Rorate Caeli

Two Years after Summorum Pontificum: The Situation in France

We present here the translation of a report (with important statistics) on the post-Motu Proprio situation of the Traditional Latin Mass in France. I would like to apologize for the delays in posting this as well as many other translations and notices in the "pipeline" (including a number of submissions), and I would like to ask for the understanding of our readers.

On the 7th of July, it would be exactly 2 years since our Holy Father published the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum on the usage of the Roman liturgy prior to the Reform of 1970.
This text reminded the Universal Church of the legitimacy of the Tridentine Mass and gave permission to all Catholic priests of the Latin Rite – be they secular or religious – to celebrate it freely.
In the weeks following this publication, a journalistic hammering, and declarations from clerics that were said to be “authorized,” tried to circumvent the range and the signification of the motu proprio.
Thus, “they” insisted on the “theoretical” character of this decision, on its inopportuneness … “they” explained that the motu proprio was the dream of an old man completely out of rhythm with the Church of his time… Moreover, the same “they” explained without a blush that in France the liturgical reform had been well digested and that for a long time now the parishes have had no liturgical problems.

In short, as the “unofficial-official” organ of the French Episcopate (Fr. organe officieusement officiel de l’épiscopat français) La Croix in its edition of September 13th 2007 summarizes so perfectly: “the motu proprio does not cause an upheaval...” (Fr. “Le Motu proprio ne provoque pas de raz de mare…")
Two years after the prophetic decision of Benedict XVI, what is there to say?
1 – The increase of places where the extraordinary form of the Roman rite is celebrated
On the evening before the decision of the Pope, the Traditional Mass – since then designated by the term “extraordinary form of the Roman Rite” – was celebrated in France in 132 churches or chapels with the consent of the Ordinary of the place on the basis of the Motu Proprio Ecclesia Dei by John Paul II.
In addition to these 132 “authorized” places of worship, there were also 184 places served by the Society of Saint Pius X and its affiliated communities.

Two years after the publication of the motu proprio there has been an additional number of 72 new chapels and churches in which the Traditional Mass is celebrated added, with the consent of the Ordinary of the place.
Thus, in two years, the number of “authorized” places has increased from 132 to 204, an increase of 55 %.
During this time, the number of places served by the Society of Saint Pius X has remained at a stable 184.
2 – Multiplication of demands (for the TLM -- CAP)
Spectacular as it may seem, when one knows that between 1988 and 2007 the annual increase was between 2 and 5%, this figure is without connection with the number of demands and celebrations that are gently but firmly beginning to be implemented in the territories of the "Hexagon" ("l'Hexagone" an old name for France as it looks like a hexagon on the map - CAP).
Actually, without mentioning all the families who would wish that what has been given them generously is not conceded them parsimoniously –- let us for example think of the 250 faithful in Rambouillet (just outside of Paris), to whom the Bishop did not concede more than one single traditional celebration a month, or of those faithful living in Sens (120 km south-east of Paris) who will not be able to assist at such a Mass more than five times a year –- at present there are in France a great number of demands for the application of the papal text.
According to information we have received from friends on the territory, the situation of the number of applicants for the summer of 2009 is the following:
- 350 groups of Catholic families, spread over all the dioceses of France, who “formally” demand the possibility of living their Catholic faith in their parishes at the rhythm of the extra-ordinary form. "Formal demand" means that it has more often than not been done in the form of one or several letters
- More than 600 groups have taken similar measures, mostly in a more informal way –- discussions outside the mass with the parish priest or his assistant, a discreet mention during a dinner among friends -- with the hope that the first steps will then be taken by their own parish priests.
- At last, and we may affirm this today in an exact way, we have the existence in the 4 500 French parishes of numerous faithful who, even if they have not constituted themselves in groups, yearn for an application of the motu proprio in their parishes.
This certainty is based on a survey realized on the 24th and 25th of September 2008 by the Institute CSA asked for by Paix Liturgique (Survey CSA 08 01 153 B). The survey was made under the usual professional conditions: a sample of 568 persons adhering to the Catholic faith, taken out of a representative sample selection of 1001 persons of the age of 18 or more and formed by the method of quotas (sex, age, profession of the head of the family), after stratification per region and agglomeration category.
The results of the survey are to be consulted on the web-site of Paix Liturgique (letters by the Paix Liturgique n° 145, 145 bis and 146). We have also reached this certitude by reading the hundreds of replies received every week in response to the large survey undertaken by the initiative “Motu Proprio France” ( among the faithful in various parishes.
Thus there seems to be a profound change taking place in the bosom of the Church of France, and those responsible for her had better get to grips with reality sooner or later, and accept dialogue, sharing and coexistence with the roughly 34% practicing Catholics, of whom there are some living in every parish, who all long to put an end to the liturgical apartheid that has victimized them.
3 – The generosity of the Bishops
In the columns of Paix Liturgique we have often implored our Bishops, asking them to be good and generous to their children desiring to live their Catholic faith in their own parishes to the rhythm of the Traditional Mass…
Often, it seems that we are not listened to.
And yet, the signs of hope and peace are multiplying. Here are two examples:

A – Since the 7th of July 2007, 25 % of the French bishops have themselves celebrated or presided in their own diocese over a Mass according to the extraordinary form … thereby giving a clear answer to those who only yesterday said: “but what is it that the Pope wants?” … if he wishes to propagate the extra-ordinary form, he should really celebrate it himself”
It is not necessary to be a great expert to see what the Pope wants on the subject of Liturgy. To see our fatherly bishops celebrate or preside over celebrations in the extraordinary form is a real encouragement and an undeniable consolation for all the faithful who from then on will feel respected and loved.
B – As of the 7th of July, 2007, the French diocesan seminary in Toulon is open to those wish to become priests in France, remaining at the same attached to the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite.

This possibility, as commonplace as it may seem, is however to such a high degree “extraordinary” that many people find it to be a true miracle, all the more so when one learns that at the start of the seminary year in the autumn of 2009 a second French diocesan seminary – this time in Lyon – will receive other young men desirous to become priests in the traditional spirit.
Finally – oh, wonder of wonders! – we have received some information, not yet confirmed, that other diocesan seminaries in the near future are about to do the same, providing a place to seminarians attached to the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite.
4 – The movement of priests
The prospect from now on offered to young boys that they can become priests in France and at the same time remain attached to the “traditional” mass, must not make us forget that this desire has existed for quite some time now in the Church of France.
Let us then not be surprised if tomorrow 10, or 100, or 1000 diocesan priests or even more will start to celebrate "Utroque usuas” as the Pope recently asked the Benedictines of Norcia to do, which means using both the extraordinary and the ordinary forms of the Roman rite.
When this will happen also in France, the number of chapels and churches where the extraordinary form will be newly celebrated will be counted not in tens but in hundreds and soon peace will be restored – not on an isolated little island, but in the totality of the parishes of France…
Thus, when remembering the declaration given by La Croix on the 13 of September of 2007 “the motu proprio does not cause an upheaval” comes automatically to our mind this passage from the Bible: “They have eyes but do not see”, which expresses an exact truth, today in the same way as yesterday, as “there is nobody more blind than the person who does not want to see”.
But with the help of the Spirit, we know that tomorrow peace and reconciliation will triumph for the good of the Church and of all of its children.


  1. Joe B6:55 PM

    This is the future. I especially like the part about the seminaries, as that is where the strength of the reform must come from.

    Can't the Holy Father just offer one teensy, tiny little TLM somewhere? Just one, and all will be well. (Isn't that what they said to Archbishop Lefebvre about the Novus Ordo?)

  2. This was very nice to hear before I go to bed. The Immaculate Heart of Mary will triumph!

  3. Anonymous10:59 PM

    These are interesting figures. This source lists Masses in terms of places of celebration instead of numbers of Masses.

    I tend to look at the figures in terms of numbers of dioceses in which there is at least one every-Sunday T.L.M. I note that this figure has only increased by a very small factor in France since S.P.; and the number of every-Sunday Masses has increased by a more impressive number but still not to a striking extent.

    We can hope that the very friendly Bishop of Bayonne will do something soon in his own see, where there is only the Traditional Mass once per month.

    I was wondering if this source can tell us something about the appalling resistance of the bishops in the north-central and north-east parts of France. There is still not even one every-Sunday Mass for us in the following contiguous sees: Cambrai, Soissons, Reims, Châlons, Verdun, and Langres. Something must be done in this area. The bishops there are defying the Pope openly.

    We might hope for a better situation now as well in the Diocese of St. Denis (Paris area), where there is a new bishop.


  4. Anonymous11:01 PM

    On Joe B.'s comments:

    I remember well the 'story' that John Paul II did offer our Mass just once when he was Pope. Supposedly, it was at Castel Gandolfo and for the I.C.R. (or with I.C.R. priests present). This was never confirmed. It might just be a rumour.

    I agree with Joe B. that there needs to be one public Mass. But I think it's coming. H.H. might be waiting for a momentous event, like the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart.


  5. Anonymous3:13 AM

    Not if, but when, I think is the way to await the Holy Father's public celebration of the '62 Missal. As the ordinary rite improves (we're still waiting, however), and more Bishops, and Curia celebrate the Extraordinary, the Pope will join them.

  6. Oliver10:15 AM

    Performing the old Mass in Rome is way too political for the current Vatican regime and at best it is giving a classical liturgical face to a modernist manifesto. However many old Masses are said in the dioceses, the overall appearance is of two competing Catholic worlds even though the Mass continues to be abridged and reformed to comply with some modern ideas. People should come clean and admit they just want the appearance of tradition without its underlying theology and dogma.

  7. Three out of four french bishops do nothing - many directly oppose!

  8. This discussion pops of from time to time. Not wanting to second-guess the Holy Father, but on the face of it I can see several problems with him celebrating the TLM:

    1) Before the reform, the Solemn Papal Mass was a vastly elaborate ritual involving not only, as I recall it, seven sacred ministers besides the Pope and numerous lesser ministers, but also a number of officials of the Papal Household - some of which probably no longer exist; in any event the ceremonial culture of that rite would have to be built up from scratch. Then it also incorparated items such as the flabella, the prudence of which to suddenly reinstate would be questionable given that even such small things could promote a backlash also among ordinary Catholics who will be put off by what they would consider excessive pomp (and which would be true by today's standards).

    In short, it might be necessary to first revise this rite before it is even possible to celebrate it again. Alternatively, one would have to wait until the climate was more favourable for bringing back all the old pomp, or it had been brought in by the back door in the new rite by a slow development.

    2) In former times, the Papal Solemn Mass was only ever offered three times a year, on the greatest feasts. It would be odd to put it all into motion for a lesser occasion.

    3) The Pope could instead celebrate a Papal Low Mass, which is a much more simplified ritual, though more elaborate than the Pontifical equivalent. Still, is that what we want? Or would it be a huge anti-climax?

    4) The traditional rite is only just beginning to creep back into the mainstream of Church life, and many people are not acquainted with it and do not understand why there is need for it. Again, even people of good will might misunderstand the Holy Father's motives and react with hostility. Thus, he might want to wait until more ordinary church-goers can grasp its significance (I for my part think the Bishops are more important in this regard, but one must remember that there are many timid Bishops who are fearful of reactions amongst their flock).

    As others have pointed out, a more feasible solution would be a Solemn High Mass Coram Summo Pontifice, i.e. celebrated by a Cardinal or Bishop in the presence of the Supreme Pontiff seated on his throne. It would have virtually the same impact as him celebrating himself, because he is not only present and giving his approval, but also assisting in an integral rôle.

  9. Anonymous2:18 PM

    I think that Pope Benedict XVI has and continues to celebrate the Latin Mass in private.

  10. Anonymous3:25 PM

    Anonymous said...
    I think that Pope Benedict XVI has and continues to celebrate the Latin Mass in private.

    "Think" what you want. If Benedict XVI was celebrating the trad Mass wouldn't he say so? You know, a kind of "Hey bishops, see, I practice what I preach." You hear and see nothing, zip, nada, zero!

    But on the other hand even if he is (saying the trad Mass) it seems quite apparent that he doesn't wish to return to pre-Vatican II theology and practice.

  11. Would readers from other countries like to give similar reports of what progress has been made in their countries? It would be very useful to know what is going on in different parts of the world.

    I would be particularly interested to know of seminaries that are teaching their students to celebrate Mass in the usus antiquior as part of their normal courses. Also which seminaries have reintroduced Latin as a subject that all students must study.

  12. Anonymous5:24 PM

    I do not find the statistics mentioned in this source to be adequate at all, although they are interesting. What is needed is a record of

    1. How many every-Sunday Masses (not just Masses on any basis and certainly not Mass sites) there were in France on the eve of S.P. and today and, ideally, at the end of each year back to 1984.

    2. How many DIOCESES had at least one every-Sunday Mass on the eve of S.P. and today.

    The every-Sunday frequency is the standard for the simple reason that the Church requires faithful to attend at that frequency as a bare minimum. You can't live your Catholic life around Masses on alternate Tuesdays or on Fourth Sundays.

    The reason for the standard of Masses per DIOCESE is that the Diocese is that portion of God's people which is the first instance of immediate authority. It is first the bishop who has the right and the duty to ensure, as Article 1 of S.P. says that the old Mass ***MUST*** be given due honour for its venerable and ancient usage.

    According to my records, only two the 93 Latin sees in France have gained the T.L.M. since publication of "Summorum Pontificum", which would be fine if they were the LAST two. But they are not. The old Mass is still not offered on the every Sunday basis in the following sees:

    Reims, Soissons, Cambrai, Verdun, Langres, St. Denis, St. Claude, Ajaccio, La Rochelle et Saintes, Bayonne, Mende, Viviers, Tulle, Rodez, and Digne. We can count! That's 15 sees out of 93! That's more than 15%! Where the hell are the every-Sunday Masses in these dioceses? Please answer the question, Archbishop Jordan of Reims! Even if one excludes six or seven on the grounds of a low population and lack of clergy, that still leaves seven or eight in which the bishops are obstructing the Pope.

    According to my records, the Bishop of Metz approved an every-Sunday Mass just before S.P. was published. The only dioceses which have gained their first every-Sunday Mass since S.P. was published are Limoges and Blois. THAT'S ONLY TWO additions in two years! One per annum and with fifteen to go!

    I'm afraid that the 1988 motu proprio was much more effective in France than has been the one of 2007.


  13. Anonymous 15:25 wrote:

    “But on the other hand even if he is (saying the trad Mass) it seems quite apparent that he doesn't wish to return to pre-Vatican II theology and practice.”

    Yes, I believe the Holy Father (for instance) does not like scholasticism that much. He continues to cite JPII, offer Novus Ordo Masses, and continues with ecumenical and interreligous meetings where no explicit mention of the need to convert to Catholicism is made. Pray hard for the Holy Father.

  14. Anonymous3:34 AM

    I find it helpful to take the long view.

    It took 40 years for the mess to get this bad. It may take 80 for a real turn around. But the turn around is clearly underway. The current generation of young priests are helping lead a new reform.

    And the priests that will come out of the ever increasing number of latin mass communities who are being born now and will hear their calling in 20 years will mark a real tipping point, right when today's young priests are moving into bishoprics.

    And if reconciliation can be found with the SSPX? All the better, as it will certainly accelerate matters.

  15. John McFarland4:06 AM

    Alexander, please don't fall into the "scholasticism" sucker game.

    "Scholasticism" is a code word for the complete and unadulterated Catholic faith. Unfortunately, that's really what the Holy Father doesn't much like, although he would stoutly (and, for all I know, sincerely) deny the accusation if I were to make it to his face.

    I really don't understand the indignation over the French bishops' disinclination to give the old Mass much breathing room. They're modernists. They don't like it; they don't want it. They don't believe the Pope has much authority over them; and neither does the Pope. Ever heard of collegiality?

    And by the way, is it really that much better in the U.S. or Canada? Or anyplace else? Didn't think so.

    Last of all, I beg those of you given to it to abandon this Orwellian talk of the "extraordinary form."

    As Bishop Fellay of the SSPX has noted, there are now two universal (and hence contradictory) liturgical laws, the traditional and the Novus Ordo. Which one are you going to follow?

    And if your answer is the traditional liturgy, why in God's name do you let its deadly enemies (and two-faced "friends") call the turn on whether you get to go to the true fountain springing up to eternal life, or to a cracked cistern?

    Sedes sapientiae, ora pro nobis.
    Mater boni consilii, ora pro nobis.

  16. John McFarland, what utter rubbish.

    "Scholasticism" is a code word for the complete and unadulterated Catholic faith."

    No, scholasticism was a particular method of learning and disputation which was taught and used at universtities in the Middle Ages. The philosophico-theological ideas of those who employed this method were very diverse, encompassing varying degrees of Neo-platonism and Neo-aristotelianism, and several of them, including St. Thomas, were at times suspected of heresy.

    "there are now two universal (and hence contradictory) liturgical laws, the traditional and the Novus Ordo."

    Neither the traditional rite nor the Novus Ordo are "universal liturgical laws." Ever heard of the Byzantine Rite? Or the Antiochean? Alexandrian? East Syrian? Does the existence of all these also present a "contradiction" of the traditional Roman Rite?

  17. Anonymous1:27 PM

    "According to my records, the Bishop of Metz approved an every-Sunday Mass just before S.P. was published. The only dioceses which have gained their first every-Sunday Mass since S.P. was published are Limoges and Blois. THAT'S ONLY TWO additions in two years! One per annum and with fifteen to go!

    I'm afraid that the 1988 motu proprio was much more effective in France than has been the one of 2007.


    This (odd) conclusion shows dear P.K.T.P. that your criterium is not very efficient, on the contrary.
    The number of locations DOES matter very much !
    To have one location (with every Sunday Mass) in a remote village in a diocese is one thing ; to have several locations in the same diocese but in the main cities makes a big difference for the faithful.
    Even in considering only every Sunday new TLM, it is obvious that there are FAR more than 2 new Sunday Mass in France after 2 years of S.P. You have more than 2 new weekly TLM just in the dioceses of Paris and Versailles.

    The number of dioceses that were still opposing E.D. has decreased after 2007, sometimes shortly before S.P. promulgation because the topic was highly debated between 2005 and 2007 in France, with spectacular episcopal oppositions. Among the most vocal oppents to TLM, Bp Daucourt - Nanterre - granted a location (every Sunday), Abp Jordan - Rheims - finally did so reluctantly, though not a Sunday TLM.

    There was a request lodged in Verdun : one TLM per month in the cathedral crypt. Langres is a tiny rural diocese.
    Apparently Cambrai is still in denial : no TLM registered.
    Nothing for Châlons-en-Champagne, for Langres. Nothing for Soissons, except one TLM celebrated by Fr. Ribeton fssp for an annual pilgrimage.

    Remember in these dioceses, episcopal opposition was strong and very vocal.
    This is the whole question of the lack of action from PCED between 2007 and 2009 and this is raising the question of what the new Commission Levada-Pozzo is going to do to change that.
    So far, nobody has any clue about it which is maybe the most worrying point in the past decisions of the Holy Father. A surprising silence on the effective implementation of S.P. ...


  18. Anonymous1:37 AM

    Alsaticus writes:

    Even in considering only every Sunday new TLM, it is obvious that there are FAR more than 2 new Sunday Mass in France after 2 years of S.P. You have more than 2 new weekly TLM just in the dioceses of Paris and Versailles.

    Yes, this is true. I admit it entirely. I did write in my response that the overall number of every-Sunday Masses is important. But the number of places is less important because many of these places are Mass every Tuesday or Mass twice a month or Mass on First Fridays. Holy Church does not let us fulfil our obligations by going to Mass on Third Thursdays or two Sundays a month but on every single Sunday.

    You mention Masses in remote areas but counting every-Sunday Masses per diocese is precisely important for this reason: it is a distribution control, however imperfect. In the north-east of France, there are six contiguous dioceses with not even one single every-Sunday Mass among them. That is a very long way for people to go to get to Mass!


  19. Anonymous1:43 AM

    Alsaticus writes:

    There was a request lodged in Verdun : one TLM per month in the cathedral crypt

    Yes, only once per month AND with the new lectionary! This is NOT a Traditional Mass. Only one diocese in Poland has the new lectionary (and it is no longer Warsaw, thank God). What is Monseigneur of Verdun trying to do?

    Something has to be done in the north-east.

    I am happy about the attitude of the new bishops in St. Denis (Paris) and Bayonne. Let us pray it will bear fruit.

    As for Mgr. Jordan in Reimns, what is he doing? Only one T.L.M. per month? And this has now gone on for over a year! He needs to slip on a banana peel!


  20. Anonymous1:48 AM

    Mr. McFarland asks:

    And by the way, is it really that much better in the U.S. or Canada? Or anyplace else? Didn't think so.

    The situation for the approved T.L.M.s is actually about the same in France and the U.S.A., and it is quite good, despite some hold-outs in both countries. The difference is that France attained a much larger per centage of its every-Sunday diocees from the first m.p., that of 1988. America has done much better than France (and Germany better than America) from the second m.p., of 2007.

    Canada? A hopeless case. However, the situation has improved markedly in just the last several months. Canadian bishops wait and do nothing until everyone else has acted. Then, when activity stops everywhere else, it starts in Canada.


  21. Anonymous1:52 AM

    I agree entirely with what Mr. McFarland says about two liturgical laws. Mr. Ertner may have misunderstood what was meant because Mr. McFarland did not explain his meaning.

    This is a more complicated matter. The question, ultimately, is this: Can there be more than one normative Eucharistic Liturgy proper to one see at one time? I would say not. And since the traditional one was never abrogated, this makes the N.O.M. a bastard rite. But the implications go far beyond that. I'd rather not spell them out here. I'm afraid of being killed over it!

    I will say this. It raises a question not regarding the validity of the N.O.M. but regarding its liceity. I'd better say no more.


  22. Anonymous10:29 AM

    But on the other hand even if he is (saying the trad Mass) it seems quite apparent that he doesn't wish to return to pre-Vatican II theology and practice.

    - Yes, but what you don't understand (probably as an ultramontanist) is what's important, is what God wants. And before your Jansenistic instincts kick in, no, not ALL of preconciliar theology (the neo-platonic aspects) nor praxis was good.

  23. Can there be more than one normative Eucharistic Liturgy proper to one see at one time?

    Yes. The Chaldeans have more than one, for example.

  24. Anonymous3:56 PM

    This of course is not the situation in France, but witnessing Bishop Matthew Clark's devastated vineyard in the diocese of Rochester, New York, with magnificent gothic churches like St. Stephens in Geneva, New York virtually deserted due to Clark's left wing extremist reductionism and relentless obstruction of tradition, it is very difficult to enthuse about the effects of two years of Summorum Pontificum.

  25. Anonymous8:18 PM


    The entire concept of normative liturgy is different in the Eastern churches. In the Ukrainian Church, for example, the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostum is the standard most of the time; the Liturgy of St. Basil the Great on certain days; and the Liturgy of St. James of Jerusalem on two days per year and only as an option. In the case of the Chaldeans, priests can choose among different liturgies.

    This is not the tradition in the West and what applies for them does NOT apply for us in these matters. In the West, other liturgies can be allowed but are not proper or normative. For example, the various religious orders had Uses (not Rites properly speaking) which were proper to their orders but not to any see. The Ambrosian Rite is proper to and normative in Milan but the Roman Rite is allowed there as well and even mandated in certain parishes; and, outside Milan, the Ambrosian Rite is mandated in certain parishes in nearby sees. Nevertheless, only the Ambrosian Rite is normative as the Liturgy of Milan; the Roman Rite is there by way of exception.

    In the Latin ecclesial tradition, there can only be one Rite proper to each see at any given times. That's why Benedict XVI insists that the T.L.M. and N.O.M. are not Rites but forms of one Rite. However, the problem is that Benedict XVI is wrong on this: they are two separate Rites because law must respect reality and the New Mass departs from the old significantly and in all ways known in liturgy: by substitution, by addition, by deletion, by alteration and by importantion of foreign elements. They are two separate Rites whether he's willing to admit it or not.

    This issue will have to be faced and resolved one day, but I suspect that this will not happen until it's moot.


  26. Praise the Lord!

    Here in Italy things have improved most certainly - slowly ... but surely :) although, yes, we still have a good number of 'modern' bishops and curia fighting against the Mass of All Times.

    To see a striking increase in the celebration of this beautiful rite we must only have the patience to wait for all the old liberal bishops to pass on and ... pray, pray, pray.

  27. Anonymous7:09 PM

    Dear Gabriella:

    Thank you for your report. Italy is harder to track because, like Ireland, it has kept its old mediæval diocess to a large extent. They are much smaller in size, so it is easier to use a standard of radii to track the progress.


  28. FranzJosf7:24 PM

    Mr. Perkins: I think that you are right about rites, and, given his writing ('fabrication'), I think that the Holy Father would agree with you. In SP he is making a legal distinction to thwart recalcitrant bishops. How can a Latin Bishop tell a priest he has no right to celebrate the Latin (Roman) Rite? Especially since it is now the universal law of the Latin Rite.

  29. Anonymous9:59 PM

    Dear FranzJosef:

    Thank you. Yes, I agree with your conclusion.

    But what most people have missed (and I was among them for well over a year) is that there is a time bomb in S.P. While everyone has fretted over Articles 2, 4, and 5, the real kicker is, in fact, Article 1. This passage, in the original Latin is a command, and it has consequences which have not yet been considered:

    The Traditional Latin mass *MUST* be given due honour for its venerable and ancient usage.

    This is NOT just some pious ideal. It has legal force. I did an analysis of it, taking into consideration the other laws of the Church. What it means is that, whenever possible, there must be a DAILY celebration of the T.L.M. in EACH diocese in the world, including all of them in Africa, for instance.

    Now, in law, a right cannot be enforced unless someone petitions for its enforcement. So this would require a request of faithful. Secondly, the local bishop, who is the legitimate authority in the first instance, is indeed rightfully limited by his human and other resources. But if he is unable to fulfil this, it would then fall to the Holy See to attempt to do so.

    This norm established in Article 1 applies apart from petitions in particular parishes. In other words, it must be enforced upon request if there is not at least one DAILY celebration of the old Mass somewhere in the Diocese.

    Why daily, by the way? It is because the honour due is due to the entire Liturgy, and this Mass is altered daily. To honour ALL of this Mass, all of it must be offered.

    Why at least one per diocese? Turn to Vatican II for the answer! The Church Universal subsists in every particular church in the world, and a particular church is a diocese or its equivalent. This stems ultimately from the teaching in Vatican II (ironically!) that the local bishops are not merely (but only partly) delegates of the Holy Father; they are also direct successors of the apostles, just as he is the direct successor of Blessed Peter. So they have an authority which comes directly from God, just as they also have an authority which comes indirectly from God through the Pope.


  30. John McFarland4:00 AM

    Mr. Ertner,

    Your general characterization of medieval scholasticism is accurate enough for present purposes. You are, consciously or unconsciously, epitomizing the discoveries of Etienne Gilson in the first half of the twentieth century; it was already common coin in my student days forty or so years ago.

    But medieval scholasticism is beside the point. A kind of consensus theology of a very Aristotlean cast ruled Catholic theology from at least the 16th century until Vatican II, inspired by and interspersed with Thomistic revivals. This is sometimes called neo-scholasticism, although sometimes that term refers particularly to the theology and philosophy coming out of the Thomistic revival of the 19th century, as most famously defended and encouraged by Aeterni patris of Pope Leo XIII. This is the scholasticism that I (and the modern critics of scholasticism) are talking about.

    In any event, the real problem with scholasticism, neo- or otherwise, for its critics (such as the current Holy Father) is that it clearly sets out the Catholic faith, and seeks to set it out once for all. It is also a cooperative venture. You will see reference in the pre-Vatican II literature to (for example) "the treatise on the Incarnation" or "the treatise on revelation," as if the particular treatises of the major theologians on the major parts of theology were just part of a single multi-volume treatise to which they were all contributing. The task was to present the most perfect formulation of the integral and unchanging Faith. An Aristotlean philosophy was central to the exercise for the same reason that the language of classical physics is the calculus; experience showed that it was the best tool for the task.

    I would add that even among scholastics who could fairly be called non-Thomist, their work was ultimately primarily Thomist in its orientation. The closest thing to a rival scholasticism was Scotism, whose very limited influence was largely the result of its patronage by Dun Scotus's fellow Franciscans.

    By contrast, such theologians as the Pope want time-dependent, individualized accounts of the Faith that at bottom as exercises in domesticating the Faith to the currently fashionable ideologies. So they try to present scholasticism as one more time-bound set of intellectual tools that was once dominant, but is no more.

    But the effect of this is that there is no longer a unitary account of the Faith. There is the Faith according to Rahner, Ratzinger, Schillebeeckx, von Balthasar, de Lubac, Congar, McBrien, etc., etc.

    Furthermore, a Faith that is not one is no faith at all -- which is why there is very little complete and unadulterated faith to be found in the Church nowadays, right up to and including the Pope. It is also why the Church is decadent; decadence is at bottom the loss of unity.

    Would it be possible to produce a truly orthodox theology on other than a scholastic basis. Perhaps: but to date it hasn't been done, and I don't see much evidence that it needs to be done. Even -- or rather, particularly -- its current critics don't really criticize it for being wrong; they criticize it for being out of touch with the times.

  31. John McFarland4:23 AM

    Mr. Perkins,

    It's fair enough to treat the 2007 MP as if it were a juridical pronouncement. Just don't assume that that's how the Pope views it.

    He is a very confused man, and in a sense he's confused in principle. It is therefore most imprudent to think that because he thinks like you (or appears to think like you) some of the time, he actually thinks like you, much less that he actually thinks like you most or all of the time. In particular, I would want to be very careful before concluding that Pope Benedict is really interested, either theoretically or practically, in shouldering the burden of authority that Pope John shrugged off in 1962.

    Apropos of statistics, may I suggest another line of data to track when and as they start to appear: those congregations that are moving beyond Sunday Mass to something like the integral practice and formation that the SSPX and the indy churches aspire to. I would consider this a different category from the FSSP and similar congregations, unless and until the latter demonstrate that their chief function is something other than keeping the SSPX at bay. When there start being numbers along these lines to crunch, then you'll know that you're starting to get somewhere.

  32. Anonymous8:07 PM

    Mr. McFarland:

    On the status of S.P. as a juridical document, I sense in Article 1 that it is no accident but a time bomb. This Pope is no fool and he must have known that the pronouncement of a general norm cast as an ideal would be largely overlooked, esp. when followed by very specific Articles (2 through 12) which have debateable meaning (e.g. Article 5 does not mean, as it seems to mean, that there must be a group of faithful who request a Mass: the priest can also start one on his own, without so much as the existence of such a group).

    No, I think that you underestimate the Pope here. I believe that Article 1 has significant meaning which has yet to be detailed. In fact, I'm not sure that my minimum of one Mass per day (not per Sunday) per diocese is even adequate. He might even mean that there should, at least ideally, be one T.L.M. per parish.

    One thing I'm sure of is that the careful canonists in the Vatican would not have let Article 1 into the law (as they've done) without considerting its full implications.


  33. Anonymous8:09 PM

    Mr. McFarland:

    On statistics, I'm not sure what on earth you mean. Please clarify. Also, what does 'indy' mean?


  34. Anonymous9:25 PM

    PKTP; Mr. McFarland et al;

    Concerning Thomism, Scotism and orthodox Catholic teaching, where does the teaching of Meister Eckhart fit in?


  35. Anonymous3:14 PM

    "Then it also incorparated items such as the flabella, the prudence of which to suddenly reinstate would be questionable given that even such small things could promote a backlash also among ordinary Catholics who will be put off by what they would consider excessive pomp (and which would be true by today's standards). "

    The only Catholics that would be put off by what they think is excessive pomp, is the "Spirit of Vatican II" liberal ecumenically inclined "Catholics". The traditional and faithful Catholics would be thrilled, especially the young who have never seen such pomp and beauty of a solemn Papal High Mass.

    I remember reading once of a "liberal" parish, which tried for years to cultivate a radical, liberal spirit among the parishioners. The parish was staffed by radical priests, habitless radical femminist nuns, and a small core of die-hard radical laity.
    Come the 30th anniversary of Vatican II (1965), they wanted to have a huge celebration, highlighting the progressive, ecumenical, new "Vatican II CHurch". Plans were made for weeks and the liberal priests, nuns, and core parish members expected a huge parish turnout to celebrate.
    But also, a small group of "traditionalists" the the parish planned to have a small celebration with Benediction and Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament as their way of "celebrating Vatican II".
    When the day arrived, to their utter dismay and shock, less than 20 parishioners came to join the 4 radical (and by now aging) priests and the 7 aging nuns to applaude the "Spirit of Vatican II" in the life of the Church. They had expected hundreds at least. The parish boasted 3,300 members.
    But the celebration of the Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, presided over by the 1 reasonablly traditional priest in the parish drew close to 600 members with choir singing Latin.
    The radical liberal priests and nuns were beside themselves with anger and rage. All their efforts of 30 years was wasted!!

    I think that will happen in the Vatican. All the radical liberal clique in the Vatican opposed to any Catholic tradition at all are by now extremely aged men. Cardinal Angelo Sodano, one of their ringleaders, is 82. Cardinal Etchergaray, 87 is ill and retired.
    Cardinal Arinze is nearly 77, Cardinal Kasper is 76, Bertone nearly 75, Cardinal Re is almost 76, Hummes is 75.
    The Pope seems to be cleaning house of the lower ranks, many retiring or being posted out. Radical Piero Marini, at almost 68 lost his equally radical Curial pal, Bishop Renato Boccarco,58, when the later was posted to Norcia, Italy. Anytime a longtime curial member is posted out, it's usually a demotion, not a promotion.
    The liberal Bishop Rino Fischiella literally hanged himself career-wise over his comments about abortion and the famous case in Brazil.
    So the few still active liberals are either dying, retiring, being booted out, or disvredit themselves by inappropriate remarks whcih contradict Vatican/Catholic tradition and teaching.

    So I would not be surprised if the Lord grants our good Pope a few more years yet at least, that Benedict XVI will suprise the Church and the world with the celebration of a Pontifical High Mass in St. Peter's complete with some elements of the old Papal court and ceremonial that have not been seen in decades.

  36. Anonymous1:05 AM

    Optimistic Anonymous said, "The liberal Bishop Rino Fischiella literally hanged himself career-wise over his comments about abortion and the famous case in Brazil."

    Perhaps in Canada Cardinal Jean-Claude Turcotte of Montreal would hang himself too given that he said the same kind of remarks as Fischiella did when he (Turcotte) gave an in-terview to the newspaper Le Devoir at Easter.

    See - What is happening in the Church.

    St. Joseph, patron saint of Canada please intervene.


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