Pastor’s Piece – July 25, 2021

A concerned parishioner inquired about Pope Francis’ latest Moto Proprio, Traditio custodes. This is his mandate that the liberal use of the old-style Latin Mass be curtailed. The pre-Vatican II style of offering Mass was expanded by Pope Benedict XVI’s Moto Proprio Sumorum Ponificum, which gave greater legitimacy and access to the use the Mass prior to the Second Vatican Council. He called that Mass the “Extraordinary Form” and that which is most used, the “Ordinary Form”. Pope Benedict’s pastoral concern was that those who wished to practice the Extraordinary Form not be alienated or estranged from the Church. Pope Francis’ pastoral concern is the popularity of the Extraordinary Form. He fears that its increase in popularity may diminish the Ordinary Form and contribute to divisions. Thus he wishes for there to be greater unity, or at least uniformity.

The point of the inquiry from a parishioner was a concern of our use of Latin at Mass. Gratefully, Pope Francis’ pronouncement has no effect on our worship. Perhaps what we need to understand when we hear the word Latin Mass, is that it is being used colloquially and not accurately. It often refers to what P. Benedict XVI called the Extraordinary Form, but in reality, the Latin Mass is what we celebrate every day at the parish. We are the Latin Rite Church. Our headquarters is in Rome. The language of the Church called Latin is not surprisingly Latin. The issue addressed by Pope Francis has little to do with the use of the language in our rituals, because the template of all our rituals in the Roman Catholic Church is Latin. It is with special permission prompted from the Second Vatican Council that the use of vernacular in our rituals is allowed. But underneath the special permission of a modern language translation is the Latin Rite in Latin. And so, our practice at SSM and SKD of sprinkling some Latin verses here and there throughout the year at various liturgical seasons is a mere homage. It is just pealing back the contemporary extraordinary permission to see the actual foundation of the liturgy.

Speaking of reforming the celebration of Mass, there are some things to be mindful of. A couple of years ago Bishop Burbidge explained that it is not part of the Roman Rite to hold hands during the Our Father. That is, as a community that has a common ritual that bring us together, this gesture is not in common. Perhaps it is a shared and dear custom of your family? If so, I ask that you keep it to your family or those in proximity who shares this sentiment.

Speaking of sharing with your families, we haven’t gone back to the Sign of Peace. One reason is that we must follow the instructions of Bishop Burbidge. That is, it is only to be shared with those from your household. So, for the simplicity of not having to explain that at every Mass, I’m not inviting the congregation to offer the Sign of Peace.

You may have noticed the invitation for new recruits to serve at SSM a few weeks back. Five new boys answered the call. Now, I’m free to give SKD some needed attention. If there are boys in your homes ages 11 to 17, I need help. I’ll train them for an hour or less after Mass on August 15.

Christ’s Peace,
Fr. Murphy