From the general manager of the Latin Mass Society SIR – Tom McIntyre (Letters, March 20) threw up a smokescreen of vague words to hide his commitment to intemperate positions regarding the extraordinary form. But he should not be allowed to get away with it.
Firstly and importantly his charge that the Holy Father’s Motu Proprio was intended to “outlaw” (Mr McIntyre now prefers the word “exclude”) anything can not be supported by a reading of Summorum Pontificum – which is a short document, only two sides of an A4 sheet. Let me quote the wise words of Dr Alcuin Reid, who as a liturgical scholar understands these things: “Let it be said plainly: because Summorum Pontificum gives no faculty to others to establish norms in respect of its ... implementation, ‘norms’ and ‘guidelines’ ... given by authorities other than the Holy See that restrict what the Motu Proprio in fact allows, cannot be binding or canonically valid (cf Canon 16.1). Let us also apply the principle of Canon 18 of the Code: Summorum Pontificum is not a restrictive law – it is an utterly permissive one – and so it ought not to be interpreted strictly, but permissively.” However, note that word “law”. Summorum Pontificum is not the Pope’s opinion or his advice, it is the universal law of the Church. Bishop John Fleming of Killala, Ireland, has just been ordered by the Ecclesia Dei Commission to remove the ban he had placed on Traditional Rite celebrations in his diocese in defiance of the Motu Proprio on the grounds that neither he nor his council of priests can restrict a right approved by the Pope.
Enough! Let me say that I wish to live in amity and mutual regard with all my fellow Catholics regardless of the Form to which they are attached. I only ask for the full freedom given to me under the Motu Proprio which requires that the Traditional Rite “must be given due honour for its venerable and ancient usage”.
Yours faithfully, JOHN MEDLIN By email