The FIUV notes with regret the letter, dated 10th June, from Fra’ Giacomo Dalla Torre, Grand Master of the Sovereign Military and Hospitaler Order of St John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes, and of Malta (the ‘Order of Malta’), forbidding the celebration of the Traditional Latin Mass (the Extraordinary Form) in the context of the Order’s liturgical life.
Since this letter has become public, we would like to observe that it does not accurately present the provisions of Pope Benedict XVI’s Apostolic Letter, given motu proprio, Summorum Pontificum. Article 3, cited in the Grand Master’s letter, explicitly allows religious communities to have not only private but conventual celebrations of Mass in the Extraordinary Form, without reference to the Major Superior (in the case of the Order of Malta, the Grand Master or the Prelate). His permission is required only in cases where the community ‘wishes to have such celebrations frequently, habitually or permanently’.
The Grand Master’s letter also neglects the right of the faithful, from which the religious and lay members of the Order of Malta are not excluded, from requesting celebrations of Mass in the Extraordinary Form (Article 4). Celebrations in the context of special occasions such as pilgrimages are explicitly anticipated (Article 5 §3). Pastors and rectors of churches are directed to accede to such requests (Article 5, §1 and §5).
The Federation would like to emphasise that the Extraordinary Form is a part of the liturgical patrimony of the Church which represents ‘riches’ for the Church, which should not be neglected or excluded, and certainly not on the basis of a narrow conception of unity which excludes the variety of liturgical expressions permitted in the Church. As Pope Benedict expressed it:
‘These two expressions of the Church’s lex orandi will in no way lead to a division in the Church’s lex credendi(rule of faith); for they are two usages of the one Roman rite.’ (Summorum Pontificum, Preamble)
Steve Skojec is the Founding Publisher and Executive Director of OnePeterFive.com. He received his BA in Communications and Theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville in 2001. His commentary has appeared in The New York Times, USA Today, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, Crisis Magazine, EWTN, Huffington Post Live, The Fox News Channel, Foreign Policy, and the BBC. Steve and his wife Jamie have seven children.