Shocking Memorandum of Diocese of St. Augustine (FL – USA) on the Motu Proprio

A reader of the blog sent me scans of Memorandum dated 1 August about the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum by the Diocese of St. Augustine, Florida (USA) issued by Fr. Thomas Willis, Director of Liturgy, on the authority of the bishop His Excellency Most Reverend Victor Galeone.

Nota bene: Scans of documents are interesting, but they are not very helpful as far as what I can do with them for this blog.  My usual practice is to make comments within the texts.  I can’t do that with a scan and I don’t have the time to transcribe them.  If you want to increase the chance that I will comment, kindly transcribe them accurately.

However, this document from the Diocese of St. Augustine astonished me, so I will say something about it.  I wonder if you will have the same reaction.

Here are a few excerpts. 

2. Only priests who are qualified may celebrate the extraordinary form of the Mass and the sacraments even privately.  [Emphases in the original] Those qualified must evidence an ability with the Latin language as well as the rubrics for the proper celebration of the Mass in the extraordinary form.  Bishop Galeone reserves to himself the authority to determine whether  priest is qualified to celebrate Mass and the other sacraments using the extraordinary form.  Generally, the priest must demonstrate a sufficient knowledge of Latin such that the priest is not simply reciting the words of the liturgy, but has an understand of the meaning of what he is saying.


Okay… I am not a canonist, but I can read, and can read LATIN at at.  The Apostolic Letter does not say that the priest needs a command of the Latin language suggested by this paragraph above.  The Latin word idoneus is used in the Motu Proprio to indicate the qualifications of the priest.  Idoneous never means "expert" or "well-trained" or "schooled" or anything of the kind.  It refers to the minimum qualifications.  This is why the eminent canonist and Archbishop of New York, Edward Card. Egan stated that

II. Priests who choose to celebrate Mass in the "extraordinary" form must have a sufficient knowledge of the Latin language to pronounce the words correctly.

There are wildly diverging interpretations of the Motu Proprio emerging in dioceses of the USA.  The more hostile will try to hem in the priest and reduce his rights. 

The principle of interpretation of Canon Law summarized in the Latin phrase odiosa restringenda, favoribilia ampliantur means that when laws grant favorable things or expand rights, the laws must be interpreted as openly, widely, loosely, favorably as possible so that a person’s rights are truly respected.  When laws restrict a person’s rights, they must be interpreted as narrowly as possible, so as to protect rights.  A narrow interpretation restricts the way the law can be applied. 

The opposite was done in this paragraph above.  Here, the priest’s rights are improperly restricted based on a far too strict idea of idoneus.

The second issue I have with this excessive restriction placed on priests who want to use the older form is that it seems to imply a double standard, a much harsher standard than that imposed in practice on priests who will use only the ordinary form. 

Let me exaggerate a bit, propose the absurd to make my point.

Will His Excellency now also impose some sort of examination or assessment of a priest’s knowledge of the meaning of Mass texts of the Novus Ordo?  According to the  present and then future ICEL English?  According to the Latin texts?  I would settle for either.  I would be very interested to know what priests in that diocese think the word "refrigerium" means in the Roman Canon, or what the image of "dew of the Holy Spirit" means in the 2nd Eucharist Prayer which H. E. Bishop Trautman is so concerned about.  Just what does "The Mystery of Faith" mean?  What do the Collects really say?  Even in translation?  Shall we have the priest write an essay on the fruits of Holy Mass before he can say Mass?  Can we be sure that priests, especially those for whom rubrics are suggestions, understand what they are saying?  Just what does kissing the altar mean anyway? What about priests who are getting a bit older?  Should they be examined regularly to make sure they are still competent?  Perhaps we should examine them along with those who need to be examined before they can use the extraordinary form.  Perhaps before the Chrism Mass each year there can be a regular exam by the bishop of his priests to make sure they understand what the sacred mysteries of Holy Mass mean in the texts and gestures. 

Here is another paragraph:

4.  A pastor may not, on his own initiative schedule a public Mass according to the extraordinary form.  The Apostolic Letter requires that a "stable group of the faithful who adhere to the earlier liturgical tradition" make a request for the extraordinary form to be celebrated.  Bishop Galeone has determined that such a group should be faithful of the parish [Emphases in the original] and should number at least 50 people for such a request to be granted.

First, the provisions of the Motu Proprio do not require that the priest even inform the bishop, much less ask for permission.  The provisions focus entirely on the decision of the pastor.  On the other hand, I think it is entirely reasonable that the pastor inform the bishop.  At least in that way when people are looking for the older Mass, the chancery can tell them.

Second, notice that there is a minimum number imposed of 50… 50… people.  Let’s leave aside for a moment that they must be registered in the parish or living in the territory ("of the parish").  This is outside the provisions of the Motu Proprio, which does not specify the number. 

The diocesan norm quotes an unofficial and inaccurate translation of the Latin, which has the word coetusA coetus has no specific number and can be, in fact, very small.  It is certainly more than two.  Some say as small as three people, which could include the priest himself since he is at the parish.  The adverb used in the Latin, NOT an adjective like English "stable" – no derivation of which is to be found in the Latin document – is continenter which means "continuously".  There must be a group of an unspecified number continuously present (Art. 5, § 1. In paroeciis, ubi coetus fidelium traditioni liturgicae antecedenti adhaerentium continenter exsistit…) .  I will admit that it does not seem reasonable that if only three people are asking for Holy Mass that the Mass schedule should change.  Still, I do not believe that the Motu Proprio foresees that a bishop establish a minimum number of people.

On the other hand, what if there are only three people of the parish asking but there are 100 from other parishes who are eager to come also and those people were always around?  It does happen in parishes that on a Sunday 100 people from other places do show up on a weekly basis.  In that case, I think it would be reasonable to have the Mass in the older form.

I am reminded of Abraham bargaining with God not to destroy Sodom.  "What if there are only 45?  Shall you deny these people Mass, Your Excellency, if there are only 45?"

The bottom line is this.  As much as I hate to say it, the Memo strikes me as an exercise in intimidation.  Even for private Masses, priests are supposed to submit themselves to a Latin exam?  (Does this sound familiar?  It ought to: this is what Bishop Trautman said he would do.)  Can you see priests doing that? 

How is a priest to follow the norm of Summorum Pontificum that he is to accept requests of the the faithful willingly (libenter suscipiat) under these conditions?

I am not a canonist.  I claim no expertise other than what I studied and continue to study.  Canonists can correct me if I am getting this wrong and I welcome substantive expert correction. 

But it seems to me that, far from the spirit of the Church’s tradition of interpreting law to favor people rather than to repress their rights, undue restrictions are being placed on the application of the Motu Proprio that seem not to be in keeping with the Motu Proprio itself.  I suspect that some day they will need some modification once the appropriate questions are raised by those qualified.


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  1. Mark says:


    I will transcribe them for you, if that will help. (I think you will have my email by me commenting.)

  2. L_D says:

    You said: “The second issue I have with this excessive restriction placed on priests who want to use the older form is that it seems to imply a double standard, a much harsher standard than that imposed in practice on priests who will use only the ordinary form.”

    I know right? Do priests who celebrate a Spanish Mass for a remnant of the parish have to be tested in fluency or is it enough that they can pronouce the words? I already know the answer from personal experience. This fact is kind of creepy to me.

  3. Ave Maria says:

    This bishop is totally NOT in line with the thinking and spirit of the Motu Proprio!
    And as some other bishops have done, he makes his hostility to the
    extraordinary form of the mass known and almost dares any priest to claim
    his rights to it, at least in private. At least he has not as yet asked
    to know who wants to attend the extraordinary form as in a list of names…
    but then if he wants 50, then I guesss he does want to see names.

    As I know from personal experience, one’s name before the bishop can invite

  4. Andrew says:

    I am thinking of all the Masses I’ve heard celebrated by priests with very poor English skills. One particular priest comes to mind whose English is outright incomprehensible. The poor man does his best but he just can’t pronounce the words. He is hispanic and he can’t say as much as “the Lord be with you”. In fact, at our parish we used to joke that the “expert” English speaking priest was Fr. X from Burundi whose accent was so heavy that even with maximum attention one would have to struggle to follow him. The others (all coming from different parts of the world) were even less comprehensible.

    But no one would ever suggest that there was an issue. But now, since we are dealing with Latin, lo, we do have an issue!

  5. Dennis says:

    What else can be expected? Taken from the diocesan website:

    Diocese of Saint Augustine
    General Norms for Liturgical Ministers
    Approved by Bishop Victor Galeone, October 28, 2003

    1. The assembly is the primary liturgical minister. As the assembly of the Body of Christ on earth, we gather to worship God in praise, thanksgiving, and supplication. Every other liturgical ministry is in service to the assembly so that the Lord may be encountered.

  6. Richard T says:

    “Will His Excellency now also impose some sort of examination or assessment of a priest’s knowledge of the meaning of Mass texts of the Novus Ordo?”

    Seems like a good idea to me, and there is an excellent precedent. From the Catholic Encyclopedia’s biography of my patron, St Richard of Chichester:

    “As bishop, Richard … compiled a number of statutes which regulate in great detail … the celebration of Divine service, the administration of the sacraments … and other matters. Every priest in the diocese was bound to obtain a copy of these statutes and bring it to the diocesan synod”

  7. Christopher says:

    May peace be with you.

    There are a few things which come to mind in considering this.

    1. Ex opere operato. Has everyone forgotten that? Or should we go reconcile with the Donatists? The intention of one who is able is enough, distraction (lack of attention) does not invalidate sacraments, though may cause the celebrant to sin.
    2. True obedience involved obedience where it is due, particularly to “midling” things. Where law is established, where it is lawful, even those with the law with authority over others in the law have not the right to command the law.
    3. I better use my HTML coding for this one:
    [satire] I suppose we better make an important test for everyone to take so that we know they understand all the words of the Credo (in whatever language they will use it). We wouldn’t want some poor little girl or boy who does not understand “one in being” or “consubstantial” to have to say those mean, hard, silly theo-philosophical terms. I mean, do they really understand what it means when there are Three Persons of One Substance. Please, make a test, we wouldn’t want anything outside the measure of man, himself! O, and even more importantly! The Consecration! How can we let anyone pray the Holy Mass without understanding an eternal covenant. I’m not sure that 95% of the priests in our diocese get what that REALLY means. This may have to do with the idea that we are born in time, but that shouldn’t be a problem… I mean, if we can get to the moon, what can’t we understand!?[/satire]

    May God bless you.
    Holy Mary protect you.

  8. Prof. Basto says:

    Doesn’t this statement that the bishop will reserve for himself the judgement on wether a priest is able for the celebration according to the Extraordinary Form ammount to a requirement of authorization by the local ordinary ?

    Isn’t the imposition of such a requirement contrary to the explicit text of Summorum Pontificum, according to which all priests of the Latin Rite can celebrate the Extraordinary form without the necessity of any further clearance, either in the form of an authorization from the Apostolic See or permission from the Ordinary?

    If priests need to get prior faculites from the Bishop in order to use the Extraordinary Form even privately, this really is a requirement of permission from the Ordinary in order to celebrate Mass using the Books of 1962, and such a requrement of permission is in frontal violation of the Church’s law.

  9. Alan Purcell says:

    Not all of the dioceses in Florida seem to have such a restrictive view. See this news item from the Diocese of Venice (Bishop Frank Dewane):

    This is quoted below:

    Tridentine Mass Enriches Catholic Culture at St. Martha Church in Sarasota

    Although Pope Benedict XVI just authorized a wider use of the old Latin Mass in the Catholic Church this weekend, tradition-minded parishioners of St. Martha Church in Sarasota have been celebrating Mass in Latin for well over a decade.

    Coincidently this weekend, the Diocese of Venice also welcomed a new priest, Father James Fryar, who is trained in the celebration of Mass in Latin. Father Fryar will be in residence at St. Martha Parish.

    “That’s just something that happened to coincide,” says Bishop Frank J. Dewane. “We didn’t know when the Holy Father was going to be releasing the ‘motu proprio.’ It had been rumored for some time that it was going to happen.”

    Because of growing interest in the Latin Mass, Bishop Dewane approached the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, an order established by Pope John Paul II in 1998 to promote ecclesial unity and traditional Roman rites, and asked for a priest who would celebrate the Latin Mass and minister to the growing number of families in the diocese who prefer the old rites.

    In the Tridentine Mass a priest faces away from the congregation and whispers prayers in Latin, a language unfamiliar to most Catholics. The current vernacular Mass was approved as the standard in 1970 after the Second Vatican Council, and many Catholics were unhappy with the modernization of an ancient ceremony.

    “You hear “Latin Mass” and everybody goes…old style, old ways,” observes Bishop Frank J. Dewane, “but it’s tradition, and tradition is not always bad. Tradition can be a very positive thing.” Bishop Dewane points out the artistry of Gregorian chant which is currently part of the Tridentine Mass at St. Martha every Sunday. “Some of the tones that the priests sing in various parts of the Mass are certainly beautiful, very melodic,” he says. “It was a whole art…a very expressive part of the Church’s tradition in music was in Latin and in chant.”

    “I’m delighted as we all are,” says Stan Valerga Chairman of Ecclesia Dei Society “I think the Pope brought it to a level even we didn’t expect and it’s a positive,” he adds. The Ecclesia Dei Society organized informally in Sarasota in 1994 to bring back the old Latin Mass in the Diocese of Venice. With approval from then-Bishop John J. Nevins, the first Tridentine Mass was celebrated at St. Martha on January 22, 1995.

    Parishioners from across the diocese attend the Tridentine Mass in Sarasota. Valerga estimates between 25 to 30% are younger families who have discovered the Latin Mass.

    “The interesting thing is, many of them are young people who did not grow up with the Latin Mass, and some would say they harken back to what they don’t know,” says Bishop Dewane. “I think very much it is a movement of the spirit and we have to be open to that…alert to that within the church, where you have young men and women raising their families, and they want their children to experience this Latin Mass and bring them up in the tradition of the Church.”

    Currently St. Martha Church in Sarasota is the only parish in the diocese that celebrates Tridentine Mass, but Bishop Dewane says a second Latin Mass will be scheduled at another parish in the southern part of the Diocese of Venice.

    St. Martha Catholic Church is located at the corner of Fruitville Road and Orange Avenue in downtown Sarasota. Mass is celebrated in Latin every Sunday at 1:30 pm, every first Friday of the month at 12:45 pm and every first Saturday of the month at 9:15 am. For more information on the Tridentine Mass contact St. Martha Catholic Church at (941)366-4210, or e-mail

    For more information on the Diocese of Venice contact Communications Director Adela Gonzales White at 941-486-4702, or e-mail

  10. Fr. Scott Bailey, C.Ss.R. says:

    I may be incorrect here, but historically it was never a requirement that a priest understand Latin to offer Mass, but that he pronounce the words properly, clearly, and distinctly. This is also true for any of the sacraments and now for any language. Were this not the case there are thousands of priests who, throughout the ages, would not have been able to offer Mass given the restrictions of many of todays bishops. Very likely the Cure of Ars would be among them as he had great difficulty with Latin. I also wonder just how proficient these bishops are in Latin themselves. Are they qualified to give an examination? I hardly think so. As I commented in another post, this is about power grabbing.

  11. RichR says:

    Wasn’t St. John Vianney horrible at Latin? Also, was a priest desring to celebrate the Novus Ordo in Latin having to take these exams a few years ago?

    This will all come to a head when the MP goes into effect and priests start celebrating TLM’s anyway. Most who are determined to have a TLM will know the letter (and spirit) of the law going into the debacles.

    I think BXVI has prepared the document fairly well. I wonder if he left some open ends precisely to bring hierarchical problems to the fore. In any case, this is an internal matter that the hierarchy will deal with. I hope it doesn’t sour people on their obedience to bishops.

  12. danphunter1 says:

    And this mentality continues to defy reality.
    This bishop is like an incompetant magician who attempts a magic act but miserably fails.
    Everyone can see the workings of his attempted illusion and the fun gets spoiled.
    If any entertainment was planned from the get-go.
    I also continue to find it confusing that the priests of the SSPX are considered outsiders to the Church, but bishops like His Excellency Galeone are well embraced in the bosom of Her Arms.
    Who is really defying God here?
    God bless one and all.

  13. Nathan says:


    Greetings, Father. Your are doing a real service to point out the reactions of bishops. I think it might help if we encourage WDTPRS readers in this diocese (and all that have ordinaries that are resisting the full implementation of Summorum Pontificum) to write their pastors VERY RESPECTFULLY and request, according to Article 5 of Summorum Pontificum, that they provide Holy Mass and the Sacraments according to the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite. If there is a legal issue, then, that has to go to Ecclesia Dei Commission, the faithful will have laid the groundwork.

    I would also suggest that in that letter, the laity would also request their pastors to provide the older form of the Mass at funerals or weddings, as appropriate, according to Article 5, section 3. I put in my request something like “in the case of my death, I request a Requiem High Mass according to the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite be sung for the repose of my soul and that I be buried with the 1962 rites for the dead.” That also gives pastors a job to do—in order to fulfill that part of the Motu Proprio, which they are expected to give us, they need to be able to say the older form or be able to find someone who will.

    It may not move this bishop or cause anything earth-shaking, but it seems to me a way to fully express the desires of the faithful to have the Holy Father’s intent implemented in our parishes.

    In Christ,

  14. EDG says:

    I live in St. Augustine and I am very disappointed by this. Oddly enough, Bp. Galeone is a very orthodox bishop who has done a lot to improve the quality of Catholic teaching here (after 25+ years of a do-nothing bishop). My observation of him is that he’s not very interested in liturgy. His masses are quite correct, basic NO masses, and I think he himself, judging by his preaching and teaching, at least, does not subscribe to the horizontalist view and actually understands the Mass to be more than the lame description that appears on the diocesan “liturgist’s” website. But I have also always gotten the impression that he really doesn’t care about the liturgy, so long as nobody’s sacrificing virgins on the altar.

    One of the big problems with St. Augustine, however, is the presence of a couple of very entrenched and powerful pastors who are flat-out heretics (anyone who lives here will know who I mean) and a huge, swollen cadre of “liturgists” and unnecessary diocesan employees. Bp. Galeone actually got rid of a number of them shortly after arriving in the diocese, but they’ve regrouped. And the liturgists in particular seem to be a really powerful force here; one was recently hired at the Cathedral, and she is unfortunately just what you’d expect: I remember her dancing around the Paschal Candle waving a bowl of incense one evening when I made the mistake of going to a Vesper service they were having.

    And these people are really blood-thirsty. The priests in the diocese are afraid of them. Despite all odds, we have a couple of good, orthodox younger priests in the diocese, and I know they want to celebrate the TLM. The liturgists know it too, and this was a preemptive move by the liturgists, working through the bishop.

    Fortunately, it looks to me like the requirements they have laid down are so at variance with the actual text of the MP that I think they would have difficulty making any of it stick if anyone here is brave enough to oppose them.

  15. Mary Jane says:

    At this time, the only Extraordinary Form Mass in the Diocese is at 8 a.m. at Immaculate Conception Church in downtown Jacksonville, a Mass that has been in place for several years under the old terms of the Indult.

    While I’ve had a couple of people in the church where I’m the choir director ask me about the Motu Proprio, nothing has been published on it for public consumption. So this was obviously circulated to the “clergy only.” Perhaps there will be some statement in the September issue of St. Augustine Catholic – our diocesan magazine? Maybe not. Maybe folks will just be told at the local level when they ask.

  16. AJF says:

    To add to Alan’s comment regarding the Diocese of Venice, there is a second
    location in the south of the diocese that will also offer the TLM: the chapel
    at St. Agnes Parish in North Naples (though I don’t know when it will begin
    to be offered there). Fr. Fryar and His Excelleny, Bishop Dewane, chose this
    location while St. Leo Parish is undergoing some rehabilitation in order to offer
    the faithful in Naples and the surrounding areas another option for assisting
    at the Mass of Bl. John XXIII. Just FYI!

  17. Nathan is right. One must request respectfully. When improperly denied, go to Ecclesis Dei. If they want to give the least charitable interpretation to the rules, reciprocate. Ecclesia Dei is the proper channel for reporting such non-compliance.

    I think, too, one has to wonder whether Fr Willis as “Director of Liturgy” is really speaking with the full support the bishop, or simply claiming the bishop’s support, not entirely dishonestly, but out of habit. It’s best to look at such statements charitably, even if the possibility strains credulity. Bishops can speak for themselves, and don’t need liturgists to speak for them.

  18. Brian Crane says:

    I think Redemptionis Sacramentum # 113 sufficiently responds to the bishop’s claim that priests must not only be able to pronounce the Latin but also understand the meaning of it:

    113. When Mass is concelebrated by several Priests, a language known both to all the concelebrating Priests and to the gathered people should be used in the recitation of the Eucharist Prayer. Where it happens that some of the Priests who are present do not know the language of the celebration and therefore are not capable of pronouncing the parts of the Eucharistic Prayer proper to them, they should not concelebrate, but instead should attend the celebration in choral dress in accordance with the norms.

  19. RBrown says:

    Actually, the memorandum raises another issue: Will the pope insist that all seminarians be trained to use both the 1962 and 1970 Missals?

  20. M.Z. Forrest says:

    While not expert advice, I would say that restricting the determination of eligibility to the parochial boundary is well within the norms of both SP and Canon Law. One’s parishioners is are the only one’s that one has an authority over as a pastor. In regards to those not attending their parish church, good luck on that one. :-) I will defer to other experts on this one, but I believe the US is one big exception zone in this area. More often, particularly in the northeast and the midwest a parish would have been established to serve a nationality in a given territory, so unless one were to do come up with another test, one could legitimately reside in 3 parishes in some cases.

    In regards to a rule of 50 persons, such would seem to be within a bishop’s competence. The wide interpretation of such a directive would be that a pastor would not have to actively try and accomodate such a small number. In short, the 50 person rule would be normative for determining the rights of the parish and not be normative in determining the rights of the parish priest. In other words, a priest could still offer a mass for under 50 persons, but he would not be compelled.

  21. John Enright says:

    Father Z:

    Richard T. brings up a very good point about Latin fluency. Does the Bishop require a certain level of Latin proficiency to say Mass according to the Missal of Pope Paul VI? I don’t think that appears anywhere in Canon Law. If the Bishop cannot impose restraints on the NO Mass in Latin, then he ought not apply them to the Mass according to the 1962 Missal.

  22. peretti says:

    Transcript from a FISA interception of a phone call between St. Augustine and Citta del Vaticano. “With all due respect, your holiness, I am in complete command and charge of the diocese of St. Augustine, am I not?” voice on other end appearedto have German accent. “Did’nt you get the word? I have raised the Vicariate Apostolic of Izabal, Guatemala to a diocese, and have placed Bishop Gabriel Rodriguez to bishop of that diocese, and you will be his auxillary. I will find a very able and willing priest to appoint as bishop of St. Augustine, perhaps one who has less trouble understanding my motu proprio. Your new assignmentis effective now. Have a nice trip.” Satelite drifted out of range at this point. Well, it’s a nice thought.

  23. You hit the nail on the head, Father. What the bishop did is referred to in the law as “over-reaching,” “abuse of power,” or “acting under color of law.” But the bishop will find out soon how wrong he is.

    William A. Torchia, Esquire

  24. John Enright: A point I already made, yes.

  25. John Enright says:

    Father Z:

    Sorry if I was unclear. What I was asking you concerns the Bishop’s current policy regarding the NO in Latin. I wonder if his policy concerning the 1962 Missal is ad hoc, and thus, if it differs from his previously established policy.

  26. Matthew says:

    I have recently moved to Saint Augustine from Orlando and am a reader of Father Z’s blog. I used to attend (with some frequency) the traditional Latin Mass at All Souls in Sanford, FL. I am overjoyed by the Motu Proprio. I’m also quite sad about this memo. I know a number of people in the area who feel similarly. I would be very happy to meet anyone in the area interested in the “extraordinary form of the Mass”. Perhaps together we can find a way to address all of this both with all due respect for Bishop Galeone and also for the Holy Father and what he is trying to do. Please feel free to email me at

  27. Tim Ferguson says:

    Speaking as a canonist, it would seem that His Excellency is indeed over-reaching his authority.

    As Fr. Zuhlsdorf pointed out, the canonical principle of favoribilia ampliantur should be in place here. It is not the bishop’s place to put restrictions where the higher authority, that is the Holy Father, has granted liberality.

    The statement “Bishop Galeone reserves to himself the authority to determine whether a priest is qualified to celebrate Mass and the other sacraments using the extraordinary form” is particularly troublesome. By what authority does the bishop reserve this unto himself? Summorum pontificum does not establish that any special faculty is needed to use the extraordinary form, but by laying the matter out as Bishop Galeone has done, it seems that he’s thinking of the ability to offer the extraordinary form as some sort of a faculty that needs to be granted.

    Instead, the bishop’s role with regard to the extraordinary use should be one of oversight, not the granting of permission (as the “permission” has already been universally granted by the motu proprio). He may have the right to determine which priests are “idoneus,” but this matter has not yet been determined by the law, and so the presumption would be in favor of a priest being “idoneus” until the contrary is proven. Bishop Galleone takes the opposite approach – a priest is presumed to be unqualified until he demonstrates, to the satisfaction of the bishop, that he is able to do so.

    Similarly, since this is universal law, not particular law, it is not the purview of the bishop to determine a disputed matter – that is, he cannot, of his own authority, require that the coetus which continenter existit be of at least 50 people. The interpretation of laws is left to “the legislator and by the one to whom the legislator has granted the power to interpret them” (canon 16) Since Bishop Galleone is not the one who promulgated Summorum pontificum, he is not the “legislator” competent to interpret a doubtful passage in it.

    I would certainly urge any priest of the diocese of St. Augustine who finds his rights illegitimately restricted by this memo to have recourse to the Commission Ecclesia Dei (The form of this memo itself begs the question – what is the legal force of this document? If it was merely issued by the liturgy office of the diocese, it could only be an executive act, not legislative. If it was issued by the bishop, using the proper form, it could be considered legislative. In either case, it would seem to have limited legal force since it intends to do something which it cannot, legally, do.)

  28. M.Z. Forrest says:

    To whom is the liberality being granted Mr. Fergusson? Your argument is basically that diocesean and parochial norms cannot be established or your argument at least lends itself to such an interpretation.

    In re to the norms upon priests celebrating mass privately in Latin, I agree that it probably doesn’t hold water.

  29. ray from mn says:

    It is pretty obvious that there will be 180 or so different interpretations of Summorum Pontificum unless Rome clarifies their intent before September.

    Kinda makes one think of the Novus Ordo, doesn’t it.

  30. Tim Ferguson says:

    The liberality is granted to those to whom the favor applies – in the case of the motu proprio, it would appear that the “favor” is extended to priests and parish pastors, though an argument could also be made that it extends to those coetus, the groups of the faithful in a parish who legitimately desire the extraordinary form, and to whom the pastor is obliged to “willingly accept their requests.” Still, I think that the main beneficiaries of the favor, canonically speaking, are priests.

    It is they, not the bishop, who have the onus of determining if the use of the extraordinary form is pastorally appropriate in a particular parish. The bishop comes in to play in those cases where the faithful do not believe their legitimate request of the pastor has been given the hearing it deserves. Bishops can also establish personal parishes for the extraordinary use. Nowhere in the motu proprio is the bishop given the authority to interpret the law promulgated by the motu proprio, nor to place restrictions on the legitimate exercise of a right extended by this law.

  31. Rachel says:

    What can be done about this? I am in this diocese.
    Should this memo be sent to Rome? Or should we wait?
    I feel that the rights of the priests and the people
    are being violated and I don’t know what can be done.

  32. Richard says:

    The “diocese’s” (read: “bishop’s”) restrictions on the implementation of the Motu Propio are flat out against the derestrictions of the Motu Propio and I don’t think any more ‘dialogue’ about this point will shed any further light on the subject that the bishop is just trying to block the derestricition of the old Mass. What is needed in this situation across the dioceses of the US are many priests with the cajunas (and the simple knowledge that life could be a lot worse than having a boss who doesn’t like you; chances are that bishops like this don’t care for the more traditionally-leaning priests, to begin with, so what have you go to lose?) to push back with their bishops’ regulations and appeal to Ecclesia Dei when their is enough documentation to show the bishops’ blatant non-compliance to the Motu Propio. Since the bishops are over-reaching their supervisory limits here, anyway, what’s to stop a priest from just not complying with the bishops’ guidelines? When the bishops acts separately from the universal guidelines of the Church, he forfeits any charism of collegiality from which his authority derives, and any real policy he tries to set up are in essence only strong recommendations. Again, when the writing on the wall shows the traditional priest isn’t going to get any real promotion anytime soon, anyway, what would he have to lose?

  33. Chironomo says:


    I am the Director of Music and Liturgy at a neighboring parish to St. Martha’s in Sarasota, Florida, and am proud to say that we have a Tradition-freindly Bishop at the helm in our Diocese in Bishop Dewane! St. Martha’s parish has been offering the traditional Mass for a number of years now under the indult, and now it looks as though we will have a PFSP Priest heading to our Diocese to offer Mass and train priests who wish to use the extraordinary rite. I find it interesting that he calls Fr. Fryar’s arrival here “a coincidence”… it was nothing of the sort! Bishop Dewane has put a lot of energy and personnel into this initiative. I look forward to the next several years and will keep eveyone updated as best as I can through these kinds of posts.

  34. Mike says:

    Okay… I am not a canonist, but I can read, and can read LATIN at at. The Apostolic Letter does not say that the priest needs a command of the Latin language suggested by this paragraph above. The Latin word idoneus is used in the Motu Proprio to indicate the qualifications of the priest. Idoneous never means “expert” or “well-trained” or “schooled” or anything of the kind. It refers to the minimum qualifications. …

    The diocesan norm quotes an unofficial and inaccurate translation of the Latin, which has the word coetus. A coetus has no specific number and can be, in fact, very small.

    Where is the Vatican’s official English translation of Summorum Pontificum? And, why is it taking more than five weeks for such a translation to appear? (If an official English translation has appeared, I would be grateful for the correction.)

  35. Chris Garton-Zavesky says:

    Not that its any of my business, or necessarily of any interest to readers here, but perhaps someone might suggest to the good fathers at EWTN that one of the Sunday Masses be according to the Extraordinary form of the Rite?

    Out here, I would need cable or Sattelite to get EWTN, so it’s not a personal issue, but imaging what good it could do!

  36. Serafino says:

    You don’t have to have an IQ of 250 to know that this bishop is doing everything possible to forbid the Missal of blessed John XXIII to be used in his diocese. Should anyone be surprised that the bishop abuses his authority to circumvent the very clear desire of the Church in this matter?

    During the past 45 years, while giving “lip service” to Rome, American bishops have consistently ignored roman directives. In my opinion, bishops who act in open disobedience to Rome need to be reported. Are we the “Church militant” or the “Church wimpy?” What are we afraid of?

    Members of the laity, priests and religious all have rights under the code of canon law. No bishop can take those rights away by his own personal fiat!

    Sad to say, an exaggerated sense of respect and obedience on the part of the faithful has allow unworthy bishops to destroy the faith. It is time we stop them by going directly to Rome. If we don’t take action, we are the ones who empower them to continue on this ungodly path.

  37. Boniface says:

    I suspect Father, that it is not unlikely that Ecclesia Dei may issue officials norms for the implementation of the Motu proprio, given the appalling and misleading interpretations of the document, contrary to the letter and the spirit of the Pope’s initiative. My goodness, the fort is so often betrayed by those who should defend it (paraphrasing St. John Fisher, I think).Thank God for enlightened bishops, too, who lead by the example of their love for and obedience to the Holy See.

  38. Peter Karl T. Perkins says:

    I would like to thank Fr. Z for his clarification about “idoneous”. It means ‘sufficient’. Clearly, it means that a priest must have a knowledge of the Latin words and the rubrics which is sufficient to ensure a dignified offering of Mass. This means only that he must be able to pronounce the words well and know the rubrics, and he must also intend generally what the Church intends (a general condition).

    Contrary to the memorandum from the Diocese of St. Augustine, the stipulation about being “qualified and not juridically impeded” is a section of Article 5 of S.P., dealing with public Masses. In order to apply to Article 2 regarding private Masses, it would need to be a separate Article, or else it would need to appear as a condition in both Articles. Clearly, the Pope has arranged the articles to suggest a procedure whereby a priest can learn the Latin pronunciations and rubrics over time, moving from ‘dry Mass’ (not a real Mass) to private Mass with one server, to private Mass with a group of faithful, to a scheduled public Mass. The entire arrangement of the Articles is clearly meant to suggest a smooth means whereby a priest may learn the old Mass well.

    Latin is the lingua sacra of the Latin Church, and, hence, every priest has a sacred right to celebrate in Latin, as Canon 928 affirms. Bishop Galeone’s liturgy director tries to override this right, he misinterprets Section 4 of Article 5 and then misapplies it to Article 2. Article 2, clearly influenced by the never-approved recommendations of the Cardinalatial Commission of 1986, applies to the old Mass what is needed for the new one. But Bishop Galeone’s liturgy director only requires Latin tests for those who celebrate the 1962 Mass. Why not for those who choose to celebrate the 1970 Mass in Latin?

    His entire memorandum is a comedy of errors. Church Latin is Late Latin. By referring to Lewis and Short’s Latin Dictionary (which is known for inclusion of Late Latin meanings), a coetus can refer to as few as two petitioners because it can be “A uniting, joining together, combination” and two people can do that. (I note that Curtius, Gellius, and Celsus are all quoted for this meaning, and they are later writers, certainly after the time of our Lord.) That is why the cognate, coitus, ahem, always refers to two individuals. The two cannot include the celebrant because one cannot logically petition oneself. But it could include priests other than the parish priest.

    The coetus or group must exist continuously “in” the Parish. But, under the 1983 Code, anyone can fulfil the Sunday obligation in any parish, even in a parish of another Rite (cf. Canon 1248.1). In law, someone can come to worship “in” a parish by regular attendance there, just as the chap who pays the rent can, in law, come to have a right to reside in an apartment rented to someone else. Therefore, the coetus could be as few as two individuals who regularly attend Mass in the Parish in question, even though they are not registered in the Parish and live outside it–even in the neighbouring diocese–and they could bring with them 500 other faithful who have not attended regularly because those other 500, while not being petitioners, can still fulfil their obligations anywhere and are never debarred from Mass (cf. Canons 912 and 1248.1),

    “Continenter” or continuous means an unbroken temporal incidence of at least two. Hence a continuous group could even be two or more individuals who have attended a particular Mass on two consecutive Thursdays.

    On another point, “adhærentium” means that the group adheres to the 1962 Mass. It does not mean that any of its members has had continuous access to that Mass. “Continenter” does not modify adhere here. Someone could have become attached to the 1962 Mass years ago and remained attached to it; another might have become attached to it in another diocese and then moved; another might have become attached to it only by reading the 1962 handmissal or by seeing the 1962 Mass on television. Nowhere is it stipulated that this attachment must proceed from recent attendance or, indeed, any attendance. Moreover, the law always presumes the honesty of the faithful unless there is good reason to assume otherwise. If I say that I am attached to that Mass, the legal assumption must be that I am, not that I am not.

    Obviously, a group of two who live in another diocese and have only attended Mass in a Parish on two consecutive Thursdays after becoming attached to it from watching it on television will not likley have their request for a public Mass granted. But the point is that the Parish Priest (what Americans call a ‘pastor’ for some reason) has the right to make the decison in the matter, not the Bishop. Article 5 states that the Parish Priest “should” accede to such requests. Well, someone cannot be enjoined in law to do that which he has no right to do. Bishop Galeone cannot transfer the right from a parish priest to himself! Nor does he have the authority to define a coetus as fifty people. The P.C.E.D. and other organs of the Apostolic See can define “cÅ“tus” and “continenter” and “idoneous” and “adhærentium” under Article 12, for to oversee and apply the dispositions, the overseer must needs have the authority to interpret them. But whatever these terms mean, it is up to the parish priest to apply them under Article 5, not the local bishop.

    Clearly, petitioners shoud be more rather than fewer, they should be registered in the parish, and they should be attending at the Parish for as long as possible. But Article 5 is designed to protect parish priests from their bishops, not laics from parish priests. If the parish priest himself wants to celebrate the 1962 Mass publicly and the absolute minimum requirements are met, he can do so. He can even ask two parishioners to lodge an oral request to him. Moreover, nothing in S.P. suggests that priests need even inform the local bishop of their intention in this regard. They can go it on their own.

    Keep up the good work, Father Z!

    Peter Karl T. Perkins
    Victoria, Canada

  39. Ole Doc Farmer says:

    Isn’t this the same diocese where Eucharistic Adoration was essentially “curtailed” because the bishop thought it would be better for the faithful to engage in more “active,” “socially relevant” good works?

  40. Nathan says:

    Ole Doc Farmer said: Isn’t this the same diocese where Eucharistic Adoration was essentially “curtailed” because the bishop thought it would be better for the faithful to engage in more “active,” “socially relevant” good works?

    Sorry, that was the diocese of St. Petersburg, Bishop Lynch. In Christ,

  41. CBM says:

    When the text gets transcribed please interpret #3 and #4 of the memo. In these the “definition” of private masses and schedules is presented. According to these it seems that a private mass must also be a secret mass that may not be made known to anyone except perhaps by means of smoke signals or sign language.
    seriously, is this accurate?

  42. Schultz says:

    This makes me sad. Bishop Galleone was my pastor at my parents’ church and he was wonderful when my mother came down with colon cancer and was bedridden in the hospital for a few weeks. He came to visit at least once a week. He was, from what I remember, orthodox in his thinking, at least while he was pastor at St. Agnes in Catonsville, MD.

  43. Mike: Where is the Vatican’s official English translation of Summorum Pontificum? And, why is it taking more than five weeks for such a translation to appear? (If an official English translation has appeared, I would be grateful for the correction.)

    It might be a good time to remind you and everyone that the Motu Proprio was not addressed to all Catholics. Also, the language of the Church’s universal documents is Latin. When canonical documents are referred to, Latin should be used, not a translation. The Holy See is not obliged to provide people to whom documents are not addressed with translations, though that is often the case.

    However, that does not give ecclesiastical authorities to misquote or mistranslate documents that don’t have official translations.

  44. Schultz: Bishop Galleone was my pastor at my parents’ church

    This report about the memorandum from Liturgy office about the Bishop’s decision is NOT a condemnation of Bp. Galeone! This is a close examination of the norms in THAT memorandum. Nothing else. I have no doubt, nor do any of us here, that he also, as a priest, as a zeal for souls.

  45. CBM says:

    as a priest in Florida I can personally atest to the holiness of life and zeal for souls of Bp. Galeone. He is a fine fine priest. He is unabashedly pro-life and unquestionably orthodox in his person and preaching. The memo however comes from a certain timidity that he manifests in regard to these issues and other issues in regard to episcopal governance. Certainly he didn’t write it himself but it is manifestly his cautious style.He is one who is “troubled” over the word “dew”. He is still very much a parish priest. a very holy parish priest but a PARISH priest.

  46. DWW says:

    Fr.CBM: While I agree that Bp. Galeone may be a “fine priest” and agree that he seems to have a great zeal for souls and love for the Church, I don’t think I would say that he is unquestionably orthodox. I’ve been at several masses at which he presided and have kind of ‘questioned’ his orthodox-ness each time.
    That aside, I remember when he was new in the diocese and was in the process of visiting each parish for a ‘meet the bishop q&a’- type thing. I attended at my parish, Immaculate Conception,(where the only Indult Mass in the entire diocese is). I left that meeting with a very uncomfortable feeling about the future of that indult. I felt he was very condescending about the kinds of people who were attached to that Mass. So, I am not at all surprised that the memo would reflect his feelings on the motu proprio. Of course, I hope not, and will continue to pray for the good Bishop.

  47. GWScott says:

    Re: the Latin capacity of the celebrant: “only that he must be able to pronounce the words well??” I’m sorry, but we want more than pious parrots on the altar. I don’t suppose that A-level Latin is a requirement (though it would be nice, even something one should have a right to expect of a priest of the Latin Rite?), but enough to know what he is saying, surely. Shakespear was no theologian, but I suspect he was not far off when he has Claudius say “My words fly up, my thoughts remain below. Words without thoughts never to Heaven go.”

  48. EDG says:


    I like Bishop Galeone very much, and I live in the Cathedral Parish, so I also have occasion to see him fairly often. He has always struck me as very orthodox and very devout himself, as well as very pastoral.

    He was the only Florida bishop who had the courage to stand up in the Terri Schiavo case, and was even quoted by the national news media. He has been consistently good on life and family issues, and I have seen him grill a Confirmation class on what they knew – and then give them a wonderful 1-minute explanation of the Trinity. He was a missionary in Latin America for a while, so he does occasionally fall into a kind of “social justice speak,” but other than that, I think he’s really solid, possibly more so than some of the Florida bishops who are permitting the TLM.

    I don’t know him personally and I am not employed by the church in any way, but from what I have seen, he is a manager who tends to delegate. I don’t think he has much of an interest in liturgy per se, and he regards his job as the restoration of orthodox teaching and morality in the St. Augustine diocese, which is certainly a worthy goal! Liturgy is a battle he prefers not to fight. The diocese has a liturgy director (who is obviously violently opposed to any suggestion of the Tridentine Rite) and I suspect he just turned the matter over to the liturgy director and signed whatever he produced.

    One interesting thing I noticed when the MP first came out and there was a discussion of the document on EWTN, was the number of NON-ORDAINED people (that is, EEMs, guitarists, etc.) who called in to see what was going to happen to “their job” if the Tridentine Rite returned. Naturally, the fact that the TLM was not being imposed and that it was certainly not going to return on a large scale escaped them; but the fact that so many people, in the NO, seem to have “ownership issues” and feel threatened by any suggestion of a rite that may not include their “job” means that the bishop probably has had all sorts of ill-informed people calling him to complain in advance about something that wasn’t going to happen in the first place. I think he probably thought that handing it over to the liturgy director was the best way to deal with it. Obviously, this was not the case.

    Basically, my point is that it is hard for me to imagine Bp Galeone himself sitting down and formulating a memo like this, but not hard for me to imagine that he approved it.

    So I agree, we should all continue to pray for him and hope that this matter is straightened out soon and with no unpleasantness.

  49. Mike says:

    the Motu Proprio was not addressed to all Catholics. Also, the language of the Church’s universal documents is Latin. When canonical documents are referred to, Latin should be used, not a translation. The Holy See is not obliged to provide people to whom documents are not addressed with translations, though that is often the case.

    I’ll assume that the Holy See is not obliged ‘to provide people to whom documents are not addressed with translations’. But applying that to Summorum Pontificum begs the question whether the m.p. is addressed to the laity. See article 7: ‘If a group of lay faithful, as mentioned in art. 5 § 1, has not obtained satisfaction to their requests from the pastor, they should inform the diocesan bishop.’ In Latin it is ‘Ubi aliquis coetus fidelium laicorum, de quo in art. 5 § 1 petita a parocho non obtinuerit, de re certiorem faciat Episcopum dioecesanum.’ This is clearly addressed to the laity. I use this as an example because it is clearly addressed to the laity.

    Other parts of the m.p. imply lay involvement, such as requests for blessings, confessions, extreme unction, baptisms, Requiem and Nuptial Masses using the 1962 books, as well as the ‘sua sponte’ requests to be admitted to private Masses (article 4). Thus, parts of the m.p. were addressed to the laity.

  50. Fr. Zuhlsdorf,

    I am not so sure I understand your criticisms of the document from the Diocese of Augustine on the extraordinary usage of the Roman Missal (EU). Paragraph 2 of the document issued by the diocese of Augustine says nothing about the priest being expert in Latin (where did you see the word ‘expert’ used?), as you seem to interpret the document as saying, but merely that he has an understanding of what he is saying. ‘Understanding’ may be interpreted pretty liberally. For instance, I would like to think that the average lay American is able to understand the English translation of the Mass, even without understanding much of the theology. And while we are talking about charitable readings of documents, it seems unfair to the bishop to interpret his usage of the word so narrowly. It does not necessarily mean that the priest is an expert on every nook and cranny of the theology behind the words, but only that he is not a mere parrot of sounds and syllables and can actually extract meaning from those words.

    What is open to interpretation in Summorum Pontificum is the 4th paragraph of article five, which states that “Priests who use the Missal of Blessed John XXIII must be qualified to do so and not juridically impeded.” The document gives no specifications on what constitutes “being qualified” to use the EU, and it seems that the interpretation of said clause is up to the judgement of the local bishop: if the local bishop requires a certain knowledge of Latin, then the priest requires a certain knowledge of Latin. I am no canonist, but that seems to be the way things usually work in the Church. And contrary to the good Cardinal Egan, I find it unbelievable that the ability to merely pronounce words correctly constitutes a sufficient knowledge of Latin by anyone’s standards. I think such an interpretation requires an argument and cannot be merely assumed because one canonist said it.

    And hence, I find your so-called double standard against the EU seems to be a non-starter in this instance. I simply do not see the language as being repressively restrictive. While I do agree that there is much unwarranted suspicion on the part of many Catholics of those who wish to use the EU, I do not see it the paragraph in question.

    Secondly, while it does seem a bit arbitrary in paragraph 4 to require 50 people to want such a liturgy, where are you reading that even after said number is acquired that the people must ask permission from the local bishop to use the EU? The text only says that the people must ask permission. Charitably interpreted, such permission would not be granted by the local bishop, but by the pastor of a local church, just like Summorum Pontificum explicitly states.

    And even then, you yourself have implied that there must be some minimum number of people present to publically practice the EU when you said that the number cannot be as small as two. But then you quote some who say that the number can be as small as three, which seems just as arbitrary as 50. But even if the bishop is not supposed to set a minimum standard, I hardly see 50 people as being unreasonable in his diocese. I did some research, and the 60 parishes of the diocese minister to 160,000 Catholics, meaning that on average about 2700 Catholics live in a parish. So if 50 people in a parish must ask for the EU, that means that less than 2% of the parishoners at the average parish must request said EU to be said publically. That does not seem to be unnecessarily restrictive. Hence I do not see such a standard as evidence of a desire to repress the EU on the part of the bishop.

    And if you want to be such a stickler for language, why not give the document a charitable interpretation? The document says that public Masses must have a minimum of 50 people. How do you know how he is defining ‘public’ in this instance? A private Mass could reasonably be construed as a Mass not open to the public, meaning that a small group of one or two families may request the priest to come to their home or at some chapel late at night and say the Mass exclusively for those people. I simply don’t know what the bishop meant in this instance, and I think a proper interpretation of his words belongs to him and him alone. I don’t know if the bishop has the intent to restrict the Motu Proprio, but I do not think that such intent can be seen in the document without making some unwarranted exegetical leaps.

    I am somewhat sympathetic to complaints by lovers of the EU that many treat them with undue suspicion. That does not justify those people from returning the favor and treating bishops–the successors of the Apostles whom we owe our profoundest respect–with that same suspicion. Based on the evidence presented in this blog entry, I see no such manifest intent to repress the EU. And even if there were the slightests hints of such intent, why would I do anything other than give as charitable of an interpretation as possible to him?

  51. Peter Karl T. Perkins says:

    Dear Mr. Hamilton:

    Article (not paragraph) 2 regards the private use of Missals in Latin and says absolutely nothing about the priest having an understanding of what he is saying. Under Canon 928, priests always have a right to celebrate in Latin because Latin is the lingua sacra of the Latin Church. If anyone wants to ensure that they understand it, therefore, this must be assured *before* they are ordained, which is why, in the past, Latin was part of the seminary programme. Once ordained, however, they only need to be able to pronounce the words and intend what the Church intends. If they do need to understand Latin, they would also need to understand it to celebrate the New Mass in Latin, and yet the memorandum from St. Augustine never mentions this requirement; nor has any priest ever needed to demonstrate such knowledge (once ordained) to celebrate the New Mass in Latin or the 1962 Mass under Indult, or the 1962 Mass in the 1960s.

    The stipulation that the knowledge of Latin must be *sufficient* for a dignified offering of Mass comes from the fourth paragraph of Article 5. Since Article 5 deals entirely with public Masses, it only pertains to the celebration of public Masses (this can be logically inferred from para. 1 of Article 5). Fr. Z. quite rightly tells us that “idoneous” means sufficient, no more, and that, when privileges are granted to protect rights, a broad interpretation must be accorded the words (cf. Canon 36). In law, precedent affects meanings, and ordained priests have never been required to demonstrate an understanding of any text, whether for celebration of the New Mass in Latin (there are currently over forty of them in the U.S.A. alone) or under the 1984 Indult, or during the 1960s, when most priests celebrated in Latin but could not even say ‘hello’ in that language. The quote from Shakespeare by another listmember does not apply here as long as the priest understands his sacred action and generally intends what the Church intends. That is sufficient because the priest is only an instrument of Christ in the celebration. It is principally Christ Who sacrifices Himself and prays to the Father. Fr. Z. mentioned “expert” because he was referring to various bishops (e.g. Trautman of Erie) who suggested that priests wanting to celebrate the 1962 Mass in Latin sit Latin exams. Fr. Z. was saying that S.P. does not give scope for this. He is right, as he has been right about nearly everything.

    To answer not Mr. Hamilton but another contributor, S.P. does not give bishops the right to administer the 1962 Mass in any way. It really only explains the *existing* rights of priests but does not come into effect until September insofar as it cannot be used as a legally-binding authority until then. Under Article 12 of S.P., the P.C.E.D. must interpret S.P., not the local bishops. This is necessary in order that they supervise and apply the dispositions.

    “Being qualified” is not up to the local bishop at all, and it is *not* an accurate translation of the Latin here. Check your Latin dictionary on “idoneous”: it refers to being capable or sufficient. The law of the universal Church recognises that parish priests can offer the 1962 Mass in accordance with standards determined by Canon Law, ecclesiastical laws, and the law of custom and precedent. All priests of the Latin Church have a fundamental right to use Latin at any time and for either Missal–or for the Divine Office–because Latin is the lingua sacra of the Latin Church. This is entrenched in Canon 928; and parish priests wanting to celebrate the 1962 Mass publicly under S.P. do not even have to inform their bishops that they are doing so. If a certain local bishop has neglected to teach his priests Latin despite the constant recommendation and even enjoining of Pope John Paul II (in recent memory), then that is his problem, not the priest’s.

    As for a coetus, the Church uses Late Latin and the minimum number for a coetus can be two, not three, as Fr. Z. suggests. A coetus can be simply a combination or joining of any number of people; it is at least a ‘plurality’. But everyone misunderstands all these conditions in Article 5. The parish priest is not strictly required, only enjoined, to accede the request of a coetus. The definitions here pertain to the rights of priests against their bishops, not to the rights of faithful. If a parish priests wants to celebrate 1962 publicly, he can do so in response to as few as two individuals, etcetera.

    Your comments, Mr. Hamilton, about public and private Masses demonstrate a very honest misunderstanding. The distinction in ecclesiastical law (as defined on many occasions by the P.C.E.D. in recent years) has to do with whether or not the Mass is advertised according to a regular schedule, not how many people are present. There could be 500 people at a private Mass but the celebrant and his agents may not announce it according to a regular schedule (i.e. two or more occasions in a row at one place) on the Internet, in the parish bulletin, on posted signs, in newspaper adverts, or in telephone directories. The celebrant can announce in each parish bulletin that there will be a 1962 private Mass at 2 p.m. *next* Sunday [as he has every week], but he must not write that it will be celebrated *every* Sunday (or on some other regular basis such as every other Tuesday).

    Cardinal Arinze, Prefect for Worship, wanted a minimum number for Article 5 but reliable sources in the curia said that the Pope himself refused this. Any group (coetus) of any size may lodge a request but, of course, a parish priest will be less likely to accede to a request from two people.

    Many people are confused by the stipulation in the S.P. (or the letter accompnying it) that it does not diminish episcopal powers over the liturgy. But this does not mean that bishops can supervise the dispositions; it only means that the S.P. *informs* everyone what the limits of episcopal powers have been all along. That follows from the Pope’s statement in the accompanying letter that the right to the old mass was never abrogated and is therefore, “in principle”, always permitted. The document does not come into effect as a source of law until 14th September, but the rights of priests contained in it have all been there since promulgation of the new Code of Canons in 1983; some since 1974, when the New Mass came into force as a requirement (cf. the situation with Humanae Vitae: the document itself was not infallible but the teaching it contains is). Once again, the S.P. does not restrict epicopal powers only because it informs us of what they have been all along. Article 12 makes it crystal clear that the P.C.E.D. alone shall apply and supervise these norms. These regard rights proper to priests, rights that no bishop can touch, just as no bishop can remove any priest’s right to hear a confession when the penitent is in danger of death. The main effect of S.P. is to point out the rights of parish priests to offer or have offered the 1962 Mass on their own authority; and the right of all priests in good standing to offer it privately with invited guests. The document shows that such rights belong not to bishops on the one hand or to faithful on the other BUT TO PRIESTS. So Bishop Galeone should buzz off.

  52. Patrick says:


    The Bishop seems also to have an interesting interpretation as regards the Triduum. The Motu Proprio grants permission to celebrate the Mass privately except during the Triduum. It is not restricting the celebration of the Extraordinary Form during those days, but rather applying the same law to the Extraordinary Form as exists for the Ordinary Form — There can be no private celebrations during the Triduum. There can never be a private celebration of the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, the Solemn Afternoon Liturgy of the Lord’s Passion or the Easter Vigil, in either form of the Roman Rite.

    The Motu Proprio is not intending to restrict public celebrations according to the Extraordinary Form during those days.

  53. RBrown says:

    Paul Hamilton,

    1. The Vat II document on the training of priests (Optatam Totius) explicity states that seminarians “should acquire a knowledge of Latin” BEFORE they begin theological studies (no. 13–I recommend that you read it.)

    2. And so it since Vat II it has continued to be the responsibility of “the successors of the Apostles whom we owe our profoundest respect” that no one is ordained who is Latin deficient.

    3. Thus, if any priest is not qualified in Latin (and many are), it is due to episcopal negligence.

    4. And so Bp Brom or any other bishop concerned (perhaps rightfully) about Latin deficient priests inclined to use the 1962 Missal should encourage them to learn Latin by providing sound Latin instruction. This is a matter of justice. And it is impossible to be unjust and charitable at the same time.

    BTW, you might have heard that after Bp Burke took over the LaCross diocese, he started teaching Latin in high school.

  54. Terri says:

    It pains me to see as a new Catholic (but not a new Christian) the arguing and fighting this has caused within the church. Is every Bishop and parish priest going to be under the microscope now? I don’t think that Jesus came into this world to bring us the Triduum and for all Christians to focus only on ecclesiastical law. Why isn’t this argument about how to go about feeding the poor, healing the sick, spreading the GOOD NEWS!???

  55. Peter Karl T. Perkins says:

    I note that Summorum Pontificum explains what rights various priests have to celebrate Mass in Latin, whether publicly or privately with or without some people, whether of the 1962 Missal of those of the New Mass. The dispositions are supervised and applied by the P.C.E.D. because if A has a right in contradistinction to B, B is normally not the interpreter of that right. (For example, if the law of the Province gives tenants certain rights in contradistinction to landlords, it does not empower the landlords to interpret them). Moreover, one cannnot supervise and apply what one cannot define. Therefore, it can be inferred from Article 12 that it is the P.C.E.D. that is empowered to define the terms in S.P., not the local bishops. The liturgical power of the local bishops has not been diminished by S.P. only in the sense that it clarifies what their limits were all along: “At the time of the time of the introduction of the new Missal, it did not seem necessary to issue specific norms for the possible use of the earlier Missal”. In other words, the rights were there but there did not then seem a need to clarify them.

    In Late Latin, a cÅ“tus can be as few as two individuals considered in combination. Under Canon 36, words in legal texts bear their normal meaning, not the meaning placed on them by a Fr. Patrick Willis of the liturgy department of St. Augustine. Moreover, an administrative act of a liturgy office–one not even signed by the local bishop–cannot trump law. Lastly, as Fr. Z. has so propertly explained, a broad interpretation is to be given to words that protect or confer rights.

    It follows that Bishop Galeone and Fr. Willis has no more right to delimit the meaning of cœtus or the other terms in Summorum Pontificum than has the King of Afghanistan (or that Karzai joke in the fur hat and cape who replaced him).

    Summorum Pontificum informs priests of the rights they already enjoy, rights to celebrate the Traditional Mass of the Latin Church that proceed not from “Quo Primum Tempore” but from immemorial custom. Alfons Cardinal Stickler, who sat on the Cardinalatial Commission of 1986, has made it clear that it was not Q.P.T., and there are hints in favour of immemorial custom both in S.P. and in its accompanying letter (note especially the preamble to S.P. itself, which is part of a legal text: “Since time immemorial … uninterupted apostolic tradition …. be conserved …. each century of the Christian era …. the course of the centuries …. developed in the City of Rome, with the passing of the centuries … little by little took forms”; and then note how the text engages in imitatio, suggesting the rôle of custom by recounting the history of the Traditional Rite of Mass from the time not of St. Pius V but from St. Gregory the Great. Then notice the mention of all the popes who amended Missals of the Traditional Rite of Mass. It’s all about custom, not Q.P.T., gents). A certain Cardinal Ratzinger was among the nine cardinals of 1986 who unanimously proposed that “no bishop could forbid a priest in good standing” from celebrating the Traditional Mass of the Latin Church. That Cardinal Ratzinger is now Pope and that right from immemorial custom is now affirmed. Moreover, Latin is the lingua sacra of the Latin Church, and every ordained priest has an absolute right to use it to the extent that he is able to do so fittingly. It is Christ Who celebrates; the priest is primarily His instrument. I submit that Christ, unlike the clowns in the I.C.E.L., even knows what pro multis means.


  56. Peter Karl T. Perkins says:

    In response to Terri:

    Welcome to the Church and, you know, Terri, I really do agree with you. It was not like this before 1965. Not at all. The problem is that the progressives are motivated by a philosophy that is incompatible with the Catholic Faith, and by strong emotion. Hence they have been persecuting traditioanlists for decades now. Just consider that the Mass of the Ages, the Mass of our Fathers, was never abrogated and yet we were deprived of it. That is a fundamental violation of justice, and it wounded the hearts of millions of people. Now that the Pope has clarified our rights, the older bishops, still attached to mistaken interpretations of Vatican II and the liberal philosophy of the French Revolution, remain implacably determined to persecute traditionalists. They will not stop. Many of us were quite prepared that there be a place at the Inn for both Masses. Most of us just want to be left in peace and let the progressives worship with pumpkins on the Altar is that is what they want (I am overstating the case to convey the idea here). But their main plan has always been not to enjoy the fruits of their revolution but to force it down the throats of their enemies.

    They will not stop. Pray for them.


  57. Rose says:

    Response to Terri: welcome. I hope you will have the chance to go to a Tridentine Mass. Btw: practising the faith is not limited to feeding the poor and healing the sick- without Mass, we would not be very effective in feeding the poor and healing the sick (most secular NGOs would do just as well.) Blessed Mother Teresa who fed the poor and healed the sick used to say that she could not have done any of it without the love and strength she drew from daily Mass and Communion. I hope that is why we are so passionate about Mass and how it is celebrated.

  58. Mr. Perkins,
    Why would the memorandum mention anything about the NO done in Latin? To my knowledge, such a liturgy is about as alien to the people as the EU, so much so that many people mistakenly call the EU the “Latin Mass.” The fact is that this letter was solely about the EU and not about Masses done in Latin. Hence, I do not see any sort of double standard arising here. He may well require is priests to know Latin before doing a Latin Mass, even in the NO; I don’t know because I haven’t read his documents pertaining to such matters.

    As for the difference between ‘sufficiency’ and ‘being qualified,’ I’m not seeing much of a difference when applied to what I said. I said that it was ridiculous to assume that being able to pronounce words correctly made you qualified (or replace sufficient, if you wish) in Latin by any stretch of the imagination. I also thought that I made it clear that since the document never explains what is meant by ‘sufficient,’ or in the unofficial translation ‘qualified,’ it seems that the bishop has a say in what constitutes sufficiency. If the local bishop is not able to determine who is fit to use the EU, who is? If I were ordained tomorrow with no knowledge of the EU, could I call myself fit to use the EU? Is that the way it works? I see the desire to cut the bishop out of this to be very ad hoc.

    And even today, Latin is a part of most seminary programs. I go to a seminary in Washington DC where seminarians from countless diocese attend. I have not met a single one whose bishop does not require some Latin. Furthermore, since such an understanding of Latin is almost required to understand the rubrics of the EU in the first place, why not learn it first?

    As a side note, forgive me for finding it ironic and slightly contradictory that some people are asking for such a minimal knowledge of Latin in this case while being rubric-nazis whenever they see a well-intentioned priest (who only desires to do what the Church intends!) making mistakes in the rubrics or having a differing interpretation of them. I guess it must now be conceded that knowledge of the GIRM is not important as long as the priest can pronounce the words in the rubrics and intends what the Church intends, even if he did not learn said rubrics in seminary. I’m sorry, but I don’t buy it. I hold our priests to a higher standard than that of an ignorant dolt. If he doesn’t know the rubrics, he should learn them. If a priest wants to do a Mass in Latin, he should know what he’s saying. And I’m sorry, but a priest who wants to do the EU or a Latin Mass without a basic understanding of Latin is an ignorant dolt. To those who find the good bishop’s ruling on this one repressive or unfair, I say tough cookies.

    As to my so-called misunderstanding of the difference between public and private Masses, I thank you for the clarification, but I do not see where my misunderstanding occurred. I was merely commenting that if a group of parishioners smaller than 50 wanted the EU, they could get the EU if they could find a priest to offer the Mass. Therefore, I do not see this as at all repressive. Consequently, the only objection that I see in this conversation on coetus is that the bishop had no right to define what constituted such a group. But since I can find no final arbitrator on what that word must mean in this context, then ISTM that the bishop can set a bottom limit if he wants, within reason. I, for one, would find it highly unreasonable in a parish of 2700 people if 3 (or even 10) people asked me to do the EU publicly on weekdays just because 3 people desire it. 50 people is not an unreasonable amount of people.

    And even though I am not a canon lawyer by any stretch of the imagination (I often half-joke that canon law is the dark side of the Gospel), and even if what you say in your final paragraph is all true (which somehow I doubt that a priest has the absolute right to say the EU despite not meeting unbelievably small minimum requirements given by his bishop, considering that he cannot even licitly celebrate the Eucharist without a bishop’s permission), so what? First, these are not requirements which are going to break any priests’ back. Secondly, if a priest has so little respect for his bishop that he chooses not to respect his bishop’s simple rules in this regard, then that priest ought to go back and reexamine that promise of obedience he made when he was ordained. The bishop is complying with SP as best he can while simultaneously doing what he thinks is best for his diocese. Perhaps I’m old-fashioned, but I consider that vow of obedience to my bishop and his successors to be much more important than minor quibbles in canon law.

    RBrown, how is anything you wrote contrary to what I wrote? I want my priests who use Latin in either the EU or the NO to be educated in it. And I don’t know if this answers part of your objection or not, but nowhere in the document did I read that the good bishop of Augustine Florida refused to educate priests in Latin if they so desired.
    Even so, I can find ample counterexamples to your point #3. I know several seminarians in my diocese (and my bishop is the most proficient bishop in Latin in the United States, and highly desirous that his seminarians learn and love the language) who have taken several semesters of Latin (nine hours worth in classes of only 5 people with a priest who has taught Latin for over 30 years) but still know very little Latin. Is that my bishop’s fault, or is that the fault of those seminarians?

    And let me put up an example for you. You are a bishop in a diocese that is desperate for priests, and a seminarian passes all the requirements for ordination except that he is deficient in Latin. Would you ordain him? I certainly would, no matter what a Vatican II document said. Would you risk having some of your flock not have access to the Sacraments because your seminarian didn’t know Latin? Hopefully not.

    And since a knowledge of Latin is not necessary to do Mass anymore, considering that it can be done entirely in the vernacular, then many bishops probably do not see this requirement as that pressing. But I’ll bet if all Masses were still done in Latin, bishops would be much more insistent that their priests learned Latin before being ordained. That’s because bishops in the past probably thought it was critical to understand what was being prayed. So it seems to follow that priests today who want to do Masses in Latin should have an adequate understanding of Latin to do such Masses. Thus I fail to see why what the good bishop of Augustine Florida is doing is considered so outrageous.

  59. Terri,

    As a Catholic of 4 years, I agree with you wholeheartedly. I am think that if seminarians spent 10% of the time talking about the matters you raise that they normally spend griping about liturgy, we would be in very good shape as a Church. I can say all of this without demeaning the necessity of the Eucharist, of prayer, etc. See my most recent post:

  60. Janice Damascus says:

    As a member of a family that converted to the Catholic Church due to its orthodoxy, in the years we have had Bishop Galeone as the bishop, he has continually been a disappointment to orthodox Catholics. He talks as if he is orthodox but his actions do not fit the talk; he has done very little in his time in Saint Augustine to use his teaching office and really bring orthodoxy teaching back to the diocese. He is a man who has no insight into how to use his teaching office to that end. We are not surprised that the bishop is taking a “careful” and “diplomatic” position with regard to the liturgy; this is something he does with everything. He seems very afraid of people and his priests. Many of us await his retirement and hope next time the Vatican will send us a genuine orthodox bishop, someone who will exercise his teaching office, who will be a present and caring pastor, and who will have interests in spending his time in something other than fund raising. We are in financial ruin in this diocese because of pet projects of this bishop early in his ministry here and his insistence to go ahead with them – despite them having nothing to do with his stated agenda and commitments – and he was told to proceed would result in enormous debt and leaving us to clean up his financial ineptitude after his ministry with us is over. He is arrogant, dictatorial, and very insecure. He should have never been made a bishop; with that we agree with him on one thing. He has consistently said he never wanted to be made a bishop.

  61. John Enright says:

    To Paul Hamilton:

    On the issue of the use of Latin in the Mass of Paul VI, Paragraph 54 of Sacrosanctum Concilium states:”In Masses which are celebrated with the people, a suitable place may be allotted to their mother tongue. This is to apply in the first place, to the readings and to the Common Prayer. But also as local conditions may warrant, to those parts which pertain to the people.” It continues: “Nevertheless steps should be taken so that the faithful may also be able to say or to sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them” i.e. Credo, Agnus Dei, etc. Do you suggest that the laity also be required to exhibit a minimal facility in Latin in order to participate in a Latin Mass under either form? I think that you are begging the question.

  62. Peter Karl T. Perkins says:

    Dear Mr. Hamilton:

    (1) The point is that he tries to limit access to a Mass celebrated in Latin on the grounds that priests need to understand Latin, but he adds this condition even to “*private* [Fr. Willis’s emphasis] Masses. Article 2 on private Masses in S.P. does not include this condition; but it does treat the 1962 and New Masses in tandem. This was done deliberately to emphasise that the same conditions apply to the two Masses when celebrated in Latin. How do I know this? Because it is *exactly* the formula presented by then-Cardinal Ratzinger et alii in 1986. Hence, if Fr. Willis wants to force priests to demonstrate proficiency in Latin for 1962 private Masses, to be consistent, he should insist on this for New Masses in Latin as well. But he does not in his memorandum. It is a double standard–for obvious reasons. New Masses in Latin are not quite as rare as you think. There are 57 of them in the U.S.A. celebrated on an every-Sunday basis, in 37 sees, plus many others celebrated on other bases (source: L.L.A.).

    (2) The best translation of “idoneous”, given the context, is ‘capable’: they need to be capable of celebrating in Latin and not juridically impeded. Under Canon 36, when granting a favour, the broadest interpretation on the words is the correct one. But precedent also has a rôle in interpreting words. It is the duty of the bishops to ensure that priests are adequately trained in Latin. Once ordained, however, the assumption is that they are qualified to celebrate in Latin because Latin is the lingua sacra of the Latin Church. A priest is always free to celebrate in Latin. Really, it doesn’t matter if some parishioners are perturbed by this. Every priest, once ordained, has a right attached to his sacred priesthood to celebrate in Latin, because that is guaranteed both by immemorial custom and by Canon 928. NOt even Bishop Galeone, lawgiver for the Bailiwick of St. Augustine, is above Benedict XVI and his Code of Canons.

    A local bishop has absolutely no final authority to limit the meanings of Canons or ecclesiastical laws of the Apostolic See. The dispositions of S.P. merely reveal to the bishops and others what rights are attached to their priests. Article 12 answers your question in crystal clear terms: the P.C.E.D. [Pontificial Commission “Ecclesia Dei”] exercises this right, *not* the local bishops. Local bishops cannot swoop in and limit these priestly rights; their power may be plenary in local matters of liturgy, but this only means that it is adequate to fulfil its end, which is to see to it that the liturgy is becoming (and, oh, how they have failed at that!); and their authority can never trump rights established or (in this case) recognised by the Holy See. Period.

    The bishops *are* cut out in terms of these rights. Articles 2 and 5 make it absolutely clear that these rights belong to priests (Article 2) and to parish priests (Article 5) per se. Really, though, nobody is cutting out the bishops because S.P. merely reveals rights that were there all along. Law need not impose norms; it can also clarify; it can also enjoin or recommend.

    (3) You don’t need Latin to understand the rubrics, only to understand the text. And there are traditional translations supplied. Priests need only read and learn the translations and have a general sense of the words in order to intend what the Church intends. Priests in the 1960s often had little idea of what the words meant; ditto for celebrants of the 1984 Indult Mass and of the New Mass in Latin. Most seminaries today provide some Latin but it is inadequate by previous standards. It is the duty of the seminaries to teach the Latin. If a priest is ordained without knowing it, that is the fault of the diocese, not the priest: the priest should never have been ordained. I repeat again that this matter is secondary because the priest is primarily (but not exclusively) a channel through which our Lord sacrifices Himself in an unbloody way. It is our Lord Who effects the Sacrament through the instrumentality of the priest; and our Lord knows Latin and all other languages, since He is omniscient.

    The presumption of the law favours an ordained priest, that he understands what he says. Priests are not schoolchildren in need of supervision but elders in God’s Holy Church. However, it may be that some priests cannot deliver the Latin with dignity (and this, by the way, can include those who do know what it means, just as some can read French or German but their pronunciation is appalling). Article 5, which is attached *ONLY* to public Masses (and yet Fr. Willis extends it illegally to private Masses) merely requires that the priest is capable of presenting the Mass in terms of wording and rubrics. That is why Cardinal Egan wrote that he need only know how to pronounce the words. The reason that Cardinal Egan is a cardinal and Fr. Willis is not is that Cardinal Egan has some understanding of matters, to say the least.

    Do you really think that your average priest in the 1960s could write or converse in Latin, or that he could even render an accurate translation of the prayers of the Offertory, for example? I don’t.

    (4) You seem to be confusing the rubrics with the Latin. The rubrics (written at one time in red; hence the name) are among the rules and instructions telling the priest when and how to genuflect, when to kiss the Altar, when not to disjoin thumb and forefinger, how to turn when changing direction, and so on. A priest can learn rubrics and other rules and customary norms in the vernacular. He can consult Fortescue and O’Connor. Fr. Z. made it crystal clear that the priest needs to know both the rubrics and how to pronounce the Latin words. These are separate things which, together, make him “capable” [idoneous] of celebrating.

    That is why the Pope has suggested a regimen from private to public Masses. We can supplement the Articles in this regard. The priest ignorant of the old Mass can do a ‘dry Mass’ (not a valid Mass but an act sans Consecration) on his own, then move to a private Mass with server, then to a private Mass with invited guests but not scheduled, then to a public Mass. That is what is being suggested by the ordering of Articles 2, 4, and 5. However, if he feels able to move directly to a public Mass under Article 5, it is allowed. The Bishop can only interfere as the immedate supervisor of the liturgy to ensure that the Mass is celebrated in a fitting and dignified manner. That means that the words need to be pronounced fairly well, the choreography needs to be good, and the other rubrics (rules) need to be followed reasoably well. That’s it. He cannot start devising Latin exams. In fact, S.P. makes it quite clear that the celebrant need not even inform his bishop that he is celebrating the 1962 Mass. Period. It is a right of priests. Laics can ask the priest to correct a small error in custom. But the matter lies with the celebrant.

    (5) Reasonable numbers of people do not come into these norms; they are not there. Neither you nor Fr. Willis have the authority to supply the number 50. The local bishop has no right to set limits on what a cœtus is: this defined by the general law and Canon 36 and, under Article 12 of S.P., the P.C.E.D. has the right to interpret authoritatively, not the local bishop. It is clear from Canon 36 and any good Latin Latin dictionary that a cœtus can be as few as two individuals.

    Your example shows a misunderstanding of very complex Canon Law, so I don’t blame you in the least for it. Canon 905 sets limits on how many Masses any priest can celebrate on one day, and Protocol 1411-99 ensures that an adequate number of New Masses must be provided for those faithful who are attached to them. But S.P. has foreseen all of this, which is why Section 1 of Article 5 is written in the passive voice: the parish priest can have another priest celebrate the 1962 Mass (or the reverse) for the coetus if need be. Any priest can celebrate up to five Sunday Masses if you include anticipated Masses. This is because Canon 905 must be read with Canon 202.1 to define a day as a period extending from midnight to midnight. Article 5 allows that at least (not “only”) one 1962 Mass can be celebrated because the stipulation wants to respect the limited number of hours available for celebration in any one place. In other words, in your big parish, there could be many Sunday New Masses celebrated by several priests, but the parish priest is always free to allow at least one 1962 Mass in the sacred places (churches, chapels, oratories, shrines) available to the Parish in question. More than one can be allowed by the parish priest if this will not prevent other parishioners from having a reasonable access to the New Mass. No offence, but you need to read up on this. It is complicated. The point here is that, yes, the parish priest could approve at least one public 1962 Mass for as few as two petitioners, whether celebrated by him or another priest. To approve more than one, he needs to ensure that there is adequate provision for the New Mass given the manpower and places he has at his disposal, and the restrictions on how many Masses any priest may celebrate under Canon 905.

    To put the matter in practical terms, if a parish priest has no other priest to assist him but a large number of parishioners to pastor, he could celebrate one 1962 Mass for as few as two individuals (especially since he might be doing this for his own private devotion) and up to four other Masses spread over Sunday and Saturday afternoons and evenings. He could have the New Masses on Sundays at 9 a.m., 10 a.m., and 11.30 a.m. and the old Mass at 2 p.m., and Saturday Masses of anticipation at 5 p.m. and even another at 8 p.m. (provided that he does not celebrate on Saturday morning). If this isn’t sufficient, I dont’ know what is. If he fails to provide the needed number for New Mass parishioners, the bishop can force him to add more (ut supra) or else cancel the 1962 Mass. But the bishop cannot prevent him from celebrating one 1962 Mass.

    (6) A priest *can* licitly celebrate without the bishop’s permission unless debarred for a just cause and, believe me, the cause must be defendable. Vide Canons 900 and 903.

    (7) You are incorrect about obedience. It is not a blind obedience, and the concept must take into account the legitimate rights of priests. That has always been the case. The bishop’s authority is plenary and immediate, but it is not arbitrary or absolute; he is not a dictator.

    We need to abandon this absolutist notion of authority in the Church and return to the mediæval notion that is correct. Absolutism is a product of eighteenth-century Protestantism. Priests have rights against their bishops, just as bishops have some rights that even the Pope cannot touch (e.g. the Pope lacks the authority to abolish the episcopate or remove a bishop’s episcopal powers). Laics also have rights. Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ did not die on the Cross so that the successors of His apostles could lord it over His people: it is to be an apostleship of service.

    The Pope now admits what I have long argued, that the Traditional Latin Mass was never abrogated. This means that traditionalists have been persecuted for the last thirty-five years. Now some bishops want to continue the persecutions and are trying to use every trick in the book–as usual–while their New Age priests continue to break every rule in the New Order book in Masses all over the world (e.g. those using invalid matter).

    Why can’t they just leave us alone? I do not care if they want kumbayah Masses. I just want to have access to the Mass that protected countless generations of our ancestors. No ordinance can rightly forbid that which is good, that which is divine. The Pope himself now admits that we have a right to benefit spiritually from the grand Mass of all ages. But the liberal bishops want to stop it any way they can. They have never really wanted to bask in the glories of that banal New Mass. No, from the beginning, their real aim was only to force their erroneous ideas on their enemies, on us. It is all about power and not about our Lord’s love for us.


  63. eft says:

    TO Chris Garton-Zavesky: EWTN streams both radio and television on the web ( so no cable or satellite is required, and they do encourage emails (General Info, Contact).

  64. RBrown says:

    RBrown, how is anything you wrote contrary to what I wrote? I want my priests who use Latin in either the EU or the NO to be educated in it. And I don’t know if this answers part of your objection or not, but nowhere in the document did I read that the good bishop of Augustine Florida refused to educate priests in Latin if they so desired.

    I don’t know about contrary, but I thought your comments were one sided. You rightly invoke the bishops’ authority, but that authority also brings with it high responsibility. Perhaps you know that that Latin word “ius” refers not only to right but also to obligation.

    For years bishops have been sending seminarians to study in places that offered poor education in theology, philosophy, and Latin. You cannot on the one hand invoke the episcopal status as successors to the Apostles, but on the other ignore their complicity in the poor seminary formation, which goes way beyond Latin deficiency.

    Even so, I can find ample counterexamples to your point #3. I know several seminarians in my diocese (and my bishop is the most proficient bishop in Latin in the United States, and highly desirous that his seminarians learn and love the language) who have taken several semesters of Latin (nine hours worth in classes of only 5 people with a priest who has taught Latin for over 30 years) but still know very little Latin.

    Those are not counter examples but instead prove my point.

    I was still studying in Rome when Bp Burke was named the ordinarius loci of LaCross. He was well respected, and his Latin proficiency was well known. But, as Fr Z pointed out, Cardinal Egan is also reputed an excellent Latinist.

    Is that my bishop’s fault, or is that the fault of those seminarians?

    Yes, it is the bishop’s fault because it is his munus. Totally and completely. He is responsible for the formation of his seminarians–and according to Vat II the study of Latin is not optional.

    My Latin teacher in Rome, Fr Reginald Foster, on more than one occasion referred to Optatam Totius, then said that seminarians should go to their bishops and ask why they had been cheated.

    And let me put up an example for you. You are a bishop in a diocese that is desperate for priests, and a seminarian passes all the requirements for ordination except that he is deficient in Latin. Would you ordain him? I certainly would, no matter what a Vatican II document said. Would you risk having some of your flock not have access to the Sacraments because your seminarian didn’t know Latin? Hopefully not.

    1. Not a good example. If the seminarian is an exception, then I would probably ordain him. If he is typical (and I am a new bishop), then I would arrange a meeting with the seminary and I would insist on proper intellectual formation. If their program was not adequate, I would make other arrangements.

    You might know that when Bp Egan was in Bridgeport, he started his own philosophy faculty.

    2. Re denying people the Sacraments: It is well known that various bishops in the US have been offered Polish priests because of the surplus in Poland. I don’t know of any bishops who took them.

    So much for the concern about the flock having access to the Sacraments.

    And since a knowledge of Latin is not necessary to do Mass anymore, considering that it can be done entirely in the vernacular, then many bishops probably do not see this requirement as that pressing.

    I agree they don’t see it as pressing, but that is episcopal negligence.

    But I’ll bet if all Masses were still done in Latin, bishops would be much more insistent that their priests learned Latin before being ordained. That’s because bishops in the past probably thought it was critical to understand what was being prayed. So it seems to follow that priests today who want to do Masses in Latin should have an adequate understanding of Latin to do such Masses. Thus I fail to see why what the good bishop of Augustine Florida is doing is considered so outrageous.

    “Outrageous” is your word, not mine.

    You have adopted the liberal line of circular reasoning. Can’t say mass in Latin because it’s not studied anyone; they don’t study it anymore because there’s no Latin liturgy.

    There is an obvious factor of practicality in this, but the study of Latin also facilitates the study of philosophy and theology.

  65. Schultz says:

    “Re denying people the Sacraments: It is well known that various bishops in the US have been offered Polish priests because of the surplus in Poland. I don’t know of any bishops who took them.”

    Cardinal Keeler may have accepted, as a number of our older parishes, especially the ones which are historically Polish, in Baltimore have Polish priests staffing them now.

  66. RBrown says:

    Paul Hamilton,

    Have you read Veterum Sapientia by Bl John XXIII? I recommend it–it’s short and to the point and will only take a few minutes.

  67. James says:

    I’m sad to see this memo. I was confirmed by Bishop Galeone a year and a half ago in Gainesville. The mass was more dignified and reverent than what we usually saw on Sundays with our pastor (e.g. no Negro spirituals or “Come to the Feast”). His homily was (albeit somewhat rambling) very enriching. His quizzing of the candidates during his homily was very enlightening for different reasons—those called upon to answer showed real ignorance of basic elements of the faith, exposing our liberal RCIA director’s four-month class for the waste it was. The bishop asked one candidate what the Holy Spirit was, and she responded, “Jesus”—I did not dare turn to see the expressions on the faces of my Protestant friends behind me.

    He has always struck me as very loyal to the Church’s teaching. If this memo truly reflects his thinking, it goes to show you the extent of the work remaining to restore the Church’s traditional theology of liturgy in the minds of even holy pastors like Bishop Galeone.

    You can see him with me and my confirmation sponsor here:

  68. jaykay says:

    In a related (sort of) sense, the current edition of the Adoremus Bulletin quotes Bishop Galeone in support of Bp. Trautman’s critique of the proposed new English translations for the Ordinary Rite:

    “Bishop Trautman is to be commended for his frank and courageous critique of the proposed ICEL Mass texts. He synthesized perfectly the problems with the new translations: slavish literalism, extended periodic sentences, and far too many archaic words.”

    Of course we’re all really stumped by the “far too many archaic words” in the current version of the Our Father. Anyway, not really on-topic.

  69. Peter Karl T. Perkins says:

    Bishop Baker gets it right.

    I have read a recent comment of Bishop Robert Baker, now transferred from Charleston to Birmingham, both Dioceses lying in the U.S.A. He urged a more dignified presentation of Masses in *both* forms, mentioning the Traditional Mass specifically. Then he said that he intends to improve the teaching of Latin in the seminary in Birmingham. Then he added, “I request” that priests using the 1962 Missal know the rubrics well and have an adequate knowledge of the meaning of the Latin. Note the verb. He requested it. He did not command it because he realises correctly that he does not have the competence to do that. Would that Bishop Galeone of St. Augustine knew this as well. Would that Fr. Thomas Willis, his liturgy director, knew it.

    Local bishops, as moderators in the liturgy in their sees, have both a right and a duty to see to it that the liturgy is presented in a dignified way. This means that they would have a right to insist that any priest who celebrates any Mass *publicly* in Latin–whether or the New Missal or the 1962 one–should know the gestures and ‘choreography’ (for want of a better term) and how to pronounce the Latin words accurately. But, once ordained, any priest can celebrate privately in Latin according to either Missal without any such restriction because priests have a sacred right to offer Mass in the lingua sacra of their ritual (a.k.a. individual or ‘sui juris) Church. This follows from the law of custom and is recognised and reinforced by Canon 928. In the same way, every Byzantine Ukrainian and Ruthenian, Slovakian and Yugoslav priest can offer Mass at least privately in Church Slavonic, whether he knows what the words mean or not. Priests of other churches can use Hellenistic Greek, Syriac, Coptic, Ge’ez, and Classical Armenian. All dead languages. It is the duty of the bishops and seminary rectors to inculcate an adequate knowledge of the sacred languages. If they fail to do so, they can hardly complain about the result. I am told that many priests today receive little or, in some places, zero training in Latin.

    I note that the Greek Orthodox Church recently ruled that Hellenistic Greek not be replaced by Modern Greek in their liturgies, even though the faithful cannot speak or write (and can barely understand) Hellenistic Greek.


  70. Mr. Perkins,
    Due to my personal rules of debating, I limit myself to three posts in a given thread; hence, this is my last post. As always, I give you the right to the last word. If you are curious, I list my personal rules here:

    For point (1), as far as Latin in private Masses is concerned, my response remains the same: so what? If the bishop starts defining proficiency in Latin to do the EU to be something unfair, such as needing several semesters of Latin or something, then I’d agree that what he says about private Masses to be unjust. But nothing he said was outstandingly restrictive by any stretch of the imagination. That is why I cannot drudge up any sympathy for this argument, even if it is granted that the bishop is not supposed to make such restrictions in his diocese. As for the double standard, I simply defer you to my previous posts. In summary, if a double standard exists, it cannot be determined from this document alone. Arguments from silence are very weak. And I guess it depends on how you define common: if 57 parishes out of 19000 in the United States offer a Latin NO Mass on Sundays, that equals .3% of parishes in the United States. You may call that common, but I don’t. It doesn’t matter either way.

    (2) Whose assumption is this? The law’s? The bishop’s? In practice the vernacular is the norm, and perhaps bishop Galeone has some knowledge of his priests’ deficiency in Latin, so much so that he can no longer presumes knowledge of Latin; I don’t know. But in the end, all these assumptions are irrelevant; this just ties back in to what I said in the previous paragraph and in the previous post. Even if I grant that this is all true, the bishop’s restriction is so unbelievably minor that it is laughable to call this an exercise in intimidation or a sign of hostility, or bloodthirstiness on the part of the bishop.

    Now I’m going to assume for the sake of argument that the bishop is violating some canons in the process of doing what he’s doing. My response is the same: so what? These restrictions are so minor that they barely constitute a hoop to jump through. I’m sympathetic to lovers of the EU who think that they are looked upon with suspicion by most Catholics. But the reaction I have seen by many on this blog seems to find injury where restrictions are mild and find hostility where the intent is not manifest. This is such a minor issue that a priest would be being unnecessarily inflammatory for disobeying. So even if the law is being abused in this case, I am unsympathetic to those who seek to return such suspicious glances.

    But back to the bishop’s supposed breaking of norms, supposedly not allowing his priests the absolute right to say Mass in Latin, and requiring prerequisite knowledge of the EU before offering it, even privately. Archbishop Burke recently gave a talk following by a Q&A to his seminarians, and referred them to the Archdiocese’s website (see the link at the end of the paragraph), which states that a priest is not allowed celebrate the EU without a minimal knowledge of Latin. Archbishop Burke is very friendly to the EU, and has always allowed his priests to do this Mass privately (we have oratories and convents in St. Louis where the EU is celebrated publicly) on the condition that he has knowledge of the rubrics and a requisite understanding of Latin (which is more than a mere pronunciation of words, mind you). Again, my bishop is in no way hostile to the EU, and even he does not assume this blanket right to celebrate the EU—even in private– without such minimal knowledge (I’m curious to know what he thinks the criteria are; I’ll ask him when I see him next). Plus, he told us that the Archdiocese’s policy concerning the EU would remain unchanged: priests with the requisite knowledge had the right to celebrate the EU whenever they wanted (this demands were made also for priests wishing to celebrate in private!). He is still requiring priests uneducated in the EU (even privately) to complete studies as well as have requisite knowledge of Latin, just as he has always done. Now my bishop is quite a canonist in his own right, and he seems to disagree with you on this one (plus, he HAS ordained people whose knowledge of Latin is below average…although I think even the little Latin those seminarians know is enough to understand the words of the EU). Therefore, based on arguments from commonsense and a valid demonstration that there are more than one interpretation of the paragraphs of SP in question, I can assume that the opinions I am disputing are just one among many, and the bishop of Augustine is not being unfair to his priests. That is, unless you are willing to call the bishop who probably most supports your cause to be in the same fundamental error as this bishop in Augustine.

    (As a side note, he even said that as far as implementing SP in our diocese, he saw no need for change, other than that seminarians would now have the rubrics for the EU in their studies. He said that the three places in our diocese which offer the EU met the desires of those who wished to attend already, so we could defer parishioners who want the EU to those places if we do not wish to offer it ourselves.)

    Considering that my Archbishop is somewhat of a canonist himself, and he does not assume that his priests entirely ignorant of Latin can celebrate the EU (it must be a double standard, since he mentions nothing about the NO Latin Mass in his document!). I see no presumptions on the part of the law that a priest is absolutely entitled to say Mass in Latin despite his ignorance of the necessary Latin.

    As for (3), how do you know that the bishop’s clause about needing to understand Latin doesn’t meet those minimum requirements that you outline?

    (4) I do not see how I confused the two. I thank you for pointing out the difference, but I am aware of it already. And I find it questionable that the clause that a priest doesn’t need to inform his bishop that he is celebrating the EU includes the fact that he doesn’t meet minimum requirements first (that certainly isn’t the case in my diocese, and I see no one complaining here). I find the interpretation that if I were a priest with absolutely no knowledge of the EU who suddenly decides to do the EU even privately that I can do so without knowledge of the rubrics or necessary Latin. As I said above, my diocese requires education on the EU before offering it at all, and that policy is not changing.

    The first paragraph of (5) says nothing that I have not already responded to. But a) I don’t see why silence on the part of the document means that bishops cannot then set up reasonable norms, nor do I see the said norms as being anything that a fly swatter couldn’t overcome.
    Your response in (6) misses my point entirely. I refer you back to my previous post in response. All I have to say in response to paragraph 2 is this: assuming that my example concerning the 50 person rule makes a mistake on some particularly difficult point of canon law, then I can safely conclude that some issues surrounding the point of canon law in question are rather complicated. If that is the case, then to be charitable to the good bishop of Augustine we might want to assume that perhaps he is merely making a mistake on a difficult point rather than impugning his intentions. Not only that but I invoke the content of my “so what?” clause here once again, saying that if your arguments are true, they are true trivially.

    (7) No, obedience is not blind, nor did I ever imply it was. Rather, I am saying that priests need to be reasonable and obey. These norms impose next to nothing on the priests of Augustine, and to dispute them would accomplish nothing of importance. What the priests and people want is a basic Latin and rubrics course away. And you’re right: we need to end this absolutist nonsense. But I hardly classify what this bishop is requiring as absolutist.

    In conclusion, I’ll respond to your closing paragraph. My first comment is: great. More power to you for despising the abuse of the NO. But don’t find enemies where they don’t exist. If the bishop of Augustine really is an enemy, he demonstrated no such intention in his document. St. Francis kissed the hands of priests who wallowed in their sins, even unrepentant ones. Surely we owe our bishops and priests more respect than what has been shown on this blog. Also, I know seminarians from dozens of seminaries and diocese in this country, and I am proud to say none of them wishes to repeat the nonsense of the last few decades. The “liberals” in the seminary are classified as those, like myself, who find arguments over what shoes bishops are allowed to wear at the EU to be frivolous. In fact, the conservativism is so heavy in my diocese that I consider conservativism a bigger problem among our future priests than loony liberalism. Those dioceses notorious for liturgical abuses and heretical nonsense are starving for vocations. Even if not all of these dioceses are going to be equally EU friendly, we certainly won’t repeat the nonsense of the last few decades. But with all that said, rantings and ravings such as the ones I’ve seen in this thread are not going to help the EU or its lovers to gain legitimacy in the popular realm.

    As much as I’ve enjoyed this discussion, my opinion remains unmoved. I admit that EU lovers are treated awfully even in some conservative dioceses, but you could spend your time much better addressing larger injustices than this anthill you have been attacking in Augustine. If the bishops were REALLY hostile, they would respond in the same way as the bishops in America responded to Humanae Vitae: by officially saying, “Thanks, but no thanks,” and in unofficial business going around publicly telling people not to obey. This document in question is not hostile. You are getting what you want in this diocese, even if the clergy must jump through some small hoops to get it (assuming the bishop doesn’t require something ridiculous, such as a mastery of Ciceronian Latin to do the EU).

    As for the other posts addressed at me, I’m already ashamed at how long I’ve made this post. If you are all keeping score at home, I happily concede any points to you that I would have gained if had I answered your arguments. :-)

  71. Miriam says:

    Mr. Hamilton,

    Sorry you are bowing out of posting; I hope you continue reading.
    I am not here to make points for you or for me, only to question
    your use of numbers.

    The “Memorandum” under discussion says that

    “Bishop Galeone has determined that such a group should be
    *faithful of the parish* [Emphases in the original] and should
    number at least 50 people for such a request to be granted.”

    You crunched the numbers for the Diocese of St. Augustine, and
    came up with an average number of parishoners for each parish:

    “I did some research, and the 60 parishes of the diocese minister
    to 160,000 Catholics, meaning that on average about 2700
    Catholics live in a parish. So if 50 people in a parish must
    ask for the EU, that means that less than 2% of the parishoners
    at the average parish must request said EU to be said publically.”

    That does not compute in terms of actuality. In the *average*
    parish (according to your numbers) parish in the Diocese of St.
    Augustine, 50 out of 2,700 is 1.8 percent. BUT — what about
    the little parishes? If there’s a parish there with only 500
    people in it, then it would have to have *10* percent of its
    population request this Mass.

    What I’m trying to say is, you can’t justify the figure of “50
    parishoners” on average parish size. It just doesn’t fly.
    The smallest parishes would have to come up with maybe 10 to 20
    times as many parishoners, *proportionally*, as the biggest
    parishes. It just isn’t fair, and I don’t think it’s just, either.

  72. As a quick correction, and out of justice to my bishop, I want to make clear what he said explicitly and what he said implicitly. Explicitly, he said that the diocese would make few changes because we already are so supportive of the EU, and that our policies regarding the celebration of the EU would remain unchanged. That policy (what the statement implies) is that the priests be familiar with the rubrics and the Latin before celebrating. This policy was in place for even those who wished to do such Masses privately, even though I am not aware of what testing policy–if any–is required. However, since we have several places that can teach the EU in St. Louis, I wouldn’t be surprised if they were required to take instruction there. This was the policy before SP, and Archbishop Burke said that we would make few changes, other than teaching the EU at the seminary.

  73. Matthew says:

    I have an honest question. In the opinion of Fr Z and others in the know, what will be the canonical state of affairs post September 14 concerning the use of the 1962 Missal and the Ritual in effect at that time when the parish priest, i.e. “pastor” is of one mind and the other priests , e.g. associates, parochial vicars, etc. are of another. Will the other priests of a church need the pastor’s permission for private masses? I imagine the answer is “no.” But what about baptisms and the like?

  74. Peter Karl T. Perkins says:

    Dear Mr. Hamilton:

    I shall answer you point-by-point.

    (1) The point is that section 4 of Article 5 pertains only to public Masses; it does not pertain to private Masses. As moderator of the liturgy in his Diocese, Bishop Galeone has a right to ensure that public Masses are celebrated fittingly and well, which means with no abuses. I rather doubt that he ensures that at New Masses (are they abuse-free according to all the rubrics?) but this is beside the point. For private Masses, the general law of the Church allows an ordinary to prevent sacrilege, obviously. But no bishop can remove an ordained priest’s fundmental right to celebrate in the Latin tongue because Latin is the lingua sacra of the Latin Church. This is guaranteed both by immemorial custom and by Canon 928. Any priest can celebrate privately in Latin when using either the 1962 Missal or the New Missal, whether people are present as invited guests or not. Bishop Galeone cannot override the Code of Canons and the general law of the Church. He hath not the competence to do so, to paraphrase St. Thomas More.

    Of course, priests should know their Latin. But they are assumed to know it adequately at the time they are ordained. That is why Optatam Totius enjoins this. Is Bishop Galeone indirectly accusing his colleagues of mistraining their seminarists? Is he accusing his colleagues of not teaching Latin to them? Let us not accuse Bishop Galeone of such a fault, just as we must never accuse someone of not being attached to the 1962 Mass if he claims that he is, unless we have good reason for thinking otherwise.

    In regard to public 1962 Masses and only those that are public, “idonei”, nominative plural of idoneus, to agree with “sacerdotes”, means capable to perform a task, the task of presenting the Sacrifice. The priest only co-operates with our Lord in this regard; it is our Lord Himself Who offers Sacrifice. The local bishop, as moderator of the liturgy, is only granted a right to see to it that the presentation of the Mass is dignified, fitting, and rubrically correct. Once ordained, a priest of the Latin Church also has a right to celebrate publicly in Latin, his lingua sacra, just as a Ukrainian Byzantine priest has a right to celebrate in Church Slavonic. A bishop may normally restrict the number of Latin Masses (under either Missal) in order to meet the legitimate needs of the faithful for vernacular Masses (cf. Canon 392 and Protocol 1411-99, No. 2), but this restriction does not apply here because the faithful attached to the 1962 Missal want a Mass in the Latin tongue.

    What you do not seem to understand is that the local bishop, even though he is the authority in the first instance, cannot validly restrict rights granted or recognised by the Apostolic See and expressed in the Code of Canons or other ecclesiastical laws. This restriction to prove proficiency in Latin is ultra vires: the bishop hath not the competence to impose it.

    (2) With all due respect, you fail to realise the entire effect of abuses of law. Bishop Galeone, arguably, has already provided adequate access to the 1962 Mass. I thank him for being one of the bishops who has heeded the 1988 motu proprio. But his new regulations deprive the legitimate rights of his own priests and could be used as a model by other bishops, in whose dioceses there are *no* 1962 Latin Masses on an every-Sunday basis (think of nearby Pensacola-Tallahassee, Mobile, Biloxi, Jackson, Savannah). How can you, as a Catholic, say that an abuse of power is acceptable simply because you judge it to be minor? A priest who is attached to the 1962 Mass and has waited for years to celebrate it privately may not consider this to be minor. His soul may be yearning for this. Would you like to report to episcopal headquarters to demonstrate your knowledge of Latin by an unknown standard, or any standard for that matter? This illicit regulation was meant to intimidate priests. It is uncharitable and unfair.

    What Archbishop Burke requires is beyond the point. No bishop can violate or override the general law of the Church. I note that Cardinal Egan (my, cardinals are above archbishops!, and he is also “somewhat of a canonist”: can two canonists say opposite things and both be right?) disagrees and requires only the ability to know the rubrics and pronounce the words. I point you to the recent statement of Bishop Baker, now transferred from South Carolina to the Diocese of Birmingham (U.S.A.). He uses the verb *request* to outline his policy. To paraphrase: I “request” that priests wishing to celebrate in Latin at least have some proficiency in Latin and know the rubrics. Note the verb! He has obviously been advised that he can request it but not require it, especially in regard to private Masses. In public Masses, the concern is that the public not be scandalised by terrible pronuncition of the words or ignorance of the rubrics. Hence Cardinal Egan’s stipulations. I note also the verb “debeo” with the infinitive, used in S.P. here. It means ‘ought to’, not ‘must’: Priests using the Missal of John XXIII ought to be capable [of doing so] and not juridically impeded. It sort of reminds one of the ‘ought to’ in Optatam Totius, doesn’t it?

    Once again, a local ordinary has a right and a duty to ensure the fitting celebration of Mass and to train priests in Latin. Once ordained, however, he cannot remove their fundamental right to celebrate in the sacred tongue of their rite. You forget that Latin is the normative language of the Latin Church, which is why ONLY THE LATIN documents of the Church determine law. In law, the vernacular is allowed only by way of exception, regardless of the fact that it is now almost universal. (Once again, St. Thomas More would say that Mr. Hamilton and the world can think what they want but this court thinks according to the law.) Once a seminarist is ordained, the law assumes that his Latin is adequate to celebrate in his own lingua sacra. Are you accusing our bishops of failing to train their priests adequately in Latin? Where is your evidence for such a grave charge! (Oh, those poor slandered bishops, accused like this by Mr. Hamilton. Bishops who never allow any abuses in the New Mass in their dioceses because they have such a strong sense of duty.) Come off it, Mr. Hamilton. You’re reaching for it. You know damn well that these bishops are engaging in ‘damage control’ because they are afraid of how many Traditional Masses may suddenly pop up. After all, the New Masses don’t exactly bring people running enthusiastically into Church. On the contrary, they have been running in the other direction for the past 35 years.

    (3) Galeone: “those qualified must evidence an ability with the Latin language”. Come on, Mr. Hamilton, he means that they must have some understanding of the prayers, not just know how to pronounce the words. Certainly the priests ought to have some understanding, but this is presumed, owing to their seminary training. Far be it from us to accuse their bishops of not heeding the enjoining of a Vicar of Christ, who wrote it all down in Opatatam Totius.

    (4) If a priest need not even inform his bishop, then he cannot be bound by any new norms from his bishop, for he might not have read them or even received them. But this is irrelevant. The regulations (particularly about knowing some Latin and a coetus being 50 people) are ultra vires. Period. No regulations of a bishop can override the Code of Canons (e.g. Canon 36 and Canon 928) or written or customary ecclesiastical laws of the Church. I note that these regulations are not a legal enactment anyway; they are only an administrative act. They are presented in a mere memoradum. Let Bishop Galeone have the courage to attempt to write them into diocesan law when they are contrary to universal law! These these mere regulations are subservient to a motu proprio of a reigning pontiff, I advise the priests of St. Augustine to ignore them.

    (5) Once again, like some of these bishops, you are not reading the Articles in terms of their proper intent. Clearly, the definitions of coetus, adhærentium, in paroeciis, idonei, continenter, and so on were meant to give parish priests an indication of grounds they could use for declining requests from parishioners; they were NOT designed to give bishops an indication of grounds they could use for obstruction parish priests! You see these restrictions as ludicrously minimalistic because you fail to comprehend their END, their purpose. A parish priest is not required but only enjoined to accede to petitioners’ requests, and the restrictions he can impose here are not exhaustive. For example, he could plead poor health and say that he cannot preserve his health and celebrate yet another Mass on Sundays, or he could decline a request on the grounds that he lacks the resources, given the canonical limit of numbers of Masses priests may celebrate plus all the needs of his parish. You are reading this all backwards. IT IS NOT ABOUT bishops rights over priests but about parish priests’ rights over lay petitioners.

    (6) I think that you missed my whole point on this paragraph. I was merely trying to enlighten you about the larger scope of the law. There are only so many hours in a day and so many sacred places in a parish, and there could be many parishioners who want this Mass or that. The general law and S.P. allow for one public 1962 Mass no matter what the circumstances. The parish priest can arrange more than one but only if this does not inconvenience the other parishioners unduly. Parish priests can celebrate or arrange to have other priests celebrate publicly or privately, and priests have a right to approach the parish and celebrate privately (Canon 903) as long as the sacred space is not being used at that time. The law is flexible and allows priests to celebrate as many as five Sunday Masses, three on Sunday itself and up to two anticipated Sunday Masses on Saturday afternoons and evenings. My point was that the law has anticipated the needs of those attached to the New Mass and yet has also provided a minimum provision for those attached to the old.

    Where you get the number 50 is beyond me. You might as well pull it out of a hat. Neither you nor Bishop Galeone nor Fr. Willis has any right to set that number. Zero. Words in laws of the Apostolic See mean what Rome says they mean, not what Bishop Galeone would like them to mean. Canon 36 makes it crystal clear: words carry their normal meaning [unless there is a specialised canonical meaning], and they must be interpreted as broadly as possible when conferring rights, and narrowly when restricting them. Can Bishop Galeone read English? If not, I can send him my tattered copy of the Code. Who the hell does he think he is to pontificate about what a coetus is? Rome decides what the word means. Where did he get the number 50? I want a reference to an ecclesiastical law published in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis, please, and I want it now from him. Right now. I want something from Notitiae. I see no number 50 in the Code of Canons. What was he smoking when he wrote that number?

    Church Latin is Late Latin, and a coetus, in Late Latin, is any combination of individuals having a common cause; it is a joining of any individuals. So it cannot be one person but could be as few as two. They cannot include the celebrant because he cannot logically petition himself, but it could include other clerics.

    Sorry for all the colourful wording but it was not intended to be unkindly. I am just exasperated with these people. They have trampled on our rights for forty years. If the old Mass was never abrogated, why the hell has it been prevented? On whose authority? I want punitive and exemplary damages! Where is the RECOMPENSE for those priests who were unlawfully expelled from their parishes when they adhered to the old Mass? Why were they locked out?

    (7) A abuse of power is an act of absolutism because it is an act beyond one’s rightful powers. Priests need not obey abuses of power. According to Suarez, one can even use force against an abuse of power provided that it is proportioned to the need and has a probable end in success or does not effect more evils than it seeks to counter. Of course, the point about force is moot here. I only include it to show how serious an abuse of power is. It is not a light matter merely because Mr. Hamilton regards these illegal restrictions as trifling.

    In regard to your closing remarks, I note that other correspondents here have complained about Bishop Galeone directly. I have not done so because I don’t know what he permits in the New Masses in Florida. Others have said that he has prevented progressive nuns from standing on the mensa of the Altar (or something like that) but has only prevented the most extreme abuses and allowed all the rest. I note that the faithful have a fundamental right to attend a Mass at which there are no abuses of any kind. When the New Mass is celebrated, celebrants are bound on pain of mortal sin to observe all the rubrics to the letter and allow no abuses that militate against custom (e.g. having the celebrant arrive at the Altar on a motorcycle while wearing a chasuble with a huge peace symbol of the back, as once occurred in the Californian Diocese of Monterey.)

    In my Diocese, the former notorious bishop, Remi De Roo (we called him ‘De Rogue’) allowed every abuse imaginable and some that you could never imagine. The Altar cross was replaced by pumpkins at Hallowe’en, laics read half the sermons (clearly illegal), priests composed Eucharistic Prayers extemporaneously, and invalid matter was used for the Eucharistic (little cakes, in fact, with raisins in them. Delicious.) One priest had the faithful sitting in circles singing kumbayah while sweetgrass wafted over them, and had the Y.M.C.A. song sung during the Offertory. The same priest presided over numerous general absolutions. I could go on all night.

    Hence I find it hard to believe that bishops are preventing abuses in the New Mass. If they would only ensure that the Latin words were pronounced properly and the rubrics were followed at the 1962 Mass, this would be a miracle. There is no need for testing priests in Latin and no right to prevent any priest from celebrating in Latin. That is a fundamental right proper to every priest of the Latin Church. Try telling an Coptic Catholic priest that he must use Arabic instead of Coptic during his private Masses. Don’t make me laugh.

    Mr. Hamilton wants priests to obey illegal restrictions on a pontifical act. I suggest that, instead, it is Bishop Galeone who should obey his master, the Vicar of Christ and Successor of Saint Peter.

    Peter Karl T. Perkins

    I did not say that Bishop Galeone used a double standard but only that Fr. Willis’s memorandum expressed a double standard. Article 2 refers to priests celebrating according to *either* Missal in Latin. But Fr. Willis’s memorandum, approved by Bishop Galeone, only mentions needing a proficiency–even for “*private* [emphasis his]” Masses–in Latin to celebrate the 1962 Missal. Why doesn’t Fr. Willis warn priests wanting to celebrate the New Mass in Latin that they need the same proficiency?

  75. Peter Karl T. Perkins says:

    One Last Point

    I insist on making one last point in regard to Bishops Galeone, Trautman, et alii. Is it just me or have others noticed that nearly every bishop who has made an official response so far is a bishop who alredy allows the 1962 Mass on an every-Sunday basis. Why so?

    One reason is that these bishops are ‘running interference’ for those among their colleagues who have stubbornly refused to allow the 1962 Mass under any circumstances. Are you listening, Bishop Peña of Brownsville, with 800,000 faithful and no Latin Mass? Peña is actually an exception in that he did release an official response, although it did not indicate what he plans to do. He might as well have reported on the weather.

    I think that another reason may be a sense of betrayal. Bishops who implemented the 1988 Indult may feel that they are being unjustly reprehended by this Pope. Why could the Pope not simply have insisted that there be at least one every-Sunday Traditional Latin Mass per diocese, provided that at least fifty faithful petitioned for it? That way, the nasty bishops in Brownsville, Madison, San Francisco, Manchester, Springfield (any one of them) and so on, would be brough in line, and the Galeones would be left alone.

    But Benedict XVI is an intellectual Pope. He wants to accord to every man what is his due, and not only to provide reasonable access to a Mass. He is thinking about what rights priests have and not only about meeting pastoral needs here and there.

    In some ways, it is a refreshing change.


  76. Peter Karl T. Perkins says:

    To answer Matthew:

    No, vicars and curates (as we call ‘associate’ and ‘assistant’ priests up here in Canada) will not need the permission of the parish priest to celebrate privately in the parish church or other parochial sacred places; nor will retired priests, who have a right of access to any parish church for this. But this is provided that such private Masses do not conflict with scheduled legitimate uses of the same space, which the parish priest has the authority to determine. Even ‘Liturgies of the Herd’ (as I call them) might trump private Masses, although one cannot fulfil the obligation at a Liturgy of the Herd, whereas one can do so at a private Mass. That might be an interesting conflict. (By the way, Liturgies of the Word do *not* fulfil that obligation, even though thousands of faithful have been ‘informed’ of the exact opposite by these so-called experts. If you cannot make it to Mass or it takes more than one hour in travelling time to get there, you commit no sin. You are encouraged to go to a Liturgy of the Herd in place of Mass. However, this Herd Service does not fulfil the obligation and one can never be required to attend it.)

    The arrangement of Baptisms and other sacred functions will require permission from the rector of the church in question. That means the parish priest in the case of parish churches, and other rectors in the case of non-parochial churches, chapels, oratories, shrines, and so forth. Rector is just the Latin word for ruler. But non-parochial churches cannot solemnise Baptisms or instal a font without permission.

    Baptisms must be celebrated in the Parish church and not chapels and so forth, unless the parish priest gives permission. In the Middle Ages, there were actually cases of violence over this. I recall reading one (written in a Latin text) in which locals who had erected a wayside chapel with permission and tried to instal a Baptismal font. The parish priest brought a group of peasants with pitchforks to stop this and there was actually a pitched battle over it, with some people being very badly hurt. The parish priest’s party won the battle and the shrine rector, as I recall, was rendered unconsious in the fighting. Canon 530 No. 1 in the 1983 Code perpetuates the parish priest’s control over Baptisms. Rectors at non-parochial churches beware. Try to instal a font and the parish priest (used to be called ‘parson’ before the Reformation) just might punch you out. So this violence and abuse of power from bishops is not new.

    Peace and love,


  77. RBrown says:

    Peter Karl T. Perkins,

    One reason is that these bishops are ‘running interference’ for those among their colleagues who have stubbornly refused to allow the 1962 Mass under any circumstances. Are you listening, Bishop Peña of Brownsville, with 800,000 faithful and no Latin Mass? Peña is actually an exception in that he did release an official response, although it did not indicate what he plans to do. He might as well have reported on the weather.

    You seem to assume that all the bishops get along and/or are in collusion. This is simply not true, not even bishops in the same Metropolitan See.

    There was a time in the US when a lot of bishops looked to Cardinal Bernardin for leadership. But now I don’t really think there’s anyone who is considered the leader.

    I think that another reason may be a sense of betrayal. Bishops who implemented the 1988 Indult may feel that they are being unjustly reprehended by this Pope.


    Why could the Pope not simply have insisted that there be at least one every-Sunday Traditional Latin Mass per diocese, provided that at least fifty faithful petitioned for it? That way, the nasty bishops in Brownsville, Madison, San Francisco, Manchester, Springfield (any one of them) and so on, would be brough in line, and the Galeones would be left alone.

    I think that the MP is simply the first step in liturgical reform.

  78. EDG says:

    To PKTP

    Thank you for all the learned commentary – not to mention the entertaining historical bits about the clergy and faithful settling their disputes with pitchforks. I hope it doesn’t come to that here in St. Augustine, although we do have lots of the diocese that is quite rural and has an abundance of pitchforks.

    You mentioned that the bishops who have been most difficult have been those who permitted 1988 Indult masses. In this case, the 1962 Mass was actually permitted by the prior bishop (Bp. Galeone has only been here 6 years; his predecessor was here for 22 years) but very grudgingly. St. Augustine is a very big diocese, in terms of territory, but the 1962 Mass was offered only in Jacksonville (northeast corner of the diocese) at one church in the nearly abandoned downtown area at 8:00 a.m. on Sundays. Many people drove more than two hours each way to get to it, and there were requests that other Traditional masses be added in other parts of the diocese, such as Gainesville (central part of the diocese). These, of course, were rejected by the former bishop, and when Bp Galeone arrived, he continued to reject them. He did not halt the TLM in Jacksonville, as everyone feared he might, but he wasn’t responsible for initiating it and he has not been supportive of it in any way. It is the lowest of low masses, of course, unsung and usually celebrated by an elderly Spanish priest who would not have won any liturgical prizes even prior to VatII, but nonetheless, people leave their homes at 5:00 a.m. to drive over dark country roads and get there by 8:00.

    So while the TLM is technically celebrated here in the diocese, I don’t think it was ever exactly “gracious and generous,” or whatever the wording of the 1988 Indult was! I’m sure the celebration of the Old Mass had been up to Bp Galeone, and not something already existing when he came here, it would never have been permitted. When bishops think of themselves as being “pastoral,” there always seems to be one group that somehow gets left out of the flock, and that would be those people and priests who might be suspected of sympathy for the pre-VatII rite. So I think Bp. Galeone is very typical in this, and it’s not that he feels he’s already done enough for this group, but that he’s a little annoyed that they’re still out there and somehow Rome has decided to stir up a question that he thought was already resolved.

    In addition, the diocese recently received a grant from a private foundation to train “lay liturgists,” presumably so it can hand over even more control of the local parishes to the little old ladies who now want to run them, but surprisingly enough, few candidates have been forthcoming. There are a few EEMs who have signed up, of course, but it doesn’t seem to be a popular idea even among them. So I think the diocesan liturgist and his friends are rather miffed by this and certainly do not want to have something they can’t control (because the TLM needs no “liturgists”) pop up and do well while their program languishes.

  79. Nathan says:


    There may be application here of a lesson I’ve learned after too many years in Washington bureaucracy—nine times out of ten, inertia and incompetence are a much better explanation of what goes on than malice and foresight.

    Perhaps some of the reactions to “Summorum Pontificum” fall into that category.

    In Christ,

  80. Peter Karl T. Perkins says:

    To E.D.G.:

    I agree with everything you have written and find that much of it is very informative. It is certainly true that many dioceses which permit the Traditional Mass do so minimally. I had noticed that the one in St. Augustine was at 8 a.m. Generally, however, my comments do stand. I mean that nearly every episcopal reaction so far has emanated from a diocese in which the bishop allows at least one every-Sunday Traditional Latin Mass. There has hardly been a peep from the others. The Indult-rejectors include some fairly popoulous sees in the U.S.A. such as Manchester, Brownsville, Wilmington, Savannah, Victoria, El Paso, Laredo, Madison, Monterey, San Francisco, Saginaw, Toledo, Evansveille, Springfield (Mass.), Springfield (Ill.), and Metuchen. There are over sixty of them in all.

    Part of the problem, I think, is that Summorum Pontificum could allow far greater access to the Traditional Mass than the numbers of its supporters would warrant, and this worries some bishops. For example, if a priest is allowed to celebrate his maximum number of Masses on Sunday itself (not counting Saturday afternoon for this example), which is three, he can make at least one of these a T.L.M. and this leaves him with two Masses to serve the needs of the other New Mass parishioners. The bishop really can’t get three New Masses out of him if he resists. To stop him from saying the T.L.M., the bishop must reduce the number of Masses he is allowed to celebrate (which exacerbates, not helps, the problem). The parish priest can then defy the bishop by flying in a retired priest, and it becomes a war.

    On the other side, under the 1988 rules, some bishops have allowed an inadequate number of Traditional Latin Masses, often in conditions that amount to persecution (poor hours, poor neighbourhood, poor celebrant, poor venue, and so on); others have shut it out entirely.

    I think that many moderates out there who love everyone for real might say that Ecclesia Dei was too little but that Summorum Pontificum is far too much. What is needed, they would say, is a regulation that would serve traditionalists where their numbers are reasonable but not affect reasonable service of the New Mass to the great majority. For instance, the Pope could have ordered that every diocese have one every-Sunday Traditional Mass at a central location where at least ten people had petitioned for it (because ten petitioners will often mean fifty attenders) throughout the diocese and, secondly, at least three additonal every-Sunday Traditional Masses where at least thrity people petition for them in parish churches. A bishop would be free to add or decline requests for more than that.

    So why didn’t he do this? It is because this is an intellectual Pope, and he is thinking about the rights not only of faithful but also of priests to benefit from the 1962 Missal in Latin. Since the old Mass was not and arguably cannot be abrogated (that would probably be a violation of Moral Law, which overrides Canon Law), every priest has a right to celebrate it in principle, at least when a duty to celebrate other Masses does not intrude.

    I think that some bishops are issuing illegal and even offensive regulations regarding S.P. as part of a policy of containment, or as ‘damage control’. They realise that the potential in S.P. is frightening, especially because so few people really love the New Mass (most prefer not to have Mass in Latin but few love the New Mass). They know that they cannot stop determined priests now, especially if they are retired priests. But they can try to intimidate priests and scare away some of them. Nevertheless, part of this containment will need to be the arrangement of more public Traditional Masses.

    While I am completely opposed to illegal acts on the part of bishops, I do think that they have a point. They are worried that, under S.P., there could be scores of poorly-attended Traditional Latin Masses. Many of these could be private Masses having only between five and twenty faithful in attendance. How might this affect the impression that the Church was not caring for the vast majority? Right now, we have a shortage of priests and many faithful, as a result of it, attend Liturgies of the Word, even those these do not fulfil the obligation and even though faithful have a canonical right to benefit from the normative Mass in their own language, which is the New Mass. In some cases, a bishop wants to have a priest–especially a younger and more energetic priest–available to say the maximum number of Sunday Masses. The reason is that there is a pastoral need for it. Much as I despise the New Mass, I concede that the bishops have a legitimate point here.

    It is true that the problem can be resolved in theory by considering Canon 202 and the bit about Saturday Masses of anticipation not counting in the maximum number of Masses allowed to priests on Sundays. A determined priest could skip Saturday morning Masses, celebrate two Sunday Masses of anticipation on Saturday at, say, 5 and 8 p.m., and then three Sunday Masses on Sunday at 8.30, 10 and 11.30 a.m. Then he could make one of these a Traditional Latin Mass (with our luck, the one at 8.30 a.m.) and everything would be legal. The problem is that this would ‘burn out’ the priest. It would really undermine the priest devotionally, I think. And some priests would refuse. In law, they may celebrate five Sunday Masses spread over Saturday and Sunday; but they also refuse to celebrate more than one Mass on Saturday (and make it a morning Mass) and one on Sunday.

    In the end, the problem here is that there is no way to reconcile principle and practice: all priests have a right to celebrate the old Mass because it was never forbidden or abrogated; but, during a time of a shortage of priest, there is no practical way to allow this without harming the interests of both laics (in terms of access to the New Mass to which they are attached) and priests (in terms of their health).

    This, I think, is one reason for the ‘damage control’ from some bishops. Another reason, unfortunately, is their unChristian hatred of traditionalists. The latter must be excluded; it leads a soul to ruination.

    If I were a one of these New Mass bishops and I wanted to deal with this problem, I would act very quickly to provide an adequate and reasonable access to the old Mass. I would allow between one and ten of them every Sunday (depending on the size and population of my see: two or three woudl be about right for St. Augustine) and situate a plural number of them at good points of access. I would arrange for dedicated and Latin-literate priests to celebrate these public Masses, and I would have at least some of them celebrated at good times and all of them celebrated in immodern buildings having Altar rails and real Altars fixed to the east walls. I would seek to satisfy traditionalists FAST. Then I would send out ‘smoke signals’ to the other priests that I wanted them to celebrate only the New Mass

    I think that Bishop Galeone has his order of operations reversed. He is perpetuating more hatred by slapping down his traditionalist flock. In the case of St. Augustine, he could possibly offer two or three T.L.M.s every Sunday, roughly equidistant from one another. The key here is to get them going very fast, well before 14th September. An initiation date of, say, 12th August would be ideal. Then and only then, he could send out his smoke signals that the way to promotion for a priest in St. Augustine is not to celebrate the old Mass, except privately and where this does not in the least inconvenience those wanting access to the New Mass. While he cannot prevent priests from defying him on this, he can make it clear that they would be just perfect as prison or hospital chaplains.

    The problem is that Bishop Galeone can not rightly persecute traditionalists and fail to provide reasonable pastoral care to them and then expect that they will be kind to him and his chancery. He and others like him have adopted policies that will ensure resistance, even revenge in some cases. With S.P., the Pope has given his priests the means to effect it.

    It is really disconcerting to see how Bishops Trautman and Galeone and, especially, Archbishop Conti in Scotland, have shown their bad character in this matter. They are bad men; they are bad as men. Issuing threats that a priest cannot celebrate the Mass of the Ages even privately in his own lingua sacra is the way to create division and hatred; and it is counter-productive. Bishop Galeone fails to realise how dangerous S.P. could be for him. Retired priests, in particular, can use it to celebrate *only* Traditional Latin Masses and demand access to parish churches to celebrate them. The newspapers will love that! In our world, what is poison is appearance, not truth. The appearance of weakness equals impotence.


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