Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Bishop Frederick Campbell of Columbus on the Summorum Pontificum

Father John Zuhlsdorf, Father "Z", analyzes another Diocese's reception of the Summorum Pontificum of Pope Benedict.

Someone was good enough to send the Motu Proprio statement by His Excellency Most Reverend Frederick F. Campbell, Bishop of Columbus. [Bishop Campbell was formerly an Auxiliary Bishop in the Archdiocese of St Paul and Minneapolis].

In any event, I will preface this that I know Bp. Campbell a little and like him.

That said, let’s look at the statement with my emphases and comments.

Frederick F. Campbell to the clergy of the Diocese of Columbus

Dear Father/Deacon:

On September 14, 2007, the Apostolic Letter of Pope Benedict XVI, Summorum Pontificum regarding the use of the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite according to the 1962 Missal promulgated by Blessed John XXIII, goes into effect. I would like to take this opportunity to share some thoughts which I hope will result in the orderly and correct implementation of the provisions of that letter in the Diocese of Columbus. I have attached copies of this letter and other helpful materials for your reference.

At the outset, I believe that it is important to consider the context of this document and the causes which occasioned its issuance. The Holy Father’s desire is to restore and foster the unity of the Body of Christ, and to provide for the pastoral care of those faithful who are attached to the earlier form of the Mass. [This is good. He doesn’t limit the provisions only to people in questionable unity with the Church.] In his accompanying letter to the Bishops, the Holy Father noted that the desire for the older form of the Mass arose “... above all because in many places celebrations were not faithful to the prescriptions of the new Missal, [He brings in another dynamic. Heal not only people and foster unity, but heal also breaks in the way all Masses are celebrated.] but the latter (Missal of 1970) actually was understood as authorizing or even requiring creativity, which frequently led to deformations of the liturgy which were hard to bear.” That being the case, it is my hope that the Diocese of Columbus will be a model for the smooth implementation of Summorum Pontificum. Unity and peace should always surround the sacred liturgy. It is my hope that all priests will grow in the love of the Holy Mass and offer it with reverence and care, no matter which Missal is followed. With that in mind, I would offer the following guidelines for implementation.


Priests are permitted to celebrate Mass according to the 1962 Missal in celebrations without the people. However, any priest desiring to do so must first become completely familiar with the rubrics and ceremonies of this form of the Mass. [I would hope this means "any form of the Mass", lest there be a risk of a double standard. Also, I wonder what "completely" means.] Sufficient knowledge of Latin [This is a little vague… which is good! Knowledge should be "sufficient"! A reasonable reading of this was provided by His Eminence Edward Card. Egan, who wrote that the priest should be able to pronounce the words properly. Of course we hope for a great deal more than that.] and some form of training [that’s reasonable… but the form of that training usually greatly varies in priests who learn the older Mass.] in the rubrics and ceremonies of the 1962 Missal ought to be considered prerequisites in order for any priest to celebrate Mass according to the Extraordinary Form, even without the people. Resources and referrals for training can be obtained by contacting the Office of Liturgy. [Excellent!]


Priests who celebrate Mass without the people according to the 1962 Missal may admit members of the faithful to the celebrations if they spontaneously request it but these celebrations may not be announced or publicized ahead of time. [Hmmm… I wonder if that is really what a private Mass is.] Priests should not binate in order to offer Mass without the people according to the 1962 Missal, since that faculty may be invoked only for the pastoral needs of the people. (cf C.905) [Here is a bit of a problem. Does this risk a double standard? It seems there are lots of priests binating everywhere, and not always for pastoral needs of the people. For example, it very often happens that priests will celebrate Mass in their parishes and, later in the day, go to another Mass, say for the funeral of a priest, and he will concelebrate. That means he is binating, even if he is not taking a stipend. The priest might concelebrate Mass for various reasons. So, I am left scratching my head about this. It can’t be that His Excellency is now saying to his priests that if they have already said Mass, they can never concelebrate for funerals or diocesan celebrations. I admit I may be ignorant of the details of bination, but doesn’t this seems to be a bit of a double-standard?] The 1962 Missal may not be used for regularly scheduled parish Masses unless the conditions for offering Mass for a stable group [Here is that bad English translation again.] of the faithful attached to the older form of the Mass are truly fulfilled. [And those conditions, as they are in the Motu Proprio are very relaxed. It would seem to somewhat difficult to make those provisions as expressed in the Latin more restrictive than they are.]


Article 5 of the Apostolic Letter addresses a pastoral concern for those who are attached to the older liturgical tradition. These persons have a right [Excellent] to their spiritual life and to worship according to this approved albeit extraordinary form of the Roman rite (cf. C.214). Pastors are obliged [Excellent] to respond to requests for celebrations according to the 1962 Missal in the spirit of pastoral charity and with prudence. The Holy Father, in his letter to Bishops, states "the use of the old Missal presupposes a certain degree of liturgical formation and some knowledge of the Latin language; neither of these is found very often." In areas where there is a stable group [there is that bad translation again] of the faithful in sufficient numbers (Since conditions vary from place to place, a good rule to follow is a number comparable to the average attendance at daily Mass in a given place. [I am really puzzled by why this is a good rule of thumb when the Motu Proprio doesn’t specify a number. On the other hand, it is entirely reasonable that a pastor of a parish might not reasonably or prudently, given his time and energy, undertake a parish wide change for a very small group of people. Still… small initiatives can grow, can’t they? Perhaps the language of "rule of thumb" is okay.] They also must be a “stable group,” i.e. rooted in the local church community. [This is disappointing. It is all based on that bad English translation of the Latin original.]) who request these celebrations, it is advisable that the priests of the deanery collaborate to plan how best to meet their pastoral needs. [That is reasonable and smart.] They should discuss among themselves which priests would be best suited to celebrate these Masses, or would be willing and available to learn to celebrate according to the Extraordinary Form; [The only problem I have with this stems from my conviction that all priests should know how to celebrate in their particular rite. This is part and parcel of good priestcraft, ("priestcraft" understood in a positive light, of course, rather than the usual pejorative). Priests of the Latin Church, of the Roman Rite, should know both uses of that Rite! Furthermore, pastors of parishes need to be able to respond willingly to the petitions presented to them. I think priests should do their best to learn the older form so they can respond to reasonble requests themselves, and not farm it out to someone else.] they should discuss which church or churches would be most suitable for the celebrations, taking into consideration the liturgical requirements and the convenient access of the faithful. [That is refreshing.] They should also discuss the scheduling of these celebrations so that the needs of the people are sufficiently met while avoiding an unnecessary number of celebrations according to the Extraordinary Form. [WHOA! This is odd. It seems to me that if there are groups in every or many parishes who make these requests, and the Holy Father clearly said that this involves effort on the part of the PASTOR, who has the right to make the decision about public Masses, then it would be wrong to say that there would be unnecessary celebrations.] The advice of the Chancery should be sought in these discussions.


When the Missal of 1962 is followed, the laws and customs appropriate to that rite must be observed:

a) The place of celebration must meet the requirements of the older liturgy. Churches that have retained the old altar are best suited for this rite, ["use"] but other altars can in many cases be adapted.

b) A trained server, capable of accurately making the Latin responses, is required for any celebration of Mass according to the 1962 Missal, even those without the people. Only males may act as altar servers. [It is good to remember that service at the altar by females is something that diocesan bishops can regulate. He can say yes or no, since it is an exception.]

c) In Masses in which Holy Communion is given to members of the faithful, the ordinary minister is the priest and the faithful receive communion only under the species of bread, and only on the tongue. The faithful kneel to receive communion unless infirmity prevents them form doing so. [This shows sensitivity to the needs of the people most likely to be attending these Masses regularly.]

d). The role of the deacon is limited to those functions specifically assigned to the deacon in the rubrics. [I am not sure what this is about.]


To assist the Chancery in providing the faithful who inquire with an accurate schedule of Extraordinary Form Masses in their vicinity, priests who regularly offer Masses according to this Form are asked to register those scheduled Mass times and locations with the Chancery Office. This will also enable the Chancery to assess the actual availability of the Extraordinary Form throughout the Diocese in the future. I know that many other questions will arise in the weeks and months ahead to which we do not yet have answers. The USCCB is in the process of seeking information and clarification of certain points. I will supply updated information to you as it becomes available.

Thanking you for your attention to this, I am,

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Most Reverend Frederick F. Campbell, D.D., Ph.D.

This statement shows some clear sensitivity to some important issues.

First, I very much like the fact that His Excellency says that resources will be supplied for priests. Support for the priests is paramount, because in many ways this Motu Proprio is aimed at priests. It is a great gift to them.

Second, this statement does not restrict in any way the sort of person who might be interested in this form of Mass. That is very important.

At the same time, there are a couple points in here that leave me scratching my head. This issue of bination raises questions. I might need to be educated by a canonist about this. It seems to me that this point skates around the double-standard problem.

There are very positive features in this statement which must be applauded!
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