In July 2008 there had been eleven (or twelve) locations (4 parish churches, one chapel within a parish compound, and 6 or 7 chapels) in 10 dioceses where every-Sunday Traditional Latin Masses under diocesan auspices were available to the faithful. Most of these had been listed in an article that I published on this very blog.
As much of the Traditionalist Catholic world now knows, the Archdiocese of Manila released one of the world’s most restrictive directives regarding the “implementation” of Summorum Pontificum. The hostility and ignorance manifested in the guidelines were not surprising; back in 2005, Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales had refused to legalize a TLM that was being celebrated in the city of Manila every Sunday by a South Korean priest, claiming that “Quattuor abhinc annos” (no mention of Ecclesia Dei!) required Traditional Catholics to “celebrate” the Novus Ordo (!) In 2006, the Korean priest went back to his homeland; a fresh request to the Arzobispado for an indult Mass was summarily refused.
The “Manila Guidelines”, dated December 8, 2008, were released early in January 2009 and had been drafted in response to continuing requests by at least two groups for the regular celebration of the Traditional Latin
(Rorate's coverage of the Manila Guidelines can be found here.)
At present, the 9 locations for Sunday TLM seem stable and under no threat, and as the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate in the Philippines move towards the more frequent celebration of the Mass of Ages not just for weekdays but for Sundays as well, it is to be hoped that the number of regular Sunday TLM’s will significantly increase once again in the coming years. (The FFI has houses in four archdioceses and two dioceses; of these six, three have no every-Sunday Traditional Latin Mass either under diocesan auspices or the SSPX.)
The liturgical establishment of the Philippines remains wedded to the theories of the 1960’s and 1970’s, and even the faintest signs of the “Benedictine liturgical renewal” are absent from more than a tiny number of chapels and parishes. That crowds of faithful who have no knowledge of the Traditional Mass can be attracted to it merely by hearing about it or by seeing it celebrated once or twice has been proven time and again (especially in the now-suppressed Traditional Latin Masses of the Archdiocese of Manila and the Diocese of Paranaque, both of which attracted sizeable crowds), but this seems to have no effect on the attitude of not a few ecclesiastics.
Nevertheless, there is hope that the attitude of the liturgical establishment will become more positive. One sign of hope is the strong support for the TLM given by Fr. Timoteo Ofrasio S.J., professor of liturgy in the Jesuit Loyola School of Theology, (the country's most prominent theological academy), a former member of the "old" ICEL and once a strong proponent of inculturation and liturgical experimentation. He has spoken of the prayerfulness of the older form of Mass, which he now celebrates daily from Monday to Friday.
(I would like to acknowledge Paix Liturgique, which published its own update on the situation of the TLM in the Philippines in November, based upon an earlier version of this article that I had privately circulated.)