20 July 2007

Archbishop Burke on Summorum Pontificum

Be not afraid!
Two forms of the Rite of the Mass
by Archbishop Raymond L. Burke

[Note: The Archbishop writes on the MP and on NFP in this column; for space considerations and in the interests of getting the word out on his thoughts about the traditional Mass, I will only post the Summorum Pontificum-relevant parts. Full article here, and I will post on the other later in the coming week]

Introduction: Two different but related subjects

In writing to you this week, I want to address two different but related subjects of concern to us all. The first is the recent publication of new liturgical norms pertaining to the celebration of two forms of the Rite of the Mass, the form used by all until 1970 and the new form introduced by Pope Paul VI. The new norms, given by Pope Benedict XVI on July 7, have been the subject of much discussion in the media. For your better understanding of the new norms, I want to offer you my reflections on the norms and their implementation in the Archdiocese of St. Louis.


Two forms of the one Rite of the Mass

By his apostolic letter "Summorum Pontificum," Pope Benedict XVI has provided for the easier use of the form of the Rite of the Mass until 1970, which was published by Blessed Pope John XXIII in 1962, in addition to the use of the Rite of the Mass, which was published by Pope Paul VI in 1970 and with which we are all quite familiar. The first form is sometimes popularly called the Tridentine Rite of the Mass, referring to the fact that, in its essentials, it remained the same from the time of the reforms introduced by the Council of Trent (Tridentine is the adjective for Trent). Changes were introduced into the rite over the centuries, including the changes made in the 1962 edition of the Roman Missal, but the greater part of the rite remained unchanged.

The second form is called the Novus Ordo or New Order of the Mass. It also retains the essential elements found in the Tridentine Rite but introduces a somewhat radical simplification of the rite. It is, however, one and the same Rite of the Mass.

With the norms promulgated by Pope Benedict XVI, the Novus Ordo remains the ordinary form in which the Rite of the Mass is to be celebrated. The Order of the Mass in force before the changes introduced by the Novus Ordo is now the extraordinary form, which may be celebrated by any priest, without special permission, under the conditions set forth by the Holy Father. In establishing the extraordinary form of the Rite of the Mass, our Holy Father reminds us that, in fact, the use of the Roman Missal of Blessed Pope John XXIII "was never juridically abrogated and, consequently, in principle, was always permitted" (Letter of Pope Benedict XVI Accompanying the Apostolic Letter Summorum Pontificum, July 7, 2007, paragraph 6).

As he observes, there was a greater attachment to the former rite than perhaps was anticipated, especially among the faithful "with a notable liturgical formation and a deep, personal familiarity with the earlier form of the liturgical celebration" (Ibid.). An interest in and attachment to the former Rite of the Mass also developed among the faithful in circumstances in which the reforms of the Novus Ordo were not implemented with fidelity but were falsely seen to permit or even require a creative interpretation on the part of the priest. Such circumstances, in the words of Pope Benedict XVI, "led to deformations of the liturgy which were hard to bear" (Ibid.). Our Holy Father reflects upon his own experience of the confusion and hurt which sometimes accompanied the implementation of the Novus Ordo.

Not infrequently, I meet young people who are attracted to the former Order of the Mass, even though they had no experience of it when they were growing up. What attracts them is the beauty and reverence, which the earlier form very much fosters. Such beauty and reverence should also be evident in the celebration of the Novus Ordo. Because the ordinary form is greatly simplified, the priest and those who assist him must be attentive to the divine action taking place and not give way to an informality and familiarity which is offensive to the nature of the Sacred Liturgy.

Through "Summorum Pontificum," Pope Benedict XVI makes the former Order of the Mass more available to the faithful who are attached to it. At the same time, he maintains the Novus Ordo as the ordinary form of the celebration of the Mass. It is the expressed hope of our Holy Father that the use of the extraordinary form will support the faithful celebration of the Mass according to the Novus Ordo.

Implementation of the new norms in the archdiocese

Some of the faithful of the archdiocese have expressed the fears that the use of the vernacular in the celebration of the Mass will be taken away and that the use of the extraordinary form of the Mass will be imposed upon them, while they, in fact, are attached to the ordinary form. Both fears are unfounded. The celebration of the extraordinary form in parishes must be requested by a group of the faithful and is to be scheduled in such a way as to permit the other faithful the use of the ordinary form. Priests, when they celebrate the Mass without a congregation, that is, when they are on vacation or away from a parochial assignment, may choose either form. Members of the faithful can, of course, assist at the Mass, no matter in which form it is celebrated.

At present, the Archdiocese of St. Louis has a most effective apostolate on behalf of the faithful who are attached to the extraordinary form of the Rite of the Mass, that is the Roman Missal of Blessed Pope John XXIII. St. Francis de Sales Oratory is the center of the apostolate and serves well the faithful who desire the celebration of the Mass and of the other sacraments according to the rites which were in force in 1962. The Canons Regular of the New Jerusalem also provide Sunday and holy day Masses at the Chapel of the Passionist Nuns in Ellisville. In addition, the Canons Regular, as befits their form of religious life, celebrate daily and publicly the Liturgy of the Hours in the chapel of their Priory in Chesterfield.

If additional requests of the regular celebration of the extraordinary form of the Rite of the Mass are received, I will work with the parish priests in responding appropriately and generously to the requests. Also, courses of liturgical formation pertaining to the Roman Missal of Blessed Pope John XXIII will be provided for priests who desire it. The seminarians at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary will be provided the liturgical formation necessary to celebrate the Mass according to the extraordinary form. Their studies of Latin will also give attention to the texts of the extraordinary form.

Gratitude for the richness of the forms of the Sacred Liturgy

In concluding my brief reflections on "Summorum Pontificum," I express, in the name of us all, deepest gratitude to Pope Benedict XVI for providing so richly and well for the worthy and beautiful celebration of the Sacred Liturgy, especially the Holy Mass. With Pope Benedict XVI, I am certain that the richer possibilities for the celebration of the Mass and the other sacraments will lead us all to a deeper appreciation of the immeasurable love of God for us and to a deeper response of love, on our part.
Comments: Just what one would expect from Archbishop Burke-- a faithful and generous reception of the Motu Proprio, and a generous implementation.

He reaffirms the excellent work of the ICRSP at St. Francis de Sales Oratory and of the Canons as well, and encourages faithful to become familiar with the traditional use.

And while he certainly supports these apostolates, he makes it clear that priests who wish to provide for their faithful the traditional use on a public basis will be assisted to do so, consistent with the necessary training required.

He states that seminarians will receive the necessary Latin and rubrical education to be able to provide for the needs of the faithful in this area on an ongoing basis.

He notes how the young are attracted to the traditional Mass because of its beauty and truth, and reminds priests that all celebrations of the Roman Rite, in whatever use, are to be done reverently with regard for the correct celebration thereof.

I also appreciate His Grace's comment that the novus ordo is a "somewhat radical simplification" of the Roman Rite. True indeed.

Let us give thanks for being members of such a great Archdiocese with such stalwart leadership.
Deo Gratias!


Anonymous said...

An important part of this is definitely the fact that seminarians will be trained in the older form of the Mass. This is essential for building a stable base of priests who will be able to say the extraordinary form in the coming decades.

Father G said...

Thank God for His Excellency, Archbishop Burke...if only we had more bishops like him. Please pray for him, pray for our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI...that they not flee from the wolves...

Anonymous said...

Praise God for Archbishop Burke. A faithful and orthodox Shepherd who is a Shepherd after our Lord's own heart. We must pray that he and other orthodox Bishops continue to have the strength to preach and teach the Truth. And we must pray for those Bishops who are not doing this and are watering down the faith. That Jesus my help them be faithful.

Anonymous said...

I can only hope that we in Arkansas are soon blessed with a Bishop like Archbishop Burke . The traditional Mass is sure to reinstill respect and devotion to the Blessed Sacrament.

Anonymous said...

Yes indeed, thank God for the Good archbishop Burke. As a pre-Vat I often feel nostalgic for the old form of the Mass. I remember all the prayers that the congregation said - or which altar servers answered on our behalf. I remember coaching altar boys so they could answer correctly. I still have an old Missal and love to read the prayers of the Faithful. I get annoyed when people say that
father has his back to the people. I see it as we are all facing the same way in the offering of this most holy sacrament.

I like the Novus Ordo too; enjoy the vernacular. My problem is that of the 4 or 5 Eucharistic prayers, priests religiously chooses the second (shortest)one and a person hasn't really got time to kneel down, and get recollected before we are pronouncing the "Mystery of Faith". What's the rush? The Pope is right - some of it has been 'hard to bear' for sure.

I hope our local Bishop is open to the Latin Mass but I 'hae me dooots.'

Anonymous said...

The apostolic letter of Pope Benedict XVI instructs a parish priest to accept the requests of a "stable group of faithful" to celebrate the Tridentine Mass. However, it does not say that a pastor must wait until this happens.

Many young people do not attend Mass. If the Tridentine Mass were celebrated, perhaps some would come out of curiosity. Once the experience its richness and beauty, they might come again and again.

Anonymous said...

I believe JOhn Paul II would approve of Benedict's very unpopular decision. In fact, I suspect that it was a subject often discussed between them. It was not the right pronouncement for the global pope to make. It is the right announcement for an older pope who will continue to make politically incorrect statements, bt ones which many of us deeply agree with. As far as the Mass goes, my husband only attends Mass the very few times we go to Europe where , in HUngary, churches haven't figured out all the goofy stuff to impose on the liturgy. Here, my husband feels like he's at some performance when he rarely attends Mass. Even early morning sees people running around like idiots pumping hands , hugging, talking, socializing. In Hungary, this is eithe not done or done with great reverance. NOt a sound is heard in churches as people exit and silent prayer is still possible. Since the abolishment of the "low Mass" of pre-VatII days, people whose spirituality is more private have not had a plce in this church. Thank God for Benedict, for opening the Church again to ALl of us, where traditional believers and orthodox Catholics had no place; for too many years, the only people the RCatholic church really seemed to welcome were those who were way out - way out of line doctrinally, morally, litergically.

wolftracker said...

Congrats on the link. Once again to you instead of the original source. You're a genius. SD did not want my church signs. :(

The archbishop writes with the clarity of saint. Of course.

Anonymous said...

We all as good Catholic Christians want to come closer to Jesus, and all the faithful. Vatican II was a great hallmark in our history, and we have grown together as Church. The truth of Vatican Council II is still alive. And the unity of the Mass in the venacular for all of the world was a great deed. There is room in our church for Latin Masses, and the venacular.

Athelstane said...

Notice how positive and proactive the archbichop is in his comments? Notice how it contrasts with the comments made of certain other bishops (alas)?

If a priest wishes to celebrate the classical usage, his grace the archbishop does not suggest that there will be an exam on Latin and rubrics. No, he sugests that the archdiocese will help the priest learn what he needs to know, to give him the help he needs. And, further, that the seminary will proactively start training all seminarians in the usage going forward.

THIS is an obedient and full reception of the Pope's motu proprio.

Anonymous said...

What a fantastic Archbishop. Please, please, can we have him in Scotland?

Anonymous said...

The Most Reverend is intelligent, and cautious. Forty years of ambiguity, and retains a sense of Catholicism. When Vatican II is seen in light of Sacred Tradition it must yield to the Fathers, Doctors, and Saints, and Martyrs of the one True Church. The Roman Catholic Church. Lean on Sacred Tradition, and the truth shall set you free. God Bless St. Athanasius, St. Pope Pius X, and surely, most purely, Our Beautiful and forceful Queen Mother in Heaven.

Anonymous said...

He sounds like a great Bishop! Praise be to Jesus Christ!