Thursday, July 19, 2007

Bp. Morlino (Madison) on the Motu Proprio

The Bishop of Madison wrote on the recent Motu Proprio allowing the laity to request the celebration of the Joannine Use (Missal of 1962) Mass.

I do wish to make three very important points...

In the first place, the more widespread use of the Missal of Blessed Pope John XXIII should in no way cause further disunity within our diocesan Church or the Church in the United States. As I have said repeatedly, everything that we do at the liturgy and everything that we don't do at the liturgy teaches something. The liturgy is meant to embody and teach the authentic faith of the Catholic Church.

...Because these various usages of the Roman Rite embody the same faith, there should be no disunity caused by this particular diversity. The only way in which division or disunity might be deepened through the more widespread use of the Missal of Blessed Pope John XXIII would be if the faith of the Church, embodied by more recent usages, was somehow misunderstood, and in certain cases this has been the reality and I have spoken to this situation before, which brings me to the second point.

...It is a complete misunderstanding of the liturgical renewal according to the Second Vatican Council and the Missal of Pope Paul VI to see this post-Vatican II usage as, in any way, shape, or form, a rejection of the pre-Vatican II usage.

What was sacred and brought many people to holiness for so many years cannot all of a sudden be justifiably forbidden or even seen as harmful.

...We still need to be healed in our Church of the unfortunate effects of the discontinuity hermeneutic which sees the life of the Church prior to Vatican II as somehow mistaken and regrettable, and the post-Vatican II approaches, whatever they may have been, as the reliable corrective. Pope Benedict makes very clear that the liturgical rites after the council were sometimes mistakenly construed as inviting or even requiring creativity, and he indicates that this has caused certain "deformations" in the way liturgy is actually celebrated in certain venues.

Thirdly, you are probably aware that the Diocese of Madison is the only diocese in the State of Wisconsin where I, as bishop, still have never permitted the celebration of Mass according to the Missal of Blessed Pope John XXIII.

I have done so not because of any distaste whatsoever for that particular usage.

My reason for not permitting the celebration of Mass according to this Missal of Blessed Pope John XXIII in the Diocese of Madison has simply been that a certain catechetical support is necessary because those who are attached to this form of celebration for many years have often forgotten or gotten "rusty" with regard to what a full and active and fruitful participation would involve...

As a sign of my obedience to the Holy Father I do intend to celebrate Mass according to the Missal of Blessed John XXIII on occasion as soon as this is feasible. I say "as soon as this is feasible" because I do not have certain of the vestments that are necessary for the bishop to celebrate according to this particular usage, nor have I ever done so as a bishop.

Thus, it will be necessary for me to educate myself in these matters and obtain the proper vestments. It will also be necessary to see which of our priests might be in a position to celebrate Mass according to this usage. The document of Pope Benedict makes clear that if the priest is not trained to do so, that he should not attempt to do so without such training.

And then there will be the matter of training a limited number of servers who are alert liturgically and who know some Latin.

...I do urge those who are attracted to worship according to the Missal of Blessed Pope John XXIII to express yourselves to me and to your pastors in the days ahead so that we can do our very best to serve you in a reasonable amount of time as we make the necessary preparations.

An altogether reasonable reaction and a VERY compliant response.

1 comment:

RAG said...

I agree Bishop Morlino's response was appropriate and well-reasoned.

Over the years -- well, over the decades -- I have been amused and/or annoyed when reading church writing at how much effort it takes to get to the point. If theologans wrote the Ten Commandments it would be the Ten Annotated Volumes.

Sometimes there's a certain beauty in formal writing. I've enjoyed Pope John XXIII's writings, for example. But most of the time you want to say, "Get to the point."

By no means do I wish to single out Bishop Morlino or even imply that I am but it seems that what he had to say could have been done on one page.