Reason #42564 for Universae Ecclesiae

Benedict XVI is a kind man of generous spirit. His desire to bring healing to a Church divided in every sphere if its life, and to lend to all, both on the liberal and the traditional side, a better lens through which to interpret the Council, is surely at the heart of his provisions in Summorum Pontificum and his approval of Universae Ecclesiae.

There are, however, those motives which arise from less than happy circumstances.

Here is a story from CNA I post with emphases but without comments.

One priest’s story

Rome, Italy, May 13, 2011 / 12:50 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Father Stephen Dunn had a very personal reason for wanting to learn the Tridentine Mass.

“My father, who attends the Tridentine Mass every Sunday, has stipulated in his will that he is to be buried to the Tridentine Mass and no other Mass. So as his only son who’s a priest I hated to think I couldn’t bury my father through incompetence and lack of knowledge of the traditional Mass of the Church.”

So when Pope Benedict XVI called for a more generous provision of the Tridentine Mass in his 2007 document “Summorum Pontificum” Fr. Dunn thought the time had finally come to learn the traditional liturgy. Hence the priest from Glasgow, Scotland, quickly signed up for a course in Oxford, England, organized by the Latin Mass Society.

Crucially “Summorum Pontificum” lifted the requirement upon priests to receive episcopal approval before saying the old Mass. However, Fr. Dunn explained, soon all the priests in Glasgow received a four page advisory document drafted by the chancellor of the archdiocese, Monsignor Peter Smith.

Fr. Dunn said the advisory note seemed to interpret the Pope’s instructions in a way that effectively turned many of them on their head. In fact, the renowned blogger Fr. John Zuhlsdorf described the advisory document’s interpretation of “Summorum Pontificum” as the “coldest, most hostile I have read so far.”

“There were three Glasgow priests signed up to the course in Oxford. After that note came round, two dropped out. They felt really intimidated. My own response, though, was to stick it out and attend.

“Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster said the first Mass. When I told him I was from the Archdiocese of Glasgow he said, ‘My goodness, you’re a brave boy’.”

That’s why Fr. Dunn welcomes today’s official clarification from the Vatican as to how “Summorum Pontificum” should be authentically interpreted and applied. So much so that he’s traveled to Rome for its publication and to attend the first traditional liturgy celebrated at the high altar of St Peters Basilica since 1969.

The Mass will take place this weekend.

“It’s really great. The fact that Rome is being so clear and precise about what the document really means. There now has to be obedience on all sides. It gives me great cause for hope and I pray by the grace of the Holy Spirit and through the intercession of Our Lady that Pope Benedict and his advisors are firm in applying this to bishops around the world and don’t accept any wavering.”

There are now only two parishes in Glasgow offering the Tridentine Mass but Fr. Dunn says that five other priests are now learning how to say the traditional liturgy.

Meanwhile, the Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica will be offered this Sunday morning by Cardinal Antonio Canizares Llovera, the prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship.

Summorum Pontificum is Benedict XVI’s great gift to priests, part and parcel of his “Marshall Plan”, then perhaps Universae Ecclesiae is some wrapping and a bow.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Brick by Brick, SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM, The future and our choices, Universae Ecclesiae and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Ezra says:

    “When I told him I was from the Archdiocese of Glasgow he said, ‘My goodness, you’re a brave boy’.”

    How precious are those priests who value their priestly duties more than their clerical careers! Anyway, since the article mentions Archbishop Nichols, it’s interesting that he declared today that there is no pastoral need which would necessitate English seminaries providing training in the Extraordinary Form. If that’s the case, one wonders why he so publicly supported the Oxford LMS training day – shortly before his appointment to the Archdiocese of Westminster by the Pontiff who authored Summorum Pontificum.

  2. AJ says:

    I think this will be the turning point which will draw the line between those who are obedient and those that rampantly disobey thinking they are their own “popes.” God be praised for our priests who wish and try hard to reignite the tradition of Holy Mother Church!

    BTW Father, your blog is the first that has given notice to the news about the Forma Extraordinaria to be celebrated in St. Peter’s. I hope more news and informations comes out!

    Ad Multos Annos!

  3. Fr. A.M. says:

    Well done Fr. Dunn, and thank you.

  4. Charles E Flynn says:

    Damian Thompson has linked to this story:

    The Traditional Latin Mass: Glasgow’s shame

  5. JMody says:

    OK Fr. Z, here’s the first of two examples I think might relate to the comments about “validity and legitimacy” on Para 19. While canon law is different from civil law, the fact that there is an instruction imposing a requirement on people who ACT ON Summorum Pontificum, seems to indicate that all actions in response to this can be viewed through this prism. So let’s say Msgr Smith here does a little more hair splitting over the weekend and decides to issue more “guidelines” on Monday in the same spirit as he applied to SP in 2007. What can he say against charges that he is viewing the Instruction, and therefore the Instructor (the Pope), as invalid and/or illegitimate?
    It would seem this appeal goes to PCED for clarification, rather clearly. But now let’s consider case 2.
    What if a malcontent files off a letter to PCED saying “Aha! That Zuhlsdorf character and all his groupies are all known to question validity/legitimacy of all kinds of things, and to prove it, they use the Old Mass!” — huh???

    There is so LITTLE clarification around this, it seems like it will be, as stated, a real can of worms.

  6. Prayers for Fr. Dunn and all in his circumstances.
    Not too much unlike Penal times in Ireland and England;
    I think we in the USA should prostrate and thank Almighty God for the great freedom we as priests have (even in difficult circumstances) to be faithful to our Holy Church and Her liturgical Tradition.
    Whenever I read the accounts of the English martyrs, both priestly and lay, I am so edified and encouraged. May they all pray for us now in this time.
    Thanks, Fr. Z, for making this known!

  7. Eoin Suibhne says:

    My own response, though, was to stick it out and attend.

    HOO-RAH! What a MAN!

  8. Thank you, Fr. Dunn.

  9. Servus Mariae says:

    Father Dunn is a very good and orthodox pastor which is sadly quite rare in Glasgow. However they’re on the up-and-up so all we can do is pray.

  10. Fr. Dunn said the advisory note seemed to interpret the Pope’s instructions in a way that effectively turned many of them on their head.

    This, unfortunately, is what we have in Cincinnati with the Worship office’s “norms,” which require priests who wish to celebrate the EF to be certified by a panel of three experts with no background in the traditional liturgy. We can hope that His Excellency Dennis Schnurr, who has generously permitted two parishes devoted to the EF to be established in his diocese, will now lift these restrictions.

  11. irishgirl says:

    Good for you, Fr. Dunn from Scotland!

  12. J Kusske says:

    Thank God for brave and holy priests like Fr. Dunn! There’s hope for Scotland yet as long as Scottish priests like him don’t get beaten down but rise to the challenge. St. Andrew pray for us, and all of us pray for Fr. Dunn and other heroic priests like him, amen! (I’d like to hear mass said in Scots someday–that must be quite an experience–but it’s better to hear Latin I know, as it’s still as rare as hen’s teeth in Scotland these days…)

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