In the Colorado Catholic Herald, His Excellency Most Reverend Michael J Sheridan, Bishop of Colorado Springs, speaks his piece about the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum.
My emphases and comments.
The Bishop’s Voice
Aug. 10, 2007 Summorum Pontificum
Bishop Michael J. Sheridan, S.T.D.
Pope Benedict XVI’s long-anticipated apostolic letter (Summorum Pontificum), allowing for wider use of the 1962 Mass of Blessed Pope John XXIII, has been greeted by some as a greater opportunity to worship in the manner to which they were accustomed in the years of their formation in the faith; and greeted, predictably, by others as virtually the beginning of the end of Catholicism as we know it — or have known it for the past 35 years. [ROFL!! I love this. Immediately he pops the balloon of hysteria. POP!] A brief review of the letter may be a help in understanding just what the Holy Father is trying to accomplish by liberalizing the permission to offer the "old Mass."
What exactly is now being permitted?
Put briefly, the pope has given permission for the Tridentine Mass (so called because, [GREAT! He makes distinctions.] with only minor revisions, it has been the form of the Mass in use since it was promulgated after the Council of Trent in 1570 until 1969) to be celebrated "privately" by any priest who wishes to do so; and publicly in those parish churches and oratories where a group of the faithful requests it and where there is a priest who is capable of celebrating Mass in the older form. [Notice that he doesn’t put lots of qualifiers on this. He just restates the provisions.]
Will this new permission decrease the availability of the Mass of Pope Paul VI, currently in use?
No. The Holy Father has made it clear that our current liturgy (called the Novus Ordo Missae) will continue to be the ordinary expression of the Latin rite liturgy, while the 1962 Mass will be the extraordinary expression. In fact, only one 1962 Mass is permitted in a parish on a Sunday or holy day, unless the parish as a whole has been dedicated to the exclusive use of the old Mass. We have such a parish in our diocese — Immaculate Conception Parish in Security.
Why has the pope decided to extend the possibility of the use of the old Mass?
In his letter to the bishops of the world, which accompanied the apostolic letter, the Holy Father noted several things which moved him to grant permission for wider use of the 1962 Mass. b, a good number of people who had been raised in and formed by the Tridentine Mass were expressing their desire to continue to worship in that form. In addition, more than a few younger Catholics have been attracted [Excellent! He doesn’t limit this to old foggeys who can’t get with modern times.] by the Mass of Trent. Since the 1962 Mass had never been abrogated (i.e., officially suppressed) it was not a difficult thing to accede to the wishes of these people.
Second, because in so many places the celebration of the "new Mass" was done without faithful adherence to the prescriptions of the new Missal and with so many unauthorized innovations, many of the faithful found it very difficult to worship. They longed for a return of the liturgy that preserved the dignity and solemnity proper to the worship of God. The pope makes mention of his own experience of those years following Vatican II in his letter to the bishops: "And I have seen how arbitrary deformation of the liturgy caused deep pain to individuals totally rooted in the faith of the Church."
Third, the pope is sincerely seeking an "interior reconciliation in the heart of the Church." The reform of the liturgy after the Second Vatican Council was the occasion for deep divisions in the church, some leading to defection from the faith. It is Benedict’s hope that the more liberal access to the old Mass will invite those who have separated themselves to return to full communion with the church.
What will Pope Benedict’s new permissions mean for the Diocese of Colorado Springs?
It is difficult to answer this question so soon after the publication of the apostolic letter. Because any Catholic has access to the 1962 Mass at the Immaculate Conception Parish, we have made the first step in the implementation of the provisions of the apostolic letter. I do not have any idea at this point how many more Catholics will ask for the old Mass. Several priests in the diocese have indicated to me that they would like to learn to offer Mass in the Tridentine form. I will certainly provide them with that opportunity, [Excellent!] and so there will be more priests available to accommodate the faithful. The Holy Father has not called for the promotion of the old Mass — simply that it be more readily available for those who find this form of worship especially meaningful. [Right!]
Might these new permissions cause some confusion and problems as they are implemented?
Possibly. That’s why the Holy Father has asked the bishops to report on the implementation after three years. If there are serious difficulties, remedies will be sought.
Pope Benedict has made it very clear that these two expressions of the Latin Rite Mass — the ordinary and the extraordinary — do not in any way contradict one another. Both are part of the rich heritage of our church and both are perfectly legitimate forms of eucharistic worship. In a time when "diversity" appears to be the newest virtue, it is just a bit ironic that some of the loudest protests against the pope’s apostolic letter are coming from those who have embraced every other kind of liturgical diversity — and anomaly. [POP! Another balloon bursts. Wonderful!]
I make the same plea to all of you as does our Holy Father in his letter to the bishops: "Let us generously open our hearts and make room for everything that the faith itself allows."
What a great article! Kudos, Your Excellency!