The Bishop of Victoria, Canada, Most Reverend Richard Gagnon has made a statement about Summorum Pontificum.
My emphases and comments.
New Order of the Mass [Clever!]
By Bishop Richard Gagnon
Pope Benedict’s Apostolic Letter, entitled Summorum Pontificum, issued Moto Proprio, which means, stemming from the Pope’s own accord or interest, deals with the celebration of the Mass. The letter addresses the two forms of the Mass within the Latin Rite of the Church, as opposed [or in harmony with] to the way Mass is celebrated in the Eastern Churches. Specifically, the Holy Father is referring to the newer Mass which grew out of the liturgical reforms of the Second Vatican Council and the older [he seems to be in harmony with the way I have been calling it] pre-Council Mass stemming from the Roman Missal of Pope St. Pius V and updated by Blessed John XXIII. If we are 55 and older, we would have clear memories of this earlier form of the Mass.
Now it is no secret to acknowledge that there are many Catholics who have a certain attachment to the older Mass said in the Latin language. This is particularly true in parts of Europe. [This reminds me of the odd comment made by the bp. of Fresno.] Pope Benedict is very concerned about effecting an “interior” reconciliation in the heart of the Church over this matter. The question is, of course, not so much to do with the use of Latin [exactly] as the newer Mass can also be said in Latin or in any other language for that matter. Rather, it has to do with the liturgical form of the Mass itself and there are important differences between the two, [This is refreshing. There really are big differences.] even though both belong to the Latin Rite.
It is the concern of the Pope to encourage a certain sense of continuity within the Latin Rite from the past to the present so that the unfortunate divisions which have grown within the Church can be overcome. [YES!] It is important to note that the older Latin Mass was never abrogated by the Second Vatican Council and the need for full participation, a teaching of the Second Vatican Council, still applies to both forms. [In fact, the Church’s teaching about "active participation", properly understood, began long before the Council.] The question is, of course, not so much to do with the use of Latin as the newer Mass can also be said in Latin or in any other language for that matter.
The Holy Father stresses that the newer form of the Mass, the Mass we are all familiar with, is to be considered and accepted, as the Ordinary Form of the Mass. The older form, said in Latin only, is to be considered and accepted as the Extraordinary Form of the Mass. In effect, the former restrictions that applied to the older form of the Mass after the Council, namely, when and where it could be celebrated, are now removed. With this Apostolic Letter, groups of the faithful who are attached to the older Latin form of the Mass, namely the extraordinary form, may request that it be celebrated according to the guidelines outlined in the letter. Of course, there are very few priests today who have been trained to celebrate Mass in the Extraordinary Form, at least in our part of the world. [For now.]
I tend to see this Apostolic Letter as one which reflects great courage on the part of the Pope. [YAY!] He is seeking to deal with a difficult reality in the Church by recognizing that there have been, and continue to be, tensions surrounding liturgical practice. His approach is to encourage a sense of universality in the Church, [Catholic identity?] recognizing various liturgical expressions that are important to Catholics and how these practices are linked together; in other words, there is a true continuity between them. [He sure has a bead on that useful word!] With this approach, the two forms, namely, the Ordinary and Extraordinary, will no doubt, influence one another [I think His Excellency has been reading WDTPRS!] in both building community and developing a sense of reverence and beauty in the Liturgy.
Great letter! He made the right points and didn’t impose a hostile interpretation on the Motu Proprio. Well done!
Victoria’s come a long way from Remi de Roo!
This article, combined with the letter from the recent convert complaining about the music in the Catholic Church, inspired this response. I too am a convert, 13 years last Easter from the Presbyterian church. Oddly, it was the inclusive language in their new Bibles and hymnals that formed the last straw to drive us away. When we started attending Mass, I was disheartened to hear what sounded like campfire songs accompanied by guitars. I thought the music seemed inconsistent with the rest of what I was seeing and hearing in the Mass and learning in RCIA. We have a new choir director who is a talented musician and can get a lot out of her choirs and bands. Unfortunately, the music is more fitting for an off broadway musical. The band is set stage right replacing a number of pews…heads crane humorously to see which choir member is singing. Our priest is wonderful man, formed in the 60’s. He rarely wears his clerics and hasa little concern for maintaining appropriate standards. The 7 AM daily Mass is appropriate. The 7 AM Sunday Mass is the only Sunday Mass quiet enough for prayerful preparation for Mass. There is a din before and after all the other Masses. I know there are others in my parish who yearn as I do. I see in your blog and others, that we are not unique. When these concerns are openly discussed, I seem to be labeled and dismissed as an unfriendly, anal retentive, right wing kook who just needs to lighten up. I am open to thoughts, suggestions, advice on how to survive, institute change or evangelize.
This article, combined with the letter from the recent convert complaining about the music in the Catholic Church, inspired this response. I too am a convert, 13 years last Easter from the Presbyterian church. Oddly, it was the inclusive language in their new Bibles and hymnals that formed the last straw to drive us away. When we started attending Mass, I was disheartened to hear what sounded like campfire songs accompanied by guitars. I thought the music seemed inconsistent with the rest of what I was seeing and hearing in the Mass and learning in RCIA. We have a new choir director who is a talented musician and can get a lot out of her choirs and bands. Unfortunately, the music is more fitting for an off broadway musical. The band is set stage right replacing a number of pews…heads crane humorously to see which choir member is singing. Our priest is wonderful man, formed in the 60’s. He rarely wears his clerics and has little concern for maintaining appropriate standards. The 7 AM daily Mass is appropriate. The 7 AM Sunday Mass is the only Sunday Mass quiet enough for prayerful preparation for Mass. There is a din before and after all the other Masses. I know there are others in my parish who yearn as I do. I see in your blog and others, that we are not unique. When these concerns are openly discussed, I seem to be labeled and dismissed as an unfriendly, anal retentive, right wing kook who just needs to lighten up. I am open to thoughts, suggestions, advice on how to survive, institute change or evangelize.
“[I think His Excellency has been reading WDTPRS!]”
It MAKES YOU WONDER, doesn’t it? The way these Bishops talk they appear to fall into two distinct groups, one group is using the same old party line, while the other group APPEARS to have done some “online investigation” to decide how to make their statement. The “Latin Mass” comment was clearly avoided, as was “stable group”.
Then again I wonder just how many are banking on the idea there simply arent enough trained priests (though that is clearly changing).
Hopefully BIshop Gagnon will soon make the extraorindary form of the Mass available for faithful in his diocese.
I’m getting so tired of bishops claiming they have no priests who can say the Old Mass. If they had been faithful to Vat II as much as they want us all to be, they would have seen to it that the Latin language would be preserved (SC #36) most of all among their own clergy. Likewise, if they had heeded (as they want us all to heed the Popes) Pope John XXIII’s encyclical “Veterum Sapientiae” and made sure their seminarians learned Latin well, they would be more than able to accommodate requests for the Extraordinary form. Priests who can’t pass their bishop’s Latin exam ought to ask them, “Why didn’t you prepare me properly according to the wishes of the Council and the Pope who convened it?”
I am particularly heartened by the Bishop commenting on The Pope’s courage.
I remember Archbishop Borders ,then head of the Bishops’Doctrine committee and Archbishop of Baltimore,stating to the press that Pope Paul’s order to put first confession back to its traditional place before first holy communion was meant only for the Italians.This prompted then Bishop of Arlington Bishop Welsh,who had just ordered all parishes in Arlington to revert to the trditional placement of these sacraments,to say to the Washington Post “I would rather stand with Paul of Rome than Borders of Baltimore. When Ex Corde Ecclesiae eas issued the bishops said that it was for europe.When the review of religious orders of women was had they said it was meant for Europe.When the Popes condemned slavery the American bishops wrote President VanBuren and told him that the pope was not talking about us but Europe! Cardinal O’Malley was the first to state in his meeting with the pope and afterwards to his diocese that the motu proprio was intended primarily for Europe. It shows how out of touch some bishops are both with all their people and tradition.They should heed the call of VII and see and discern and learn form the signs of the times.More and more people are saying that we must move forward propelled by Tradition.
Yes, good things are definitely happening in the Victoria diocese. Having been raised there during His Excellency Remi de Roo’s tenure (which means I was confirmed by him), I could not help but be aware of some of the troubling things going on. Nevertheless, one was always able to find a solid parish to attend somewhere, and Bishop de Roo did allow the TLM under the Indult. Which, unfortunately, seems to have faded away.
I have seen from a distance the positive changes made since then, and it has helped me retain a sense of hope for the diocese currently my home–a place which seems to be still interested in the 1970’s agenda.
The cathedral in Victoria is building a chapel of Adoration–they currently have daily adoration times–scheduled confession times have been tripled since I was there, the crucifix has been replaced, and all in all, things are starting to turn around. I could never have imagined such an about-face in my younger days, as things were quite bleak. And these are just a few of the changes. So perhaps they will even have the TLM there in the near future again! I think, however, that the promulgation of the MP will take a fair bit longer in my current location. More prayer needed!
You should know that the SSPX is active in Victoria, and celebrates liturgies
at one of the greatest Catholic treasures on the Island – St. Anne’s Chapel:
Writing from outside your communion, I wonder if many of your bishops cannot read. What the Pope says is perfectly clear and unambiguous. I would have thought that their job was to get on with it, not impede the intentions of their excellent Pontiff.
I don’t know what’s going on in the churches, but the town of Victoria is one beautiful place.
It would be difficult to exaggerate the sorry state of the church in the Diocese of Victoria. Remi de Roo was arguably the most radical bishop in Canada, a place where, until a few years ago, orthodox bishops were few in number. One or two parishes in his diocese used Betty Crocker sponge cake as their “Eucharistic Species” for a decade or two.
He was in office from 1962 – 1999; he departed under a cloud of financial scandal involving a questionable land deal, an even-more questionable investment in throughbred racehorses, and a considerable degree of subterfuge and deception. An investigation into the matter after de Roo’s retirement concluded that the bishop was at the centre of a series of transactions which had all the hallmarks of fraud.
De Roo’s successor was Bishop Raymond Roussin (now Archbishop of Vancouver). His brief 5-year tenure was almost entirely absorbed in cleaning up the colossal financial mess that de Roo left behind. Bishop Gagnon, formerly Vicar-General of the Vancouver Archdiocese, was installed about three years ago. Since that time, a series of small improvements have been carried out, often in the face of fierce resistance from the entrenched vested interests who ran the place under de Roo.
Victoria is my local Diocese and I can second everything Mr. Mulholland has said. In my former local parish, the priest occasionally used little cakes with raisins in them for the ‘Eucharist’. There were pumpkins on the High Altar for Hallowe’en. The Altar was wheeled out like a tea tray for Oktoberfest, to make room for the bandstand. A group of Protestant ladies were put in charge of the sanctuary and they decorated it lavishly for Lent, complete with white and yellow flowers on the Altar. The priest there occasionally had special Masses during which the faithful sat in a circle on the floor and wafted sweetgrass smoke over themselves usually after singing kumbayah. They also had mass ‘group reconciliations’ there. Frequently, the priest had laics deliver the entire sermon. On one occasion, a visiting Franciscan priest simply composed a Eucharistic Prayer on the spot, with lots of references in it to “mums and pops”.
After De Roo retired, he headed down to Atlanta, Georgia, to deliver messages supporting women’s ordination. But the Pope ordered him to be silent and he obeyed. During his tenure, when he was ‘away’ travelling, three priests, all of whom have since left the priesthood and one of whom has left the Catholic Faith, locked the cathedral doors shut and then used chainsaws to destroy the beautiful Altar and its splendid reredos. They replaced it with a suppertable that was later decorated (in place of a frontal) with Indian carvings. All the statues were removed from the cathedral and, at one point, De Roo is said to have suggested that they paint the interior pink.
While Bishop Gagnon has made a few improvements, De Roo’s old vicar-general, Msgr. Lapierre, is still in place.
But for those who are interested, I can say that there are already plans to restore the Traditional Latin Mass, and I think that Bishop Gagnon might very well have given his blessing to them. This would be good as the the S.S.P.X Mass here is celebrated only one Sunday per month