From a reader:
Saw your most recent quaeriter [“quaeritur” is a verb, btw.] and noted the use of “stable group.” We are struggling with our diocese over the definition of that term, as they [“they”? Diocesan officials?] want to say a stable group is thirty Catholics [NO!] who will pledge themselves to attend the EF. Naturally, we had numbers approaching thirty when our TLM was pushed out of the parishes three years ago. Now we total about fifteen or so, and even though the same people have attended the TLM more or less faithfully (we even found ourselves in a chapel of a secular retirement home for about two years) for four years, the diocese still tells us we are not a stable group. By the way, we had a priest in the area willing to offer this Mass for us. But the bishop banished him to the hinterlands. Now he travels about 300 miles once a month to offer this Mass for our group. Just what IS a “stable group”?
Don’t forget that the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei” issued a clarificatory document Universae Ecclesiae, in which we read:
15. A coetus fidelium (“group of the faithful”) can be said to be stabiliter existens (“existing in a stable manner”), according to the sense of art. 5 § 1 of the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum, when it is constituted by some people of an individual parish who, even after the publication of the Motu Proprio, come together by reason of their veneration for the Liturgy in the Usus Antiquior, and who ask that it might be celebrated in the parish church or in an oratory or chapel; such a coetus (“group”) can also be composed of persons coming from different parishes or dioceses, who gather together in a specific parish church or in an oratory or chapel for this purpose.
The law on this says “some people”. There is no minimum number identified by the Holy See. Some have mentioned that a coetus in other contexts can be as few a three. And the priest himself can be a part of the coetus.
It is wrong to try to impose a minimum number.
At the same time, it is common sense that – in most parishes – it is very hard to implement a major change to the parish schedule for very few people. But if the priest is willing and able to add a Mass to the schedule and keep it covered through thick and thin without crashing and burning, great! Support him? If he wants to do it, he doesn’t need permission.
The BIG problem remains, however. The parish priest, the pastor, implements Summorum Pontificum in the parish. The diocesan bishop does not make the decisions about this in the way that he did under the old, now “extinct” provisions of Ecclesia Dei adflicta.
And don’t forget the Bux Protocol.