Card. Burke’s statement can be read at his page: HERE
At the National Catholic Register (which is a Catholic paper and not to be confused with the Fishwrap), there is a piece by Ed Pentin about Raymond Leo Card. Burke’s reaction to the move to suppress individual priests’ Masses in the Vatican Basilica and force priests to concelebrate, as well as marginalizing the growing number of priests saying the Traditional Latin Mass. The horrid order issued 12 March goes into effect on 22 March.
Card. Burke in one the Church’s eminent canonists. He is the former head of the Church’s supreme court, the Apostolic Signatura.
Burke says that the suppression should be rescinded because it violates the Church’s universal law. Firstly, there is no protocol number, which I noted in my original post, and there is no signature. Burke also points out that the Secretariat of State, which issued the decree, is not the competent dicastery for the liturgical life of the Basilica. Also the decree was not directed to the man in charge of the Basilica, the Archpriest, but rather to the Fabbrica which maintains the structure.
However strange the decree was, which prompted some to think it was fake, it wound up on the door of the sacristy of the Basilica, thus showing that someone means business.
Burke also noted that the decree was a violation of Can. 902:
Can. 902 Unless the benefit of Christ’s faithful requires or suggests otherwise, priests may concelebrate the Eucharist; they are, however, fully entitled to celebrate the Eucharist individually, but not while a celebration is taking place in the same church or oratory.
He also notes the point in SC 57, which I mentioned in my original post. The Fathers of the Second Vatican Council wrote in the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium, 57, §2: “Nevertheless, each priest shall always retain his right to celebrate Mass individually…”.
Burke underscores that according to Summorum Pontificum a priest in good standing does not need “authorization” to use the 1962 Missale Romanum. This bad decree says that “authorized” priests may say the TLM, only in the Clementine Chapel, at certain times… which I assume they would have to share with priests who want to say the Novus Ordo.
Card. Burke makes a good point about the weasel words at the top of the decree, the excuse given for the draconian suppression: to foster an “atmosphere of recollection and liturgical decorum”… as if that wasn’t already the case in the Basilica with the individual Masses at the different altars. Yeah, even once in a while there would be some visiting priest who, not being used to say Mass near other priests saying Mass, would get a little too loud, but that was not usually the case. I said Mass in the Basilica for many years, for a long while at the same time when then Msgr. Burke and other American priests were also saying Mass there. We know what we are talking about.
The Pentin article states that “this is a change some in the Vatican have been pushing for many years, going back to when Cardinal Virgilio Noè was archpriest of the basilica from 1991 to 2002.” And, yes, I can confirm that this is much like those days. I was ordained in 1991 and I started saying the TLM right away. They bullied me in the sacristy and harassed me, but they couldn’t really do much of anything to me: I reported them to Card. Mayer, the President of the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei” and they eventually left me alone, though they were frosty. Eventually sacristans changed and time passed and things eased up.
It will be interesting to see what happens from all of this.
One thing is certain: there is still a lot of hatred for the Traditional Latin Mass among those in power. But the clock is ticking on them, just as it is on everyone else. Eventually, they will be replaced. And among their future successors are a lot of priests who respect and venerate the Traditional Mass and celebrate with the older Missale. This recent attack is going to galvanize men in their determination to defend Tradition for the sake of the good of the Church.