QUAERITUR: More than one Sunday TLM in a parish?

I received this by e-mail from a priest:

Fr. Z,

Long time reader, first time questioner.

I’ve been celebrating the TLM since Winter ’06.

In my parish, I celebrate the TLM on Tuesdays and Sundays for the faithful. My question is, can I celebrate more than one TLM on one day if needs be. The question has been raised about Sundays.

Summorum p5, art 2

Celebration in accordance with the Missal of Bl. John XXIII may take place on working days;  while on Sundays and feast days one such celebration may also be held.

Celebratio secundum Missale B. Ioannis XXIII locum habere potest diebus ferialibus; dominicis autem et festis una etiam celebratio huiusmodi fieri potest.

‘una’ is confusing me slightly. It seems that it can be the definite ‘one’ or the indefinite in this context. Further, no article is given for ferials.

So far I have erred on the conservative side and stuck with one.

Sticking closely to the text, here is how I render it:

§ 2.  Celebration according to the Missal of Bl. John XXIII can take place on weekdays; on Sundays and feasts, however, there can be also one celebration of this kind.

I think the Latin tells us that we can have one such Mass.

However, we must take into account that this document may show the influence of Italian: "una celebrazione" need not limit the number of Masses to only one.   But, we do have to stick to the Latin.

At the same time, I am mindful of the comments of His Eminence the Cardinal President of the Pont. Comm. Ecclesia Dei.  It seems to me that, remembering also the generosity the late Pontiff desired, we may think that some latitude is allowed here so long as those who desire to participate at celebrations of the Novus Ordo are accomodated.  It strikes me that adding a Mass, even a second TLM, could be allowed so long as a Novus Ordo Mass is not cut from the scedule, being mindful of course of the reasonable restriction on how many Masses a priest can celebrate on a day, even for good pastoral reasons.

In the meantime, I think you are not making a mistake be keeping to one only.  Give this a little time.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Federico says:

    I think there’s little question that one can celebrate more than one TLM on Sundays with an indult for the second+ from the diocesan bishop.

    Summorum pontificum did not explicitly abrogate the previous law; I also don’t think it completely reordered the previous law. As a result, we must look to harmonize the new law with the old (c. 21: In dubio revocatio legis praeexistentis non praesumitur, sed leges posteriores ad priores trahendae sunt et his, quantum fieri potest, conciliandae.)

    If you have pastoral needs for two TLMs, I see no reason why your diocesan bishop would not grant the indult for the second.

  2. chris says:

    The spirit of that clause was so the NO Mass would remain for those who want it. Fair enough. So as long as it does, why not have two traditional Masses on Sunday?

    If the same document says the traditional Mass was never abrogated, then I’m not sure how it could be interpreted as “limited” either. Common sense must prevail.

  3. Limbo says:

    In the Traditional parish we sometimes attend here down under (a shared church with a Novus Ordo parish) there is an early morning TLM Mass followed by another TLM later in the morning. I guess it is because there are two TLM priests there.

    My understanding is that if there was only to be one it would have translated more specific.
    Why on earth would the document restrict the very thing it intended to promote.

  4. prof. basto says:

    Federico, Summorum Pontificum, in its first article, clearly replaces the norms of Ecclesia Dei and Quattuor abhinc annos with those of the remaning articles of Summorum Pontificum. That’s a clear abrogation of the previous indult, I have no doubt about it.

    Also, the language of Summorum Pontificum, article 5, 2nd paragraph, clearly distingish between Mass on weekdays and Mass on Sundays and feasts. The two categories are clearly distingished. The only purpose of that distinction is the fact that the norm places no limits on the number of TLM’s on weekdays, while on Sundays and feasts it clearly mentions that there can be “one” such celebration. Examining the whole Motu Proprio, if there could be more than one celebration of the TLM on Sundays and feasts, then, simply, there would be no reason for article 5, paragraph 2 to exist .

    It is a basic rule of hermeneutics that a norm should not be interpreted in a way that makes its existance pointless. So, there is indeed a cap of one TLM per Sunday or feast day.

    Therefore, if I were the priest in question, I would not celebrate more than one TLM each Sunday or feast day.

    However, this still leaves me with one doubt: is the limit of one TLM per Sunday/feast a limit placed on the priest or on the place of worship?

    I mean, it is clear that a parish priest cannot say two TLMs in his parish on a Sunday. But could two TLMs be said at the same parish church by different priests on a Sunday? Or… could the same priest, on a Sunday, say more than one TLM, but in two different chapels under his care?

  5. Limbo says:

    “I mean, it is clear that a parish priest cannot say two TLMs in his parish on a Sunday…” Is it ?

    ” But could two TLMs be said at the same parish church by different priests on a Sunday? Or… could the same priest, on a Sunday, say more than one TLM, but in two different chapels under his care?” Of course he could – and does.

  6. Federico says:

    prof. Basto,

    I wholeheartedly agree with you regarding the hermeneutic regarding article 5; the section in question has a purpose and does limit Sunday celebrations of TLM under the universal Apostolic permission granted by Summorum pontificum. I disagree with your conclusion that Summorum pontificum integrally reorders previous law causing its abrogation.

    Integral reordering cannot be presumed, but must be proven in the particular case. The fact that a subsequent law treats the subject matter of a previous law puts us at notice that a reordering may have taken place but analysis is required to ascertain whether it has and whether it is, in fact, integral.

    Canonical science traditionally looks at three cases to determine whether a law is an integral reorder. The first is when an entire document is replaced with a subsequent document bearing the same or similar organization and covering the entirety of the subject matter (but beware, this was the argument used to claim the 1962 Roman Missal was abrogated — which our Supreme Legislator told us did not happen). This is clearly not the case with Summorum pontificum

    Another category is where an entire jurical institute is reordered. This can hardly be the case here, as the juridical institute would be the regulation of Eucharistic liturgical celebrations; if this were the case, then the potential impact of Summorum pontificum would be far greater. I suppose you could argue that the 1962 Roman Missal is a jurical institute on its own, but I think that a stretch — this would require, for instance, rejecting prior executive norms issued by the PCED. Clearly not the intent.

    Finally, an integral reordering occurs when the legislator clearly intends to implicitly revoke prior law. I find this doubtful. The pope provided, through Summorum pontificum a universal, permanent permission to celebrate the extraordinary form of the liturgy under certain circumstances set-out in the document itself. It is not clear on the face of the document that he intended to diminish the authority of diocesan bishops to provide this permission under the previous law. In fact, if I look to parallel documents to discern the mind of the legislator, I find two suggestions that the pope had no such intent at all. The first is that dreaded phrase in the letter of accompaniment in which the legislator assures bishops their role as moderators of the liturgy is not diminished. This, to me, clearly speaks to bishops retaining the power to grant additional indults beyond the universal apostolic permission of Summorum pontificum. The second is the fact that the bishop may establish personal parishes dedicated to the extraordinary form; this is, mutatis mutandis a form of an additional indult provided for by the terms of Summorum pontificum itself.

    An interesting discussion of integral reordering can be found in (1) Patricia Smith, “Determining the Integral Reordering of Law,” Studia Canonica 35 (2001) 115; and (2) John Huels, Liturgy and Law, (Montreal: Wilson & Lafleur, 2006) 114. I just don’t see the argument that Summorum pontificum is an integral reorder.

    In fact, let me pose a hypothetical that might illustrate my conclusion. Sometimes, canonical quandaries can be resolved with a common sense, real world problem.

    Suppose you have Fr. Joe and Fr. Joe has a thriving traditional community in his parish. Fr. Joe had been celebrating a Sunday Mass of 1962 under the auspices of his diocesan bishop’s indult. When Summorum pontificum went into effect, he realized he no longer needed the indult and continued on his merry way. However, his TLM community has strengthened and now he finds that his EF Mass is bursting at the seams, and he’s concerned that the fire-code regulations are being violated during it (in terms of church capacity). He notices that the other 3 Sunday Masses (NO Masses) are more lightly attended and, after consulting with his pastoral council and his bishop he requests an indult from his diocesan bishop to celebrate an additional Mass under the EF. His bishop gladly grants the indult and Fr. Joe begins celebrating 2 EF Masses, and 2 NO Masses in his parish (let’s say he’s got help, so he’s only binating). The numbers of attendance at each Mass even out and all seems good.

    Except a family was very attached to the 10:00 AM Mass, previously a NO Mass and now an EF Mass. They don’t want to attend the 11:30 Mass which interferes with the kids’ soccer tournament schedule. So, they mount a recourse against Fr. Joe and the bishop’s indult arguing that Summorum pontificum integrally reordered prior law and left the bishop powerless to provide additional indults for TLMs in excess of what Summorum pontificum provides.

    You think the the hierarchical recourse will prevail?

    I would bet you a nice dinner in Rome with a good bottle of wine (perhaps Firriato‘s Harmonium) that the recourse would be unsuccessful.


  7. dcs says:

    He could celebrate one public Mass under art. 5, and a private Mass under art. 2.

  8. Federico says:

    DCS: He could celebrate one public Mass under art. 5, and a private Mass under art. 2.

    No he couldn’t. A private Mass is one celebrated for a priest’s own devotion. It is not licit to binate for the purpose of private devotion.

  9. schoolman says:

    I recal the case of the priests who wanted to establish the TLM as the “norm” in their respective parishes. I seem to recal that an official at PCED (Perl, I think) had commented that such a move would in fact be consistent with the “internal logic” of Summorum Pontificum. Indeed, article 5 does seem to point to the primacy of spiritual welfare of the faithful while fostering unity in the whole Church — rather than the absolute need to conform to Mass quotas…

    “…and ensure that the welfare of these faithful harmonizes with the ordinary pastoral care of the parish, under the guidance of the bishop in accordance with Canon 392, avoiding discord and favoring the unity of the whole Church.”

  10. As long as you are not forcefully excluding the Ordinary Form and you are within the current Canon Law on the number of Masses to be celebrated in a day (weekdays or Sundays), then I don’t think it would be a problem, especially if the people want it.

  11. D. S. says:

    To prof. basto, Federico (and chris):

    Like Federico I wholly agree with you, prof.basto, re hermeneutic of/re art.5.

    But re SP abrogating former law there is some complication, because:
    there are only two possibilities:

    1. The TLM was abrogated by the NOM (or, correct: by promulgating the NOM) – according to what Federico said: “…The first is when an entire document is replaced with a subsequent document bearing the same or similar organization and covering the entirety of the subject matter (but beware, this was the argument used to claim the 1962 Roman Missal was abrogated—which our Supreme Legislator told us did not happen.)”
    Yes, our “Supreme Legislator told us” that it “did not happen” – or better: our reigning/present Supreme Legislator.

    But what´s about the former Supreme Legislators?!

    They (HH JohPII and PVI) told us – directly and indirectly – the opposite. It was clearly the will of the Supreme Legeslator PVI that the new law should abrogate the old one. He did not mention to introduce a new rite besides the old latin rite but to REFORM the (one) latin (or better: roman) rite. And proof is also the indult: if not abrogated you needn´t get a special indult!!

    It´s not only my opinion that it is that clear (I realy wonder how there can be doubt!!) but I can quote You also a famous German canonist, Prof. GEORG MAY (em. for canon law, univerisity of Mainz) who confirmed me this standpoint. he told me he was also wondering why the present Pope says the opposite – and presumed it was the influence of Card. Stickler (RIP). As he wrote in his book about the Old and the New Mass (ed. UNA VOCE) the only way to go on celebrating the Old Mass (without indult) is not to declare that this VO would not be abrogated (that´s evidently wrong) but to reject the NO or it´s promulgation as an unjust law (because promoting some heresy and etc…). So in this case
    a) our present Pope would just be wrong stating the VO would never have been abrogated (by positivistical argument) or
    b) he is (unintended) right, the VO was never validly abrogated, but not by positivistical argumentation (formally it was abrogated by the promulgation of the NOM) but because the promulgation of the NOM was invalid out of non-law-positivistical reasons, sc. beeing unjust because promoting some heresy,etc. [cf. the reasons of a law beeing unjust in some handbooks – I can quote only German ones, sorry!]
    Delicate conclusions from either a) or b) you can perhaps imagine…

    2. The present/reigning Pope is just right (by positivistical/formal argumentation) and the VO was never (formaly correct) abrogated. But then the former Popes were wrong, did commit grave iniquity by telling the opposite and by prohibition to celebrate the VO – and so the indult was not needed, it was wrong and iniquity to claim that a speciall indult is needed to celebrate the VO… – and there would be some other delicate conclusions then…

    But at lest, in this 2. case (if the reigning Pope is right), then Sum.Pont. does not abrogate the former “indult-law” – just because there was no legal/valid need for a indult, no legal/valid “indult-law” before. So it can´t be abrogated!
    It was then just I lie or error to claim for the need of an indult…

    In CHO per Mam

  12. D.S. says:

    “As he wrote in his book about the Old and the New Mass (ed. UNA VOCE) the only way to go on celebrating the Old Mass (without indult)…” [my last comment] – the “he” means Prof. May, not HEm card. Stickler.

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