From Mr Tom McIntyre SIR – I am grateful to the distinguished canonist, Mgr Gordon Read, (Letter, April 17) for intervening in the discussion of the Latin Mass Society’s idea of Summorum Pontificum’s fundamental purpose. Mgr Read wrongly assumes that I took no advice on Canon Law and that I did not understand the technical sense of “strict interpretation”. He rightly deduces that in criticising Dr Alcuin Reid’s reasoning, I was using it in a non-technical sense. I should have said so (not my prudent adviser’s fault) or used unambiguous language.
However, since he has taken the time and trouble to intervene, we should all, I think, value Mgr Read’s expert opinion on our issues: Was the fundamental purpose of Summorum Pontificum an unqualified liturgical pluralism or only a certain pluralism?
Did the Pope intend to delineate clearly the extent and nature of the exception? Is the Pope’s distinction, of an ordinary and an extraordinary use, a real or a nominal distinction?
If it is a real distinction, how, according to Church usage, is it to be understood? Was part of the Pope’s purpose an interpretation that could regularly deny the Church’s ordinary use to an unwilling majority of parishioners?
These questions refer in part to Cardinal Ratzinger’s words recorded in The Ratzinger Report: “I would personally support a certain liturgical pluralism. Provided, of course, that the legitimate character of the reformed rites was emphatically affirmed, and that there was a clear delineation of the extent and nature of such an exception permitting the celebration of the pre-conciliar liturgy.” I hope Mgr Read will agree to answer with his usual rare lucidity.
Yours faithfully, TOM McINTYRE Frome, Somerset