Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Clarifications From Ecclesia Dei

The story broke not long ago about some new clarifications on Summorum Pontificum from the Pontifical Council Ecclesia Dei. I got it from the New Liturgical Movement folks, and I thank them for helping to get this story out. Here are the clarifying items, as summarized by the NLM guys:

1. If there is no other possibility, because for instance in all churches of a diocese the liturgies of the Sacred Triduum are already being celebrated in the Ordinary Form, the liturgies of the Sacred Triduum may, in the same church in which they are already celebrated in the Ordinary Form, be additionally celebrated in the Extraordinary Form, if the local ordinary allows.

Not sure how big a deal this is. You have the bishop still with some discretion over the EF but in a very limited fashion, especially considering what follows.

2. A Mass in the usus antiquior may replace a regularly scheduled Mass in the Ordinary Form. The question contextualizes that in many churches Sunday Masses are more or less scheduled continually, leaving free only very incovenient mid afternoon slots, but this is merely context, the question posed being general. The answer leaves the matter to the prudent judgement of the parish priest, and emphasises the right of a stable group to assist at Mass in the Extraordinary Form.

Wow. That is pretty huge. This is a huge restriction on a bishop's ability to interfere with the offering of the EF, which has been unfortunately way too widespread a phenomenon.

3. A parish priest may schedule a public Mass in the Extraordinary Form on his own accord (i.e. without the request of a group of faithful) for the benefit of the faithful including those unfamiliar with the usus antiquior. The response of the Commission here is identical to no. 2.

No need for the bishop. No need for a specific number of people to ask. The priest can do so whenever he wants, including apparently, for the purpose of introducing the laity to the EF. This is even more a gift than #2.

4. The calendar, readings or prefaces of the 1970 Missale Romanum may not be substituted for those of the 1962 Missale Romanum in Masses in the Extraordinary Form.

This is good and was something that bothered me for a while. The EF does not need to be merged with the OF. It's a separate thing and trying to integrate the OF stuff into the EF isn't going to do anything but cause a further diminishing of the EF's whole foundation and structure. If we're going to have it and promote it's use, let's be honest about it and do it right.

5. While the liturgical readings (Epistle and Gospel) themselves have to be read by the priest (or deacon/subdeacon) as foreseen by the rubrics, a translation to the vernacular may afterwards be read also by a layman.

I also don't know that this is a big deal. Wasn't this already being done?

Some folks were wondering why I hadn't reported on this. The reason is because I'm not sure what real effect it's going to have. We're already seeing folks freaking out and advocating de facto schism over the new translation of the Pauline Mass. I can't imagine what the effect is going to be if some of these priests who have been struggling against bishops who have rejected the motu proprio try to avail themselves of these new provisions. I wonder what my bishop here will do.

I guess I'll have to write him another letter and find out.


Qoheleth said...

Quick thoughts on #4:

Despite my enthusiasm for and appreciate of the EF/UA, I applaud the inclusion an extra reading in the Pauline Mass. I was under the impression that the Motu Proprio easing the restrictions on the use of the EF/UA explicitly allowed the addition of an extra reading in accordance with the practice of the Pauline Mass. Did I misunderstand the Holy Father's instruction?

I must also confess that I thought the use of a common lectionary would reaffirm the unity within the Latin Rite of those who worship according to the EF and OF. It's not a huge deal, but it does lessen the likely complaints from our brethren who worship according to the Novus Ordo that the EF has created a kind of quasi-schismatic rite-within-a-rite--a complaint you yourself have encountered in your own parish, if I recall. How exactly does the use of a common lectionary undermine or impair the dignity of the UA/EF?


Throwback said...

I don't recall there being a provision importing Pauline Mass readings. There was a bit that made sure you had readings in the vernacular. Not sure about anything else.

I have had that particular accusation come up in my own parish. I have two concerns on the issue of a common lectionary. The first one is that changes like this are likely to create the impression that the door is open for further innovation. The Pauline Mass has shown, I think, that you have to shut down as much of that kind of thinking as possible. There is much that the EF can bring to the table for the OF. I'm not sure there is a lot of room for "mutual enrichment," though, so it's best to keep it as one way as you can.

My second issue has to do with the additional readings in general. I'm of the general mindset that more readings often equals less focus/emphasis. I realize that's probably not the case for a lot of folks, but that's what I see in these parts. Best to have fewer readings and try to be sure that the laity are actually getting the message.