from What Does The Prayer Really Say? by Fr. John Zuhlsdorf
From a seminarian:
Maybe this is a silly question, but can a Bishop celebrate Low Mass? Despite the fact that I am a seminarian, I know very little about theEF Mass because our Archbishop and our seminary rector prohibit usfrom taking any part in it. I had briefly begun learning the Mass and training in the subdiaconate role, but the Archbishop nixed it and Iwas firmly reprimanded by the rector. So can you perhaps offer a briefrun-through of the form of Mass, such as Low Mass, Solemn Mass, SungMass, Mass with a Bishop, Mass “in the presence of a Greater Prelate”(I think I heard that once), etc? I would be much obliged.
When a man is ordained to the priesthood, someone who can speak for the formation of the man, usually the rector of the seminary, must stand before the bishop and the people and – in the sight of Almighty God his JUDGE – attest that the man is properly formed and suitable for ordination.
If the man hasn’t been trained in his rite – that now includes the Extraordinary Form – he won’t be telling the truth.
Now… this might surprise you… but I can think of reasons why a bishop might be concerned that one of his seminarians is learning the older forms. But, when I think a little more, all of those reasons would involve him not being a good candidate for priesthood. If the guy is a decent normal guy, there is no reason why a bishop should be concerned that a seminarian wants to know his Rite. That would say more about the bishop than the man.
Okay… enough of my rant.
I am really tired right now and I just don’t have the energy to provide details about the Low Mass of a Bishop.
But, seeing that this blog is reading by seemingly innumerable people really into this, I’ll leave it for them to post.
But keep this in mind.
In the older, traditional way of thinking about the sacred action of Holy Mass, and who a bishop is, and who the Church is, when bishop who is ordinary of their diocese says Mass, it is as if he were celebrating for the whole diocese. Therefore, bishops don’t just say a low Mass. There is a little more to it.
These priests bring with them to the EF a lot of "theoligical" baggage that just won't fit with the stricter theology of traditionalism and hence many who were attending the Ef gradually over a couple of months just faded away. Traditionalist priests definately need traditionalist seminaries.
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There is such a difference between those priests formally trained in the EF, and with those who were trained “on-the-job”, that it can be really unsettling to watch a priest who is not yet comfortable with the EF fumble his way through it.
You are right, of course; the EF brings with it a different theology and approach to the Mass (not to mention that it requires a solid grounding in Latin) one simply does not find (as a general rule) with the New Mass.
But it is encouraging that so many seminarians want to learn the EF - and the theology that goes with it. The Bishops should give them their full support and the tools by which they can be properly trained. Only the priests trained in this tradition can be effective in promoting the EF (and the Bishop must be supportive); the poor layman simply ends up entirely frustrated with his endless petitions, calling on the chancery, etc. etc.
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