Note to bishops: Summorum Pontificum replaced Ecclesia Dei adflicta. No… really… it did.

It defies reason, but sometimes we still find bishops who think that Summorum Pontificum and Universae Ecclesiae don’t exist and that they can still order matters concerning the older form of Mass according to the now superseded Ecclesia Dei adflicta.

Bishop William J. Wright of the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle in NSW, Australia, apparently has not yet received the news that Summorum Pontificum, clarified by Universae Ecclesiae, provides law for the whole Latin Church, including the part in Australia, and that he, as diocesan bishop, does not have the authority to overturn those provisions or ignore them.

His Excellency recently responded by letter to a lay woman’s letter concerning celebrations of the Extraordinary Form of Holy Mass in that diocese. It seems that a priest from outside the diocese was celebrating Mass for a group. The group wants more. From what I can glean this is a stable group of the faithful in that diocese and they are requesting the Extraordinary Form.  Most of you know what Summorum Pontificum says, so I don’t have to go into too much detail here.

Some of the points from Bishop Wright’s letter.  I am not making this up.

NB: calls the provisions of Summorum Pontificum, clarified by Universae Ecclesiae, an “indult”:

“I would have no objection to your having Mass in that form more often, even weekly, provided it was not regularly on a Sunday.”

And also… try to figure out what this means.

“The Indult, as you know, is explicit that the request for the Latin (1962) Mass should come from a stable group of the Faithful in a given area who have a special affection for Mass in that form. Such a group is by definition, then, a particular group within the community. The Sunday Mass is, however, the whole community’s Mass. I could not sanction a Mass for a particular group frequently on Sundays, celebrated apart from the common worship of the parish.”

I read through that a several times and am still not sure what all that gobbledygook about groups “within the community” is supposed to mean and how “the community’s Mass” means that those people cannot have the Extraordinary Form on a Sunday.

It is too bad that His Excellency will now be forcing all the priests of that diocese to eliminate all regular Masses for special groups.  Too bad for them, right?

For example, too darn bad for the Polish community within the community of Newcastle, which apparently includes the Cathedral parish.  I noticed on their website that there is a Mass in POLISH on a SUNDAY!  Imagine such a thing! Oh no! Can’t have that.  That’s a community apart from the within-community and they can’t have a Mass apart from the community and be not within the community!   Can they?  They are a community apart and they now have to be forced to be within.

And what’s this I see? They have Sunday Masses in ITALIAN and SLOVENIAN too?

A detail from a screen shot.

Wait.  To be fair the Slovenians only get their Mass on the 5th Sunday of the month.  And we all know how often months have a 5th Sunday.

That’s still more Sundays than the Extraordinary Form gets in the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle.

It is a good thing they never have Masses for young people on a Sunday.  That might make young people an apart-community instead of a non-apart community within the community.   It would be impossible to think about having a community of communities with the Catholic Church.

“But Father!  But Father!”, some of you are saying.  “You’ve got this all wrong, as usual.  It’s just the people who want the older form of Mass who have no standing there.  Got it?  They have to be forced back within the within community thing in spite of the Church’s laws.”

Gotchya.  It’s clearer now.

In any event, I just wanted to share this amazing letter with the whole wide world.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in "But Father! But Father!", SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM, Universae Ecclesiae and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Tom Esteban says:

    If it weren’t so sad, Father, it would be funny. I knew you’d be posting about this and making me chuckle a bit. I read the letter earlier today and was confused. I had to check that I wasn’t wrong on what an indult was, because I was looking at the word in the Bishops letter with my jaw on the floor thinking “uhhhh, hold on a minute…”.

    As I said in another post – His Excellency gives his position away far too quickly. Notice in his first paragraph he essentially tell us why he (unlawfully) forbids the EF – because he doesn’t like it, so everybody needs to put up and shut up.

    Brick by brick, unfortunately, works both ways. We lay a brick down, someone else takes two bricks off.

  2. Giambattista says:

    Thanks for sharing this letter with “the whole wide world”, Father! As most of us know, this type of behavior from a bishop is hardly limited Maitland-Newcastle. However, I think it is great that the Internet can be used expose this type of behavior to the “whole wide world”. I have often said that I believe the Internet is the best thing to have ever happened to for the TLM. 15 years ago this bishop (or any bishop) could have terrorized his people in this way and gotten away with it. Those days are over!

  3. jasoncpetty says:

    Incidentally, it’s kind of cool that the ad limina visits feature a Mass in Latin, right? But what a baby to complain about it in an aside to a parishioner. Is this the Catholic Church, or some crappy grocery store where the high-school age employees go to meetings with their boss and then complain about how boring it was while getting yelled at to do their jobs. “And then the Pope was all like blah blah blah, and I was all like, ugh can we just go back home, then Latin, omg!”

  4. jbas says:

    For every bishop who publicly defies the Summorum Pontificum, I think there are dozens more who do so privately, even using indirect means to punish their priests for promoting the traditional form. It’s hard to prove this, but I have heard enough stories from priests and laymen to think it so.

  5. frjosh says:

    Perhaps one cannot do this just examination without pursuing what kind of staffing the bishop is working with. Just a thought, but it doesn’t seem so out of the ordinary for a bishop to want to protect his priests in terms of how many Masses they’re having to celebrate on any given Sunday. And replacing a Mass with the Extraordinary Form is clearly out of the question.

  6. jbas says:

    Perhaps there should be some sort of test before a Western priest is ordained a bishop. I mean a real test, with multiple choice or essay questions on the decrees of Trent, the constitutions of Vatican II, canon law and recent papal and Vatican documents.

  7. danphunter1 says:

    Unfortunately Bishop Wrights response is the response of many Ordinarys.
    They can rewrite SP I guess.

  8. jbas says:

    “And replacing a Mass with the Extraordinary Form is clearly out of the question.” The principal Mass maybe, but why are the others clearly out of the question?

  9. MarkJ says:

    Replacing Sunday OF Masses with Sunday EF Masses is EXACTLY what needs to be done. Everywhere. And the sooner the better. For the good of each parishioner, each parish, each priest, each diocese, each country, for the good the the whole Church and the entire world. Every bishop who opposes Tradition is breaking with Tradition and is ultimately on the wrong side of history. Brick by brick, bishops, and you might want to make sure you’re on the inside of the edifice when the final bricks are laid, not on the outside.

  10. Phillip says:

    But he’s going to Rome, right? He can ask the Holy Father about his “indult.”

  11. Speravi says:

    As I said at Rorate, If the HOLY SEE wants bishops to stop blocking Summorum Pontificum, they should REQUIRE SEMINARIES to teach the traditional form of the Mass. If there was a priest willing and capable to implement SP, the people wouldn’t even have to ask the bishop in the first place. Secondly, if there was a priest supportive of the community, HE WOULD BE AN ADVOCATE for them and would be able to fight for HIS OWN RIGHT (if he is a pastor) to implement the document. It would, more often than not, never have to go all the way to Rome. Without such an advocate, the bishop can always simply say that it is a practical impossibility to provide a priest.

    Men who would be happy to say the TLM are being ordained without being able to do so precisely because the SEMINARIES do not teach either EF or REQUIRE LATIN; and most of these men will probably NEVER make the effort to learn it in the busy life of a parish priest (especially if the LATIN LANGUAGE is the issue). One of my classmates who was ordained in 2011 and who has come to terms that he will never learn the TLM told me that THE reason was that he does not know Latin. I have met other priests in the same mindset who were ordained in previous years.

    Does my “orthodox” American seminary require Latin today or even encourage it? NO! It is one elective in a schedule where you do not get very many electives and it is often not even on the schedule until a group of seminarians start asking for it. When I took the intermediate Latin class, there were only four of us in the class…in a seminary that has about 90 seminarians. In my ordination class of 2011, at least half would not even be comfortable saying the Ordinary Form in Latin.

  12. Supertradmum says:


    Thank you. I have been a witness to major seminaries not requiring Latin and positively discouraging the Latin Mass. Latin is an elective still in even “famous” seminaries in America. And, for seminaries which are connected to Abbeys, the situation is the same, if not worse. The name of this sin is hypocrisy, seeming to be what one is not-obedient.

  13. “And replacing a Mass with the Extraordinary Form is clearly out of the question.”

    How true. Some innocent soul showing up at Sunday Mass might find himself subjected to liturgy not satisfying all his personal preferences in worship. Unthinkable! Right? Who ever heard of such a thing happening in the Catholic Church?

  14. Paul says:

    Every time I read something like this, my blood starts to boil. Yes, I understand about the need to obey the bishop and I understand how slowly the Church moves, but this is direct, disobedience to the Vicar of Christ. No employee would be tolerated who did something like this. No officer allowed to remain at his post who ignored the general’s lawful order. Why then does this stand?

    What stops the Holy Father from simply removing every wolf who leads the people astray? We talk about brick by brick while millions slide into the abyss. We talk a about a Marshal Plan for the Church while truth is suppressed.

    If the bishop ordered the faithful to trample the cross and curse God, would we under obligation do so? Of course not, yet how different is a bishop who denies the will of God through his Pope?

  15. robtbrown says:

    Supertradmum says:

    The name of this sin is hypocrisy, seeming to be what one is not-obedient.

    I would say that it’s sloth–spiritual apathy.

  16. Supertradmum says:

    Henry Edwards, please do not fall into cynicism. We need your great comments. I myself have not been to a Latin Mass for months and months because of the lack of such where I was living in England-Walsingham, the National Shrine.

  17. Glen M says:

    The faithful in this diocese are instructed by the universal law of the Church to write to Ecclesia Dei. Let the Bishop’s boss handle this matter.

  18. Speravi says:

    For the record, my previous statement was not meant to be discouraging. The men being ordained today are good and orthodox men who will do good for the Church and are, for the most part, well-disposed toward tradition; and seminaries are getting better too. I just couldn’t help mentioning their obvious and crucial role in changing the liturgical landscape. Not all seminarians can be or should be arm-chair liturgical researchers who spend all their free time researching the history of the liturgy and the principles behind liturgical worship or the problems in the Church. That is the point of seminary FORMATION.

  19. JoyfulMom7 says:

    Father Z, thank you for your courage in posting this! You are in my prayers, always.
    And MarkJ – I couldn’t agree more!

  20. John UK says:

    JBAS scripsit:
    Perhaps there should be some sort of test before a Western priest is ordained a bishop. I mean a real test, with multiple choice or essay questions on the decrees of Trent, the constitutions of Vatican II, canon law and recent papal and Vatican documents.

    in Latin, naturally?

    Kind regards,

    John U.K.

  21. jbas says:

    I understand what you are saying, but any priest wishing to learn the traditional Roman Missal and Ritual can easily find resources to do so after ordination, as many of us have. There are quite a few laymen who will go out of their way to help a priest who shows even a little interest. I suppose someone with no familiarity at all with the language would have a more difficult time, but the rubrics themselves are also pretty demanding. An optimistic young priest, however, should be up for the challenge. I’m just afraid an unsympathetic seminary that’s required to teach the full Roman liturgical tradition would do more damage than good.

  22. robtbrown says:

    frjosh says,

    Just a thought, but it doesn’t seem so out of the ordinary for a bishop to want to protect his priests in terms of how many Masses they’re having to celebrate on any given Sunday.

    If priests find they are overwrought by saying more that two masses on Sunday, perhaps it’s because the vernacular versus populum mass requires the celebrant to perform like a third rate actor in a musical.

  23. Supertradmum says:

    I think the point is that these seminaries, and I worked in one, are run by authorities, sometimes monks, who hate the TLM. The token once-a-semester TLM is a formality out of a legalistic mindset which can state, “We do it.” There is more to this than having a regular TLM, however, and that is the liberal stance which these seminaries hold about Rome. In other words, the heresy of Americanism has been institutionalized. If any or all of the Catholic seminaries can pick and choose what directives come from Rome, these places create an atmosphere of disobedience, which is why this is a formation issue as well. In addition, the denial of Latin as a requirement shows an anti-intellectualism, which is rife in American Catholicism. The non-acceptance of the Summorum Pontificum reveals much more serious problems than the love of Latin or the Latin Mass. Some of the priests who have suppressed the TLM in these seminaries are liberals in other areas of Church practice and doctrine. For example, the same seminary in the U.S. with which I am familiar, is anti-TLM and accepts homosexual men as seminarians. There is always a connection with liturgical abuse and these types of problem, in my limited but long experience. And, the suppression of the TLM forms a new genre of liturgical abuse.

  24. jesusthroughmary says:

    Speravi @ 12:02:

    “One of my classmates who was ordained in 2011 and who has come to terms that he will never learn the TLM told me that THE reason was that he does not know Latin.”

    With all due respect to the reverend Father: Rubbish. I’m sure he’s been convinced of that by someone along the way, but it is a red herring. I suggest that you point him to Fr. Z’s discussion on the word “idoneus”. Every hand missal has a complete English translation of the ordinary and all the propers, along with a pronunication guide. With a Missale Romanum, a hand missal, an ordo, and an O’Connell (and, any priest has everything he needs. One need not be a Latinist – just saying the black (correctly) is enough.

  25. jbas says:

    I certainly agree about the seminary problem in general. I was pretty beat up after my own eight year experience. Perhaps that’s why I have little confidence in the capacity of the Vatican to change a system so deeply flawed in so many ways.
    BUT, just as my generation of priests learned the faith and liturgy on our own despite (not in opposition to, but despite) the seminaries, so can this generation. If every Latin priest who loves the Roman liturgy will learn the old rites, no matter how long it takes, and start celebrating them daily–or at least frequently–then the power of wayward bishops and seminaries to repress these rites will be sufficiently diminished. The earlier after ordination they start learning the traditional rites the better.

  26. Mark of the Vine says:

    This kind of reasoning from the bishop seems to coincide with the roadblocks I keep on hitting with my marriage preparations. [Note: I do not live in Australia, but in Europe]

    At one parish, the priest demanded that each and every person at the wedding show proof that they are all familiar with the EF. I kid you not! I still have the letter from the priest with me.
    At the church where we’m currently requesting permission, the matter has been sent to the episcopal curia for apreciation…

  27. James Joseph says:

    I think the antistite (commonly called bishop) is missing the point of her request for assistance in enforcing the Law of the Catholic Church. The antistite (commonly called bishop) doesn’t have to sanction anything. It has already been sanctioned by the Bishop (Peter).

  28. Mark of the Vine says:

    I forgot to mention that they won’t even start the canonical process for Matrimony.

  29. jhayes says:

    From the address in the letter, the woman requesting a weekly EF mass lives in Charlestown, not the cathedral parish. Charlestown is one of three churches (Mass Centres) in MacKillop Parish, which has just one priest to say mass at all three churches

    Mass Centres
    St Mary Immaculate Charlestown
    Saturday: 6:00 pm
    Sunday: 8:00 am

    St Paul’s Gateshead
    Sunday: 9:30am

    St John Vianney’s Redhead
    Saturday: 9:00 am (Ist Saturday of the month)

    Since St. Mary Immaculate, Charlestown has only one mass on Sunday, changing that to an EF mass every Sunday would mean that there would never be a Sunday OF mass for those who prefer that.

    It seems as if that is a decision in which the pastor can exercise prudential judgement (subject to the review of the bishop – which seems to be what is happening in the letter)

    The bishop’s reply seems to be that he has no objection to having EF masses weekly as long as they are not alway on Sunday.

  30. Peter in Canberra says:

    This is really not a surprise, especially in Australia. There have been other similar instances, even where there were clergy willing to provide the EF. The very egalitarian character that sometimes is endearing in Australians is at play here – recall our colonial past and the rather pervasive view that “we’ll show those toffs over the sea we can run our own show”. This unfortunately often results in an anti-intellectual, lowest common denominator outcome in many endeavours. And also in the Church. And despite our pretensions to be multicultural and international, Australia in many respects (especially ecclesial ones) remains depressingly parochial. A practical outcome of this is that there is a default to choose the crass over the beautiful because beauty is somehow tainted by the spectre of superiority.
    And specifically, the liturgical fabric of Australia is so eroded that this is a very hard fight. Even in our metropolitan cathedrals the standard of the liturgy is simply parish novus ordo writ large. The movers and shakers in official liturgy are diocesan liturgical commissions, staffed by nuns and greying lay women. I must hastily point out that it isn’t because they are staffed by women that I raise some question (proper liturgical sensibility is not limited to the male of the species) but because there is a discernable correlation between those persons and what I will broadly describe as the post-Vatican II implementation agenda. Take a look at the website of almost any Australian women’s religious congregation for an example of what I am talking about.
    Interestingly, if you search for statements of Bp Wright since his consecration you find evidence of that mentality in spades – he does not like pomp – he likes small ‘real’ church. And of course he is not alone. Indeed he is perhaps in that respect, ie that of his personal tastes, not unlike the former bishop of Toowoomba, William Morris.

    Lastly, Bp Wright is a brand new appointment. One is left wondering when (if ever) there will be a real change in the type of episcopal appointments in Australia, and around the world.

  31. muckemdanno says:

    Bp. Wright was consecrated a bishop this year by Cardinal Pell.

    The “demographic solution” may take quite a bit longer than some of us here expect.

  32. JARay says:

    I see that Peter in Canberra mentions the fact that in Australia the diocesan Liturgical commissions are staffed by nuns of a certain ‘spirit of Vatican II’ disposition. This is certainly true over here in the West of Australia. He also mentions the former bishop of Toowoomba, William Morris. Indeed I note a certain likeness between Bp Wright and that former bishop and he wonders if there will ever be a real change in the type of episcopal appointments in Australia. Our own Archbishop is due to be replaced. He is over in Rome right now on what is clearly his last ad limina visit. My prayers are for someone of the stamp of Archbishop Chaput but looking around the list of likely replacements, I fear that my prayer is asking for a very great miracle.

  33. vetusta ecclesia says:

    Be fair to some aspects of the (otherwise lamentable) Australian church. In February 2011 I attended Sunday Mass in Melbourne Cathedral. OF Mass, Latin from the choir, all male servers, the Bishop presiding (with pontifical dalmatic) , seven candles on the altar. After Mass I congratulated the Bishop. He said,”If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well”. When I suggested that we could do with bishops like him in UK he was more reticent!

  34. Mitchell NY says:

    Father, I think you must run into some of these Priests and Bishops throughout the world who obstruct the implemetation of the Holy Father’s wishes and well, laws. How do you handle it? I mean do you bring such behavior up in a subtle way, ignore it completely, or directly tell them ? Not only does blocking and disrespecting Church law endanger souls it must cause terrible tension at international gatherings, conferences, seminars, and meetings between those who faithfully support Rome and those who purposefully ignore and tarnish the Papacy. I will say a prayer for all those who continue to add to the decline of the Church and the role of the Pope. God Bless you for the work you do.

  35. vetusta ecclesia says:

    At least in Perth there is (or was) a regular Sunday us.ant. Mass in the pro-cathedral

  36. kallman says:

    This is so typical in Australia.

  37. Peter G says:

    Here in Melbourne we have an EF parish which has 3 priests.The main mass each Sunday is a Missa Solemnis and the other 2 are low masses.The only EF mass at our cathedral is at 5.30pm on a Wednesday and is well attended.
    Bishop Wright’s response is depressing but alas,not surprising.I would not be totally surprised if some of our country bishops did not know what an EF mass was.

  38. Phillip says:

    Mark of the Vine,
    “At one parish, the priest demanded that each and every person at the wedding show proof that they are all familiar with the EF. I kid you not! I still have the letter from the priest with me.”

    If the bishop doesn’t point overrule that, could that nonsense be appealed to the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei? I don’t really know what SP or UE have to say about wedding Masses, but that’s so blatantly obstructionist…if you’ve managed to be charitable to the priest in the face of that, you have my utmost respect.

  39. Cristero says:

    I learn so much from all the comments, and from your blog, Father.

    Let us keep His Excellency in our prayers as a successor of the Apostles, and for our Holy Father, Benedict, the Pope of Rome, that he may not fall to the wolves.

  40. Speravi says:

    Those who object to my posts all have good points and I do not disagree with you. My main point is that more priests would learn the EF if it was facilitated by the teaching of Latin and the making available of instruction in it in the seminary. I am not saying they can’t learn. I learned to say it without any formal classes. I know many priests who learned it on their own in the parishes. I know you don’t have to be fluent in Latin. But I also know real priests who say they don’t want to say Mass in Latin if they can’t understand it and who say that they would be open to it otherwise. I hope what I said is rubbish; maybe my language was too strong; I am sorry if I exaggerated in any way. There are many good and pious seminarians who do not read blogs and do not read conservative periodicals and who are happy with the Novus Ordo who would also be open to learning the EF, but are not going to go looking for it. There are many holy priests who don’t read blogs, who pray and love their people, and are happy with the Novus Ordo, but who, I am confident (no, I didn’t send out a survey), would be happy to offer the EF for those who desire it, but who are not going to go looking for it because they are content worshiping God and serving his people (and they have probably rarely if ever been asked by God’s people to offer it).
    I also agree with the criticism that it would probably be better for a seminary not to offer TLM training if the person doing the training hates the TLM (I don’t believe the same is true for Latin).
    And with regard to my classmate and good friend, I am not saying his attitude is correct. If, however, he had learned Latin and the EF was taught in the seminary, and he had room in is schedule, I think he would be able to say it today. I am not saying he will never learn it; but last I spoke to him, he had no plans to. I am saying that I can’t picture him (himself, not priests in general) trying to teach himself out of a book or searching the internet for Latin Mass training DVD’s. I am not even aware of his ever attending the TLMs in his own diocese; but he expressed a velleity about learning it and he is a faithful and orthodox priest.

  41. SPWang says:

    This would be funny if it wasn’t true. They’ll write books about this one day.

  42. maynardus says:

    Speravi wrote: “But I also know real priests who say they don’t want to say Mass in Latin if they can’t understand it…”

    I can understand that sentiment, but again, it is not impossible to learn. If a dumb, middle-aged laic like myself can learn the common prayers of the Mass in Latin as well as the prayers-every-Catholic-must-know (also in Latin) then it shouldn’t be impossible for a priest to learn the Mass by rote and enough Latin to get the gist of the propers. And of course it helps to spend 5 min reading them (in the vernacular) before Mass just in case. I’m not good with languages, and I won’t minimize the difficulties in learning any non-native tongue, but hey – even my kids, when they hear or pray “Pater noster, qui est in Caelis” know that they are praying to “Our Father, who are in Heaven”. Like anything else an adult learns, repetition is the key to familiarity. And effort is the key to success.

  43. JaneC says:

    jbas–I agree with your idea about the test, but the trouble is that it would also have to be re-administered every year or two afterward, to make sure they keep up with new information.

  44. jeff says:

    ….and people wonder why I want to retreat into a Trad ghetto…. siiigghhhh

  45. robtbrown says:

    If any priest is deficient in Latin, maybe he should ask the rector of the seminary and the bishop: In so far as Vat II and the new code of canon law mandate the study of Latin for seminarians, why is it not required for your seminarians?

  46. Eric says:

    I think all Catholics in the world should gather in one place every Sunday to worship…..

    Oh, that’s right, we do.

  47. Supertradmum says:


    The problem is real and painful in the seminaries referred to by Speravi and me: if a seminarian looks too trad, he will be in a situation where the admin will look for a reason to expel him, or make his life miserable. If Latin is not required, only the few and the brave take it. With Spanish offered, many sems take that language, as it is safe and will be useful. In one seminary, a student can test out of a language requirement and Latinos do so, getting credit by passing a test in one of their two languages-Spanish. Many young men are in seminarians who are hiding their own preference for the TLM. I know this for a fact, as they talk to me or write to me daily, because of the discouragement factor. I am a cheer-leader for the conservative, trad sems. I am sorry if you do not believe this, but it is a common situation for young men in many countries to be at, what one Irish priest told me of his experience in Ireland, “periscope level”.

  48. Richeldis says:

    This letter is not at all easy to follow, but if I have understood it rightly this bishop is a master of Catch 22.

    1. Only a stable group within the community has the right to ask for provision of Mass in the Extraordinary Form.
    2. You are only a member of the community if you come to the “community Mass”
    3. The community Mass is in the Ordinary Form.

    Therefore, it is logically impossible for a group to submit a legitimate request for a Sunday Mass in the Extraordinary Form.

    Is this what he is trying to say?

  49. Imrahil says:

    Well, besides the things about other communities who do have their special Masses,

    I obediently disagree with the whole idea of communityism. Of course, as understood here; I will not say anything against the doctrines of the Mystical Body, being one in Christ, etc. But it can be easier to be one in Christ with people if you don’t have forcibly to meet them every week for a friendly chat. It is, in fact, easier to meet people every week for a friendly chat if you don’t have forcibly to do so for fulfilling your religious obligation. It can, if you do, be a way of acting in Christian charity, and God loves a joyful giver, it stands written. And what concerns Holy Mass – in Holy Mass you are at one with Christ and the whole Church. And not only can it be easier to be at one with your neighbor who has just filed a lawsuit against you if he doesn’t sit right next to you, it also can be easier to be at one with all Holy Mother Church if Holy Mother Church allows you to be in visible reality at one with the people you’d specially like to be so.

    Frankly, my thoughts were: “After all, Australia never suffered from a collectivist dictatorship.” But I was dishonest then because this idea of community does also spread around in countries which have.

    Dear @supertradmum, if they are at periscope level, they are like submarines: They’ll always show up again one time…

  50. Margaret Collins says:

    It does sound as though in some places seminarians who want to learn Latin will have to do it privately, even secretly. Perhaps an on-line course could be set up for them, Father?

  51. Speravi: “I also know real priests who say they don’t want to say Mass in Latin if they can’t understand it”

    Nor should they. However (as you doubtlessly know) most of the Latin grammar of the Bible and Mass is very simple compared to colloquial or classical Latin (possibly with the exception of the proper orations). (Or compared to the fuzzy and prolix Latin of the Vatican II documents, which is one reason why many or most of the bishops at Vatican II probably never read these documents before voting on them, and saw them implemented them back home without really knowing what they had approved with their votes.) And the vocabulary of liturgical Latin is limited and repetitious, which makes it pretty easy to pick up in practice, without formal course work.

    Indeed, one might well be able, without ever taken a Latin course, to understand the whole missal and bible pretty well in Latin, yet be unable to compose extemporaneously a spoken sentence in Latin. Which, come to think of it, might not be a bad idea for priests, given the liturgical “creativity” that Pope Benedict has bemoaned (along with the rest of us).

  52. Supertradmum says:

    Just for the record, when my three brothers were learning the Latin responses in the pre-Vatican II Church, I had to do the part of the priest for them to practice. Needless to say, with missals with English on one side and Latin on the other, all four of us learned Liturgical Latin before the age of nine. Children can pick up languages faster than most adults, but if adults are taught well or have a good tutor one-on-one, it can be learned. But, in the States, as most schools do not encourage or have a second language as a requirement, as we did (I did French and Latin), many adults are wary, and lack confidence in learning Latin. It does take time, however, and some priests would have more of a natural ability to do so. We have a family friend who learned the Latin Mass several years ago from the weekend course at St. John Cantius. He still does not get all the pronunciations correct, but is very humble. He is a mathematical genius, but as he himself states, (and he is a very good priest) as he cannot even speak English correctly, his first language, we must bear with him. We all do and love his humility.

  53. Maltese says:

    One of the tragic ironies in the almost universal loss of the Traditional Latin Mass is the loss of a universal mass among believers. A mass in one tongue, one form, which unites Catholics throughout the world. So now we have divided ourselves. In my town this is most evident among the English and Spanish mass-goers; wouldn’t it be nice if we could worship together? But the possibly-Masonic Bugnini knew, like Cranmer before him, that his liturgical revolution would change the faith. Lex orandi, lex credendi.

  54. robtbrown says:


    I am well aware of the situation in US seminaries and scholasticates. In fact, it has improved–30 years ago a young man had to hide his objection to women priests and homosexuality. Even after JPII’s first US visit, members of formation teams were still talking about “when women are ordained”. I know. I was there.

    The question of seminarians lying low is complex. I’ve known men who persevered through all the liberal formation nonsense, were ordained, then discovered their priestly life was subject to the same liberal nonsense. Some left the priesthood. Others, like Fr Sotelo, have stayed and done well. I am hoping that a first year theologian interested in Latin liturgy but in formation hostile to it will find a better situation by the time he’s ordained. Will he? I don’t know–we’ve heard these promises before. Vedremo.

    BTW, when the eminently incompetent Msgr Purcell was the rector at NAC, seminarians were discouraged from taking Foster’s Latin courses. That changed–as did NAC–when he returned to Calif in the late 80’s.

  55. Supertradmum says:

    Homosexuality is still a non-discuss-able topic in some American seminaries. And, I am convinced that disobedience to the Pope in matters of liturgy reveal a disobedience in other areas. In addition, I had a very long discussion with a seminarian today in America who has never had any spiritual formation with regard to the life of the virtues, the call to perfection, the call to holiness. He is in his graduate years. I know for sure that one of the questions two of my sem friends were asked when approaching the Institute of Christ the King was “Do you want to be a saint?” This idea that all priests should desire saintliness and not just getting by is simply not taught in some of the seminaries. I cannot help but think this laxity and even denial of serious sin is connected to the same anti-Rome sentiments as hating, yes a term used, hating the TLM. And, on top of these concerns, there are still young men being chosen for the seminary and in graduate colleges who “hate” the TLM, among them some of those from Mexico and Central American countries, who have plainly told me they do not like it and will never say it.

  56. John Nolan says:

    With effect from the First Sunday in Advent the Birmingham Oratory (Bl. John Henry Newman’s church) is replacing its principal Sunday Mass (at present Solemn Latin OF) with a Solemn EF Mass. I don’t expect the heavens to fall, and I can’t see Westminster Cathedral doing it in my lifetime, but it’s a step in the right direction.

    As regards Latin, St John Vianney struggled with it to the extent that it nearly precluded his ordination.

  57. jhayes says:

    In regard to the question of whether having both the OF and the EF celebrated on a Sunday would divide the parish community, Pope Benedict’s letter to the bishops to accompany Summorum Pontificum said:

    In the second place, the fear was expressed in discussions about the awaited Motu Proprio, that the possibility of a wider use of the 1962 Missal would lead to disarray or even divisions within parish communities. This fear also strikes me as quite unfounded. The use of the old Missal presupposes a certain degree of liturgical formation and some knowledge of the Latin language; neither of these is found very often. Already from these concrete presuppositions, it is clearly seen that the new Missal will certainly remain the ordinary Form of the Roman Rite, not only on account of the juridical norms, but also because of the actual situation of the communities of the faithful.

    Summorum Pontificum provides that there can be only one EF celebration on Sundays and feast days:

    § 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.

    So, in a parish which has two or more masses on Sunday, one may be EF but the others must be OF.

    Nothing I have found provides an answer for a parish that has only one mass on Sundays and feast days. Since Summorum Pontificum says that the EF “may” be celebrated once on Sundays and feasts, it seems the pastor would not be obligated to accept a request to celebrate that one mass in the EF each Sunday if he judges that that would be to the disadvantage of the majority of the people.

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