I received this from a priest in the Diocese of Steubenville where His Excellency Most Reverend Robert Daniel Conlon is Bishop. It is a memo to "priests resident in the Diocese of Steubenville" dated 20 July 2007.
His Excellency Bishop Conlon had already issued a statement on 13 July in the Steubenville Register.
I very much would like to see a copy of this 20 July memo, perhaps even by fax, if a priest in the diocese couple contact me by e-mail.
Here is the text of the memo from the Bishop to the priests as sent to me. My emphases.
"I would like to take some initial steps to respond to Pope Benedict’s Moto Proprio [sic], Summorum Pontificum concerning the celebration of Mass and other rites in the form prior to the Second Vatican Council.
Here in the Diocese of Steubenville we will take a positive attitude to the Moto Proprio [sic]. On the other hand, we will adhere closely to its terms (many of which require clarification, and to other existing norms regulating the liturgy.
There will be no public celebration of the pre-Vatican II rites until I am assured that they can be celebrated well and in accord with Summorum Pontificum’s terms. Any pastor who anticipates public celebration should contact our diocesan worship office prior to making any commitment to the faithful.
I advise all priests to read the English translation of the Moto Proprio [sic] that is posted on the USCCB website.
Any priest in the Diocese of Steubenville who anticipates celebrating Mass privately according to the 1962 Missal should complete the enclosed questionnaire and return it to me by August 10. If, at a later date, a priest anticipates beginning the private celebration of Mass this way, I would appreciate his letting me know."
[The questions on the questionnaire are as follows:]
Name of priest who expects to celebrate Mass privately according to the 1962 Missal after September 14, 2007
How often to you expect to do this?
Where do you expect to do this?
Do you anticipate inviting lay faithful to join you? Who?
First, I am amazed a memorandum announcing strict adherence to norms and them recommends a close reading of the document, has "Moto" twice instead of Motu.
Second, I very much hope that strict adherence to the terms of the document also reflects strict adherence to all terms of the Church’s legislation on the liturgy (including documents such as Sacrosanctum Concilium and Redemptionis Sacramentum) and rubrics of of the Novus Ordo. There cannot be a double standard for the older form and the newer form. If anything, were a double standard acceptable, you would expect the newer form to be held to the higher standard, since all priests a) know it well, and b) it is the ordinary form.
Third, I do not believe that the provisions of Summorum Pontificum require a pastor even to consult the local bishop for public Masses, much less obtain permission. It is true that the priest must be idoneus. The diocesan bishop could have a say in that. However, idoeneus indicts minimum preparedness only. The priest’s freedom regarding private Masses, all things being equal, is pretty much ironclad. One wonders about the purpose of the questionaire.
That final question… "Who?"
This doesn’t strike me as very positive in attitude. Perhaps more information will be forthcoming.