ASK FATHER: Why are the Novus Ordo and the Traditional Latin Mass just two “forms” instead of two different “rites”?

UPDATE 9 July:

You might go over to The Remnant and watch Peter Kwasneiwski’s talk at the Roman Forum on the issue I treat, below, and a lot more.   One of the important points he makes is the ever-increasing ultramontanism we are seeing, these days almost to the point of papalotry.

His talk at the Roman Forum is pretty much the same as the piece I mention, below, at Crisis.   The piece and talk are truly worth your time.   Among the chewy sustenance we find – an example:

I know of bishops who simply flatly deny that it is good for souls to have access to the Church’s traditional rites; they say it is better for them to be “obedient,” to be “humble and content with what the Church provides,” and “not to look for externals or be fixated one one’s own ideas of what’s reverent,” etc. Let’s put it this way: if pastors and bishops had a clue what was “for the good of souls,” we would not be in the disastrous situation in which we find ourselves.

As great as are the benefits we have been able to reap through Summorum Pontificum, we are in dire need of a more comprehensive theological understanding of the inherent rightfulness of traditional liturgy and the inalienability (so to speak) of the rights of clergy and laity to such liturgy. We need to see that, as much as popes have added to divine worship over the centuries, we are not beholden to popes for the liturgy; it preexists them, superior in its reality and its authority; it is the common possession of the entire People of God.

Originally posted Jul 8, 2021 at 19:11

From a reader…


I have recently been discussing w/ an FSSP priest friend of mine the issue of “forms”. Maybe you can tell me if my thesis here is correct.

From the day of my first RCIA and experience of Mass, I never understood the NO. It was always odd to me. Catholics constantly talked about “tradition” but then here I was sitting in a church building watching a dolled up and dumbed down version of the Lutheran service I just left one block down the street. Except there we knelt in reverence for (admittedly invalid) communion.

When I was introduced to the TLM I realized that this was the faith I’d been converted to, but was further confused, as it was obvious even to me and my wife who are not deeply knowledgeable about liturgies that this was a different RITE, not just a different “form” {whatever that is}. At the time I never understood the use of this “form” language and no one could shed any light on it for me. To me, if the NO is a truly valid and valuable liturgy at all then at the least it is a separate RITE.

Fast forward to Dijon and the rumored TLM suppression…

When this occurred it dawned on me that there might have been a reason specifically chosen for the use of the term “form” instead of simply admitting the obvious…that the NO is a different RITE. For if it was admitted that the NO was a separate RITE, then the administration of the Church could never have forced it upon priests as priests under all codes as far as I know, cannot be forced to say a different RITE than that in which they were ordained and incardinated and in fact must get special approval to celebrate bi-ritually. At any rate the whole thing appears to me to be duplicitous in the extreme, truly and deeply dishonest, something I am coming to associate with the term “Catholic Leadership” in general these days. It is very difficult not to think of this whole development as a planned operation.

You ask a good question.  I have written about this many times, but in such a way that it is perhaps buried in longer posts with a different focus.

I think the key to this lock is found in a distinction.  Summorum Pontificum is a juridical document, not a theological-liturgical or historical-liturgical document.  It establishes a juridical reality whereby if a priest of the Latin, Roman Church has the faculties to celebrate Mass in the Roman Rite then he… sorry if this seems circular… he has faculties to celebrate the Roman Rite.  Since the Traditional Form of the Roman Rite as codified in the 1962 editio typica of the Missale Romanum was, as the Legislator Pope Benedict XVI declared, never abrogated, then all priests with faculties to say Mass can freely use also the 1962 Missale and not just the more commonly used 1970, etc. editions (Novus Ordo).

Let’s halt for a moment and get a term squared away. “Abrogate” means to abolish completely, in such a way that you cannot appeal even to long-standing custom.  A good example of this is found the Congregation for Divine Worship’s 2002 document entitled Redemptionis Sacramentum:

[65.] It should be borne in mind that any previous norm that may have admitted non-ordained faithful to give the homily during the eucharistic celebration is to be considered abrogated by the norm of canon 767 §1. This practice is reprobated, so that it cannot be permitted to attain the force of custom.

So, any norms or appeals to previous custom that would allow a lay person to preach were abrogated, wiped out.  Then it went farther and “reprobated” the same, which means that if someone decided to continue to do this, abusively, they could not make future appeals to contra legem custom (as was the case with girl altar boys, etc.).

The Vetus Ordo, codified in the liturgical books in force in 1962, was never abrogated.   Hence, it is still the Roman Rite of the Church and it can be used without an indult which grants an exception to a law.

Summorum Pontificum itself established a law.  It did not pretend to solve the problem of whether or not the Novus Ordo is a different rite. 

For a long time before Summorum, there was hot debate about this question among liturgists.   Some claim (overly optimistically) that the Traditional form or Vetus Ordo and the Novus Ordo are the same Roman RiteI don’t know that anyone who celebrates both can maintain that claim for long.

However – and this is important – governing involves, to paraphrase Otto von Bismarck, “the art of the next best”.  Even Popes have to apply politics and “the art of the possible”.

Had Benedict made declaration that the Novus Ordo and the TLM were two different rites, all hell would have broken loose in negative reaction.  Also, that would probably have required new or altered structures in the Curia to handle the consequences.  Moreover, it would have made it much harder for priests to use the Traditional Roman RITE, since they would have to be bi-ritual, which is more complicated.

The solution in Summorum Pontificum is an elegant juridical solution that sidesteps many problems.  Is it the best possible in terms of outcome?  Perhaps not.  I think it was too restrictive.  However, getting the Traditional Latin Mass back into the main stream of Catholic life absolutely involved the art of the possible, of the second best.

Had Benedict allowed himself to make the perfect into the enemy of the good, we would today still be locked up in the chains of hostile bishops.

On the 14th anniversary of Summorum there were a couple of good pieces published by friends of mine.

Recently, Peter Kwasniewski wrote at Crisis about this issue, using language that I wouldn’t have used.  He writes of “Summorum Pontificum: Its Tragic Flaws”.  It could be that Peter, whom I greatly esteem, misses a couple of points.  First, let’s see what he said at Crisis.  My emphases and comments:

The most notorious feature of Summorum Pontificum is its claim, in Article 1, that there are two “forms” of the Roman rite:

The Roman Missal promulgated by Paul VI is the ordinary expression of the lex orandi (law of prayer) of the Catholic Church of the Latin rite. Nonetheless, the Roman Missal promulgated by St. Pius V and reissued by Bl. John XXIII is to be considered as an extraordinary expression of that same lex orandi, and must be given due honour for its venerable and ancient usage. These two expressions of the Church’s lex orandi will in no way lead to a division in the Church’s lex credendi (law of belief). They are, in fact two usages of the one Roman rite.

Yet the claim that Paul VI’s Missale Romanum of 1969 (the “Novus Ordo”) is, or belongs to, the same rite as the Missale Romanum last codified in 1962—or, more plainly, that the Novus Ordo may be called “the Roman rite” of the Mass—cannot withstand critical scrutiny, nor can this claim be sustained for any two liturgical books, Vetus and Novus. Never before in the history of the Roman Church have there been two “forms” or “uses” of the same local liturgical rite, simultaneously and with equal canonical status[Firstly, I am not so sure that that is the case.  It seems to me that through our long history of sacred liturgical worship there have been times when there was quite a bit of variation.  However, it eventually became necessary, as after the Protestant Revolt, to codify things for the sake of unity.  Anyway, let’s not lose sight of the fact that SP is a juridical document, not trying to settle the theological-liturgical question… in which field we find a very different answer, IMHO.]

That Pope Benedict could say that the older use had never been abrogated (numquam abrogatam) proves that Paul VI’s liturgy is something novel, [and that this is a juridical issue] rather than a mere revision of its precursor, since every earlier editio typica of the missal had replaced and excluded its predecessor. While there have always been different “uses” in the Latin Church, this doubling of the liturgy of Rome is a case of dissociative identity disorder or schizophrenia. [Yes, but in 2007 the question is not confined to ROME but spreads to the whole world.]

By no stretch of the imagination is it possible, let alone desirable, to talk about the Tridentine rite and the Novus Ordo as “two usages” or “forms” of the same Roman rite; [I will agree, if we are looking at content of the two Missalia and considering the content theologically as well as looking at the genesis of the Novus Ordo (a quickly assembled, artificial construct) compared to the perennially stable, slowly developing Roman Rite.] and it is ludicrous to say that the deviant form is “ordinary” and the traditional “extraordinary,” unless the evaluation is merely sociological or statistical. [Let’s not leave that without comment.  I think that distinction of “statistical” is important.  A while back I wrote about the term “norm”.  Something can be a “norm” which is prescriptive, like a law which establishes how something ought to be done. Also, “norm” can be descriptive, explaining how things are being done.  The same can be said about “ordinary” and “extraordinary”.   Prescriptive or descriptive?   When we interpret law in the Church, we do so to favor people’s rights.  Some people want to make that “extraordinary” to mean “rare” or “exceptional” (as if by an indult), and “ordinary” to mean the “norm” in the obligatory sense.  Think of Communion in the hand.  It is the norm only in the sense that it is common.  But Communion on the tongue is the norm for which there must be an indult.  “Extraordinary Form” does not mean that it is meant to be the exception, permitted as if by indult.  It was not abrogated.  It is a normative Mass not by statistics, but by law and by custom.] With a growing body of scholarship showing the radical differences in theological and spiritual content between the Roman rite and the modern papal rite of Paul VI, it is not intellectually honest or credible to claim that the old and new rites express the same lex orandi or, consequently, the same lex credendi. [Which statements, being made in a juridical document, and not in a scholarly monograph about the Roman Rite, reflect the “art of the possible”.  Imagine what would have happened had Benedict suggested openly that the two forms or rites express a different lex orandi, a different lex credendi?  That would have elicited unheard of blowback that would have buried Summorum deeper than Veterum sapientia.] It may be that the new rite is free from heresy, but its lex orandi only partly overlaps with the old rite’s, and so too for the credenda that they conveyas seen not only in texts but also in ceremonies and in every other dimension of public worship.  [“only partly” is sometimes enough.  This is the challenge of governance, the art of the second best.]

Holy Church had dramatic growing pains in her early centuries.  Varying practices and doctrines tore at her unity.  Eventually huge questions about, for example, the person of Christ – Did He just appear to be a man?  Did He have a human will?  Was He divine like the Father or a creature? – had to be worked out.  Titanic struggles ensued and civil authorities had to intervene because average people took these things so seriously that there could be riots in the streets at the suggestion of an opposing proposition.

To solve these problems bishops of differing factions met in councils and synods to hammer out the truth.  However, these factions were stubborn and often the best they could do was produce a formula just vague enough that both sides could sign it.   Clear enough and ambiguous enough that both sides could sign.  Then, in another few decades, when that formula wasn’t enough, different sides went at it again and another, suitably clear but diplomatically ambiguous formula was crafted that all could sign.  And so forth.  Thus, brick by brick we made ever clearer steps towards a fuller understanding of, for example, who Christ is so that at Chalcedon and with St. Leo the Great we arrived at something superior to what preceded.  We had to come to learn who the Mother of God is also.  We had to solve questions about the Holy Spirit.   As time passed, other questions flowed from the conclusions of previous councils and synods…. down to our time and Vatican I (Who is the Pope and who are bishops?) and Vatican II (about which the jury is still out).

Summorum Pontificum reflects a heavy brick, nay rather, a keystone in the arch, to hold things in place until more could be done.   It isn’t perfect, but it was sound.

Also at Crisis, Gregory DiPippo wrote of Summorum for its 14th anniversary.  He goes into the derailing of the liturgical reform mandated, by hook and by crook(s), by the Council.  In the wake of rumors about attacks on the integrity of Summorum (NB: rumors), Gregory reminds:

These fears are not misplaced, but at the same time, those who love the traditional liturgy should not allow themselves to be discouraged. A withdrawal, whole or partial, of Summorum Pontificum, brings with it an implicit but absolutely undeniable recognition that the post-Conciliar reform has definitively lost its grasp on the hearts and minds of the young. … [A]ny movement to suppress the Church’s traditional liturgy once again will fail, because it is in itself a confession of a much greater failure.

This is exactly right.

I would add that 2021 is not the same as the time when the Novus Ordo was implemented, 1970.  These are not the days of information limited to diocesan newspapers and the increasingly heterodox, renegade Fishwrap.   If certain powers that be think that the fruits of Summorum can be snapped out of existence as if with the stroke of a pen, they are living in a fantasy world constructed from their own will-to-power view of governance.

Just to circle back to the top:

Summorum Pontificum is not “tragic” unless you see it as trying to accomplish more than it was certainly intended to accomplish.  It is a juridical document which provided a solid juridical path to getting the TLM back into the Church’s mainstream.

Bottom line: If a priest is idoneus to celebrate Mass (he has faculties, he is competent) he has to be allowed to celebrate.  By declaring that the TLM had never been abrogated, and that juridically the Roman Rite has two “forms”, then if a priest has the faculties to celebrate Mass at all, he can choose either form.  Then the burden is on those (i.e., bishops) who want to say that the priest is not idoneus.  But if he isn’t, then maybe he also isn’t to say Mass in say, Spanish… or English in the case of priests from elsewhere.  Then what?   Try to restrict idoneus for one and you restrict it for the whole.  That’s not going to work.

Of course the counter to this is that bishops don’t care about the law and they do what they want to whom ever they want, reasonable or not, charitable or not, moral or not.

But then the mask is off.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. ProfKwasniewski says:

    Thank you, Father, for your careful and charitable engagement with some of the claims made in my article at Crisis.

    I agree that a canonical solution is different from a theological solution: it creates a legal structure that does not necessarily resolve the liturgical issues at stake. However, canon law always implies and transmits an implicit theology, and this would include a theology of the liturgy. That is where I think the weakness lies: not in the art of the possible, but in the science of the thinkable. Perhaps the permanent bridge to better thinking has to be built using the grappling hooks and ropes of possibility, but it’s a precarious and fairly dangerous situation. As much as we all want peace, the things we are dealing with themselves place strains and burdens on souls. (And I know you know that better than most.)

    My main point would be this: Summorum got a lot of people up and running, but if it’s canceled, that doesn’t mean the end of our movement. It’s the beginning of a new, grittier, and more determined phase of the campaign. As Mosebach says, now that we have the old Mass, we have to fight to keep it and spread it.

  2. JakeMC says:

    “But then the mask is off.” I posit that, with the growing number of “cancelled” priests out there, priests who were giving us the full, undiluted Truth, the mask has been off for a while now.

    [Tell me about it.]

  3. Grabski says:

    Is it licit to say the EF in English, as it was for a short time?

    [No. And only certain parts were permitted, as today.]

  4. BillG says:

    In reading the article by Professor K. and your post about it, Fr. Z, I was reminded of CCC 1125:
    “For this reason no sacramental rite may be modified or manipulated at the will of the minister or the community. Even the supreme authority in the Church may not change the liturgy arbitrarily, but only in the obedience of faith and with religious respect for the mystery of the liturgy.”
    The “tragic” flaw, apparently shared by Paul VI and Benedict XVI (and it pains me to speak of them in the same sentence) is in the premise that pope x can make whatever decision he chooses regarding the liturgy without regard to the past. The past shows a gradual (“organic” if you prefer) development of the Latin Rite for about 1400 years (after Gregory the Great sealed the Canon) and is principally a matter of accretions to, not deletions from, the Ordinary. Quo Primum standardized (for want of a better term) the Roman Rite in the face of the Protestant revolt. It certainly did not make any dramatic changes. It also respected tradition by its provision for retaining any rite over 200 years old (Dominican, Carmelite, etc.). The Novus Ordo is aptly called the “New Order” for it dramatically removed significant content from the both Ordinary and the Propers that reflects a different view of the Real Presence. The mysterium fidei from the Consecration and 1 Corinthians 11:27-29 from Holy Thursday and Corpus Christi, are two of the most egregious examples of this that come to mind. Benedict’s brave effort to preserve Tradition suggests to future popes that legerdemain wording and overstepping legitimate boundaries are acceptable if the cause seems just. Just how “tragic” this is certainly falls in the realm of speculation.

    [Thus, we put our finger on a sore spot: growing papalotry.]

  5. Chrisc says:

    Not only would the language of two rites have impact on the mass, but by introducing that rupture, there would be no confirmations, marriages or baptisms in the traditional form.

    Two forms in one rite is theologically unusual but juridically a best we could have hoped for. And in truth, maybe with that framework any attempted restriction will backfire. For instance, let’s say that Rome argues that every Latin rite priest must celebrate the novus ordo. That paves the way for future bishops or the pope to say that in their Latin rite diocese every priest must celebrate both forms. In not wanting to jettison SP, Francis may necessarily have to make it have more precedent even if he attempts to bolster in order to undermine.

  6. robtbrown says:

    1 There is no need for Prof K to try to establish that the Novus Ordo is “novel” Paul VI himself said it is an ‘innovation” in a General Audience Nov 19, 1969. He also four times uses the phrase “new rite”. Both expressions are direct translations fro the Italian.

    2. I completely agree with Fr Z that Papa Ratzinger’s distinction between the extraordinary and ordinary forms of the Roman Rite was necessary. Further, it turns the cannon around, aiming it at those who in the 1970s were saying over and over that the Novus Ordo was the same mass.

    3. Obviously, in a juridical sense both can be said to be the Roman Rite because both were promulgated by the Pope. On the other hand, the Novus Ordo says only the First Eucharistic Prayer is the Roman Canon–which means the others are not.

    4. That notwithstanding, it is easy to see that in the 1570 Missal the Mysterium Fidei that follows the second consecration (qui pro vobis et multis . . . ) is a concise affirmation of Transubstantiation.

    On the other hand, in the 1970 Missal the Mysterium Fidei is moved out of the second consecration, and instead used to introduce certain sentences that the most liberal Protestant would endorse.

  7. robtbrown says:

    I might add that at the Council of Nicaea there was the well known attempt by Eusebius to deal with Arianism by using a word that was ambiguous enough that both sides would agree. This was summarily rejected.

  8. Geoffrey says:

    “Moreover, it would have made it much harder for priests to use the Traditional Roman RITE, since they would have to be bi-ritual, which is more complicated…”

    I think this is key, and may be an example of Pope Benedict XVI’s genius. Whether or not there are two rites is academic. “Summorum Pontificum” deals with hard realities. Imagine if two rites had been declared… What a mess!

    And let us also think of the future. Could the old Roman Rite one day officially displace the new Roman Rite? One could argue that the reverse happened after Vatican II, but getting that genii back into the bottle is easier said than done, and a bit of a pipe dream. Better for the two “forms” to exist side by side, living in harmony, influencing each other, until one day — generations from now, when all the old grudges and mistrusts are dead and buried — the two forms merge into one Roman Rite.

  9. Hilda says:

    In church and for centuries the person belongs, normaly for life, to the rite which has been chosen for her baptism (c.111).
    This means that if you use “rite” rather than “form” only very old people belongs to the latin Roman “rite”.
    I believe that the introduction of “forms” was part of Benedict XVI genius and among others proof of his deep understanding of very ancient church laws on the subject of rite. We are part of the “ritual” Latin church (baptised now in vernacular languages or long ago in latin) were there are now different liturgical “forms”.

  10. Not says:

    If you read the books on Vatican II, a pastoral, not doctrinal counsel, the novus ordo was written by 9 protestants. WHY ? Why would the one true faith ask 9 protestants to write their version of our most Sacred Rite?

  11. I preface my comments with the admission that I have not availed myself of the scholarship that lies behind this discussion. Nevertheless, I dare to offer this thought.

    Those who advocate most forcefully for the superiority of the Paul VI Missal, openly admit that the “reform” set in motion by Vatican II is not over and isn’t meant to be over; it evolves. Such folks will defend the outcomes of Vatican II going beyond the stated terms of Vatican II as a feature, not a bug.

    Well then! Let’s apply that to the Missal promulgated in 1970; what sort of evolution might there be, 60 years on? Perhaps adaptations that tend back toward the older tradition, rather than away?

    It seems to me that when Pope Benedict declared the newer Missal as belonging to the same Rite, but being a different form, he sought to shape the trajectory: indeed, he called for “mutual enrichment” between the two usages. While certain “Spirit of Vatican II” liturgists and theologians may gnash their teeth, and even say, “but this is contrary to Vatican II,” it seems to me that those who favor a Benedictine “evolution” can simply respond, smiling:

    “Two can play that game”!

    Perhaps, at the moment, the newer form doesn’t bear that much family resemblance. But let the evolution continue. (Metaphor shift ahead!) One reason for the lack of resemblance may be that the child has been too far from home; let the Prodigal Son return!

  12. voxborealis says:

    My question is simple and probable a little dense, but bear with me. The entire discussion (it seems) turns on the legal fact that the older form of the Roman rite–the 1962 missal–was never abrogated. Could not this or any future pope simply abrogate the 1962 missal (including revised prayers introduced subsequently) and thus render SP and the entire discussion moot?

    If so, this has always struck me as the greater threat rather than tinkering with SP.

    [Everyone agrees that Popes have the raw power to do such a thing, but they do not have the moral authority. As even Rahner said, it would be a terrible sin against charity.]

  13. robtbrown says:

    Not says,

    If you read the books on Vatican II, a pastoral, not doctrinal counsel, the novus ordo was written by 9 protestants. WHY ? Why would the one true faith ask 9 protestants to write their version of our most Sacred Rite?

    I’ve never heard that it was composed by Protestants. No doubt they had input, but those priests who engineered the Novus Ordo probably didn’t really need their input.

    To answer your question: Radical Ecumenism (read: Community of Man Ideology). They wanted in the Novus Ordo no liturgical texts that Protestants objected to–one rite that could be used by both priests and Protestant ministers.

    It’s not relevant whether John’s intendion was a pastoral council. Paul VI exercised his own authority by promulgating documents that were dogmatic constitutions.

  14. robtbrown says:

    should be: intention

  15. Kathleen10 says:

    robtbrown, once again you are over the target. The churchmen went after Protestants, perhaps hoping to reunite both sides once again. But compromise is a dead end in some things, you end up with a watered down version nobody wants, and that’s basically what has happened. Eventually you have men in charge not committed to the precepts of the faith, and from there things have only deteriorated. We are clearly there. Catholic laity may have taken a long time to arrive, but it seems safe to say that eyes have been opened and how things really are is understood by many. I’m sad to say the men who run the church would poll extremely low, if such a poll were taken. But they keep driving things further into the ground, making it obvious it is personal, they really despise the Traditional Latin Rite and want it gone, despite it’s growing appeal and that benefit for the church. That makes no sense on any level, unless you realize it is personal to them. They have demonstrated hostility toward faithful Catholics. Do they realize where many Catholic laity are, after many puzzling years wondering why things were the way they were, and then the last eight rough years? The laity, have probably in large part, had enough, and they aren’t going to take it anymore. I can’t speak to forms and rites, but I can say from this Catholic’s perspective, the golden goose has been throttled, but they aim to kill it. Catholics will go on, they will find that rite and have it one way or another, but then what, for these men and the mainstream church…

  16. Not says:

    First my error, It was 6 Protestants. Great article from The Remnant about “Did 6 Protestants write the “new mass”? Paul VI’s Lumen Gentium is so full of ambiguity that it only serves to confuse. The letters from the early Popes were so beautiful, clear and concise.

  17. robtbrown said:

    “…To answer your question: Radical Ecumenism (read: Community of Man Ideology). They wanted in the Novus Ordo no liturgical texts that Protestants objected to–one rite that could be used by both priests and Protestant ministers…”

    In fact, some of the more divergent/conservative protestant ecclesial communities (I know of two which have a parallel ‘hierarchy’ of deacons, ‘priests’, and ‘bishops’ (one of which is a personal friend, fellow CW reenactor, and actually has a declared saint in his ancestry…)) which simulate the NO Mass to the point of using the 1970 Missal and reading cycles along with all the ritual instructions. Their preaching is sola scriptura, but their praxis would translate well (heretical simulation of our Mass notwithstanding…) into the normal NO parish.

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  19. A question: Where does the Ordinariate Mass fit into all of this? Is it a “rite” or a “form”? If you want to have the Mass in English, the Ordinariate’s Elizabethan English is the way to go. It’s beautiful. But it’s not exactly the Novus Ordo.

    [It’s a good question. I suppose that, in line with the legislation of the juridical document Summorum, what the (Anglican) Ordinariates have is a “form” of the Roman Rite, but in fact it is probably a “rite”. For the sake of discussing Summorum, however, it isn’t relevant no matter how glad we are that it is in use.]

  20. ex seaxe says:

    Diocesan priests are under the authority of their bishop, and communities like the FSSP operate in a diocese with the permission of the bishop. That is the way the Church has been organised since apostolic times. [Welllll….no. But for a very long time for sure.]
    Summorum Pontificum was accompanied by a letter from BXVI to diocesan ordinaries, asking them to be generous in their application of the new rules, and making several points one of which is : “Needless to say, in order to experience full communion, the priests of the communities adhering to the former usage cannot, as a matter of principle, exclude celebrating according to the new books.” That is to say the pope was calling for reciprocity in generosity from the TLM.
    The request of the Bishop of Dijon that the FSSP should find priests who are willing to concelebrate with him at the Chrism Mass is completely in accord with BXVI’s letter. And it is reasonable for the bishop to tell the FSSP to withdraw from his diocese if they cannot comply.

    [No. It isn’t “reasonable”. It reveals a profound inflexibility and lack of charity toward those who are attached to what the FSSP has brought for over two decades.]

  21. robtbrown says:


    Actually, Lumen Gentium is a good document. I do have a problem with LG 8.2, especially the translation of two words (inveniantur and compaginem).

    The Church was–and still is–in the process of changing from the concept of Church as Perfect Society (Bellamine and the Jesuits) back to the Church as Mystical Body (Scripture, St Augustine, and St Thomas). The inability of some to move to the latter is a source of many problems.

  22. ex seaxe says:

    Really Father? The ordinary should grant faculties and the cure of souls to priests who are not in ‘full communion’ with him? [If you think that lack of desire to CONCELEBRATE is equal to not being in “full communion” with the bishop, then you are in the wrong conversation.]
    Or perhaps you are saying the Pope Benedict was mistaken in describing such priests as ‘not experiencing full communion’. [Yes, you are in the wrong conversation. This is about the FSSP, not the SSPX.]
    But then I am probably mistaken in thinking that the ‘cure of souls’ still exists after the dropping of the obligation on the faithful to attach to their local parish. [Cura animarum is a whole different topic.]

  23. robtbrown says:

    Those communities that are under the direct authority of Rome, , e.g., Dominicans, Redemptorists, FSSP, once they are established in a diocese by a bishop, cannot be pushed out by any successive bishop. That order must come from Rome following a request from a bishop and investigation by Rome

    The plan for the SSPX in unification was that it be a Personal Prelature of the Pope by which the Society would continue in its locations with its own properties.

  24. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Thank you for this – including the update!

    In the Latin SP, I read in the second paragraph and in Art. 1 “usus” (plural) . Does – or might – it here have any technical liturgical sense, in distinction from ‘ritus’ (e.g., plural in the quotation beginning paragraph 6)? (Cf. Frederick Thomas Bergh’s 1912 Catholic Encyclopedia article (as transcribed at New Advent), “Sarum Rite” – which begins “More accurately SARUM USE” and also refers to the “not very dissimilar Uses, those of York, Lincoln, Bangor, and Hereford” and “to those of the Dominicans, Calced Carmelites, and other medieval religious orders” and in the final sentence says that “the Dominican, Carmelite and kindred Uses, cling, like that of Sarum, to certain liturgical practices derived from early Roman discipline, but which the Church has allowed to fall into desuetude.”)

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