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By Diogenes (articles ) | Jun 12, 2005

Bishop Joseph Adamec of Altoona, Pennsylvania, instructs the faithful-- in the unusual form of a Letter to the Editor of a local newspaper:

The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments has assured us bishops that the "traditional Latin Mass" is not to be considered as another rite that the faithful can choose at will. It has been allowed (with permission of the diocesan bishop) to facilitate the return of some to the Roman Catholic Church.

Let's be generous, and begin with what the bishop got right. It's true that the Vatican insists the traditional Latin Mass (we'll skip the scare quotes, if you don't mind) is not another rite, but a different form of the Latin rite.

OK, now moving along to the inaccuracies:

  • Bishop Adamec suggests that faithful Catholics cannot "choose at will" to attend the traditional Mass. That's true, to be sure, in a diocese where the bishop does not authorize a Tridentine Mass. (Want to guess anything about the Altoona diocese?) But the relevant 1991 directive from the Vatican instructs bishops to "facilitate the proper and reverent celebration of the liturgical rites according to the Roman Miss of 1962 wherever there is a genuine desire for this on the part of the priests and faithful." Thus if the faithful "choose at will," the bishop should oblige.

  • Technically the bishop's permission is not necessary; the Vatican could give permission directly. Again, from the same 1991 letter from the Ecclesia Dei commission:
    Although the Holy Father has given this Pontifical Commission the faculty to grant the use of the 1962 typical edition of the Roman Missal to all those who request it, while the Commission informs the appropriate Ordinary thereof, we would much prefer that such faculties be granted by the Ordinary himself for the sake of strengthening the bond of ecclesial communion between those priests and faithful and their local Pastors.
  • And don't miss that final phrase about helping people to "return" to the Roman Catholic Church-- with its astonishing implication that all those who prefer the Latin Mass have somehow been outside the Church! Again, the perspective from the Vatican is quite different; Cardinal Mayer of the Ecclesia Dei commission writes not about allowing the "return" of a few strays, but about "the rightful aspiractions of those who wish to worship according to the Latin liturgical tradition as celebrated for centuries."

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Show 15 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: Novus744 - Jun. 15, 2005 1:47 PM ET USA

    In a recent conversation with an old friend from my schismatic days (the friend still goes to a schismatic church) I learned that the "priests" there no longer feel that the Novus Ordo is invalid, but that the abuses are too much to have to put up with. I consider that a major step towards rejoining Holy Mother the Church again for them. It's funny though, I'm probably one of the biggest Traddies here, and I consider THAT Mass of 1962 to be invalid (only at that schismatic parish, of course).

  • Posted by: Abraham Tolemahcs - Jun. 15, 2005 8:59 AM ET USA

    And many of the Novus Ordo priests as well as Bishops go well beyond what the Church prescribes as well as proscribes in the celebration of the Mass. The abuses of the liturgy in the Novus Ordo are well documented in this forum. Look at Card Mahoney or Bishop Clarks dioceses. The abuses of the liturgy there are rampant with no repurcussions. But the Traddies are considered the problem? I don't believe the N.O. is invalid but you won't see clowns or dancing girls in the Trid Rite.

  • Posted by: MM - Jun. 15, 2005 4:41 AM ET USA

    Whoa there rob, who said *anything * about the novus ordo being heretical? its not in any of the comments here, why bring it in? seems to me you're the one going "way over the edge".

  • Posted by: rob924 - Jun. 14, 2005 8:52 PM ET USA

    the bishop is responding to many traditional catholics and many people who write in forums such as this who believe that the novus ordo is heretical. some traddies go way over the edge and that's why some bishops don't allow the Trid Mass. don't go looking for a fight if there isn't one. the novus ordo is the norm of the Church, legally promulgated by the proper ecclesiastical authorities. the traditional Latin Mass is beautiful, but so is the novus ordo. abuses aside, mass is mass. deal with it

  • Posted by: Fatimabeliever - Jun. 14, 2005 2:26 PM ET USA

    I wish someone would send every single Bishops this article and its comments just to let them know that these Parishes are flourishing and the young adults really are very inspired by Sacred Tradition.

  • Posted by: MM - Jun. 14, 2005 11:32 AM ET USA

    Maybe the bishop should keep an eye on the World Youth Day in Cologne this year. Thousands of young traditional Catholics from all over the world will be there, demonstrating that apart from merely "facilitating the return of some to the Roman Catholic Church", the Tridentine Mass is an effective means of evangelizing todays youth.

  • Posted by: Gil125 - Jun. 13, 2005 7:38 PM ET USA

    My archbishop (who is now Prefect of the CDF) does not permit the celebration of the Mass of 1962 but I have driven 26 miles through three counties to get to an Indult Mass in a nearby diocese and found most remarkable the fact that very few people in attendance were of my generation. That is, ahem, mature. Most were young families. Parents in their 20's or 30's with 4, 5, 6, or in one case, 8 children. In other words, obviously real, believing, practicing Catholics. Not museum pieces.

  • Posted by: Novus744 - Jun. 13, 2005 2:34 PM ET USA

    Thanks Di, it's good to see a piece of news that relates to us "Traditionalitsts." It seems to me that the above stated letter seems to say that if there is a desire on the part of the people to have a Tridentine Mass, that it be available to them. I think every parish should have a Tridentine Mass every week. Except, there is that thought of celebrating a Tridentine Mass in that new stadium of a Church - pardon me if I've forgotten where it is.

  • Posted by: RC - Jun. 13, 2005 1:43 PM ET USA

    For the record, the word "rightful" isn't in Pope John Paul's original text. Anyway, Diogenes is right: "facilitating the ecclesial communion" of the faithful attached to the older form of the Roman rite doesn't imply that the faithful had necessarily been out of communion.

  • Posted by: Fr. William - Jun. 13, 2005 1:14 PM ET USA

    Let us pray that Bishop Adamec will seek early retirement for health reasons or some other serious reason... for Christ's sake... for the good of the Church... for the good of the people that Bishop Adamec seems to want to lead astray with his personal agenda. Maybe we can write to the Papal Nuncio in Washington, DC, and inquire about the possibilities of a nuclear option, for Bishop Adamec...

  • Posted by: - Jun. 12, 2005 11:04 PM ET USA

    Though I prefer to worship in the Byzantine Rite or Novus Ordo (in that order), I'm irritated at all Ordinaries who have not given widespread indults for the Tridentine Latin Mass (abbreviation: TLM). IMO, at least half of all parishes within a diocese should have a TLM at least one Sunday a month. If you want to worship at a TLM in Mahonyland every Sunday, then join the "freeway fliers" who go from one end of the LA Archdiocese to the other following the TLM monthly circuit. Not encouraging.

  • Posted by: quill - Jun. 12, 2005 10:14 PM ET USA

    Oh, how I appreciate seeing your journalistic efforts aimed at setting the record straight when our Church authorities fog an issue by spewing fibs. Bishop Adamec's rationalizing begs for correction, (as does the Boston chancery's mealy-mouthed explanation for the diversion of priest-pension funds). Keep up the good work.

  • Posted by: - Jun. 12, 2005 4:55 PM ET USA

    The unmistakable whiff of angry pique which this letter directs at traditional Catholics makes me wonder what those scoundrels are up to in Altoona to so draw the ire of this kindly shepherd.(or, perhaps the woman who composed it).

  • Posted by: Eagle - Jun. 12, 2005 9:19 AM ET USA

    Every five hundred years, or so, the Church becomes afflicted with numerous bishops who see obtaining the episcopate as a political goal, and, upon acquisition, see the diocese as their own fief. The solution usually involved the Holy Father, in his capacity as "Patriarch of the West", putting enforceable reforms in effect. Hopefully, these continual episcopal exposes will again bring that highly desirable result.

  • Posted by: - Jun. 12, 2005 7:26 AM ET USA

    The diocese's website explains it all, however unintentionally: go to http://www.diocesealtjtn.org/bish/index.html, and run your cursor over the (b)ishop's "Statement on Homosexuality," and then look to the bottom left of your browser -- the running shortcut announcement says it all. (Don't bother reading the usual "Always Our Children" blather.) Want the answer sooner? The statement is id'd as the (b)ishop's "Statement OF Homosexuality." (emphasis added.)

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