UPDATE 15 March 15:29 GMT:
Mr. Oddie in his article, below, speaks about how Card. Rigali in Philadelphia has said that seminarians should be taught to say also the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, and that he is introducing seminarians to the older form at the archdiocesan seminary.
I asked for feedback about that.
What I am receiving by email doesn’t exactly match Mr. Oddie’s more sanguine view.
Of course we have to keep in mind that the plural of “anecdote” isn’t “data”, but something can be gleaned from email feedback.
The email I am getting – and I welcome more about this – suggests that in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia there is what some perceive as an atmosphere of intimidation extended to priests who are interested in using the provisions of Summorum Pontificum. St. Charles Borromeo seminary has an elective course for the Extraordinary Form, but there is no general instruction of the students. Some suggest that they are afraid to take it. The course seems to cover rubrics for Low Mass only. At the seminary there is only one public celebration of the Extraordinary Form per year. The instruction for deacons on how to say Mass does not mention the Extraordinary Form. If any of this is true, you can decide for yourselves if that is adequate exposure to the Roman Rite before ordination.
I will grant that this is better than most US seminaries in regard to the Extraordinary Form of Mass. But it is not quite the rosy picture painted below. At the same time I will grant that perhaps the whole of Card. Rigali’s plan for the Extraordinary Form at that seminary hasn’t yet been rolled out.
That said, I think it bears repeating that, given the fact that Summorum Pontificum states that the Roman Rite has two forms, not one. This is a juridical fact in the Latin Church. Therefore we have to ask a serious question. Are seminarians who are not taught to say also the older form of Roman Rite adequately trained to be priests of the Latin Church? They are required by the Church’s law to be adequately trained before they are ordained. At every ordination someone stands before the ordaining bishop and attests that the ordinands are adequately trained. I think this question deserves deeper consideration.
ORIGINAL posted 14 Mar 1922GMT:
From the UK’s best Catholic daily, the Catholic Herald (for which the undersigned now writes a weekly column – you can still get the digital edition for 10 pounds =$16) comes this engaging piece from William Oddie.
Oddie repeats in that publication, and forcefully, what I have been droning about here for a long time. Let’s see his offering with my usual approach of my emphases and comments. I will edit.
Extraordinary Rite? And if not, why not?
The Pope’s wishes are quite clear. But are our bishops carrying them out?
By William Oddie on Monday, 14 March 2011
Cardinal Rigali, Archbishop of Philadelphia, has recently declared that the Extraordinary Rite should be available “to those who prefer it”, and that seminarians ought to be taught to say it. He isn’t just talking the talk but walking the walk: he is introducing seminarians to the Extraordinary Form at the St Charles Borromeo seminary [Is this true?] (this vast establishment is one of the sights of Philadelphia) with teaching on the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum “that elucidates the theology underlying the 1962 Missal so that the seminarians are afforded a clear understanding of the Motu Proprio and the Holy Father’s pastoral concern for the faithful who have a deep love for the Tridentine liturgy”. He also said that “seminary course work in theology, liturgy and Church history will cover and expound upon the Holy Father’s initiative. It will be helpful for them to see the continuity between the two expressions, but will also afford the opportunity to address the changes that took place in the liturgy following the Second Vatican Council.” [CALLING ALL ST. CHARLES SEMINARIANS! SEND ME SOME FEEDBACK!]
What is happening here? This isn’t the first we have heard of the idea of training seminarians in the celebration of the Extraordinary Rite: according to a CNS story in 2008, “the Vatican” was then writing to all seminaries to request that all candidates for the priesthood should be trained to celebrate the Mass according to the Tridentine Rite.
Well, it seems that now (quite soon if you think of the glacial pace at which these things happen) something seems to be stirring in Philadelphia as a result of this letter. But what about this country? [QUAERITUR:] Is Cardinal Rigali responding to the Vatican letter or is he acting on his own convictions? [Does it matter? It would be nice if those are his convictions. I sincerely hope they are, since they are Pope Benedict’s convictions. But if they aren’t… at least he is doing it.] Come to think of it, was the letter, in fact, ever sent to the seminaries? [Good question. On the other hand, I recall instances when working for the PCED when things the PCED sent to the office of the president of a certain conference of bishops, for distribution to all the bishops of that conference, were not, in fact, ever distributed. That is the usual practice, by they way. Dicasteries of the Holy See usually send things to the head of the conference, who in turn is to distribute to the bishops. Saves postage, too.] The source of the CNS story was Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos, who was then still president of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei (the outfit set up to try to re-establish full communion with the SSPX), and therefore a committed traditionalist. Was Cardinal Castrillón’s statement just a bit of Roman gossip, given conviction by his own wishful thinking?
And what, while we are on the subject, about the selection of our future priests? It certainly used to be the case that any applicant for priestly training who revealed the slightest interest in or approval of, not just the “Old Mass” but even the idea of celebrating the Novus Ordo in Latin, to the diocesan bureaucrats entrusted with weeding out supposedly unsuitable candidates, would have his application immediately blocked. Has that all changed, in the new atmosphere following the papal visit? Or is it still going on? [And important theme for England and Scotland. Pope Benedict’s visit… was it a flash in the pan? Did it effect a change?]
If not, that’s the first thing to which our bishops need to turn their attention if they really want the “Benedict bounce” to maintain its momentum. They should tell their underlings to stop blocking candidates for the diocesan priesthood who want to teach and be formed by the authentic tradition of the Catholic Church. [Do I hear an “Amen!”? An anecdote. Not long ago in a major American city, after a High Mass in the older form, a bunch of seminarians came into the sacristy. During our conversation I learned that all of the men in formation were at least open to learning to older form of Mass and most of them were eager to learn.]
The clock is ticking and the biological solution is going to make this into a very interesting race of attrition.