Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Summorum Pontificum โ€“ an English Bishop responds

Dear Brother and Sisters in THE LORD

You will have heard of course that the Holy Father in his wisdom has issued a motu proprio relating to the Tridentine Rite of Mass. It is the responsibility of each ordinary to implement the provisions of such a document within his own diocese.

I have taken much advice and given a great deal of prayer and thought to this most difficult pastoral situation. It can be difficult for the faithful and even some of the clergy to understand the delicate issues of canon law and pastoral practice that must be considered in these circumstances. I have therefore asked a senior canon lawyer to give his view on these matters.

Certainly the motu proprio gives provision for any group within a parish to request the Tridentine Mass and I am happy to facilitate this. However I would have to say that this should only include those people able to have understood the Latin of the Mass when it was last celebrated in 1965 โ€“ which would mean anyone with Latin to O-level standard in 1965, i.e. anyone 16 or older in 1965, so therefore born before 1949, making them 58 years or older. With Latin O-level. And a certificate to prove it.

Art. 5, ยง 1. In paroeciis, ubi coetus fidelium traditioni liturgicae antecedenti adhaerentium continenter exsistit, parochus eorum petitiones ad celebrandam sanctam Missam iuxta ritum Missalis Romani anno 1962 editi, libenter suscipiat.

Our canon lawyer has highlighted the use of the term continenter which he takes here to mean continent. Given the rising incidence of incontinence in the elderly, that will be anyone under the age of sixty.

Whilst the motu proprio gives no definite figures for what constitutes a stable group, we would say that about, shall we say, 100 people would constitute such a group.

We then come to the question of bination. Clearly many priests are under a great deal of stress and must not be asked to celebrate additional masses. Oh no. No siree. So we think it would be reasonable to restrict such masses to parishes with three priests or more. This would obviously be further restricted if any of the priests were on holiday.

Hence, to summarise, it is a spirit of filial obedience to the Holy See that we take delight in fulfllling the provisions of the motu prorio, Summorum Pontificum and would give generous provision for this in parishes within the diocese with:

-At least three normally resident clergy (and where none are on holiday, sick leave, retreat etc)
-A stable group of 100 people within the parish aged between 58 and 60 each of whom has Latin O-level or above (must produce O-level certificate)

Yours in THE LORD

+Crispy Horror (Bishop)
Feast of St Joan Baez 2007

[Crispy - is this OK? PI]

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Paul,

It is truly miraculous how you are able to read my inmost thoughts. However, the currntly fashionable fusty smell of reaction which is threatening our spiritual heritage urges circumspection. Please re-draft on the lines of the anodynes put out by Gladys recently. Through seeming to give ground while really doing everything to stall, we should be able to defend our beloved liturgical practices until the Roman wind changes.

Yours in the Deity,


12:19 PM  
Anonymous +Crispin said...

I normally begin letters by addressing "Sisters" first.

If you examine my diocesan policy regarding the EF you will find it is my far the most generous in the country, outside of the Capital City.

1:44 PM  
Blogger Fr Ray Blake said...

Don't believe him Paulinus, he used to burn my mantilla and used to make me do liturgical dancing, even in my 80s.

1:56 PM  
Blogger Fr Ray Blake said...

I was going to carry on a spoof of letters from various members the Episcopal family, but very stupidly pressed the wrong button. That was supposed to have been from Mrs +C.
I was goiong to put up another from Roger Hollis of MI5

Sins always find you out

2:02 PM  
Blogger Paulinus said...

Aha! As the football chant used to (nearly) go:
"Does your bishop know you're here?"

3:02 PM  
Blogger Fr Ray Blake said...


11:02 PM  
Blogger Philip said...

"I normally begin letters by addressing "Sisters" first."

It's true, he does.

BTW, football fans will know of the Portsmouth FC chant, "Pompey Chimes". To the tune of Big Ben's (& Portsmouth Guildhall's) chimes, it goes: "Play up Pompey, play up Pompey." However, the metre is such that one may substitute the following: "Get lost Crispian, get lost Crispian".

Ah! To hear such a melody from the terraces. Then, finally, he might get the message.

6:25 PM  

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