Catholic Herald: All seminaries must teach the old Latin Mass, says Vatican

The charming Anna Arco of the Catholic Herald has a piece in the same paper about the training of seminarians for the entirety of the Roman Rite!  We had a story about this here.

My emphases and comments.

All seminaries must teach the old Latin Mass, says Vatican

Anna Arco
February 22, 2008

Seminaries throughout the Catholic world will have to teach candidates how to celebrate the pre-Vatican II
Latin Mass, it emerged last weekend.  [I would be happy if the phrase simply ended "seminaries will have to teach".]

A letter from the Ecclesia Dei commission, the body which deals with matters concerning the 1962 missal, said that the Vatican is preparing to order rectors to “provide for the instruction of their candidates in both forms of the Roman Rite” in a forthcoming clarification of Summorum Pontificum, the Apostolic Letter which liberated the traditional Mass last July.

The Ecclesia Dei letter said: “Candidates for the priesthood in the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church have the right to be instructed in both forms of the Roman Rite.

“Those responsible for the formation of candidates for the priesthood in the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church should provide the instruction of their candidates in both forms of the Roman Rite.”

The letter surfaced last weekend on an internet site run by Fr John Zuhlsdorf, an American blogger who once worked for Ecclesia Dei.
Several seminaries which serve England and Wales are planning to follow the Pope’s instructions.  [Yay!] This could mean that in a few years every new priest will be qualified to say the traditional Mass.  [Brick by brick, my citizens! Brick by brick!]

The Beda College in Rome has no problems with the demands made by the letter, its rector Mgr Roderick Strange said. “When the clarification comes, then we’ll start making provisions for it. We’ll be able to establish the needs for it and so on at that time,” said Mgr Strange.

Fr Mark Crisp, rector of St Mary’s College, Oscott, Birmingham, said he was open to the possibility.  [I should hope he is "open".]

“What we have at the moment is a Latin Mass in the ordinary rite [Novus Ordo] once a month and we teach Latin, [Excellent!] though we don’t have anyone competent to teach the extraordinary rite at the moment,” he said. [I’ll come!]

But Canon Jeremy Garrat at St John’s College, Wonersh, expressed caution. “We’d better wait for the instructions from Rome before taking any steps,” he said.  [They could ask the exceptional Fr. Finigan, of The Hermeneutic, who already teaches there, to help them with this.  But they better do it before he is named to be the next Archbp. of Westminster.]

Rectors from the Venerable English College in Rome, Allen Hall in London and St Cuthbert’s College in Ushaw, Durham, were unavailable for comment.  [I am glad Miss Arco took the time to call these seminaries.  Good for her!  That was interesting.]

The extraordinary form has not been taught in seminaries in England and Wales for over 40 years and most priests today have never been taught how to celebrate it. Priests who have wanted to learn it have had to fund their own lessons at traditional rite seminaries.  [Isn’t that sad… and great… at the same time?]  One priest ordained in 1967 remembered being trained according to the 1962 missal for the first two years of seminary and then switching to the New Rite. “I can celebrate in both forms but I’m quite rusty on the extraordinary form,” he said.

In the letter giving the reasons for the Motu Proprio Pope Benedict XVI noted that the extraordinary form was increasingly popular among young people.

“Young persons too have discovered this liturgical form, felt its attraction and found in it a form of encounter with the Mystery of the Most Holy Eucharist particularly suited to them,” he wrote.

But with the liberalisation of the traditional Mass came the problem that too few priests were actually able to celebrate in the extraordinary form.

There has now been a surge of interest in the rite, according to John Medlin of the Latin Mass Society. He said he hoped the clarification of the Motu Proprio would be published soon to clear up confusion and to end attempts to stall new initiatives.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. The fact that some seminary rectors were not available for comment speaks a good deal of their attitude to our Holy Father and the Magisterium, leave alone their approach to priestly formation. Some of what I do know about these institutions from former students is best left unsaid….

  2. Matt Q says:

    Yes, Father, brick by brick. We’ll wait and see though what wording Ecclesia Dei uses in this regard, as well as the mythical Guidelines due out whenever. If things are moving this quickly, “brick by brick” should rephrased into “wall by wall.” When something needs to be built, it’s more appreciable once the walls start going up. :)

  3. Matt Q: We’ll wait and see though what wording Ecclesia Dei uses in this regard, as well as the mythical Guidelines due out whenever.

    Yes… we will wait. Also, the “wording” will not be from the PCED. It will be the Supreme Pontiff’s wording, issued in forma specifica.

  4. Beowulf says:

    Venerable English College in Rome? I think the staff there would prefer to eat bicks than allow the EF to be taught. So, by implication, one of the exciting things to come from this will be a sign that the 1970s are actually over in our seminaries, not just liturgically but theologically too.
    I cannot help but think that SUM PONT is really the key document to the Bnedictine pontificate, a small explosion that sets off an atom bomb.

  5. Tzard says:

    So, where does this right come from? If it sticks in people’s mind that it’s by edict, it may not get far. But when peole start thinking it comes from higher principles that a priest must know all forms of the roman rite – that’s dynamite.

    If this is necessary for seminarians, why is it not necessary for *all* priests to know both forms? (Note, I’m not suggesting they necessarily do both forms, but they know it). If they weren’t taught it in seminary for 40 years – to continue the wall analogy – Why not refurbish the wall – redo the mortar and patch up the cracks….

  6. Bulbulus says:

    Father, I’m afraid I’m a bit confused. Is her article based on that letter, or is there somewhere else from which she is getting her information? Because it seems to me that the language in the letter (“should,” “have the right,” etc.) is a little more bouncy than leading one to believe that the Vatican “is preparing to order rectors” to do anything…but that’s just me. Not that the Vatican won’t do so, I’m just asking about the language of the letter.

    Also, is there any indication, or do you have any idea when this mystical explanatory document might be released?

  7. Richard says:

    I agree with Bulbulus; the letter shown does not say that seminaries must teach the Extraordinary Form,. It says that seminarians have the right to be taught it, and that the seminaries must provide for this; in other words the seminarian has to ask first.

    Whether seminarians feel comfortable in asking for this instruction will depend on the atmosphere of the seminary and the attitude of the bishops.

  8. T. Chan says:

    Will there be a reminder that seminarians should be learning Latin as well?

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