Sanity and Clarity

Sanity and Clarity July 30, 2013

After some of the heated emotions stirred up by yesterday’s news regarding the Extraordinary Form, two responses bring a level of sanity, clarity—and, I think, charity.

First, from the Franciscans: 

The fact is that Pope Francis has not forbidden the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite to the Franciscans Friars of the Immaculate. Simply put, after personally examining our situation and praying, he has decided that the ordinary form of the Sacred Liturgy for the FFI will be that of the ordinary form of the Roman Rite.

He also clearly states that each priest/friar and even community can request to make use of the Extraordinary Form. That said, Pope Francis is not “anti-Tridentine Mass” nor is he forbidding us in the future from offering the Holy Sacrifice in the Extraordinary Form. But he is saying that the friars/communities must request it and obtain permission first.

Briefly, the motu proprio, entitled Summorum pontificorum, created divisions within our Religious Family (exaggerated resistance and exaggerated zeal and a lot of confusion). So think of it this way, Holy Mother Church is, as it were, giving us a new opportunity to implement the Summorum pontificorum with her assistance and guidance. So we start the implementation from scratch with the loving hand of Mother Church. Let us entrust this journey to Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart!

In the meantime, starting August 12th (presuming that permission is not received before then – our request is already in the mail), the contemplative branch will be offering Mass in Latin using the Roman Canon I, ad orientem, with the celebrant wearing a fiddleback. The friars will continue to sing Gregorian chant for the antiphons and Mass parts, and there will be no lack of bells, flowers, candles and incense.

This also means that our Novena of Latin Masses will be in the ordinary form until we obtain permission to celebrate in the extraordinary form.

Some analysis, too, from Fr. Z: 

The FFIs were not founded as an Extraordinary Form community, as some others were (e.g., the Institute of Christ the King). After Summorum Pontificum, a faction within the FFIs were making the Extraordinary Form the only form. As I understand the situation, other FFIs were unhappy about this, for various reasons. Division ensued.  A Visitation resulted.  The Holy See executed a take-over with regard to Summorum Pontificum.  The FFIs will now have supervision, because they couldn’t get along over this matter.

All this was set in motion long before Benedict XVI announced his abdication.  Remember also that the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei“, now a part of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, wouldn’t have competence in this matter because the FFIs were not founded under their auspices.

Take-overs happen when something is not working.  Think about the LCWR. (No, I am not drawing a moral equivalence.)

In any event, this decree probably has more to do with a matter internal to a religious community than it does with the older form of Mass, though the older form was an issue of the division.

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