From a reader:
My diocese has a priest shortage, [you are not alone] and the priests we do have, many are well-passed retirement age in their 80′s and getting close to their 90′s. There’s a major concern that in the near future our diocese will experience an even greater shortage of priests because the amount of priesthood vocations are significantly less than the current rate that we are losing priests. [That is the situation in many places.]
The bishop in trying to handle the numbers is inviting two priests from the FSSP to our diocese. I’m assuming he believes people will choose the EF Mass rather than a communion service when no diocesan priest is available, and we already have a significant Latin Mass society in our diocese, which would free up a diocesan priest.
Also, I was reading a statement released by our bishop regarding lay-led funeral liturgies outside of Mass for when there’s no priest available to offer a funeral Mass (a common occurrence in the rural parishes), which made me sad because I think Catholics deserve to have a Funeral Mass unless it would cause scandal.
This made me wonder if, given the priest shortage that’s only going to get worse, would (or even could) a priest from the FSSP offer an OF Mass in such or other special circumstances if an EF Mass would not be best suited?
I cannot speak for any FSSP priest and whether or not he would say Mass in the Ordinary Form, but he certainly could do so.
As priests of the Latin Church with faculties to say Mass FSSP priests can use either form of the Roman Rite. However, as priests of the FSSP they have a particular apostolate which involves the use of the Extraordinary Form.
It could be unfair to pressure a priest of the FSSP to use the Ordinary Form, because of the identity of the group to which he belongs and their particular apostolate. It seems to me that this is one reason why some bishops might hesitate to bring them into the diocese.
However, it may be in the future, and not so distant, that having Mass in any form will overcome any resistance to limit Mass as much as possible to the Ordinary Form.
Communion services aren’t Mass. Nothing is comparable.