I started replying to individual comments, but it got too long so I'm posting again.
For the record, I don't think Fr. Z is being unfair. I'll even admit my initial reaction was harshly negative towards the Peoria memo, but as I thought about the context of the memo and the concrete situation of our priests here, I chilled out and came to see it as fair to priests and parishioners alike.
Since I'm not interested in quarreling point by point, let me respond to the general objections:
- Permission - Some seem to think that the bishop has no right to ensure that priests have a minimum competency in offering the Extraordinary Form (EF) of mass. I disagree. No bishop has reason to doubt that his priests are able to celebrate the Ordinary Form (OF) because they get trained on it in seminary and do it all the time. Most priests have no idea how to offer the EF and it's a lot more complicated then the OF. The bishop has the responsibility to safeguard the sacraments in his diocese. That may be the "Party Line," but it's also true.
I said in my original post that I understand that some bishops will use this as a roadblock. If Bishop Jenky does that, it will be unfortunate. But the document itself gives every indication that this is not the case. The document states that means will be made available for priests that want to learn.
It makes sense to assume, by the way, that this is not just for priests at the five parishes where the EF wil be regularly offered. Therefore the bishop is not confining the EF to those parishes. What is unreasonable about this again?
I would just like the doubters on this point to explain the following sentence uttered by Cardinal Castrillon-Hoyos: "It is the parish priests who must open the doors to those priests that, having the faculty, go to celebrate." Particularly explain the word "faculty."
- Numbers - I read Fr. Z every day, I respect his opinions and will readily concede that he knows far more about this than I do, but just because he says a coetus can be as small as three doesn't make it so. Now, as far as I know, the most authoritative word is Cardinal Castrillon-Hoyos, who states in this 30 Days interview that no minimum number was ever established. OK, great, but the point is that various people have suggested numbers up to 300, and not all of them are flaming libs out to stick it to trads. I do wish the Peoria memo had cited which cardinals gave those numbers, but I don't disbelieve the statement. This argument comes very close to calling at least Fr. Deptula and possibly the bishop flat-out liars. Is somebody bold enough to make that claim and lay out the indisputable proof? Or can everybody just please clam up on this point?
Again, it is important to point out that the memo is partially meant to address concerns raised by priests. Further, it states that "All of the requests that have come to the attention of the Office of Divine Worship or the Bishop’s Office have been from individuals or very small groups."
One can well imagine the situation: "I'm a pastor of two parishes and I have two families that want the Latin mass. I already say 3 masses (sometimes 4) on a weekend. What do I do?" Tell me, knowers of all, is it better that the priest:
a) change one of the two masses a parish has to the EF,
b) schedule himself into violation of canon law by adding another Sunday mass, or
c) kindly refer the families to the nearest regular celebration of the EF?
Yes, there are other possibilities, like the one mentioned by the commenter below: that these groups of people could find a retired priest who can say the mass for them. But how many 80 year old priests are there itching to do this? That might be a great solution for some parishes, but you're still going to have situations where the pastor can't accommodate the requests, for reasons having nothing to do with a lack of generosity or hatred of traditionalists. What do they do? Well, in the Diocese of Peoria, they will soon have five regular parishes to which they can refer parishioners.
What I think grates on people is that to an extent the memo assumes that priests will not be able to accommodate the people who want the EF. Well, folks, welcome to the... um... 1970s. If you even have a pastor, you should be grateful. The only way to change this is to have more babies and pray that they're called to the priesthood.
- Imposing the EF - Many people are put off by this language: "Parishioners need not fear that the Traditional Mass will be imposed on them or that they will be "surprised" by a pastor arbitrarily choosing to change the way that Mass is celebrated in a parish."
I was too when I first read it. But then I looked at things from the eyes of the average parishioner who wasn't constantly refeshing the vatican.va page on the morning of July 7. The Catholic who learned about the motu proprio from an AP story headlined "POPE BRINGS BACK LATIN MASS." And then I envisioned those people inundating their pastors and bishops with phone calls. And then I understood and chilled out. This is a reassurance that if you like the mass you go have, it's not going away anytime soon.
The way some of these people react, it's as if Bishop Jenky had proclaimed:
No one is being told to attend the traditional Mass unless they want to. Everything will be as it was in the parishes, with respect to the Mass according to the Novus Ordo. There will be traditional Masses only in parishes where it has been duly requested by interested persons and where there is a priest who is qualified to celebrate it."
(Oh by the way, there's that pesky language about the priest being "qualified" to celebrate the EF). I wonder what liberal rabble-rouser said that?
I wish people would take a deep breath and look at the document for what it is. No priest is going to impeded from offering the EF so long as he learns do it properly, and those parishioners whose pastor cannot for whatever reason accommodate their desire for the EF have 5 different parishes they can attend.
The fact of the matter is that concretely, not much is going to change for reasons entirely independent of the bishop. Every priest is going to celebrate at least one Sunday mass in each of his parishes in the OF. If they have a Mass left to say, they may or may not say it in the EF depending on how many people in the parish want it, how big that parish is in general, how available the EF is in the immediate area.
Furthermore, I am aware of some of the problems traditionalists have had in this diocese, and I feel for them. I'm also not declaring that Bishop Jenky is now and forever Friend of the Traditionalists. I am also saying that it appears that he;s making an earnest effort to balance the requirements of the Summorum Pontificum and the desires of many Catholics for the EF of mass with the needs of priests and the preference of theat vast majority of parishioners who aren't all that interested in the EF. But when I see them rend their garments in disgust at what is a fairly positive reaction by the diocese to Summorum Pontificum, I have to think they're letting their hatred of the bishop get in the way of appreciating the vastly increased access they will have to the EF.
Finally, please do see Brandon's second comment in my original post, where he maks some good points and has kind words to say about both Fr. Deptula and my pastor.