Bishop Glen Provost of Lake Charles, LA (Jason's pastor until the appointment to the See of Lake Charles just last spring), has a very gracious letter here regarding the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum. RSCT to Gerald.
I'll refrain from commenting within the text of the letter. The good bishop said it very well here.
My dear People of God, there are two matters that I wish to address. Some of you have posed questions concerning two recent Vatican documents. The first is the Holy Father’s Motu Proprio allowing for greater freedom in celebrating the Latin Mass and the other is the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith’s “Responses to some questions regarding certain aspects of the doctrine on the Church”. Documents from the Vatican often involve fine points that the popular press, in the interests of simplicity and ease, find difficult to convey. I cannot presume to answer all of the questions that have surfaced, but I would pray that what I say offers some clarification. I would address them in order.
THE TRIDENTINE MASS
A Motu Proprio is a document of great importance issued by a pope on a matter that adjusts a practice in the Church. In this case, the Motu Proprio is entitled “Summorum Pontificum” and states clearly that the Mass promulgated by Pope Paul VI (as celebrated today in our parish churches) and the Mass of Pope St. Pius V, reissued by Blessed John XXIII (typically called the Tridentine Mass and celebrated at present only with special permission) are, and I quote, “two usages of the one Roman rite.” In Pope Benedict XVI’s letter to the bishops, he writes, “It is not appropriate to speak of these two versions of the Roman Missal as if they were ‘two Rites.’ Rather, it is a matter of a twofold use of one and the same rite.” At a practical level, beginning September 14, 2007, any priest, competent in Latin and in the rite itself, can celebrate the Mass of Pope St. Pius V, in the form published by Blessed John XXIII. No further permission is needed. The role of the bishop is to insure “that all is done in peace and serenity” (the Papal Explanatory Letter to Bishops of July 7, 2007). This, of course, I intend to do.
Is this a return to the past? Pope Benedict XVI does not think so. Nor do I. “What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too,” the pope writes. If one studies the history of the Church carefully, one finds that the Church has always found room for multiple usages in the Roman Rite. I recall as a child encountering the “Dominican Rite” with its slight variations while serving Mass or learning about the ancient “Ambrosian Rite” celebrated in Milan, Italy. The history of the Church is rich, and the Church is universal. It is much broader than anyone can possibly imagine. In effect, what Pope Benedict XVI has done is respond to a need. In providing for the normal celebration of an older form, the pope is answering the need many have expressed. There are those for whom the older usage of the rite is expressive, uplifting, and prayerful. Why not provide for this need without prejudice to the newer rite? As the pope states, “Let us generously open our hearts and make room for everything that the faith itself allows” (the Papal Explanatory Letter to Bishops of July 7, 2007). As bishop, my role is to act as moderator for the liturgy in the diocese. For that reason I must insure that the Mass of the Roman Rite is celebrated authentically and reverently, whether in the form promulgated by Pope Paul VI or the form of Pope St. Pius V promulgated by Pope Blessed John XXIII.