... I have come to the conclusion that the Holy Father, in publishing Summorum Pontifcum, has launched a coup d'etat against the liberality of some Bishops, and is trusting priests to undo some of the mischief which the Bishops have been responsible for.
Reading the blog of Fr Z (whom God preserve!) has been instructive recently: lots of Bishops trying to interpret what the Pope must have meant when he issued his Motu Proprio and concluding that they can still dictate what Use will be used once we reach 14 September, in spite of what the words on paper actually say.
But the Pope absolutely and categorically returned this choice to the priests. the Bishops have no right to stop a suitably qualified (idoneus) priest from saying his private Mass according to the form he wishes. He cannot stop the faithful from asking for, and in consequence receiving, the Extraordinary Rite.
The Bishops are rebuked for allowing men to be ordained whose Latin is not up to celebrating Mass (in either Use) in Latin. They have not fulfilled their obligation, as Heads of Local Churches, to ensure that Men are sent to seminaries where they can be properly formed as priests of the Roman Rite. In short, they can no longer be trusted, in matters liturgical, to maintain the communion with Rome which is an intrinsic mark of dioceses in the Roman Church. So they have been bypassed, and Oh! how they hate it.
The next eighteen months are likely to be ugly, at least in parts of the English-speaking world. What will happen when a priest is forbidden or prevented by his Ordinary from celebrating the Extraordinary form of the Mass? We can be confident about Rome's reaction, but the potential for grave scandal is there.
But I think we'll miss it in England and Wales, at least initially. I understand that Bishops have been advised not to get involved in any public way: the Eccleston Square view is that the less publicity given to the priests who start using the Extraordinary Rite, the less will be the demand from the laity to have access to it. But they have no plan to cope with a situation in which a significant number of priests start celebrating the Mass traditionally, because they are confident that it just won't happen. They are irritated by the Motu Proprio, and make jokes about German Shepherds barking a lot, and being vicious when provoked, but are so confident that their conception of the Church is the right one that they can't imagine anything else.
How they might react to what they might think of as mutiny is yet to be seen. We are living in interesting times.
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