Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Monday, July 02, 2007

An American Bishop's Reaction to Motu Proprio

I took a minute to hit the Google News this morning and see if the Motu Proprio had indeed come out. It seems that it didn't, though an announcement that it was coming soon did.

What I did come across was a link to Cardinal Sean's blog, where he writes about flying to the Vatican to read the text and discuss it with other bishops. The relevant section (of a long post on many topics):
From Cleveland I flew to Rome at the request of Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone to participate in a meeting discussing the Holy Father’s Motu Proprio about the use of the older form of the Latin Mass. There were about 25 bishops there, including the president of Ecclesia Dei Cardinal Darío Castrillón Hoyos, the prefect of Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments Cardinal Francis Arinze, several heads of bishops’ conferences as well as some cardinals and other residential bishops.

They shared with us the Motu Proprio and the Holy Father’s letter explaining it. We also had an opportunity to read the Latin document. We each commented on that, and then the Holy Father came in and shared some of his thoughts with us. The Holy Father is obviously most concerned about trying to bring about reconciliation in the Church. There are about 600,000 Catholics who are participating in the liturgies of the Society of St. Pius X, along with about 400 priest.

The Holy Father was very clear that the ordinary form of celebrating the Mass will be the new rite, the Norvus Ordo. But by making the Latin Mass more available, the Holy Father is hoping to convince those disaffected Catholics that it is time for them to return to full union with the Catholic Church.

So the Holy Father’s motivation for this decision is pastoral. He does not want this to be seen as establishing two different Roman Rites, but rather one Roman Rite celebrated with different forms. The Motu Propio is his latest attempt at reconciliation.

In my comments at the meeting I told my brother bishops that in the United States the number of people who participate in the Latin Mass even with permission is very low. Additionally, according to the research that I did, there are only 18 priories of the Society of St. Pius X in the entire country. Therefore this document will not result in a great deal of change for the Catholics in the U.S. Indeed, interest in the Latin Mass is particularly low here in New England.

In our archdiocese, the permission to celebrate the Latin Mass has been in place for several years, and I granted permission when I was in Fall River for a Mass down on the Cape. The archdiocesan Mass is now at Immaculate Mary of Lourdes Parish in Newton. It is well attended, and if the need arises for an extension of that we would, of course, address it.

This issue of the Latin Mass is not urgent for our country, however I think they wanted us to be part of the conversation so that we would be able to understand what the situation is in countries where the numbers are very significant. For example, in Brazil there is an entire diocese of 30,000 people that has already been reconciled to the Church.
I have the suspicion that except for a small number of bishops who will be actively enthusiastic, and a slightly larger number that will be openly annoyed, this is probably how most American priests and bishops will view the motu proprio freeing up the celebration of the Tridentine Mass: most will simply feel it's not relevant to the US, but only to parts of the world with more of an ancien regime set of cultural sympathies. (For a very thoughtful and pastoral priest's reaction to the motu proprio, do read the always excellect Fr. Fox. Any thoughts of getting transfered to the Austin Diocese, Father?)


Jay Anderson said...

"Any thoughts of getting transfered to the Austin Diocese, Father?"

The Toledo Diocese is closer.

Father Martin Fox said...

Y'all are very kind; but being loyal to one's patria is very important, is it not?

The Opinionated Homeschooler said...

Besides, we'd just send him to Waco; we seem to send all our best priests to Waco. To shorten their stays in purgatory, I suppose.

Jay Anderson said...

I spent 4 years in Waco, and it did me a world of good.


The Opinionated Homeschooler said...

Atoning for the sins of your youth, or committing them?