case to be copied by us to Rome. It may be that Rome will divulge details of individual cases to the bishop concerned and you should therefore be prepared to be identified. Please note it is important to make your requests and not leave it to others. The bishops will be collating statistics on requests for the Traditional Mass and Sacraments and may well tell Rome that there is little need for extra provision in England and Wales. We must show this is wrong. Don’t forget to copy your requests to priests and bishops to the LMS office. Hearsay is not sufficient! [That is why it is important to write requests and have zopies of correspondence.]
(You may like to know that the Chairman of the LMS has made a formal request to the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales for an early meeting to discuss the speedy and full implementation of the Motu Proprio.)
If you need further advice or guidance feel free to contact me in the LMS office.
Yours in Domino,
P.S. This letter applies to members in England and Wales only. If you reside in Scotland or Northern Ireland you should liaise with your own national organisation as follows:
Scotland: Una Voce Scotland, Tel: 0131 332 3001
Ireland: Latin Mass Society of Ireland, e mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
I don’t have a suggestion at this point for a contact organization in the USA. Perhaps in the discussion that follows something will emerge.
Residents of the USA and of Canada, and other places, please feel free to discuss this point, but make your locations plain so that people can follow what is going on. If necessary, I can make another entry to clarify what emerges.