petak, 15. svibnja 2009.

Comments on the correspondence

This post will include my thoughts about the correspondence you can read here. You are invited to leave your comments as well.

I am going to use a style father Z. made popular.

Here's the response from bishop Sasko again, but this time with my emphasis and comments:

Office of the Archdiocese
Archdiocese of Zagreb

No. ***
Zagreb, 26th February 2009


Dear Mr. ***:

I have received your inquiry, sent by electronic mail on 17th February 2009, [Actually, I sent emails on 22nd February 2008, 12th March 2008, 30th May 2008. This time I sent a real letter with the confirmation of receit.] received by us on 19th February 2009 and so I gladly answer it.

The essence of your inquiry is, as you state, “the execution of the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum in the Archdiocese of Zagreb” and you write “about the Traditional Latin Mass, also known as Tridentine Mass”.

You also write literally: “I would like very much to hear the mass according to the missal of blessed John XXIII. or, as it is called in the Motu Proprio, the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite. Although such masses are available for the faithful in numerous places in the world, in Croatia we unfortunately still do not have that opportunity.”

The main question you are interested is “how the pope’s Motu Proprio is going to be implemented in our archdiocese of Zagreb?”

Responding to your main question let me remark that it’s about Pope’s document in force which allows something, therefore, there is no need to talk about implementation, since it is honored and executed in the archdiocese of Zagreb, and by that ‘implemented’. It is another question how much the faithful are asking for use of such possibility and how well-founded those requests are, i.e. are the required conditions satisfied for the usage of a provided possibility [This kind of talk is emblematic of the bishop, it continues later as well.]. I emphasize right away that the Archdiocese of Zagreb is acting in complete accordance with the Pope’s Motu Proprio and will honor it strictly in the future as well.

You ask us about fulfilling specific conditions, presuming that “there would be more than enough people in Zagreb interested in a regular Sunday and holiday celebrations of the Traditional Holy Mass in one of the churches of our city.” [Well, it did happen at least once, as you can see here, even in spite of threats of cancelling the mass in that small chapel. Of course the cathedral could not be used for that mass. On the other hand, if you want to have mass in Hungarian, Italian, with a guitar, with Taize flavor or with liturgical improvisations you are welcome to the cathedral. I'm only mentioning those I personally witnessed.]

In your letter you say that you address us “completely independently” [I only wrote that because I did not want to be connected with any previous groups since I did not know what their stand was. You can read about the impossible group requirements later on.] . Such a request can not be answered affirmatively. Namely, in the document (which from this year also exists as an official translation published by Kršćanska sadašnjost: Benedikt XVI., Motu proprio Summorum Pontificum and Pismo pape Benedikta XVI. Prigodom njegova objavljivanja, Documents 152, Zagreb 2009) – in twelve articles – the necessary elements and conditions are indicated under which such celebrations are permitted. [I am quoting the Motu Proprio in this translation of the bishop's letter from here. I know that Croatian translation here is different in some aspects, for example the phrase "where there is a stable group of faithful" is translated something like "where there is a lasting/continuously present group". I don't know how much the official translation the bishop mentions is different from the one on the internet. From what he quotes, not much.]

The Motu Proprio talks about permitting the celebration of the sacrifice of the mass “as an extraordinary form of the Liturgy of the Church.” (cf. art. 1) Although no permission is required for the priest, in art. 5§1 the Holy Father says the following: “In parishes, where there is a stable group of faithful who adhere to the earlier liturgical tradition, the pastor should willingly accept their requests to celebrate the Mass according to the rite of the Roman Missal published in 1962, and ensure that the welfare of these faithful harmonises with the ordinary pastoral care of the parish, under the guidance of the bishop in accordance with canon 392, avoiding discord and favouring the unity of the whole Church.”

It is appropriate to adjoin with that part also the text of art. 7: “If a group of lay faithful, as mentioned in art. 5 §1, has not obtained satisfaction to their requests from the pastor, they should inform the diocesan bishop. The bishop is strongly requested to satisfy their wishes. If he cannot arrange for such celebration to take place, the matter should be referred to the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei.”

Therefore, it's always about a group of faithful defined by their attachment [=adherence from the Motu Proprio] to an earlier liturgical tradition. We have no knowledge about the existence of such a group in your parish. It is important to notice also the other elements with regard to ordinariness of pastoral care and to interrelationships in the parish community, as well as the extraordinarity Summorum Pontificum talks about [I've used words that I think best express what the bishop wrote. They do sound a bit strange, but I'll gladly modify them if you think you have a better translation. What is important is that the bishop stresses the ordinary-extraordinary opposition suggesting that the later shoud somehow be rare and exotic.]. You personally contacted the priests in your parish, but your appeal did not fulfill the wanted requirements [But he never really says what the requirements were. If I had ten people with me would that be enough?]. It is clear that the “attachment” the Motu Proprio talks about is not a simple curiosity, but implies a certain rootedness in the entire spirituality from which the good of the faithful results, as well as knowledge of the rite and its language (Latin) [Of course, he is careful not to mention any quantifiable conditions. Who is going to check that rootedness and how? Is an A in Latin from a very demanding teacher in high school enough? How do I prove it's not just curiosity, do I have to?].

It is good that you notice notional nuances that the Pope uses, that you adopt them and correct the colloquial terminology which can lead to confusion, since this matter is not about “Traditional Latin Mass”, nor does the Benedict XVI. talk about some “Tridentine Mass”, much less about “hearing the mass”, as you – talking about your own experience – wrote [Here's a little lecture in good manners for me. I would accept it more easily if the bishop told me what terms are acceptable. Do I have to write extraordinary form of the Roman rite every time? What's wrong with hearing the mass? Dear bishop, please explain.].

Summarizing what has been said, I emphasize that the archdiocese of Zagreb will treat every request in accordance with the regulations of the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum.

However, it is important to mention that the assertion from your letter which says “in Croatia we unfortunately still do not have that opportunity” (meaning to celebrate such liturgy) is not correct. There is a possibility also in Croatia, but to realize this possibility no valid requests were exhibited so this possibility has not been used. [This is probably the funniest part of the whole letter. If it sounds strange and illogical it is because the original in Croatian is like that. So, not only am I not to ask for traditional mass, I actually should not even complain about not having one because I do have a possibility, it's up to me to realize it.]

Up to now the need to use this possibility has not arisen in the archdiocese of Zagreb which is extremely indicative [What does it indicate? That people don't know much about traditional mass and the little they know are mostly misconceptions? That Summorum Pontificum was introduced in the official catholic publications in Croatia with the title: It's not turning back on the council, and the gist of the story was that it's only for some shismatics far away. What if we were talking about something else from faith and morals. There are some extremely indicative examples of the ignorance of those that say they are Catholics about the teachings of the Church (there are about 90% of Catholics in Croatia, officially). Does that not indicate we should change the situation?]. As far as we know, in the area of archdiocese of Zagreb such groups have to date not been present and it is questionable how much the future generations can be attached to an earlier liturgical tradition. Since at present there are no [such groups] in our archdiocese or in Croatia, there is only a question of those that would come from other countries. [If I understand this convoluted argument correctly, the bishop is saying that since the groups have to be continuously present, if there are no groups now, there cannot be any groups satisfying the conditions in the future since they would not be present continuously.] We can not answer such hypothetical questions, but we will, I repeat, abide strictly by the regulations of the Motu Proprio [I'm sure that the bishop who is also our leading liturgists (!) would find some contrary arguments even if dozens of foreigners who know only traditional mass and speak latin fluently were to move to the same parish in Zagreb.].

It should be noted here that in the archdiocese, at the places where the need arises and on the occasions when the conditions for it are fulfilled, the liturgy is celebrated in Latin language according to the Roman Missal, i.e. its edition currently in force, based on the guidelines of the Second Vatican Council [Really? Where? The only time I can think of was when Cardinal McCarrick was in Zagreb a few years ago. He said the central parts of the mass in latin, but people could not even answer "Et cum spiritu tuo". I know my latin is bad, but doesn't that show the calls from the council and the popes that people should know at least some latin were not heeded in the Archdiocese of Zagreb?].

Connected to you in the mystical communion of Church, I sincerely salute you in Christ,

Vicar general and the president of the Committee for liturgy of the Archdiocese of Zagreb,
+ Ivan Šaško, auxiliary bishop of Zagreb

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