There was some confusion when the
Emancipation Procl… er um Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum was released about the Latin
Art. 5, § 1. In paroeciis, ubi coetus fidelium traditioni liturgicae antecedenti adhaerentium stabiliter [previously continenter] exsistit, parochus eorum petitiones ad celebrandam sanctam Missam iuxta ritum Missalis Romani anno 1962 editi, libenter suscipiat … In parishes, where there is stably present a group of the faithful attached to the previous liturgical tradition, let the pastor willingly receive their petitions that Mass be celebrated according to the Rite of the Missale Romanum issued in 1962.
Although the Latin does not say "stable group", it does talk about a group (coetus) in the parish in a stable manner (stabiliter).
There has been some discussion of what "stable group" means. How big must it be? Must they be registered at the parish…blah blah.
These questions are usually asked only by those who don’t want the older Mass to even be thought of positively, much less actually celebrated.
Still the question has juridical issues at its heart.
How big? The group has to be large enough to receive a law. How many persons is that?
Drei… Trois… San… Tre… Three.
So, a reader sent this:
At our local church, the TLM was offered a week ago for the first time in 40 years!
In the homily, the visiting celebrant, Fr. Brian Klingele of Garnett, KS, defined a stable group as the 3.
Why? Because he said canon law defines a congregation as 3 or more people.
Sounds about right.
Remember: The priest can be one of the three.
And Summorum Pontificum means what it says when it uses "libenter".