From a reader:
At ordination, the rector of the seminary is asked if the candidate is fully prepared for priestly duties. If a priest cannot say Mass in the E F, should that be considered not being prepared to assume his duties?
I have written about this many times.
I have a hard time understanding how a man who doesn’t know the rites his Church calls him to celebrate can be considered properly trained. The Roman Rite has two forms, Ordinary and Extraordinary. A priest should be able to celebrate both. If he cannot, he knows half his Rite.
How is half-trained for Mass and the sacraments, properly trained?
Furthermore, the 1983 Code of Canon Law says that all seminarians must be very well trained in Latin. I am not making this up. The CIC can. 249 requires… it doesn’t suggest… it requires that all seminarians be very well-versed in Latin and also any other language useful for their ministry: “lingua latina bene calleant“. Not just calleant, but bene calleant. Calleo is “to be practised, to be wise by experience, to be skilful, versed in” or “to know by experience or practice, to know, have the knowledge of, understand”. We get the word “callused” from this verb. We develop calluses when we do something repeatedly. So, bene calleant is “let them be very well versed”. Let is also review Sacrosanctum Concilium 36 and Optatam totius 13!
How often does some fellow stand up in front of the bishop and say that the men to be ordained are properly trained even though they cannot say the Extraordinary Form and they don’t know any Latin?
“But Father! But Father!”, some of you might be ready to exclaim. “Latin is hard! The Extraordinary Form is too haaaard for men today!”
I’ll tell you what’s hard. What’s hard is ordaining men who don’t have these fundamental tools. It’s hard on the people of God and hard on the men themselves in the long run.
Yes, it takes work and time to learn the Extraordinary Form and Latin. It take about 5 minutes to learn to say the Ordinary Form in your native language. Whoop-Dee-Doo! Saying Mass in the older, traditional form is an accomplishment. You don’t just get up and do it. It is not like learning to do brain surgery, but it does take training and practice. The newer form? Big deal. Just about anyone could come straight up from the pews and do what Father does…. which probably has led in some places to everyone coming up from the pews and doing what Father does.
And we wonder why respect for the clergy has decreased over the decades. What’s so special about what he is doing if it seems like anyone could do it?
Yes, I’m ranting. I’ll stop now.