Liturgy: September 2007 Archives

First off, I'm not ignoring the last few comments left on the posts below about Summorum Pontificum and the traditional mass in this diocese. I've just spent way too much time composing posts, reading comments and responding. I'll most likely take the weekend off from the subject and get back to it next week.

Second, a commenter down below asked:

Is Msgr Soseman going to offer the TLM anytime soon? I should hope so.. he knows it well....

I was a bit surprised to find in my email a response from Monsignor Soseman:

Could you add that I do offer the Latin Mass, usually more than once a week.

The Sunday Mass is offered at St. Mary of the Woods in Princeville at 7:30 in Summer, and soon to switches to 11:15 for the Winter. I know for people in the city of Peoria, Princeville is like on the moon, but the Church is only about 17 minutes from the Shoppes at Grand Prairie. (people in Chicago sometimes drive for 2 hours for the Traditional Mass)

Thanks, if you could do this for me.

God Bless,

Msgr. Soseman

I'm closing comments on this post. If you have something to say about this, please look him up on the diocesan website and contact him that way.

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Final word

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Obstinate dislikers of Bishop Jenky the Peoria memo are asked to explain this excerpt from the 30 Days interview with Cardinal Castrillon-Hoyos:

Isn’t there also some apprehension that a small minority of believers may impose the mass of Saint Pius V on the parish? CASTRILLĂ“N HOYOS: Those who say that obviously haven’t read the motu proprio. It’s clear that no parish priest will be obliged to celebrate the mass of Saint Pius V. Only that if a group of the faithful, having a priest disposed to say it, asks to celebrate this mass, the parish priest or the rector of the church can’t oppose it. Obviously, if there are difficulties, it will be up to the bishop to act in such a way that everything takes place with respect and I would say commonsense in harmony with the universal Pastor.
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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:

  1. 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."

  2. 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.

  3. 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 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.

Good night.

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Peoria Diocese on Summorum Pontificum

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Fr. Z got a hold of a memorandum (currently not posted on the diocesan website) from my diocese's Office of Divine Worship to priests of the diocese concerning Summorum Pontificum and the celebration on the mass using the 1962 missal. While I've generally agreed with Fr. Z's writings on the Motu Proprio, I disagree with his take on this statement.

First off, he emphasizes that the bishop's signature is not on the document, which suggests... what? That the office is issuing norms without the bishop's approval? Is he implying that this allegedly anti-traditional mass memo is solely the work of the Director of the Office of Divine Worship? That's a problematic interpretation since the document repeatedly refers to Bishop Jenky's intentions, expectations and concrete plans.

Second, he interprets the statement in an extremely negative light. Granted, there are bishops on record with much more jubilant receptions of Summorum Pontificum. Still, Fr. Z overlooks the generally positive indications in the memorandum:

  • The number of parishes regularly celebrating the traditional mass is increasing from two to five. If these parishes are well distributed, that means a large portion of the diocese will have much easier access to the 1962 mass than before.

  • The bishop will provide training for priests who wish to celebrate mass in the extraordinary form Fr. Z does say that's positive, but it casts much of what he criticizes in a different light. He comes down hard on the diocese for suggesting priests should demonstrate competence in saying the traditional mass, but in light of the availability of training, that's not so bad, is it?

The last point is something on which I disagree with Fr. Z. He tends to take offense when bishops suggest that priests who want to celebrate the traditional mass should demonstrate that they can do it. While I understand that could be and in some instances is being used as a foil by unsympathetic bishops, I think it makes sense as a general rule for two reasons. First, priests don't get trained on the traditional mass in seminary. Second, if you hope (as Fr. Z does, and as I do) that the traditional rite will have a "gravitational pull" on the newer rite, fostering a greater sense of reverence towards the liturgy, you want to make sure that the priests offering the traditional mass are doing it right. You want people experiencing the extraordinary rite to have a good experience of it.

I remember an older priest mentioning that many priests used to say the old Mass quickly by only saying the first word of each line of the eucharistic prayer. Is that what we want the result of SP to be? Is that even a valid mass? As long as a bishop is going to provide the training (which, according to the memo, our bishop plans to do) what is the problem with asking the priests to demonstrate competence.

Third, I disagree with the exception Fr. Z takes to the language about most Catholics not experiencing any change. With all of the media misreporting about "undoing Vatican II" it's fair for the bishop to want to reassure people that if they like the Mass they have, they needn't worry about it being taken away from them. That wasn't a very nice thing to do forty years ago and it wouldn't be a nice thing to do today, even to correct past wrongs. Even if we hope that increased celebration of the traditional mass will eventually change the way the modern liturgy is celebrated, that change is supposed to be gradual, right?

This is not to say that I find the Peoria memo wholly positive. My concern is that by concentrating the traditional rite to a set number of parishes, the diocese is not de-ghettoizing it; instead it's merely increasing the size of the ghetto. That's clearly not the intention of Summorum Pontificum and I hope it's not the intention of my diocese.

Even there, however, the situation of the priests in the diocese needs to be taken into account. We have many pastors with 3-4 parishes whose boundaries cover hundreds of square miles of territory. These priests have weekly mass schedules that push the limits of canon law. With that in mind, it must be noted that the norms contained in the memo are at least partially meant to address concerns that were raised at the diocesan Presbyteral Council meeting.

Fr. Z is unhappy that the memo asks priests to refer small groups of parishioners requesting the traditional mass to the existing regular celebrations. Perhaps he didn't notice it, but that part of the memo is specifically addressed to "Pastors who are unable to offer Mass according to the 1962 Missal when approached by parishioners." That implies that pastors who can offer Mass according to the 1962 Missal should try to accommodate those parishioners. It also implies that pastors who cannot offer it might consider taking advantage of the training offered by the diocese so that they can.

Below the jump, I'm going to post the text of the memo so folks can read it for themselves without Fr. Z's emphasis and remarks. As an aside, anybody who knows Fr. Deptula (I suppose that even though I'm not exactly a journalist, I should disclose that I worked for him as a sacristan for three years) might be amused at Fr. Z's portrayal of him as Defender of the Abusive Modernist Liturgy.

Like I said, Fr. Z has a great blog and I appreciate the work he's done to promote the traditional mass and Summorum Pontificum. However, I don't think it does much good to harass a bishop and a diocese that prove willing to use time and resources to expand the availability of the traditional mass and to train priests to offer it.

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  • 25 skills every man should know

    Interesting list except for their lame-a** attempts to add basic computer skills to the list of general competencies every man should have. I think I'm man enough without knowing how to "Retouch digital photos." That said, I'm humble enough to admit that I scored an abysmal 6/25 on the list.

    My other criticism is there's nothing about booze or tobacco on the list. Rolling a cigarette? Smoking a pipe? Mixing a gin and tonic? I guess that can be explained by the fact that the list was put together by Popular Mechanics. Still, it feels incomplete.

  • A Tridentine Ordo that is unfortunately good only for another 2 months or so

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About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Liturgy category from September 2007.

Liturgy: July 2007 is the previous archive.

Liturgy: March 2008 is the next archive.

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