News from the East Coast (US)

July 27, 2007

McLean Virginia Pastor and Summorum Pontificum

From The Pastor:

Despite what the media tells you, the Pope is not renouncing the Second Vatican Council, he is authentically implementing it. He is correcting the mistakes and misinterpretations that came after the Council. One of them is with the return of the Mass. Contrary to what most of the media tells us, Vatican II did not:

1. order Mass to be said in the Vernacular
2. tell priests to face the people at Mass
3. establish Communion in the hand
4. tell people to stand for reception of Communion

The Mass we now say at St. John’s whether in English or Latin came after the Council. The Council ended in 1965, the new order of the Mass came in 1970.

The Church, since the days of Pope St. Pius X, has encouraged actual participation at the Mass. The 1962 missal contains changes that foster that participation, so the charge of the congregation being dumb spectators is not true.

Why was the Motu Propio issued? Pope Benedict, as a Cardinal, wrote extensively on the liturgy and frequently mentioned the suppression of the older form of the Mass by Pope Paul VI when promulgating the new reformed missal of 1970 (the Mass we now celebrate either in English or Latin) after an intervening period of a temporary missal (1965).

He believed and continues to believe that something so ancient (going back 1500 years) and sacred could be forbidden and those who were attached to that form considered, as one author put it, like “the nutty old aunt in the attic”.

The Pope does not question the holiness of the new missal, but he says that the way in which it came about was alien to the Church’s traditions. Many who were enthusiastic about a renewal of the Mass during the years of the Council felt betrayed by the reformed missal of 1970. They claim (as does the Pope) that this was not what the Council had envisioned.

Is the Holy Father leading us backwards? Most people would say no, but I would say yes – in order to lead us forward. He wants to bring the church into contact with that form of the Mass which was the only western liturgy (outside the rite of Milan) that was celebrated during the Second Vatican Council. There was a rupture after Council in the liturgy, the Holy Father wants to go back to heal that break so that the liturgy may continue as a living continuum. That is why he says we need internal reconciliation. The Church has been suffering these past 40 years because of the unintended rupture. The Church must reconcile herself with her own tradition, for that is who she is, it is her own identity.

The missal of Paul VI will benefit from the infusion of sap from the 62 missal and after a reform of the reform be even more resplendent and effective.

I plan on implementing the Motu Propio here at St. John’s but it will not effect a change in anyway in which most of you worship. It allows the former rite for anybody who chooses to attend. The Motu Propio simply allows, it does not impose. What does this mean for St. John’s? The following is my policy for implementation of Summorum Pontificum:

1. the noon Mass, which is now said in Latin according to the missal of Pope Paul VI (1970 – Novus Ordo) will become a Solemn High Mass or High Mass celebrated according to the missal of Blessed John XXIIII (the most ancient rite”). This will occur sometime in early October.

2. I will allow the celebration of all sacraments except Confirmation according to the rite of 1962 if a person requests them. This will also take effect in October.

3. I will allow occasional Masses (wedding anniversaries, etc.) in the 1962 rite for those who request it.

4. I will allow weddings and funerals in the 62 rite for those who request it.

5. I will establish one Mass on a holy day according to the 62 missal; there will still be 4 Masses in the present rite.

6. I will consider another additional Mass on First Fridays after consulting with the pastoral council.

The date given by the Pope for this decree to become law, i.e., go into effect is September 14 of this year. We await further guidance from the bishops on these matters. We also need to buy items unique to those types of Masses; financial donations towards this would be appreciated.

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One Response to “News from the East Coast (US)”

  1. Richard said

    What a great pastor. He tells it like it is. He just does it without agonizing over what an insurmountable task it would be to implement the greater freedom of the MP.

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