Diocese of Great Falls-Billings issues amazing document about Benedict XVI’s Summorum Pontificum


There has been a change to the document. Read THIS.


I thought this sort of thing over, and long in the past.

A reader sent me a copy of and link to a document issued by His Excellency Most Rev. Michael Warfel, Bishop of the Diocese of Great Falls-Billings concerning the use of the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite.

Here,  below, is the text of the cover letter of the total of 9 pages of the pdf.  There are attachments.

The date of issue/signing is 9 August 2011.  Thus, this is not an old document.  This is a current document, not something from 2007.

Even though Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei“‘s instruction Universae Ecclesiae is attached, it is as if Universae Ecclesiae didn’t exist.  Indeed, it is as if Summorum Pontificum didn’t exist and these matters were still governed under the now superseded provisions of Ecclesia Dei adflicta.

I took this directly from the pdf on the diocesan website.  My emphases and comment:

Diocese of Great Falls-Billings

Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum, (MPSP) article 5.2 notwithstanding, celebrating the Extraordinary Form on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation in parishes of the Diocese of Great Falls-Billings as a regular Mass of obligation is not allowed at this time. [Parishioners in these instances may be drawn away from celebrating at the regular Mass for Sunday or Holy Day].

Indiscriminate mixing of elements of the Novus Ordo and elements of the Extraordinary Form is now [sic] allowed. Norms for each form are to be observed correctly [N.B. Instruction on the Application of the Apostolic Letter Summorum Pontificum, #24].

MPSP, article 5.3 notwithstanding, celebration of ritual Masses (funerals, weddings, etc.) in the Extraordinary Form is not allowed at this time in the Diocese of Great Falls-Billings. A priest must contact the Bishop in advance to ask for any exception to this policy and demonstrate pastoral consideration by not imposing the Extraordinary Form on a parish in these instances.

Altar Servers for the Extraordinary Form must be properly trained.

N.B.: It is important to remember that the Extraordinary Form generally does not enable full, active participation by the assembly which was called for by Vatican II. While the Extraordinary Form holds a definite place in the liturgical tradition of the Church, it does not meet the spiritual needs of the large portion of Church membership today.

Attachment – Instruction on the Application of the
Apostolic Letter Summorum Pontificum of His Holiness
Benedict XVI Given Motu Proprio

Promulgated by Bishop Michael Warfel
August 9, 2011

You may read the rest of the document at that website.

The weird thing is there have been very few EF Masses in that diocese.   Has anyone heard reports of some priest implementing Summorum Pontificum in too zealous a manner?

Here is my guess.  Someone close to the bishop, perhaps someone in the liturgy office, wrote this and unbelievably got the bishop to issue it.  His Excellency was ill-served in the person who wrote this.

I cite a paragraph from Universae Ecclesiae, which is attached to the document from the Diocese of Great Falls-Billings. My emphases:

The Competence of Diocesan Bishops

13. Diocesan Bishops, according to Canon Law, are to monitor liturgical matters in order to guarantee the common good and to ensure that everything is proceeding in peace and serenity in their Dioceses, always in agreement with the mens of the Holy Father clearly expressed by the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum. In cases of controversy or well-founded doubt about the celebration in the forma extraordinaria, the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei will adjudicate.

14. It is the task of the Diocesan Bishop to undertake all necessary measures to ensure respect for the forma extraordinaria.

There probably won’t be any huge fallout from this.  Neither should we want any.  The PCED will surely be involved with quiet correspondence and no one needs to know any more.

This was simply a mistake.  It can go away.

I have no other particular comments, other than to ask this question.

Are there other norms of universal law His Excellency does not want applied in that diocese?


A priest reader sent a note with a link to a story on Life Site about Bp. Warfel’s sharp criticism of Notre Dame University’s shameful choice to honor the aggressively pro-abortion President Obama with an honorary Law degree.  Read that HERE.

Also, on Life Site was story about how Bp. Warfel “asked a local support group for homosexuals to move its meetings out of a local parish hall to avoid confusion over the Catholic Church’s teaching on homosexuality.”  Read that HERE.

Stories such as these leave me even more convinced that Bp. Warfel was ill-served by the person who wrote that document.  The buck stops on his desk, of course.


There has been a change to the document.  Read THIS.

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