Rorate Caeli

Clarification document soon?

Yes, according to German Catholic website, the famous clarification document on Summorum Pontificum, which has been promised almost since the publication of the memorable Motu Proprio, is ready and should be published shortly, perhaps even before Christmas.


  1. Anonymous7:44 PM

    I've always longed for this and, yet, it makes me incredibly nervous.

  2. What was unclear?

  3. I hope the Holy Father has a great early Christmas present for faithful Catholics. The only thing that keeps us from despair these days is our sheer faith in the imperfectability of the church- with not much to show for it. That is a very dangerous line to tread.

    I am very nervous about this also.... it could be amazing. Or it could the same ol thing. At this point, simply because I've learned not to expect too much- I'm going to assume it is nothing....

  4. Sorry- above should read *idefectability not "imperfectability".

  5. Cruise the Groove.9:01 PM

    What would be great is for the Holy Father to require, in the clarification, that every Latin Rite parish, the world over, offer at least one Sunday offering of the Traditional Latin Mass, by this time next year.
    That would give priests that do not know how to offer this Mass the time to learn it.
    It is ver doable.

  6. Johnny Domer9:07 PM

    It seems like the Holy Father decided to wait until after SP had been out for three years, and after the bishops had sent in their reports on the implementation of SP (or, as it were, the lack thereof) in their dioceses...I'm not sure whether that fact cuts for or against us.

  7. Anonymous9:30 PM

    "At this point, simply because I've learned not to expect too much- I'm going to assume it is nothing...." Anon 20:28

    ô wisely phrased Anon.

    We can pray that it won't be written at the secretariate of State and not under the "appeasers" influence.
    What is needed is a removal of the artificial obstacles raised by some episcopal conferences and more often a negative pressure of bishops upon parish priests.
    What is also needed is a more general training of priests - and at first N.O. seminarians - into TLM as cardinal Hoyos once said it would be.


  8. Anonymous9:43 PM

    I hope and pray that this document will clarify that Holy Communion may not be given in the hand at Traditional Latin Masses.

    If there is ambiguity, or communicants are free to choose to receive in either way, then we will be left with a very complicated and sad situation. Not least of all, there are priests who exclusively celebrate the Traditional Latin Mass who would not distribute in the hand, and would cease celebrating public Masses. Many Traditionalists and followers of the SSPX would not attend Masses where Holy Communion is given in the hand. It will put the brakes on the growth of the Traditional Latin Mass, as it would become the occasional preserve of Novus Ordo priests and laity who like it for its aesthetical value.

    Let us pray for our Pope that he will courageously protect and promote the Traditonal Mass and the Blessed Sacrament. JPT

  9. Anonymous9:46 PM

    This is great news. I don't know how much longer I can hold on. After the way the TAC is being mistreated, I'm ovewhelmed with despair these days. We need some good news.

    Again, for its first eleven months, S.P. was a success. Since then, the bishops have obstructed it almost totally in most places. There have been a few bright exceptions, Germany being one of them.


  10. Anonymous9:48 PM

    Dear Mr. Paulitz:

    As the saying goes, 'I hear you'. But if it is coming between now and Christmas, it will probably be good news, even if not as good as we'd like. The Pope is the Vicar of Christ, not the grinch who stole Christmas--despite the fact that he looks like the latter when he wears the camauro.


  11. We could use a good Christmas present..

  12. Oh, hope springs eternal!

  13. Anonymous10:57 PM

    Cruise the Groove:

    I'm with you in spirit but what you propose is a pipe-dream, although a pipe-dream I love.

    First of all, we can saftely predict what a clarification will say about Article 5. This won't matter, as the bishops have found that the best way to crush us and our Mass is simply to threaten to send our celebrants to the parochial gulags. Trying to make them sit Latin exams is a non-starter and they figured that out two years ago.

    The real potential for a clarification is not what it will say about how much Latin the celebrant must know to offer our Mass or what a cœtus [group] means in canon law. No, I want to see what a clarification will say about this phrase in Article 1, which most people have wrongly assumed is just a platitude:

    The T.L.M. "MUST [emphasis added] be honoured for its ancient and venerable usage".

    Benedict XVI is a wily fox and this is not just some pleasantry thrown in for its sonority. It means something at law. I have argued that it means that, in every diocese, as a norm in law, there must be at least one every-Sunday T.L.M., even if nobody has asked for this. This would in no way limit the number of every-Sunday T.L.M.s that groups have asked for. So it is a bare minimum: one per Sunday per see even if nobody has asked for it.

    That is a reasonable goal and one suggested by the text of S.P., I think. Now, this will not mean that we get our Mass, because a norm in law is not a strict obligation; it takes into account the manpower and resources of each see. However, where dioceses are 'unable' to provide this minimum, and where laics do ask for an every-Sunday Mass, Rome would be 'duty-bound' to come to the bishops' rescue and 'help' them provide that Mass.

    Of course, again, Rome cannot do the impossible: to have a Mass, you need a qualified priest. But this provision would enable Rome gradually to introduce our Mass in every diocese of the world.

    Keep in mind the Pope's vision. Examine S.P. carefully and you will see that he is saying this: the T.L.M. is not only for those who are attached to it; rather, it is a spiritual treasure for all Christ's faithful, even those who only attend it rarely (or not at all), perhaps to re-connect with their Roman patrimony.

    Of course, in order to enable the Pope to 'help' these bishops, he may need to erect a special jurisdiction or ten ....


  14. Anonymous11:07 PM

    I love the way New Catholic puts this:

    It will be published shortly, perhaps even before Christmas. To me, "shortly" means this week, or next week at the latest.


  15. Anonymous11:35 PM

    P.K.T.P. let's not assume it's before Christmas. How long were we told the MP was coming? It was every Easter for years! I believe our sources are right ... today. Next, we'll see some lib bishops on a plane to Rome to stop its release.

  16. Anonymous12:11 AM


    There's nothing wrong with this. It's a perfect description of the Vatican II Catholic Church.

    No worries. It's all good.

  17. Anonymous12:14 AM

    Most of the really lib Bishops who would try to stop it are dead.

    Remember Cardinal Hume? UGH!

    That was one of his tricks.

  18. Anonymous12:14 AM

    Since he's throwing out things to annoy people how about saying the Novus ordo should be eliminated. I can dream can't I.

  19. Anonymous12:45 AM

    Dear Mr. Paulitz:

    Well, we might get lucky. Some Islamic terrorist might bomb a planeload of liberal bishops heading to Rome to stop the clarification. Bad things can happen to bad people too. The bombers might even lock themselves in the same aeroplane by accident, and they we could kill two birds with one stone.

    Another possibility is that the liberals bishops who are trying to destroy the Traditional Anglican Communion will have a head-on collision with the liberal bishops who are trying to prevent a clarification of "Summorum Pontificum".


  20. Anonymous12:52 AM

    Mr. Paulitz:

    On the other hand, according to Darío Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos, the clarification was "imminent" two years ago. If only the expression 'death is imminent' meant that it was coming in two or three years' time. If death only came from Rome, Heaven would be unnecessary and Purgatory and Hell avoidable.

    On a more serious note, we should all remember that this Pope tends to prefer symbolic occasions, as did John Paul II. For example, John Paul II signed the decree for the Campos structure on Christmas Eve of 2001.

    So let's hope for a Christmas present. One for our people and one for the good people in the Traditional Anglican Communion who, unlike the FiF bishops, have sacrificed everything for "full sacramental and corporate union" with Rome. Let's pray for them too. The Lord accepts the labourers who come into the vineyard at the eleventh hour but he also accepts those who start their work at dawn.


  21. Anonymous12:54 AM

    Mr. Domer is right. The triennium ended at Holy Cross Day of this year. So the period of review began at that point. Provided this review does not take longer than the period it studies, we should get the clarification before we all die of old age.


  22. Given what the bishops were able to pull behind the scenes with the new NO translation, this scares me greatly.

    As the Pope has taught, the right to use the 1962 Missal can never be taken away.

  23. Cruise the Groove3:01 AM

    Mr Perkins,
    Yes, there are some bishops that are being disobediant to the Holy Father and blocking the implementation of SP in their dioceses,
    but I think the bigger problem is not enough pastors and priests who are willing to learn the TLM even in those many diocese that have supportive bishops.
    I personally know of several Dioceses where the bishops are open to SP and place no roadblocks in the way of priests offering the TLM, but the problem seems to be that there are only 2 or maybe 3 priests in the entire diocese who have been willing to offer
    the Mass even though training sessions have been offered to all priests, and this in dioceses of over 600,000 Catholics.
    This is what I pray the clarification addresses; that all priests be required to learn the TLM and that every parish offer it
    at least once per month.

  24. Anonymous4:21 AM

    I will continue to pray it includes a provision for Tridentine Masses to be said in every parish within a few years and within reason. Also making more available the other Sacraments we heard mentioned in SP but have seen little activity on this level. Of course when obstruction of the Mass still goes on and is not forcefully stopped (make an example of someone), then it will be difficult to recieve all the riches of the 1962 books. Overall I think the Pope can see what many others have. The allowance of the Mass has brought tremendous good for the Church in short time. He is going to expand its' influence in the Church and into the Dioceases. This would be wonderful for the Christmas season.

  25. "We can pray that it won't be written at the secretariate of State and not under the "appeasers" influence."

    In September 2009 I was told by Msgr. Arthur Calkins (then a member of the PCED) that the document had been put in Cardinal Bertone's hands. Let's keep hoping for the best, though.

  26. Anonymous6:39 AM

    Cruise the Groove:

    With respect, this is not what my contacts tell me at all. Yes, it is true that there are few priests out there 'willing and able' but there is usually at least one or three per see. The problem is that some bishops go out on a limb to stop them.

    The prime example, the worst Bishop in the U.S.A., is Ramirez of Las Cruces. In the case of the U.S.A., I see failure in the bishops in many sees, including these: Mobile, Laredo, Amarillo, Las Vegas, Las Cruces, Greensburg, Helena, Great Falls-Billings, Steubenville, Crookston, Bismarck, New Ulm, Jefferson City, Nashville, Baker, perhaps Saginaw.

    Dioceses where there are no priests who are willing and able? Not even one? I don't know one but there are some where there is virtually no organised lay request for one. These might include Grand Island, San Angelo, Lubbock, and a few others.

    Keep in mind that ALL THREE dioceses in Alaska have the T.L.M. every single Sunday of the year. The populations of these dioceses is significantly lower than all the others in the U.S.A. So, if they can have them, why not the others?


  27. Anonymous6:50 AM

    There are likely at least some bad things coming in the clarification but I expect to be mostly good. On the bad side, I expect the following:

    Enforcement of the 2008 alteration of the Good Frieday Prayer. Howver, we can ignore this by simply reading the 1962 prayer to ourselves while the priest intones the 2008. Our Missals are all new and have 1962. E-books will eventually replace them and we can just ban the 2008 insult from our e-handmissals.

    The other one? I think he'll allow the T.L.M. to be said entirely in the vernacular, using an approved translation.

    Good things?

    He'll ban communion in manu and mandate kneeling for reception.

    I have ideas on interpretations of Art. 5 but it's all old hat and I don't have the time for it tonight.

    Article 1: that is the important one, not Article 5.


  28. Anonymous8:37 AM

    I recently offere myself as a seminarian in our VERY small archdiocese.(30 parishes)
    My archbishop said to me he would be happy take me BUT as I attended the only 1962 Mass which is only allowed on a once a month, he could not take me as he did "not want to encourage that sort of thing".
    No assurances would suffice. He retires next Octaber. Please all of you pray that our Archdiocese gets a god bishop from another part of the country not from our island!

  29. Anonymous11:47 AM

    Mr. Perkins,

    "The other one? I think he'll allow the T.L.M. to be said entirely in the vernacular, using an approved translation"

    I've been agitating for this one for a long, long time. Should it happen, the Novus Ordo will die a fittingly swift death.

    Have you heard anything that would lead you to believe this, or is it simply part of your Christmas list?

  30. One factor is clear - in the post-conciliar era nothing is really clear!!

  31. M. A.2:03 PM

    "Dioceses where there are no priests who are willing and able? Not even one?"

    In the entire Joliet diocese there are absolutely no diocesan priests celebrating the old Mass! NONE! The previous Ordinary did a most thorough job of cleansing the place of such leanings.

    Now, under the new bishop,ONE FSSP priest has been assigned for the entire diocese. Under the circumstances, those like us who request the old Mass, have been able to have only 5 Masses in the entire 3 years of SP, with four of those Masses celebrated by out-of-the diocese priests.

    It is intolerable to continue this way. May of us have been traveling an hour or more one-way to get to Mass for the last 15 years!

    I certainly hope the clarification will come to our rescue. An issue to be addressed is what to do when there are no priests in one's diocese willing to celebrate the old Mass and the bishop does nothing or very little to be accommodating.

  32. M. A.2:05 PM

    anon 08:37, I will pray for your intentions. May God hasten to hear our prayers!

  33. Henry2:47 PM

    Mr. Perkins,requiring a single Sunday TLM per diocese -- as you suggest @ 22 November, 2010 22:57 -- would amount to nothing. My diocese is hardly friendly to priests who celebrate the TLM, but nevertheless 15% to 20% of our parishes large enough for more than one Sunday Mass offer the TLM either weekly or biweekly (though at sub-optimal times).

    What would amount to something is requiring a Sunday TLM in every multiple-Mass parish. But the pope cannot and should not order this. Because no one wants to see priests celebrating the TLM who cannot, or even do not want to, do it right.

    In any event, it's not bishops who merely allow the TLM who are needed. What's needed are bishops who are actual evangelists, who actively encourage the TLM, not merely for those who want it, but moreso for those who do not seek it. Moreso, because the OF folks are and will continue indefinitely to be the vast majority of Catholics who deserve better liturgy.

    Indeed, what could be more obvious than that SP was intended more to benefit OF Catholics than for EF eccentrics like most of us here.

  34. Cruise the Groove4:25 PM

    "What would amount to something is requiring a Sunday TLM in every multiple-Mass parish. But the pope cannot and should not order this. Because no one wants to see priests celebrating the TLM who cannot, or even do not want to, do it right"

    That is why I said that the Holy Father would hopefully request that all priests learn the TLM and have a year to do so, and by this time next year they should all be competant enough to offer it.

    Mr Perkins,

    I pray that the clarification has more muscle than your anemic predictions has for it.

    Having one TLM per diocese every Sunday is really, hardly a feasible improvement to this problem, while it would be very good for the people that live within driving distance of this location, but many many Catholics live unreasonably far from a given TLM site and it would be next to impossible for them to get there.

    For instance, in the diocese I live in there are two every Sunday TLM's offered in very, very out of the way areas,hours distant from the large population centers of the state.
    There are about 500,000 Catholics in this diocese, which is about 200 miles long and 100 miles wide and for the TLM to only be offered in 2 out of the way locations is not conducive in any way for many of the faithful attached to the TLM to develop a community around.

    Also, another huge problem is that these two locations basically only offer the TLM and thats it. No other traditional liturgical events such as Benediction Processions, 40 Hours, etc.
    If what you predict about the clarification is true than it would seem that it is just a basic number situation, ie: mandate at least one TLM per diocese, without considering the real practical logistical problems of the faithful.
    This might be a definite improvement in some cases but in most cases this scenario will only be about cold numbers and not warm facts.
    I pray the clarifications provide for a more realistic solution.

    Otherwise many of us still have the FSSPX and FSSP.

  35. Anonymous5:47 PM

    M.A. --

    There are worse places to be than Joliet.

    My family lives in Evansville, IN. In that diocese the priests have been warned that the TLM can only be offered if a group of parishioners from that particular parish request it. But Bp. Gettelfinger has done such a thorough job killing the faith there that there is no organized group demanding it in any one parish. He has one priest (a controversial one for all the wrong reasons) offering the Mass incorrectly -- and I mean it is bad -- once a month at 12:30.

    The nearest Mass is over 2 hours away! My brother just left town chiefly for this reason, but he and his family were making a weekly trip to the ICKSP parish in St. Louis -- a nearly 5 hour round trip every week.

    The only consolation for my family is that Bp. Gettelfinger just turned 75. May God hear the voice of this abandoned flock and send them a shepherd!

  36. M. A.7:54 PM

    anon 17:47, you make me feel so bad for complaining. :- |

    Let's keep each other in mutual prayer. One does get exasperated; giving vent does help at times.

  37. Anonymous8:18 PM


    I suggest that your comments and those of others here reflect a lack of knowledge about the situation internationally and even in the U.S.A.; they also reflect a lack of understanding regarding the content of Article 1 of S.P. Any coming clarification can only clarify what the motu proprio already says and provide for that; it cannot provide for other wishes which we may have.

    First of all, as regards distribution of Traditional Latin Masses in the United States of America, in general, the more populous sees have more of them than do the others, and there is a general distribution that reflects population size. From 2007 to the present, the number of Masses has increased, slowly and gradually, in dioceses already having such Masses by August of 2008.

    The first problem we have in implementation is that about thirty dioceses (out of 176) have not one single every-Sunday T.L.M. Most of these have no such Masses on any basis whatever. In some of these cases, there is apparently little demand for our Mass but, in most, there is a clear demand.

    This should surprise us. The three least-populous dioceses, all existing in large geographical territories, and all in Alaska, all have our Mass on the every-Sunday basis. Even the Diocese of Juneau, having only 5,000 faithful in it, has an every-Sunday T.L.M. This makes it hard to believe that the Diocese of Las Vegas, with more than ten times that Catholic population, has no demand for our Mass.

    From extensive experience in collating figures for our Mass over the the last twenty years and more, I also find that, once a bishop allows just one every-Sunday T.L.M., he will allow others in time. Hence our first task is to get one celebrated in each and every diocese of the U.S.A.--and the world. There are still thirty hold-out to address in the U.S.A., and one wonders what on earth is going on in dioceses as populous as Las Vegas, Saginaw and Laredo.

    TO BE CONTINUED . . . .


  38. Anonymous8:34 PM

    To Henry and others:


    The situation in the U.S.A. is similar to that in France, Germany, Belgium, New Zealand,the U.K., and a few other countries. Even most Western countries, however, do not have nearly as many T.L.M.s per faithful. For example, a clear majority of the dioceses in Spain, the overwhelming majority in Italy, and nearly all those in Portugal, have no T.L.M. on any basis whatsoever. The entire continent of Africa only has perhaps ten every-Sunday T.L.M.s, and a Catholic country as important as the Philippines might have ten or fifteen such Masses concentrated in eight or ten sees. Rome does not regard the world as the U.S.A. writ large, even if many Americans do. Rome will be looking at the situation internationally. There are no T.L.M.s at all in the entire continent of Asia except for the one in Hong Kong, those in the Philippines and one in Guam and perhaps one coming in Ceylon. (I refer here to Masses approved by recognised legitimate authority, although the S.S.P.X can only provide a very small number in Asia as well.) It would be an enormous, a gargantuan, task to ensure the standard of one T.L.M. per dioceses worldwide. In fact, the standard I am favouring here would take well over a decade to imnplement, if it could be implemented at all.

    What Rome might do is to enable the creation of one or more jurisdictions--particular churches--in which the traditionalist socieites and orders could, at first, attempt to meet the demand of faithful for the ancient Mass, since knowledge of the legality of that Mass and demand for its celebration is very uneven around the world. But I cannot see the C.D.F. saying that, as a norm at law, there must be one such Mass per *parish* around the world. Even one per parish in the U.S.A. is wildly unrealistic; it would be almost impossiblle given the shortage of priests we already have and the demand for provision of the N.O., which is scores of times greater than the demand for our Mass. We cannot just elbow our way into each parish. In the average parish, the demand for our Mass will be tiny.

    Finally, again, the Holy See will never imply in any way that Americans or Frenchmen are somehow more valuable to God than are Guineans or Lithuanians or Koreans. So any general standard at law must apply equally to everyone.



  39. Anonymous8:55 PM

    PART III: Canonical Situation

    I really don't have the time to review the canonical situatiion all over again. I've done so before and posted on this. I merely ask that people read Article 1 of S.P. and then consider the content of Vatican II documents such as, in this case, "Lumen Gentium". Like it or not, these will be used as guides by Rome.

    When Rome creates a norm at law, it applies equally to all particular churches of the Latin Church (i.e. dioceses and their equivalents) unless otherwise excepted. In order to give our Mass the "due honour for its ancient and venerable usage" (Art. 1), it must be celebrated at a minimum when celebration of Mass is generally required, and that currently means on Sundays and, in any given place, the holydays of obligation proper to that place (the obligation of priets to celebrate on days of precept has, I believe, lapsed).

    This translates to a minimum standard of one T.L.M. every Sunday per diocese. In no way does that limit the number mentioned in Article 5. So, of course, there should be more than one in accordance with demand in the parishes. But S.P. does not go beyond that, and I cannot see anything in S.P. that would suggest one per Sunday per parish. We cannot insert text that the Holy Father left out!

    So the only way of achieving a reasonable standard in accordance with demand would be for the Holy See to provide for a better distribution by provison of new juridical structures. This really means particular churches or personal ordinariates: it would be useless to have personal prelatures, for which permission is needed for their operation from the local ordinary in each and every case (cf. Canon 297).

    The provision of a single international jurisdiction is not impossible but might be difficult, owing to the concession made by the Holy See to various countries by concordat, especially in the important cases of France Poland, Austria and Argentina. Regional structures, perhaps like the personal ordinaraites for the incoming Anglicans, might fit the bill. I favour regional dioceses and apostolic administrations (depending on the population involved) under Section 2 of Canon 272. This is the so-called Campos solution: a diocese erected in which the subjects are those of a particular liturgical rite "or some other similar quality", all others in the same territory belonging to the local diocese.

    One way to overcome the problem would be for the Holy See to recognise publicly and at law that S.S.P.X Masses fulfil the Sunday and holyday obligation. But Rome will not seek a solution to a problem (and a poor solution at that, given S.S.P.X resources) that imposes a burden on faithful to repair to unapproved Masses. Rome may say make such a recognition but will not do so as a means to overcome her own juridical difficulty.

    To conclude, I can imagine Rome clarifying that, under Article 1, there should be, as a norm at law, at least one every-Sunday T.L.M. per diocese throughout the world. Given the difficulty of implementing this norm, Rome might possibly go further and provide for the erection of particular churches or personal ordinariates for the T.L.M., to be considered after consultation with the episcopal conferences concerned. We must be realistic, even if fantasy is far more fun.


  40. Anonymous9:00 PM

    Dear M.A.:

    Thank you for your excellent report from Evansville. I apologise to bloggers here in that I had meant to include Evansville among those dioceses which do not have an every-Sunday T.L.M. and in which the fault is not really a lack of demand. I have spoken on the telephone to the priest whom you mention there. He asserted that there was not enough demand for Mass more frequently than once per month, a contention I find hard to believe given the population of that Diocese. I'm not sure how certain he might be in his own mind about this. My prayers are with you and with the people of that Diocese, the only one in Indiana that does not have a T.L.M. every Sunday.


  41. Anonymous9:05 PM

    Cruise the Groove writes:

    "That is why I said that the Holy Father would hopefully request that all priests learn the TLM and have a year to do so, and by this time next year they should all be competant enough to offer it."

    This is wildly, almost hilariously, unrealistic. Groove, with the greatest respect, do you realise how small our movement is, even in the U.S.A.? For every one of our Masses on Sunday, there are probably well over 100 Novus Ordo Masses, and there is a shortage of priests. Nobody will drop what he is doing to force priests to learn the T.L.M., and it is arguable that a celebrate of a so-called 'extraordinary' form must be both willing and able to offer it. I see no canonical provision anywhere that priests must know how to offer our Mass. Yes, there are provisions existing that they should be able to celebrate in Latin but that is not the same thing.


  42. Cruise the Groove9:16 PM

    Mr Perkins,

    So what you are basically saying is that these coming "clarifications" won't make much of a difference for most Catholics attached to the TLM, and they probably will ultimately be pointless?

    If so than I thank the Good Lord even more for the SSPX.

  43. Anonymous9:19 PM

    Dear Jon:

    Thank you for your question. A very careful reading of S.P. implies that a vernacular T.L.M. is possible even now. To see it, you need to learn to read between the lines. Notice that Benedict XVI is careful never once to specify that our Mass is a Latin Mass, even though most of us see it primarily as that, and many of us refer to it in short as 'the Latin Mass'. He calls it the Mass of 1962, the 'extraordinary form', the Mass of John XXIII, the previous or ancient Mass, and so forth. But it is never the 'Latin' Mass. Now one reason for this is that the New Mass can be offered in Latin. But I suggest that the tone and the arrangement of the apostolic letter goes beyond that. Was it impossible for him even once to refer to it as the extraordinary form of Mass "in Latin"?

    Moreoever, consider general principles of ecclesiastical law. If our Mass was never suppressed in the first place, as Benedict XVI asserts, then the approved vernacular translations of the 1960s are licit (although their use might have lapsed over a 30 year period by desuetude). I would prefer that we not discuss this further because, unlike you, I am vehemently opposed to the T.L.M. in the vernacular. I think that it would de facto mean Mass not in sacral wording (e.g. thees and thous in English), and I'll oppose that with fire and sword. I don't want our discussion to harm my own cause, so I will not be surprised if the moderators here censor this reply. They may allow it provided that we not descant on it too much.


  44. Mr. Perkins,

    I agree with you about a vernacular TLM. It would simply be the first step down a slippery slope that is all too familiar, because we've already slid down to its tragic bottom.

    However, I prefer no clarification document at all, to one that establishes separate juridical structures like ordinariates for the TLM.

    Surely our goal should be for the TLM to return to the normal liturgical life of the Church, celebrated in parishes as a regular than an exceptional thing, one about which no one feels up tight.

    This will happen in the normal course as more and more young diocesan priests learn the TLM, as droves of seminarians are now doing--either below or above board--and enter diocesan ranks and move up in time. Obviously, the pace will differ from diocese to diocese and country to country. In some, the TLM may be common in a decade, in others, perhaps a century. And as the ranks of TLM priests grows naturally, so will the ranks of TLM adherents in the pews as people are exposed to it as a normal part of parish life.

    But the TLM will never be ubiquitous if it is segregated in separate structures, like liturgical apartheid -- just for those oddballs over there who have some kind of crazy attachment to outdated liturgy. Which would preclude the EF from ever exercising the beneficial effect on the reform of the OF that is obviously Pope Benedict's principal goal.

    Surely we can be confident that our wise Holy Father will not make any such mistake so inimical to his own evident goals.

  45. Anonymous2:06 AM

    Dear Henry:

    I'm not sure if I know where to begin in answering you on structures. For a very long tinme now, I have been advocating separate structures for the T.L.M. and against those who fear that this would result in a ghettoisation.

    The idea that the T.L.M. could ever be treated adequately if left to the local bishops is frankly wrong. That cannot happen in the foreseeable future. What are needed are particular churches, such as personal dioceses, in which groups such as the F.S.S.P. and I.C.R. could work freely. It may be that, one day, over the rainbow, such structures are not needed. But they are desperately needed at present and, without them, we can forget it for the T.L.M. They would be supplemental to current provisions and not a replacement of them.

    What we have now seen since 1984 is that any initiative made by the Pope in favour of the T.L.M. is frustrated by the local bishops. The local bishops have enormous power, thanks to collegiality and 'subsidiarity'. The only way to give the T.L.M. a measure of hope for reasonable use is the erection of separate jurisdictions. Even that would have limited effect, since the local bishops control most of the sacred places. It would take time to gain control of a network of our own chapels and churches.

    With regard to the bishops, you can lead a horse to water but you cannot make them drink. At present, they use bald threats to prevent their priests from offering our Mass, and I could cite quite a few nasty examples.


  46. Anonymous2:47 AM

    I'm not sure that everyone on this blog has a good idea of the place of the T.L.M. in the life of the Church. In the U.S.A., there might be at least 100,000 Every-Sunday Novus Ordo Masses. In contrast (it's been a while since I've looked as the figures), there might be, oh, 300 T.L.M.s. If we say that there might be 300 to 500 N.O. Masses for every T.L.M. we would at least have a very rough idea of the ratio. That ratio is considerably more extreme for most countries on this planet.

    There is no liklihood that growing interest among young seminarists will change the ratio much, especially since the increase in T.L.M.s has been very small over the past two years. The bishops rule supreme and the N.O. is ubiquitous. That will not change under current circumstances. The T.L.M. is not some alternative Mass; it is a rare and weird exception which few Latin Catholics know anything about; it is to the Roman Rite what the Glagolithic Mass was in the past. In fact, most don't even know it has returned, and that is despite Q.A.A. of 1984, E.D.A. of 1988 and S.P. of 2007.

    That situation, mark you, everyone, is for the U.S.A. In most countries and in the vast and overwhelming majority of countries, there is not even one T.L.M. in the entire country.

    Jurisdictios would not replace current provisions; they would supplement them. They would mostly enable traditionalist socieites, such as the F.S.S.P. to move freely in the world to meet the needs of faithful. The excuse for erecting them would be a lack of manpower and resources to ensure an equitable distribution of T.L.M.s.

    There have indeed been discussions in the curia about this idea and there is very good reason to hope for juridical structures. Originally, the Campos was supposed to embrace the entire Federative Republic of Brazil. The only reason is does not is that the Brazilian bishiops went balistic over it in 2001. I know from certain contacts that such a structure has also been propsed for France but the French bishops stopped it.

    This Pope knows that personal jurisdictions are the only way to go, and I think that one or more is/are being considered carefully right now.


  47. Henry2:34 PM

    Mr. Perkins,

    I know both from statistics and from personal experiences that the dire situations you describe are no exaggerations. However, I simply don’t see how separate juridical structures would correct them.

    They are not needed to open new opportunities for societies such as FSSP, when (as I understand) there are more diocesan bishops inviting their services than they have priests to provide. In any event, organizations like FSSP and ICK have too few traditional priests to greatly affect numerically the global situation you describe. Whereas the result I see of personal parishes in several dioceses is a net decrease in the number of TLM’s offered, due to the feeling that a single trad. parish obviates the needs for additional parish TLM’s offered by diocesan priests. Of course, we all hope the SSPX will be regularized with an appropriate structure, but even its 500+ traditional priests are not enough to greatly increase the percentage of TLM Masses.

    The only way I see for any truly significant improvement is freedom for TLM-enthusiastic young diocesan priests—who greatly outnumber trad. society priests--to celebrate the TLM ad libitum, and no extra-diocesan structure would affect them much one way or the other. Nor am I sure what further the pope can do for them.

    Other than in the appointment of bishops. I suspect that almost all the dire situations you describe result from a bishop within 5 or 10 years of retirement. In almost all cases, these Vatican II era bishops are being replaced with ones more open to tradition. Within the foreseeable future (at least, for some a bit younger than me), some of the fine young priests ordained in the last decade and beginning to celebrate the TLM will be moving up the line.

    Really, the “biological solution” (as Father Z calls it) is the only real solution. Bad bishops cannot be transformed into good ones by rules and regulations; they can only be replaced. I share the present pain you feel, but seems misleading to suggest that something written on a piece of paper—even by the pope—can instantly effect a magical solution to a real problem years in the making and requiring years for its solution. However, I would be overjoyed to be proved wrong.

  48. Anonymous3:05 PM

    The report at 23 November, 2010 16:25 says “in the diocese I live in there are two every Sunday TLM's offered in very, very out of the way areas, hours distant from the large population centers of the state”. (emphasis added)

    If this report is about the Diocese of Raleigh, NC, then for the sake of clarification:

    1. The report is correct that in two locations in the Raleigh diocese the Extraordinary Form is offered every Sunday. Those locations are in Dunn, NC, and Rocky Mount, NC, and TLMs are offered by diocesan priests.

    2. There is only one "large population center” in the Raleigh diocese: the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill triangle. For argument’s sake, one may call Fayetteville, Wilmington, and Greenville “cities”. The NC Outer Banks are a significant population center only in the summer.

    3. A map shows Dunn centrally located in the diocese, on Interstate 95 and near the junction of Interstate 95 with Interstate 40. Rocky Mount is located on Interstate 95 and at a junction of Interstate 95 and the interstate quality US 64

    4. Mapquest provides these times for a journey:

    Raleigh-Dunn: 40min
    Durham-Dunn: 1hr 5min
    Raleigh-Rocky Mount: 1hr
    Fayetteville-Dunn: 29min
    Wilmington-Dunn: 1hr 38min
    Greenville-Rocky Mount: 49min

    5. The TLM is offered every first Sunday at the cathedral in Raleigh by diocesan priests.

    6. The TLM is offered every last Sunday at Saint Mary’s in Wilmington by diocesan priests.

  49. Anonymous5:09 PM

    "If this report is about the Diocese of Raleigh, NC, then for the sake of clarification..."
    No this report is not about the diocese of Raleigh.
    It is referring to a diocese in Maine U.S.A.

    Where did you come up with Raleigh?

  50. Anonymous11:53 PM

    Henry writes this:

    "They [sc. the F.S.S.P.] are not needed to open new opportunities for societies such as FSSP, when (as I understand) there are more diocesan bishops inviting their services than they have priests to provide."

    This is a serious misconception which can be avoided by learning more about where these Latin Masses are situated. One reason that the F.S.S.P. has too few priests to meet current demand is that dioceses which already have Latin Masses every Sunday (and often many of them) are asking the F.S.S.P. to establish apostolates. The F.S.S.P. is under much pressure to provide in dioceses with larger populations because it can reach more people there and because the cost of working in smaller sees is higher. But there is another reason, as we shall see.

    The main problem is that most dioceses have too few Latin Masses (or none) and can not easily afford to house and provide a full priory for the F.S.S.P.; nor can the F.S.S.P. easily afford to establish apostolates there, although they could minister to them from other sees, but ....

    There is another aspect to this. In its early days, the F.S.S.P. concentrated on expansion and would go wherever it got an invitation. Not any more, and you may have noticed that the Fraternity has moved into very few new dioceses in the last two years. (really, in the last five years) Why so if there is such a demand for it? It is because the more recent superiors have in place a new policy, which is one of entrenchment where they already are. They feel that, in order to protect the charism of their priests, they need to form priories, with two or three priests in each, if possible. So their new priests are not being send into new vineyards. They are being sent into existing vineyards to make them more successful.

    The situation is not as simple as you assume. Were particular churches to be erected for tradition, there would be much more flexibility. For example, F.S.S.P. priests could serve communities in dioceses near to those where they currently have priories---without seeking the bishop's permission (and not getting it) from the outlying see. I could provide many examples to you. For example, the F.S.S.P. apostlate at Corpus Christi could serve the people in the neighbouring Diocese of Laredo, where the bishop seems to be hostile. Ditto for the F.S.S.P. serving the D. of Pueblo from Colorado Springs, or serving Steubenville from Youngstown. I could provide many more examples.

    Particular churches would also be able to incardinate their own priests and buy and build their own churches and chapels. True, this would be a slow process but I am thinking long-term in this case. There is little future for the T.L.M. in the local sees. It has little more presence there than it had twenty years ago. Marginalisation is better than extinction but we need flexible jurisdictions in which we can thrive and where the shepherd and the sheep share the same charism and live by the same culture and rules.



  51. Anonymous12:09 AM

    Henry writes:

    "In any event, organizations like FSSP and ICK have too few traditional priests to greatly affect numerically the global situation you describe."

    There are now 30+ traditionalist societies. Most of them are small but these would thrive under separate traditionalist bishops.

    The F.S.S.P. has over 250 priests and is growing at a ferocious rate. Its men are concentrated in certain countries (mostly Western) and could have a much greater reach if they were not constantly shut out by local bishops. At present, they must go where they are invited, not where they can serve most effectively.

    Henry continues:

    Whereas the result I see of personal parishes in several dioceses is a net decrease in the number of TLM’s offered, due to the feeling that a single trad. parish obviates the needs for additional parish TLM’s offered by diocesan priests."

    First of all, you don't seem to realise that personal parishes have absolutely no necessary connexion to personal particular churches. There are personal parishes founded by dioceses, such as the one at Troy, D. of Albany; others are connected to traditionalist societies or orders. So I don't see your point at all here.

    The idea that a personal parish will obviate the need for other Latin Masses is just false. Under S.P., if a group in a certain parish want the T.L.M. and don't want to drive all over the diocese to get there, they have a right to a process. In other words, there is absolutely no reason why traditionalist particular churches would in any way discourage diocesan priests from offering the T.L.M. On the contrary, the P.C.E.D. often tells the local bishop that a demand in a certain parish needs to be met.

    The main effect of particular churches would not be to replace diocesan T.L.M.s but to make access to the T.L.M. much greater by getting around obstructing local ordinaries. In many cases, moreover, the problem is not that the local bishop is obstructing but that, given the current shortage of priests, he cannot manage to meet the needs of his local traditionalists.

    I encourage you to extend your vision on this. What is needed are flexible means to ensure that adherents of the Latin Mass are served well. Moreover, as I'm sure most here will agree, we need more and more personal parishes (whatever their source in jurisdiction) because we need to raise families apart from the N.O. train wreck. Personal parishes mean community and schools and an entire devotional programme, and not just Mass on Sunday. Most dioceses just don't have the resources to provide such things for us. They are, on the contrary, selling off their property to pay the victims of sexual abuse.


  52. Anonymous12:24 AM


    First, a minor point. There is no such thing as the I.C.K. They are the I.C.R. It is the Latin name that is abbeviated (with the bizarre exception of the Maryknoll Fathers).

    First main point:

    Fr. Z., who seems to get a great deal wrong (but we shan't go there now), is making a prediction that does not reflect the facts at all. Unlike him, I am in direct contact with a large number of the priests, vicars-general and laics who are involved in organising Latin Masses. This is owing to my work with the Mater Dei website, which lists them.

    The idea that there are thousands of young priests who are anxious to go traditional is just nonsense. It's a nice dream but it isn't true. Most young priests want to get ahead and the demand for the T.L.M. is minuscule. Face it, everyone here, we are a TINY group. There are hundreds of N.O. Masses for every one of ours and only direct fiat from the Pope could change that.

    Most bishops regard traditionalists as a nuisance and most young priests do not want to tar themselves with associations that will wreck their careers. No, the future of the Latin Mass, at least for the near term, lies with the fine priests of the F.S.S.P. and other groups, including the S.S.P.X. They are attached to our Mass; they don't just fancy it.

    Last point. You write this:

    "I share the present pain you feel, but seems misleading to suggest that something written on a piece of paper—even by the pope—can instantly effect a magical solution to a real problem years in the making and requiring years for its solution."

    But I do NOT suggest that it will lead to an instant improvement; on the contrary, I am thinking of a small but important improvement in the short term and a long process to entrench our Mass for future generations. Nor do I think that traditionalist jurisdictions should be permanent. We can dispense with them once we dispense with the Protestant Novus Ordo Missæ.


  53. M. A.3:50 AM

    "We can dispense with them once we dispense with the Protestant Novus Ordo Missæ."

    Aahh, everyone loves a happy ending!

    (Deus Vult!)

  54. Henry3:58 PM

    Mr. Perkins,

    We surely have the same objectives, but you seem to misinterpret or misunderstand a couple of points I’ve tried to make. Without prolonging this too much, just a couple of briefs:

    (1) In regard to what I meant in saying “Whereas the result I see of personal parishes in several dioceses is a net decrease in the number of TLM’s offered, due to the feeling that a single trad. parish obviates the needs for additional parish TLM’s offered by diocesan priests."

    Just a single example. The Archdiocese of Atlanta, with a Catholic population rapidly approaching a million, has a single FSSP parish that offers two Sunday TLMs. Many believe that this traditional parish serves as a convenient excuse for there being no other TLM’s scheduled in the archdiocese (where I have spent many years).

    Of course, I no more than you think that such a personal parish obviates the need for additional TLM’s in other diocesan parishes. But what’s involved here is what a bishop may think (or use as an excuse).

    (2) There may not be thousands, but there are certainly hundreds of young priests and seminarians who would like to celebrate the TLM, if conditions guaranteed no negative result to them. Every priest I personally know ordained less than ten years falls in this category, and seminarians I know in several seminaries tell me that it includes at least half of their fellow seminarians.

    If the pope could find a way to assure all of these young priests and seminarians that they would be rewarded rather than punished for not only celebrating but actively promoting the TLM, the result would be vastly greater progress than any other possible step could effect.

    The power of the TLM is so great that, if all these young priests were entirely free to promote it and were actively encouraged to do so, both TLM’s and lay in their pews would blossom in all sorts of parishes.

    Now it happens that I support a traditional society and its seminary in a way that counts more than mere words, but I realize that what we need most – and what I am convinced the pope wants – is traditional liturgy at the heart of the Church’s liturgical life in diocesan parishes generally, not merely at its margins.

    The question is whether some papal clarification can get this done. If so, it will have vastly greater effect than any separate juridical structure that would not so directly contribute to a general restoration of the TLM.

  55. John McFarland6:46 PM

    Messrs Henry and PKTP,

    Way up at the top of this string, Tom asked regarding the MP:

    "What was unclear?"

    The answer, of course, is: nothing of any practical consequence.


    Does anyone really believe that any ordinary of sound mind is holding back from encouraging, or at least from not opposing, the wider celebration of the old Mass because of some scruple regarding the language of the MP?

    On the other hand, does anyone really think that any clarification of the language will prevent any hostile bishop from continuing to obstruct the wider celebration of the old Mass?

    But simply as a practical matter, it would be impossible to issue instructions that did not leave considerable discretion in the hands of the bishops. But as long as they have any discretion, hostile bishops will use that discretion, whether in good or bad faith, to obstruct the wider celebration of the old Mass.

    Even if, per impossibile, the Holy Father could and did issue bulletproof instructions, we all know perfectly well that the hostile bishops would ignore them.

    It follows that Mr. Perkins' approach is the only one that would work, if the Holy Father were to authorize bulletproof canonical structures for tradition.

    But the Holy Father is not going to do that.

    So there we are.

  56. Anonymous12:43 AM

    Dear Henry:

    On your first point, yes, Atlanta is certainly a good example for your point (and, frankly, I think that the F.S.S.P. might offer even more Masses there as well). I think that your point is valid but I do not think that most bishops would or do react that way. In most large cities, there are now multiple Mass sites. Chicago has nine for every-Sunday Masses; San Dieglo, 6; even Hartford, 6; Sacramento, 7; Kansas City, Kans., 6: Detroit, 5; St. Louis, 6; Newark, 7; Paterson, 5; New York, 11; Syracuse, 5 (and nicely spread in the four largest cities in that see); Arlington, 7; Cleveland, 5. And I could cite examples of dioceses with quite small populations and a good spread. So, again, while your point is valid (internally logical), it does reflect the situation on the ground in most places. Moreover, quite often, where the number in larger cities is small, it is only because the bishop is hostile (4 in Los Angeles, for example).

    Your point also really reinforces why I think personal dioceses for tradition would enable an improvement. A bishop of such a structure would share the charism of his people and would want to add Masses in accordance with need. Also keep in mind, yet again, that a personal diocese or apostolic administration would supplement, not replace, the diocesan Latin Masses.


  57. Anonymous1:01 AM


    On your second point, I don't see, first of all, how a papal clarification alone can achieve what you want. The problem is that the bishops, thanks to Vatican II and 'collegiality' are enormously powerful. Look at what has happened since 2007. The F.S.S.P. and I.C.R. spent a great deal of time and much effort offering so-called 'workshops' to these eager-beaver young priests. Many attended them and then went home to their dioceses, offered a very few Latin Masses, and then stopped. It has had very little effect, unfortunately. There has been almost no increase in the overall number of T.L.M.s since the autumn of 2008. These priests go home and quickly learn that such expertise is not wanted and not appreciated.

    Again, many here do not realise just how mininiscule we are in the life of the Church. After forty years of suppression, most of the faithful are not even aware that our Mass has returned. A bishop must allocate resources in accordance with pastoral need and the demand for our Mass is very small.

    A traditionalist structure, in the shorter term, would give traditional-leaning priests a place in the church where they could offer the T.L.M. exclusively. It would also give our laity a place where they could form communities in which to raise their children and foster a traditional Catholic culture. You will not get that from the local Novus Ordo bishop and his chancery hacks, and it will take much time to find a batch of bishops who completely change their views on us.

    In the U.S.A., we are perhaps one-third of one per cent of the faithful. We need to grow considerably in a safe haven before we can return as an important and noticeable part of the Church, before our Mass and charism can be normalised.

    I would not attend all that much to what Fr. Zuhlsdorf has to say. He and others like him are conservative priests who want to offer both the T.L.M. and the N.O. Those priests who truly have a love for the traditonal liturgy in their hearts will seek to be traditional Catholic priests and will, if possible, attend a seminary like the one in Nebraska. But with a traditionalist personal dioceses, one would not need to belong to the F.S.S.P. or I.C.R. to live that charism fully. The new structure could also have its own parishes staffed by its own diocesan priests. There would be few of these at first; more as we would acquire more property over time. Yet again, I see this move as essential to the fostering of our return but it in no way would replace the diocesan T.L.M.s: it would supplement, not replace. But without it, we are doomed to extreme marginalisation for many years, no, for decades, to come.


    P.S. Consider the S.S.P.X. Even with complete freedom of movement, its 500+ priests have a very limited reach, owing, in part, to a small demand from the laity. It will take us generations of producing LARGE FAMILIIES to undo the disaster that is Vatican II.


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