Glaswegian Archbishop’s hostility toward the Motu Proprio

NOTA BENE: At the time this was written, the text of the Motu Proprio was still a little fluid in regards to “stable group” and so forth.

I just got an amazing e-mail from a priest in Scotland (today seems to be the day for Scottish news).

He relates the salient points of a four page document issued by His Excellency Mario Conti, Archbishop of Glasgow about the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum.

I think these excerpts from the Glaswegian Archbishop will astonish you.  They strike me as being among the coldest, most hostile I have read so far… and that says a lot.

Keep in mind that the Scotish Bishops’ Conference official response was more positive: “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.”

Far and wide, bishops who are hostile to the provisions of the Motu Proprio will very carefully, and mostly inaccurately, parse terms from the unofficial and inaccurate translation of the Motu Proprio so as to find a way to restrict as much as possible the use of the older Missal.  This is contrary not only to the spirit in which Pope Benedict gave those provisions, but also to the principle of interpretation of Canon Law that laws which grant favors are to be interpreted as favorably as possible.

Read this and consider if these comments are in keeping with that interpretive principle.

My emphases and comments.

“Notice that there is to be a “stable group”, a single request does not establish such a group. Moreover the group is to be identified as adhering to the earlier liturgical rite. [His Excellency, again sticking to an unofficial translation, does not take into account that “coetus fidelium traditioni liturgicae antecedenti adhaerentium” in Latin need not indicate that they “adhere” in a strict or juridical sense, but can simply mean “faithful attached to the previous liturgical tradition”] A vague hankering for the old days is not an adherence to the earlier rite; this document has been issued to attempt to address serious divisions, not a generalised longing for days past. The word “adhere” is fundamental to the use of the extraordinary form. I find it difficult to envisage that there are any “stable groups” in our diocese who “adhere” to the 1962 Missal[How many mistakes can we find in this?  1) “stable group” is not in the document, 2) “attached” not “adhere”, 3) the M.P. says “attached to the previous liturgical tradition” not “1962 Missal”] There are clearly individuals who do so, but when offered a weekly celebration [Where and when?   Easy for more than 30 people actually to attend?] of Mass in the 1962 Missal less than 30 people regularly attend. Furthermore it is difficult to say that people who do not regularly attend the 1962 Missal when it is actually available “adhere” to this Rite.”

“I would not envisage a situation where the celebration of the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite meant that the ordinary form was not celebrated that day. It is to be noted that the canonical limits on bination remain intact[Ho ho ho!  I am forced to chortle.  I wonder just how strictly the law about bination (a priest saying Mass twice in a day for pastoral reasons) is observed in the Diocese of Glasgow.  I can just see it.  Father Hamish “Just call me ‘Pooky’ MacWeirdo at St. Ipsidipsy can say as many Masses with the newer Missal (and probably a dozen too many extraordinary ministers of Communion) he wants to in a day, but Father Pius Romanus… nooo…. “Forget about the good of souls… or your soul for that matter, Father.  One’s enough for you, Father!”]

“Art 5.3 also permits the extraordinary form for marriages, funerals, or occasional celebrations. The reference is to the Missal and not to the Tridentine Ritual. [NO! NO! NO!   The marriage and funeral rites were NOT in the Missale Romanum. You used the Rituale Romanum for these!  The Missale was used for the Masses that went with those rites.  Furthermore, if we actually read the article in an accurate translation: “§ 3.  Let the pastor [PASTOR!!!  PASTOR!!!] permit to the faithful or priests requesting it, celebrations in this extraordinary form also in particular circumstances as are marriages, funerals, or celebratory occasions, for example, pilgrimages. What is hard about this?].

“Priests ordained after 1970 are unlikely to be qualified [Here we go with the Idoneus Dodge.] to celebrate the Mass according to the 1962 ritual. It is certainly clear that a one week course would be insufficient to so qualify a priest. The discernment is mine... [Nope, again.   The discernment is the Church’s law and practice.  Idoneus means a minimum qualification.  A priest ought to be able to pronounce the words and know the rubrics.  That is it.] As the chief liturgist of our diocesan community I expect to be consulted so that I may confirm that any particular priest, before he begins to do so, is “qualified” to celebrate the extraordinary form in parishes. In that way I may exercise my responsibility in collaboration with you and help prepare in my mind the required report to the Holy Father which he requests within the next three years.”  [My heavens.  I am left amazed.]

“Article 9 refers to the permission granted to parish priests to use the earlier Ritual for four of the sacraments…it is to be noted that this article falls under the same requirements that there be a stable group with an attachment to the prior rite, [NO IT DOESN’T. Art. 9, § 1: “Similarly, a pastor, [PASTOR!!!  PASTOR!!!] everything having been well though out, can grant permission for using the older Ritual administrate of  the sacraments of Baptism, Matrimony, Penance and Anointing of the Sick, as the good of souls suggests.” This says NOTHING about any “stable group” or even the group referred to as coetus … continenter exsistit.] that the ordinary form is not displaced and that the priest be suitable qualified….I require that you consult me before making use of these rites so that I may verify the circumstances for the use of the earlier Ritual and your suitability for its use”.

“…no-one may be forced [GOOD GRIEF!] to take part in the 1962 rituals when they would wish to celebrate according to the ordinary Rite”.

I look to you, the priests of the diocese to cooperate with me [OR ELSE] in this matter so that all may be done in the spirit of [repression] unity that the Holy Father so urgently [tried to avoid] seeks.”

This has not yet been publicly released, I am informed. It has been sent to the clergy of Glasgow. My sender urged me not to mention his name. Judging from this terrifically hostile statement, I can understand why.

I think I better leave the comments OFF. You can e-mail your comments and if they warrant posting, I will add them myself.

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