I picked up from Il blog degli amici di Papa Ratzinger that H.E. Most Rev. Raymond Burke (Prefect of the Ap. Segnatura) wrote a preface to a canonical study in German of Summorum Pontificum by Fr. Gero P. Weishaupt.
In his preface, Archbp. Burke says, inter alia, that neither altar girls nor Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion are admissible in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite because the integrity of the Rite must be respected.
And as I was writing those words, I had another signal that NLM posted a rough English translation of the German original of Archbp. Burke’s preface. The original text is available on the blog Summorum Pontificum. My emphases. Comments will follow.
In the second chapter of his commentary, Weishaupt answers a number of practical issues that arise regarding the implementation of Summorum Pontificum and result from recent changes to the discipline of the celebration of the sacraments, such as e.g. those regarding female altar servers or lay people who perform the ministry of lecturers or extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion. To answer these questions , the commentary correctly applies two general canonical principles.
The first principle requires that liturgical norms, which were in force in 1962, are to be diligently observed for the celebration of the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, for these norms protect the integrity of the Roman rite as contained in the Missal of Blessed John XXIII. The second principle states that the subsequent liturgical discipline is only to be introduced in the Extraordinary Form, if this discipline affects a right of the faithful, which follows directly from the sacrament of baptism and serves the eternal salvation of their souls.
The application of these two principles to the cases mentioned leads to the conclusion that neither the service at the altar by persons of the female sex nor the exercise of the lay ministries of lecturer or extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion belong to the basic rights of the baptized. Therefore, these recent developments, out of respect for the integrity of the liturgical discipline as contained in the Missale Romanum of 1962, are not to be introduced into the Extraordinary Form of the Roman rite. The commentary presents here in an impressive manner that the mutual enrichment of both forms of the Roman rite is only possible if discipline peculiar to each of the two forms is accordingly carefully observed.
A few comments.
- This is not an official document. It is a preface by an official of the Holy See to a book which is a commentary by a writer who is not an official of the Holy See. The preface has no legal force.
- Archbp. Burke is a distinguished canonist who also knows inside and out the older, Extraordinary Form because he has been so open to it and has often been celebrant for liturgies in the traditional form. He knows the logic of the rite from within and not as some onlooker.
- Archbp. Burke was consulted about the text of Summorum Pontificum before its release. He knows more than a little about its genesis and intention.
- As a canonist, Archbp. Burke understands the rights of the baptized from the point of view of the Church’s law.
- He did not speak in that excerpt about Communion in the Hand in the older, Extraordinary Rite.
- He also did not speak about "straw subdeacons".
- It is not a right of the faithful for the sake of their salvation, that they be allowed to serve at Mass or to act as an EMCH.
- Since reception of Holy Communion – and the manner of Its reception – comes far closer to the issue of the salvation of the baptized, that might be a stickier issue. Nevertheless, it seems to me that it is not a manner that touches on the salvation of the baptized to be permitted to receive on the hand when clearly it is contrary to the Church’s normative way of receiving. Remember that permission to receive in the hand is actually an exception.
- I have held (pace Burke) that Summorum Pontificum did not in fact revive the laws that were in force in 1962, thus creating a parallel set of laws. Was I wrong?
- Also, if there is to be such a strict separation of 1962 and 1970/2002, is mutual enrichment possible insofar as rites are concerned?
- Or, and this is where I have put all my stress over the last few years, does it have more to do with ars celebrandi?