Diocese of Greensburg – Usus Antiquior implemented

For your Brick by Brick file.

Someone sent me news about a development in the Diocese of Greenburg.

Bishop Brandt implements Mass in extraordinary form in Latrobe

GREENSBURG — Bishop Lawrence E. Brandt announced that he is implementing the celebration of the Mass in the extraordinary form in the Diocese of Greensburg and has appointed Father Daniel C. Mahoney, V.F., pastor of Holy Family Parish, Latrobe, and Dean of Deanery 4, as the bishop’s representative for the celebration of the Mass in the extraordinary form.

This Mass will be celebrated at Holy Family Parish every Sunday as one of the parish’s regularly scheduled Masses.

The date of the first Mass in the extraordinary form and the regular starting time of the Mass are expected to be announced next month. This is the Roman Liturgy of 1962 which was promulgated by Pope John XXIII.

Bishop Brandt made the announcement Dec. 20 and said that the date of the first Mass in the extraordinary form will be set after Father Mahoney has completed the many preparations needed to celebrate the Mass in Latin, including recruiting and training Mass servers; organizing and training a choir; and securing other items such as a 1962 Roman Missal and altar cards, as well as other appointments necessary for this celebration.

Bishop Brandt’s announcement corresponds to a Vatican directive that instructed every Catholic diocese in the world to make the Mass in the extraordinary form available to the faithful.


A couple points should be made.

At first glance, this move seems to be a return to an obsolete model, the provisions of the now defunct Motu Proprio Ecclesia Dei adflicta, which stated that the bishop makes the determination about all scheduling of the of the use of the older form of Holy Mass.  That model was overturned with Summorum Pontificum, which states that pastors of parishes can make their own determinations about the use of the older forms.

In short, the bishop did not have to make this appointment so that the parish priest could start celebrating the older Mass regularly.  The pastor could have done this on his own.
Fathers!  You do not have to ask for permission.  Okay?  Read Summorum Pontificum.

After what I have been through and have seen I guess I am a little cynical when it comes to bishops.  My first reaction was that the bishop’s unnecessary intervention was an attempt to control.  Back in 2007 when Summorum Pontificum went into force it was amazing to see how many bishops who don’t like the traditional Roman forms were suddenly happy to implement the superseded Ecclesia Dei adflicta.

On reflection and some consultation, I think, rather, Bishop Brandt’s involvement is a sign of benevolent support.  Note the last line I quoted from the longer story:

Bishop Brandt’s announcement corresponds to a Vatican directive that instructed every Catholic diocese in the world to make the Mass in the extraordinary form available to the faithful.

I don’t think such a line would have been included were this not a positive show of support.

Furthermore, from what I understand, Bishop Brandt has had an uphill battle in Greensburg.

So, while this seems somewhat more Ecclesia Dei adflicta than Summorum Pontificum I don’t think His Excellency is trying to deny the right of priests or lay people to getting Masses in the Usus Antiquior started. He is showing a strong support for getting at least one place up and running with the Usus Antiquior.

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  1. jlmorrell says:

    It would be very easy to find out which is the case by speaking to someone involved in promoting the TLM in Greensburg. As someone who has worked at the grassroots level in starting the first TLM in my diocese, I can tell you that it was readily apparent to me in my case.

  2. Stephen Matthew says:

    “Diocesan policies established in 2008 to handle all requests for changes in Mass times and locations are being followed in the scheduling of this additional Mass for Holy Family Parish.”

    I think that is actually the key quote, it seems in this diocese (as in many? most?) pastors must have approval of the diocese to make permanent changes to the mass schedule of their parish. (Said diocese approved mass schedules may also perhaps specify the primary language to be used for the liturgy.)

    There are some good practical reasons for this, it does let the diocese publish a single correct listing of mass times, it allows the diocese to make certain only the canonical number of masses are scheduled, etc. However, there is also a negative possibility of centralizing things in the various offices and departments and commissions of the diocese, which can very much tie the hands of both pastors and the faithful in certain matters where perhaps freedom for excellence would be better.

    If anyone has knowledge of either the universal law, or the 2008 policy of this diocese referenced, perhaps that would clarify the question of why the bishop needed to be involved rather than just the pastor.

    Also, it seems that in addition to being pastor of the parish, the priest has been given perhaps the role of episcopal vicar (the article calls him “bishop’s representative”) with responsibilities over the implementation of SP or care of those attached to the 62 missal or some such, again pointing to the reason the bishop was involved.

  3. mamajen says:

    I share your cynicism about bishops, but hopefully his involvement will help get the word out and increase interest in the mass. Even if priests know they no longer need permission, a lot of lay people probably don’t, so I guess it helps to have the bishop’s stamp of approval.

  4. John Nolan says:

    Bishops need to give a lead, and the fact that more are doing so is encouraging. The cultural revolution of the 1960s was imposed without any real consultation, and in a particularly febrile decade. The restoration is happening, make no mistake about it, but we must be patient and charitable, and be prepared to offer our services in whatever way we can.

  5. andersonbd1 says:

    This is good news. Here’s a long ongoing thread I’ve been in and out of:

    I grew up in the DOG, but wasn’t a Catholic then. The last time I visited I went to a TLM right in Greensburg that was offered by a religious who travels from OH to say the mass for a very small group in a converted chapel/house. As far as I know it was legit, but it was definitely not connected with the diocese in any way. This fact and the above thread showed me the level of interest Bishop Brandt probably had in promoting the latin mass. Here’s a post I did that has a few pictures of the cathedral:

  6. Robertus Pittsburghensis says:

    I think that this is truly excellent news.

    The Diocese of Greensburg has a bad reputation here in the Pittsburgh area for doing everything it can to discourage the TLM. Obviously, the TLM is not de jure forbidden in Greensburg, but it had been de facto forbidden.

    The signal sent by his excellency is not an attempt to “gain control”; such control has long since been established. It is, I can only assume, an attempt to demonstrate that the de facto taboo on the TLM is dead, and to demonstrate it at the highest practical level.

    As I said, truly excellent news.

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