Saturday, July 14, 2007

Archbishop Kurtz on the Motu Proprio and receiving the pallium

How did I miss this! A visitor to my blog posted a comment which in turn led me to his blog. There I found a link to The Record's online edition where there is an article by Archbishop Kurtz on the newly released Motu Proprio and his reception of the pallium. This is a great article! It is provided in full below.

Biretta tip to Paul at "God Spede Ye Plough" for the clue.

Pope Benedict’s document on the use of the traditional Latin Mass
Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz
Archbishop of Louisville

The Motu Proprio of Pope Benedict on the use of the Roman liturgy prior to the reform of 1970 has just been released. The Latin phrase “Motu Proprio” means that it is presented at his own initiative.

For months there has been a great amount of discussion both for and against the letter that addresses the use of the traditional Latin Mass and what effect these new papal directions will have on the life of the faithful. I wish to give you my perspective.

First of all, I believe that our Holy Father has presented a well crafted and pastorally sound direction. He makes it clear that his instruction does not establish a new rite in the Church but rather acknowledges that there is an ordinary and an extraordinary way in which the Latin Rite of the Roman Catholic Church is celebrated.

We are familiar with that distinction of ordinary and extraordinary. The most common is the description of those lay persons who assist in distributing Holy Communion as “Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion.” In this case it means that these ministers never take the place of the ordinary ministers (priests and deacons) but have a rightful pastoral use. The terms are used to describe the ordinary ministers of Baptism and Confirmation (priest/deacon and bishop, respectively) and the pastoral allowance for extraordinary circumstances.

In the new instructions, the bishop continues to have the responsibility to ensure good order within the celebration of the Sacred Mysteries of the Holy Eucharist in a diocese. Because it is an extraordinary use, any public Mass using the Missal of Blessed John XXIII (promulgated in 1962) requires the bishop’s judgment that there is sufficient pastoral need to justify the use of this missal and pastoral ability to provide for that need.

Currently, we in the Diocese of Knoxville have the practice of a Mass using the Missal of Blessed John XXIII each Sunday.

The frequency of these celebrations depends on the pastoral need and our ability to respond to that need. The Instruction also allows for priests who are properly prepared to celebrate Mass using the Missal of Blessed John XXIII to do so privately without special permission.
The faithful who on their own and spontaneously join in this Mass do so with the blessing of our Holy Father.

The ordinary celebration of the Holy Eucharist makes use of the Missal of Paul VI and once an approved translation of the new Roman Missal of 2000 is available, it will be know as the Missal of John Paul II.

Our Holy Father gives three reasons for approving the use of the Missal of Blessed John XXIII: a way of making a path for those who have separated themselves from the Church because of the new liturgy (a path that will require those separated to embrace the fullness of truth of the Catholic Church on their return); a means of accommodating the reasonable aspirations of the faithful who yearn for the reverence that is associated with the celebration from 1962 and a preserving of the deep and rich heritage of the Church.

He also says, and I strongly agree, that this Instruction is a call for all to participate each Sunday (and even daily) in the Holy Eucharist in a manner that is both reverent and joyful.

Receiving the Pallium in Rome

While the experience of my trip to Rome is still fresh in my mind and heart, I find it fruitful to reflect on the Mass with our Holy Father as well as the missionary theme of the recent readings from Sunday Mass.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church describes the word “Catholic” as having two meanings: the universality of Christ present in his Church and the missionary command to all in the Church. First, there is the sense of universality, in which we are convinced in faith that Jesus Christ permeates the Church and so we proclaim in faith that, where the Church is, there is Christ.

This is especially true as I recall my visit to our Holy Father in Rome (Ubi Petrus, ibi Ecclesia). The special charism of authority which our Holy Father exercises is one of unity in Christ. At the special Mass on the Solemnity of SS. Peter and Paul in front of the main altar was placed a special bronze depiction of St. Peter kneeling before Christ and receiving the key from Him.

As I knelt before our Holy Father to receive the pallium, I prayed that Pope Benedict’s humility in serving Christ might rub off on me. So, too, the universality of the Church is seen in the mandate for each of us baptized into Christ Jesus to become His missionaries. This missionary theme has been expressed so well in the recent readings from Sunday Mass, especially the sending forth of the 72 by Jesus.


This column by Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, who was recently appointed Archbishop of Louisville, was written for the July 22 edition of the East Tennessee Catholic of the Diocese of Knoxville, Tenn. The column has been made available for publication in The Record.
Archbishop Kurtz refers to the celebration of a Mass using the Missal of Blessed John XXIII in the Diocese of Knoxville.
In the Archdiocese of Louisville, a Tridentine Mass is celebrated at 12:30 p.m. on Sundays and at 5:30 p.m. on holy days at St. Martin of Tours Church in Louisville.

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