Rorate Caeli

Paix Liturgique presents a case to Cardinal Bertone

This text was presented to Cardinal Bertone, Secretary of State at the Roman Curia, on 10 March 2011. It is intended to draw his attention to the fact that the Ecclesia Dei Pontifical Commission lacks the power to bring about the implementation of the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum.

Your Eminence,

We would like to draw your attention to the fact that the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum of 7 July 2007 seems to lack any binding force.

The faithful who are now turning to you are particularly sensitive to the present and future beneficial effects of the Holy Father's Apostolic Letter on the forms of divine worship. It officially recognized freedom of celebration for the Mass and sacraments according to the usus antiquior. Furthermore, and even more importantly, it introduced the seed of a powerfully restorative emulation in dignity and beauty on the part of the liturgy that was reformed after the last council. It has become a source of great hope for many young priests and seminarians whose vocation is, by definition, Eucharistic and liturgical. This is the case far beyond the circles that are conventionally called traditionalist.

Yet for this text to manifest all of its ecclesial potentialities it needs to be truly implemented. The private celebration of the older liturgy presents no problem precisely because it is private. But when it comes to the public celebration of the liturgy, which would necessitate an executive force, the Motu Proprio seems only to be an exhortation. To be sure this is quite a lot when the exhortation comes from the Pope, but it is also unfortunately notoriously insufficient in a great number of cases, as experience has shown.

For a few weeks now, as you know, there have been public expressions of concern regarding a possible more restrictive interpretation of Summorum Pontificum. As for us, our principal concern is the executive force of the text itself. If its central clause (the celebration of the pre-1970 liturgy at the parish level) is not accompanied by a mechanism to ensure that it is respected, at the end of the day it seems only to represent a fervent wish on the Holy Father's part.

In light of all that can be known regarding the will of the lawmaker, a close reading shows that its central clause is to be found in article 5 §1, which is an invitation to establish a harmonious coexistence between the two forms of the rite at the parish level: "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." In a certain number of places, in conformity with the Pope's desire, this coexistence has been established. This has produced quite remarkable fruit for the faithful who practice either of the forms, who in fact often are the same people. Many resistances, however, have impeded the successful propagation of these benefits because of the weight of acquired habits and because of the restriction imposed by ongoing misunderstandings.

Yet Article 1 ("It is, therefore, permissible to celebrate the Sacrifice of the Mass following the typical edition of the Roman Missal promulgated by Bl. John XXIII in 1962"), and its complement, Article 5 §1 quoted above, recognize a specific right to the lay faithful of Christ. A clarification of the executive force that this right calls for of itself would be highly appropriate.

The competencies of the Ecclesia Dei Pontifical Commission, in its present state as instituted on 2 July 1988 and 2 July 2009, fall within the framework of three texts:

1°/ With regard to persons and groups with past links to the Society of Saint Pius X, the 18 October 1988 rescript granted special faculties to the Cardinal President of the Pontifical Commission to regularize the situation of persons (dispensations from irregularities, sanationes in radice of marriages) and of groups (erecting them as Institutes, Societies, Associations, and exerting the Holy See's authority on them)

2°/ With regard to solving the doctrinal questions that remain with the Society of Saint Pius X, the Motu Proprio Ecclesiae Unitatem of 2 July 2009 specifies that the Commission is to submit the questions that pose some difficulty to the ordinary instances of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, there to be studied and discerned.

3°/ Lastly, with regard to the "the use of the Roman liturgy prior to the reform of 1970," the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum of 7 July 2007 entrusted its responsibility to the aforementioned Commission (article 12: " This Commission, apart from the powers it enjoys, will exercise the authority of the Holy See, supervising the observance and application of these dispositions.").

Yet, although the 18 November 1988 rescript grants to the Commission, in the person of its president, specific powers over persons and communities, and although the 2 July 2009 Motu Proprio specifies that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (to which the Commission is henceforth attached) will treat of the doctrinal questions submitted to it by the Commission according to its ordinary (and therefore jurisdictional) procedures, nevertheless the 2007 Motu Proprio specifies no modality of exercising the Commission's or its President's powers to ensure its application. As a result its principal clause (article 5 § 1), to wit, the request for the parish priest to provide a celebration of the Mass at the parish (not to mention requests for sacraments or occasional ceremonies, article 5 § 3 and article 9), is generally considered as merely an incentive.

To be sure, recourse is provided for in the case where a pastor denies the celebration of Mass at the parish level to the group of faithful who request it: that group may inform the bishop, and if the bishop does not satisfy the group's request, it may refer it to the Ecclesia Dei Pontifical Commission (article 7). The difficulty we are bringing to your attention, which is amply supported by three years of Summorum Pontificum that have been characterized by a large number of refusals followed by informing the bishop and then by ineffectual recourse to the Pontifical Commission, bears upon this lack of juridical precision:

  • A right of the lay faithful of Christ, which is liturgical in nature, is affirmed (the use of a never-abrogated Missal--article 1--whose public use in a parish a group of faithful may request--article 5 §1);
  • A Pontifical Commission attached to a Dicastery of the Roman Curia, which is today presided by the Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation, is declared competent to ensure that this right is respected (article 12);
  • A recourse to this Commission is provided for to ensure that this right is respected when it is not satisfied (article 7);
  • But the jurisdictional means to ensure the application of the faithful's right is not given to the competent organism that receives the recourse in the Holy See's name. To be precise, these means are not clarified--for in good legal logic they cannot not exist--unless perhaps the laymen whose request is not satisfied by the pastor and the bishop are invited to petition ecclesiastical tribunals.
Our petition therefore concerns only an apparently necessary clarification regarding article 7 of the Motu Proprio: when the group of faithful whose right is not satisfied has introduced a recourse with the Ecclesia Dei Pontifical Commission, which is presided by the Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, there ought to be some indication that the Commission has the power to compel the pastor to make arrangements to satisfy this right.
This is our respectful request. It focuses on a limited yet essential clause in this text. We ask Your Eminence to consider it with all the attention that this technical point calls for, and we beg You to receive the homage of our profound and religious respect.
Christian Marquant and the board of Paix Liturgique

35 comments:

Joe B said...

"there ought to be some indication that the Commission has the power to compel the pastor to make arrangements to satisfy this right."

That's one way. I doubt the Holy Father wants to go to war with the bishops that way, though. The other way is better - give trad orders, including SSPX and FSSP, full authority to go anywhere and operate openly. That's the easier way to reform the church. Let the Holy Spirit move as souls cooperate with him.

The question is whether the Holy Father really wants to reform the church in the TLM direction. I don't think so. He's more of a reform of the reform guy.

Cruch time.

Anonymous said...

This seems good, however I have one question. The definition of a stable group is not established in SP, and I think that that is best. However, if the Ecclesia Dei commission is going to order pastors to provide the EF, will it need some kind of juridic authority to judge whether a request is viable. For instance, in a parish of 2000 people, with a full Mass schedule, keeping in mind laws regarding bination and trination, how will the commission decide whether, for example, 8 requests demand the application, and thus a major change to the Mass schedule.

As a seminarian in the USA, I think an additional step would be to require all seminaries to teach the EF. There are good men being ordained who are who are not familiar with Latin or the EF. Many are not zealous enough to take these things up in the midst of the busyness of parish life or to find their own avenues to learn them now. There are probably men being ordained who will never learn the EF simply because the seminary never really gave them the opportunity. I am pretty sure that there are men being ordained from my seminary this year who have never even seen the EF. There are men being ordained this year from my seminary who have never taken a single Latin class. The excuse is made that it would take ten years to graduate if we did everything the PPF and the Holy See requires. I have heard seminarians say, more than once, that they would love to learn the EF, but that they don't think they will be able to learn it in the seminary. Others, on account of not having Latin, despair of their ability to learn it on their own.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if what they ask for would help the canceled Pontifical Mass in Washington. 4000 faithful attached to the best rite have been denied....by their own bishop. Now what can they do?

Anonymous said...

Very interesting and courageous letter. Has the committee thought well on this matter to narrowing down to the one point, whether other points should have been made? I suppose enforcement of provisions is key to any other point Summorum Pontificum would make.

It is quite true when the letter makes the point without enforcement, this Motu Proprio is merely a lofty ideal.

We pray the various "supposedlies" on the coming "clarifications" will in fact enforce the Motu Propio, that rules and regulations on the part of bishops actually contermanding the Motu Proprio are invalid.

Matt

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

"I wonder if what they ask for would help the canceled Pontifical Mass in Washington. 4000 faithful attached to the best rite have been denied... by their own bishop. Now what can they do?"

4000 Faithful suddenly have something better to spend their Sunday contributions on, that's what.

Matt

Roguejim said...

Recently, I tried getting a TLM in southern Oregon. I found a new priest who was competent in Latin, and willing to learn the rubrics on his own time. However, when he raised the issue at a pastoral council metting, he was told he needed to spend his free time learning spanish.

Anonymous said...

"The question is whether the Holy Father really wants to reform the church in the TLM direction."

Or whether the Holy Spirit really wants to reform the church in the TLM direction.

Anonymous said...

Nice letter overall. One point I disagree with is the note where the NO and TLM live happily beside each other....I hope that this is true. In my parish it is not a happy mutual enrichment. More like the Ghetto scene or half way house or prisoner out on a day pass.

Tom the Milkman said...

4000 Faithful suddenly have something better to spend their Sunday contributions on, that's what.

I said it years ago. We must stop spending our money where hostility to tradition exists! Like it or not, in these days money in the collection plate, and the lack of it, speaks louder than any sermon or petition ever will. I refuse to pay for the novus ordo. It was forced upon me against my will, I'm danged if I'll fill the coffers of those who will to perpetuate it. A thing is true, or is not, it's that simple, but if you want to bring down to size the malignancy of the powers that forbid tradition, stop funding the malignancy. It really is crunch time.

Anonymous said...

The letter refers to the "rights" of the lay faithful (presumably that they are provided the TLM when requested).

I love the TLM as much as anyone here, but since when are the Mass and sacraments considered as a "right?" It's quite rediculous!

Obviously there are those in the traditionalist camp who are attempting to democratize the Catholic Church (and I thought that it was only liberals who want to do this). Ha!

M. A. said...

"However, when he raised the issue at a pastoral council metting, he was told he needed to spend his free time learning spanish."
________________________________

Will the clarification address this problem of 'pastoral councils' which at times are an obstruction to the implementation of the Motu Proprio?

I know of someone who approached his pastor to ask for the TLM, but was told he would have to appear before the pastoral council to present his request. Either this was a polite way of saying 'no', or ignoramus,incompetent, lay-people have been allowed to assume control of a parish.

Anonymous said...

"However, when he raised the issue at a pastoral council metting..."

Was it even necessary to consult the pastoral council, or even metion it to them? According to SP, a priest may--and ought to-- celebrate the EF at the request a "stable group". SP does not add the proviso that a "pastoral council" can prohibit a priest from doing so.

Denis

John McFarland said...

Maybe I just lack Romanita, but this is all very strange, even for the conciliar era.

First of all, why are they writing to Cardinal Bertone? I would have thought that problems with a motu propio should be taken up with its author.

Secondly, although I'm no canon lawyer, it's difficult to believe that the notion of a mechanism for appeal to PCED doesn't imply jurisdiction to deal with the appeals.

If it doesn't imply jurisdiction, then those who are putting their chips on the MP are just being played with.

Tom the Milkman said...

@anon 0026
since when are the Mass and sacraments considered as a "right?" It's quite ridiculous! 
Obviously there are those in the traditionalist camp who are attempting to democratize the Catholic Church

Phooey! No one's democratizing anything. SP declares the right of the Catholic faithful to access without prejudice to the '62 Missale Romanum, a right denied by abusive papal fiat for nearly fifty years. That is the "right" referenced. The correction of an abuse. A papal statement that righted an outrageous abuse. I'd call that something.

Anonymous said...

Our anonymous seminarian is correct: the Pope can and should 'free' the traditionalist societies and orders. To do so, he could, for instance, allow for the erection of ordinariates (although I would prefer one international structure).

The present situation is ridiculous. It took the local bishops about one year to find a way around the m.p. As for the F.S.S.P., its superiors have apparently decided upon a policy of entrenchment rather than expansion. So the number of new Fraternity apostolates--at least in new dioceses--has been reduced to a trickle. The idea was that diocesan priests would come to the F.S.S.P. and I.C.R. 'workshops' and then return to offer the ancient Mass. They did come to the 'workshops' (what an absurd term) but then did not offer the Mass much once these were over. Once they realised what would happen to them should they willy-nilly celebrate Latin Masses, they wised up. Every diocese has its gulags and every villainous bishops can deliver a threat with one sneer.

The next step must be jurisdiction for the Latin Mass: one or more particular church(es). The other way--requiring bishops to make available a certain number--won't work on its own (although it would help) because the bishops just will not co-operate. You can bring a horse to the river but you can't make him drink. This Pope needs to shoot the horse and buy another but he's afraid to do it.

So any provision that requires episcopal co-operation will fail. A provision allowing Rome to 'send in the calvary' (priests from neighbouring sees) will also fail because Rome does not have much control over priests in distant parishes; she is too distant from them.

So it's jurisdiction for tradition or this is one colossal waste of time.

The other way is to recognise publicly what Rome already admits in private: S.S.P.X Masses fulfil the Sunday obligation. The S.S.P.X has a wonderful advantage; to wit, it simply ignores the bishops. Most of them deserve to be ignored because they don't teach, foster and protect the Catholic Faith.

P.K.T.P.

JMR said...

"don't teach,foster or protect te Catholic faith"
I am honestly at a loss to understand why these priests and bishops are priests and bishops in the Catholic Church?
What is their agenda? Why don't they just leave the Church and become Protestants? Has the Church been infiltrated by committed Marxists working for it's destruction? It seems like that here in Brazil.
Why are they actively enabling the destuction of the traditional Church. Why are they so afraid of the traditional Mass ?
I'm honestly at a loss to understand what is going on?

Anonymous said...

@JMR

"I'm honestly at a loss to understand what is going on?"



Me too!

Barbara

Louis E. said...

Have any bishops been seen to suffer adverse career consequences for failure to accommodate the TLM?...that would discourage them from inflicting adverse career consequences on priests seeking to accommodate the TLM.

Anonymous said...

Tom the Milkman, regarding your post of 23:33, you said that...."SP declares the right of the Catholic faithful without prejudice to the access of the '62 Missale Romanum, a right denied by an abusive Papal fiat for the last fifty years."

Show me where in SP that it declares the right of the Catholic faithful without prejudice, to the '62 missel, or that it was a right denied? Please be specific as to what part of SP states this, because I could not find it. Thank you.

dcs said...

I love the TLM as much as anyone here, but since when are the Mass and sacraments considered as a "right?" It's quite rediculous!

The faithful do have a right to the Sacraments. They are not a privilege. Or did you mean something else?

Patrick said...

Anonymous 14 March, 2011 00:26 said "since when are the Mass and sacraments considered as a 'right?' It's quite rediculous!".
Anon, it is by no means ridiculous to regard sacraments as a right. "Since when?" Since the Church was founded, in virtue of the fudamental principle "Salus animarum suprema lex". Salation is impossible without sacraments. Art. 843 of the Code of Canon Law of the Latin Church clearly regards sacraments as a right of the faithful.

Joe B said...

JMR, these men stay in the church because they are invested in it and expect to be able to continue in it at least as long as it takes to retire. Consider how few men will leave their jobs just because the company changes into something unlikable to them. And it isn't even clear that the church is going to turn against them in any serious way anytime soon.

LeonG said...

It limps just as the Ecclesia Dei Indult has limped.

JMR said...

Joe B.I am sorry but your explanation isn't sufficient. If these priests loved the Church and the Catholic faith they should realise the damage Vatican 2 has done and want to correct it.They wouldn't lose their "jobs"as a result
Many bishops are my age (60) or older and were educated in traditional Catholic schools and attended the traditional Mass as children and adolescents.
I couldn't bear the NO mass and went from Church to Church trying to find a Mass that was minimally reverent.I almost stopped going to Mass altogether. But God does seem to reward those who persist and I was overjoyed when I discovered a traditional Mass in a monastery 1 hour from the town I had moved too.
Why do they hate the Mass of their youth so much?

Anonymous said...

Pray for the Holy Father to deliver the jurisdiction requested. I don't think the Pope would go to so much trouble to issue the MP without any thought or care to its' implementation. It just takes time and the right people asking the right questions. There is no way to envision all the scenarios and questions and cover them all with no loopholes from the onset. This is for the whole Church, not a select few people. Myself, raised in the NO generation have discovered the Tridentine Mass and that is what I attend now. I knew nothing of it before except from fallen away family members who would mention it now and again. I was the point to the MP, to bring a treasure of the Church to anyone who may stumble accross it and love it. So let's all just pray the whatever the Holy Father does that it will widen access to the Tridentine Mass (EF) and allow more and more Catholics exposure to its' riches and grace.

Anonymous said...

We here in Wichita Ks. U.S.A. have seen priests learn the EF in a matter of months. With the help of a knowledgeable MC, training videos and books and some help from older priests...it is VERY possible for a priest to tackle the task of bringing the EF to a parish...even with daily pastoral duties.

Anonymous said...

PKTP,
I'm sure Our Lord can handle anything from anywhere, including "calvary", but maybe, in your scenario, you better send in the "cavalry". :-)

NiceLady

Anonymous said...

JMR wrote:

"Why do they hate the Mass of their youth so much?"

Good question. But are you sure that they really hate it? Or is there another reason? Have you, or anyone else, ever asked them? In a charitable manner?

Joe B said...

"Why do they hate the Mass of their youth so much?"

I don't think most love the church at all. As a group they are emotionally weak from poor formation or caving to vice. It is obvious to me that at some point priests were deliberately recruited from many unfit sources.

But as to their hatred of the old mass, the Novus Ordo is theatrically formatted and therefore allows them to mold it into a likeness of themselves, thus assuaging their weaknesses, whereas the old mass is so structured and clear in it's call to sanctity that it condemns them. This must truly be threatening to the soul that has caved to vice.

Anonymous said...

Joe B wrote,

"...whereas the old mass is so structured and clear in its call to sanctitiy that it condemns them.
This must be trult threatening to the soul that has caved to vice."

Yes, the old mass does have sanctity as its goal, but it does not assume that the person celebrating the old mass, or those who assist, are already holy.

Remember what we say at mass every week...."Domine, non sum dignus.."

Are those of us who assit at the TLM so spotlessly clean and devoid of vice in all its forms that we may feel free to judge others? Or, is it possible that our vice (those of us who assist at a TLM) just take a different form from those who assist a an NO. Also, there seems to be a presumption that all who celebrate or assist at a TLM are holy, and all those who celebrate or assist at an NO are not holy. I can assure you that this is not the case. Those who assist at a TLM are still subject to human weakness, too.

craig said...

"Art. 843 of the Code of Canon Law of the Latin Church clearly regards sacraments as a right of the faithful."

But it does not regard any specific form of the sacraments as a right of the faithful. Therefore, asserting a right to an EF mass is implicitly also asserting that one's canonical right is not fulfilled by the OF, and that the OF is not a true sacrament. This is the principal reason that trads don't get favorable results from the hierarchy.

Jordanes551 said...

Complete and total rubbish, Craig. If, as you claim, the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite is only a privilege and not a right, then why does the Church's law say:

*****

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, . . . .

For faithful and priests who request it, the pastor should also allow celebrations in this extraordinary form for special circumstances such as marriages, funerals or occasional celebrations, e.g. pilgrimages. . . . .

If a group of lay faithful, as mentioned in art. 5 õ 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". . . .

******

Doesn't sound like the Church is talking about mere privileges.

But it does not regard any specific form of the sacraments as a right of the faithful. Therefore, asserting a right to an EF mass is implicitly also asserting that one's canonical right is not fulfilled by the OF, and that the OF is not a true sacrament.

Massive non sequitur. You can't logically get from "it does not regard any specific form of the sacraments as a right of the faithful" to "asserting a right to an ED mass implies that the OF is not a true sacrament."

Try this:

"Asserting a right to an OF mass is implicitly also asserting that one's canonical right is not fulfilled by the EF, and that the EF is not a true sacrament."

It's just as much nonsense as your statement.

Hint: Liturgical forms and uses are not Sacraments at all.

Joe B said...

Anon 15:40,

Very thoughtful. I'm sure you're right about TLM priests struggling with sanctity like the rest of us. I only say that the format of the TLM calls us, successfully or not, to interior inspection through it's quiet, reverent, and humble prayers and rubrics. Contrast this with the way Novus Ordo sanctuaries often resemble theaters - lots of wide open spaces for moving choreographed groups around in, cheap felt props for easy changing, cheesy vestments, songs out of a '60s musical, no rails for blocking views or movements, and lots of sing-along, clapping, and homilies which avoid guilt. Except for guilt over not being poor, of course. And even that doesn't apply to rich bishops - two sets of rules, you know.

The two settings appeal to totally different mental types.

Anonymous said...

Joe B, I agree that the TLM calls us to interior inspection through its quiet, reverent humble prayers and rubrics. You mentioned that the NO often resembles theatres. I would say that it is not necessarily often, but only sometimes. If the rubrics of the NO is followed properly, there is reverence, humility, and it's thoroughly Catholic, though not on as deep a level as the TLM, of course.

If all or even most of the Catholic faithful, before Vatican 11, had actually paid attention to the reverence, humility, quietness, and sense of introspection of our beloved TLM, then wouldn't all or most Catholics in the world have become perfect and therefore saints?

Our Lord had His reasons for allowing Vatican 11 to occur. It's difficult, I think, to imagine why. But continualy pointing fingers, instead of following Our Lord and Our Lady's example, isn't going to change things. I love the TLM, but I don't want it restored to being the ordinary form, because of the attitude of trads who refuse to embrace the Cross. Instead, they just want the Church to be comfortable for them.

Joe B said...

You lost me on that whole response.

Most Novus Ordo churches can be architecturally described as cheap junk. And I guess you mean if the rubrics are followed minimally, it is reverent. Well, it may be at its most reverent that way, but it's still filled with prayers that fit the architecture compared to the TLM.

You think all trads should turn into saints? Your mask is falling off.

"I love the TLM, but I don't want it restored to being the ordinary form, because of the attitude of trads who refuse to embrace the Cross. Instead, they just want the Church to be comfortable for them."

Cheap, catty, and wrong. Good night.