As you probably know I am in Rome right now. I will be heading back to the USA via London early next week.
During my all too brief Roman sojourn, I have been catching up with people and news.
One of the very interesting things I have learned is that the Pontifical North American College, the seminary where most of the men from the USA live and receive their spiritual formation, is going to be … wait for it…
It may be that many of the men so trained will not either want or need to celebration the older form of Mass. Fine.
However, by learning about it, rather… by learning it, they will have much deeper insight into what saying Mass as a priest of the Roman Rite is all about. Coupled with their years in Rome, they will be shaped as "priests for the third millennium", as the former NAC rector and present Archbishop of Milwaukee called them in his book.
Pope Benedict’s Motu Proprio is principally for priests. It underscores their rights. In this Summorum Pontificum stands alone.
The provisions aim especially to spark a rebuilding of the Church’s identity, especially through creating continuity in our liturgical practice with our deep past and traditions.
We must reinvigorate our Catholic identity from within, so that we have something by which we can shape the whole world. Priests form the people who form the world.
Thus, priests must be well formed.
Use of the older Mass will have a powerful effect on the way younger priests see their priesthood, how they celebrate Mass, and therefore how lay people see the priest’s priesthood and what they understand Mass is in their lives.