From a reader:
As you know on 30 April 2011 the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei issued the instruction Universae Ecclesiae of 30 April 2011, to clarify some aspects of Summorum Pontificum.
The two sections of this document that are of interest to our local Una Voce chapter are provided below:
21. Ordinaries [in general, diocesan bishops] are asked to offer their clergy the possibility of acquiring adequate preparation for celebrations in the forma extraordinaria. [In Latin: Ordinarii enixe rogantur… Ordinaries are strenuously asked… The adverb enixe is from enitor which has to do with “to force one’s way out or up” as in climbing a mountain or as in giving birth to a child.] This applies also to Seminaries, where future priests should be given proper formation, including study of Latin and, where pastoral needs suggest it, the opportunity to learn the forma extraordinaria of the Roman Rite.
22. In Dioceses without qualified priests, Diocesan Bishops can request assistance from priests of the Institutes erected by the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, either to the celebrate the forma extraordinaria or to teach others how to celebrate it.
In the past the Traditional Latin mass when offered in our diocese has been on an ad hoc basis. That is on the initiative of an individual priest who is interested in saying the Latin Mass and takes the time to learn to say it.
It is desired that a more organized and integrated approach to the celebration of the Traditional Latin Mass be instituted in our diocese based on the application of UE 21 and/or UE 22 [Desired by whom? The local bishop? I assume this means that the Una Voce group desires it.]
Our Una Voce group (and I suspect other readers) would be interested to hear your thoughts on how to best bring these ideas forward to our local bishop. Be assured of our continued prayers for you in your ministry to the Church.
First, thanks for the prayers. I need them.
One of the things that people hear from bishops when they ask for more (or one) opportunities to attend the Extraordinary Form is that “there are no priests available” or “all the priests are busy”, etc.
The first mistake was going to the bishop for this. According to Summorum Pontificum, pastors of parishes can make this decision without the permission of the bishop. People keep making this mistake.
So, my advice is that you identify several priests in the area who are willing to say or learn to say the older form. Ideally, they will be the pastors of parishes, rather than assistants who have no power.
Then, make sure that they have all the training and materials they need.
Then, once everything is copasetic, start gathering what can be seen as a stable group, as described in Summorum Pontificum 5 § 1 and UE 15. Note: A stable group doesn’t have to be of persons at just one parish or in its boundaries, etc.
Then, talk to the pastors about getting the Mass on the schedule in a regular time slot in the target parishes.
If this is not possible, then find some location where the priest is amenable. Remember: You already have identified your pool of priest celebrants. Even if you must eventually involve the local bishop, you still have a group of priests who are ready to help, thus taking that excuse off the table.
I always think that organizing this within the diocese is the best first step. Only if it can’t be done with priests from the diocese should you start thinking about trying to get to bishop to allow one of the specialized groups to come in, which is complicated.
However, even though I started with the identification of priests, the real first step is the identification and commitment of the lay people who are going to have to do all the work and pay all the bills. A great deal can be accomplished by a few people who will commit their time, talent and treasure to a project. A great example of this is what has been going on in New York City at Holy Innocents in Manhattan. There, a small group with drive eventually brought about a daily TLM at the parish, often a Missa Cantata with excellent music. They even started Sunday Vespers in the afternoon. The key, the sine qua non, was the dedication of the lay people, then the creation of the pool of celebrants, the supplying of all the materials, and the wooing of the pastor.
If you eventually have to get permissions from clerics, then make sure beforehand that the decks are entirely cleared for action for and aft, that the shot lockers are full and that the slow match is lit and smoking in the tubs. Which you’ll then be able to deal with any maneuver or broadside and respond at close range with your boarding party when the time is right.
Sorry, I channelled my inner Preserved Killick for a moment.
Be far more cordial and pleasant than Preserved Killick ever was! Had it not been for his singular talent in making excellent coffee he’d have been back in regular duties in a trice.
Now, back to your point about Universae Ecclesiae stating that “ordinaries are strenuously asked” to provide training and help for priests.
Realistically, most bishops are going to blow this off. It isn’t on their radar screen. Again, they will say that there is no interest. They will say there is no time. They will say that there is no budget. They will say, perhaps, nothing, and ignore you. That’s most bishops.
Therefore, you have to take the advice of Pope Francis and take matters into your own capable hands. Frankly, lay people are better at completing projects than priests and bishops are anyway. You need to create some holy “lío” as Pope Francis talked about in Rio. Create a ruckus. In this case, however, I don’t mean protest, though that would also be great. I mean take matters into your own hands, get all the resources together and then be of service to the bishop in fulfilling his responsibilities according to Universae Ecclesiae. When he says “There is no interest!”, be ready with the list of the stable group. “There are no priests!”,… well, bring them to the meeting. “There is no budget!”, get out your check book and show him a budget for bringing in a priest from St. John Cantius or the FSSP to do the training for several priests at the same time.
Be ready for every objection. Anticipate and plan.
After every meeting, write a summary note back to the bishop so that you have a record, in writing of what happened. Keep copies of everything in case, one day, you have to write to the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei”.
You also need to approach this on a spiritual level. Get as many people as you can to commit to praying for this, for fasting for it. Ask your guardian angels to hang out with the priests and the bishop whom you have to get on board. Invoke St. Joseph, if need be to help according to the now famous Bux Protocol. Ask Pope Francis’ favorite Mary, Undoer of Knots – who is also Queen of the Clergy – to help.