Did Bishop Trautman Even Read the What the Pope Wrote?!

If you thought the diocese of Pittsburgh’s memo about Summorum Pontificum was bad, you ain’t seen nuthin’ yet. Check out this nonsense from Erie:

The recent apostolic letter of Pope Benedict XVI on widening the use of the
liturgical books of 1962 is prompted by his desire to reach out to those Catholics in schism because of their non-acceptance of the liturgical reforms of the Second Vatican Council.

Uh, no. That’s what the previous indult was for. Here’s what the pope says in his letter accompanying the new one (emphases mine):

We all know that, in the movement led by Archbishop Lefebvre, fidelity to the old Missal became an external mark of identity; the reasons for the break which arose over this, however, were at a deeper level. Many people who clearly accepted the binding character of the Second Vatican Council, and were faithful to the Pope and the Bishops, nonetheless also desired to recover the form of the sacred liturgy that was dear to them. This occurred above all because in many places celebrations were not faithful to the prescriptions of the new Missal, but the latter actually was understood as authorizing or even requiring creativity, which frequently led to deformations of the liturgy which were hard to bear. I am speaking from experience, since I too lived through that period with all its hopes and its confusion. And I have seen how arbitrary deformations of the liturgy caused deep pain to individuals totally rooted in the faith of the Church.

Pope John Paul II thus felt obliged to provide, in his Motu Proprio Ecclesia Dei (2 July 1988), guidelines for the use of the 1962 Missal; that document, however, did not contain detailed prescriptions but appealed in a general way to the generous response of Bishops towards the “legitimate aspirations” of those members of the faithful who requested this usage of the Roman Rite. At the time, the Pope primarily wanted to assist the Society of Saint Pius X to recover full unity with the Successor of Peter, and sought to heal a wound experienced ever more painfully. Unfortunately this reconciliation has not yet come about. Nonetheless, a number of communities have gratefully made use of the possibilities provided by the Motu Proprio. On the other hand, difficulties remain concerning the use of the 1962 Missal outside of these groups, because of the lack of precise juridical norms, particularly because Bishops, in such cases, frequently feared that the authority of the Council would be called into question. Immediately after the Second Vatican Council it was presumed that requests for the use of the 1962 Missal would be limited to the older generation which had grown up with it, but in the meantime it has clearly been demonstrated that young persons too have discovered this liturgical form, felt its attraction and found in it a form of encounter with the Mystery of the Most Holy Eucharist, particularly suited to them. Thus the need has arisen for a clearer juridical regulation which had not been foreseen at the time of the 1988 Motu Proprio. The present Norms are also meant to free Bishops from constantly having to evaluate anew how they are to respond to various situations.

Summary: This indult explicitly takes into account those in no way connected to SSPX who nevertheless desire greater access to the Tridentine mass. More from Bishop Trautman:

The Second Vatican Council, an ecumenical council of the Church, restored
and adapted the liturgy recommending vernacular languages for the worship
life of the Church. Pope Benedict, sensitive to those still clinging to the
Tridentine Latin Mass (the 1962 missal) and liturgical rites prior to Vatican II,
now grants a more generous application of that former liturgy.

Is it just me or is he implying that those who want the old mas reject the reforms of Vatican II? Here’s what the pope had to say about that:

In the first place, there is the fear that the document detracts from the authority of the Second Vatican Council, one of whose essential decisions – the liturgical reform – is being called into question. This fear is unfounded. In this regard, it must first be said that the Missal published by Paul VI and then republished in two subsequent editions by John Paul II, obviously is and continues to be the normal Form – the Forma ordinaria – of the Eucharistic Liturgy. The last version of the Missale Romanum prior to the Council, which was published with the authority of Pope John XXIII in 1962 and used during the Council, will now be able to be used as a Forma extraordinaria of the liturgical celebration. 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.

As for the use of the 1962 Missal as a Forma extraordinaria of the liturgy of the Mass, I would like to draw attention to the fact that this Missal was never juridically abrogated and, consequently, in principle, was always permitted…Many people who clearly accepted the binding character of the Second Vatican Council, and were faithful to the Pope and the Bishops, nonetheless also desired to recover the form of the sacred liturgy that was dear to them. This occurred above all because in many places celebrations were not faithful to the prescriptions of the new Missal, but the latter actually was understood as authorizing or even requiring creativity, which frequently led to deformations of the liturgy which were hard to bear. I am speaking from experience, since I too lived through that period with all its hopes and its confusion. And I have seen how arbitrary deformations of the liturgy caused deep pain to individuals totally rooted in the faith of the Church.

This next bit of the Erie memo strikes me as how the third bullet in the Pittsburgh memo might have been better worded.

Since the Diocese of Erie already permits the celebration of the Tridentine
Mass in two locations, St. Ann Parish in Erie and St. Bernadette Parish in Saegertown, I do not foresee a pressing pastoral need on the part of our people.

I’m not sure how I feel about this next bit.

In the future, I will be issuing diocesan norms to help apply and order the
specifics of the pope’s letter. Priests who might want to celebrate the Tridentine Mass will be given a rubrical and Latin exam to comply with the pope’s own statement, “The use of the old missal presupposes a certain degree of liturgical formation and some knowledge of the Latin language.”
Further, there will be need to ascertain that the common good of the parish prevails and to ascertain what constitutes a stable community of those requesting the 1962 missal. We must keep in proper perspective the pope’s more generous use of the liturgical rites prior to 1962. The pope himself has
said: “It is clearly seen that the new missal will certainly remain the ordinary form of the Roman rite.”

While I agree that priests should be properly qualified to celebrate the Tridentine mass, I worry that rubrical and Latin exams will be used like literacy tests were once used to keep blacks from voting. Perhaps that’s just my cynicism talking though. Still, the whole last paragraph sounds like an attempt to minimize the impact of the motu proprio, contrary to the pope’s request to “generously open our hearts and make room for everything that the faith itself allows.”

Addendum: Another analysis of this memo can be found at Creative Minority Report.

Comments 2

  1. EmilyT wrote:

    In case you haven’t seen the additional, thoughtful and as always brilliant feminist commentary provided by your favorite and mine, Joan Chittister:
    http://ncrcafe.org/node/1221

    Erie provides some real gems.

    In case you are ever traveling up there, I have found one bright spot in the Erie Diocese – the Discalced Carmelites on East Gore Road. I’ve been to Mass there twice now when I have been home. A young priest prays the Mass there and uses the Latin settings of the Mass….something I haven’t found in Erie outside of the Tridentine Mass.

    Posted 15 Jul 2007 at 9:33 pm
  2. Tim B. wrote:

    Thanks for this. I was hunting for info. on Trautman’s attitude and this says it all. I’m sorry for those who have to endure his strange attitudes. Take heart that only 20 bishops went along with his attempt to scuttle better liturgical translations.

    Posted 03 Dec 2009 at 1:07 am

Trackbacks & Pingbacks 1

  1. From Book Reviews and More on 01 Oct 2014 at 6:18 pm

    ” SWP offers his two cents on the Motu Proprio and what it means for intra-faith dialogue. Then we journey with Eric as he shares a number of posts about the Summorum Pontificum. With him we hop once, twice and three times. Slowing down to look at the roses. Kevin at HMS Blog talks to us about “God’s Law In Our Hearts” a reflection on the Mass readings for Sunday 7/15, focusing on God’s law as in harmony with, but also requiring conversion of, our hearts.

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