From Mr John Medlin, press officer for the Latin Mass Society SIR – Tom McIntyre in his reply (Letters, February 11) to my letter of January 21 continues to note “the individualist dangers in the Old Rite, as against the united membership of Christ’s body that the Church’s norm [ie, the New Rite] highlights”. He is very adept at turning facts on their head. It is one of the most observable strengths of the Old Rite – noted by those who like it and those who do not – that it is a bulwark against individualism and unauthorised “creativity”; whereas it is similarly observable that the New Rite, with its plethora of “options”, has sadly given rise to a confusion characterised by the then Cardinal Ratzinger as “the collapse of the liturgy”. It is one of the purposes of Summorum Pontificum that the Old Rite may act as a restraint and a calming influence on the hyperactivity of the new. That is why Mr McIntyre is quite wrong in continuing to insist that Summorum Pontificum is merely for “those long attached to the old form”; if that were the case we would have to say that the Motu Proprio is one of the most poorly drafted pieces of legislation ever to emanate from the Vatican – and Pope Benedict does not “do” poorly drafted legislation.
Allow me to draw Mr McIntyre’s attention to yet another of the astonishing implications of Summorum Pontificum. Article 5:2 states: “Celebration in accordance with the Missal of Blessed John XXIII may take place on working days; while on Sundays and feast days one such celebration may also be held.”.
Consider: many parishes worldwide, and increasingly even in England and Wales, only have one celebration on Sundays. The Motu Proprio allows the possibility that this celebration may be in the Extraordinary Form. The LMS knows of one or two parishes where this is already the case. Does this smack of a limited permission for a handful of the backwardlooking? Of course not; rather, it smacks of the Holy Father’s exhortation to the bishops: “Let us generously open our hearts and make room for everything that the faith itself allows.” Yours faithfully, JOHN MEDLIN London WC2