For the celebration of Mass in the Extraordinary Form
Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown
The Holy Spirit has prompted our Holy Father to address the matter of the Tridentine Mass. With his issuance of a Motu Proprio, taking effect on the 14th of September, 2007, Pope Benedict XVI has allowed priests of the Roman Catholic Church to celebrate Mass according to the 1962 Missal, without any further permission but under certain conditions. Since it is important to read the document carefully, I wish to issue the following guidelines for our Diocesan Church. This I do for the sake of liturgical unity and integrity, in accord with the Holy Father’s admonition to us bishops. In his letter accompanying the Motu Proprio, he wrote the following: “... I very much wish to stress that these new norms do not in any way lessen your own authority and responsibility, either for the liturgy or for the pastoral care of your faithful. Each Bishop, in fact, is the moderator of the liturgy in his own Diocese.”
The Holy Father acknowledges the fact that many priests may not demonstrate a rubrical or linguistic ability to celebrate the extraordinary form of the Eucharistic Liturgy. In that case, a priest may not celebrate that particular form of Mass nor is he obligated to learn to do so. Provided that a priest possesses the required rubrical and linguistic ability to celebrate the extraordinary form of Mass, the following come into play.
1. The Roman Missal promulgated by Pope Paul VI is to be regarded as the ordinary expression of the law of prayer of the Catholic Church of the Latin Rite. A priest celebrating Mass according to the extraordinary form may not do so exclusively; but, needs to celebrate also the Mass in the ordinary form as an xpression of his not denying the validity of the Mass commonly used today.
Response: While this logic is valid it is not carried out to its appropriate conclusion. If a priest who is inclined to say the Extraordinary Mass must demonstrate an affirmation of validity of the Novus Ordo by continuing to say the Novus Ordo, shouldn’t those who choose to say the Novus Ordo be likewise obligated to demonstrate acceptance of the Latin Mass by their learning how to say the Latin Mass (Extraordinary form) and at least occasionally celebrating it?
2. Any priest of the Latin Rite that has the rubrical and linguistic ability may celebrate Mass in the extraordinary form without the Faithful (privately) at any time except during the Sacred Triduum. Christ’s Faithful who spontaneously request it, may join the priest. No permission is required.
Response: Spontaneous attendance at the private Mass was not a stipulation of the Motu Proprio. It is not sinful for the Faithful to desire to attend and make proper arrangements to attend a private saying of the Latin Mass in advance. The word spontaneous is being utilized as a gross mistranslation of what the Pope in fact wrote which was: Art. 4. Celebrations of Mass as mentioned above in art. 2 may -- observing all the norms of law -- also be attended by faithful who, of their own free will, ask to be admitted.
3. Communities or Institutes of Consecrated Life or Societies of Apostolic Life of either pontifical or diocesan rite may use the extraordinary form of the Mass for their community celebrations in their own oratories by permission of their own major superior.
4. Should a pastor decide to celebrate or allow the celebration of one of the regularly scheduled Masses in a parish in accord with the extraordinary form (Missal of Blessed John X)(ffl), it must be in response to a request from a group (coetus/association) within his particular parish (member parishioners) that has existed and has been attached to the previous liturgical tradition steadfastly (that is: for some time; stabiliter existit). He may not do so as a result of his own personal preference. I ask that requests be presented to the pastor in writing, including names and addresses. These should be kept on file at the parish. In order to preserve unity within a parish, the Parish Pastoral Council is to be consulted in regard to any change. Groups composed of individuals belonging to various parishes are to approach the Diocesan Bishop.
Response: The Latin words Stabiliter Existit were not used in the Motu Proprio. The use of those words significantly changes the meaning of this paragraph. Per this Bishop’s conditions – what exactly constitutes a group, numerically speaking? How many fulfills the definition of group? More importantly, how could a group that is attached to the Latin Mass have existed for “some time” when it was not clear to anyone that this Motu Proprio was inevitable? What about the millions of Catholics who are under the age of 50 who have not had cognizant exposure to the Latin Mass? Recent popular reports suggest that the greatest interest in the Latin Mass is from the younger members of the Faith who have not had free access to it in their lifetime. Why would we deprive these individuals of this treasure?
At the very least, anecdotal evidence supports the thesis that those who attend the Latin Mass have a greater devotion to the Faith. Perhaps allowing an open borders approach could result in a significant flocking to the more traditional values of the Faith such as: God centered worship, Hierarchal authority structure, disciplined life-styles, unambiguous and uncompromising doctrinal purity, and objective moral integrity. An increase in devotion would surely foster a greater demand for orthodoxy within the diocese.
5. The entire schedule of Masses in a parish may not be in accord with the extraordinary form, as this would make it a “personal parish” for which the diocesan bishop’s permission is required.
6. Whenever Mass is celebrated according to the extraordinary form, all rubrics for that form of Mass must be observed; including prayers, language, vestments, Holy Communion under one form on the tongue, only boy altar servers, and postures (both of the celebrant and the faithful if present). The Roman Canon is always used.
Response: It is refreshing to see that we are going to fully embrace the rubrics for the Latin Mass in this diocese, as clearly anyone with a devotion to this liturgy would expect, demand, and deserve. While edified that we are going to make a real effort to not hybridize or bastardize the Latin Mass, I remain concerned about the questionable practices that occur within the Novus Ordo under the guise of “full participation” of the laity. Why is this Latin rubrical standard of purity not applied to the Novus Ordo? Why do we tolerate some parishes using bastardized versions of the Nicene Creed, taking liberties outside of the realm of poetic license or artistic expression in order to fulfill an agenda, i.e. the promotion of women’s ordination, political agendas specifically related to moral issues i.e. abortion, homosexuality, and etc?
7. In order to assure that a priest has the rubrical and linguistic ability to celebrate the extraordinary form of Mass within the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown, acknowledgement of such is to be obtained from our Diocesan Office of Liturgy. This is only logical. Many of our priests have never celebrated Mass according to the Missal of Blessed John XXIII. Others, who have, have not done so for some time. Our seminaries assure bishops that those leaving to function as priests have the necessary knowledge and facility to celebrate Mass in the current form. Perhaps, in the future, they will also do the same in regard to the extraordinary form. In the interim, the matter will be handled on a diocesan basis.
Response: Is it equally logical to place the Dumb at the mercy of the Dumber? Is not the priestly portion of the Diocesan Office of Liturgy composed of this group also, “Many of our priests have never celebrated Mass according to the Missal of Blessed John XXIII. Others, who have, have not done so for some time?” Since the Pope has said “the priest has no need for permission from the Apostolic See or from his ordinary,” in exactly what does the bureaucratic, agenda driven, and politically motivated “Liturgy Office ‘acknowledgement’” consist ?
The Holy Father asks for charity and pastoral prudence in any consideration of celebrating the Mass in accord with the extraordinary form (according to the Missal of Blessed John XXIII). That same charity and pastoral prudence need to be exercised within our own Diocesan Church. The guidelines delineated above are intended in such a spirit of charity and prudence.
I take this opportunity to encourage the appropriate reverence and harmony in celebrating the Mass according to either form, ensuring the unity of which it is to be a sign. The Eucharistic Liturgy of the Church is a treasure currently entrusted to us to preserve and pass on to future generations of the Faithful.
(Most Rev.) Joseph V. Adamec
Bishop of Altoona-Johnstown
August 20, 2007
Response: Even though he has produced the quintessential CYA liberal-church-speak document it should be noted that nowhere in his two page Politically Correct screed against the Latin Mass does this bishop refer to the Bishop of Rome’s present intention for, and future vision of, his having broken the chains on this Catholic Treasure. Benedict uses no PC liberal-speak when he writes in his accompanying letter to the bishops:
It is not appropriate to speak of these two versions of the Roman Missal as if they were 'two rites.' Rather, it is a matter of a twofold use of one and the same rite....
"As for the use of the 1962 Missal as a 'Forma extraordinaria' of the liturgy of the Mass, I would like to draw attention to the fact that this Missal was never juridically abrogated and, consequently, in principle, was always permitted. At the time of the introduction of the new Missal, it did not seem necessary to issue specific norms for the possible use of the earlier Missal. Afterwards, however, it soon became apparent that a good number of people remained strongly attached to this usage of the Roman Rite, which had been familiar to them from childhood....
Immediately after the Second Vatican Council it was presumed that requests for the use of the 1962 Missal would be limited to the older generation which had grown up with it, but in the meantime it has clearly been demonstrated that young persons too have discovered this liturgical form, felt its attraction and found in it a form of encounter with the Mystery of the Most Holy Eucharist, particularly suited to them...
For that matter, the two Forms of the usage of the Roman Rite can be mutually enriching... The celebration of the Mass according to the Missal of Paul VI will be able to demonstrate, more powerfully than has been the case hitherto, the sacrality which attracts many people to the former usage [The Latin Mass]. The surest guarantee that the Missal of Paul VI can unite parish communities and be loved by them consists in its being celebrated with great reverence in harmony with the liturgical directives. This will bring out the spiritual richness and the theological depth of this Missal....
"I now come to the positive reason which motivated my decision to issue this Motu Proprio updating that of 1988. It is a matter of coming to an interior reconciliation in the heart of the Church...
"There is no contradiction between the two editions of the Roman Missal. In the history of the liturgy there is growth and progress, but no rupture. What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful. It behooves all of us to preserve the riches which have developed in the Church's faith and prayer, and to give them their proper place.
One wonders why, in light of the fullness of what the Pope has written, this bishop has chosen to so narrowly restrict the availability of the riches which have developed in the Church’s faith and prayer, in stead of, giving them their proper place. Why has he chosen to ridicule his priests and demean their (apparently faulty) educations rather than set up short term workshops to train them in what earlier generations held as sacred [and what] remains sacred and great for us too.
Is this not the same bishop about whom this was posted only a few weeks ago?
Pa. bishop rejects Tridentine MassMatt C. AbbottApril 16, 2007On Saturday, April 14, 2007, St. Clare of Assisi Church in Johnstown, Pa., concluded its Divine Mercy Novena. Preceding the Mass, a dinner and question and answer session with Bishop Joseph Adamec of the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown was held.During the 'Town Hall'-style question and answer session, one parishioner asked Adamec about recent articles in the local Catholic newspaper regarding an anticipated papal document, and whether our diocese had plans for making a Tridentine Mass available.Adamec responded, 'No.'He said the Tridentine rite is only a concession to the Lefebvrites, and there is no need for it here because that situation does not exist here. Adamec said a Latin Mass could be made available [referring to the Novus Ordo with some Latin], but if the Tridentine rite is offered, it is a different rite, and you have to go back to the old forms of spirituality that went with it. He also said you have to go back to the old forms of sacraments, fasting and other aspects.He asked why the parishioner was asking.The parishioner said they have attended Tridentine rite Masses in the past, and that parishes offering the Tridentine rite were flourishing, with many young, large families who took documents like Humanae Vitae to heart, to which the bishop made an unintelligible remark that nonetheless seemed derogatory.