UPDATE: Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate and restrictions on the TLM

You will remember the hang-wringing and anxiety prompted by the restrictions on the use of the provisions of Summorum Pontificum placed on the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate by the Congregation for Religious.

Reminder: The friars had been using the Usus Antiquior a great deal.  A minority didn’t like that.  They squealed to the Holy See.  The Congregation imposed a Apostolic “Commissar” and restricted the friars right to use the older form, because the older form had become a point of division.  That’s the basic sketch.

In a time when Pope Francis is calling for a less “clerical” attitude toward lay people, the Congregation’s move was deeply insensitive to the lay people who frequented the Masses celebrated by the friars.  As a result, I suspect that the Apostolic “Commissar” will grant lots of permissions to the friars once things settle down.

I have news about positive developments.

First, the Apostolic “Commissar” granted permission to the friar who is chaplain to the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate in Lanherne, England.  Also, a permission was granted at the pilgrimage site at Campocavallo, Italy.

Also, a reliable source passed along to me (and I don’t have a way to verify this from a second source, so … take it as it is), that the restrictions on the use of the Usus Antiquior, established by the Congregation’s decree, were desired by Pope Francis to assure that:

1) there is no compulsion to use the Usus Antiquior;
2) this choice of the Usus Antiquior is not motivated by an ideological rejection of the Novus Ordo.

The Pope’s moves were not motivated by any animus against the Usus Antiquior.  He is not against Benedict XVI’s legislation.  Francis desires, once the above-mentioned conditions are verified, that permissions be granted to the friars who request to use also the Usus Antiquior.  These points were made by the Holy Father to “a high-ranking Prelate in a recent personal conversation.”

I can only guess at the name of the Prelate.

So, if any of you are still out there on the ledge ready to thrown yourselves off to the pavement far below, breathe deeply and crawl back in through the window.  You are going to be okay.  It’s all going to be okay.  As I have been saying all along, Francis is not going to abolish Benedict XVI’s provisions in Summorum Pontificum.

UPDATE 25 August:

I received a note today that helps with additional information (edited):

The friars near Binghamton, NY received permission to continue offering the Extraordinary Form in a parish. This has been a highly attended TLM in the area.  An FFI priest will celebrate a Missa Cantata today. [Sunday]

The word is that after 30 August things will become clearer. Obviously neither the Decree nor Fr. Fidenzio are against the Extraordinary Form, since permissions have already been granted ad experimentum until 30 August.

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47 Responses to UPDATE: Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate and restrictions on the TLM

  1. norancor says:

    Tempus narrabit.

  2. Supertradmum says:

    Well, my TLM friend in Singapore wrote to me a short while ago and said there is no longer a daily TLM because of this. That is a loss.

  3. Phil_NL says:

    My earlier 2c about this was that it was more likely to be a problem of internal discipline rather than about the TLM itself; I find it otherwise hard to explain the ultra-speedy and heavy-handed approach of naming an apostolic administrator.

    And while it’s always dangerous to look for confirmatin of a hypothesis, “1) there is no compulsion to use the Usus Antiquior; 2) this choice of the Usus Antiquior is not motivated by an ideological rejection of the Novus Ordo.” are only relevant reasons if one does not trust the superior to speak for or to control his order. Neither of those 2 reasons would normally warrant such direct intervention from the Holy Father; he could otherwise simply have summoned the superior, and told him his whishes, which would undoubtedly be followed.

    And of course there is no particular reason why the details of such a problem would be made public, so I’m afraid we’ll keep guessing for a while, if not forever.

  4. Priam1184 says:

    Is ‘Apostolic Commisar’ a term that the Church actually uses? [No. "Commissary" would be less ... loaded.]

  5. tripudians says:

    … Because it’s alright if the choice of the Novus Ordo is motivated by an ideological rejection of the Usus Antiquior. [Some equal rites are more equal than others.]
    So when will TLM be imposed on all those clerics?

  6. Magpie says:

    These conditions, as imposed on the FFI, are a retrograde step from the privileges granted by SP. Under that, the friars didn’t need any special permissions. I wonder if this is a temporary thing for the FFI.

  7. kpoterack says:

    Thank you Fr. Z! Please continue to keep us informed on this matter.

    Of course, I cannot confirm the reliable source, either, but it has the ring of truth to me. I wrote elsewhere that, IMHO, Cardinal Bergoglio’s main experience of ‘Traddies’ would most likely have been with those associated with the La Reja SSPX seminary outside of Buenos Aires – where Bishop Williamson reigned supreme for years. This can go a long way to explain his concerns about the FFI’s – whether correct or not (and I think not for the most part.) But there is a certain type of hard core Traddie for whom those two stipulations seem to be tailor made.

    If true, this explains a lot. [Yes, it would explain a lot.]

  8. PostCatholic says:

    So you’re saying things will turn around when the Commissar is not in town?

    (Sorry, couldn’t resist. :-) )

  9. maryh says:

    Alles klar, Herr Kommisar.

  10. Suburbanbanshee says:

    This sounds very hopeful. It’s also very speedy, in Vatican time. With any luck, this will be totally cleared up and smoothed out within the next year or couple-three years.

  11. mamajen says:

    Francis desires, once the above-mentioned conditions are verified, that permissions be granted to the friars who request to use also the Usus Antiquior.

    That’s exactly the impression I got after reading the part of his statement that mentioned getting permission–it sounded to me like permission must be granted if it is properly requested.

  12. And when will there be “no compulsion to use the” Novus Ordo?
    Yes, this is more positive news, Father Z, thank you.
    I’m still anxious for expanded freedom for priests to say the old Mass, as the SP has decreed, and for the laity to have access to it. Why does this all have to be so hard?

  13. backtothefuture says:

    Doesn’t quo primum and summorum trump all this nonsense?

  14. Stu says:

    If it turns out that everyone who requests use of the Usus Antiquior is granted, then it should show a minority of those who are against it. Could actually turn out to be a good thing in the long run though that probably wasn’t the intent.

  15. jlmorrell says:

    This post, in my opinion, ignores the elephant in the room.

    What is so disturbing is that the decree by the Congregation for Religious, de facto (de jure?), abrogates Summorum Pontificum for the FFI. Why are so few of those commenting here concerned that the FFI now has to operate as though Ecclessia Dei Adflicta is operative instead of Summorum Pontificum?

    All of a sudden, the TLM, which Pope Benedict authoritatively declared never to have been abrogated and always permitted, is now forbidden to the FFI unless they receive special permission. Why is there not more uproar in conservative Catholic circles over this? I don’t understand.

  16. Vecchio di Londra says:

    kpoterack has it well sussed, I fancy. Interesting killer fact too, hitherto unknown to me.
    As you say, it certainly does explain a lot. (Bp. Williamson has much to answer for.)
    It’s probably one of those situations where the Wisdom of Bambi’s Mother needs to be applied: ‘Bambi, if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.’
    However, I can’t resist observing that naturally, any vociferous minority has the right to demand that the majority bends to its wishes.
    And that it would be absolutely terrible if any perfectly valid Roman Catholic Rite were to be ‘rejected’ by Rome on ‘ideological’ grounds. We’re so lucky this has never happened, except between 1967 and 2009.

  17. Geoffrey says:

    ‘And when will there be “no compulsion to use the” Novus Ordo?’

    Never, because the “Novus Ordo” is the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite and the “Traditional Latin Mass” is the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite (cf. Summorum Pontificum, art. 1).

    Many traditionalists seem to hope that one day the Ordinary Form will be totally abolished and replaced with the Extraordinary Form. This will never happen. His Holiness the Pope Emeritus himself spoke of how sudden change in the 1960s affected things for the worse. The Extraordinary Form must influence the Ordinary Form, and vice-versa.

    I never really understood what all the hullabaloo was about this. Summorum Pontificum clearly says that “any Catholic priest of the Latin rite, whether secular or regular, may use either the Roman Missal published in 1962… or the Roman Missal promulgated in 1970…” (art. 2), and that regarding “Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life… the matter is to be decided by the Major Superiors” (art. 3).

    It seems to me that priests who are members of religious orders don’t necessarily have as much freedom to celebrate the Extraordinary Form as does the average diocesan priest, and that all has been done in accordance with Summorum Pontificum. Am I misreading or misunderstanding something…?

  18. kpoterack says:

    Geoffrey,

    You have it basically correct. I think that people don’t quite understand the nature of the vow of obedience of a religious. While not absolute, it can be more restrictive than that of a diocesan priest. As a diocesan priest once jokingly told me, “if a religious superior tells a monk/friar to wag is little finger five times a day, he has to wag it five times a day. If my bishop tells me to do the same, I would do this (he put his thumb to his nose and wagged the other four fingers).” OK, a joke, but the very fact that the FFI’s came to a decision about how to implement SP, gives it away. Their friars weren’t free to do whatever they wanted. Now the Vatican has decided (rightly or wrongly) that the decision wasn’t made well and are requiring it to be done again with their supervision.

  19. UncleBlobb says:

    “2) this choice of the Usus Antiquior is not motivated by an ideological rejection of the Novus Ordo.”
    Dear Father Z.,
    You can’t tell because this is a text-only format, but I’m not out on a ledge, nor being a smartelic, but I’d sincerely like to know, in case I am one who has this problem: what is an ideological rejection of the Novus Ordo? The only serious problem I can surmise is a belief in the invalidity of the Novus Ordo form. I’ll understand if you don’t want to answer this online, or at all, as I’m sure it would be get you a lot of harassment in your inbox.

  20. joan ellen says:

    Geoffrey says:
    24 August 2013 at 9:21 pm
    “‘And when will there be “no compulsion to use the” Novus Ordo?’

    Never, because the “Novus Ordo” is the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite and the “Traditional Latin Mass” is the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite (cf. Summorum Pontificum, art. 1).”
    Geoffrey, thanks.
    “Many traditionalists seem to hope that one day the Ordinary Form will be totally abolished and replaced with the Extraordinary Form. This will never happen. His Holiness the Pope Emeritus himself spoke of how sudden change in the 1960s affected things for the worse. The Extraordinary Form must influence the Ordinary Form, and vice-versa.” It is interesting that very Traditional Catholics follow some of the Ordinary Form practices…such as a 3 hour fast vs. a midnight fast.

    “I never really understood what all the hullabaloo was about this. Summorum Pontificum clearly says that “any Catholic priest of the Latin rite, whether secular or regular, may use either the Roman Missal published in 1962… or the Roman Missal promulgated in 1970…” (art. 2), and that regarding “Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life… the matter is to be decided by the Major Superiors” (art. 3).” So, do I have it…the FFI Major Superior decided to get help from Rome. Is that it? If that is it, then I feel much better about the whole thing. Though some may think he should have told those who did not want to celebrate the TLM that they did not have to. I would suspect he did not intend to undermine SP in the least. The FFIs are very down the middle with Rome and faithful to the Magisterium. From what I know of them.

    “It seems to me that priests who are members of religious orders don’t necessarily have as much freedom to celebrate the Extraordinary Form as does the average diocesan priest, and that all has been done in accordance with Summorum Pontificum. Am I misreading or misunderstanding something…?” I hope you are reading and understanding as I am, because then those of us who need to can take back any negative thoughts we may have been tempted to have or had RE: Holy Father Francis and this topic, especially with regards to SP.
    It seems that as more and more writing discussion occurs on this blog, for most any topic, the clearer the topic under discussion becomes. Why? Isn’t it because good to excellent Catholic thinking is fleshed out? And goodness from the hearts as well. It is why I keep reading here. So, thanks to all for helping my thinking and my heart. Thanks Mr. Geoffrey for this comment of yours.

  21. sw85 says:

    Yeah. Like I said in the last post on this, this decision was most likely intended to affect the way the FFIs handle conventual Masses because the way that Mass is celebrated actually has a bearing on their fraternal charism. Franciscans never historically celebrated the Tridentine Mass — the TLM was itself based on the Franciscans’ Seraphic Missal which, in some respects, more closely resembled the OF than the EF (simpler, not quite Gregorian, chants intended to allow the participation of the brothers, communion given in the hand, etc.). The Franciscan charism frowns on clericalism and the EF is very clerical. That’s a bonus for us laity who are well-served by having the ontological value of the ordained priesthood (which acts in persona Christi) sensibly reinforced, but less so for religious brothers who are already advanced in holiness and who see brother priest more as, well, brother than priest. Now we see that the decision is not going to impact the offering of Masses for the benefit of the laity, where these considerations are irrelevant, just as I’d earlier predicted.

  22. http://franciscantruth.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/visita-apostolica-questionario-f-i.pdf

    This is supposed to be the questionnaire sent to the members of the FFI. Is this accurate?

    Anyway, it is actually very strange that, of all the things for Rome to worry about these days and of all the religious groups to set straight, Rome decided to go for the FFI. Why would “obedience” and “order” and “community life” be *more urgent* in this specific religious community than in all the other Orders where weirder things go on and have been going on for decades!

    The present Holy Father, being a Jesuit, must be aware of all the needs of his Order and the freedoms they take with their way (practically a rite in itself!) of saying Mass. Why should he not do the same and force them to celebrate the “Ordinary Form” of the Roman Rite?

    Strange! Really strange indeed!

  23. sw85 says:

    “Anyway, it is actually very strange that, of all the things for Rome to worry about these days and of all the religious groups to set straight, Rome decided to go for the FFI. Why would “obedience” and “order” and “community life” be *more urgent* in this specific religious community than in all the other Orders where weirder things go on and have been going on for decades!”

    Rome didn’t “go for” the FFI. Rome responded to a request/appeal for intervention. Religious do, in fact, have the right to appeal even the decisions of their superiors to Rome, if they feel those decisions go against the charism of their order.

  24. robtbrown says:

    Geoffrey says,
    It seems to me that priests who are members of religious orders don’t necessarily have as much freedom to celebrate the Extraordinary Form as does the average diocesan priest, and that all has been done in accordance with Summorum Pontificum. Am I misreading or misunderstanding something…?

    I think you are. The reference to Major Superiors concerns habitual or permanent celebration of community masses.

  25. robtbrown says:

    Kpoterack says,

    I think that people don’t quite understand the nature of the vow of obedience of a religious. While not absolute, it can be more restrictive than that of a diocesan priest. As a diocesan priest once jokingly told me, “if a religious superior tells a monk/friar to wag is little finger five times a day, he has to wag it five times a day. If my bishop tells me to do the same, I woula d do this (he put his thumb to his nose and wagged the other four fingers).”

    A diocesan priest is not a good source for the the rights and obligations of those in religious life.

    Obligation to obedience varies among the religious institutes. The authority of superiors is usually specified either their rule of life or in their constitutions, sometimes both.

  26. robtbrown says:

    The questionnaire seems to indicate that the problem lies with heavy handed action of the Superior.

  27. jeff says:

    Indeed, the $64,000 question is what constitutes ideological rejection of the NO?

    Obviously the extremists who deny its validity or liceity are ideologically rejecting the NO in an unacceptable manner.

    Would the very choice to attend the TLM could constitute an “ideological rejection of the NO”? Would preferring the theology of the TLM mean disliking the NO and thus constitute an ideological rejection of it?

  28. Fr Jackson says:

    “Ideological rejection” is a very interesting term. Does criticizing ICEL translations constitute “ideological rejection”? Does calling rubrics “dumb” constitute ideological rejection? Fr Z, I’d say you are pretty suspect!

    [LOL! Maybe so. I think, however, that this "ideological rejection" means something closer to "claiming that the Novus Ordo is invalid". I am not an Apostolic Commissar nor have I played one on TV, but I would want to get to the bottom of a priest's motives for refusing absolutely to say the Novus Ordo, even in the face of a direct request from a bishop for some community. I would listen to him very carefully.]

  29. Robbie says:

    Almost from the start, Pope Francis has said tradition should be respected. He told that to an angry group of Italian Bishops who claimed the TLM was a cause of division. So in that respect, this news is good to hear.

    Having said that, a group of priest who were saying the TLM have now been forced to ask permission from an Apostolic “Commissar” to say the Mass. And that permission will only be granted once it is certain the desire does not reflect an ideological rejection of NO. What constitutes ideological rejection will probably be a thorny issue.

    Regardless, my concern on this story has, over time, shifted from Pope Francis to those who work in the Vatican. A few weeks ago, it was suggested this move may have more to do with Cardinal Braz de Aviz and other sites have suggested the initial investigation was started not by Benedict but by a Cardinal, possibly Braz de Aviz.

    I just hope Francis doesn’t become a pawn of certain factions in the Curia who think they can manipulate a relatively inexperienced pontiff.

  30. Fr Jackson says:

    So, would this “benevolent dictator” judge that the Ottaviani Intervention would be an acceptable motive to refuse to say the New Mass?

  31. Fr Jackson says: Ottaviani Intervention would be an acceptable motive to refuse to say the New Mass

    Would Fr Jackson judge that since 1969 a few other worthwhile things have been been written about the issue addressed in the Intervention? Or do some people simply stop reading things written after that Intervention?

  32. Fr Jackson says:

    Yes, of course, Father.

  33. Fr Jackson says:

    You seem to have something specific in mind: “other worthwhile things…” – could I ask what that is? (If I am understanding you correctly, the Ottaviani Intervention would only be acceptable when taken in conjunction with these other things.)

  34. Actually, Fr. Jackson, it’s my understanding that much of what was said in the Ottaviani intervention was accepted at that time, with the result that those aspects of the proposed doctrinal introduction to the Novus Ordo missal that he correctly claimed were heterodox, were henceforth withdrawn and corrected at the instruction of Paul VI, and therefore did not appear in the typical edition.

  35. Fr Jackson says:

    Hi Henry. You’re right: some of what was said was taken into account – but the next question is whether the changes in the doctrinal introduction corresponded to any real changes in the liturgy itself – after all, the real problem is a “lex orandi lex credendi” issue. I fear the answer to this second question is negative.

  36. jlmorrell says:

    Fr. Jackson is exactly correct. While some of the deeply problematic parts of the instruction were revised, the actual liturgy was not. In fact, it is much worse today because of the further introduction of EMOH, communion in the hand, altar girls, etc.

    Everyone knows, of course, that the whole point of bringing up the Ottaviani Intervention is the weight that can be assigned to it due to the full support given by Cardinals Ottaviani and Bacci. It cannot be easily dismissed when the former head of the Holy Office says that the Novus Ordo is a dramatic departure from the Council of Trent.

  37. mightyduk says:

    Why is it that the introduction of the Vetus Ordo is what’s “divisive” and subject to examination, not the liberal theology that abhors it’s use?

  38. Michael_Thoma says:

    Aren’t the parents of the former Superior Major Servants of God Settimio Manelli and Licia Gualandris? If he decided that the community he founded and is Superior of, should switch to the 1962 Latin Rite, why should that be revoked?

  39. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: the problem with the decree restricting the celebration of the Sacrifice of the Mass according to the Missal of John XXIII is not that it merely demonstrates pastoral insensitivity toward the laity or any other reason that could be ameliorated by this revelation of Pope Francis’s motives; it is because of principle alone that the move is worrisome. In principle, it is a step backward and not a proper solution to return to a situation in which the Missal of John XXIII is given by indult. To even imagine that to be possible is contrary to the implications of Summorum Pontificum, even if it is in some narrow sense compatible with the letter of its law. The Missal of John XXIII together with the Missal of Paul VI constitute the one Roman Rite, the latter Form being added to the former, and the latter having historical precedence and being the historical norm for the Roman Rite. By definition, therefore, it is the inheritance of the entire Latin Church, and especially of the Church of Rome from which it was born throughout the centuries by the providential guidance of the Holy Spirit. All Priests of the Latin Church therefore, by the very definition of the Roman Rite in Summorum Pontificum and its universal usage throughout the Latin Church’s entirety, have a right and even a duty to celebrate and preserve the Missal of John XXIII, not indeed as a provision for some people and not others, nor by a special permission given in a spirit of pastoral generosity for those too stubborn to accept the reformed Ritual and Rites, as most have been wont to assume. On the contrary, by the implications of Summorum Pontificum, all Priests not only ‘have access’ to the Missal of John XXIII in a merely legal sense; they have this, of course, but it reflects a deeper reality revealed in the teachings of the document. The implications of the Motu Proprio, especially as reading in the interpretive light of Benedict XVI’s thought on the sacred Liturgy, teach us that the Missal of John XXIII is native to the Priest in such a way that to forbid the Latin Priest from celebrating the Mass according to its Ritual is to remove from him something that defines his Priesthood; it is to remove from him his very Rite, his very Liturgy. No reason in the world, even the most benevolent, could possibly justify that action, which is why Francis’s decree is both troubling and precedent-setting, no matter what comes out to clarify it.

  40. A couple clarifications to my hastily-written, un-proofread original post:

    When I said, “and the latter having historical precedence”, that should read, “and the former having historical precedence”.

    Where I wrote, “especially as reading in the interpretive”, this should be, “especially as read in the interpretive”.

    Also, expanding on my analysis, I think the two alleged reasons articulated by Fr. Z’s source deserve to be examined carefully.

    First reason: The decree was handed down in order to prevent a situation in which use of the Missal of John XXIII was compulsory.

    I’m afraid that Francis was misinformed if this was a worry. From everything I have read heretofore, it seems apparent that there was no compulsion to celebrate Mass according to the Usus Antiquior. The Superior was looking to implement Summorum Pontificum in good faith by taking advantage of its provisions and adhering to its theology and logos. No one was commanded to use the Missal; instead, Priests and laity were drawn to the Missal on its own merits, by the culture of free use which was promoted by the Superior and which was objected to by a minority, who raised an absolute din of complaint, one which appears to have had no real substance or foundation.

    Second reason: In order that the use of the Usus Antiquior might not be motivated by an idological rejection of the Novus Ordo.

    First of all, what exactly constitutes ‘ideological rejection’ of the Missal of Paul VI? Does strong and valid criticism qualify? Does serious doubt concerning the equality in propriety? How about the fittingness of the new Missal to genuinely be considered Roman and in continuity with the sacred Liturgy celebrated in Rome for centuries, by canonized Popes such as Gregory the Great, Agatho, Pius V, Pius X, and in Ecumenical Councils, such as Lateran IV, Trent, Vatican I, and Vatican II? What of belief in the dubious orthodoxy of some of the Liturgical experts who exerted influence on the nature of the reforms? What if, on these and other grounds, a Priest declined to celebrate the Mass according to the Novus Ordo, without believing it to be invalid, as many FSSP and ICKSP clerics probably have done. That is both ‘ideological’ in nature and a ‘rejection’ of sorts. The bottom line is that it is simply unreasonable to limit the Missal of John XXIII in response to someone rejecting the Missal of Paul VI, without questioning its validity, on the aforementioned grounds, grounds which are both valid and historically accurate criticisms. To do so is to hide the fact that the Ordinary Form has real weaknesses which are brought to light most starkly when compared side-by-side with the Extraordinary Form, especially by the celebrant who has comprehensive knowledge of both.

  41. Cordelio says:

    This question of the justifiability of an “ideological rejection of the NO” (which I will slangily abbreviate as IRNO) really does strike to the heart of the current ecclesial crisis. There was a recent thread where readers were asked to identify what type of Catholics (traditional or otherwise) they considered themselves, and a wide variety of often very witty replies were obtained.

    I believe that how one stands with respect to the IRNO and a certain corollary to it offer a much more useful characterization. The corollary is whether the Catholic Faith obliges us to believe that it is impossible for the Pope to promulgate a liturgical rite which a Catholic could be justified in ideologically rejecting (slangily, IPIR).

    Two questions with two possible answers gives us four groups, which I would describe as follows (while limiting membership to Catholics who at least prefer the traditional liturgy to the new and acknowledge at least some special papal charisms):

    1.( IRNO – yes, IPIR – yes) This would be the sedevacantists – because the NO must be rejected ideologically, but the Holy Ghost would prevent the Pope from promulgating such a rite, then the NO Popes must not be true Popes.

    2. (IRNO – yes, IPIR – no) This I take to be the position of the SSPX and those who stand with it. Therefore, the SSPX admits that the NO Popes are truly Popes but chooses to suffer what it views as abusive, illicit canonical censures rather than ideologically accepting the NO.

    3. (IRNO – no, IPIR – no) A group I shall call the more SSPX sympathetic (not being the official position, even inherently, of any readily-identifiable group or organization, at least as far as I know). The more SSPX-sympathetic disagrees with the SSPX regarding its judgment on the NO, but realize that they disagree on a question of fact rather than a question of doctrine.

    4. (IRNO – no, IPIR – yes) A group I shall the less SSPX-sympathetic (again I believe not anyone’s official position). The members of this group would see the SSPX position as both factually and doctrinally erroneous.

    Would it be useful to poll along such lines, Father Z?

  42. sw85 says:

    The “implications of Summorum Pontificum”? Is that in any way similar to the “spirit of Vatican II”?

  43. sw85: It’s not even remotely the same thing for a number of reasons. For one thing, the so-called Spirit of Vatican II interprets the Conciliar text entirely out of the context of both the preconciliar Magisterium and sacred Tradition. Vatican II, especially because it is an explanatory Council that merely intends to authoritatively teach and clarify preceding infallible canons and other Magisterium, must needs be read in the light of the previous Magisterium and Tradition. Summorum Pontificum is a motu proprio which first and foremost establishes the very basic fact that though there is one Roman Rite, there are two Forms, both of which are equally that one Roman Rite and both of which are equally proper to the Latin Priesthood, on the grounds of being both native, and of being canonically equal in terms of licity. This was a sorely needed clarification that brings the history of the Roman Liturgy back into continuity with its former nature and celebration, and one that when read in light of preceding Magisterium is compatible with it. The supreme interpretive lens, as Benedict XVI himself made clear, is continuity with the Magisterium and Tradition of old, and of course Scripture as well. There is tension between the Magisterium and practices of the last four or five decades on the one hand, and the immemorial Magisterium and practices of previous centuries, tension that is gradually being figured out by Rome and the entire Latin Church. Any interpretation therefore which breaks with continuity, such as the Spirit of Vatican II movement, is thus de facto ruled out as a valid interpretation. Interpreting the Summorum Pontificum by the thought of Benedict himself, by his writings as Cardinal Ratzinger, by Pius X, Pius XII and John XXIII’s Magisterium, by the immemorial practice and Tradition of the Latin Church, and so on, is proper and right. Moreover, in times past Fr. Z himself has espoused similar beliefs in terms of interpreting Summorum Pontificum.

    Besides all of that, the implications of SP are really very intuitive: 1) The Roman Rite is proper to all Latin clerics and is there own Liturgy and Ritual, one which in justice is both natively and canonically their own, without which they would not be Latins. 2) The Roman Rite exists in two Forms; first, the historical and ancient Form, which has been in organic development under the guidance of the Holy Spirit for at least fifteen-hundred years, and second, the new and constructed Form, which was added to the ancient Form and which was patched together from bits and pieces of the ancient Form and other historic, organic Liturgies throughout Christendom, containing also new phrases fabricated from the mentality of the 60′s and 70′s Liturgical atmosphere. According to the explicit teaching of SP Art. 1, the Lex orandi (Law of prayer) of the Latin Church exists fully in both. These are facts that cannot be disputed. 3) Therefore, to deprive a Priest of the Latin Church the right and the duty to celebrate the Sacrifice of the Mass according to either one Form or the other is to deny him the fullness of the Roman Rite, the fullness of that Lex orandi that exists completely in each Form. To deny him the right to offer according to one of the Forms denies the man the Roman Rite, which amounts to an absurdity and an injustice, hence why I stated that it is unreasonable to take from a Latin cleric something inherently and natively his, something as important and organic as the Liturgy itself. This is why, according to Summorum Pontificum’s explicit teaching, a Priest does not need permission to celebrate according to one Form or the other, from his Bishop or the Apostolic See, because it is inherent to his Priesthood and the Latin Church of which he is a cleric. The only reason why there is a condition attached to celebrating in the presence of the people is to prevent the sort of radical sea-change that occurred in 1970 when, in the space of about a year, the people were shifted almost universally in the Latin Church from one Form of the Liturgy to another without adequate preparation and heavy-handedly in what lucid hindsight has revealed to be clericalism at its finest.

    This is very simple logic.

  44. sw85 says:

    You err in conflating secular priests with regular ones. Regular priests serve their community first, and the needs of the community is determined by the community. In most cases (I know this is true of monks and I believe it is true of friars, as well) religious surrender all the special rights and privileges that accrue to the priesthood in order to become priests. This is *especially* true of the Franciscans because of their fraternal charism: they cannot and do not treat their brothers who are priests as anything but brothers. They cannot even celebrate Mass without the permission of the superior. Even SP does not countenance treating secular priests as regular ones. Which is why I assumed you were talking about the “implications of Summorum Pontificum,” since your argument cannot be justified by appeal to its actual letter.

  45. Thanks for the charitable and careful critique, sw85. Honestly, as a convert, I always love exploring deeply as much of Catholicism as I possibly can, so these discussions are very helpful. I agree with many of the visitors on ‘The Journey Home’ that you really haven’t even scratched the surface even years into your journey to the true Religion. I still don’t agree, due to the actual text of SP Art. 2, which says that the teachings of SP apply to both secular and regular Priests, and the logic of his teaching on the two Forms of the one Rite, but I don’t have time to talk about it in depth due to college. Take care, and God bless.

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