Rorate Caeli

The Diocese of Malaga and the Traditional Latin Mass

As has been widely reported in the Spanish-language Catholic blogosphere, the Diocese of Malaga, Spain was recently the center of controversy due to its bishop's confusing stance on the application of Summorum Pontificum in his diocese. We present here the English translations of the three documents at the heart of this controversy, with some additional notes.
The letter of the 12 faithful from the Diocese of Malaga is a model for all who would like to make similar requests of their bishops, should this prove to be necessary to secure the celebration of the TLM in their localities. In turn, the initial letter of the Bishop of Malaga is an instructive example of how even the very stipulations of Summorum Pontificum, its very letter, can still be used to deny what it intends to give.
The whole Malaga case is, in the final analysis, another demonstration of the power of the blogosphere to effect change in some local Churches. Nevertheless, the situation has not yet fully settled down, and it remains to be seen whether the faithful of Malaga will soon have access to the Mass of Ages.
Many thanks to Natasja Hoven of Katolsk Observator for the translations, with some minor editing by Rorate.

Document 1:

Petition of twelve faithful from Malaga to celebrate the Holy Mass according to the Extraordinary form of the Roman rite

Malaga, the 19th April 2009

Your Excellency, Bishop Catalá,


We the undersigned, faithful Catholics belonging to the Diocese of Malaga, with due respect address ourselves to you with the following petition:


1) As you know, on the 14th of September 2007 there entered into effect the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum, in which His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI gave permission to those faithful who wished it, to assist at the celebration of the Holy Mass in edition of 1962 of the Missale Romanum, promulgated by the Blessed John XXIII and which constitutes the so called extra-ordinary form of the Roman rite.


2) From this date and onwards, this form has expanded to the whole world and also aroused the interest of persons, who due to their youth could not know it beforehand. This development has taken place in many dioceses and has been peaceful and fruitful, enriching the life of Faith with its inestimable treasures (spiritual, cultural, historical) offered by the Liturgical Tradition of our Church. As the Holy Father says: “It behooves all of us to preserve the riches which have developed in the Church’s faith and prayer, and to give them their proper place.” (See Letter of Pope Benedict XVI to the Bishops presenting the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum).


3) As His Eminence Cardinal Darío Castrillón Hoyos, president of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, has explained on many occasions, His Holiness wishes this extraordinary form of the Roman rite to be made known to as great a number of faithful as possible, including in places where there is no demand for it. This in order that these faithful may also participate in the immense treasure contained in the millenary Liturgical Tradition of the Church.


4) Various bishops in the whole world have promoted distinct forms of application of the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum, for instance with following measures: the creation of personal parishes, celebration of pontifical masses and administration of the sacraments (confirmation and ordination), appointment of delegated priests, designation of parish temples for the celebration, invitation to establish institutes connected to the older liturgical books, etc.


5) In the special case of the Diocese over which Your Excellency in such a dignified way presides, on the 6th of October 2007, in the Parish of the Holy Martyrs, took place a celebration of the Holy Mass in strict conformity with the mentioned motu proprio. In it participated a very large number of faithful, which on the following day the Press was quick to mention (this fact may be ascertained by consulting the newspapers of that date). This shows the interest presented by the rite and its positive acceptance by the faithful who do not meet it with any opposition or with polemics.


6) The minimum number for a group to be thus nominated according to the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei is three persons, the same as that necessary to constitute a religious community.


Because of what has been said above, we, the undersigned, now have the honour of asking His Excellency to set up a regular celebration using the Missal of the Blessed John XXIII in the diocese and city of Malaga. We ask you therefore kindly to designate a priest who could assume the task of performing this Mass, without detriment to the right of any other priest of this Diocese to make use of the same Missal, as has been stipulated in the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum. Due to the experience of other Spanish parishes, we ask respectfully Your Excellency to designate a priest who shows interest in the usage of the extra-ordinary Roman rite, as well as a temple suited for the purpose, which could be for instance the parish church of the Holy Martyrs, the chapel of Santo Cristo de Salud, some chapel belonging to the Cathedral or other similar ones. It could start with a monthly mass, with the possibility of developing later into a weekly mass, once it has been consolidated.


We permit ourselves to indicate to Your Excellency that there exists a possibility that parish priests connected to traditional institutes, such as the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest (the [Spanish] seat of which is in Madrid), may give some instruction in this diocese, in order that the priests so wishing may get a better understanding of the liturgical form. Or that such an institute may develop a permanent apostolate in Malaga.


Before concluding, we wish to emphasize our position as faithful members of the church, who take active part in the religious life of the diocese, adhering with total obedience and love to His Holiness the Pope and to Your Excellency, you who are the pastor of the special church of Malaga. We are also in full adherence to the Magisterium of our Holy Mother the Church, including adherence to all the ecumenical councils held up to now.


Asking you to take a favourable stand to our petition, and taking the opportunity to entrust ourselves to your pastoral benevolence, reiterating our respectful obedience to Your Excellency as your faithful sons and daughters, Q.B.S.P.A.

***

After a wait of some 2 months came the devastating episcopal reply to the traditional faithful of Malaga:

Document 2:

The celebration of the regular mass according to the extra-ordinary form refused in Malaga

Letter from His Excellency the Bishop of Malaga (Spain), from the 17th of June 2009, refusing the petition made by a group of faithful

Malaga, the 17 of June 2009

I have studied the request made on the 19th of April this year by eleven laymen and yourself, where you ask me to “set up a regular celebration using the Missal of the Blessed John XXIII in the diocese and city of Malaga”, and also that I ”designate a priest who could assume the task of offering this Mass”.

Naturally I recognize the inestimable treasure that the Church and her liturgical tradition has owned in the celebration done in conformity with the rite of the Roman Missal published in 1962 and I also value your interest in this extraordinary form of the Roman rite.

However, according to my knowledge of and positive assumption of the dispositions made in the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum, as well as of the letter which the Holy Father sent to us Bishops and annexed to this document, and also in my role as Bishop for this Diocese, which is to see to its most urgent necessities, I consider that the adequate conditions for the regular celebration of the mass according to the extraordinary form of the Roman rite have not been met.


In the first place, the purpose of the mentioned document is to meet the concern of the Supreme Pontiffs “up to our times to ensure that the Church of Christ offers a worthy ritual to the Divine Majesty, 'to the praise and glory of His name,' and 'to the benefit of all His Holy Church.' "(1). Therefore, “there is no contradiction between the two editions of the Roman Missal. In the history of the liturgy there is growth and progress, but no rupture" (2). In this sense, “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”. (3) This is a fundamental principle which we must not forget.

In the second place, we are asked, all of us, to make an effort to look for the welfare of the faithful, “avoiding discord and favouring the unity of the whole Church” (4).Therefore, and also meeting the object of the document, there is no reason for us in this very moment to start to propagate the celebration of the mass according to the Missal of the Blessed John XXIII, because the ordinary form according to the Missal of Paul VI, promulgated through the Liturgical Reform, and the Second Vatican Council, has become well established in this Diocese and for the time being this ordinary form is well consolidated, extended and accepted.


In the third place, there is in the parishes of this Diocese of Malaga, except for a few persons originating from different regions and who keep a legitimate and lawful appreciation for this liturgical rite, no “stable group of faithful who adhere to the earlier liturgical tradition” (5). Moreover, there are neither parishes, nor pastors, who claim, or feel as a necessity, the celebration of Mass according to the extraordinary form, and this precisely for the reason that there are no stable groups who ask for it. In this respect, we may read in the eighth paragraph of the Explanatory Note regarding the Motu Proprio sent out by the Holy See on the same day as the promulgation of said document: “... when in that place is found a very substantial number of faithful who wish to follow the earlier liturgy...” (6).

Due to the reciprocal appreciation which unites us, among other questions concerning the Liturgical Tradition, I ask you to seek at the present time to promote the unity of the Church in those associations, parishes, groups, etc. where you habitually participate in the life of the Faith, and to do this as an expression and testimony of your baptismal vow. “The most sure guarantee that the Missal of Paul VI can unite parish communities and be loved by them consists in its being celebrated with great reverence in harmony with the liturgical directives. This will bring out the spiritual richness and the theological depth of this Missal" (7). Therefore, I invite you to always, wherever you are, to demand – with loving compliance – that the liturgical norms in vigour should be well celebrated, in order that our celebrations may shine in all their splendour as the supreme manifestation of the faith of the Church.


I take this occasion of greeting you and giving you my blessing with my affection in Christ.

Jesús Catalá

Bishop of Malaga

(1) Introduction to the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum (7 July 2007).

(2) Letter of Pope Benedict XVI to the bishops of the world to present the “Motu Proprio” (7 July 2007).

(3) Summorum... Art. 1.

(4) Summorum... Art. 5. 1.

(5) Summorum... Art. 5.1.

(6) Explanatory note issued by the Press Office of the Holy See regarding the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum (7 July 2007).

(7) Letter of Pope Benedict XVI to the bishops of the world to present the “Motu Proprio” (7 July 2007).

***

Although dated June 17, 2009, the letter denying the petition of the Catholic faithful of Malaga was posted on the blog of Una Voce Malaga on July 2, 2009.

What followed was a concerted campaign by Spanish-language blogs to expose the situation to the whole Catholic world.

A 'clarification' was not long in coming.

On July 9, 2009, the official website of the Diocese of Malaga posted the following "Nota Informativa":

Document 3:

Information

The Diocese of Malaga 09/07/2009.


Information from the Diocese of Malaga regarding the Extra-ordinary form of the Roman rite according to the Missal of the Blessed John XXIII


1. In various media has appeared the information that the Bishop of Malaga has refused the petition to celebrate the Mass in his Diocese according to the extra-ordinary form of the Roman rite.


2. Nothing can be further from the truth than this false notice. The Bishop has not refused the celebration of this extraordinary form to celebrate the Holy Mass. Among other things because this is something to which the believer has the right, which was confirmed by Benedict XVI, whom the Bishop values very highly and to whom he is bound by absolute loyalty and with whom he is in full ecclesiastical communion.


3. A small group of loyal faithful have made the followings special petition, referring themselves to Article 10 of the Motu Proprio. ”Because of what has been said above, we, the undersigned, now have the honour of asking His Excellency to set up a regular celebration using the Missal of the Blessed John XXIII in the Diocese and city of Malaga. We ask you therefore kindly to designate a priest who could assume the task of performing this Mass, without detriment to the right of any other priest of this Diocese to make use of the same Missal, as has been stipulated in the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum”.


4. The answer of the Bishop to this concrete petition has been that for the very moment it has not been judged convenient to respond to the request, due to Diocese of Malaga having difficulties to meet the adequate conditions for this. However, there has never been any question of prohibiting or refusing the celebration of the Holy Mass with the use of the Missal of the Blessed John XXIII in the Diocese of Malaga.


5. In order to celebrate the Eucharist using the said Missal it is not necessary to ask authorization from the Bishop, as can be seen clearly in the article 5 §1 of the “motu proprio”: “In parishes, where there is a stable group of faithful who adhere to the earlier liturgical tradition, the pastor should willingly accept their requests to celebrate the Mass according to the rite of the Roman Missal published in 1962”. Thus it is the parish priests themselves who have to decide how to handle the requests made by the Faithful.

Malaga, the 9th of July 2009

***

It remains to be seen what will come out of this. Let us note, though, that even as the Bishop of Malaga denied that he was forbidding the 1962 Missal in his diocese, he still threw the question of its availability to the faithful back to the parish priests, when the faithful had appealed to him precisely because of the apparent unavailability of the parochial clergy.

Let us pray for a satisfactory resolution to this situation.

39 comments:

Dan Hunter said...

Are there any FSSPX parishes in this diocese that the faithful may repair to?

Brian said...

Why am I reminded of the gracious and "well-reasoned" reply provided to Eve in the Garden of Eden?

Hestor said...

I thought the whole point of the motu proprio was to bypass this silly task of asking bishops?

Anonymous said...

Oh, the retribution to be had by them who argue that 10 is not sufficient for the Mass of all Ages!

I imagine that at their judgment before the awesome throne of Christ that it might be said to them: 10 are the saints who have pleaded for your salvation, but that is insufficient: you must therefore depart from me into the everlasting fire where you can enjoy the company of a number sufficient to your own measure of mercy and justice!

derk burrus said...

It would seem that they are not able to find a parish priest to agree to say the mass. There are alot of priests who share the same squirmy "attitude" as this bishop, because they come from the same baby-"boomer-ish" generation and because the seminaries have all changed to exclude the entire traditional mentality. I believe the next follow up to the Motu will have to be a review and fix to the seminaries--Such as St. John's in Camarillo....

Paul Haley said...

It is the responsibility of the local bishop to provide priests and churches necessary to meet the legitimate needs of the faithful - in this instance the Mass according to the Missal of Blessed John XXIII.

To, in effect, throw this responsibility off on local parishes is an abdication of his role as bishop. But, let's face it, folks, the issue goes much higher up the chain than a local Ordinary. Are you thinking of the faculties and canonical status question as it pertains to the FSSPX and other independent traditional groups? How long will we have to wait for these issues to be resolved? An abdication of responsibility at the highest levels? Methinks so.

Michael said...

This post may appear to be off subject. However #67 [in contradiction to #9] of the recent Caritas in Veritate is indicative of possible exception to CC675, 676 & 677. One could intuit that this would encourage modernist bishops to oppose the Extraordinary Rite with callous disregard.

Stéphane said...

@Dan Hunter: the SSPX has no parishes. They have chapels, priories etc., which in my view are legitimate but there is no way they can have parishes, although they keep using the term again and again. A parish is a pastoral unit with a jurisdiuction over its faithful. This would imply a parallel hierarchy. The state of necessity is a reality (although the SSPX is very lax with this concept) but this does not give it any right to establish parishes. Just as they don't have dioceses, they don't have parishes.

Dan Hunter said...

Stephane,

So there are no FSSPX priests available to the faithful in the Malaga area?

You may find it impossible to call an FSSPX church with a pastor a parish, but we have an FSSPX Parish just 60 miles from my home, and we are registered there.

I hope and pray for the same in Malaga.

Adeodatus said...

Anonymous 11:26 - So you actually think a bishop will be sent to Hell for insisting on the use of one valid form of the Mass over another? You think that Christ will actually send his bishop to Hell for that, regardless of the man's faith or state of grace?

Allow me to recommend a book to you: it's a volume you may not have any acquaintance with. It's called the Holy Scripture, also known as "the Bible". Flip to the part about Jesus (the "New Testament") and just read any passages that have the word "Pharisee" in them.

It's nice, Anonymous, that you admire the Latin Mass. It is a thing devoutly to be admired. You'd probably make a good Christian, if you're interested in conversion.

Joe B said...

Adeodatus has raised something of a point. The argument that both forms of the rite are same, same, is a weak one. Explain it as you will, but the generational fruits of the two should make it clear that they aren't.

But as to the argument that a bishop could go to Hell for holding to the ordinary form because it is just as good and for unity, etc, we all know that is deciept. Many bishops hate the TLM and won't admit it. They hate traditionalists and won't admit it. They are liberal and won't admit it. Many would remake the church in their own corrupt image and won't admit it, including stripping the papacy of legitimate authority. Enough deceipt yet to endanger a bishop's soul?

SSPX's reasons for resistance to the face of the papacy are quite clear. Their tactical maneuvers may change, but they are up front about the serious theological doubts they have that drive their actions (ecumenism, religious liberty, rights of man, etc), as well as their concerns for souls and their attachment to tradition. How many of these obstinate Novus Ordo bishops have come out and said they object to the traditional practice of the faith? Deceivers.

Adeodatus said...

Joe B,

Neither you nor I can judge souls or read minds... we cannot know the internal acts of a man, though of course we can have suspicions. Obedience is an external act. We can judge someone's obedience by what we hear them say and what we see them do.

I find liberals to be in contempt of the Church for the same reason that I find SSPXers to be in contempt of the Church... because they say treasonous things and break the rules.

A Christian should follow licit rules, even rules with which he disagrees. This is obedience and humility. And anyone who asks his bishop for something should be prepared to hear the bishop say "no"... because if you're not prepared to hear a "no", you weren't actually asking in the first place.

Joe, I wonder if you see what a tragic, infernal irony it is that people should use the holy Mass as an occasion for disobedience. Do you think that is pleasing to God?

I mentioned the Pharisees because they were pro forma types par excellence. Their problem was not that they were not punctilious enough in following the Law. They had another problem.

If anyone says he loves God but hates his neighbor, he is a liar.

Joseph said...

Adeodatus said : "Joe, I wonder if you see what a tragic, infernal irony it is that people should use the holy Mass as an occasion for disobedience. Do you think that is pleasing to God?"
Well said.

We read in the Holy Scriptures: 1Kings 15: 22: -…Doth the Lord desire holocausts and victims, and not rather that the voice of the Lord be obeyed? For obedience is better than sacrifices: and to hearken rather than to offer the fat rams. Because it is like the sin of witchcraft, to rebel: and like the crime of idolatry, to refuse to obey.

Rick DeLano said...

I think Adeodatus has perhaps missed the point here. It is the Bishop who is refusing obedience to the lawful authority, which is the See of Rome and the Successor of Peter, the Vicar of Christ on Earth, who has commanded this Bishop to make the Rite available.

The humble, meek and sweet docility expressed in the petition of the faithful speaks volumes about which party here is in danger of the curses explicated in Scripture.

Brian said...

His Excellency the Bishop of Malaga provides such an excellent example of post-Vatican II thinking.

He takes a document with a plain meaning, praises and agrees with the document, quotes it liberally, properly interprets it, and suddenly the document is revealed to actually mean the exact opposite of the plain meaning.

It's like reverse alchemy. How do they do that?

Joseph said...

Adeodatus said:
A Christian should follow licit rules, even rules with which he disagrees. This is obedience and humility. And anyone who asks his bishop for something should be prepared to hear the bishop say "no"... because if you're not prepared to hear a "no", you weren't actually asking in the first place.

Rick Delano says:
I think Adeodatus has perhaps missed the point here. It is the Bishop who is refusing obedience to the lawful authority, which is the See of Rome and the Successor of Peter, the Vicar of Christ on Earth, who has commanded this Bishop to make the Rite available.

I suppose Adeodatus has not missed the point because,Adeodatus talks about obedience in general.

Rick Delano must consider here 2points:
In Motu Proprio 2007 it is said:

Art. 7 If a group of lay faithful, as mentioned in art. 5 § 1, has not obtained satisfaction to their requests from the pastor, they should inform the diocesan bishop. The bishop is strongly requested to satisfy their wishes. If he cannot arrange for such celebration to take place, the matter should be referred to the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei”.

Now let one ask oneslf "if the faithful of said diocese has referred the matter to the "Ecclesis Dei"?.

If "No" let them do and wait for the reply before we throw stone at each other.

The second point that one must consider is this -

The Bishop says:
In the second place, we are asked, all of us, to make an effort to look for the welfare of the faithful, “avoiding discord and favouring the unity of the whole Church” (4).Therefore, and also meeting the object of the document, there is no reason for us in this very moment to start to propagate the celebration of the mass according to the Missal of the Blessed John XXIII, because the ordinary form according to the Missal of Paul VI, promulgated through the Liturgical Reform, and the Second Vatican Council, has become well established in this Diocese and for the time being this ordinary form is well consolidated, extended and accepted.


In the third place, there is in the parishes of this Diocese of Malaga, except for a few persons originating from different regions and who keep a legitimate and lawful appreciation for this liturgical rite, no “stable group of faithful who adhere to the earlier liturgical tradition” (5). Moreover, there are neither parishes, nor pastors, who claim, or feel as a necessity, the celebration of Mass according to the extraordinary form, and this precisely for the reason that there are no stable groups who ask for it.

Can one Compel a bishop or priest to say the EF when there is none ( this i presume from the words of the Bishop)to say it?

Joe B said...

Haven't judged anyone. Just indulging in that suspicion that you said is allowed.

No, we don't have to obey anything, licit or not, regardless of the ecclesiastical rank of the authority, if we believe it is harmful to souls. Again, a generation of evidence suggests we should be disobeying something here. I would suggest liberal bishops' liturgical rebellions are a good place to start.

And scripture tells us to cling to our traditions, so I don't care if Pope Paul VI himself came to my house and told me to abandon the Venerable Old Mass and instead eat a steady diet of this cut and paste Mass designed not to offend protestants, I would disobey so long as I had the TLM available, licitly or not, and trust that God is pleased and will not punish me or the priest who offers it (hello, Quo Primum).

Rick DeLano said...

Joseph says:

Rick Delano must consider here 2 points:
In Motu Proprio 2007 it is said:

Art. 7 If a group of lay faithful, as mentioned in art. 5 § 1, has not obtained satisfaction to their requests from the pastor, they should inform the diocesan bishop. The bishop is strongly requested to satisfy their wishes. If he cannot arrange for such celebration to take place, the matter should be referred to the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei”.

Now let one ask oneslf "if the faithful of said diocese has referred the matter to the "Ecclesis Dei"?.

If "No" let them do and wait for the reply before we throw stone at each other.

>>No. The only reason that the faithful would have recourse to the Ecclesia Dei Commission is if the bishop "cannot arrange for such celebration to take place". It is clear that such a celebration not only *can*, but already *has*, taken place, as the following excerpt demonstrates:

"on the 6th of October 2007, in the Parish of the Saint Martyrs, took place a celebration of the Holy Mass in strict conformity with the mentioned motu proprio. In it participated a very large number of faithful, which on the following day the Press was quick to mention (this fact may be ascertained by consulting the newspapers of that date). This shows the interest presented by the rite and its positive acceptance by the faithful who do not meet it with any opposition or with polemics."

It also shows that the faithful are being denied their legitimate rights under Summorum Pontificum by a recalcitrant and disobedient Bishop. It is entirely appropriate for the faithful to assist the Bishop in coming to understand the obligation he has to assist the faithful in obtaining their legitimate rights under the laws of the Catholic Church.

I would expect, furthermore, that investigation will yield the datum that the Ecclesia Dei Commission has in fact been contacted. Just a hunch :-)

*****

The second point that one must consider is this -

The Bishop says:
In the second place, we are asked, all of us, to make an effort to look for the welfare of the faithful, “avoiding discord and favouring the unity of the whole Church” (4).Therefore, and also meeting the object of the document, there is no reason for us in this very moment to start to propagate the celebration of the mass according to the Missal of the Blessed John XXIII, because the ordinary form according to the Missal of Paul VI, promulgated through the Liturgical Reform, and the Second Vatican Council, has become well established in this Diocese and for the time being this ordinary form is well consolidated, extended and accepted."

>>The above paragraph is a direct and flagrant rejection of the explicit direct command of the Pope. It is an act of rebellion and disobedience on the part of the Bishop, and the faithful are entirely to be commended for their refusal to acquiesce in the Bishop's rebellion against the Roman Pontiff.
****



Can one Compel a bishop or priest to say the EF when there is none ( this i presume from the words of the Bishop)to say it?

>>You have obviously failed to notice the above excerpt: the EF has *already been* celebrated in the Bishop's diocese.

Again, the disobedience here is on the part of the Bishop, and the faithful are to be entirely commended for their humble, patient and meek obedience, including their refusal to acquiesce in the disobedience of the Bishop to the explicit will of the Vicar of Christ on Earth.

Gideon Ertner said...

Disobedience?

Bah.

Like Bugnini was obedient to the tradition of the Catholic and Apostolic Church when he hacked the Latin liturgy to pieces?

No-one is under any obligation whatsoever to obey an unjust law, nor to obey error.

Anonymous said...

This will go on forever–or at least until Catholics are again running the Church. As the saying goes: "a fish rots from the head down."

No Catholic need ask for permission to worship Almighty God using a liturgy that is unquestionably Catholic. Much to the chagrin of many here I don't believe that the New Mass is Catholic or valid.

Anonymous said...

"3) As His Eminence Cardinal Darío Castrillón Hoyos, president of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, has explained on many occasions, His Holiness wishes this extraordinary form of the Roman rite to be made known to as great a number of faithful as possible, including in places where there is no demand for it."

How could the Pope possibly expect such a thing when he declared the following:

"The use of the old Missal presupposes a certain degree of liturgical formation and some knowledge of the Latin language; neither of these is found very often.

"Already from these concrete presuppositions, it is clearly seen that the new Missal will certainly remain the ordinary Form of the Roman Rite, not only on account of the juridical norms, but also because of the actual situation of the communities of the faithful."

The Pope understands that relatively few Catholics will encounter TLMs.

The Pope said to reporters last year in response to a question regarding Summorum Pontificum:

"...this Motu Proprio is merely an act of tolerance, with a pastoral aim, for those people who were brought up with this liturgy, who love it, are familiar with it and want to live with this liturgy."

Tim

Anonymous said...

The only person in this case that disobeyed since the beginning was the Bishop of Malaga. Everything else said about this case is pure sophistry and - oh, yes! - phariseism.

JS

Peter Porter said...

Rage or no rage caused by his reaction, the Bishop of Malaga has made the right decision. He emphasizes that it is the parish priest's responsibility to celebrate the Extraordinary Form at the request of a stable group, not his. Presumably the group who approached him are gathered from many parishes and individually represent a minute minority in their own parishes? That hardly follows the letter or spirit of the Motu Proprio but suggests the concerted action of a group of pests.

Since the Motu Proprio was promulgated I have been attending celebrations of the Extraordinary Form on a wider basis than I did before in the days of the Indult. In London there is hardly any difference from what prevailed before but in the rare instances of new churches celebrating the rite it is noticeable that congregations that began with moderate numbers have now declined to a mere handful, kept together by the zeal of a few zealots who try to import others from afar in order to make up a congregation. I suspect that a similar situation exists in Malaga.

From the start it has been the parish priest's responsibility to celebrate the Extraordinary Form in response to local demand, not the bishop's. Regrettably the demand only exists among gathered groups, not in the parishes. When the Motu Proprio was promulgated I was filled with hope that it would make a significant difference and release the celebration of the Exxtraordinary Form from a ghetto. It has not because there is little demand for it in the United Kingdom at least.

Anonymous said...

Who are these people making the demand (because as shown by the reaction to the Bishop's decision it was a demand, not a request)? Clearly they can't be part of a specific parish or else they'd have just organised an old form Mass, as patently others have done, and in accord with the spirit and letter of the MP. We must presume therefore that they are a group of various individuals with an axe to grind, trying to force the Bishop into dedicating resources to them (a handful) that are most likely better used by a much larger group of the faithful. Strikes me as selfish and deceitful behaviour on the part of the petitioners. The final part of the Bishop's reply makes it clear that he wants to see good quality liturgy, and encourages them to take part in their parishes and make it happen. That is the duty of all Catholics. The ranting antiquarians that insist on fossilising a particular rite from a particular year need to read up a bit about obedience. If you follow their logic, then how did the Tridentine rite evolve from the pre-trent rituals.
Mad as a sackful of monkeys.

Crux Fidelis said...

Over the years I have attended Mass in a number of churches of the Diocese of Málaga (not enough to be a representative sample, I must admit, but I wonder) and would suggest that the Archbishop's reluctance to permit the TLM stems from his awareness that his priests can't even get the Novus Ordo right.

Crux Fidelis said...

I refer to my previous post. I should, of course, have referred to the Bishop of Málaga, not the Archbishop.

Anonymous said...

I repeat to those one who sistematically speak here about obedience, by the way, a blind and unlegitimate obedience that is not catholic): the first and only person in this entire process that desobeyed - to the Pope and his intentions! - was the Bishop of Malaga himself! Nobody more!

JS

Brian said...

Since Summorum Pontificum, the situation in Malaga represents what is happening all over the world.

There has been barely any increase in Traditional Latin Masses and those who desire those Masses, according to Summorum Pontificum, are attacked as demanding, pharasaic, trouble-makers.

Are Bishops and Priests promoting this beautiful, ancient treasure of the Church as Cardinal Hoyos instructed? With gracious, rare exceptions, the answer, of course, is no.

Ygnacia said...

"...it is the parish priest's responsibility to celebrate the Extraordinary Form at the request of a stable group"
Unless a priest has a great love for the Ancient Mass coupled with a very strong backbone, how can he expected be willing to learn and celebrate the EF when there is so much hostility in so many Diocese to the EF? He risks being ostracized by his fellow priests and his Bishops - so even if a priest in the Diocese of Malaga is interested in learning the EF, how would he in his right mind step forward? It is a very common problem...

Athelstane said...

1. It is plain that the petitioners tried but could not find a priest in the diocese willing or able to offer the mass in the extraordinary form.

2. So they took the next logical step and asked the local ordinary, as Article 7 of SP lays out. "Can you help us out, your Excellency?"

Unfortunately, the local ordinary employs a deft form of ecclesiological jujitsu. "The Pope says they're the same rite, so why are you so worked up about the extraordinary form? Stay with your local parish and make sure the ordinary form mass is celebrated well."

The blowback percolates on the web, and the diocese adds: "We didn't say no. We just don't have anyone who can say it."

3. Now the petitioners have no choice but to take the next step and contact Ecclesia Dei.

4. A bishop trying to properly implement SP could do a number of things here, and they would not take that much effort. He could place a call to the FSSP, the ICK, or IBP to see fi they could spare a priest once a month or even once a week to travel to Malaga. He could check if any retired priests in the ciocese or neighboring dioceses know the old mass and would be willing to offer it regularly. He could even place a call to Ecclesia Dei to see if they had any names to forward. All he needs is one. Then just find a local parish willing to shoehorn a traditional mass in once or a few times a month.

And meanwhile, he could be taking other positive steps, like requiring training in the extraordinary form in the seminary, sponsoring training sessions for current priests, etc.

Instead, we get this. And while it is out of bounds to speculate on his salvation destiny, it is deeply disappointing, and not in accord with the spirit or letter of SP. Especially in response to sucha deferential, polite request.

Anonymous said...

We fault bishops and priests for their having refused to offer the TLM.

We state that since the issuance of Summorum Pontificum, few Catholics (speaking relatively) have actually expressed (or maintained) interest in the TLM.

How can we except bishops, priests, seminarians and laymen to develop a strong attachment to the TLM when our Chief Shepherd, Pope Benedict XVI, has not even implemented Summorum Pontificum himself via the celebration of the TLM.

The Pope has refused to offer the TLM. Therefore, why should we expect our bishops and priests to offer the TLM?

1. His Holiness made it clear in his letter to the bishops (regarding Summorum Pontificum) that celebrations of the TLM would, at best, be limited.

2. His Holiness informed reporters that Summorum Pontificum was issued merely as an "act of tolerance."

3. His Holiness has insisted that the TLM and Novus Ordo are merely "forms" of the one Roman Rite.

4. His Holiness (as Josef Cardinal Ratzinger) declared the following: "An average Christian without specialist liturgical formation would find it difficult to distinguish between a Mass sung in Latin according to the old Missal and a sung Latin Mass according to the new Missal."

There we have it. The Pope, from his days as Cardinal Ratzinger to present, has made it clear that there is little difference between the Novus Ordo (in Latin) and the TLM.

The Pope has made it clear that the TLM, at best, will be offered on a limited basis.

The Pope has made it clear that to reverse the liturgical collapse of the Latin Church, we must simply restore Latin and Gregorian Chant to the Novus Ordo...that's all...as the Novus Ordo and TLM are supposedly the same Rite.

The Faithful are unable, supposedly, to tell the difference between the Novus Ordo (in Latin) and the TLM.

Summorum Pontificum is merely an "act of tolerance."

Rome has made it very, very clear...the Novus Ordo is here to stay...the TLM will, at best, find limited acceptance within the Church...the TLM will be "tolerated"...

...and even if the SSPX is regularized, we should expect a given diocese to offer the TLM sparingly.

Only here and there do we find the TLM...that will continue for decades to follow unless Pope Benedict XVI (or future Pope) does the right thing by returning to the Traditional Mass.

Tim

Peter Porter said...

Anoymous the Umpteenth

I think your analysis is broadly correct but I would not say that the Extraordinary Form is simply tolerated, but permitted.

When Summorum Pontificum was promulgated I remember a fairly conservative Jesuit saying in extreme right-wing company that was rejoicing and expecting this form to appear everywhere overnight that the motu proprio would quickly demonstrate how little will or demand there was for what was then called the Tridentine Rite. He went further to say that this would effectively block any future demands for its wider use because it would be answered that it was freely available. His words have proved prophetic.

The depressing reality is that the majority of Catholics universally either don't know what the Extraordinary Form is, would not understand it if they did, and would not welcome it on a regular basis. This applies as much to priests as laymen.

Nevertheless, I still think that the movers of this correspondence in Malaga were pests because they would know the reality of local circumstances. In the circumstances the Bishop has treated them with undeserved courtesy.

Jordanes said...

Nevertheless, I still think that the movers of this correspondence in Malaga were pests because they would know the reality of local circumstances. In the circumstances the Bishop has treated them with undeserved courtesy.

Pests?? So they know the reality of local circumstances, and they are acting as good, loyal Catholics in imploring their bishop to do something about it. For that, all they get such an outrageous twisted inside-out reading of the Church law from their bishop, who has to practice some damage control when people find out what he said. And after that, you think those petitioning for their rights are pests. Don't you find the bishop's response even slightly inappropriate?

In the circumstances, the bishop has yet to treat them as he is obligated to.

As for low demand for the extraordinary use, no one should have expected it to become immediately widespread, for the reasons you mention. That is bound to take quite some time. It is encouraging, though, that the seminaries used by my dioceses have all announced that from now on they will be training priests to celebrate Mass according to both the Pauline and Johannine Missals, and it's also encouraging that I've heard from a number of seminarians and new priests how happy they are about that.

Anonymous said...

Jordanes,

I support the petitioners, esp. because I recall the words of the One who Founded the Episcopacy: do not lord it over the others...

Bishop were given us by Christ to serve ...

We obey our Bishops even when they are rude or niggardly...

Did all the petitioners have rsort to the Internet?

Does it hurt the Bishops' reputation to tell everyone what He chose to publically do?

It would have been better to write ED, surely...

In addition, we Americans ought not be so quick to judge, since the parish life in Southern Spain is very different than our own. Peoople live in mostly small villages and do not travel to other towns for mass, even if they are 5 miles away. The Local parish priest serves several towns due to the lack of vocations, and it would not seem of very great necessity to supply a priest to say mass for merely 12 catholics.

Nor do I think any trad group would come from France or Italy for 12 Catholics...

Nor is it usual for priests in spain to retire in other parts of the Country, they stay in their home town ....

Perhaps the Bishop could have handled it better if he said, "Yes, I will supply you with a priest, when I can find one; but please be patient because the Diocese is suffering from a lack of vocations who are properly trained right now, and if a vocation presents himself who is willing, I will gladly promote him, in due course, to the priesthood, because what you ask for is right and holy. But understand, this may take some years before the TLM begins..."

In practice such a response would have the same result, of not granting the TLM immediately, but would be more honest and show more good will....

Anonymous said...

Anoymous the Umpteenth?

Make that Tim the Umpteenth.

Crux Fidelis said...

An old woman once said to her parish priest "Father, I preferred the old Mass. You know, the one when we couldn't see your face."

Luciano/Brazil said...

Please, in the letter we can read: 6) The minimum number for a group to be thus nominated according to the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei is three persons, the same as that necessary to constitute a religious community.
What is the source of this information?

Joe B said...

It is depressing, this lack of appreciation of Catholics for the beauty of the old liturgy. I have often advised that the TLM is an hour of quiet, personal prayer, weaved through Calvary and the history of the church, and most Catholics simply can't pray for an hour anymore. The culture is too addicted to noise and entertainment to value silent reverence. Even reading is passing from the culture.

I hope you're right, Jordanes, but the underlying culture isn't there to help the TLM thrive, even in Catholic circles, and so I suspect Peter Porter is right. Realistically, we'll be doing very good just to pass on what we have.

Carlos Antonio Palad said...

Regarding the demand for the Traditional Latin Mass:

The truth regarding the demand for it must lie somewhere between the various extremes proposed by the different sides in the debate. Surely, there is much greater demand for the TLM than is currently served, given the number of unfulfilled or unheeded requests for this Mass. On the other hand, there is no point in believing that most Catholics are secretly hoping for the TLM, or that the churches will be filled as if by magic if more Traditional Latin Masses are celebrated.

In many, many dioceses there are many traditional Catholics who are deprived of their birthright, but there are also some dioceses with a comparative "embarrasment of riches" that, nevertheless, seem to have not enough traditionalist faithful to sustain or even increase the existing number of TLM's.

We are in a situation where the great majority of Catholics simply do not know what they are missing, or have been educated in a manner that will make it difficult for them to appreciate a Traditional Latin Mass even if one is freely made available for them. We often report on this blog about the denial or suppression of Traditional Latin Masses, but I am also aware of a few TLM's that had to be stopped because of the lack of support from churchgoers. To admit to these facts is not to "aid the enemy"; it is to lay bare the depths of the spiritual, theological and liturgical crisis that has enveloped the Church, and to provide an impetus for the work of liturgical and theological catechization for the vast majority of Catholics, as to why the Usus Antiquior should be an essential part of their spiritual lives.