Sunday, December 14, 2008

NLM: Canonists Notes on Summorum Pontificum


I am fascinated by these comments on Summorum Pontificum, I have made my own observations, I would be grateful to any passing Canon Lawyer for any correction. My understanding is Summorum Pontificum is a document designed to revolutionise not only the liturgy but ecclesiology as well. I think it is Pope Benedict's ticking time-bomb.

New Liturgical Movements quotes Liturgisches Jahrbuch is a quarterly edited by the German Liturgical Institute (Deutsches Liturgisches Institut), the centre of German liturgical "officialdom" maintained by the German Bishops' Conference on Summorum Pontificum. It is Prof. Norbert Lüdecke a highly respected Canonist.


1. The bishops may issue "annotations and instructions for the implementation" of the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum, but they may not add "new mandatory content" (cf. the analysis of the "guidelines" of the German Bishops' Conference by Prof. Georg Muschalek). I think he means they cannot restrict what the Supreme Legislator has made law. The German bishops, and one or two UK bishops issued restrictive interpretations of their own.

2. The "guidelines" of the German Bishops' Conference of 27 September 2007 are not binding upon the individual diocesan bishop. He is saying individual bishops can't hide behind a collective decision.

3. The celebration of the Missa sine populo is, except in the case of insurmountable obstacles, to be allowed "at any legitimate place". "Restrictions of the usus antiquior to certain places or times by particular law are (...) inadmissible." The Extraordinary Form is a legitimate form of the Roman Rite, a priest of the Roman Rite has the right to celebrate it at choice without hindrance.

4. In a Missa sine populo (literally translated: "Mass without people") the faithful may participate sua sponte (i.e. without compulsion). They may also advert other faithful to this Holy Mass. The People of God can't be stopped from attending or informing others of its celebration.

5. For a group, which according to the Motu proprio is a prerequisite for the celebration of a Holy Mass with the people, the number of three persons is sufficient. The diocesan bishop cannot establish a higher minimum number. That is presumable one extra person besides a priest and a server constitutes a Mass "with people". It is the distinction between of Mass with and without people.

6. The parish priest must not discriminate against Masses according to the old use "by keeping them secret or scheduling them at times difficultly accessible". Parish priests have to be open to the TLM

7. "The Pope has not ordered that the parish priest could meet the request of interested faithful. He has mandated that the parish priest must do so"(Lüdecke). MUST!!! I would love some explanation of this, there seems to be the expectation that priests must be able to offer both Forms, remember the older Form was never abrogated.

8. Faithful whose right to Holy Mass in the older use is being denied by the parish priest do not only have the possibility, but the duty to inform the diocesan bishop about this. And bishops have a duty to ensure it is made available, it is almost as if failure to be able to offer it is seen as a "fault" or defficiency on the priests part.

9 "Applications" for the traditional liturgy are "not petitions of grace or favour." "Parish priests as well as diocesan bishops are legally held to meet this request" (Lüdecke). Again a requirement that priests should be able to offer it!

10. The consent of the bishop to a Holy Mass according to the old use instituted by a parish priest according to the desire of faithful is not required. Summorun Pontificum drastically alters the role of the bishop.

11. Laypeople as extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion and women as altar servers are not allowed in the traditional liturgy. This is actually not explicitly stated anywhere I can see, I would like to see it explicitly stated. In the Novus Ordo ex. mins. and female servers are at the discretion of the priest. Their prohibition in the EF would be good to see in a document somewhere.
My thanks to Gregor Kollmorgen for his translation.

10 comments:

gemoftheocean said...

On point 11, I think he's pulling this one out of his own personal preference. There ARE no minor orders. Perhaps he missed this little fact. As a matter of fact if it comes to pass that women can become instituted acoyltes (and readers, for that matter) it would be tricky showing preferrence to an 8 year old boy who is uncertain of what he is doing, to a female who DOES know what she is is doing, and who is moreover an instituted acolyte.

There they go again. 50% of the population to be shoved under the bus again...for no good reason. 50% of the population, in theory NEVER getting to be close enough to see what goes on at the altar. Keep 'em in the dark and at the back. Typical. Keep ALL the good stuff for the guys alone.

I do not argue at all for women's ordination. So don't even go *there*.

If he wants to go back to the old CAnon Law code of 1917, then he can do ALL of it - including clerics refraining from public card playing and all the rest.

And as for EMs of either sex giving Communion, that's his personal preference as well as far as I can see. Granted EMs should be employed ONLY if there aren't enough priests/deacons at hand to do the task. Is the EM always to remain forever 1962? A bee preserved in glass? If it was never to be changed then shall we go back to praying for the "perfidious Jews" on Good Friday?

Ttony said...

"Summorum Pontificum drastically alters the role of the bishop."

Actually, father, it restores the role of the Bishop. It takes away his obligation to be the arbiter, changer and moderniser of rubrics which belong to the universal, rather than the local, Church. It lets him worry about proper celebration of the Liturgy, instead of trying to rein in the liturgies. It gives him the authority, if he needs to hide behind an obligation, to tell women that their ministries in the Church belong outside the Sanctuary. For a Catholic Bishop, Summorum Pontificum must seem like a liberation.

Fr Ray Blake said...

Quite right Ttony, that is what I meant to say, you have done it more articulately.
It should be seen as liberation.

gemoftheocean said...

Great you guys, hiding behind someone else!!! Terrific. Z would be proud!!!

Fr Ray Blake said...

What are you on about, Gem?

pelerin said...

I had been hoping to see lots more comments on this post. I was very surprised and pleased to read both the 'notes' and Fr Ray's comments and presume that others like me are a bit lost for words.

I'm baffled at Karen's comments however. Perhaps it's another case of being divided by a common language. I really cannot understand her obsession with seeing what goes on at the altar either. Having learnt about the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass I felt no need to see every movement of the Celebrant. I once attended Mass seated behind a pillar in a packed church at Easter time seeing absolutely nothing but this in no way detracted from it. And a couple of years ago I attended Mass in Lourdes with a large tree in between myself and the Celebrants. Again I had no need to see what was going on - I was present and that to me was what was important.

gemoftheocean said...

Pelerin & Fr. Ray. No it's not about being divided by a common language [this time, anyway! :-D]

What I'm saying is this Cardinal more than likely wants it both ways. If he can see the need for changing the language about "the perfidious Jews" and things like that, then he certainly has to admit the Latin Mass can be changed a bit. We have a new Code of Canon law, and it's doubtful the Cardinal wants to wipe all that away and revert to the code of 1917. And yet at the drop of a mitre, he's putting a kibosh on girls/women serving Mass. WHY? [And WHY must women's motives be questioned everytime they want to do something like this. I HATE that stuff. I DESPISE that stuff with a purple passion. Particularly about a significant cadre of Latin Mass fans. Boys/men are NEVER questioned about motives, but if a woman / girl wants to serve, be an EM etc. "of course" she has "anatomy" envy. Since the code came out Rome has ruled that girls and women can be allowed to say Mass. [There are no minor orders after all, and you can't argue the legions of young boys who served were ever technically acoyltes.] Why is this guy so gleefully shoving 50 percent of the population automatically away?

I remember on one of "Z"s blogs someone guy (before it finally filtered through his brain) kept asking "but why don't you serve the latin Mass if you want to see it so bad?" When I pointed out that I was a woman, he said more or less. "oh." Well, DUH.....

No given person has a right to serve. But banning 50% of the population automatically isn't fair. Servers are not priests, they're not clerics. They're just that. SERVERS.

If the cardinal wants all of that back, then the men can start doing all the locking up, all the counting, all the ushering, and ALL the cleaning. Porter's jobs, you know? Ditto the washing and ironing if they're such splendid creatures.

But I bet he wants it both ways. "Ladies, WE (of the male sex) automatically get our wishes and desires respected, you on the other hand are always suspect, all obviously up to no good, and obviously don't deserve to "stand in as a representative of the congregation" in the sanctuary."

It's one thing to enforce a male priesthood. That goes to form and matter. Serving Mass doesn't. Either the EF is going to be available to everyone. Or it's going to remain a small segment of Catholic worship. It's not the Latin I mind. I just want to be allowed (in theory at least) to see it up close and personal. If I attended regularly, I'd HAVE to sit on the side in a church that had a nave and transcept. I'd have to sit in that arm. If the altar were close to the front row, I'd want to sit in the front row on the side so I could pretty much see. I don't like Masses where I can't see the central event! And priests are not transparent.

As a small child I HATED not being able to see what was going on at Mass. The saving grace was the painted ceiling at the Byzantine rite. I love the format/prayers of the liturgy. I'm still frustrated I can't see it all. In other words, I WANT IT ALL. And if seeing everything doesn't float your boat. It needn't. But some people have a visceral need to see ALL the Mass, and I'm one of them., and I'm one of them.

I note too, that often TLM society will have more than a few photos taken FROM THE SIDE.

pelerin said...

Karen - you say that as a small child you wanted to see all that was going on at Mass. Quite understandable. But now you are grown up and have the understanding of the Mass, so with all due respect I cannot see why you have to see every action now.

Someone made an excellent comment somewhere in answer to the perennial complaint 'but the Priest has his back to us at the TLM' that the Priest is leading us all in the same direction and would we want a bus/train/plane driver/pilot to be facing us? Of course not and we also do not need to see exactly what they are doing in order to feel confident of being transported safely. Does the pilot of the aeroplane let you sit next to him?

On a visit to Lourdes I watched a man and his wife and their daughter kneel down in the Grotto one day. They remained there motionless in prayer for some time as others came and went. On the previous day I had accompanied them down to the Domaine. All three were totally sightless and had made the long journey from Paris. I felt it such a privilege to have met them - they showed such courage attempting to negociate the crowded street with its jutting out cafe tables and chairs and billboards using their white canes but were humble enough to accept help.

This family did not need to see what was going on - being blind they could not. But their visit obviously gave them the strength needed so much in their own lives and also touched the hearts of those of us who witnessed their faith in this way. They did not need to see in order to gain strength from their pilgrimage just as we do not need to see all the Priest's actions in order to benefit from the Mass itself.

PS I'm glad you are not arguing for women's ordination!!

gemoftheocean said...

Pelerin: I want to see all the Mass for the same reason Fr. Tim Finnegan says he is uncomfortable if he can't see the Mass when he is concelebrating. Even he indirectly admited in one post that he doesn't feel comfortable concelebrating if he can't see the altar. "well, gee, doesn't he TRUST the priest at the altar...he *knows* what's going on." I don't want to use phony electric light candles and if I can see a play "live" I'd rather see it in person than on television. Call it a strange penchant.

And as for your blind family: Of course they got much out of it!!! Probably more than many sighted people I dare say. However, had they the *option* of seeing, I think they would have taken it in a heartbeat. I like to use all my senses. As for sitting next to the pilot? I make a point NEVER to fly in a plane I can see out the front of. Ditto if the same person loads my bags and flies the plane. That means it's a very small plane. And any plane where the pilot has to shuffle people around in the seats before takeoff is not one I'm comfortable in. "Could you two change seats please" is not something I want to hear! The "hour" or so flight I once took from Tallahasse to Atlanta took 4 days, I am convinced. I'd rather watch the wings to make sure they're not on fire in that case. Some things you SHOULDN'T see. Like making sausage.

BTW, isn't the priest facing the Host in his hands at the consecration? How can he NOT face God? And Mass at St. Peter's was *always* pro populo. Though granted behind a tall high altar. Get transparent priests and they can face any way they want.

Ttony said...

Gem (with Father's permission), at one time, the reply would have been "there shouldn't be any lay people on the altar at all, only ordained religious" as is the case today with the Orthodox. But because of the development of Low Mass and the Eucharistic and Ecclesiological theology which underpins it, more servers were needed than there were available religious (remember that traditionally the priest was not allowed to celebrate Mass without anybody else present).

What grew out of this was the need for someone as close to the ordained state as was possible to serve the priest, and that was necessarily a male, because the female could never approximate to that state.

A(n unplanned) benefit of this is the introduction of boys and young men to regular service at the altar during the Holy Sacrifice from a young age, familiarity with what happens, and a vastly increased number of opportunities for them to consider the possibility of God's calling them to serve Him as they serve the priest.