Document on the implementation of Summorum Pontificum

Remember that document that was supposed to come out about the implementation of Summorum Pontificum?

For a while now I have been less than eager to see it issued.

On the other hand, there is little likelihood that that such a document would be restrictive, given the fact that the Holy See is presently engaging the SSPX in discussions.   Imagine what a dampening effect a restrictive document would have on that process.

On the other hand, it is probably a good idea that the CDF/PCED issues some sort of clarification about a few important points.  For example, I have reason to suspect that in England (which I just left) there may be a “gentleman’s agreement” among some English bishops to try to repress the expansion of the use of the “Traditional Latin Mass”, or TLM according to the 1962 Missal.   They may be trying to assert that Summorum Pontificum does not foresee the increased use of the older forms.   Counter to this, we had heard statements from the PCED’s former President Card. Castrillon-Hoyos that the Holy Father did in fact foresee the expansion of the use of the older form of Mass.

In other words, now that Summorum Pontificum is in force, some bishops are now keenly interested in implementing the provisions of Ecclesia Dei adflicta.

discriminationTo be clear, Summorum Pontificum removes the heavy burden of making this hard decisions and imposes that burden on the pastor of a parish.  He can chosen to use the 1962MR.   On the other hand, it seems that some bishops think that if there is a parish or two in a diocese where the older Mass is offered, then other pastors cannot chose to use the older Missal because, after all, “there’s a place for that sort of person… over there“, and it looks rather like the last row of seats in the back of a bus, or perhaps a drinking fountain with a special sign over it.

This comes from Kathnews, a German source.  My emphases and comments.  The translation is pretty rough, you will have the apprehension sense in the immediate kind no problems having.

Kathnews: The implementing provisions of the “Old Mass” will be published shortly

Signed by Benedict XVI. probably before Christmas.

Vatican (Catholic news-exclusive). Immediately after the publication of the papal letter “Summorum Pontificum” in July 2007 it was announced that implementation rules are expected to bring more clarity in the document to deal with the extraordinary form of the Roman rite. The publication of these provisions had already been announced several times in the Catholic media and discussed in numerous Internet forums and blogs have been. Sometimes it was said that publication of the designation was imminent, the Holy Father did, they are even already on his desk and they would only sign it. These assumptions have so far not be confirmed and proved in many cases, wrong.

Kathnews are now available exclusive information that the publication of the Regulations for the Motu Proprio “Summorum Pontificum” is really imminent. Of senior Vatican sources Kath News has now learned that the document was already prepared ready, but then had to be corrected in some points. As the news editor Kath could also learn a corrected version should be submitted in these days [to] the Holy Father. The current version should therefore also be the one to be published in addition to the Motu Proprio published in 2007. The design rules could therefore be signed before Christmas 2010 by the Pope and clarify outstanding issues relating to the use of the Tridentine mass.

Will the Holy Father chose to do this in the wake of the maelstrom caused by the Condom Commentary?

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. wmeyer says:

    Fr. Z.,

    I am mindful of your concerns about the release of a new document possibly causing other issues we’d not wish to see raised. On the other hand, here in the Archdiocese of Atlanta, there is a single FSSP parish, and that is, to my knowledge, the only place where the TLM is available. It appears to be, and my pastor confirms this, a quarantine zone. Very disappointing. It also seems that as the parish exists and is all Latin, either no other parishes feel any need, or perhaps, they believe they are not allowed.

    I am hard pressed to understand, however, how a document as seemingly clear as Summorum Pontificum could be so widely misunderstood. Especially in the wake of the comments by Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos during his speech in England some months ago.

    It is very hard not to ascribe malintent.

  2. traditionalorganist says:

    I really hope these “implementation rules” are positive. The TLM is still not fully accessible where I live and I don’t believe that Mass at 4 PM once a month is sufficient. In my humble opinion (and I can dream), the rules should be such that the TLM becomes the Ordinary Form and the Novus Ordo becomes, not extraordinary, but less-than-ordinary. Wouldn’t that be nice?

  3. asperges says:

    Our Bishops (UK) have largely withdrawn any opposition to the Old Rite and some have actually encouraged it, but only as a side-show or exception. Indeed the label “extraordinary form” makes it sound like a sideshow. With Sunday parish Masses often reduced only one now, the EF will only ever be consigned to an “extra” perhaps in the week or on a Sunday afternoon for those tedious groups who want it.

    Until it is incorporated in the main parish Sunday Masses, it will remain an oddity. Most Catholic in the pew here are totally unaware of Summ Pont and it has certainly never been talked about or shown to them or explained in most parishes. Consequently new followers are few and Masses at the most inconvenient times are often poorly attended. In this, it also has to be said, even those pushing the Old Mass so hard for years, treated often as rebels, have either become too old or too weary to fill the benches as they used to. We should not have to travel miles and miles to get a Mass, it should be intrinsic to the Church’s practising, everyday, liturgy.

    So returns can be pleasingly disappointing for apparently sound reasons. “We did our best, but we can just carry on as before. Everyone’s happy.” No, they are not.

  4. edwardswyco says:

    Where I live, there’s but one location for the Latin Mass in a diocese that covers four counties and over half a million Catholics. I’m thankful for the location, but come on! And if I want to go to an actual Latin Mass PARISH and register my family, it’s over an hour in any direction. It’s gotten better in NJ, but…

  5. HighMass says:

    Where I live we now have one “High Mass” a month, and don’t think the request to have it was met with JOY! Is there the chance we will not have the Mass of 1962 again???

    The Lord has been so good and answering prayers…..Yes it would be nice to have a “High Mass” every Sunday, but as Fr. Z says brick by brick……..

  6. HighMass says:


    If anythings was turned into a “sideshow” these last 40+ it has been the N.O. I have seen the N.O. celebrated so reverently and Ad Orientum, it is beautful, then again, guitars, bango’s TAMERINES, Drums………………….

    Now that is a side show! I do agree, the 1962 Mass Needs to be offered in the parishes much more than it is being allowed…….but again to quote Fr. Z. Brick by Brick

  7. ghp95134 says:

    Fr: …you will have the apprehension sense in the immediate kind no problems having….

    Cracking up funnily I am very you made of me! (^__^)

    –Guy Power

  8. Andrew says:

    Recently I reread Summorum Pontificum and this time around it didn’t sound half as encouraging as when I read it the first time. I must have read it through rose colored glasses three years ago. It really doesn’t solve some serious practical restrictions. As a result, in many places it has been shoved aside with a simple “we already have that” comment. In my town, out of some 110 parishes, there is one early morning Sunday TLM in a rundown and not so safe area, in a mission church. The Archdiocesan website lists it under a general heading of “events / cultural groups” which includes Masses in Vietnamese and other languages. So the Latin Mass is not a Mass of the Universal Church but one of a special “cultural group.” Any document with teeth needs to do something about that mentality.

  9. Randii says:

    IMO it’s as much a lack of interest as it is any obfuscation by the bishops that there are not more TLMs available.

    Look at the FSSP stand-alone parishes many of which have been around for years. They are almost all quite small. Anyone expecting bishops to make available dedicated churches for EO use only is unrealistic. Congregations of 300 or so can’t by thmeselves support the maintenance of older large churches built at a time when several thousand might attend Mass on Sunday – and donate.

    Even the few EO groups building new structures inevitably build small. They seem to believe their congregations will only grow minimally over time and the need for a large structure is not there. Some build what is more a chapel than a church. There are such plans in Idaho.

    The Colorado EO community is rebuilding their edifice and the new structure will accomodate only about 50 more individuals than the current structure. And the current structure accomodates not a whole lot of worhippers.

    I just don’t see much interest in the EO.

  10. jlmorrell says:

    How can you be interested in something you don’t know about?

    The problem is with the heirarchy. The aging liberals are still in control and have been very careful to let the status quo (i.e. TLM is forbidden or only for kooks) remain in place. There hasn’t been one sermon in my entire diocese (yes, I would know about one if there was) mentioning the motu proprio. Furthermore, many of the young people like me need to be exposed to it before we can even form an opinion.

    The biggest thing we need is to continually build awareness about the TLM. The banal NO is not getting it done, folks. In my experience, I have not had one, not one, serious Catholic tell me they are against the TLM.

  11. Jerry says:

    @Randii – “Anyone expecting bishops to make available dedicated churches for EO use only is unrealistic.”

    Many of the complaints are not that bishops will not dedicate a church to the EF, but rather that they dissuade, if not outright prohibit, diocesan priests from adding an EF Mass to the parish Mass schedule.

  12. Mattiesettlement says:

    Check out such countries as Canada, where in many dioceses there are no EF masses. And it is not because there are no people that want them. In fact I know of one family that have moved to a different diocese to be able to attend the EF of the Mass.

    Out Lady of Good Success pray for us

  13. Randii says:

    Jerry, we can only speak from our own experience.

    In my diocese when the EF was first celebrated a few years back per SP, 150 or so attended. The numbers remained above 100 for 6 months or so. Now they are down to 60 or so regular attendees on Sunday. The existence of the EF Mass is well known. It’s advertised on Catholic radio here and has a weekly “ad” in the events calendar of the diocesan paper.

    The OF Mass at the same locations draws 700 or 800.

    This area has a large population and despite the availability and general awareness of the EF, those who attend are a disappointingly small group.

    Again, all this is anecdotal but I think the EF will attract few no matter how many EF Masses a diocese offers.

    Once AO gets going I suspect that will dampen further the appeal of the EF. I spoke of the small size of EF parishes. Contrast that with Our Lady of Walsingham parish (AU) in Texas. It’s growth has been phenomenal though it started with 60 or so families in the late 80s. Ther are over a thousand now – and growing. And it’s expanding it’s school again.

    A reverent NO and especially AU Masses will become a much bigger force in Catholic liturgy going forward than the EF – IMO.

  14. Randii says:

    Correction. I meant to refer to Our Lady of Atonement, not Walsingham. Though Walsingham’s succes has been remarkable too since it’s founding, even more rmarkable has been the growth of Our Lady of Atonement.

  15. catholicmidwest says:

    It is very hard not to ascribe malintent.

    PS, it’s impossible not to ascribe malintent.

  16. Mitchell NY says:

    I just thought about the “Clarification” letter this past weekend. I will continue to hope it includes a clear provision or goal of establishing a Tridentine Mass in most parishes worldwide in the future. Not tomorrow, but setting a path for it. Putting it on true equal footing with the NO will only help the Church and the Faith as have seen thus far.. Then you will see if there is real interest. The freedom for people to float between Masses, to discover it on their own without having to travel miles and miles to go participate in it. Especially for those who are not familiar with it. It seems a stretch for people to get to know something that is still far too often out of reach or beyond their geographical area. How can anyone really gauge “interest” in such a way? The internet and media have already shed some light on the truths about obfusication on the part of many Bishops and Priests. I mean, really, how many average lay people are going to start requesting a Tridentine Mass in the face of such resistance from Clergy about it? And possibly creating consternation? Even a hint of that for many people will be just what they need to say to themselves, “I better just leave well enough alone”. I don’t want to upset Father or other Parishoners. Even technically out of the Bishops’ hands many of us know it will go there. Who wants to be responsible for a Priest getting transferred, or any other reprehension for saying Mass? The Extraordinary Form should just “be there”. It will speak for itself over time. A beautiful, well prayed Tridentine Mass is truly a lifetime journey. In Latin, its’ mysteries unfold throughout one’s life, not merely one Sunday afternoon where everything is readily understood by sight and sound. It is always intriguing and engaging. As you mature it captures the senses and keeps one interested and connected to the Mass of our Catholic Faith. That is one thing about the NO Mass that needs to be addressed. It gets “old” or boring, mundane” rather quickly. Yes, I know it shouldn’t, but it all too often does. And I believe SP mentions the other Sacraments according to the 1962 books as well. How could this ever be possible when just getting a 1962 Mass on the schedule is such an ordeal? There are many, many people who would love to be able to experience ALL the Sacraments. Piecemeal, just doesn’t entice all that many people to discover the riches of the 1962 books. The Holy Father did mention more than just the 1962 Missal and did so for a reason. All the Sacraments are a Treasure for ALL the Church. I pray the clarification addresses this as well. It may just ease up some of the resistance on just the Mass and indeed open up all the riches of the Faith.

  17. dominic1955 says:

    A lack of “interest” in the TLM is generally because of ignorance-ignorance of the existence of the TLM, ignorance/fear of Latin, etc. etc. When I was in college (located in a very orthodox diocese) I still had to run through a gauntlet of sorts to attend the TLM regularly. It was mostly at the hands of ignorant clergy and laymen, sometimes probably hurt or insecure in other’s active choice to move away from their little enclave of orthodoxy and “solid” Catholicism.

  18. Sixupman says:

    Two stumblimng blocks: lack of integration into the parish timetable; antipathy, nay antagonism of that element of the laity who ‘run’ the parish and an uncharitable lot they are. The latter supported by the bishops and elements of the clergy, who have deep psychological problems relative to the pre-conciliar church. Indeed warped thinking and I speak from direct experience.

  19. Giambattista says:

    Fr. Z said: “They may be trying to assert that Summorum Pontificum does not foresee the increased use of the older forms.” …”In other words, now that Summorum Pontificum is in force, some bishops are now keenly interested in implementing the provisions of Ecclesia Dei adflicta.”

    Fr. Z’s words up the situation in the Pittsburgh Diocese perfectly. I have a letter from the judicial vicar of the diocese which more or less asserts that SP only applies to pre-existing “stable groups”. In other words, there is zero possibility of the expansion of the 1962 missal in this diocese. “Permission” (i.e. Ecclesia Dei rules) to use the 1962 missal has only been granted for the regular celebration of this mass in one location of the diocese. I was told that if people want to attend the TLM they will have to go to the single location where it is provided.

    “A picture is worth a thousand words” and the one Fr. Z. attached to this post is a perfect visual for the current situation in the Pittsburgh Diocese.

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