Diocese of Santa Rosa (USA) and the Motu Proprio

The California Catholic Daily has an article with statements by His Excellency Most Revedrend Daniel Walsh, bishop of the long-suffering Diocese of Santa Rosa.

My emphases and comments.

Published: August 30, 2007
A fond hope

It will be “some time” before the Tridentine Mass will be celebrated in Santa Rosa diocese, says Bishop Walsh.

In the Aug. 2007 “Bulletin from the Diocese of Santa Rosa,” Bishop Daniel Walsh expressed his delight that “the Holy Father has reached out to those whose attachment to the missal of Pope John XXIII has made them feel alienated from the Church after the Second Vatican Council.” Walsh expressed his hope that Pope Benedict’s recent motu proprio freeing celebrations of the Tridentine Latin Mass “will bring back many who have distanced themselves from our Church and faith because of their love for the former form of celebrating the mass.”  [The problem here is that these are NOT the only people for whom the provisions of summorum Pontificum were intended.  Pope Benedict was concerned with everyone who wants to participate in the older form of Mass, even only occasionally!]

The pope’s desire, said Walsh, is “to make every effort to make it possible for all those who truly desire unity to remain in that unity or to attain it anew” – and the bishop quotes Benedict XVI: “It is a matter of coming to an interior reconciliation in the heart of the Church.”  [Again… this is far too narrow a vision.  Far too narrow.]

Walsh noted that in the motu proprio the pope “allows [Here is something to consider.  This "allows" makes it sound like something special, like a special permission.  That is not what the Motu Proprio does.  The MP establishes that it the older use is part and parcel of a priest’s options.] priests to celebrate” the traditional Mass “with the people who request it” [And privately.] and “gives permission to use the old ritual in administering the Sacraments of Baptism, Matrimony, Penance, and the Anointing of the Sick as the good of souls may suggest.”

However, said Walsh, “It will be some time before we see what concretely this permission for the use of the old missal will mean for our Diocese.”  [Right!  And that moment in time will be 14 September, when the provisions of summorum Pontificum go into effect in Santa Rosa and everywhere else in the world.]

Walsh said he asked “our priests if any of them can and are willing to offer the mass according to the old Missal. Only one priest came forward.” [Now.] Walsh called this “most understandable since the few of us who were ordained before 1970 and had some familiarity with the old Missal have not celebrated that form of the mass since 1970. The many priests ordained after 1970 have no experience of offering the mass according to the old missal.” [But they can learn.  Look… if the older men learned it, younger men can learn it today.]

Thus, said Walsh, “we have the challenge of finding priests who are capable of offering the mass according to the old Missal.”

And there is a further problem, given the fact that “the extraordinary form” of the Mass “may now be used on Sundays.” “We recognize,” said Walsh, “that our parishes and priests already have full schedules on Sundays.” And, “obviously the old missal and the accompanying rituals will have to be reprinted.”  [CHECK THIS OUT!]

Walsh said he hoped [Okay, that’s good.] “these challenges can be overcome for those who seek to celebrate the holy Sacrifice of the Mass in the extraordinary form.”

Santa Rosa diocese currently has two indult Tridentine Mass celebrations: at St. Mary’s Chapel, Petaluma, and Holy Family Church, Rutherford. 

Either the reporter or the bishop seem to have a somewhat deficient view of the Motu Proprio.

I do not take the bishop’s statements as being overly hostile, though they are a little cautious.  If he truly sees a problem with the shortage of priests who know what to do, then he is right!  It will take a while before the older form of Mass can be celebrated well in that diocese more than it is at present. 

But perhaps His Excellency could have sounded a bit more upbeat about this whole thing.  Sure there are some obstacles.  But for Pete’s sake!  They are not that hard to overcome!

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  1. BobP says:

    QUOTE: Walsh said he asked “our priests if any of them can and are willing to offer the mass according to the old Missal. Only one priest came forward.”

    Well, yeh, maybe because they all were told the old rite had been suppressed and it would be disobedience if any one did study it. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that the longer the bishops wait to help implement this plan, the harder it will be to find priests capable of saying the Latin Mass when future MPs make the TLM (hopefully) mandatory.

  2. Jim says:

    I live in the diocese of Santa Rosa, and Daniel Walsh is my bishop. He is a good bishop, too, but not a perfect bishop (are there any?). The problem in this diocese is the overt hostility of most of the priests toward the Traditional Latin Mass. So unless there are priests who are willing to celebrate the Ancient Mass, the people of this diocese will have no opportunity to attend — unless, of course, they live within easy driving distance of the two indult masses. In short, there will be little or no change for many years. That is the bottom line.

    Fortunately, there is an Eastern Rite catholic church near me. It has a growing congregation and a top notch priest. That is the real hope for the area where I live.

  3. There seem to be some common refrains in the episcopal party line.

    1.) “Oh, the priests in my diocese aren’t all that bright, you know, they couldn’t possibly learn any Latin at all, no sir, indeed! Why, the idea is simply laughable! My priests learning Latin?! Why they’re dim, I tell you. Dim.”

    2.) “Don’t frighten the flock with any sudden movements! I’ll have to gently and gradually introduce them to any changes just like I did so successfully in the glorious 1970s! (Ah, those were the days!) Besides, they hate change anyway. And Latin too. Especially Latin. Absolutely despise it. And they’re too stupid to learn it, even if they didn’t hate it. Yes, really.”

    3.) “Nearly forty, forty, years of tradition are at stake! We can’t just change our traditions that we’ve held for forty whole years! What are you, crazy?!”

    And last but not least:
    4.) “As always, we appreciate all the Pope’s suggestions. He’s such a nice man. We’ll get back to him on them soon.”

  4. John Enright says:

    To Kevin P. Edgecomb:

    My thoughts exactly. Glad that our Orthodox brothers, like you, support the Pope’s initiative in restoring an ancient tradition.

  5. Bill says:

    Kevin and John, I’m with you. I, too, see a pattern here: “I fully support our Holy Father, but oh by the way, anyone who thinks he may want to celebrate the extraordinary form should report to the Chancery to be tested. And don’t forget, only two masses a day are permitted, so if adding the extraordinary form means a third mass, well . . .you’re just out of luck. No matter — the only people that want the “Latin Mass” are the Pius X crowd.” What can be done about this??

  6. Just remember what Rabban Gamaliel said so long ago:

    “So in the present case I tell you, keep away from these men and let them alone; for if this plan or this undertaking is of men, it will fail; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You might even be found opposing God!” –Acts 5.38-39

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