Wednesday, July 31, 2013

A sign of things to come?

I've held off on making public my thoughts about this story because I was hoping against hope that Magister got it wrong. That the Holy See would issue clarifications of clarifications, say this doesn't really mean what our lying eyes are telling us and so on. In short, the Vatican has forbidden the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate from celebrating the Extraordinary Form of the Mass (the Traditional Latin Mass) without the permission of superiors. This appears to flatly contradict the provisions of Pope Benedict XVI's motu proprio Summorum Pontificum which gave priests blanket permission to celebrate the TLM wherever and whenever they wanted without the permission of their Ordinaries or Superiors.

The "rest of the story" as Paul Harvey would say is that this is a narrow ruling that applies to only one religious community and that we shouldn't interpret it as turning back the clock to the days when the TLM was de facto outlawed if not de jure. Even if we grant that - and doesn't Magister's original article even say as much? - this is worrying. On paper, priests are free to celebrate the TLM wherever and whenever they want. But everyone knows the bishops still exert a lot of control over it. "So Father, I hear you're thinking about celebrating the old Latin Mass every Sunday. That reminds me, the mental ward downtown needs a full time chaplain... oh, I'm just saying."

This ruling will undoubtedly make bishops and religious superiors bolder in making encroachments upon SP. Gentlemen, if you're so worried about the "division" this may cause, I have a modest proposal: make it so that every parish and every religious house under your command offers a weekly TLM. Then us terrible, terrible Trads won't have to complain so much or drive 100 mile round trips to get to one every Sunday. Simple, yes?

h/t: Rorate

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