Italian Bishop suspends priests for insisting on Latin Mass

In a move that I think should be applauded by the traditional minded, Bishop Renato Corti of Novara, Itay, has suspended 3 priests who refused to celebrate the "ordinary form" of the Mass on Sunday, according to the newspaper La Stampa.

Fathers Alberto Secci, Stefano Coggiola and Marco Pizzocchi refused to celebrate Sunday Masses after Bishop Corti said that they could not exclusively celebrate the traditional Latin Mass.

Good. How can you be a priest and refuse to celebrate a valid form of the Roman rite? How can you disobey your bishop? Disobedience is disobedience. This kind of rigidness is not the kind of thing that helps the cause of the extraordinary form, it hurts.

Anyone that loves the TLM and applauded Summorum Ponitifcum should also applaud Bishop Corti's decisive actions.

Rorate Reports that the translation that led to the above is not a good one and the situation is a little different than it originally appeared.
Actually, the La Stampa report does not say that they were suspended, but that they "suspended" themselves ("il è autosospeso") - that they went "on strike" ("sciopero") because they were ordered to celebrate the Latin Mass only once every Sunday and only in the afternoon, even though most faithful in their parishes prefer the Traditional Mass (this was the "interpretative" decision of their Bishop which motivated their protest). The episcopal Vicar for the region managed to send priests to celebrate the New Mass in Italian (for a very small number of faithful).


  1. How can you be a priest and refuse to celebrate a valid form of the Roman rite?

    Should a priest be similarly disciplined for refusing to celebrate the RR according to the 1962 Missale Romanum? It's valid, too. What if a whole congregation refused to assist at a traditional Latin Mass and wanted to have the OF exclusively?

    I guess the way I see it, this argument cuts both ways. The difference is, the status quo favors the OF and not the EF. Therefore, adherents to the EF are singled out.

    I know, SP puts the onus on congregations to request a TLM, and it is not imposed, but in the back of my mind, I can't help but wonder if this is a battle of theologies and agendas. It's not merely about the Mass. Liberals have an aversion to the old Mass because of its sacrificial, hierarchical nature. Traditionalists have an aversion the new Mass because these elements are not as evident.

    I guess the difference is that one's refusal to celebrate the TLM is partially understandable given the burdens it would place on the priest to learn the old rubrics and the Latin. But what if half a church is petitioning for a TLM, are you going to see such disciplining if the priest refuses?

  2. "Needless to say, in order to experience full communion, the priests of the communities adhering to the former usage cannot, as a matter of principle, exclude celebrating according to the new books. The total exclusion of the new rite would not in fact be consistent with the recognition of its value and holiness."

    That's from the pen of Pope Benedict, in the explanatory letter which accompanied Summorum Pontificum.

  3. I’m writing from Italy.

    In principle, I wholeheartedly agree with you. I very much dislike the rigidity, the lack of carity and obedience, the intellectual weakness sometimes, of SOME traditionalists.

    Nevertheless, I think that, before judging, we need to know more.

    Here’s a quotation from the “Stampa” of yesterday: according to the Turin newspaper, H. E. Most Rev. monsignor Renato Corti, bishop of Novara, declared:

    «Bisogna fare in modo che si comprenda il senso autentico dei riti e dei testi liturgici; nelle domeniche e nelle feste è obbligatorio celebrare le messe in piena conformità al messale di Paolo VI, la forma ordinaria in italiano. Resta possibile celebrare una messa (una sola) nella forma straordinaria con il messale di Giovanni XXIII, in latino. Questa non deve sostituire quelle ordinarie.»

    My translation:

    «We must get people to understand the true sense of liturgical rites and texts. On Sundays and feasts [of obligation], it is compulsory that masses be celebrated in full conformity with the missal of Paul VI; [in other words,] the ordinary form, in Italian[, should be celebrated]. It is allowed to celebrate one mass (only one) in the extraordinary form, using the missal of John XXIII, in Latin. This [extraordinary form mass] must not supplant the ordinary ones.»

    To be fair, this seems correct, at least as a whole. Compare art. 5, § 2 of “Summorum Pontificum”:

    “Celebratio secundum Missale B[eati] Ioannis XXIII locum habere potest diebus ferialibus; dominicis autem et festis una etiam celebratio huiusmodi fieri potest.”

    Nevertheless, I’ve got some doubts about the last sentence:

    “This [extraordinary form mass] must not supplant the ordinary ones.”

    According to bishop Corti, it is not allowed to celebrate, on Sundays and feasts of obligation, only one extraordinary form mass; it is only permitted to celebrate one extraordinary form mass, in addition to one or more ordinary form masses. At least, this is how I understand his words.

    Do you think the bishop of Novara is right? Is there a canonist who might help?

    The three parish priests reportedly declared (see the “Stampa”: “We aren’t juke-box parish priests: we can’t celebrate one mass in Italian and one in Latin”.


  4. There are as many arguments or approaches to this situation as trees have branches, but as the kids say today, I feel them, these priests and their faithful. Because no matter what you call it, or insist on its 'validity,' the new mass stinks. The whole of it constitutes one huge abuse, but let us just count those items which the majority on every side generally call 'abuses": have they stopped? Is the reform of the reform completed? Can you go to mass like a Catholic, and kneel and receive Our Lord from a priest, and remain in church after mass to give Him great thanks? So the Holy Father insists that people who receive from him kneel! If I want to go to daily mass, I must receive from Father Joe Sixpack in Podunk and I'd better like doing it standing. There is no place to kneel there, and anyway Father Joe is sitting up at the altar while a woman in a pink pantssuit distributes the sacred hosts. This is forbidden, and yet it continues! A person with a heart for God leaves the new mass in tears. Would that every sincere priest would do as these did! We must, we must stop the hypocrisy of maintaining that all is well now, the new mass has been cleansed from all abuses, and the extraordinary form will only 'leaven' it with extra tradition. The new mass continues on at full speed destroying the church--I am not speaking of doctrinal elements, I am speaking of killing us with its bad music! The pews are empty, can't we see?

    Those at the top have career issues and have blinded themselves to the most obvious realities. Those at the bottom should say what we ought to have said forty years ago: no no no! Basta!


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