The red is my "fisk".
Priests’ Residential Training Conference, 24-28 August 2009
All Saints Pastoral Centre, London Colney, Herts
Message from the Most Reverend Vincent Nichols
Archbishop of Westminster.
I welcome this short Training Conference provided by the Diocese of Westminster in conjunction with the Latin Mass Society. The big change with this conference and its predecessors is this direct involvement of the Ordinary of the diocese. "In conjunction" is important. This is an official event, not something on fringes of the Churh, nor something organised by a fringe organisation. This is the correct description of this event. In both the teaching and law of the Church it is the bishop who has responsibility for the provision and oversight of the Liturgy. Nothing that belongs to the Church happens out of communion with the bishops, succesors of the Apostles, in communion with Peter.
In the Motu Proprio ‘Summorum Pontificum’ Pope Benedict permitted the use of the 1962 Form of the Mass, under clearly defined circumstances. In doing so he insisted that there is one Rite of the Mass in the Latin Church. This makes clear that the ordinary Form of the Mass and this extraordinary Form serve one and the same Rite. They are, therefore, both finding their place in this Summer School and participants will wholeheartedly celebrate the Mass in each of these Forms. Summorum Pontificum stresses mutual enrichment of both Forms. The view that the ordinary Form of the Mass, in itself, is in some way deficient finds no place here. Indeed anyone who holds such a view does not come under the generous provision of ‘Summorum Pontificum’. Such a person is inexorably distancing themselves from the Church. I do not think that Archbishop, here means that the Ordinary Form is beyond criticism. The Holy Father himself has, as the Prefect of CDF written some pretty strong criticisms, saying the Ordinary Form is "ex nihil". One may presumably suggest that the absence of silence is problematic, or its catechetical value has limits. What it is, perhaps, defficient are the signs and language of sacrifice. What, I presume he is saying here is that there is no place for those who deny the validity of the Ordinary Form, but then I can't imagine any of the priest attendees, nor any of the instructors for that matter, doing or even thinking that, so maybe this is for rabid SSPXers and the Tablet!
The Mass every approved form of its celebration is the source and expression of the unity of the Church, for that unity comes from Christ. It is Christ who is first and foremost. We have no other. Our unity does not consist in a uniformity of personal use or preference. Indeed, such matters should play a minimum part in our liturgy, particularly in the ministry of the priest. What we priests are to provide, as a key element of our ministry, is the Liturgy of the Church. The Priest is above all the Servant of the Bride, the Church, in imitation of Christ, who came to serve not to be served. However the Ordinary Form of the Mass leaves the Priest free to choose various options. In it he is, presumably, to use his expertise, his knowledge, his skills, his expertise. All these things unfortunately are framed by personal preference. As Servant, any priest has to have above all the care of souls as his first interest.
The established principle of good liturgy – such as the ‘active participation’ of all taking part in the Mass, in both the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist – apply whichever Form of the Mass is being used. It is interesting the Archbishop here equates both forms. This principle needs careful consideration and application by every celebrant and any who help in the preparation of the liturgy. I trust it will find its place in this Summer School.
Pope Benedict has given an additional and delicate task to priests and bishops: the provision of the extraordinary Form of the Mass in response to genuine needs as outlined in the Motu Proprio. I am grateful to you all for helping us to respond to this task, always within the work of sustaining and nurturing the unity of the Church. Unity, both in embracing those attached to the Usus Antiquior but also unity with our heritage in the context of the hermeneutic continuity is upper most in Summorum Pontificum and its accompanying letter.