I have been sitting on this for months, but…
As a preamble, let me repeat something.
The Supreme Pontiff’s 2007 Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum established juridically that the Roman Rite has two forms, not one. Thus, if a man has not been trained in seminary to handle the Extraordinary Form, the Usus Antiquior, then he has not be properly formed before ordination. A priest or deacon must know his Rite.
With that in mind, when a man is elevated to the diaconate or priesthood, someone must stand up and testify, publicly, during the rite, that the men are properly formed for the order to which they are to be ordained.
Damian Thompson at the Telegraph has now “gone loud” about something I heard about months ago. I didn’t want to write about this, because I was concerned that some seminarians would be punished. Now that it is out, let’s get out the whip of cords.
My emphases and comments:
Seminary visited by the Pope bans traditional Latin Mass
I really don’t want to have to go back to writing about how the Catholic Church in England and Wales is ignoring the Pope’s provision for the traditional Latin Mass, but… well, here we go again. [You would have thought this nonsense over by now.]
Seminarians at St Mary’s College, Oscott, in Birmingham recently asked the rector if they could have the Extraordinary Form celebrated there – note, they did not ask to be trained how to say it. [They should have asked to be trained.]
The answer? Essentially, get stuffed, but couched in genial and friendly language. Oscott, which trains priests [see above] from the Midlands and North of England, has decided that Summorum Pontificum – which requires that a group of the faithful have the old Mass celebrated for them if they make an appropriate request – does not apply within its walls. But seminarians are generously told that they can attend the EF elsewhere (like every other Catholic in the world). [Keep in mind that seminarians, like most priests, have the right to a Christian burial, and that is about it.]
Some of the students are pretty disgusted by this ruling: not only does it go against the letter and spirit of Benedict XVI’s legislation, but the “House Notes” in which the news was broken also seem to play the trick of turning the request for the celebration of the Mass (which should be automatically granted) into one for special training in it (which is easier to turn down). Here’s the relevant section:
One final thing, I know it was raised at Dean’s Coffee about the availability of celebration of Mass in the Extraordinary Form. This was actually discussed in the Bishops/Staff Meeting last February. This is the advisory group of Bishops [Get that?] who meet with Archbishop Bernard and the Formation Staff once each year. The Bishops [Get that?] made it quite clear in February that the priority for Oscott, considering how much there is to fit into the curriculum should be to educate and train seminarians in the Ordinary Form so that they can celebrate it well and be able to draw out its full potential, including the use of the riches of our Latin liturgical tradition in music. They made it clear that the Extraordinary Form was not to be celebrated here but that seminarians were free, within the constraints of our timetable, to experience the Extraordinary Form where it is provided locally, both at home and here in the Archdiocese of Birmingham.
Sorry, but no “advisory group” has the authority to strike a red pen through bits of the Motu Proprio it doesn’t like. Does Mgr Mark Crisp, the rector, support this decision or has he been leant on by the bishops? How poignant that the Pope held his last event at Oscott at the end of his visit to Britain. That seminary has now become a no-go area for the Mass that he restored to the Church. Archbishop Bernard Longley of Birmingham should be ashamed of himself.
PS: I’ve just noticed, re-reading the document, that it says students are free “to experience” the EF – ie, it’s downgraded to “an experience”, like going to the zoo or the Planetarium.
There it is.
Universae Ecclesiae, the Instruction about Summorum Pontificum, says:
21. Ordinaries are asked to offer their clergy the possibility of acquiring adequate preparation for celebrations in the forma extraordinaria. This applies also to Seminaries, where future priests should be given proper formation, including study of Latin and, where pastoral needs suggest it, the opportunity to learn the forma extraordinaria of the Roman Rite.
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 a 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?