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Guidelines in New Orleans: The (not so) Big Easy

Please find the Guidelines for the implementation of Summorum Pontificum for the Diocese New Orleans. My emphases and [comments]. (Note, I had to do a bit of editing as the original was a little messy, format wise. HT to Ellen in the Combox)


The Holy Father wrote to the bishops with great trust and hope that his apostolic letter Summorum pontificum would be accepted in the best positive light as the Church's attempt to be more inclusive in our worship of God as he welcomed the faithful who are committed to the form of worship practiced in the Church before the reforms of the liturgy according to mandate of the Second Vatican Council in Sacrosanctum Concilium.[Run on sentence. Sorry] With that same trust and hope, I offer to you a positive framework for establishing a process in the Archdiocese of New Orleans to guide those who wish to celebrate the Holy Mass using the 1962 Missal of Bl. John XXIII. [So far, so good.]

Precis of the Holy Father's apostolic letter Summorum pontificum

The Holy Father expressed multiple purposes in his letter which should be of note to all. He issues the letter:
  • to re-emphasize that the Missal of Pope Paul VI is the ordinary text of the Mass in the Latin rite;
  • to grant legitimate freedom in the choice and use of liturgical texts which have been judged by the Church to be faithful doctrinal expressions of liturgical prayer;
  • to present the Missal of Bl. John XXIII as an extraordinary text approved for use as long as there is full acceptance and use of the ordinary text of the Missal of Pope Paul VI and of the Second Vatican Council;
  • to recognize that the extraordinary form of the Latin rite is attractive to some people because of a perceived loss of a sense of the sacred in some celebrations using the Missal of Pope Paul VI; [Other reasons as well, we should not be so limiting]
  • and, to specify parameters for the celebration of the extraordinary form of the Mass, specifically:
  • Any priest has the option to celebrate a private Mass using the extraordinary form;
  • The Archbishop and the pastor may grant requests for Mass using the extraordinary form to any group of stable faithful who adhere to the earlier liturgical form; [I wonder if this is a Freudian slip? Instead of any stable group of faithful, he states a group of "stable faithful". I realize this is probably just a slip, but still funny. Further, what does adhere mean? This does not mean exclusively.]
  • The celebration of the Mass using the extraordinary form takes place under the oversight of the Archbishop; [No more or less than any other liturgy]
  • Any group of stable lay faithful [There it is again!] may petition the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei" to have Mass celebrated in the extraordinary rite if the pastor or the bishop cannot satisfy them.
Process to be used in the Archdiocese of New Orleans to make for a smooth introduction and use of the "extraordinary form" of celebrating Holy Mass.

1. St. Patrick's Church, where Mass according to the Missal of Bl. John XXIII is already celebrated is the first locus of the extraordinary form of Mass.
# At St. Patrick's the Sunday Mass is celebrated using the extraordinary form.
# The other sacraments and sacramentals are also celebrated, according to their extraordinary forms, at St. Patrick's Church.
# Pastoral care can be and is appropriately provided to the people attracted to the extraordinary form of the Latin rite at St. Patrick's. [Status quo, but good!]

2. The Archbishop will consider a public or parish Mass in the extraordinary form wherever there is a stable group of lay faithful attracted to the extraordinary form of the Mass. [Why just the Archbishop, the Motu Proprio granted this liberty to priests and pastors?]But before authorizing such a Mass, the affected deaneries are to meet and discuss the best way to accomplish regularly scheduling such a Mass.
# The Dean(s) may want to offer opportunities to the/a community claiming to be a stable group of lay faithful to meet with them to determine size and commitment to the extraordinary form. [This is kind of like when immigration checks on a couple to see if they are really married If they are faking it, deported. Again, this should be up to the pastor.]
# The Dean(s) are to recommend a location/parish at which services according to the extraordinary form will be offered.
# The Dean(s) will recommend two priests to the Archbishop who will be the celebrants of the extraordinary form of the liturgy. [These last two are fine as long as they don't overrule the liberty of the pastor. If he willing and able and has a group that wants it. He need not ask anybody.]

3. All priests who wish to celebrate according to the "Extraordinary" form are to have appropriate formation and education for this purpose.
# Prior to any training programs being developed, the Pastoral Practices Committee of the Presbyteral Council will survey the priests to determine who, and how many, priests desire to celebrate the "extraordinary" form of the Mass. They will also determine which churches are properly equipped for the celebration of the 'extraordinary" form of the Mass. [Not sure what properly equipped means. This can vary from the reasonable and practical considerations (e.g. vestments) to the unreasonable (must have high altar and communion rail)]
# Notre Dame Seminary, with the participation of the Office of Worship, will develop a program to provide training to and to determine the competency of, priests who wish, or are approved by the Archbishop, to celebrate the 'Extraordinary" form of the Mass.[All this just smacks of being overly controlling and bureaucratic]

A. Training is to be a practicum/workshop designed by the Liturgist [Uh Oh] and Latinist who teach at the seminary. Other help may be brought in if needed. The practicum/workshop will have a tuition charge.
B. At the completion of the practicum/workshop, assessment will be made of the competency of the priest as regards the Latin language, and familiarization/knowledge of rubrics and requirements for vesture, plate and furnishings. Remedial work, including attendance at the seminary's Latin class (2 years) will be recommended if necessary. Tuition will be charged. This judgment is based on the Holy Father's statement that Apriests who use the Missal of Bl. John XXIII must be qualified to do so@ (Art. 5'4)
C. One practicum/workshop will be provided in the fall semester and one in the spring semester.

# Approval for a parish Mass to be celebrated is conditioned on the acceptance of the Holy Father's and the Ordinary's policies regarding celebration of the "extraordinary form" of the Mass.[Signed in blood?]
# Priests will celebrate the "extraordinary form" at St. Patrick's Church with Fr. Stan Klores in attendance to "fine tune" the celebration. Fr. Klores will give an analytical critique to assist the priest.

4. Deacons who wish to participate in the extraordinary form of the Mass will need to attend a special training program sponsored by the Office of the Permanent Diaconate and staffed by Notre Dame Seminary personnel. The Office of Worship and Fr. Klores will assist in this training program as called upon.

5. Costs for all vesture and other items needed are to be borne by the priest(s) who wish to celebrate the "extraordinary form" of the Mass, except in those instances where the Archbishop designates/approves a parish for the celebration of a Sunday Mass using the "extraordinary form". [In other words, you will get absolutely no help from the Diocese!]

6.. It is recommended that worship aids, such as the Latin-English Booklet Missal for praying the traditional Mass published by the Coalition in Support of Ecclesia Dei, be purchased for each parish or church where the Mass according to the Missal of Bl. John XXIII is used.

7. Administrative records of priests approved to celebrate and deacons approved to assist in the celebration of the "Extraordinary"form of the Mass will be handled in the Office of Worship and forwarded to the Office of Priests Personnel and the Permanent Diaconate Office. [They sure do seem to love their paperwork down there. I thought it is called the Big Easy. Not so much].


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Amy said...

On #6 - this is not anything unusual. Dioceses don't provide vestments or other liturgical accoutrements for priests. They buy their own, sometimes the parish picks up the tab and has a set. But say, if a priest is really tall or really short - he doesn't expect anyone else to pay for what his specific needs call for.

Most priests also have their own sacramentaries, even if the parish has one.

That's why vestments and such are always a good gift for priests, because quality vestments are so expensive.

Amy said...

Argh, I can't see. I meant #5!

Patrick Archbold said...

Fair enough, but coupled with the multiple references to tuition, it just struck me as an odd thing to emphasize, especially if as you say, this is not unusual.

Anonymous said...


magdalene said...

Lets see here--obtaining ones own vestments and so forth is not out of line.

But then there is the tuition and the need to go to up to two years of Latin class and the testing and all that in order to be able to offer the extraordinary form of the Holy Mass..a bit excessive and intimidating. Does not seem in keeping with the 'spirit' of the Motu Proprio.

The roadblocks are up; get through them if you can.

David L Alexander said...

Okay, time to put this in perspective...

If you look at it closely, this is not so much an attempt to impede a situation, as to over-micromanage it. The usual naivete doesn't help either. Remember also, we're talking about NEW ORLEANS (!!!) here, a city still recovering from a hurricane and severe flooding two years ago. Remember the bishop actually operated for months "in exile" from Baton Rouge or wherever? Does it occur to anyone that they're lucky to have a place for any Mass at all?

Most priests I know who are learning the Old Mass are doing it on their own. I don't imagine New Orleans has a lot of funding to send ordained priests back to the seminary, in a manner of speaking, when there are still churches being rebuilt.

One more thing. Maybe if more adherents of the Old Mass get this kind of treatment, they'll tire of calling it the "extraordinary form."

Patrick Archbold said...

That was actually my take as well. It seems they view this as an opportunity to expand the bureaucracy.

Frankly, I don't thin the Katrina thing has any bearing. The tuition thing is merely indicative of an attitude. This response just seemed like something the DMV would issue.

David L Alexander said...


We seem to be in sync on all but "the Katrina thing." Would be nice to get the local view of this from a TLM adherent in New Orleans, wouldn't it?

Fr. Michael said...

Being a native of New Orleans and a traditional catholic priest(never said the N.O.), I know well the situation there...with the archdiocese and with the TLM. The archdiocese has always been parsimonious with repect to the TLM and now there are maintaining the party line...to make it as difficult as possible for any priest to offer the TLM. It has been this was for a long time, from Abp. Hannan to Abp.Hughes The response is always, and I quote, "you have your mass at St. Patrick's, that's enough for you". Sad...and as far as Fr. Klores supervising the training of priests who wish to learn the TLM...I have my doubts as I've seen him say mass...he needs to be trained himself. Just my thoughts on the subject...

David L Alexander said...

Fr Michael:

Good report. You know what they say: "Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach." Hang in there, Padre. We're all praying for you. (I gotta learn to pronounce "parsimonious" one of these days...)

Fr. Michael said...


Thanks for the prayers...you have mine as well.

Linda Robinson said...

As one who used to live in Baton Rouge and attend the indult there, I'd like to mitigate some of the criticism against Archbishop Hughes. While he was Bishop of Baton Rouge, he was very cordial to the Latin Mass Community, lifting many of the restrictions that had been put upon us by his predecessor(s). At our invitation, he celebrated a Pontifical High Mass every year and mingled with us in a reception afterward, comporting himself in very kind and affable manner. I cannot believe that he is personally of ill will toward the TLM or toward the traditionalists in New Orleans; I do agree that this document seems obstructionist but I do not think obstructionism was Archbishop Hughes' intent. I don't presume to know what was in his mind when he signed off on this document, nor do I (or anyone else reading this blog) know what challenges he faces in New Orleans. We should pray for him and let the Holy Spirit work.

Fr. Michael said...


First thing you have to know is that the diocese of Baton Rouge is not the archdiocese of New Orleans, that being said, the whole curial apparatus is different, not completely, because modernism and modernist clergy control both, but different...different history, different bishops. The latin mass existed in Baton Rouge long before Hughes came on the scene. While he may be cordial and charitable, this DOES NOT mean that he is pro TLM or even supportive and because he concedes to say a mass once a year is a good thing, but it doesn't mean he wants the old mass...many bishops do this and they could care less about the old mass. In Baton Rouge as in New Orleans, there are similarities...the method in both has been one of containment. One principal TLM in a church whatever and wherever and that's it. Mass on Sunday and holy days, no other sacraments...basta. As was quoted...you have your mass at such and such a church, that's all you need. I know personally and I have spoken to priests in both B.R. and N.O. and have spoken to the bishops involved in both dioceses. That's hardly what I call being of good will. Maybe things will change some what with the MP and if this is so then great,but it will be not because this bishop wants to, it's because he has to. The fact that he was more "liberal" toward traditionalist and the TLM in B.R. doest means he has been in N.O.and in the past years since he has been archbishop of N.O.,he hasn't been. Now he is going to use his episocpal power to make it difficult(hence the overbearing requirements of this document) for everyone both priests who wish to offer the old mass and the laity who want it. Just my thoughts...

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