From Mr John Medlin SIR – Recently you reported Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster as saying that the archdiocese had asked its priests if they were willing to learn the usus antiquior and that there were “plenty” so that therefore the needs of the archdiocese were met (Report, May 20).
I am puzzled. “Plenty” of Westminster priests have learned the usus antiquior; the Latin Mass Society (LMS) knows that “plenty” of requests have been made for many more Sunday Masses so that the faithful may enjoy what the Holy Father freely gives them, and yet over three years since Summorum Pontificum there is not a single extra Sunday Mass being regularly celebrated in Westminster diocese.
Before Summorum Pontificum there were only two weekly Sunday Masses to cover the needs of the entire diocese (the London Oratory and St James’s, Spanish Place). There are still only the same two Masses. How can this be if the needs of the archdiocese are being met? I would point out that under Summorum Pontificum and the new Instruction it is, in effect, the faithful and their local pastors who define these needs, not the bishops.
Perhaps in the light of the Holy Father’s new Instruction which reiterates that the Extraordinary Form is offered to all the Church and that its use must be “generously granted”, the faithful in the parishes should renew their requests for weekly Sunday celebrations of the usus antiquior; given that there are plenty of priests surely their needs will now be met?
I know that the Westminster members of the LMS will monitor the situation with interest.
Yours faithfully, JOHN MEDLIN By email From Mr Philip Goddard SIR – Tom McIntyre (Letter, May 6) cannot surely be serious in suggesting that the Mass of Gregory the Great had more in common with the Ordinary than with the Extraordinary Form of the Mass. As we know from the first of the Ordines Romani, inter alia, the Gregorian Mass had no penitential rite, no Old Testament reading, no bidding prayers, no Creed, no offertory prayers, no congregational sign of peace, no three-year cycle of readings, no alternative Eucharistic Prayers, no lay readers, no Eucharistic ministers, and no altar girls; it was celebrated in Latin and versus orientem. It was not identical to the Extraordinary Form that we know today, chiefly in the absence of a penitential rite, offertory prayers and the Creed, but in most other respects it was a good deal closer to it than it is to the Ordinary Form.
Stranger still is Mr McIntyre’s contention that when Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos referred to the Gregorian Mass he meant “Gregory VII’s reform”, a pope whose only known intervention in the liturgy was to insist that five crosses instead of three should be made over the chalice during the doxology to the Canon!
Yours faithfully, PHILIP GODDARD London SE19