The Latin Mass Society has welcomed unequivocally the publication by the Pontifical Commission ‘Ecclesia Dei’ of its Instruction on the application of the Holy Father’s Motu Proprio, ‘Summorum Pontificum’.
The Instruction is a resounding justification for the work of the LMS and other adherents of the Extraordinary Form in insisting on their right to the Traditional Liturgy and Sacraments of the Church. There are many bishops and priests who should feel chastened for the way they have treated those attached to the Extraordinary Form over the years – as the then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger once wrote, they were treated as “lepers”.
However, ‘Summorum Pontificum’ establishes a new and authoritative basis for the reintroduction of the Extraordinary Form into the heart of the Church and the LMS is determined to look forward rather than back.
Just as with ‘Summorum Pontificum’ there is a great deal in the new Instruction which will be teased out with time. And here the LMS notes that the authoritative Latin text of the Instruction is, in crucial areas, more strongly worded than the unofficial English translation.
The LMS draws attention to these selected points:
*The Instruction stresses that ‘Summorum Pontificum’ is the universal law of the Church and cannot be ignored (Art. 2).
*The Instruction confirms that the Extraordinary Form is not a poor relation of the Ordinary Form but is an “expression of the same lex orandi of the Church” “alongside” the ordinary form (Art. 6).
*’Summorum Pontificum’ is “an important expression of the Magisterium of the Roman Pontiff and of his munus for regulating...the Church’s Sacred Liturgy” and offers “to all the faithful” [LMS emphasis] the use of the Extraordinary Form, “effectively guaranteeing...the use of the forma extraordinaria for all who ask for it” (Art. 8), i.e. this is not just for the elderly or those previously attached to the Society of St Pius X.
*The Pontifical Commission ‘Ecclesia Dei’ now exercises the power “as hierarchical superior” to decide upon complaints referred to it regarding any “administrative provision of an Ordinary which Pontificum’” (Art. 14).
*A stable group of the faithful who request use of the Extraordinary Form is simply constituted by “some people” who come together and can “be composed of persons coming from different parishes or dioceses” (Art. 15).
*Priests are to be considered “qualified” to offer the Traditional Mass if they have a “basic knowledge” of Latin “and have celebrated it previously”. Among others this would refer to priests who have taught themselves the Old Rite and celebrated it privately or, for example, have learned it at an LMS training course (Art. 20).
*Ordinaries are to offer their clergy training in the Extraordinary Form and are also urged to provide training in the seminaries (Art. 21).appears to be contrary to the Motu Proprio” subject to final appeal to the Apostolic Signatura (Art. 10. 1)
*“It is the task of the Diocesan Bishop to undertake all necessary measures to ensure respect for the forma extraordinaria of the Roman Rite, according to the Motu Proprio, ‘Summorum
*Dioceses without qualified priests should ask the Traditional Orders such as the Fraternity of St Peter to provide priests or training for diocesan priests (Art. 22).
*The particular law and customs of the 1962 books are protected from subsequent law and therefore such practices as Communion in the hand, Communion under both kinds and female altar servers are not permissible in the Extraordinary Form [LMS emphasis] (Art. 28).
*The Sacred Triduum can be celebrated in the Extraordinary Form and where necessary these celebrations can take place in churches where the Sacred Triduum in the ordinary form is also celebrated (Art. 33).
*Individuals of the religious Orders may use the Order’s liturgical books in effect in 1962 (Art. 34).
Doctor Joseph Shaw, Chairman of the LMS, said “This is a wonderful day for the Church. With this Instruction, the Pontifical Commission ‘Ecclesia Dei’ has confirmed what we all knew – that ‘Summorum Pontificum’ is a gift to the whole Church designed to end the ‘liturgy wars’ and establish the full membership of the Extraordinary Form in the family of rites. The LMS will be urging its diocesan representatives to liaise with the diocesan bishops to maximise the reintroduction of the Old Rite in their dioceses. We will also keep records of any problems so that recourse may be made to the disciplinary function of Ecclesia Dei if necessary. There is a tremendous task to be carried out to improve the standard of liturgy in England and Wales and the LMS pledges its full cooperation in this cause so close to Pope Benedict’s heart”.