D. Bridgeport @diobpt – @BishopCaggiano issues a decree concerning the cruel Traditionis custodes – not bad!

The Society of St. Hugh of Cluny is located in the Diocese of Bridgeport.  Bishop Frank Caggiano of Bridgeport has issued his decree concerning the implementation of Franci’s Plessy v. Ferguson legacy document, Traditionis custodes.

Become a Custos Traditionis – HERE

Bp. Caggiano’s document is HERE.   The necessity of such a decree in the first place is a little foggy for me.  However, given the present environment, this isn’t horrible.  Remember that a while ago, Bp. Caggiano did a radio interview or a podcast of some sort in which he said he was going to think about this, and he made some decent observations.  It seems he followed through.

In summary, in Bridgeport, Caggiano has wisely made use of can. 87 to dispense from certain restrictive articles in the cruel TC, allowing parishes which already have their activities going to keep going under his “direct supervision”.

He provides for the case that the pastor no longer wishes to continue such Masses…. quod Deus avertat.

Priests who want to celebrate the Vetus Ordo muest seek the faculty from him and the priest must be idoneus.   This was a big deal at the time of Summorum Pontificum when some bishops claimed that priests had to be as fluent in Latin as little Cicero’s tutor.   Idoneus – roughtly qualified, suited to” – means that the priest must

  1. Not be impeded by Canon Law;
  2. Possess and evidence a basic knowledge of the Latin language so as to pronounce words correctly while understanding their meaning;
  3. Demonstrate facility and competency in the celebration of the usus antiquor of the Mass according to the rubrical directives.

All in all reasonable, and in keeping with what his predecessor, the late canonist and Cardinal Egan, said about idoneus and Latin.

Caggiano describes the faculty to use the 1962 books, which includes the Breviary, the forms for the Sacrament of Penance, public Masses at approved times,  and – this is the flaw, I think – private Mass.

Good canonists maintain that TC did not deal with private Masses and I agree.  Hence, this should have been left out.

The newly ordained have to ask the bishop for faculties and then he will consult Rome.  Keep in mind that TC says “consult”, not “ask permission from Rome to give the faculty”.  The bishop can send a postcard from his vacation in Atlantic City with the note that this is a consultation and then go ahead and give the faculty.

It seems to me that the point of that “consultation” business is a sneaky tactic to keep track of the growth of the TLM among younger clergy.   I think young priests should go ahead and learn the TLM anyway.  There is nothing against that and no one can stop them.  Nor should they try. It would be foolish.

He imposes the idoneus qualification also on the newly ordained deacons.  I hope there are some.

A quibble I have with the document is that the bishop, throughout, speaks of himself in the first person rather than saying “the diocesan bishop”.   After all, diocesan bishops come and go.


There are some other odds and ends in the decree.  All in all, compared to what we have seen in many other places, the decisions were pretty broad and fairly kind and reasonable in an environment of spiritual stinginess evinced by diocesan bishops.





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  1. kurtmasur says:

    How I wish the bishops of Costa Rica would take note. Ditto for the Archbishop of Guadalajara.

    Btw, does anybody know what the situation of the TLM is in the Diocese of Rome itself?

  2. All in all…while I guess we could quibble around the edges of his decree, given the current zeitgeist coming out of Francis’ reign, publicly ‘saluting’ TC while maintaining as much as possible, for now, the status quo ante bellum is a positive move.

    Other ordinaries have not been as generous and have flexed their authority as an exercise of their earthly power. So be it.

    In the vein of not letting the perfect be the enemy of the good?

  3. IaninEngland says:

    Thanks be to God for this man’s shepherd’s heart.

  4. KateD says:

    I understand bishops have to be politic, and that they need to clearly communicate to their priests what’s going on….however… if it were me (which obviously it couldn’t be) I’d tend towards ignoring decrees that are not legit with the sentiment articulated amongst the young at recent college football games substituting the object, “Joe Biden”, with “Traditionis custodes”…followed by a stomping of the feet on the bleachers.babababbum ba-bum!

  5. Maria says:

    I have been praying for this bishop …

  6. Pingback: FRIDAY EDITION – Big Pulpit

  7. jim morlino says:

    So….uh…..I actually LIVE in this diocese.
    And although we can all breathe a relative sigh of relief at the crumbs that have fallen from His Excellency’s table re THE MASS…..I’m not sure if most of Fr. Z’s readers know the REST of the STORY…
    Father…as much as a particular Ordinary might decide to politely ignore the Pope’s TC….a lot still depends on the local PASTOR. The recent developments here (in my local parish) at St. Joseph’s in Danbury, CT….are enough to curl hair. In October of last year, our pastor requested of Bishop Caggiano that a recently ordained priest, Fr. Michael Clark be assigned to St. Joseph’s, as he had LONG desired to install the TLM mass at his parish. Overnight, we had a glorious Missa Cantata at 11:30 EVERY SUNDAY. The word soon spread, attendance grew, families with…..CHILDREN began coming from surrounding areas….even MICHAEL KNOWLES showed up on Easter Sunday! For the last 9 months we thought we’d died and gone to heaven, as St. Joseph’s was only 3 minutes from our door , compared with the 30 to 60 minutes we had been driving every Sunday to attend the TLM for the last 25 years. The pastor, who shall remain nameless (although his initials are Fr. Samuel Scott) recently RELIEVED Fr. Clark of his duties at St. Joseph’s. (Something about his homilies reflecting an antagonism to Vatican II, or some such NONSENSE.) The good bishop could have given Fr. Clark a new, plumb assignment, but no….he now has a meaningless desk job and is living in the diocesan priests’ retirement home.
    Things are not ALWAYS what they seem……but….we soldier on.

  8. This seems to be a case of the bishop wanting to have all his ducks in a row canonically in case his action is challenged. Given that we have a Pope who seems to think that law is merely an obstacle to getting what he wants rather than a way to insure that the rights of everyone– including minorities– are respected, this is a good approach. Compared to the motu proprio itself, a reasoned legal declaration from a bishop is refreshing, and we need more of that.

    The other reason that this is good is that it provides a measure of stability for TLM attendees. Simply ignoring the motu proprio doesn’t give that; it leaves everyone wondering when and if the other shoe will drop. As we have discussed here before, one might be reluctant to donate a chasuble or provide other support to a TLM if it might be eliminated next week at the whim of the bishop. In this case, a formal document also sends a message that the bishop probably isn’t going to be translated to another diocese under this pontificate, which in itself lends some back-door stability to the situation.

    I particularly like the declaration of authority pulled right from the motu proprio: “Understanding that it is my exclusive competence to authorize the use…” Basically, Bishop Caggiano says, “I have the right to authorize it, and I’m authorizing it.”

    Most important, anyone who lives in the Diocese of Bridgeport should send a short, polite note of thanks to the bishop, being particularly careful not to say anything to make him regret having done this. He did not have to do this, no matter how many of us think he should have done it, and it takes guts to go against the tide in Rome.

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