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Wednesday, 17 December 2008


The pastoral letter below is an extaordinary document, which clearly states the way in which the Bishop of Wollongong has read not only 'Summorum Pontificum" but the adjoining document which was sent to all bishops. It ignores many of the points which the Pope has clearly made in both documents. It also explains why to date the diocese has not made adequate pastoral provision for those who wish to attend the usus antiquior exclusively.

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Pope Benedict's motu proprio of 7 July 2007, which allows a freer use of what he rightly calls the "extraordinary" form of the liturgy according to the Missal of St Pius V reformed by Bl. John XXIII 1962, comes into force today, 14 September 2007.

"The "ordinary" form of the Mass embodies the reform of the Second Vatican Council in the 1970 Missal of Pope Paul VI. This remains the usual liturgical expression for the celebrating the Eucharistic Sacrifice and may be celebrated in English or Latin.

Both these expressions of the Latin Rite are united as one, because which ever form of the liturgy i being used, the same mystery is being celebrated. So, speaking, writing or thinking in terms of two rites (Tridentine and Post Vatican II) should be avoided.

The Mass in the sacrament of our unity in Christ and must not provoke division.The Tridentine expression of the Mass nurtured my young faith until after I was ordained, as it nurtured the faith of countless millions.Yet the Second Vatican Council in fact crystallised and made official the rich fruit of the biblical, theological and liturgical development of doctrine in the decades that preceded the Council.

Personally I have always felt that Pope Pius XII was quite prophetic with his encyclicals in the 1940s on the Mystical Body of Christ (Mystici Corporis), Scripture (Divino Afflante Spiritu) and the Liturgy (Mediator Dei). The seeds of Vatican II are there. It is also worth remembering that it was Pius XII in the 1950s who effected changes in the Missal of St Pius V by restoring the Holy Week Rites, especially the Triduum, including their proper hours of celebration: Evening Mass of the Lord's Supper; the Good Friday afternoon celebration of the Passion; and the Easter Vigil being a Holy Saturday night celebration.

The very first document the Vatican Council promulgated was on the Sacred Liturgy. This expressed in our liturgical celebrations, the central axiom that underpinned the major new emphasis of Vatican II: to mirror the full and active participation in the governance and pastoral life of the Church, at a diocesan and parish level, through finance and pastoral councils and the laity's witness to Christ in secular society.

Hindsight, of course, is a wonderful thing. I have personally felt that if the freedom to celebrate the Tridentine form of Mass had not been proscribed in 1970, and the clergy and faithful had been better educated to understand the theology of Vatican II, possibly the Missal of Pope Paul VI may have been more reverently and adequately accepted, appreciated and celebrated. This may have lessened resistance to misunderstood change which, in some cases, resulted in a hardening of attitudes.

The intention of Pope Benedict's motu proprio is to facilitate reconciliation for people who felt ostracised or marginalised or had joined schismatic groups in response to the Missal of Pope Paul VI.

The Holy Father is seeking to restore unity within the Church. He wants to assist those still attached to the Tridentine expression of Mass. I do not see that the Pope is intending his legislation to attract new recruits to what he now calls the "extraordinary" form of the Mass.

The "extraordinary" form of the Mass cannot be imposed on a congregation by a celebrant. In Art 5§1 the Pope sets out the limits for its celebration.

In the Diocese of Wollongong, for some years now, the Tridentine "extraordinary" form of the Latin Rite has been celebrated. It is currently celebrated by Fr John Stork at St Brigid's, Gwynneville at 3.00pm on alternate Sundays of the month. It would be good to advertise this in your parish bulletin. Please contact the Cathedral Parish Office for dates.

I also believe there is still much more work to be done at parish level on the "ordinary" form of Mass to improve the sense of reverence for the mystery being celebrated with the full and active participation of the faithful and to bring out the spiritual richness and theological depth of the Missal of Pope Paul VI.

The Vatican Council restored to our 1970 Liturgy of the Mass treasures from more ancient sources for Catholic worship that had been lost over the centuries; eg, a wider inclusion of Scripture, the general intercessions, greeting of peace.

With one legislative act, Pope Benedict has now shown that to reject our liturgical inheritance is an unacceptable as to deny the possibility of liturgical development.The Pope imposes tolerance on all of us. There is only one Latin Rite and the 1970 and 1962 Roman Missals are both expressions of it in an "ordinary" and "extraordinary" form.

The Pope has laid to rest any kind o suggestion that the 1970 Missal of Pope Paul VI is not a valid expression of the Liturgy of the Mass. By honouring the past, Pope Benedict seeks to achieve healing now and maintain unity in the future by making the extraordinary expression of the Mass available to those who have traditionally used it.

In his letter to Bishops that accompanied his motu proprio Benedict XVI explains the positive reason that motivated his decision.

"It is a matter of coming to an interior reconciliation in the heart of the Church. Looking back over the past, to the divisions which in the course of the centuries have rent the body of Christ, one continually has the impression that, at critical moments when divisions were coming about, not enough was done by the Church's leaders to maintain or regain reconciliation and unity. One has the impression that omissions on the part of the Church have had their share of blame for the fact that these divisions were able to harden. This glance at the past imposes an obligation on us today: to make every effort to enable for all those who truly desire unity to remain in that unity or to attain it anew."

Whether we pray the Mass according to either the "ordinary" form or the "extraordinary" form, we all are confronted with this same prayer before Communion:

"Lord Jesus, you said to your apostles: I leave you peace, my peace I give you. Look not on our sins, but on the faith of you Church, and grant us the peace and unity of your kingdom where you live for ever and ever."

"St Augustine said:
In what is essential, let there be unity,
In what is non-essential,
let there be freedom;
But in all things, let there be charity."

+ Most Rev Peter W Ingham DD
14 September 2007



Kate Edwards said...

Any Easter ceremonies in the extraordinary fomr?

The Sibyl said...

No Easter Ceremonies in the EF in Wollongong - Missa Cantata on Low Sunday, 3.00pm

Cardinal Pole said...

Hello The Sybil,

I came across this post via a Google search of the keywords "Summorum Pontificum" and "Peter Ingham" while doing research for a blog post I'm working on on Msgr. Ingham's recently-announced Pastoral Planning process.

I was wondering how you obtained Msgr. Ingham's Pastoral Reflection? It is not available at the archive of His Lordship's pronouncements going back to the end of 2006, and I did not recall hearing or reading about it around the time of its publication.

The Sibyl said...

Happy Sylvester and New Year to the Eminent Cardinal Pole - In answer to your question; I obtained a copy of the "Pastoral Reflection" from a priest of the diocese - the document was in the form of an "Ad Clerum" which was sent to all the clergy of the diocese. I am unaware of any "sub secreto" requirements.

BTW, What do you make of the "Pastoral Planning" process - is this a prelude to more illigitamate reform/change? The sensus of Mass attendance taken in the Diocese this year may sensibly see a reduction Masses celebrated - starting with the Vigil Masses - whose profussion in the diocese is entirely illigitmate as there should only be a restricted number of these masses for those who cannot for reasons of work attend on Sunday. (I realise that the likelihood of this change is slim)

Cardinal Pole said...

Thanks for your response, The Sybil, and Happy New Year to you too.

"What do you make of the "Pastoral Planning" process - is this a prelude to more illigitamate reform/change?"

At my blog I've just posted some thoughts on this topic. In short, I have grave misgivings about it, and I can't imagine it bearing great fruits. I don't expect major changes to current Diocesan policies; probably the highlight will be some modest initiatives to try to improve the woeful Sacramental/liturgical participation by youngsters, but overall I'd expect more of the same, more of what got us into this mess in the first place. Regarding the implications for the state of the liturgy in the Diocese: Only recently His Lordship participated in a school Mass replete with liturgical dancing and, in his close-to-ten-years as Ordinary, he has no doubt participated in many others without remedying these and the many other liturgical abuses which occur regularly in the Diocese, so I don't think that those of a Traditional inclination can expect any consolation to come from the Plan once the Plan is finalised.

Cardinal Pole said...

(I'll be back on Monday night, Australian time.)