This is a follow up question to a thread I posted a few weeks ago ‘Can A Diocesan Priest Celebrate the EF Mass Exclusively?’ I received many answers to my questions but there is one more thing I was wanting to know. I know that when Pope Benedict issued his Moto Proprio Summorum Pontificum, he allowed priests to use the 1962 books without the permission of the bishop. However, I read an a Q&A article in which a bishop was being asked about things that happen in the liturgy and he was eventually asked about the usages of the EF in parishes and he was asked why some parishes offer it and why others don’t.
He mentioned that in order for a priest to offer the EF in his parish, he can only do so if a group of people ask him for it. And I think I read something similar to that in Summorum Pontificum. So if a priest wants to celebrate a Traditional Latin Mass, not exclusively of course, but even if it was just one Sunday a week, one Sunday a month or even once or twice during the week, he can only do so if the congregation asks for it
I feel that one of the ways that the faithful can begin to know what it is and what a great treasure it is for us as Catholics is if a parish pastor decides to offer it in his parish to introduce it to the parishoners so that they may know what it is and how to participate in it. I know that's how many people I know have to come to know and love it and I even know of how it has formed so many traditional priestly vocations. For those of you who replied on my last thread, thank you very much for answering my questions. To a certain extent, I have a preference for the Old Mass, but at the same time, I believe that there is a place in the Church for both forms and both need to be said frequently and with dignity.
I ask because I am considering the priesthood and if I am ordained, God willing, I want to be able to offer both forms of the Mass in my parish regularly so that the faithful can know how much of a blessing both of the holy forms of our Roman Rite are and how they shouldn't compete with each other but should co-exist and work together in accomplishing the same goal, representing the Sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ on the Cross of Calvary and allowing us to draw from it at Holy Communion. I feel that this is exactly what Pope-Emeritus Benedict XVI had in mind when he issued Summorum Pontificum and it is what I believe too. But at the end of the day, I'll let the Church do the talking because the Mass not about my preferences or wants but about the service and worship of Almighty God. God bless.
The Mass of 1962 may not be used anytime, but according to the Moto Proprio articles:
Without a congregation, the priest: “may do so on any day, with the exception of the Easter Triduum. For such a celebration with either Missal, the priest needs no permission from the Apostolic See or from his own Ordinary.”
In parishes where a group of the faithful are attached, the parish priest: “should ensure that the good of these members of the faithful is harmonized with the ordinary pastoral care of the parish, under the governance of the bishop in accordance with Canon 392, avoiding discord and favouring the unity of the whole Church.”
Do you know what I think would be even more helpful than actually offering the TLM?
Offering a class that has the objective of explaining the TLM.
Remember, there are a lot of Catholics who have never, ever seen or heard a TLM (and have never been interested in seeing/hearing one).
AND…there are a LOT of converts who grew up Protestant and never even heard any Latin other than Adeste Fideles (usually sung by the middle schoolers in the annual Christmas program).
For most converts from Evangelical Protestantism (that’s ME!), the OF Mass is strange enough! In spite of all the Catholics who insist that the OF Mass is “too Protestant,” I can assure them that most Evangelical Protestants don’t recognize anything in the OF Mass except the Lord’s Prayer and the Bible readings. All the rest is utterly foreign.
And to Evangelical Protestants, the EF of the Mass is completely alien.
So instead of offering something that most people don’t understand and have no idea about what’s happening when and by whom–why not first offer a series of classes in which you:
Walk everyone step by step through every aspect of the TLM so that they know exactly what is happening when and by whom.
Teach the few Latin responses that those who assist at TLM should know, and practice them so that they become comfortable.
Describe how music in the TLM is different than music in the OF (e.g., no piano or guitar)
Describe the history, including the origin of the TLM, and describe the various changes through the centuries.
Watch a TLM on a video and explain everything that is going on.
Describe appropriate etiquette and dress for a TLM.
Anything I missed.
In this day and age, most Americans do not like things that they don’t understand. (Consider the fact that move Interstellar is somewhat of a box office bomb because many people walk out after a half hour because they don’t understand it).
We like to look things up on the internet and try to understand them.
So why make the TLM a big secret? Explain it in detail to your class.
I have never seen such a class, or for that matter, any “guidebooks to the TLM.” My friend gave me her childhood missal, which has the Latin text and the English translation, and it explains everything that is happening (and has pictures because it was written for children!) Someone ought to re-publish that little book, because my copy is actually stuck together in several places (it’s almost 60 years old!).
So YOU start the “Mass Class.” I think you would find that graduates of your class would be much more enthusiastic about the Latin mass! I know I would.
It’s a matter of understanding two different types of scenarios.
In private, the priest can use the Extraordinary Form (EF) almost anytime. No permission is needed.
As a public celebration, there must be some need (i.e. a group of the faithful ask for it). Without having read what the bishop actually said, I can offer what I think he might have meant. I think what he meant is that if the EF is offered as a parish Mass, it must be in response to a request from the people in contrast to the priest himself deciding to offer the EF instead of the Ordinary Form (OF). In other words, if a parish needs 3 Sunday Masses, then those Masses must be OF; the priest cannot impose his own preference to replace an OF with an EF. However, if there’s a request for the EF from a sufficient number of people, then the EF can be one of those 3 parish Masses.
Any priest can “add” an EF Mass to the schedule, even if there’s no request; but not in a way that it puts people who might not want it into a position that they must attend.
Until Fr. David responded, and in his last sentence, I was a little confused as to when a priest can offer the EF, because I had thought any priest can offer it at any time. OP, I am pretty much in your situation where I am discerning priesthood and if I were to be ordained a priest, would do anything possible to invite parishioners to experience the Latin Mass. I have always thought that probably without question I would begin offering a Latin Mass wherever I was, but of course as Fr. David said in that last sentence, I would make sure it would not be presented in such a way that people would more or less be forced to go to it.
Cat, I think you have some very good points! I think that in general, it is a good idea to have people become acquainted with the TLM before actually attending one. However, I have heard of many people who just walked in to even just a Low Mass and were amazed, having never been to a Latin Mass, and even more stories about people who walk into a High Mass (also first Latin Mass ever) and are blown away, aided by the amazing music that often occurs within a High Mass. So I personally believe it is not 100% necessary to attend a “class” on the Latin Mass, but I think you’re right that it would benefit many people who would otherwise not be open to it, and if I become a priest, I can see myself doing that.
I admit I can have a negative attitude about the OF, which, although I think there are some legitimate concerns, overall is a bad attitude for a potential future priest, and I’m sure over the course of the next few years I can learn a lot. But OP, lately my attitude has changed in the sense that it’s not so much that I’m having a lot of problems with the OF, it’s just that I want others to experience what I have experienced in the Latin Mass since I know I have been drawn closer to God in ways that I may or may not have in the OF. So for me at least it is certainly becoming more what you mentioned in the last paragraph of your OP, that is that both forms are beautiful and are the same Sacrifice, and both are for the service and worship of God!
Well, what I would do is keep those three OF Masses at the same time as usual in the parish but offer a fourth mass in the EF. I didn’t mean replace one or more of the OF Masses with the EF. Sorry, I should’ve been more clear in what I meant.
I was just trying to explain to you why it might seem that the bishop was giving different answers than what was in the Pope’s letter. They’re giving the same answers, but sometimes issues like this (and questions like yours) simply need some explaining.
What you describe here: keeping the 3 OF Masses and adding an EF Mass for those who want it is in keeping with the law about the EF. It’s fine.
I wasn’t trying to imply that you would do it (the wrong way), just explaining in different words why the bishop said what he said.