Saturday, September 26, 2009

Why do we need a Latin Mass Society in Beaumont? An intro to Summorum Pontificum

You may be wondering - Are people even interested in the Latin Mass in the Diocese of Beaumont? Do we really need a Latin Mass Society? And, wasn't that "Old Mass" done away with a long time ago? The answer to these questions, in short, is Yes, Yes, and No.

It is our experience, gained by speaking with various people throughout the Diocese, that a large number are either interested in learning more about the Traditional Latin Mass or definitely want it offered within the Diocese. In fact, the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) found that Catholics with an opinion favor by a 2 to 1 margin making the Traditional Latin Mass available to those who prefer it. The problem, we have learned, is one of representation. These Catholics do not have a voice. There is no one in a position of leadership willing to speak for them. The Latin Mass Society of Beaumont seeks to provide a voice for these Catholics.

"But, I thought the 'old Mass' was done away with, forbidden, disallowed." The answer to this question is that it was never lawfully forbidden or disallowed. The Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI issued an Apostolic Letter titled Summorum Pontificum on July, 7th 2007. In article 1 he states:

" The Roman Missal promulgated by Paul VI is the ordinary expression of the 'Lex orandi' (Law of prayer) of the Catholic Church of the Latin rite. Nonetheless, the Roman Missal promulgated by St. Pius V and reissued by Bl. John XXIII is to be considered as an extraordinary expression of that same 'Lex orandi,' and must be given due honour for its venerable and ancient usage. These two expressions of the Church's Lex orandi will in no way lead to a division in the Church's 'Lex credendi' (Law of belief). They are, in fact two usages of the one Roman rite. It is, therefore, permissible to celebrate the Sacrifice of the Mass following the typical edition of the Roman Missal promulgated by Bl. John XXIII in 1962 and never abrogated, as an extraordinary form of the Liturgy of the Church."

The Holy Father very clearly defines the Traditional Latin Mass as the "Extraordinary Form of the Mass" saying that they are "two usages of the one Roman rite". By doing so the Holy Father allows each Roman Catholic priest to celebrate the Ordinary or Extraordinary (Traditional Latin Mass) form of the Mass whenever he chooses. Summorum Pontificum states further:

"...each Catholic priest of the Latin rite, whether secular or regular, may use the Roman Missal published by Bl. Pope John XXIII in 1962, or the Roman Missal promulgated by Pope Paul VI in 1970, and may do so on any day with the exception of the Easter Triduum. For such celebrations, with either one Missal or the other, the priest has no need for permission from the Apostolic See or from his Ordinary." [i.e. Bishop]

The Holy Father has clearly stated that every Roman Catholic priest may celebrate the Traditional Latin Mass without the approval of the Bishop. Since the TLM is defined as the Extraordinary Form of Mass, every Roman Catholic priest may offer it by virtue of his being a priest. It is our hope at the Society that every priest in the Diocese will learn of this and become receptive to the wishes of many of the faithful.

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