Sunday, December 16, 2007

San Francisco "responds" to Summorum Pontificum

The Archdiocese of San Francisco, under the direction of His Grace the Most Reverend George Niederauer, has issued guidelines on the implementation of Summorum Pontificum.

For some reason, many bishops just aren't getting the fact that it is, by and large, up to the pastors to implement this. The bishop's role is largely one of facilitator, not exterminator. (I would add that we have seen some good examples of facilitation from such bishops as Rhoades, Burbidge, et. al.)

This statement offers slight variations on the usual stuff. In San Francisco, the "stable group" is now considered to be thirty people "in the same location and in an ongoing manner." I suppose this means that if some Sunday there are only twenty nine present, the Mass will have to be canceled. The archdiocese also specifies that no priest can schedule a public celebration of the usus antiquior on his own initiative, that the requests must come from the laity. This is problematically simplistic, as priests are part of the community, too.

Incredibly, this document suggests that pastors consider celebrating the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite in Latin as a way of satisfying the spiritual needs expressed by the people desiring the Traditional Latin Mass. This is not only a confused statement viz. rite vs. language, it's also mildly entertaining, as I seriously doubt the archdiocese would ever have recommended something like this pre-Summorum Pontificum.

I heard rumours that the Ecclesia Dei commission would be issuing clarifications in December. I wonder if that's still in the realm of possibility. The archdiocesan policy takes effect on January 8. Wouldn't it be neat if this policy were rendered null and void by Rome before it could ever take effect?

And just to be clear: I don't hold anything against people that don't like the older form of Mass. It only seems fair to me, however, that those same folks should not be making life difficult for those who do.

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