I must say right away that this letter requires me to make a retraction concerning what I have said about continenter and stabliter in the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum.
The official text signed by the Holy Father has the word stabiliter and NOT continenter.
I will state clearly that I was wrong about this.
Let us move to the letter itself.
Judging from the PCED response the writer asked the following questions:
- Regardless of circumstances like a shortage of priests is it the Holy Father’s intention that at a parish where there are several Sunday Masses, one of them should be celebrated in the extraordinary form?
- Is the Motu Proprio intended to apply also to colleges and universities?
- What is the correct Latin text — stabiliter or continenter?
Here is my transcription of the 27 Feb 2008 response from the PCED. (Folks, it would really help if, when you send me images of letters, you also consider sending a transcript.)
I will add my emphases and some comments.
We wish to acknowledge receipt of your letter of 7 November 2007 address to His Eminence Cardinal Darío Castrillón Hoyos and beg your indulgence for not having managed to respond sooner due to the volume of mail which we have received since the promulgation of the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum and the many matters which have required our immediate attention. We will respond to your questions in the order in which you have raised them, point out at the same time that we are expecting the publication of an instruction on the application of the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum sometime in the relatively near future and this should deal in more detail with some of the questions you raise.
It is too difficult to make catergorial statements about whether every parish where there is interest, should provide the extraordinary form of the Mass on a weekly basis. There are many variants involved including the number of the faithful, the availability of priests etc. This matter would have to be considered from many practical perspectives. [In other words, we can’t answer that.]
The Motuo Proprio itself does not speak specifically of college and unversity chaplaincies, but in article 5, §5 it states In ecclesiis, quae non sunt nec paroeciales nec conventuales Rectoris ecclesiae est concedere licentiam de qua supra. This is understood as referring also to college or university chaplains. [In other words, 5, §5 applies to universities.]
The correct word, that which is contained in the Motu Proprio signed by the Holy Father, is stabiliter and the instruction should deal specifically with its interpretation. [In other words, Fr. Z was wrong when writing about continenter as being the official text.]
Please note some other things.
First, the Holy Father’s clarifications will be coming relatively soon. Who knows when that will be, but we probably won’t see it before Easter.
Second, the Holy Father is going to explain what 5, §1 says.