Monday, May 30, 2011

Christophe Schönborn- "defamatory, disgraceful allegations" against Cardinal Groer

Flashback to 1995. Statement made at a time, according to the late Hubertus Czernin that the future Cardinal new that the allegations were true.

The further complication to this is that Cardinal Schönborn was the chief beneficiary of the fall of Cardinal Groer and that Czernin, who eventually wrote a book about the Groer case, had been a friend of his.

Some more background on the murky waters of Viennese ecclesiastical politics.

Cardinal accused from beyond the grave by journalist

Politik von Innen: Affäre Groer - Schönborn gesteht frühen Verdacht |

Cardinal Schönborn confirmed for the first time that early on he was aware of the sexual abuse of pupils by Hans Hermann Groer.

It was a case that rocked the Catholic Church and continues to resonate even today: The sexual abuse of pupils by Hans Hermann Cardinal Groer , revealed at a time when the suspect was wearing the cardinal's hat. On 27 March 1995, profil published the story of Groer's victim, Joseph Hartman. The first reaction of the church to the profil article came from the then Auxiliary Bishops Helmut Kraetzl and Christoph Schoenborn and stated: Such a smear campaign against priests has not been seen since the Nazi era.

On Wednesday, Falter published a transcript of a tape, as it were, a literary inheritance of the then- profil -editor Hubertus Czernin . It is a long conversation with Czernin about the Groer affair, which was conducted in 2001 and is to be published as an e-book to mark the fifth anniversary of the death of Czernin.

In the interview, Czernin discussed his concern about the comparison of the profil coverage with the Nazi terror. He had tried to reach Schönborn, who he knew in private life. Czernin, "It was then weeks later that in a discussion at my home, where he put it to me that he (Schoenborn) at that time knew that what we have written, of course, was completely correct."

Cardinal Schönborn confirmed for the first time following a COURIER request that he very early increasingly had a reasonable suspicion . "At the time of the profil article, I was surprised. I took it for a smear campaign and thus chose strong words. In the weeks that followed, I learned that the probability was high that the allegations had a foundation", Schönborn commented in response. At the time of the interview with Czernin, he had "no assurance" indeed, as Czernin proposes, but the "suspicion that the allegations could be true."

One consequence of this suspicion was that Schönborn's spokesperson stated that Schönborn on 15 May 1995 publicly apologized for the Nazi comparison.

The "moral certainty" that the allegations against Groer "substantially true", Schönborn and the other bishops only stated for the first time in 1998, three years later.
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Saturday, May 28, 2011

Notre Dame Cathedral-Basilica, Ottawa


The interior and exterior of beautiful Notre Dame Cathedral in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. This Cathedral was built in 1846, the spires added in 1866, elevated to a Cathedral in 1847, and to a basilica in 1879.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Pope orders Cistercians out of Santa Croce

Pope orders closure of Monastery after lap-dancing nun performance | Irish News | IrishCentral:

"The Pope has ordered the closure of a 500-year-old Roman monastery, displacing it’s monks after they hosted a performance by a lap-dancer-turned-nun and the famed musician Madonna.

Benedict XVI ordered the closure of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem which is home to prized Roman Catholic Church relics due to “financial and liturgical irregularities', a Vatican spokesman told The Daily Telegraph.

As a result its 20 Cistercian monks are being transferred to monasteries around Italy, after it was revealed their “lifestyles” were “not in keeping” with Church doctrine.

The closure of the monastery marks the end of a religious presence on the site, which dates back five centuries. The historic religious site dates back to 320 AD, when it was founded by the Emperor Constantine, St Helena, who is said to have brought back the relics from the Holy Land.

The monks involved reportedly demonstrated a 'questionable behaviour and a lack of moral discipline'."

Whole article on link above. Now time to rid the Papal audiences of questionable performers as well.

Which order will be given custody of the Relics of the Holy Cross?

Here is the Nun dancing at a Mass

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Pope told to reconcile himself with the German gay community

Thierse fordert Papst zur Aussöhnung mit Berliner Homosexuellen auf - Yahoo! Nachrichten

Berlin (DAPD). Four months before the visit to Germany by Pope Benedict XVI, the Vice President of the German Bundestag, Wolfgang Thierse, called for the leader of the Catholic Church to reconcile with Berlin's gay community. Benedict comes from 22 to 25 September to Germany and wants to make a speech in the Bundestag.

"Berlin is the capital of gays and lesbians who have a conflictual relationship with the Catholic Church", the SPD politician said on Wednesday morning to reporters in Berlin. This is what the Pope has to engage with during his stay in the German capital and react accordingly.

Thierse expected during the Pope's visit to Berlin on 22 September, numerous demonstrations by the gay community, which "will probably get as much media attention as the Pope himself."

The MPs Monika Grütter (CDU) and Josef Winkler (green) placed high expectations for the visit of the pontiff. As experts from their political groups they called on the church that the Pope should meet in Germany with abuse victims, go to the Protestant church, take the abolition of celibacy into consideration and reconsider the rejection of his Church of birth control.

On the other hand, the head of the Commission of the German bishops in Berlin, Karl Jüsten, warned of exaggerated expectations over the visit to Germany, Benedict.

Further stops during his visit are the Diocese of Erfurt and the Archdiocese of Freiburg.

Some background reading for Herr Thierse.  He also failed to draw the correct conclusions from his direct experience of communism in East Germany and joined the socialists to make his career.  His biography.   He could only be a Jesuit or a left-wing intellectual from his picture.

Monika Grütter is at the top of the CDU in Berlin, leading the list in the 2009 elections. On the uberliberal wing of the party, which she probably sees as the only practical politics in multi-cultural Berlin, as wild as it ever was between the Wars. It will be very interesting to see how the Pope projects himself in this society, not forgetting that the Catholic Church is multi-cultural by her very nature.

Josef Winkler in a recent speech to the German Bundestag speculated about changing the exemptions of the churches from anti-discrimination rules.

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Saturday, May 21, 2011

Corruption of the priesthood in the Netherlands

Full article here

"The Dutch Catholic Church and the Salesian order are investigating revelations that a Salesian priest served on the board of a group that promotes paedophilia with the full knowledge of his boss.

The order's top official in the Netherlands, Herman Spronck, confirmed in a statement that the priest - identified by RTL Nieuws as 73-year-old 'Father Van B.' - served on the board of a group that campaigns to end the Dutch ban on adult-child sex.

The group is widely reviled but not outlawed.

'Of course we reject this and distance ourselves from this personal initiative' on the part of the priest, Spronck said in a statement."

Membership in such organizations does not fit with the ethos of the Salesian order.'

You can say that again. St John Bosco, pray for us!
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Friday, May 20, 2011

In Heaven's Name Mass


They call it that themselves.  Liturgical car crash

Only twenty seven priests left in once Catholic Aachen

Nur noch 27 aktive Priester in Aachen -

Plus another twelve retired priests who can be occasionally called upon.

In Aachen, there was an enormous row when Bishop Mussinghof pushed parishes together with little consultation.

Catholic Church disappearing in Western Europe

Bisdom sluit veel kerken in Limburg - Binnenland - Algemeen - Nieuws - Stentor

Roermond - The Diocese of Roermond is to close before 2020 dozens, possibly even hundreds of churches and the present three hundred fifty parishes are to be brought together into federations, each with an average of six parishes.

This is the blueprint of the Diocese for the policy over the next ten years. A spokesman for the Diocese of Roermond Friday confirmed reports in the newspapers in Limburg. Churches will close, especially in urban areas.

The evaporation of the church of the people.
Since 1992, all 44 churches closed in Limburg. "We expect the number of closures will increase rapidly in pace," said the spokesman for the Diocese. The reorganization is the result of what he called "the evaporation of the church of the people".

The 8 percent of Catholics regularly attending Mass now falls in 2020 to only 4 percent. The number of priests will fall from around two hundred now to 120 in 2020, the Diocese of Roermond expects.

Federation Board
The current parish boards will be amalgamated in the future into a federation board, which has its own budget and will distribute it among the parishes. These federations decide what happens in their area, including whether and how churches close.

Village churches will be kept open if possible as they are central to the community and because no other churches are close as in urban areas.

In the late sixties of the last century, church attendance in Limburg reached a peak according to the spokesman. At that time, 80 to 90 percent of the faithful to Mass regularly. In the early seventies, their number dropped to 60 percent, and continued reducing dramatically to 8 percent now.

Fewer people can afford the cost of keeping open churches. "If there is no-one who can afford the costs, the conclusion is inevitable," the diocese said Thursday.
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Tension between Vatican and German Chancellor prior to Papal Visit to Germany


Four months before the visit to Germany by Pope Benedict XVI. there is a clear disagreement between the Chancellery and the Vatican about the location of the planned face to face meeting between Chancellor Merkel and the Pope.

A meeting in the chancellor's office has been rejected by the Vatican, reports the "Rheinische Post" (Friday edition), citing a government sources. A role will have been played by Merkel's criticism during a press conference in 2009 at the government headquarters of the attitude of the pope to the Holocaust-deniers Bishop Richard Williamson and her invitation to the head of the Catholic Church to issue a "unambiguous" clarification. Chancellor Merkel has rejected a meeting at the Apostolic Nuncio, the Vatican Embassy in Berlin .

The government now tend to prefer the Catholic Academy as an "independent third place," the newspaper reports. A spokesman for the German Bishops' Conference said however: "We are still looking for a meeting place."

The ghost of Williamson comes back to haunt the Vatican, as he was bound to during the Papal Visit to Germany in September.
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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Of your charity, pray for the repose of Gustav Mahler

Who a convert from Judaism to the Catholic Faith, wrote this glorious symphony concerning the Resurrection, died one hundred years ago today.

It is the answer on the one side to Bishop Williamson and on the other to ultra- modernist interpretations about the relationship between Judaism and the Catholic Church.

Before such beauty and faith, all such disputes should be silent.  

Non in dialectica complacuit Deo salvum facere populum suum

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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Who would trust the Bishops' Conferences to solve the sexual abuse crisis?

Certainly not Cardinal Baggio who in 1977 when Prefect of the Congregation of Bishops addressed the Circulo di Roma, a group of diplomats and intellectuals based in Rome.

While dressing up his assessment of Bishops' Conferences in a generally positive light, he declared that, « as they were entirely human institutions, they reveal  grandeurs and servility, ambiguity and contradictions, such as improvisation and inexperience, empiricism, group mentality when it comes to expressing an opinion, bureaucratic and administrative inertia, a refusal to take responsibility, a loss of energy and time- these defective elements lead one to consider sometimes that the Bishops’ Conferences are a aberration of pluralism »

And the then Cardinal Ratzinger writing in 1982, "it is however a fact that we have become the witnesses of a dissolution of personal responsibility of the bishop in the anonymity of collective decisions, a disolution which is without precedent in history".

Ironic indeed that conservatives and traditionalists, given their, at least, incipient ultramontanism  have a rather flatter view of ecclesiastical hierarchy than progressives and modernists.  Cardinal Manning reportedly expected a direct instruction from the Pope to be brought to him at breakfast each morning.  But there again, one would expect progressives and other socialists to rather like building bureaucracies.   It does employ them so.
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Student protest against Cardinal Meisner - Radio Erft

Student protest against Cardinal Meisner - Radio Erft

Students of the teacher David Berger from Erftstadt want to demonstrate on Tuesday afternoon against homophobia and fundamentalism.

The students have organized a protest march that starts at the main station and then goes to the official residence of Cardinal Meisner. The background is the decision of the cardinal to revoke the teaching license of the avowedly gay David Berger.

Berger himself welcomed the action in a interview with Radio Erft - but stressed that he would not personally be there. It should not look as if he called on the students to take action - it was all organized by the youth alone.

Cardinal Meisner had justified the withdrawal of permission to teach with the fact that Berger does not agree with the moral and legal norms of the Catholic Church. Students criticize this attitude because it is fundamentalist in their view, and hinders free development.

Bishops' Conferences - state of play regarding guidelines

ZENIT - Aide: Many Bishops Already Have Abuse Guidelines

Interesting comment from Father Lombardi at the end praising the German Bishops' Conference for paying for victims' therapy.

Monday, May 16, 2011

New document from the Vatican on sexual abuse scandal- small commentary

First, the note of synthesis, followed by letter from Cardinal Levada, and finally the document itself.  My comments will slowly but surely appear in green.

Note of Synthesis

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has asked every Bishops' Conferences in the world to prepare "Guidelines" for dealing with cases of sexual abuse of minors by clergy, in ways appropriate to specific situations in different regions, by May 2012.

Finally a sense of urgency, compared with what has gone before but it is still going to take a year. Should that not be end of May 2011?

In its "Circular Letter," the Congregation has offered a broad set of principles and indications, which will not only facilitate the formulation of the guidelines and therefore a uniformity of conduct of ecclesiastical authorities in various nations, but will also ensure consistency at the level of the universal Church, while respecting the competence of bishops and religious superiors.

Sexual abuse as an international management problem- will the Congregation highlight best practice once they have collected all the Guideliness from the Bishops’ Conferences?  Surely there will be Bishops' Conferences against which the others can benchmark themselves.

Priority is given to victims, prevention programs, seminary formation and an ongoing formation of clergy, cooperation with civil authorities, the careful and rigorous implementation of the most canonical recent legislation in the area are the principal considerations that must structure the Guidelines in every corner of the world.

Have a book about seminary formation in the years prior to the Council- it is clear that the authorities were all too aware of the problems of moral decadence. There is no way that a child abuser would have got through seminary if the authorities lived by what was in this book.

To learn about modern seminary life, there is no substitute for reading Goodbye Good Men by Michael Rose.   The abusers, by and large, come from the self- protecting coteries of homosexuals that dominate some seminaries and they continue to shelter their own, long after seminary has finished.  They have but one hermeneutic (interpretation in plain language) of the Council and it is the extension of  liberty of conscience, unbalanced by prudence, into matters of morals.

* * *
In recent days, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has sent to all Episcopal conferences a "Circular Letter to assist Episcopal Conferences in developing Guidelines for dealing with cases of sexual abuse of minors perpetrated by clerics."

The preparation of the document was announced in July, at the time of the publication of new rules for the implementation of the motu proprio " Sacramentorum sanctitatis tutela " (see Note Fr. F. Lombardi, in OR, 16/07/2010, 1, and, Abuse of minors. The Church’s reponse).

An analogy of the procedure with the Latin Mass Motu Proprio, re-inforcing the original publication with further guidelines- one is probably going to see more and more of this method (very Benedict XVI) as the Vatican tries to bring faith and order to the post-conciliar church. If the Bishops’ Conferences have been as inactive about implementing Sacramentorum sanctitatis tutela, as they have about the Latin Mass Motu Proprio, God help the Church.

H.E., Cardinal Levada, Prefect of the Congregation, later informed of its preparation during the meeting of the Cardinals at the November Consistory (see Press Release on the Afternoon Session, 11/19/2010).
The document is accompanied by a letter of presentation, signed by Cardinal Levada, illustrating its nature and purpose.

Following the revision of norms on sexual abuse of minors by members of the clergy, approved by the Pope last year, "it seems opportune that each Episcopal Conference prepare Guidelines whose purpose will be to assist the Bishops of the Conference to follow clear and coordinated procedures in dealing with these instances of abuse. Such Guidelines would take into account the concrete situation of the jurisdictions within the Episcopal Conference".

What will happen if the Vatican are unhappy with some of the guidelines produced. Can they ask a Bishops’ Conference to change their guidelines? Why on earth does not the Vatican produce guidelines and impose them on the Bishops’ Conferences, with the possible option of the Conferences adding their own paragraphs if they really do have specific situations to deal with. The child abuse is a universal problem and the Catholic Church is universal.

To this end, the Circular Letter "contains general themes" for the consideration which naturally must be adapted to national realities, but which will help to ensure a coordinated approach by the various episcopates as well as - precisely thanks to the Guidelines - within the Episcopal Conferences.

As long as general themes are not generalities

Regarding the drafting of new Guidelines or the revision of existing ones, Cardinal Levada’s letter also gives two indications: first, to involve the Major Superiors of clerical religious Institutes (to take into account not only diocesan clergy, but also religious), and then to " send a copy of the completed Guidelines to the Congregation by the end of May 2012".

See above on slowness of the process. How many perpetrators will have died between now and May 2012?

In conclusion, two concerns are clear:

1. The need to address the problem promptly and effectively with clear, organic, indications that are suitable to local situations and in relation to the norms and civil authorities. The indication of a specific date and a relatively short period within which all Episcopal conferences must develop Guidelines is clearly a very strong and eloquent statement.

The Vatican is playing catch up, maybe too little, certainly too late.

2. Respect for the fundamental competence of the diocesan bishops (and Major Superiors) in the matter (the wording of the Circular is very keen to stress this aspect: the guidelines are intended to "assist the diocesan bishops and Major Superiors").

There are two old debates at play here- the competence of the individual diocesan bishop vis a vis the Bishops’ Conferences and the authority of the Bishops’ Conferences vis a vis the Pope.

The Circular Letter itself is short but very dense, and is divided into three parts.
The first part develops a set of general considerations, including in particular:

Priority attention to the victims of sexual abuse: listening to the victims and their families, and a commitment to their spiritual and psychological assistance.

Any mention of compensation to the victims or their families?  Or payment for psychological assistance- which can be very long term.   Several victims have committed suicide.   Abuse can ruin the lives of a whole circle of people.

The development of prevention programs to create truly safe environments for children.

Prevention programmes start in restored seminary training- see above.

The formation of future priests and religious and exchange of information on candidates to the priesthood or religious life who are transferred.

Rome needs to keep a central database of all priests who are transferred from diocese to diocese.

Support for priests, their ongoing formation and informing them of their responsibilities regarding the issue, how to support them when they are accused, dealing with cases of abuse according to law, the rehabilitation of the good reputation of those who have been unjustly accused.

Only judging from the press, what is remarkable, especially given the prevailing climate, seems to be how few false accusations there have been.

Cooperation with civil authorities within their responsibilities. "Specifically, without prejudice to the sacramental internal forum, the prescriptions of civil law regarding the reporting of such crimes to the designated authority should always be followed". This cooperation should be implemented not only in cases of abuse by clergy, but by any employee who works in a Church structure.

There is no specific mention of Church schools.  Surprising, as many cases arose in this context.

As one friend put it, did they not know telephones had been invented when it came to reporting to the civil authorities?   This is not a question of rights for canon law procedures- which the civil authorities barely recognise- all too often that has been an excuse for cover up.

The second part addresses applicable canonical legislation in force today, after the revision of 2010.

Will come to this when I comment on the document itself.

It refers to the power of bishops and Major Superiors in preliminary investigation and, in the case of a credible allegation, their obligation to refer the matter to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which offers guidance for the handling of the case.

It speaks about the precautionary measures to be imposed and information to be given to the accused during the preliminary investigation.

It refers to the canonical measures and ecclesiastical penalties that can be applied to offenders, including dismissal from the clerical state.

Finally, it specifies the relationship between canon law valid for the entire Church and any additional specific particular norms that given Episcopal Conferences deem appropriate or necessary, and the procedure to be followed in such cases.

The Third and final part lists a number of useful observations in formulating concrete operational guidelines for bishops and major superiors.

Among other things, the need to offer assistance to victims is stressed as well as the need to treat the complainant with respect and ensure the privacy and reputation of the people involved; to take due account of the civil laws of the country, including any obligation to notify the civil authorities; to ensure the accused information on the allegation and an opportunity to respond, and in any case a just and worthy support; to exclude the cleric's return to public ministry, in case of danger to minors or of scandal to the community. Once again, the primary responsibility of bishops and Major Superiors is reiterated, a responsibility which can not be replaced by supervisory bodies, however useful or necessary they may be in support of this responsibility.
The Circular therefore represents a very important new step in promoting awareness throughout the Church of the need and urgency to effectively respond to the scourge of sexual abuse by members of the clergy. Only in this way can we renew full credibility in the witness and educational mission of the Church, and help create in society in general, safe educational environments of which there is an urgent need.

Your Eminence, Your Excellency,
As you are aware, on 21 May 2010, His Holiness, Benedict XVI promulgated a revised version of the motu proprio Sacramentorum sanctitatis tutela containing norms concerning delicta graviora, including the sexual abuse of minors by members of the clergy.

In order to facilitate the correct application of these norms and other issues related to the abuse of minors, it seems opportune that each Episcopal Conference prepare Guidelines whose purpose will be to assist the Bishops of the Conference to follow clear and coordinated procedures in dealing with these instances of abuse. Such Guidelines would take into account the concrete situation of the jurisdictions within the Episcopal Conference.

Seems opportune is a bit of an understatement.  How about it is imperative

To assist the Conferences of Bishops with the preparation of such Guidelines, or as an aid in reviewing those which already exist, the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith has prepared the enclosed Circular Letter which contains general themes for the consideration of the Conference. This Circular Letter will remain under embargo until 12:00 PM in Rome on 16 May 2011, when it will be released by the Vatican Press Office.
It would also be helpful to involve the Major Superiors of clerical religious Institutes present in the territory of the Conference in the development of such Guidelines.

Another understatement!   Delete helpful and add necessary.   There have been several cases in Germany and also at Ealing Abbey where the local bishops argued that they had no jurisdiction.   In the case of Ealing, Vincent Nichols said it was the responsibility despite it stating in the guidelines, which he had a hand in writing, that bishops should take responsibility for the religious houses in their diocese.

Finally, each Conference of Bishops is asked to send a copy of the completed Guidelines to the Congregation by the end of May 2012.

Hopefully, the conferences compete with eachother to produce guidelines with all possible speed and well before May 2012.  One wonders what proportion of Bishops' Conferences and Dioceses in the world have produced guidelines and how many of them, especially the Dioceses, are unaffected by the issue.  Suspect it is very few.

This Dicastery remains at the disposal of your Episcopal Conference should there be any need for clarification or assistance in the preparation of such Guidelines. In the event that the Conference wishes to establish binding norms it will be necessary to request the appropriate recognitio from the competent Dicasteries of the Roman Curia.

To make them binding in canon law- seems to me a lot of these guidelines will have no effect in canon law.  Can Rome ask for corrections to any of them- I assume they can for the ones that are to be made binding.

With prayerful best wishes, I remain
Sincerely yours in Christ,
William Card. Levada
To assist Episcopal Conferences in developing Guidelines
for dealing with cases of sexual abuse of minors perpetrated by clerics
Among the important responsibilities of the Diocesan Bishop in his task of assuring the common good of the faithful and, especially, the protection of children and of the young, is the duty he has to give an appropriate response to the cases of sexual abuse of minors by clerics in his diocese. Such a response entails the development of procedures suitable for assisting the victims of such abuse, and also for educating the ecclesial community concerning the protection of minors. A response will also make provision for the implementation of the appropriate canon law, and, at the same time, allow for the requirements of civil law.

One of the first tasks, if not the first task, of a Diocesan Bishop is to protect children.    Forget issuing banal left-wing papers on peace and justice which no-one reads.

There is a tension between the different standards for the punishment of clergy in civil and canon law, which goes back centuries.   St Thomas Becket was accused of being soft on criminous clerks.

I. General considerations:
a) The victims of sexual abuse:
The Church, in the person of the Bishop or his delegate, should be prepared to listen to the victims and their families, and to be committed to their spiritual and psychological assistance. In the course of his Apostolic trips our Holy Father, Benedict XVI, has given an eminent model of this with his availability to meet with and listen to the victims of sexual abuse. In these encounters the Holy Father has focused his attention on the victims with words of compassion and support, as we read in his Pastoral Letter to the Catholics of Ireland (n.6): "You have suffered grievously and I am truly sorry. I know that nothing can undo the wrong you have endured. Your trust has been betrayed and your dignity has been violated."

Oh, that other Bishops had followed the lead of the Holy Father- all too often they are aware of litigation for compensation.  Archbishop Leonard of Belgium has resolutely refused to accept any ecclesiastical responsibility.

b) The protection of minors:
In some countries programs of education and prevention have been begun within the Church in order to ensure "safe environments" for minors. Such programs seek to help parents as well as those engaged in pastoral work and schools to recognize the signs of abuse and to take appropriate measures. These programs have often been seen as models in the commitment to eliminate cases of sexual abuse of minors in society today.

Prevention starts in the seminary- see above.

c) The formation of future priests and religious:
In 2002, Pope John Paul II stated, "there is no place in the priesthood and religious life for those who would harm the young" (n. 3, Address to the American Cardinals, 23 April 2002). These words call to mind the specific responsibility of Bishops and Major Superiors and all those responsible for the formation of future priests and religious. The directions given in the Apostolic Exhortation Pastores Dabo Vobis as well as the instructions of the competent Dicasteries of the Holy See take on an even greater importance in assuring a proper discernment of vocations as well as a healthy human and spiritual formation of candidates. In particular, candidates should be formed in an appreciation of chastity and celibacy, and the responsibility of the cleric for spiritual fatherhood. Formation should also assure that the candidates have an appreciation of the Church’s discipline in these matters. More specific directions can be integrated into the formation programs of seminaries and houses of formation through the respective Ratio institutionis sacerdotalis of each nation, Institute of Consecrated Life and Society of Apostolic Life.

All too often unsuitable candidates are being accepted, given the shortage of priests. 

Particular attention, moreover, is to be given to the necessary exchange of information in regard to those candidates to priesthood or religious life who transfer from one seminary to another, between different dioceses, or between religious Institutes and dioceses.

See urgent need for central database- see above.

d) Support of Priests
1. The bishop has the duty to treat all his priests as father and brother. With special attention, moreover, the bishop should care for the continuing formation of the clergy, especially in the first years after Ordination, promoting the importance of prayer and the mutual support of priestly fraternity. Priests are to be well informed of the damage done to victims of clerical sexual abuse. They should also be aware of their own responsibilities in this regard in both canon and civil law. They should as well be helped to recognize the potential signs of abuse perpetrated by anyone in relation to minors;

All too often there has been a conspiracy of silence within orders and even parish communities.

2. In dealing with cases of abuse which have been denounced to them the bishops are to follow as thoroughly as possible the discipline of canon and civil law, with respect for the rights of all parties;

Procedures should not only be more thorough, they should be more quickly handled than in the past.

3. The accused cleric is presumed innocent until the contrary is proven. Nonetheless the bishop is always able to limit the exercise of the cleric’s ministry until the accusations are clarified. If the case so warrants, whatever measures can be taken to rehabilitate the good name of a cleric wrongly accused should be done.

Pleased to see canon law following English notions of justice of innocent until proved guilty.  As I said above, only judging from the press, what is remarkable, especially given the prevailing climate, seems to be how few false accusations there have been.

e) Cooperation with Civil Authority
Sexual abuse of minors is not just a canonical delict but also a crime prosecuted by civil law. Although relations with civil authority will differ in various countries, nevertheless it is important to cooperate with such authority within their responsibilities. Specifically, without prejudice to the sacramental internal forum, the prescriptions of civil law regarding the reporting of such crimes to the designated authority should always be followed. This collaboration, moreover, not only concerns cases of abuse committed by clerics, but also those cases which involve religious or lay persons who function in ecclesiastical structures.

As one friend put it, did they not know telephones had been invented when it came to reporting to the civil authorities?   This is not a question of rights for canon law procedures- which the civil authorities barely recognise- all too often that has been an excuse for cover up.

II. A brief summary of the applicable canonical legislation concerning the delict of sexual abuse of minors perpetrated by a cleric:

On 30 April 2001, Pope John Paul II promulgated the motu proprio Sacramentorum sanctitatis tutela [SST], by which sexual abuse of a minor under 18 years of age committed by a cleric was included in the list of more grave crimes (delicta graviora) reserved to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF). Prescription for this delict was fixed at 10 years beginning at the completion of the 18th year of the victim. The norm of the motu proprio applied both to Latin and Eastern clerics, as well as for diocesan and religious clergy.

In 2003, Cardinal Ratzinger, then Prefect of the CDF, obtained from Pope John Paul II the concession of some special faculties in order to provide greater flexibility in conducting penal processes for these more grave delicts. These measures included the use of the administrative penal process, and, in more serious cases, a request for dismissal from the clerical state ex officio. These faculties have now been incorporated in the revision of the motu proprio approved by the Holy Father, Benedict XVI, on 21 May 2010. In the new norms prescription, in the case of abuse of minors, is set for 20 years calculated from the completion of the 18th year of age of the victim. In individual cases, the CDF is able to derogate from prescription when indicated. The canonical delict of acquisition, possession or distribution of pedopornography is also specified in this revised motu proprio.

Statute of limitations- not sure what the pre-existing norms prescribed.   Will make some more notes on the canon law section later today.   More comments below that on advice to bishops.

The responsibility for dealing with cases of sexual abuse of minors belongs, in the first place, to Bishops or Major Superiors. If an accusation seems true the Bishop or Major Superior, or a delegate, ought to carry out the preliminary investigation in accord with CIC can. 1717, CCEO can. 1468, and SST art. 16.

If the accusation is considered credible, it is required that the case be referred to the CDF. Once the case is studied the CDF will indicate the further steps to be taken. At the same time, the CDF will offer direction to assure that appropriate measures are taken which both guarantee a just process for the accused priest, respecting his fundamental right of defense, and care for the good of the Church, including the good of victims. In this regard, it should be noted that normally the imposition of a permanent penalty, such as dismissal from the clerical state, requires a penal judicial process. In accord with canon law (cf. CIC can. 1342) the Ordinary is not able to decree permanent penalties by extrajudicial decree. The matter must be referred to the CDF which will make the definitive judgement on the guilt of the cleric and his unsuitability for ministry, as well as the consequent imposition of a perpetual penalty (SST art. 21, §2).

The canonical measures applied in dealing with a cleric found guilty of sexual abuse of a minor are generally of two kinds: 1) measures which completely restrict public ministry or at least exclude the cleric from any contact with minors. These measures can be reinforced with a penal precept; 2) ecclesiastical penalties, among which the most grave is the dismissal from the clerical state.

In some cases, at the request of the cleric himself, a dispensation from the obligations of the clerical state, including celibacy, can be given pro bono Ecclesiae.

Why does it need to be at the request of the cleric?

The preliminary investigation, as well as the entire process, ought to be carried out with due respect for the privacy of the persons involved and due attention to their reputations.

If this is the case, speed is also needed both at Diocesan and especially Roman level to avoid accusations of cover-up.  The point of the decision whether or not to call in the civil authorities must be reached with all possible speed.

Unless there are serious contrary indications, before a case is referred to the CDF, the accused cleric should be informed of the accusation which has been made, and given the opportunity to respond to it. The prudence of the bishop will determine what information will be communicated to the accused in the course of the preliminary investigation.

It remains the duty of the Bishop or the Major Superior to provide for the common good by determining what precautionary measures of CIC can. 1722 and CCEOcan. 1473 should be imposed. In accord with SST art. 19, this can be done once the preliminary investigation has been initiated.

Finally, it should be noted that, saving the approval of the Holy See, when a Conference of Bishops intends to give specific norms, such provisions must be understood as a complement to universal law and not replacing it. The particular provisions must therefore be in harmony with the CIC / CCEO as well as with themotu proprio Sacramentorum sanctitatis tutela (30 April 2001) as updated on 21 May 2010. In the event that a Conference would decide to establish binding norms it will be necessary to request the recognitio from the competent Dicasteries of the Roman Curia.

III. Suggestions for Ordinaries on Procedures:
The Guidelines prepared by the Episcopal Conference ought to provide guidance to Diocesan Bishops and Major Superiors in case they are informed of allegations of sexual abuse of minors by clerics present in the territory of their jurisdiction. Such Guidelines, moreover, should take account of the following observations:

a.) the notion of "sexual abuse of minors" should concur with the definition of article 6 of the motu proprio SST ("the delict against the sixth commandment of the Decalogue committed by a cleric with a minor below the age of eighteen years"), as well as with the interpretation and jurisprudence of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, while taking into account the civil law of the respective country;

b.) the person who reports the delict ought to be treated with respect. In the cases where sexual abuse is connected with another delict against the dignity of the sacrament of Penance (SST art. 4), the one reporting has the right to request that his or her name not be made known to the priest denounced (SST art. 24).;

c.) ecclesiastical authority should commit itself to offering spiritual and psychological assistance to the victims;

And financial commitment to this care as and when necessary

d.) investigation of accusations is to be done with due respect for the principle of privacy and the good name of the persons involved;

e.) unless there are serious contrary indications, even in the course of the preliminary investigation, the accused cleric should be informed of the accusation, and given the opportunity to respond to it.

f.) consultative bodies of review and discernment concerning individual cases, foreseen in some places, cannot substitute for the discernment and potestas regiminis of individual bishops;

This clash of powers has been responsible for some furious disputes, not least in Belgium, to a degree the Netherlands and some scandal in Austria, as well as the US.  See earlier post today on Cathcon.

g.) the Guidelines are to make allowance for the legislation of the country where the Conference is located, in particular regarding what pertains to the obligation of notifying civil authorities;

Whatever the national requirements, the Church should be exemplary in this respect.

h.) during the course of the disciplinary or penal process the accused cleric should always be afforded a just and fit sustenance;

i.) the return of a cleric to public ministry is excluded if such ministry is a danger for minors or a cause of scandal for the community.

As if that should be in doubt.


The Guidelines developed by Episcopal Conferences seek to protect minors and to help victims in finding assistance and reconciliation. They will also indicate that the responsibility for dealing with the delicts of sexual abuse of minors by clerics belongs in the first place to the Diocesan Bishop. Finally, the Guidelines will lead to a common orientation within each Episcopal Conference helping to better harmonize the resources of single Bishops in safeguarding minors.

What powers of enforcement and monitoring will the Vatican have respect to the Bishops' Conference and individual Bishops, and what powers will the Conferences have with respect to individual bishops.  All dates back to the ecclesiologically muddled thinking about the relationship of the Papacy and bishops after the Council.

Rome, from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, 3 May 2011
William Cardinal Levada
Prefect + Luis F. Ladaria, S.J.
Tit. Archbishop of Thibica

Cardinal Rigali blasted by head of Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s sexual-abuse review board

Long and informative article, from a careful academic who is also a member of the National Review Board.

Cathcon will be providing an analysis of the Vatican document on the sexual abuse scandal due today.   It will be interesting to see if it will go far enough to satisfy experts like this but more importantly those that have been victims and their families.   The dynamic between the experts who have been brought in by the Church and the ecclesiastical authorities is interesting- in Belgium of the two appointed, one after the other has been highly critical.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Members of Bishops' Conferences of the world will need a stiff whiskey before clicking on this.

MUST READ: Msgr. Pozzo’s comments on the Instruction “Universae Ecclesiae” in L’Osservatore Romano | Fr. Z's Blog – What Does The Prayer Really Say?

Time for the Pope to celebrate Latin Mass in St Peter's Basilica

At the throne of the First Prince of the Apostles.

No new seminary for the Old Rite

Vermischtes: Kein Seminar für alten Ritus (

Chur. - U-turn by Bishop Vitus Huonder on the training of priests for the old Rite. A separate institution in the Diocese of Chur for this Rite is no longer under consideration. At the beginning of the year Huonder, in an interview with the Südostschweiz am Sonntag , said, priests who wanted to read the Latin Mass should receive their formation at a specific institution.

There is no more talk of their own institution and the creation of conditions for the training of specific priests for these tasks in the courtyard of the Bishop's Palace in Chur. There were no plans to do something specific in Chur, a senior person in the Diocese stated on our request. Neither will there be a new department in the Seminary of St. Lucy, nor an independent seminary in the diocese at a seperate location. Furthermore, the idea of a competence centre for the old Rite is no longer considered, the senior Diocesan spokesman stated.

The ideas that one Diocese should become a centre for the old Rite or that within that Diocese there should be a seperate group devoted to the Latin Mass completely flies in the face of the spirit of the Motu Proprio and the intentions of the Pope to make the Latin Mass intrinsic to the life of the Church.   But it also spells a danger for various religious institutes such as the Fraternity of St Peter, without whom the Latin Mass would not have survived in times rather more hostile than today.

Very good selection of commentaries on the Instruction

Ars orandi: the Art and Beauty of Traditional Catholicism: Universae Ecclesiae Roundup

But I would say that, wouldn't I!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Updates on Instruction on the Application of Summorum Pontificum- a small commentary

These will be posted on the original post- news stories, comments and analysis from various sources.

Catholic Church Conservation: Instruction on the Application of Summorum Pontificum- a small commentary

Church takes action against mafia

AFP: Kirche von Neapel verweigert Mafiosi Sakramente

Church of Naples denies mafiosi sacraments
Rome - The Catholic Church in the region of Naples will in the future deny sacraments to mafiosi. For unrepentant members of organized crime, there will be no more church burials, and they will not any more be able even to be godparents and marriage witnesses, said Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe.

It was "inconceivable" that the "anti-Christ" should participate in organised Christianity, he said in the statement. A dead Mafiosi will be directly buried at the cemetery, the church being barred to him. If a Mafia member, however, shows repentance, this will not be the position. The cardinal said this the day before the new regulations were to be published and welcomed the blow the church has dealt to the Camorra.

Instruction on the Application of Summorum Pontificum- a small commentary

INSTRUCTION on the application of the Apostolic Letter Summorum Pontificum of HIS HOLINESS POPE BENEDICT XVI given Motu Proprio
1. The Apostolic Letter Summorum Pontificum of the Sovereign Pontiff Benedict XVI given Motu Proprio on 7 July 2007, which came into effect on 14 September 2007, has made the richness of the Roman Liturgy more accessible to the Universal Church.

2. With this Motu Proprio, the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI promulgated a universal law for the Church, intended to establish new regulations for the use of the Roman Liturgy in effect in 1962.

Universal law- stresses bishops cannot claim exemption.

3. The Holy Father, having recalled the concern of the Sovereign Pontiffs in caring for the Sacred Liturgy and in their recognition of liturgical books, reaffirms the traditional principle, recognised from time immemorial and necessary to be maintained into the future, that "each particular Church must be in accord with the universal Church not only regarding the doctrine of the faith and sacramental signs, but also as to the usages universally handed down by apostolic and unbroken tradition. These are to be maintained not only so that errors may be avoided, but also so that the faith may be passed on in its integrity, since the Church's rule of prayer (lex orandi) corresponds to her rule of belief (lex credendi)."1

In theory, the Catholic Church adopts the liturgy of the Bishop of Rome- which after the Council has been a rather exclusive concept- and many don’t consider this important given the increased jurisdiction given at the Council to local bishops in matters liturgical.

4. The Holy Father recalls also those Roman Pontiffs who, in a particular way, were notable in this task, specifically Saint Gregory the Great and Saint Pius V. The Holy Father stresses moreover that, among the sacred liturgical books, the Missale Romanum has enjoyed a particular prominence in history, and was kept up to date throughout the centuries until the time of Blessed Pope John XXIII. Subsequently in 1970, following the liturgical reform after the Second Vatican Council, Pope Paul VI approved for the Church of the Latin rite a new Missal, which was then translated into various languages. In the year 2000, Pope John Paul II promulgated the third edition of this Missal.

The implication here is that the Pope also wishes the Missale Romanum of 1962 to be also updated- the benefits of this idea depend on who is doing the updating and in which way.  The changes to the Missale Romanum over the years were nothing compared to the radical changes required by the Novus Ordo.

In my view, it is difficult to describe Novus Ordo Masses as part of a Rite, as there is so much diversity of form and content.    The attempt is made to say that there is one Rite in two forms.   The reality is that the Novus Ordo has many forms.  There is, of course, the amusing idea that the Latin Mass is the extraordinary form, given the venerable place that it occupies in Catholic life through the centuries and the Novus Ordo is the ordinary form, given the many extraordinary forms in which it is found.

5. Many of the faithful, formed in the spirit of the liturgical forms prior to the Second Vatican Council, expressed a lively desire to maintain the ancient tradition. For this reason, Pope John Paul II with a special Indult Quattuor abhinc annos issued in 1984 by the Congregation for Divine Worship, granted the faculty under certain conditions to restore the use of the Missal promulgated by Blessed Pope John XXIII. Subsequently, Pope John Paul II, with the Motu Proprio Ecclesia Dei of 1988, exhorted the Bishops to be generous in granting such a faculty for all the faithful who requested it. Pope Benedict continues this policy with the Motu ProprioSummorum Pontificum regarding certain essential criteria for the Usus Antiquior of the Roman Rite, which are recalled here.

The opening sentence is moving away from the idea that provisions for the Latin Mass are just for those who were formed spiritually prior to the Council-an excuse often made by uncooperative bishops and who have been anything but generous.   The formation referred to here has not necessarily taken place prior to the Council. 

It is, however, inconsistent with the idea that the Motu Proprio was issued for the benefit of the whole church.

6. The Roman Missal promulgated by Pope Paul VI and the last edition prepared under Pope John XXIII, are two forms of the Roman Liturgy, defined respectively as ordinaria and extraordinaria: they are two usages of the one Roman Rite, one alongside the other. Both are the expression of the same lex orandi of the Church. On account of its venerable and ancient use, the forma extraordinaria is to be maintained with appropriate honor.

This reminds me of the Anglican notice in Westminster Abbey saying that the tomb of St Edward the Confessor has ever been held in honour in that place.  Not by Anglicans- Catholics with long memories know all to well that there was a deliberate attempt to suppress the Latin Mass in the years after the Council.

7. The Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum was accompanied by a letter from the Holy Father to Bishops, with the same date as the Motu Proprio (7 July 2007). This letter gave further explanations regarding the appropriateness and the need for the Motu Proprio; it was a matter of overcoming a lacuna by providing new norms for the use of the Roman Liturgy of 1962. Such norms were needed particularly on account of the fact that, when the new Missal had been introduced under Pope Paul VI, it had not seemed necessary to issue guidelines regulating the use of the 1962 Liturgy. By reason of the increase in the number of those asking to be able to use the forma extraordinaria, it has become necessary to provide certain norms in this area.
Among the statements of the Holy Father was the following: "There is no contradiction between the two editions of the Roman Missal. In the history of the Liturgy growth and progress are found, but not a rupture. What was sacred for prior generations, remains sacred and great for us as well, and cannot be suddenly prohibited altogether or even judged harmful."2

Maybe not contradictions as such, but inconsistencies of form, content and intent, giving rise to the idea that some celebrations of the Novus Ordo are putatively invalid and some are certainly invalid. 

8. The Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum constitutes an important expression of the Magisterium of the Roman Pontiff and of his munus of regulating and ordering the Church’s Sacred Liturgy.3 The Motu Proprio manifests his solicitude as Vicar of Christ and Supreme Pastor of the Universal Church,4 and has the aim of:

a.) offering to all the faithful the Roman Liturgy in the Usus Antiquior, considered as a precious treasure to be preserved;

There is a danger in this phraseology that the Latin Mass becomes something for the liturgical museum, visited from time to time by a few specialists.

b.) effectively guaranteeing and ensuring the use of the forma extraordinaria for all who ask for it, given that the use of the 1962 Roman Liturgy is a faculty generously granted for the good of the faithful and therefore is to be interpreted in a sense favourable to the faithful who are its principal addressees;

Bishops take note- don’t loose sight of the good of the faithful.

c.) promoting reconciliation at the heart of the Church.

Reference here to the possibility of reconciling the Society of St Pius X, inter-alia.  As much as the Extraordinary Form flourishes within the Church, so the influence and importance of the Society decreases.

The Responsibilities
of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei
9. The Sovereign Pontiff has conferred upon the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei ordinary vicarious power for the matters within its competence, in a particular way for monitoring the observance and application of the provisions of the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum (cf. art. 12).

Vicarious- means that they are representing the Pope.  They are to be his eyes and ears!

10. § 1. The Pontifical Commission exercises this power, beyond the faculties previously granted by Pope John Paul II and confirmed by Pope Benedict XVI (cf. Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum, artt. 11-12), also by means of the power to decide upon recourses legitimately sent to it, as hierarchical Superior, against any possible singular administrative provision of an Ordinary which appears to be contrary to the Motu Proprio.

This means that they can over-rule individual bishops in specific cases but a potential loop-hole depending on whether a general ruling can be interpreted as a singular administrative provision.

§ 2. The decrees by which the Pontifical Commission decides recourses may be challenged ad normam iuris before the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura.
11. After having received the approval from the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei will have the task of looking after future editions of liturgical texts pertaining to the forma extraordinaria of the Roman Rite.

Given Cardinal Burke is the prefect probably a waste of time and trouble for Bishops to appeal.  Let us hope so- although perhaps the tribunal members are on a roster and the Prefect has no influence.

Announcing that there will be a new book to supersede the 1962 edition- see comment above.

Specific Norms
12. Following upon the inquiry made among the Bishops of the world, and with the desire to guarantee the proper interpretation and the correct application of the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum, this Pontifical Commission, by virtue of the authority granted to it and the faculties which it enjoys, issues this Instruction according to can. 34 of the Code of Canon Law.

It will be interesting to see how national Bishops’ Conferences interpret this document who were given powers over the liturgy by the Council.    Doubtless there will be clerics even as I write looking for loopholes.  Hopefully the Pope won’t have to issue another document on the intrepretation of the interpretation of the Motu Proprio! It will probably be between them and Rome that the battles will be fought.  An individual bishop will not have enough power to overcome decisions taken in Rome.

The Competence of Diocesan Bishops
13. Diocesan Bishops, according to Canon Law, are to monitor liturgical matters in order to guarantee the common good and to ensure that everything is proceeding in peace and serenity in their Dioceses5, always in agreement with the mens of the Holy Father clearly expressed by the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum.6 In cases of controversy or well-founded doubt about the celebration in the forma extraordinaria, the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei will adjudicate.

The intention of the legislator is crucial in canon law and the intention of the Pope in this document cannot be clearer.

14. It is the task of the Diocesan Bishop to undertake all necessary measures to ensure respect for the forma extraordinaria of the Roman Rite, according to the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum.

Many Diocesan Bishops will have to start by disciplining themselves into respect for the Motu Proprio.

The coetus fidelium (cf. Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum, art. 5 § 1)
15. A coetus fidelium ("group of the faithful") can be said to be stabiliter existens ("existing in a stable manner"), according to the sense of art. 5 § 1 of the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum, when it is constituted by some people of an individual parish who, even after the publication of the Motu Proprio, come together by reason of their veneration for the Liturgy in the Usus Antiquior, and who ask that it might be celebrated in the parish church or in an oratory or chapel; such a coetus ("group") can also be composed of persons coming from different parishes or dioceses, who gather together in a specific parish church or in an oratory or chapel for this purpose.

No numbers, stability is the only criterion.   There was even one German bishop who wanted to collect details of the faithful from their identity cards and do a head count.

16. In the case of a priest who presents himself occasionally in a parish church or an oratory with some faithful, and wishes to celebrate in the forma extraordinaria, as foreseen by articles 2 and 4 of the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum, the pastor or rector of the church, or the priest responsible, is to permit such a celebration, while respecting the schedule of liturgical celebrations in that same church.

No more begging for the celebration of the Latin Mass, wandering from parish to parish.

17. § 1. In deciding individual cases, the pastor or the rector, or the priest responsible for a church, is to be guided by his own prudence, motivated by pastoral zeal and a spirit of generous welcome.

This will be a new experience for some

§ 2. In cases of groups which are quite small, they may approach the Ordinary of the place to identify a church in which these faithful may be able to come together for such celebrations, in order to ensure easier participation and a more worthy celebration of the Holy Mass.

Given the prevalence of church closures, this should not be too difficult.  The preference of some bishops for closing churches rather than making them available for the Latin Mass does have to come to an end.

18. Even in sanctuaries and places of pilgrimage the possibility to celebrate in the forma extraordinaria is to be offered to groups of pilgrims who request it (cf. Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum, art. 5 § 3), if there is a qualified priest.

Well remember having to creep around in the dead of the morning to attend a Latin Mass during a Knights of Malta pilgrimage to Lourdes, as no permission was asked as it would not have been given.

19. The faithful who ask for the celebration of the forma extraordinaria must not in any way support or belong to groups which show themselves to be against the validity or legitimacy of the Holy Mass or the Sacraments celebrated in the forma ordinaria or against the Roman Pontiff as Supreme Pastor of the Universal Church.
Sacerdos idoneus ("Qualified Priest") (cf. Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum, art 5 § 4)

Note the Society of St Pius X neither denies the validity of the new Mass nor the role of the Pope as Supreme Pastor- hopefully the clause will not be used against them.

20. With respect to the question of the necessary requirements for a priest to be held idoneus ("qualified") to celebrate in the forma extraordinaria, the following is hereby stated:

a.) Every Catholic priest who is not impeded by Canon Law7 is to be considered idoneus ("qualified") for the celebration of the Holy Mass in the forma extraordinaria.

b.) Regarding the use of the Latin language, a basic knowledge is necessary, allowing the priest to pronounce the words correctly and understand their meaning.

c.) Regarding knowledge of the execution of the Rite, priests are presumed to be qualified who present themselves spontaneously to celebrate the forma extraordinaria, and have celebrated it previously.

This attempts to remove the excuse of Bishops that clergy need more training to say the Latin Mass.   Terrible to think of priests that know no Latin- but by the time of the Council, even the Bishops were loosing their grasp of Latin.   How many of the treasures of the Catholic Church remain obscure without Latin!?

21. Ordinaries are asked to offer their clergy the possibility of acquiring adequate preparation for celebrations in the forma extraordinaria. This applies also to Seminaries, where future priests should be given proper formation, including study of Latin8 and, where pastoral needs suggest it, the opportunity to learn the forma extraordinaria of the Roman Rite.

This will, over time increase the numbers of priests sympathetic to the Latin Mass and reduce those who are very much opposed.   Although, the phrase where pastoral needs suggest it is already being used as a get out by the Archbishop of Westminster.      And the German Bishops' Conference responds in their usual style.    The French Bishops' Conference have not issued any statement- it will be interesting to see if they do on Monday-  this is after all the weekend.

22. In Dioceses without qualified priests, Diocesan Bishops can request assistance from priests of the Institutes erected by the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei,either to the celebrate the forma extraordinaria or to teach others how to celebrate it.

In theory, relatively few dioceses will be without qualified priests given the above requirements, but an excellent opportunity for the Institutes. 

23. The faculty to celebrate sine populo (or with the participation of only one minister) in the forma extraordinaria of the Roman Rite is given by the Motu Proprio to all priests, whether secular or religious (cf. Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum, art. 2). For such celebrations therefore, priests, by provision of the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum, do not require any special permission from their Ordinaries or superiors.

Makes life much easier for monks and individual secular priests

Liturgical and Ecclesiastical Discipline

24. The liturgical books of the forma extraordinaria are to be used as they are. All those who wish to celebrate according to the forma extraordinaria of the Roman Rite must know the pertinent rubrics and are obliged to follow them correctly.

There is nothing worse than to introduce novelties by ignoring rubrics.  Happens all the time with the Novus Ordo, given the diminishing of the number of rubrics and their authority.

25. New saints and certain of the new prefaces can and ought to be inserted into the 1962 Missal9, according to provisions which will be indicated subsequently.

The Missal is to be revised to allow for the insertion of new saints into the 1962 Missal. 

The Pope has often commented on the paucity of the prefaces in the 1962 book- something he must have clearly felt since he first said Mass.   I think, from memory, he wants to use some of the new prefaces in translation.

There is no reference to using the new lectionary or to making a new revision of the lectionary for the revision. The Novus Ordo lectionary on a three year cycle (using the variant accounts in the Gospels) has much more substance that the 1962 on a one year cycle albeit containing the whole of salvation history, but it does have the appalling habit of just taking out sections and also challenging verses. Trying to add the new lectionary onto Latin Missal would rightly cause uproar.

26. As foreseen by article 6 of the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum, the readings of the Holy Mass of the Missal of 1962 can be proclaimed either solely in the Latin language, or in Latin followed by the vernacular or, in Low Masses, solely in the vernacular.

Given the variability of the quality of the translations in hand Missals, it is surely preferable for the Latin to be always used.   There is an argument that the Latin readings are actually part of the Rite.

27. With regard to the disciplinary norms connected to celebration, the ecclesiastical discipline contained in the Code of Canon Law of 1983 applies.

28. Furthermore, by virtue of its character of special law, within its own area, the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum derogates from those provisions of law, connected with the sacred Rites, promulgated from 1962 onwards and incompatible with the rubrics of the liturgical books in effect in 1962.

Prevents Bishops from introducing innovations into the use of the 1962 Missal by the back-door.

Confirmation and Holy Orders

29. Permission to use the older formula for the rite of Confirmation was confirmed by the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum (cf. art. 9 § 2). Therefore, in the forma extraordinaria, it is not necessary to use the newer formula of Pope Paul VI as found in the Ordo Confirmationis.

This strengthens the sense of solidarity of groups attached to the Latin Mass, if use of the older formula is possible for confirmations.

30. As regards tonsure, minor orders and the subdiaconate, the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum does not introduce any change in the discipline of the Code of Canon Law of 1983; consequently, in Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life which are under the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, one who has made solemn profession or who has been definitively incorporated into a clerical institute of apostolic life, becomes incardinated as a cleric in the institute or society upon ordination to the diaconate, in accordance with canon 266 § 2 of the Code of

Canon Law.

31. Only in Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life which are under the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, and in those which use the liturgical books of the forma extraordinaria, is the use of the Pontificale Romanum of 1962 for the conferral of minor and major orders permitted.

This is the only retrograde step in the document, as occasionally Bishops have been using the 1962 books for ordinations- probably an idea emanating from the French Bishops’ Conference.

Breviarium Romanum
32. Art. 9 § 3 of the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum gives clerics the faculty to use the Breviarium Romanum in effect in 1962, which is to be prayed entirely and in the Latin language.

So no using a pre-1911 Breviary- yes, Pope St Pius X was a liturgical reformer- of the Breviary.

The Sacred Triduum
33. If there is a qualified priest, a coetus fidelium ("group of faithful"), which follows the older liturgical tradition, can also celebrate the Sacred Triduum in the forma extraordinaria. When there is no church or oratory designated exclusively for such celebrations, the parish priest or Ordinary, in agreement with the qualified priest, should find some arrangement favourable to the good of souls, not excluding the possibility of a repetition of the celebration of the Sacred Triduum in the same church.

The 1956 reform of the Tridium by Annibale Bugnini was the prototype for the later reform of the liturgy, cutting back to four the number of prophecies and rather obscuring the history of salvation.   The original Tridiuum is of a length that the Orthodox would be proud of.

The Rites of Religious Orders
34. The use of the liturgical books proper to the Religious Orders which were in effect in 1962 is permitted.

Excellent- presumably one has to be a member of the appropriate religious order. 

Pontificale Romanum and the Rituale Romanum
35. The use of the Pontificale Romanum, the Rituale Romanum, as well as the Caeremoniale Episcoporum in effect in 1962, is permitted, in keeping with n. 28 of this Instruction, and always respecting n. 31 of the same Instruction.

The Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI, in an audience granted to the undersigned Cardinal President of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei on 8 April 2011, approved this present Instruction and ordered its publication.

Given at Rome, at the Offices of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, 30 April, 2011, on the memorial of Pope Saint Pius V.

Could not be a better day for a defence of the Latin Mass- although the traditional calendar gives the Feast Day as May 5.
William Cardinal LEVADA
Mons. Guido Pozzo
1 BENEDICTUS XVI, Litterae Apostolicae Summorum Pontificum motu proprio datae, I, AAS 99 (2007) 777; cf. Institutio Generalis Missalis Romani, tertia editio 2002, n. 397.
2 BENEDICTUS XVI, Epistola ad Episcopos ad producendas Litteras Apostolicas motu proprio datas, de Usu Liturgiae Romanae Instaurationi anni 1970 praecedentis, AAS 99 (2007) 798.
3 Cf. Code of Canon Law, Canon 838 §1 and §2.
4 Cf. Code of Canon Law, Canon 331.
5 Cf. Code of Canon Law, Canons 223 § 2 or 838 §1 and §4.
6 BENEDICTUS XVI, Epistola ad Episcopos ad producendas Litteras Apostolicas motu proprio datas, de Usu Liturgiae Romanae Instaurationi anni 1970 praecedentis, AAS 99 (2007) 799.
7 Cf. Code of Canon Law, Canon 900 § 2.
8 Cf. Code of Canon Law, Canon 249; Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium, 36; Declaration Optatum totius,


Criticism of the provisions came from the leader of "We Are Church," Sigrid Grabmeier: It has become clear that "the Vatican prefers the alliance with the traditionalist to bold progress in the future," she said.


Made the news in Dominica 


New Liturgical Movement- Part I of their commentary

Two Masses for a Single Church  How many years before there is One Mass for One Western Church (excepting of course, various specific Rites)?  It is not going to be the Novus Ordo!