Friday, July 13, 2007

More on the motu

Since I am taking something like a Summer hiatus, I don't want to leave you all (both of you) in the lurch. Since I am, as previously noted, a big believer in accountability, I am happy to let two men whose knowledge and wisdom are far superior to my own have the last words on this blog regarding the Holy Father's motu: Bishop Wester and Msgr. M. Francis Mannion. I also want to remind readers that last Fall, around Thanksgiving, I had a very long and detailed post on Pope Benedict and the direction of the liturgy during his pontificate when it was far from certain there would even be a motu. This post from the Catholic Deacon archive is entitled Pope Benedict, Msgr. Klaus Gamber, the Universal Indult and the Reform of the reform.

In addition to his comments on the motu, Bishop Wester has two wonderful podcasts on Immigration, the committee of the USCCB of which he becomes chairman later this year. These podcasts are very good to listen to, especially given the polarizing nature of the immigration debate. While I am on the subject of immigration, Gregory Glenn's post on our parish blog, The People of St. Magdalene, on this subject is worth a reading as well.

Comments on Summorum Pontificium:

"I am very touched by the fact our holy father Pope Benedict XVI is a man of great charity and compassion. It is through the context of his first encyclical, 'God is Love,' that I see him reaching out with his latest motu propio, “Summorum pontificium,” to ensure the unity of the church, especially in the celebration of its sacraments and in particular the Eucharist which is the source and summit of our unity. This permission to use the Tridentine Rite of 1962 is yet another expression of the Holy Father’s desire to allow all of the faithful to participate in the celebration of the Eucharist.

I am grateful to the Holy Father for his pastoral concern and the emphasis to the unity and charity of the Body of Christ.

I take note that Pope Benedict has outlined very precisely and carefully the nature of this permission and how it is to be implemented. I find his directives to be very helpful.

The great grace of the Eucharist is that we come into the presence of almighty God who is truly present in substance in the eucharistic meal. Our God is so loving and so of us that he wants to be present to us in the great celebration of the Eucharist. The permission given in the motu propio allows the use of a very sacred ritual that is yet another pathway to approach that great mystery.

+ Bishop John C. Wester
Diocese of Salt Lake City"

Thanks to The Intermountain Catholic, our really great diocesan newspaper for both the podcasts and Bishop Wester's encouraging words on Summorum Pontificium. In addition to Bishop Wester's statement, the IC also offers the reflections of Msgr. M. Francis Mannion, a friend and mentor, without whose support and encouragement I would not be engaged in ministry, and who is a noted liturgical scholar, founding president of The Society for Catholic Liturgy, and a man whose well-informed views are always worth seeking and listening to, in an article by Christopher Gray, who is quite a liturgically astute person himself, entitled Local pastor responds to Pope Benedict's motu propio.


  1. I don't agree with Monsignor Mannion. The Catholic world, including the backwaters of Utah, is ready for the Tridentine Mass. A lot has changed in twenty years whatwith the Internet and mobility of Americans. They will experience the Tridentine Mass elsewhere and yearn for it in their home diocese. Forty years of liturgical abuse is enough and even if the Tridentine Mass isn't adopted in whole, Latin and chant will one day (40 years hence?) be commonplace in the Mass. I, for one, am weary of the pedestrian music, the slovenly and disrespectful manner of dressing and the sermons whose main objective is to not offend politically correct sensibilities. I think the resurgence of the Tridentine rite will change the world.

  2. I suppose the proof will be in the pudding. However, keep in mind that data is available via CARA on such matters. It is also important to read the motu which sees the so-called Novus Ordo as the normative Mass. The Mass authorized by Pope Benedict XVI is not the Tridentine Mass as the reformed missal approved by Pope John XXIII in 1962 is quite different from that promulgated by Pius V in 1570.

    While left to the discretion of the pastor of the parish, apart from celebrating private masses, which does not make a lot of sense to begin with, the motu lays down stipulations for celebrations, which Msgr Mannion discusses, for the celebration of Mass according to the missal of 1962.

    In other words, the main masses on Sundays cannot be replaced by a Latin mass according to the '62 missal. The motu still leaves it to the bishop to determine whether there is enough of a need and desire for the Latin mass to establish a non-territorial parish in which the old rites can be celebrated as normative.

    Far from insinuating that Catholics in Utah will not flock to Latin Masses of any kind being a function of Utah being a backwater, Msgr Mannion is speaking from both his research as a scholar and his experience as a pastor in Utah. Apart form the roughly 1% (in this diocese not even that many) many Catholics would like to experience the "old mass" more out of curiosity than anything.


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