Archd. of New Orleans: guidelines for Summorum Pontificum

The Archdiocese of New Orleans has issued its guidelines for Summorum Pontificum.

My emphases and comments.


The Holy Father wrote to the bishops with great trust and hope that his apostolic letter Summorum pontificum would be accepted in the best positive light as the Church’s attempt to be more inclusive [!] in our worship of God as he welcomed the faithful who are committed to the form of worship practiced in the Church before the reforms of the liturgy according to mandate of the Second Vatican Council in Sacrosanctum Concilium. With that same trust and hope, I offer to you a positive framework for establishing a process in the Archdiocese of New Orleans to guide those who wish to celebrate the Holy Mass using the 1962 Missal of Bl. John XXIII.

Precis of the Holy Father’s apostolic letter Summorum pontificum [Hmmm…]

The Holy Father expressed multiple purposes in his letter which should be of note to all. He issues the letter:

    * to re-emphasize that the Missal of Pope Paul VI is the ordinary text of the Mass in the Latin rite;
    * to grant legitimate freedom in the choice and use of liturgical texts which have been judged by the Church to be faithful doctrinal expressions of liturgical prayer;
    * to present the Missal of Bl. John XXIII as an extraordinary text approved for use as long as there is full acceptance and use of the ordinary text of the Missal of Pope Paul VI and of the Second Vatican Council;
    * to recognize that the extraordinary form of the Latin rite is attractive to some people because of a perceived loss of a sense of the sacred in some celebrations using the Missal of Pope Paul VI; [There are other good reasons too.  For example, people simply find that that form of Mass points them to the Mass’s central mystery in a more efficacious way.]
    * and, to specify parameters for the celebration of the extraordinary form of the Mass, specifically:

    * Any priest has the option [also right] to celebrate a private Mass using the extraordinary form;
    * The Archbishop and the pastor [Hmmm… actually I think the pastor can do it himself.  It is also true that the Archbishop can do this by himself!  But it need not be both the Archbishop and pastor in each circumstance, as if both of them have a nuclear missle launch key they must turn at the same time.] may grant requests for Mass using the extraordinary form to any group of stable faithful [as opposed to "unstable" faithful?] who adhere to the earlier [and now present!] liturgical form;
    * The celebration of the Mass using the extraordinary form takes place under the oversight of the Archbishop; [though according the MP the pastor is the one who decides in the parish]
    * Any group of stable lay faithful [Maybe that wasn’t a slip after all.   The problem is that "stable" in this case sounds as if it relates to a precise term used in canon law.  It doesn’t.  It goes back to continenter, not stabiliter.  Also, this says "lay faithful".  Surely clergy can be included in the coetus continenter existens.] may petition the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei" to have Mass celebrated in the extraordinary rite if the pastor or the bishop cannot satisfy them.

Process to be used [Hmmm…] in the Archdiocese of New Orleans to make for a smooth introduction and use of the "extraordinary form" of celebrating Holy Mass.

1. St. Patrick’s Church, where Mass according to the Missal of Bl. John XXIII is already celebrated is the first [I hope this is chronological and not a "preference", as in "If people want this stuff, here’s where they have to go first.] locus of the extraordinary form of Mass.
# At St. Patrick’s the Sunday Mass is celebrated using the extraordinary form.
# The other sacraments and sacramentals are also celebrated, according to their extraordinary forms, at St. Patrick’s Church.  [It sounds like they are doing their level best to keep it only at this location.]
# Pastoral care can be and is appropriately provided to the people attracted to the extraordinary form of the Latin rite at St. Patrick’s. [This makes it sound like a "personal parish".  Perhaps someone there in N.O. knows the score.]

2. The Archbishop will consider a public or parish Mass [Summorum Pontificum says the "pastor" considers this.] in the extraordinary form wherever there is a stable group [Okay… we made a switch.  Indication of a different author?  In any event, this is founded on a bad translation of the Latin.] of lay faithful attracted to the extraordinary form of the Mass. But before authorizing such a Mass, the affected deaneries [Is that "affected" or "affected"?] are to meet and discuss the best way to accomplish regularly scheduling such a Mass. [That is all very interesting, but not really indicated in the Motu Proprio as necessary. It sounds more and more as if restrictions are being placed on the provisions of the Motu Proprio.]
# The Dean(s) may want to offer opportunities to the/a community claiming to be a stable group ["Claiming"?  This is awful.  It sounds like proofs will be demanded.  PROVE you are "stable".  Ausweis, bitte!  Based on whose criteria?  And remember… this is all based on an inaccurate English rendering of the Latin.  And the Deans have nothing to do with this!   The Motu Proprio says "pastor", not "dean".] of lay faithful to meet with them to determine size and commitment to the extraordinary form.  [?!?!  "size and commitment"?]
# The Dean(s) are to recommend a location/parish at which services according to the extraordinary form will be offered.
# The Dean(s) will recommend two priests [where do they get this number?  There is nothing about this in the MP.] to the Archbishop who will be the celebrants of the extraordinary form of the liturgy. [The Deans can also recommend what football teams to bet on this Sunday.  The Deans can’t make these decisions for pastors, at least as far as the Motu Proprio is concerned.]

3. All priests who wish to celebrate according to the "Extraordinary" form are to have appropriate formation and education for this purpose.  [Here we go…..]
# Prior to any training programs being developed, the Pastoral Practices Committee of the Presbyteral Council will survey the priests to determine who, and how many, priests desire to celebrate the "extraordinary" form of the Mass.   [For their "opportune knowledge" I guess.] They will also determine which churches are properly equipped for the celebration of the ‘extraordinary" form of the Mass. [Also, very interesting information.   However, the the church has a consecrated altar, it should be properly equipped.]
# Notre Dame Seminary, with the participation of the Office of Worship, will develop a program to provide training [Good.] to and to determine the competency [Not good.] of, priests who wish, or are approved by the Archbishop, to celebrate the ‘Extraordinary" form of the Mass.

A. Training is to be a practicum/workshop designed by the Liturgist and Latinist [!] who teach at the seminary. Other help may be brought in if needed. The practicum/workshop will have a tuition charge.  [Look… dignus est operarius and all that… but this is starting to sound like too much work.  Ihat is probably what they desire the effect of this to be: "I don’t have time for this stuff."]
B. At the completion of the practicum/workshop, assessment will be made of the competency of the priest [This sets up a double-standard for priests desiring to celebrate the older form of Mass.  Will priests who don’t want to use the older form be tested to see if they are competent?] as regards the Latin language, [Let us not forget the (correct) interpretation by Card. Egan.] and familiarization/knowledge of rubrics and requirements for vesture, plate and furnishings. Remedial work, [for the newer Mass too, I hope?] including attendance at the seminary’s Latin class (2 years) [This goes WAY BEYOND what idoneus means in the Motu Proprio.  This imposes an undue burden, though I would be happy if more priests had Latin.] will be recommended if necessary. Tuition will be charged. This judgment is based on the Holy Father’s statement that Apriests who use the Missal of Bl. John XXIII must be qualified to do so@ (Art. 5’4)  [Repeat: This seems punitive.]
C. One practicum/workshop will be provided in the fall semester and one in the spring semester.

# Approval for a parish Mass to be celebrated is conditioned on the acceptance of the Holy Father’s and the Ordinary’s policies [I seems out of keeping with what the Motu Propriosays.  It says that the pastor deals with this and the ordinary is to provide help if the pastor can’t repond to requests properly.] regarding celebration of the "extraordinary form" of the Mass.
# Priests will celebrate the "extraordinary form" at St. Patrick’s Church with Fr. Stan Klores in attendance to "fine tune" the celebration. Fr. Klores will give an analytical critique to assist the priest.  [Now it’s getting a little weird.  I am sure Fr. Klores is a very good man.  But this is simply too complicated.  How many men are going to want to submit themselves to this sort of procedure?]

4. Deacons [!] who wish to participate in the extraordinary form of the Mass will need to attend a special training program sponsored by the Office of the Permanent Diaconate and staffed by Notre Dame Seminary personnel. The Office of Worship and Fr. Klores will assist in this training program as called upon.  [I am in favor of training programs.  But look at the way this is being presented.]

5. Costs for all vesture and other items needed are to be borne by the priest(s) who wish to celebrate the "extraordinary form" of the Mass, except in those instances where the Archbishop designates/approves a parish for the celebration of a Sunday Mass using the "extraordinary form". [Sound like a lot of trouble.  Thankfully, most priests have a lot of their own things.]

6.. It is recommended that worship aids, such as the Latin-English Booklet Missal for praying the traditional Mass published by the Coalition in Support of Ecclesia Dei, be purchased for each parish or church where the Mass according to the Missal of Bl. John XXIII is used.  [A good suggestion.]

7. Administrative records of priests approved to celebrate and deacons approved to assist [Ausweis, bitte!] in the celebration of the "Extraordinary"form of the Mass will be handled in the Office of Worship and forwarded to the Office of Priests Personnel and the Permanent Diaconate Office. [Good heavens!]

This is the "best possible light" mentioned in the first paragraph?  This is to inspire "trust and hope" among the priests and people?  This is a "positive framework"?

Other than the offering of formal training, which could be really good, this also strikes me as pretty being pretty top heavy,

Words escape me at the moment.

Okay… I’m back.  I’ll come back to that positive point. 

I wonder if this could be the first diocesan training program we have seen so far.  It is formalized at the seminary.  Does that mean that the seminarians will also have access, or be required to take, that training too?   If so, this is amazing. 

If not, well… then this is, even in light of that positive point, the manifestation of a harsh double-standard being imposed on priests who want to learn or use the older form of Mass.

I am back to "words escape me".

We’ll see how this plays out, I guess.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in SESSIUNCULA. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. chris K says:

    The visual that I continue to have while reading some of the implementation expectations is one of a hovering helicopter of “bishop’s special committee of LM watchers”, with a telescope observing each “new” mass (to them)(TLM)! Then the report back to the bishop follows. Meanwhile, at the other large number of churches in most dioceses, the gum chewers both on the altar and in the pews, questionable attire (yes, again both on the altar and in the pew), the dumbfounded looks between altar servers as to just when they should carry the book or which cruet should be carried by either, or when to ring the bell, sit in chairs or kneel, and not necessarily know all of the vernacular prayers/responses, still continues after 4 decades!

    In the end, after the classical form finally breaks through, that magnifying glass will serve to enlarge all of the real errors of the “reform” and that intention of the Holy Father of the wave raising all ships should come to fruition.

  2. Geri says:

    I thought the comparisons some people were making between competency testing in the Extraordinary Form on the one hand, and civil-rights-violating “literacy tests” to vote on the other, were a bit overwrought.

    But this repeated reminder of the monetary cost, and by whom it it will be borne is starting to sound like a poll tax…

    The, “oh, and if your Latin isn’t good enough, we’ll make you take a TWO YEAR course” threat is just plain loopy.

    (Save the Liturgy, Save the World)

  3. Jbrown says:

    Boiling all of this down, it would appear that in several dioceses in this and other countries the universal law of the Church in Summorum Pontificum is not being followed or even facially acknowledged. Some dioceses are setting numerical limits, others extremely burdensome certification tests, and there are several dioceses that simply ignore the provisions entirely and indicate that status quo is the law no matter what. It goes without saying that until PCED corrects these misinterpretations or acts of disobedience, the motu proprio is only theoretically in place-when he bishop threatens punishment for following the law, it is effectively a dead letter in that diocese.

  4. B. says:

    The “Ausweis bitte” comment lets me think of the regulations the Bishop of Feldkirch, Austria has issued. According to those, the Vatican-2-compatibility of all participants has to be checked, the new lectionary in German has to be used and -imagine that- all masses in the extraordinary form where faithful attend have to be explicitly approved by the bishop.
    Full text here.

  5. Cathy says:

    It is my understanding that Archbishop Hughes wanted to celebrate Mass in the Extraordinary Rite (or at least be there) on 9/14 in Saint Patrick’s, but had a previous engagement. Instead he will celebrate a Pontifical ER High Mass on All Saint’s Day.

  6. Mike says:

    I am not surprised by anything that happens in the Archdiocese of New Orleans. The majority (no exaggeration) of the priests in that archdiocese do not celebrate the Novus Ordo correctly but now they want to impose all of these regulations.

    Fr. Klores is a good man and a wonderful priest. I am sure that his only goal is to assist priests in learning. Unfortunately, the bureaucrats in the chancery are trying to make this as difficult as possible.

    But, more importantly, there is another factor here. Notre Dame Seminary just lost their rector and two faculty members, all of whom were of questionable orthodoxy. Now there is a new rector but they have already lost seminarians because other Louisiana bishops pulled their seminarians out. Now they are probably strapped for cash to keep the seminary running. So what do they do??? They tell priests that they have to go tho the local seminary and pay them money to get certified by the archbishop to celebrate Mass. (It seems pretty obvious from the above memo that they don’t want anyone getting certified anywhere else.)

  7. Gavin says:

    I try not to read the worst into these messages, so I’m assuming they aren’t doing all the jump-through-hoops training to suppress the extraordinary form. I assume they’re doing it to put more money into the seminary.

  8. Allan Potts says:

    The only thing I can think of is, “may the saints preserve us”. (From these bureaucrats and dissidents)

  9. Deborah says:

    Unbelievable. The irony is that bishops like this are usually quick to call traditional Catholics legalists and pharisees. Interesting how they are usually the worst legalists, imposing burdensome rules and regulations which serve no good whatsoever.

  10. ALL: The odd thing about the statement is that apart from the exaggerated bureaucracy being imposed on priests and people, which strikes me as weird and probably outside the provisions of the Motu Proprio, there are good points. Frankly, the business about training is very good. So, I am left scratching my head about this.

  11. Romulus says:

    I am sure Fr. Klores is a very good man. But this is simply too complicated. How many men are going to want to submit themselves to this sort of procedure?

    Several men now priests have received informal (but thorough) instruction from him. My pastor is meticulous, but not nearly as scary as these guidelines would have one believe. Believe me, he doesn’t turn anyone away. Any parish that gets a priest formed by him will be fortunate indeed.

    One of the chief reasons NOT to abandon New Orleans these days is the extraordinary (in multiple senses) job being done at St. Patrick’s. Please remember us and our pastor in your prayers.

  12. caleb1x says:

    I can relay five facts about the Archdiocese of NO and the traditional Mass.

    1. St. Patrick’s has held the traditional Mass since at least 1978.
    2. On September 14, the diocese held a celebration of the Motu Propiro with an evening Mass at St. Patrick’s. Archbishop Hughes was supposed to be the celebrant, but he was called out of town.
    3. Archbishop Hughes will be the celebrant of the extraordinary form at St. Patrick’s on November 1.
    4. The September 14 event at St. Patrick’s is the cover story of the Archdiocesan newspaper, The Clarion Herald: .
    5. On September 14, St. Benilde parish, under the direction of Father Pat Wattigny, scheduled a weekly Sunday Mass in the extraordinary form. It is held at 7:00 am. (I have yet to confirm this in person.)

Comments are closed.