Can a bishop in a diocese forbid seminarians from attending the extraordinary form of the Mass?
This is happening in the ___ diocese. My friend who just entered this seminary informed me of this when I invited him to join a group our friends in attending an Extraordinary Form Mass. The decision was made to ensure that the seminarians develop a proper appreciation of the Ordinary Form. [?]
I don’t mean to come across as accusatory toward the bishop [or rector?] and I can see wisdom in trying to protect the seminarians from some of the radical traditionalists out there (although that isn’t the stated purpose of the ban), but this seems absurd to me.
I assume that the same bishop and/or rector also forbade seminarians from participation at the Divine Liturgy of Eastern Catholic. Thus, they may not go to a Maronite or Ukrainian Catholic Church. Think about it. If seminarians are not permitted to attend a Mass in their own Church and Rite, how much less would they be permitted to attend Divine Liturgies of Eastern Churches and Rites?
This has a “Sieve and Sand” feeling to it.
As I have written before, it matters not a whit if a bishop or a rector has the authority -legitimately – to tell seminarians that they may not attend Holy Mass in the Extraordinary Form.
The only thing that matters is that they can throw men out of the seminary just because that morning they didn’t like their corn flakes.
They don’t have to give you a reason. They wield power and you don’t. That’s that. That is, in particular, how liberals work. Get used to this harsh fact about our clerical world.
Seminarians! LISTEN UP!
If your rector or bishop has a “Latin Mass” phobia, fine.
Smile. Be cordial. Obey.
In the meantime, learn everything they teach, participate fully and cheerfully in the program of formation, and redouble your efforts on your own, discretely, to learn the Extraordinary Form.
Don’t make waves. Don’t put an interest in anything traditional (i.e., Catholic) on display. Always participate well and properly in the Ordinary Form with not a hint of criticism.
You are not there to pass judgment on the formation program. Get through it and make good use of the good elements. Squeeze the orange (or lemon) for every possible good drop. Check off the days on your calendar.
As to the assertion that a “decision was made to ensure that the seminarians develop a proper appreciation of the Ordinary Form”…. I have to say something about that.
I don’t think there is a way to have “a proper appreciation of the Ordinary Form” without appreciation of the Extraordinary Form.
Seminaries often put on airs of being a grad school level program. A decision to deny seminarians training in and access to the Extraordinary Form is like saying to an English major, “You are forbidden in this department from studying Beowulf, Chaucer, Shakespeare, or any writer until the late 20th century. You may, however, study Vonnegut and Maya Angelou. You may not the production of Hamlet being staged downtown or you will be punished.” Forbidding participation in Extraordinary Form is like forbidding a German Lit major from studying German or reading Goethe… in German. Disallowing the older form of Mass is like blocking an American History student from reading European History. Forbidding the Usus Antiquior is like telling a med student not to study biology. Telling seminarians that the TLM is off limits is like telling a music major that she can’t study solfège, or figured bass, or anything before Arnold Schoenberg?
I suspect that the formators, if they know anything about the Extraordinary Form, which cannot be assumed, don’t like the spiritual content of the older form of the Roman Rite, or what they imagine it to be, and what it means for the Catholic priesthood.
Here’s a good question: How many format ors of seminarians know how to celebrate the Extraordinary Form? Shouldn’t they be able to? Nemo dat quod non habet, after all. And, by the way, review 1983 CIC can. 249.
At a certain point, someone, usually a representative of the seminary, will have to stand up at a diaconate ordination or a priesthood ordination and attest that the men are properly formed. If the ordinands don’t have a knowledge of their own Rite, can that attestation be true?
So, as I said, seminarians, be good. Apply yourselves to your studies and be cheerful. You don’t have a vocation to be a seminarian forever. Priesthood is forever. It is only a few short years away. A lot can happen in a few short years.