Motu Proprio

MP3When the Holy Father issued the Motu Proprio, I was incredibly overjoyed! I knew that this would not bring the Latin Mass to my parish in a day, but I was much more hopeful that the beautiful Mass of all times would be more available to me and to many young people who have never assisted at one. When was the Motu Proprio issued? 2007? Well, in general one can say that it’s been a success.

There have been many visible effects which can be witnessed. For one, there have been a number of successful training conferences hosted in various regions of the world for priests and seminarians interested in learning about the usus antiquior. The Latin Mass Society of England and Wales hosted such a conference at Merton College, Oxford, in the summers of 2007 and 2008 and is hosting another this summer. The Canons Regular of Saint John Cantius sent their priests as far away as Eastern Europe to offer similar training and recently held a spring training session in Chicago. They have even coordinated sessions for the laity. On top of this, the Priestly Fraternity of St Peter and the Institute of Christ the King have also organised similar training sessions with great success. More continue to be planned and interest continues to be expressed. While the numbers of priests who have attended these conferences so far is not going to be in the thousands so much as the hundreds, the fact is that it is yet hundreds who have begun to walk the road toward the celebration of the ancient Roman liturgy. Aside from training, there has also been a noticeable increase of Masses now being offered in the extraordinary form worldwide

(some articles:  http://www.knoxlatinmass.net/articles/articles.htm,  http://honneurs.free.fr/Wikini/wakka.php?wiki=PagePrincipale ).

MP1Some of the most encouraging of these developments are those now being offered at Catholic university campuses where they were not previously offered. Numbers are less the issue here than is the fact of the spread of this liturgy to areas in an academic environment where youth will be able to more readily partake of it, learn from it and be inspired by it. As far as parishes are concerned, it is difficult to gauge what the precise response has so far been, but certainly gains have been made on this front and in the U.S. (it’ll take a little longer in Europe) it is quite common to hear of parish priests now offering the usus antiquior in addition to the regular slate of Masses in the modern form. While this is not the significant majority of priests and parishes of course – again, that wouldn’t be realistic to expect at this point – the gains are nonetheless noteworthy.

However, there sadly has been no change in my area. 

The Holy Father has established that in the central sector of the Diocese of Rome, in the 1st District, and in a fitting place of worship, namely, the Church of Ss. Trinità dei Pellegrini should be erected a personal parish, in order to guarantee proper pastoral care for the entire community of Traditional faithful (the tenth full personal parish and the first in Europe for the Fraternity of St. Peter, I believe) but it’s a couple of hours drive for me.  The Latin Mass is not only something they offer, it is their Rite on a daily basis. All they do, all their sacraments, societies and activities are based on their being a TLM community. It is a parish without boundaries for this reason. How I wish I could be a part of that! But it is not possible. It is too far away.

When I assist at the TLM at the Rome parish, I know for sure that it is my true Rite. It was taken away from me in my youth, but it never left me! I am not against Novus Ordo. And it could be beautifully done. Sadly, however, there is not unity on this. When you go to a TLM, people want to be there and love the Mass and fully participate in it and know exactly what they are doing at each phase and why. All are on the same wavelength. When you go to a Novus Ordo Mass, some people appreciate the partial use of Latin in some churches. Others resent it. Some feel offended at seeing women do what the priest is supposed to do and others cry out for more women inclusion.  Some priests want to celebrate the Novus Ordo Mass the way it should be. Others shape certain things to their own liking. Some talk, some listen, some sing. Personally, I cannot stand the ridiculous ‘songs’ many insist on screeching out Sunday after Sunday during the NOM.

There are no plans to have the TLM at my parish nor any plans to have a TLM community in my own diocese. Perhaps they will when I am dead. I believe with all my heart that we would all be better off for it.

The Motu Proprio is bringing many benefits to the Church. For those priests who have not dared offer Mass according to the ancient usage, the Motu Proprio will give them the ability to exercise their priesthood in a way never before permitted. They will be able to discover in this rite what it means to be a priest. And this is a great grace for them. As they are formed by the traditional liturgy, many will find it increasingly difficult to return to the hodge podge of the reformed Mass. They will want to be sacrificing priests, mediators between God and man, and not just a ‘presider’ of some kind of social banquet. Likewise, the laity will discover or rediscover what it means to pray, what it means to stand or kneel before the living God, something they will virtually never see in the self-adoring liturgies in many parishes. They will, if they follow a Missal, learn what grace is, what sin is, what the conversion of souls means, what self-denial is, and that the heretics and schismatics really do exist and need to be prayed for so that they may return to the one and only Fold of Christ.

The Pope believes that the Motu Proprio will help the new rite to re-stabilize. But it is more likely that exposure to the Church’s true liturgy will open the eyes of priests and laity enough that they will forsake the novelties all together. What priest will want to go back to the cult of Man when he discovers what it is to worship God? What layman or laywoman, if they are serious about the Faith, will want to go back to the parish priests’ personal liturgies or children’s Masses, or family Masses? Who will prefer to stand in line for communion, like at McDonald’s, for their spiritual food when they can kneel at the altar rail to receive their Lord and God Jesus Christ in humility and adoration?

showing only Sunday Masses before Motu Proprio of 7.7.07

showing only Sunday Masses before Motu Proprio of 7.7.07

9 Responses to “Motu Proprio”


  1. 1 Don Alfredo May 19, 2009 at 18:22

    Io non voglio criticare il Novus Ordo. Però mi viene da ridere quando sento dire, anche da amici, che in una parrocchia un sacerdote è Santo per l’omelia o per come parla. Che in una parrocchia i fedeli ‘preferiscono’ un sacerdote piuttosto che un altro. La Santa Messa è sacrificio, dono, mistero, indipendentemente dal sacerdote che la celebra. E’ importante, anzi fondamentale, che il sacerdote si faccia da parte: il protagonista della Messa è Cristo. Non comprendo, quindi, le celebrazioni Eucaristiche trasformate in spettacolo con lettori ‘primedonne’, con canti o applausi, come purtroppo spesso accade con il Novus Ordo.
    Viva la Messa di tutti i tempi!
    Brava!

    • 2 christopher May 20, 2009 at 03:41

      Great point – “When you go to a TLM, people want to be there and love the Mass and fully participate in it and know exactly what they are doing at each phase and why. All are on the same wavelength. When you go to a Novus Ordo Mass, some people …”

      As far as there being “no plans” for the EF Mass in your diocese, that’s neither here nor there. I haven’t looked at the MP in a year or so but there doesn’t need to be any plans. The MP says that wherever there is a “stable group,” they will be accomodated. I’m sure there are more than a few likeminded people that get together and issue a petition to the Bishop. Either he’ll have to provide a priest, or training for a priest, or will request Rome send a priest. If you run a brick wall, you’re instructed to report it to the Vatican. It’s worked a few times publicly already. Even if it’s just once a month, isn’t that a great start?

      • 3 Gabriella May 20, 2009 at 16:16

        That would indeed be a great start!
        What you say is correct – and I believe the MP stated that the faithful need not approach the Bishop but place their request with the parish priests (must re-read it once again!) So far I have run a brick wall and will approach both my parish priest and the Bishop once more before turning to the Vatican.
        I live in a small town and the reply I get (with a shrug of the shoulders) is ‘nobody here is interested’😦 These ‘modern’ priests cannot see that obeying the Holy Father and introducing a Mass in the extraordinary form, even if only once a month, would bring many people back to the Eucharistic celebration — they’ve nothing to lose in trying!!!

  2. 4 Davide May 21, 2009 at 06:35

    Unfortunately, the problem you are facing is very common in many parts of Europe; the continent which has seen the greatest decline in young Church attendants. And this I believe to be one of the main sources of the problem. Here in the States, it is the young, practicing, Catholic men and women who are requesting the EF Mass. The EF Mass I have the privilege of attending is filled with young families and I am certain that the average age of the 200 parishioners is not higher than thirty! Unlike the older generation, whose focus has been primarily on laity involvement as if the Mass is some kind of play, the practicing youth is seeking the reverence, structure and atmosphere that is offered by the EF Mass. If Europe’s youth is too busy offering their sacrifice to the Sunday football games, with their eyes set on the great altar of the football stadium, then this ‘push’ for the EF Mass is greatly affected.

  3. 5 churchmouse May 23, 2009 at 09:54

    Hello, Gabriella — great post. I’m sorry to read that you cannot find a Latin Mass in your area, but I am not surprised.

    Christopher — I love your comment about writing to the Vatican if a Tridentine Mass request is refused. In our area, the parish priest absolutely refuses to have one said, even if a parishoner offers to pay for a priest to come and say it! I have also read of other areas of the UK where parish priests refuse by saying that the request must come from a ‘longstanding group’ of parishoners, whatever that means.

    In England and Wales, the bishops (as well as priests) are not keen on the Tridentine Rite.

    For anyone reading this in the UK, Ireland or North America who wants to know where to hear the Tridentine Mass, my post today has web listings at the end.

    http://churchmousec.wordpress.com/2009/05/23/when-mass-was-mass/

    Hope all of you have a great weekend. All the best.

    • 6 Gabriella May 23, 2009 at 17:15

      Thank you Churchmouse. Sad to hear about the situation in the UK (sounds just like here in Italy!) but as Davide says, it’s a common problem in Europe😦
      Your posts are also very interesting – I’m sure my friends in the UK will find your EF Mass listings most useful.
      For those of you in Italy EF Mass listing for Italy can be found on http://www.unavox.it/ homepage, under ‘Quid Novi’.

  4. 7 churchmouse May 24, 2009 at 12:06

    Thanks, Gabriella! I’ve bookmarked your blog and look forward to reading it regularly!

    Have a good day and a good week ahead. All best wishes.

  5. 8 Mannono May 27, 2009 at 18:45

    Concordo con Don Alfredo,

    nella nuova messa, o rito ordinario, il celebrante a volte non avendo rubriche specifiche da seguire e a volte avendo opzioni, si trova spesso a fare a modo suo. Ad Libitum. La messa novus ordo quindi e uno show. Ma ai seminaristi non gl’insegnano teatro o recitazione (spero che scrivendo cio’ non ispirero’ qualche clerico modernista a proporre questa pratica) quindi lo show e sempre scarso.

    La messa pero’ non e’ uno show ma un sacrificio. Il sacrificio che Gesu’ a fatto per noi e per la nostra salvezza. Il sacerdote quando celebra la messa diventa un’ alter Christus. Il sacerdote non puo comportarsi a modo suo. Nel rito straordinario infatti la chiesa chiede al sacerdote di celebrare soltanto in un modo. Il prete deve seguire rubriche che sono state create organicamente nei 2000 anni della chiesa dallo Spirito Santo. Non si puo’ trovare, a differenza del Novus Ordo, i nomi di chi a scritto questa preghiera, o chi a cambiato questo e quello perche’ e’ lo Spirito Santo l’autore.

    Percio’ l’eccelenza del rito straordinario su quello ordinario, non e’ relativo ma un fatto. Viva papa Benedetto e il suo Motu Proprio.

  6. 9 Don Alfredo May 28, 2009 at 14:53

    E’ la realtà, Mannono (ma che nome è?😉 ) Per la sua ricchezza, bellezza, elevazione, nobiltà e solennità, per il suo senso del sacro, per il suo senso di mistero, per la sua maggiore precisione e per il rigore, il vetus ordo missae – che il Concilio Vaticano II non ha mai eliminato ma la cui facoltà di celebrare è stata estesa da Benedetto XVI a tutta la Chiesa – è un tesoro della Liturgia cattolica, con la quale esprimiamo il nostro amore e la nostra comunione con la Santa Chiesa. Con la consapevolezza che il rinnovo di una tradizione liturgica plurisecolare non sta a significare alcuna restaurazione o mero ritorno al passato, quanto una valorizzazione e un arricchimento della cultura cattolica stessa, oltre che un incentivo per i fedeli ad un raccoglimento maggiore, venendo riportato, anche esteriormente, al centro della celebrazione il miracolo di Gesù fattosi Eucaristia.


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