Saturday, 13 August 2022

What Does Pastoral Care Look Like?

Dr Shaw looks at a letter from the DDW refusing a Bishop's request that one of his Priests be allowed to celebrate the Gregorian Rite.

From The Chairman's Blog

By The Hon. Joseph Shaw, DPhil, FRSA

It has become clear that the Dicastery of Divine Worship, which alone has the authority to permit priests ordained after Traditionis custodes to celebrate the Traditional Mass, is systematically refusing to do so, even though requests are coming not from individual priests, but their bishops.

What reasons are being given? I have been given sight of a letter of refusal, and I suspect the others are substantially identical.

…this Dicastery is of the opinion that this [permission] would not be an opportune decision. Therefore, we deny the request. The path established by the Holy Father in Traditionis custodes is quite clear and this has been underscored both in the “Letter to Bishops of the Whole World” which accompanied the Motu proprio and in the Responsa ad dubia of this Dicastery, which were personally approved by the Holy Father. In this latter document, with regard to this very point, it was highlighted that the liturgical reform of the Second Vatican Council “has enhanced every element of the Roman Rite and has fostered – as hoped for by the Council Fathers – the full, conscious and active participation of the entire people of God in the liturgy (cf. Sacrosanctum Concilium no. 14), the primary source of authentic Christian spirituality”. Most recently the Holy Father’s Apostolic Letter of 29 June, Desiderio Desideravi, on the liturgical formation of the people of God, expands on the above mentioned letter to the bishops and reaffirms Pope Francis’ desire that unity around the celebration of the liturgy be re-established in the whole Church of the Roman Rite (n. 61).

There is of course no difficulty for Fr [] to celebrate Mass according to the editio typica tertia (2008) of the Missale Romanum.

I wonder about that last sentence. I can't help but think that in some previous version it said at the end 'in Latin', and that this has been removed, without anyone noticing that the whole sentence is now pointless. The letter is about a priest; of course he can say the Novus Ordo!

It is noteworthy that although the letter begins by saying that the documents supporting the request have been studied carefully, the reasons for refusing the request is entirely general, not specific to the situation of the diocese.

Given that Pope Francis explicitly made provision for permissions to be given, and given that bishops requesting them presumably have good reason to do so, the attitude of the Dicastery does not seem like a straightforward application of the rules. There is something more here: something hostile to the provision which Pope Francis expected to be made 'to provide for the good of those who are rooted in the previous form of celebration.'

Is this what pastoral care looks like?

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