Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Philippine Bishop's Conference Statement on Summorum Pontificum by Fr. John Zuhlsdorf (courtesy of What Does the Prayer Really Say?)

Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines has issued a statement about Summorum Pontificum. It was probably penned by Fr. Anscar Chupungco, OSB. This is one of the olympian reformers of the liturgy after Vatican II and a guru of inculturation.

My emphases and comments.

Episcopal Commission on Liturgy
Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines

Clarifications on Summorum Pontificum

Pope Benedict XVI published the Apostolic Letter Summorum Pontificum on July 7, 2007 with effectivity on September 14, 2007. The Episcopal Commission on Liturgy received several requests to clarify certain issues regarding its contents and implementation. [So, the conference is not waiting for clarifications from the Holy See?]

• What is the aim of the Apostolic Letter?
The Apostolic Letter was published to seek “interior reconciliation in the heart of the Church”, that is, with those who still [this taints the approach to the Motu Proprio] adhere to the Missal of Pius V. It is also a reaction [again, another word that taints the provisions and makes it seem "reactionary"] to what is [sic] perceived [again, the taint] as “abuses” in the celebration of the Mass after Vatican II.

• Are there now two rites of the Roman Missal? [NB: the question is about "rites"]
Summorum Pontificum distinguishes two forms of celebrating the one and the same Roman Rite, namely, “forma ordinaria” and “forma extraordinaria”. The ordinary form is the 1970 Missal of Pope Paul VI revised by authority of Vatican II. The extraordinary form is the Tridentine Missal published in 1962 by Pope John XXIII. [Did you see the word "rite" in the answer? The answer concerned forms, which is very proper, but only partially. I suspect that the author in fact wants there to be two rites, so that other rites can be identifed and placed on the same level, inculturated local rites.]

• What would be an implication [The writer gets it: the use of the older form of Mass today really does mean something significant.] of the “forma extraordinaria” of the Roman Missal? [Watch this move.]
The hermeneutics of continuity [The Pope’s key concept for understanding his vision for the Church and his "Marshall Plan".] means that the 1970 Missal is a Vatican II revision of the Tridentine, while the hermeneutics of legitimate progress [WHOA! This throws a whole new X factor in.] could justify the inclusion of inculturated liturgies as other extraordinary forms of the same Roman Rite. [The idea here is that if this older expression of the Roman Rite is legitimate, in a spirit of continuity, then we are also justified in developing new forms which are less Roman and more local. See what is going on?]

• What are some of the important conditions for celebrating according to the 1962 Missal?
Those who wish to celebrate it [Keep in mind that the writer and others in his galaxy understand as a necessary starting point for "active participation" (understood in their way) that the congregation is also the celebrant of the liturgy.] should possess “a certain degree of liturgical formation and some knowledge of the Latin language”. [If they want to insist also that the congregation is a celebrant sine quibus non then they could argue that if people don’t know Latin to a degree that satisfies them (the experts who are the judges of all things) then the use of the older Missal cannot be permitted. See what they are doing?] Furthermore, the Missal to be used should be the 1962 edition. [A good point. I agree entirely.] It is important to remember that the 1962 Missal requires the use of the Latin language (except for the readings and the homily), particular liturgical furnishings, vestments, [We can quibble with this a little. I can’t think of many things required for the older form that aren’t also used for the newer, including vestments.] books, and liturgical calendar. Lastly, in order to be in full communion with the Church, priests who celebrate according to the 1962 Missal must, as a matter of principle, accept the validity of the 1970 Missal.

• What other liturgical rites are included in the permission?
Besides the 1962 Roman Missal, permission is granted to use the other Tridentine Rituals of baptism, confirmation, marriage, penance, anointing of the sick, funerals, and the Roman Breviary. The Apostolic Letter excludes the Easter Triduum and is silent about holy orders. [the Motu Proprio does not, to my mind, exclude the Triduum if it is at a "personal parish" set up by the bishop.]

• How about the seminaries?
Summorum Pontificum does not directly address the question of celebrating the Tridentine Missal in seminaries. [Well… let’s be reasonable. How can teaching men only one part of their Rite be justified any longer?]

• What is the responsibility of parish priests?
In parishes, where a stable group [There’s that bad translation.] of the faithful adheres to the 1962 Missal, the parish priest should willingly accept their request. Such Mass maybe celebrated on weekdays, and once on Sundays and feast days. The Ordinary shall determine what a “stable group” consists of. [Nooooo…. I don’t think so. The parish priest is the one whom the MP describes as making these decisions in the parish. Also, the Holy See will give clarifications. Remember, the Supreme Pontiff issued these provisions without limitations or a minimum number in that group.]

• What is the responsibility of bishops?
If a parish priest fails to satisfy the request for Tridentine Mass, the faithful that request it should inform the Ordinary. [Not sure about this English here, but the intent is clear enough.] If he himself cannot satisfy the request, he should refer the matter to the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei. Furthermore the Ordinary may establish a personal parish where the Tridentine rituals may be used, or he may appoint a chaplain for such group of faithful.

• What happens to active participation?
While the liturgical reform of the Vatican II aims principally to promote active participation, the Tridentine Missal encourages prayerful meditation during the Eucharistic celebration.
[What a dismissive way to treat this important question! This is, of course, the horrible nightmare the old experts from the days of the Council and the subsequent "reform" don’t want to confront. What would happen to their vision of the reform if it can be demonstrated that the Church has a somewhat different understanding of "active participation", that really focuses first and foremost on active receptivity and interior actitivy of the soul and senses rather than clapping and all that business? If it can be shown that a deeper sense of active participation is fostered by the older form of Mass then their entire ediface begins to crack.]

• What happens to the 1970 Missal of Paul VI?
It is useful to note that the Vatican II Missal of Paul VI can always be celebrated in Latin and in Gregorian chant. [I love this. "...can ALWAYS be celebrated in Latin…" On the other hand, bishops and experts far and wide have done their best for decades, and still do so today, to give the impression either that Latin was forbidden by the Council or that permission is needed. Now we read that the Novus Ordo can ALWAYS be in Latin! I guess the idea of Latin is less frightening than the idea of the older Mass. "OMG! Go ahead and use Latin if you must… just d..d..don’t use the OLD Mass!"]

Summorum Pontificum gives the assurance that the Missal of Paul VI will certainly remain the ordinary form of the Eucharistic liturgy, [though we are not really sure what that actually means] given the actual [for this word read "current" rather than "concrete"] pastoral circumstances of local Churches and the need for more adequate liturgical formation and knowledge of Latin among the faithful. [Times change. The desire for the older form of Mass will spread. Then the "actual pastoral circumstances" will be different.]


It is our fervent hope that the implementation of Summorum Pontificum will not, as Pope Benedict XVI desires, divide the heart of the Church, but rather foster mutual respect and understanding [Yes!] within the one Church of Jesus Christ. Let pastors be mindful that the ordinary form of the Holy Eucharist for the Church today is contained in the Missal of Paul VI whether this is celebrated in Latin or in the vernacular. [Do you see how nervous the writer is?] As one Church, may we be united in one faith through a diversity of liturgical forms. [Remember, that the writer is a great champion of inculturated liturgy.]

That in all things God may be glorified! [The writer’s tag line that helps us to identify who he is.]
This was quite revealing. It shows something of a far subtler grasp of the issues than we see even in some of the more negative responses to Summorum Pontificum.

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