MP statement of Archdiocese of Denver, CO (USA). Nice!

Here is the statement of the Archdiocese of Denver.

Most of the USA diocesan statements include similar elements.  When the tone tends more to the negative, there are comments like "we don’t expect many people will want this" or "this document won’t make much difference here".   Many statements mentioned the need to consult and study.  Often there will be a mention of the place where the older Mass is already available.  When the approach is more negative and limiting, the statements often say that this move was to bring back into unity people who are separated or on the edge.

Here is the statement of Denver.  My emphases and comments.

An open letter to the faithful regarding
Pope Benedict’s instruction for extended use of Tridentine Mass

July 12, 2007
My brothers and sisters in Christ,

On July 7, 2007 His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI issued a Motu Proprio entitled Summorum Pontificum
(“The care of the Supreme Pontiffs for Divine Worship”). In the document he explains the two forms for celebrating the Holy Mass: the ordinary form of Mass, currently celebrated in our parishes according to the Roman Missal of Paul VI, and the extraordinary form which is the Mass celebrated according to the Roman Missal of 1962 promulgated by Blessed John XXIII, commonly known as the Tridentine Mass. Both are expressions of our one Roman Rite.

The Holy Father seeks to express the richness of the Church’s liturgical traditions and to care for the pastoral needs of those persons who are attached to the extraordinary form of the Mass.  [His Excellency DOESN’T try to give the impression that this is limited to people in questionable unity!  He gets it exactly right.] He also calls for a renewal in celebrating both forms with reverence and solemnity so that they may lead us to a deeper love of our Eucharistic Lord.  [Right!   This is really about how we see and celebrate the Eucharist.]

Here in the Archdiocese of Denver, Our Lady of Mount Carmel Latin Mass Community, served by the
Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, has provided for many years a pastoral welcome [This is a very different tone from manys statements.  It is positive.] to those who desired the Tridentine Mass. There daily Mass and Sunday Mass are celebrated according to the Missal of 1962 promulgated by Blessed John XXIII.

In the coming months I will be meeting with my Presbyteral Council, College of Consultors, and Presbyterate to assess the needs of the parish communities and our priestly resources. ["Assess the needs and resources" does not, to my ear, sound negative or restrictive.  It seems to be looking for ways to implement rather than block.] I ask for your patience, charity and prayer as we work to establish an appropriate and practical response to the Holy Father’s wishes for the wider availability of the Missal of 1962.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

+ Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap.

Archbishop of Denver
Most Rev. Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap.

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  1. Andrew says:

    Similar in my town. (Miami)What can you do? It is yet to be seen what effect all of this will have. Anyway , yesterday I stopped at a church in munich

  2. Mary Jane says:

    This is definitely an improvement over most that I’ve read. The others sound like whistling past the graveyard.

  3. vox borealis says:

    Look, the burden is on us. The Holy Father has given us the canonical rsources, now we need to leverage it. The Holy Father said that some bishops have been stingy. If one or two locations tucked away in a corner of Bishop Smith’s or Jone’s diocese is stingy, then we have to prove that point by requesting more offerings–first from our parish priest, then from Bishop Smith or Jones. Otherwise, H.E. Smith and Jones will be proven correct in their assessment.

  4. Monica says:

    Is Pope Benedict aware of which Bishops respond warmly vs. which Bishops respond coldly to Summorum Pontificum and if so, how could that affect future appointments of any kind?

  5. Augustine says:

    According to an article in the local Denver paper –

    “In the Denver Archdiocese, a council of priests will discuss how best to offer priests Latin Mass training, said spokeswoman Jeanette DeMelo”

    “to offer priests Latin Mass training…” That is exactly what bishops should be doing, as FrZ has already noted.

    article –,1299,DRMN_15_5624061,00.html

  6. Monica says:

    Perhaps this will be one of the questions that our Holy Father will ask the Bishops during Ad Limina visits.

  7. Henry Edwards says:

    This is perhaps the first of these posted episcopal statements that appears to respond warmly to the motu proprio, and to genuinely support priests and laymen wishing to worship in the extraordinary form. Can anyone offer me a rational explanation why we should not expect every bishop to respond in a similarly positive fashion? Why does it not seem literally incredible — that is, unbelievable — to us that some or most don’t? Why would not every apostle of Christ go overboard to encourage in every possible way all those faithful who seek legitimate worship in the Church of Christ?

    How can the Church simply move on, unless it — we and they — can understand why so many currently bishops seem oblivious to their responsibilities as evangelists? Why do they appear to sidestep rather than to seek opportunities to evangelize and to actively promote and support legitimate worship?

    These are not merely rhetorical questions. What on earth motivates a bishop to pour lukewarm or even cold water on those who come to him with their spiritual aspirations and sincere interests in better liturgy? Even if he himself has little personal interest in liturgy, why would he be antagonistic to those who do? Why would he not want to reach out invitingly to every segment of the faithful of his diocese, and especially to those who actively seek liturgical and spiritual development?

    In short, what makes so many good men act (or appear to) so badly?

  8. Laura says:

    Thanks be to God for such holy bishops like Chaput.

  9. Mike says:

    Here’s the statement regarding the MP from the bishop of Manchester, NH.

  10. Christina says:

    I’m confused. I believe that some bishops have indicated that they intend to test those priests who are called to celebrate the classical form of Mass in both Latin and in their understanding of the correct rubrics. It follows therefore that they will also impose tests upon those who wish to celebrate the ordinary form in Latin. (And in light of recent directives about international Masses etc more priests will now be called to do so).

    Does this not mean that these bishops are now compelled to ensure that Latin is well taught in their seminaries etc etc.

  11. RBrown says:

    A tip of the glass to Abp Chaput.

    But I would like to make another point: As a Christifidelis I have a right to my patrimony, among which is Latin liturgy. Currently, I have access to 5 local parishes, none of which has a Latin mass. To attend a Sunday Latin mass means a one hour drive each way, a situation that is probably is not uncommon. To me this contradicts the concept of the parochial system.

  12. Jim says:

    Father Zed
    Jim from Scotland again. Not voice this time

    Please do one of your ‘black and red’ analysis on the Statement from the Scottish Bishops.

    This is the letter, but the notes following don’t look accurate:

    “The publication of the document on the use of the Roman liturgy prior to the reform of 1970 reflects the pastoral concern of the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI for those who find themselves drawn to that form of the Eucharistic celebration – a pastoral concern which the Bishops of Scotland share

    The Bishops of Scotland also share Pope Benedict XVI’s concern about the unity of the Church. In both his writings and his statements the Pope has reminded us of the centrality of the Eucharist as the source of unity in the life of the Church. Writing earlier this year in the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis the Holy Father says, “The fact that the one Eucharist is celebrated in each Diocese around its own Bishop helps us see how those particular Churches subsist in and from the Church.” (15).

    In thanking the Holy Father for this most recent document, the Bishops of Scotland wish to note that since 1970 Catholics in Scotland have embraced the reform of the liturgy, with the same openness of heart as they had already begun to accept the other decisions of the Second Vatican Council. The Holy Father’s decision to issue this document is motivated above all by his desire to mend divisions where they have occurred and to prevent future divisions by helping to bring about “an interior reconciliation in the heart of the Church”. Echoing what the Holy Father says, the Bishops wish to point out that there is no contradiction between the two editions of the Roman Missal (1962 and 1970) and that they in fact demonstrate that in the history of the liturgy there is growth and progress but no rupture.

    Having consulted widely throughout the Church before issuing this document and the norms it sets down, the Pope reminds bishops that each of them is moderator of the liturgy in his own diocese and has the responsibility to be watchful to ensure that all is done in peace and serenity. Bishops are invited to monitor the effect of the norms so that the whole Church can be involved in an evaluation of them in three years time.

    The Bishops of Scotland acknowledge this responsibility and intend to study the Holy Father’s document thoroughly to ensure that that its provisions are fully available to those Catholics in Scotland who may wish to encounter the mystery of the Eucharist through the form of celebration set out in the 1962 edition of the Roman Missal.

    The Bishops of Scotland pray that God will continue to bless our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI in his ministry of love and reconciliation. We ask that the Blessed Virgin Mary will intercede with her Divine Son on behalf of the Church so that together with our Holy Father the Pope we will all be faithful and obedient sons and daughters of God as we carry out his will.”

  13. RBrown says:

    Does this not mean that these bishops are now compelled to ensure that Latin is well taught in their seminaries etc etc.
    Comment by Christina

    They have been compelled to ensure that Latin is taught to seminarians for some time–by the documents of VatII and the Code of Canon Law.

  14. Francis Brennan says:

    Fr. Z.,

    Archbishop Chaput’s heartening reaction to Summorum Pontificum throws into relief the fact that most of the US bishops are trying, in their various ways, to nip the Motu Proprio in the bud. Although this reaction of the majority may seem disheartening, we should never underestimate the intelligence and tactical skills of the Holy Father. Summorum Pontificum is as much a flushing-out exercise as it is a measure to liberalize the 1962 rite. The Pope wants to see where the episcopal resistance is coming from – who is putting up a fight, where are they, and what changes need to be made to the process of episcopal appointment to prevent anti-papal manoeuvring in the future? The Pope also wants to see which bishops are embracing Summorum Pontificum, because these are the men whom he will make into archbishops and cardinals in future.

    The Holy Father clearly foresaw that there was going to be a lot of foot-dragging on the part of many bishops, and so he has built a second wave of attack into his Motu Proprio – the “three-year review.” Don’t be surprised if we get a papal document in three and a half years’ time which addresses all the foot-dragging points and spells out in very clear language that, for example, we don’t need priests to write Latin exams; priests are free to take the initiative and start celebrating Extraordinary Rite Masses on their own initiative; and no priest needs to consult with the diocesan director of liturgy before doing anything.

    By then, Benedict XVI will have his shortlist of all the bishops around the world, including the United States, who can expect preferment, and a rather longer list of those who can’t.

  15. majella says:

    My understanding of this motu propio was that the desire and access for the Tridentine mass is now a matter between priest and layman. The bishop’s had their chance with Ecclesia Dei of 1984

  16. Michael says:


    True, but that doesn’t mean these shedherds won’t do everything they can short of taking up arms to fight the return of traditional thought and prayer.

  17. Andrew says:

    There will be bishops – and I think Abp. Chaput is one of them – who will try to be fair about this even though they themselves are not able to appreciate or understand, and therefore fully embrace this Motu Proprio.

  18. L'Abbé Paul McDonald says:

    Can we hope now for the Pope to publicly offer the sacrifice according to the forma extraordinaria ?

  19. Syriacus says:

    Yeah, …I want the Pope to publicly ‘binate’ (or even ‘trinate’, it depends) with the trad. missal on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross!!

    Viva il Papa!!!

  20. Symeon says:


    I am an Australian Catholic Student and Archbishop Chaput was the keynote speaker at the Australian Catholic Students Associations annual conference.

    The Archbishop was strident in his support of the extraordinary form and his hopes for its resurgence as part of the reinvigoration of Catholic life.

    There can be no doubt of his encouragement and understanding of it.

    It also must be said that bishops probably learn the fine art of diplomacy and that in their public statements they will probably demonstrate restraint and follow various ordinary platitudes even if they are mad keen for whatever they are speaking of.



  21. michigancatholic says:

    Thank God for Archbishop Chaput. It’s regrettable that many bishops are choosing to be disobedient over this MP. However, remember before the MP: There were a very few dioceses which were traditional in nature (examples: Lincoln NB, Baker ID) and they turned out to be model dioceses which shamed and irritated the others. However, they formed a concrete paradigm in which one could see the possible. Groups such as the FSSP and St. John Cantius did likewise. I believe this will happen in this case too. And the traditional space is getting larger–much larger. Now Lincoln + Baker + Denver + ?

    RBrown, yes. There is a blatant contradiction of the parochial system, but that has been present for a long time now, post-V2. I no longer attend my geographical parish church. Many people do not. One has to seek out orthodoxy or ?? There’s no point in hanging around a dogfight just because you can’t get it changed and you think you can’t go someplace else. As Mother Angelica used to say, “Everyone drags their own carcass to market.” I have a soul to save (with God’s grace)–mine. Anything I can help with past that is good, but first I have to do that.

    The ideal situation FOR NOW isn’t that every parish offers one extraordinary mass anyway. Too many priests are illiterate in Latin and it is difficult to see on the little scale (music director, RCIA director, etc) how it would ever be tolerated. IN fact, it probably would just get perverted like the N.O. did. The ideal is more like “some” parishes in every diocese or locality which offer either the ordinary in Latin or the extraordinary in Latin very, very frequently to the diminution of English. Those parishes will become flooded with people who tend to take the faith more seriously, are willing to donate, work for the faith, accept vocations, act as Cathlic outreach, etc. Those parishes will survive the demographic phenomenon which will close many N.O. parishes in the next 40 years. I believe we are going to undergo some type of demographic rearrangement and I’m not quite sure exactly how it will take form, but I do think it’s coming. Birth control, poor catechesis, massive defections of offspring, misuse of political power within & without, money, immoral but widely pushed medical innovations, yes. It’s coming.

    In parishes which are under the gun because of the bishop’s policies, this will simply occur privately on a smaller, more quiet basis, courtesy of a few gallant and intelligent priests who will learn to say both forms (ordinary in English & Latin, extraordinary in Latin). It has to. It’s where the church is going. We have a hermaneutic of continuity to carry on–THAT is what is going to survive over the coming years and decades into the future.

    Make no mistake, this culture has paid no attention to history; history is going to behave likewise. 200 years from now no one will know who Anna Nicole Smith & Martha Stewart were. You can trust me on that one. ;)

  22. michigancatholic says:

    Another major mechanism of the changes that have already started:

    In 40 years, this will either not exist or it will not be affiliated with the Catholic church. In fact, I expect it will collapse far sooner.

    Retreat houses, mother houses, some parishes and other organizations are meeting/will meet the same fate. New ones, in line with continuity will be born but they will be fewer–more intensely Catholic, but fewer.

    Dioceses may make the mistake of trying to fill seats with bodies (ie. parish administrators) but it won’t help in the long run.

  23. michigancatholic says:

    My understanding of this motu propio was that the desire and access for the Tridentine mass is now a matter between priest and layman. The bishop’s had their chance with Ecclesia Dei of 1984

    Your understanding is correct, Majella. However, the situation is complicated by a few things:
    a) many priests do not know Latin, even though it was supposed to have been part of their training, according to canon law.
    b) more than a few bishops appear to be willing to play legal games over the number of masses they will allow a priest to say per day. That’s their only remaining “handle” on the situation really, unless they can dig up some detail about real estate, etc. I’m sure their lawyers are scrounging the legal books for anything they can get.

    Some bishops are going to allow some N.O. Latin masses and extraordinary masses to their credit. They’re not all bugmolesters, like some.

    Pathetic isn’t it?

    I do have a question that maybe someone here can answer. The limits on number of masses–is that limit based on the number of public masses, private masses or all masses?

  24. Brian says:

    In regards to the post above about Steubenville, I know that on numerous occasions a large group of Franciscan Univ. students have asked for the TLM, to only be turned down.

    So, it is going to be interesting to see what is going to happen with those traditional students.

  25. michigancatholic says:

    Oh, I’m sure they’re out looking for a Johnine mass as we speak, Brian. When someone finds one, word will travel.

    Word is getting out around here as to which priest(s) can say the Johnine mass without further training, and where these masses might be held.

  26. MacBeth says:

    I am glad to hear they are rejoicing in Denver. This morning, my (teenage) daughter attended an MP party after Mass in in Aspen CO, where she is at the music festival. She said it was sooooo fun.

  27. michigancatholic says:

    The spectre of young kids taking time out to go to Motu Proprio parties ought to make dissidents go tilt. It might even fry their old frayed wiring. ;) Or get them to THINK.

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