Archbp. of Galveston-Houston on the Motu Proprio

His Excellency Most Rev. Daniel N Dinardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston, has this to say about Summorum Pontificum in The Catholic Herald.

More and more of the statements I am seeing, strike me as positive.

My emphases and comments. 

A Shepherd’s Message

By Archbishop Daniel N. DiNardo

On July 7 the Holy Father issued an Apostolic Letter accompanied by a personal letter concerning the use of what has become known as the Tridentine Mass or the Tridentine Missal.  [This is good.  He seeks to make clear, with common terms, what is at issue.]  The Pope does not use that terminology; rather, he emphasizes the unity of the Roman Rite.  In doing so he seeks to clarify the continuity in the Roman Rite, particularly with the publication of the Roman Missal by Pope Paul VI in 1970.  He writes that both Missals are expressions of the one “law of Prayer” (lex orandi) in the Church.  The Missal of Paul VI in 1970 is to be regarded as the ordinary form of the law of praying while that of  the Missal of Pope Paul V in 1570, whose last edition was in 1962 under Blessed Pope John XXIII, is to be considered the extraordinary form of that same law of praying.  It is a two fold use of one and the same rite.

In doing this the Holy Father has permitted a more generous use of the older Missal particularly for those who have been and remain attached with love and affection to that previous liturgical form.  [A nice use of positive vocabulary.]  In his personal letter accompanying his “Motu Proprio” the Pope mentions that John Paul II had already granted use of the older form of the Rite in 1988 but had not given any detailed prescriptions or precise canonical norms on its use.  Pope Benedict is supplying such norms by his new decree and also supplies norms to avoid divisions within parish communities.  The Pope also hopes that the use of the older form will allow the new Missal, still the ordinary form of the Roman Rite, to be celebrated with great reverence in greater harmony with the liturgical directives contained in the new Missal.

The Holy Father also explains that his positive motivation for doing this was to come to an interior reconciliation in the heart of the Church.  [Good!]  He wants to offer a way to maintain or regain reconciliation and unity within the Church so that divisions do not harden on these liturgical matters.  “In the history of the liturgy there is growth and progress, but no rupture.  What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too…..It behooves all of us to preserve the riches which have developed in the Church’s faith and prayer, and to give them their proper place.”

The Pope’s decree contains 12 articles on the use of the 1962 Missal.  They are given in this issue of The Texas Catholic Herald on page five.  As the local Shepherd of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, I certainly want to see the law and spirit of the Pope’s decree upheld. [A clear and strong declaration.]   We already have a weekly celebration of the older Rite at Annunciation Parish in downtown Houston.  It must be admitted, as the Holy Father himself writes, that there are not many who have the formation in Latin to understand the older forms.  That would also include many of our priests.  Further, a large number of our priests have never celebrated the older rite.  Finally, the multiple celebrations of the Eucharist on Sunday in our parishes already due to our growing population and the number of Masses on weekends that our pastors and priests are already celebrating creates a series of “logistical” issues for many, [This is fair.]  if not most,  of our parishes.  We will have to see how requests for the older rite from a “stable” group of the faithful will work out in practice.  I am also not opposed to the possibility of the erection of a personal parish for celebrations of the older form of the Roman Rite. [Or maybe more than one?]

Mass is already celebrated in 14 or more languages each weekend in our archdiocese.  In addition, there are 5 different Eastern Rites in our archdiocesan territory: the Ruthenian Byzantine, Ukrainian Byzantine, Maronite, Syro-Malabar and Syro-Malankara, plus a chapel of the Melkite Byzantine Rite as well as occasional celebrations of the Ethiopian Rite by one of our priests for some members of that Eastern Rite community.  Finally there is a parish of what is called “Anglican Rite Usage,” for those Catholics who have come to us from the Anglican communion.  We have incredible variety.  [This is good.  It contextualized the variety of groups all within our Catholic unbrella.]  This is why the unity of faith, the “handing on of what we have received,” as St. Paul states it, is so crucial and so much a part of what I see as my own responsibility in this magnificent local Church of Galveston-Houston.  The unity of our Catholic Profession of Faith and our communion with the Holy Father is all the more crucial given such rich diversity in this part of God’s Kingdom in southeast Texas.  May the ancient “law of believing” (lex credendi) and “law of praying” (lex orandi) be both so saturated by charity, witness and outreach, especially to the poor and the stranger, that we will be a  most credible sign of the Catholic Church. 

I really like the way he concluded this.  It reminds me of Rules 3 and 4:

3) Show genuine Christian joy.  If you want to attract people to what gives you so much consolation and happiness, be inviting and be joyful.  Avoid the sourness some of the more traditional stamp have sadly worn for so long.

4) Be engaged in the whole life of your parishes, especially in works of mercy organized by the same.  If you want the whole Church to benefit from the use of the older liturgy, then you who are shaped by the older form of Mass should be of benefit to the whole Church in concrete terms.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. M Kr says:

    I’m glad that the Bishop pointed out that there are many rites in the Church, not just the Roman. Their existence in no way harms the unity of the Church. If all these rites can co-exist (and all of them except the modern Roman have the celebrant facing ad orientem) then surely the wider availability of the extraordinary form fits into this scheme and can do no harm.

    Many of the comments of those opposed to the Motu proprio claim that having two ways of celebrating mass would harm unity. I wonder what they would say regarding the Eastern Rites.

  2. He mentions “personal parish”, as do other bishops’ letters and I think the MP itself. What is a “personal parish”? I have heard of such for years without really knowing what it is.

  3. RichR says:

    We invited Bishop Rizzotto (Aux. Bishop Emeritus) from the Galveston-Houston Diocese to come up to Bryan, TX, for a Latin (Pauline) Mass, and he accepted. We had a great time, and he even blessed the new Latin 2002 Sacramentary our schola purchased for such occasions. They seem to be friendly to Latin down in Galveston.

  4. fr.franklyn mcafee says:

    I may have missed it but I cannot find the word “stabilis” in the motu proprio.Is it presumed in the word “coetus”?

  5. Stu says:

    And he’s a happy looking Bishop as well. Good all around.

  6. Fr. Franklyn:  I cannot find the word “stabilis”

    You can’t because it isn’t there.  I have written about this elsewhere.  The Latin word is an adverb continenter paired with existit.

  7. Dr. Peter H. Wright says:

    Yes. That’s exactly what I thought. Archbishop DiNardo has a happy face.
    Presumably, that’s because he knows he’s doing the right thing.
    God bless him.

  8. Michael says:

    Fr. Z.,

    Any chance your next podcast could be about the real meaning of active participation?

  9. Father Bartoloma says:

    These continuous posts on what various bishops and dioceses are saying about the Motu Proprio certainly is separating the episcopal wheat from the chaff.

  10. Woody Jones says:

    Well, this is very good to hear from our shepherd here in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston. I am very encouraged on several levels: first that Abp DiNardo is open to diversity of celebration, within proper bounds, and I was personally present at a liturgy – Solemn Evensong in the Anglican Usage [not Rite], where he said in a brief homily that the liturgy is the living stream of love coming down to us from Heaven and the love of the Holy Trinity, so he is a man committed to reverence and beauty in the liturgy (he sings the consecration himself); Second, we know that Fr. John Berg of the FSSP visited him a few weeks ago (and we know this in part because Fr. Berg celebrated Mass for us at Our Lady of Walsingham in the Classic Liturgy and had a nice talk with the faithful afterwards) and this sounds very much like the Archdiocese seriously considering welcoming the FSSP to Houston. Third, of course, as one who is committed to the Anglican Usage, we are so glad to see a bishop making the connection between the MP, and its permission of proper diversity of usages, and the AU. This gives one hope that perhaps a similar pronouncement will issue from Roma liberalizing the AU as well. There are rumors to that effect.

  11. Changh says:

    Dear Fr.,

    I’ve heard about His Emminence, Cardinal Bertone’s offhand comment on getting ridd of the prayers for conversion of The Jews from Holy Thursday. Realizing that His Emminence did not mean that for practical application, but more of and offhand maybe-ish/no not likely comment. What Should be done so that it is not taken as a serious thing and the Charitable prayer for our jewish bretheren dose not really get removed in the frenzy of bad reports?

  12. Changh: What Should be done

    I suppose the best thing would be simply not to worry about it. Also, one can always pray for conversion, one’s own and of others.

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