I received an alarming note with a translation of a story in French from the site DICI about how His Excellency Most Reverend André Rivest, Bishop of Chicoutimi in Canada has a very different view of Summorum Pontificum than some other bishops, as… for example… the Bishop of Rome, Benedict XVI.
Over 100 people, perhaps as many as 130, requested the TLM from their pastor in accordance with SP 5.1. The priest refused and consulted the bishop. The bishop is refusing to help these people. As a matter of fact, he is stating that he won’t implement SP in his diocese and that appealing to Rome is just a waste of everyone’s time because he, not the Pope, is in charge in that place.
The part I really like is where it is stated that the Pope says that the bishop must examine whether the persons requesting (not only the priests!) have a liturgical training and a ‘certain familiarity’ with the ‘extraordinary form’ of the Latin rite, as well as a good knowledge of the Latin language.
No. Really. That wasn’t a slip up. Because it continues to say: "among the signatories, very few can meet these criteria.”
Perhaps we should have a look at what I received with my emphases and comments.
Canada: Bishop Opposes Motu Proprio
June 21, 2008
The bishop of Chicoutimi, André Rivest, is opposed to the Tridentine Mass and will not apply the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum in his diocese, in spite of the request addressed to the parish priest of Sacred Heart Church, Msgr Jean-Roch Gaudin by 130 faithful. This latter, in his parish bulletin, gave the good reasons for not applying the Motu Proprio. Here are some of the most significant excerpts:
“… A month ago, a petition signed by 100 persons was handed to me, requesting permission for one Mass a month in the ‘extraordinary form’, in one of the three churches of the parish, preferably the church of Christ the King. According to the Motu Proprio, I was entitled to grant the request. [Indeed, yes.]
But as the signatories were hailing from various parishes of the diocese, and out of solidarity with the pastoral policy of the whole diocese, I thought it right to consult with Bishop André Rivest, the first Pastor of the diocese, and at the same time to give him the petition so that he may give a diocesan orientation on this issue.
Bishop Rivest consulted with his Presbyteral Council (composed of various priest of the diocese) on Monday, May 19 last, and the next day he phoned me and said he thought it good not to grant permission to celebrate Mass in the ‘extraordinary form’” in the diocese for the following reasons:
a. The Motu Proprio says: In parishes, where there is a stable group of faithful who adhere to the earlier liturgical tradition, the pastor should willingly accept their requests to celebrate the Mass according to the rite of the Roman Missal published in 1962” (art. 5, § 1). Neither in the parish of the Sacred Heart, nor in the diocese is there any stable group. The signatories of the petition do not constitute a stable group, a permanent group, a community as such, but a collection of persons from all over the diocese, and who, in their great majority, have no continual relationships between them. [Remember what Card. Castrillon clarified... what WDTPRS has been saying all along: a group can be as small as three people. Also, if there are over 100 who signed, that means that in the diocese, if not that parish, there are a signifant number of people who made a request. Again, as Card. Castillon said, they need not be from the same parish.]
b. The bishop has the role of preserving the unity in the diocese and he has authority and responsibility over the liturgy and the pastoral care of the faithful. The permission to celebrate Masses in the ‘extraordinary form’ will be a source of division among priests and faithful, and the impact of such a celebration may well be negative. [I see. Without the slightest amount of actual experience, they have already decided. That sure isn't divisive... no no.]
c. Among the criteria put forward by the Holy Father in his Motu Proprio, the bishop must examine whether the persons requesting [!] and the priests themselves have a liturgical training and a ‘certain familiarity’ with the ‘extraordinary form’ of the Latin rite, as well as a good knowledge of the Latin language, [did you get that? "the persons requesting" must be examined by the bishop to determine if they have enough familiarity with the rite and with Latin?] something which Pope Benedict XVI himself deems necessary for a fruitful celebration in ‘the extraordinary form.’ Now, among the signatories, very few can meet these criteria.” [No. No. No, again. This is an entirely false reading of Summorum Pontificum. On can understand that a priest must be idoneus, but this canonical requirement cannot be applied to the lay faithful. Let's just ask people what the Gospel reading was as they are leaving church after it was read in the vernacular in the Novus Ordo and see what sort of reaction you might get. Let's text priests as to what the texts say. This is an obvious misreading... probably purposeful of Summorum Pontificum. I have a hard time imagining that they could get this wrong by accident.]
And the parish priest concluded: “After having consulted with my parish team, I am in complete agreement with the stand taken by Bishop Rivest who has asked me to let you know his decision. Consequently, I do not allow the celebration of the Mass in its ‘extraordinary form’ in the parish of the Sacred Heart” and he added that “persons desiring to attend such a Mass” could go to a church in the city of Québec, 125 miles from Chicoutimi. [Nice.]
In order to discourage any attempt at a recourse with the Ecclesia Dei Commission, as it is foreseen by the Motu Proprio, Msgr. Gaudin answered in advance: “It is not the pope who is the first person responsible for pastoral care and the liturgy in the diocese, but the bishop. And the popes usually respect this responsibility, unless there are some very, very, very serious reasons. The pope will certainly not intervene in this affair and will certainly not oblige our bishop to have a Tridentine Mass in the diocese. He will only ask him for additional information and respect his decision. The bishop will have lost time uselessly.”
Folks…. this is pretty bad.
This is a finger in the eye of the Pope, and you know which finger too.
I say… get to work and waste that bishop’s valuable time.
I suspect that people sending original printed material from that parish with these statements will receive a very interested hearing in Rome.
Also, see this.