Statement of Diocese of Winona (where the SSPX seminary is) on Summorum Pontificum

Here is the [official] statement on Summorum Pontificum from the [Liturgy Office of] Diocese of Winona.  This statement is of special interest because the Seminary of the SSPX is in the Diocese of Winona.   [UPDATE: In a comment below this entry, the Communication Director of the Diocese of Winona chimed in to say that this is not the official statement of the Bishop of Winona.  I want that to be clear.  The bishop’s official statement will be examined in another entry.]

Given that a major institution of the SSPX is in the bishop’s backyard, let’s see what the Diocese has to say.

My emphases and comments.


Understanding the Apostolic Letter
Summorum Pontificum

1. Why did Pope Benedict XVI write the Apostolic Letter, Summorum Pontificum?
Pope Benedict is concerned, as was Pope John Paul II, about the potential division in the Church due to Catholics who still [And so it begins.] want to celebrate Mass in Latin [First mistake.  Latin is not the issue.  The issue is the older form of MASS, which of course includes Latin.] instead of the vernacular.  This statement follows one made in 1988 by Pope John Paul II, who gave permission to celebrate the pre-Vatican II Mass according the missal of 1962.  Both popes hope to draw these Catholics into the mainstream of the Catholic church. [Well… yes and no.  It is certainly the desire of both Popes to help those with questionable unity to reconnect with the Roman Pontiff.  However, they provided that they would NOT have to enter the "mainstream"!  Instead, provisions were made for their liturgical aspirations, which ought to be respected.  So, "mainstream" in the sense of unity, which is equal for all, but not liturgically.] Pope Benedict also hopes that his statement will help Bishops because since the pope has given permission, the bishops will not have to process requests for Mass in Latin.  [With which they shouldn’t have to be bothered?   Which was such a burden?  Which was so… distasteful?  Even if this doesn’t reveal a negative view, it is an interesting, and revealing, take on Summorum Pontificum on the bishops’ role.]  Pope Benedict’s statement makes grants [?] permission to such request automatically.

2.  Does this mean that all Masses will be in Latin in the future?
No.  The Mass we celebrate today in the vernacular will be known as the “ordinary” form of the Mass which means the same as the “normal form” [I am not sure of that.] of Mass.  Mass that is celebrated out-of-the-ordinary or normal form is called the, “extraordinary form” [the "abnormal form"?] because it is “extra” or outside of the usual form of Mass.  He says that these two forms, ordinary and extra-ordinary, make up one Roman rite. As a result, we will not speak of the Latin rite but of the Latin form of Mass.  [NO! This is wrong.  The Novus Ordo can be, ought to be first and foremost in Latin!]

3.  When would a priest celebrate the extraordinary form of the Mass?
A priest may celebrate the extraordinary form of the Mass, privately at any time except during the Triduum.  The difference today is that if people want to join him in these “private” celebrations, the Pope has given them permission to do so. [I wonder if that is in fact what the Motu Proprio does.  I think the truth is that no Mass MUST be without people present.  It is better for people to attend.  So, if Father says Mass, whatever Mass, people can attend.  I think the Motu Proprio is stating a fact, rather than a grant of permission.]  A priest may celebrate the extraordinary form of the Mass in public only if there is a stable group of people who wish to pray in Latin.  [This is a twisted way of putting it.  First, there is a problem with the translation "stable group".  Also the issue is not…. must we say it again…. only the language!]  If such a group already exists in the parish, they wold consult with the pastor who can now respond to the group’s request without permission from the bishop.  (Prior to this statement, the pastor was required to get permission from his bishop).  The Pope has outlined certian guidelines, however. For example, in order to celebrate the extraordinary form, the Pope says that a priest must be suitably qualified to celebrate it in Latin and he must have the minimum knowledge and ability required for a legitimate use of the extraordinary form. [Which is, after all, only reasonable!]  The Pope’s letter said that a priest must know the Latin language [Does it say this?  I thought the criterion was "minimum knowledge and ability"] and the instructions (rubrics) for celebrating the Mass  in Latin according to the 1962 form.

4. May the other sacraments be celebrated in this extraordinary form?
Yes. A pastor may also grant permission for the celebration of the other Sacraments or funerals or other occasional celebrations [This is a problematic phrase.  I think better is "celebration for occasions"] according to the extraordinary form, (in Latin) when requested to do so by priests or a stable group [again, the problematic (wrong) translation is used] of the faithful. However, other sacramental celebrations and prayer in English and Latin, may not be intermingled [It sounds like this is a position against use of the newer Lectionary with the older form.] since each has its own proper form[.]

5. What happens if a stable group requests Mass in Latin and the priest is unable to celebrate it in this manner?
The Pope wrote, “Should some problem arise which the parish priest cannot resolve, the local ordinary (bishop or vicar general) [Ummm… I think the MP says "Episcopus dioecesanus".  It does not say "vicarius".  There are references to "ordinaries", and that is a techincal term which means more than a local bishop.  But I think this explicit reference to the vicar general is wrong.  I am waiting to be corrected.] will always be able to intervene, in full harmony, however, with all that has been laid down in Summorum Pontificum.”

6. Can any priest decide that he will no longer celebrate the Mass in the ordinary form ?
No. The Pope clearly says, “in order to experience full communion, the priests of the communities adhering to the old liturgy cannot, as a matter of principle, exclude celebrating according to the new liturgy.”  He continues, “the total exclusion of the new liturgy would not in fact be consistent with the recognition of its value and holiness.”

7. Which liturgical calendar and Lectionary would people use with the extraordinary form?

When Mass is celebrated according to the Latin form, the priest will use the vernacular edition of the Lectionary for Mass [This is both wrong and confused.  First, there IS NO LECTIONARY with the older form of the Missale Romanum.  The readings are not in any separate book.  Second, the older form of Mass requires that the readings be recited in Latin.  They can later be read in the vernacular.  I leave aside the debate about the use of the newer readings and calendar.  However, I note especially how this statement says "will use", which prescribes something that cannot be prescribed.] and the calendar of the Missal of Blessed John XXIII. There is a commission in Rome called, Ecclesia Dei [It is called the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei"] which will study the possibility of adding the new saints and prayers of the ordinary form of the Mass to the books of the Latin form of the Mass.

8. Does the use of the extraordinary form of the Mass with its previous texts mean that the Church is reverting to its recent teaching on anti-Semitism?  [How tiresome.]

No. The 1962 Missale Romanum already reflected Blessed John XXIII’s revision of older liturgical language often thought of as anti-Semitic.

In 1965, the statement Nostra Aetate of the Second Vatican Council repudiated all forms of anti-Semitism as having no place within Christian life.

When Pope Paul VI issued the Missale Romanum of 1969, he revised the only prayer addressing the Jewish people in the Roman liturgy.  It appeared [?] during the general intercessions for Good Friday. His revision reflects a renewed understanding of the Jews as God’s chosen people, “first to hear the word of God.” 

Pope John Paul II worked to reconcile the Church with the Jewish people and to strengthen new bonds of friendship. Pope Benedict XVI remains committed to “the need to overcome past prejudices, misunderstandings, indifference and the language of contempt and hostility [and to continue] the Jewish-Christian dialogue…to enrich and deepen the bonds of friendship which have developed.”

9.  Is Pope Benedict questioning the liturgical reform of the Second Vatican Council by granting these practices?
No.  The Pope is clear that the current Missale Romanum, the Mass in the vernacular, is the ordinary form of the Eucharistic Liturgy.  The extraordinary form, in Latin, is from the 1962 Missal of Pope John XXIII.

10. When is this statement to take effect?
The apostolic letter will take effect on September 14, 2007, the feast of the Triumph of the Holy Cross.

There are a lot of problems with this statement. 

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Dr. Peter H. Wright says:

    I think this statement needs re-writing.
    It is too confusing in its prsent form, and contains inaccuracies.

  2. Francis Pinteric, Ph.D. says:

    I seriously wonder who the audience for the Bishop’s statement is intended. It sounds like it was written for a twelve year old.

  3. Francis Regis says:

    For a twelve year old? It sounds like it was written by a twelve year old.

  4. mike says:

    Add a couple dozen “like”s and “ummmm”s and it would pass for bad high school essaying. Really awkward grammer. Sad.


  5. Jeremy says:

    Did the bishop of Winona, MN ordain a FSSP priest native to the diocese a few years ago?

  6. Dave says:

    Jeremy: Yes, he did.

  7. Derik says:

    Probably the Bishop is not completely aware of the wishes of the faithful in the diocese. I believe people born after 1969-1970 will learn and love the older form of the Mass (as I did), increasing the number of petitions to priests for Traditional Mass, and thus creating “stable groups” of faithful who profit from both uses of the Roman Rite for the salvation of many Souls.

  8. jaykay says:

    Para 8, quote: “Does the use of the extraordinary form of the Mass with its previous texts mean that the Church is reverting to its recent teaching on anti-Semitism?”

    What exactly is “reverting to its recent teaching… on anti-Semitism” actually supposed to mean? Apart from the mangled thought processes, I wonder if they know what Trent said on the subject?

    Yes, of course, it’s cruel to mock the afflicted and one can (just) see what they’re trying to get at here. But boy, are they some confused people.

  9. Xavier says:

    The elephant becoming more visible in these releases from our bishops is the fact that the New Rite and the Traditional Rite reflect different theologies about the Church and Her role in the world. Consciously or not, the bishops seem to know this and will cling to those instruments (like the Lectionary and mistranslated Scriptures and prayers) that promote their vision of the Church.

    I was struck by the short blurb in the Lectionary today for Saint Sharbel. It ended, “May [Saint Sharbel] intercede for us that we may live in peace with our Lebanese brothers and sisters.”

    Notice the politically correct use of “Lebanese” rather than “Muslim”, and the indifferent “live in peace with” rather than the charitable “pray for the conversion of”.

    If this theology is allowed to infect the Traditional Rite, all it will be is a whitewashed tomb.

  10. danphunter1 says:

    Perchance His Excellency could attend a Classical Rite mass at the FSSPX seminary and then speak with the prior there on how his apostalate is run.This would also be a wonderful oppurtunity to mend some differences.
    Then His Excellency will be immeasurably more informed on the Holy nature of the Classical rite,whereupon he can rewrite his confusing and juvenile memorandum.
    God bless you.

  11. dcs says:

    Some of the statement seems as though it is taken from the USCCB “twenty questions on Summorum Pontificum.”

    I think there is a problem with the following statement that Fr. Z did not point out: “A priest may celebrate the extraordinary form of the Mass in public only if there is a stable group of people who wish to pray in Latin.”

    I do not think the MP supports this interpretation. It does not say that a request from a “group” (let’s leave aside the “stable” issue and the Latin issue as well) is the “only” reason that a priest can celebrate the traditional Mass publicly. It says that he should celebrate it publicly if the “group” requests it, but it does not say that this is the only reason that he can celebrate it.

  12. Fr Arsenius says:

    Diocese of Winona? The former stomping grounds of the current Archbishop of Portland in Oregon? I’m starting to see a pattern here: the fruit of the poison.

  13. Boko Fittleworth says:

    “The elephant becoming more visible in these releases from our bishops is the fact that the New Rite and the Traditional Rite reflect different theologies about the Church and Her role in the world. Consciously or not, the bishops seem to know this and will cling to those instruments (like the Lectionary and mistranslated Scriptures and prayers) that promote their vision of the Church.”

    Yes, yes, yes! I would add the vernacular and versus populaum. WE know that this isn’t about the Latin language, because the NO can be celebrated in Latin and the editio typico is in Latin and Vatican II’s SC said….

    But I am beginning to think that this IS about Latin. Why? Because the vernacular can be manipulated in a way that Latin cannot be. This is about two conflicting theologies and the vernacular is the primary tool used by those who would promote a theology other than Catholic.

  14. Tominellay says:

    Oh, my! The author of this letter does not want to understand, and doesn’t want
    his readers to understand either…

  15. Thomas Burk says:

    What I believe we most want is orthodoxy. The “extraordinary” mass generally provides that, including almost always solid homilies (sermons, actually). What we are fleeing is dissent and, yes, at times downright heresy. Many have already gone “East”, too.

    But I won’t say they don’t get it…they do. That’s why they are afraid.

  16. pjsandstrom says:

    In fact there were two different books containing the readings (so the equivalent
    of the present Lectionary)for use by the proper Ministers during Solemn High
    and/Sung Mass: the Epistulary and the Evangelary.

  17. Henry Edwards says:

    “A priest may celebrate the extraordinary form of the Mass in public only if there is a stable group of people who wish to pray in Latin.”

    Having spent much of my mathematics teaching career explaining the difference between “if” and “only if” to students possibly similar to the author of the Winona statement — I might mention that this quoted sentence, which looks false as it stands, might be true if the word “only” were deleted.

    With “if” it means: If there such a group of people, then the priest may celebrate the extraordinary form. (I take it this is what Summorum Pontificum said.)

    With “only if” it means: A priest cannot celebrate the extraordinary form unless there is such a group of people (wishing to pray in Latin).

    In addition to the more substantial difficulty with the “only if” version, I might point out also that, whereas the celebrant of a 1962 Mass surely prays in Latin, many or most of the people probably pray in the vernacular (e.g., following the English on the right-hand pages of their missals). Or is there some assumption abroad that those of us who can’t get over our “attachment” to the extraordinary form are so confused that we prefer to pray in a language that we don’t even understand?

    So again, aside from Boko’s very pertinent point about the Latin (of the priest) bolstering the doctrine, it’s not really about Latin alone.

  18. ray from mn says:

    I wasn’t paying attention when the documents of Vatican II were being published.

    But I’m beginning to see why there was so much confusion and misinterpretation of the intent of the Council. Because the same thing is happening right now with the various interpretations of the Summorum Pontificum documents.

    As we wait for 194 dioceses of the U.S. to each issue their interpretations of the S.P., ultimately accompanied by opinions by every religious order, liturgist, music director, theologian and religion columnist in the country, what’s left of the 60 million American Catholics will be fully justified in doing what they have been doing for the past 40 years – ignoring the Church.

    The “cafeteria” will remain open, I’m afraid.

  19. Rose Hammes says:

    I am the Director of Communications for the Diocese of Winona and spokesperson for Bishop Bernard Harrington. The document you claim is his statement on Summorum Pontificum is not his and was not issued by his office. I do not know where you obtained it but you can be assured it was not issued by Bishop Harrington. His true statement is available at

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