OF to EF Training

All these OF/EF threads got me wondering; what is involved for an OF trained priest to learn to celebrate the EF liturgy? Is it a return to the seminary, diocesan re-training, OJT?

Bob,
The Holy Father placed no restrictions on the ability of a diocesan priest (at least one who has faculties and is otherwise not impeded from celebrating Mass) licitly celebrating the Extraordinary Form. There are some restrictions as to how these can be scheduled, but not on the fact of celebrating them. This is important (and relevant to your question) because the Holy Father leaves it up to the priest himself to determine whether or not he is qualified and properly prepared to celebrate reverently. He requires that the priest “know” the Mass, of course, but there are no stipulations that any third-party has to certify that priest’s own determination that he is qualified and properly trained. Unlike a seminarian preparing for the priesthood, who has to be certified by different church authorities (above all, the bishop who will potentially ordain him), the matter of training and certification is the priest’s own decision to make.

That’s why each individual priest preparing the celebrate the Extraordinary Form will have a different answer to your question (again, unlike a seminarian who can at least provide some ‘generic’ answer).

There are workshops available to priests who desire to learn this form of the Mass. Some are conducted by the diocese itself (and some dioceses are being very supportive), some are conducted by individual priests acting entirely on their own–and of course, how much support the diocese shows will vary considerably. I understand that there are also societies (like the Society of St. Peter) who make such workshops available.

There is also an ample (and growing) wealth of self-study materials available. There are DVDs (and even VHS!) recordings made specifically for priests who are learning the traditional Mass, and books that match them so that a priest can “read hear and see” at the same time.

Some priests are learning, on a strictly one-on-one basis, from their brother priests who either had been celebrating the Traditional Mass by indult (before the indult was necessary), or who have since learned it.

I’m sure there are some out there who are simply teaching themselves, using whatever resources are available to them.

What I’m trying to say here is that there is no one way, nor even one set of ways that priests are learning the Extraordinary Form. Each one is learning in his own way, but there is a considerable amount of resources now available to help him.

This is both a blessing and a problem.

It’s a blessing because it removes the possibility that someone can make himself an obstacle to the celebration of the EF by making it difficult (or even impossible) for priests to learn this form, or to be certified once they have learned it. To exaggerate a bit, a bishop who is opposed to this form might say “you can celebrate it, but only if you’re qualified, and I define qualified as: you have a doctorate in liturgy, a doctorate in canon law, a doctorate in Latin, and attend a 6-year workshop in Siberia. By the way, I’ve rejected your request for a 6 year leave of absence.” That can’t happen.

It is also a potential problem because the lack of any formal method for certification means that if a priest can certify himself, then naturally, if he gets something wrong, there is no one there to correct him.

The simple fact is that a priest who wants to make the extra effort to celebrate the EF will be the same kind of priest who is willing to go to a workshop, or go to a friendly priest and take the time to learn to do it right. At the same time, a priest who cares little about getting the Liturgy right in the first place (any Liturgy) is not likely to have any interest in the EF to begin with. So, in a way, this potential problem corrects itself–at least in theory.

I’m not sure if that’s what you were getting at, but anway, there’s my response.

Thanks, you more than answered my question. I knew there was not a restriction on a parish priest choosing to add a TLM but wasn’t sure what qualified him to actually perform the liturgy. Just curious, nothing sinister, I already attend the TLM at an FSSP TLM parish. I suspect the presence of this FSSP chaplaincy significantly lessens the need for adding a TLM at the surrounding parishes.

Looking back, I need to clarify something. I don’t mean to imply that any priest can simply declare himself qualified and that the bishop has no say in the matter. Certainly, the diocesan bishop, as moderator of the Liturgy in his diocese, has not only the authority, but the responsibility to ensure that priests who attempt to celebrate the EF are indeed qualified. What I was trying to say is that there is no one method of doing this, and that the priest need not seek any further permission before he celebrates this form of the Mass. If a priest were to celebrate the Mass improperly, by all means, the bishop could and should step-in. Even though the Pope leaves it to the individual priest to “certify himself” (indirectly) please don’t take that too far and think I’m trying to imply that the bishop has no authority to verify the truth of that. As I re-read my post, I’m concerned that my words might come across that way.

No problem, I understand the bishop will get involved if there are improprieties no matter which form is involved. I have confidence that priests would ensure they were competent in the rite before taking on such a responsibility. I really was just curious since I knew in my former profession there was usually some minimum criteria, at least a peer review, to determine proficiency in any new discipline.

My pastor, and a priest who was ordained from our parish, both undertook learning the EF Mass after S.P. was issued.

They spent a week in Chicago with the priests of St. John Cantius and were trained during that time.

Here in the Archdiocese of Detroit, all of the EF Masses are said by diocesan priests. We have 6 parishes that offer the EF at least once a month, and 4 of those offer it at least every Sunday.

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