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Archbishop denies restricting traditional Latin Mass

  • Italy
  • April 17 2009
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A Philippine Church leader has denied an allegation published on the Internet that he prohibits unsanctioned traditional Latin Masses (TLM) in his southern archdiocese.





A traditional Latin Mass on Easter Sunday in Cubao diocese drew about 50 Catholics from Manila and nearby areas


Archbishop Jesus Dosado of Ozamiz, vice chairman of the Philippine bishops´ Commission on Liturgy, says the comment posted on rorate-caeli.blogspot could have stemmed from his refusal years ago to allow a priest of the Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX) to say Mass in his archdiocese.

"I said ´no way´ not because of the Latin Mass, but because there was something irregular in the ordination of this priest," the Vincentian archbishop explained in a telephone interview from Ozamiz, 770 kilometers southeast of Manila.

The recent allegation was made in an Internet report on a Vatican official´s reported disapproval of Manila archdiocese´s guidelines on celebrating the traditional Latin Mass (TLM), also called the Tridentine Mass.

In July 2007, Pope Benedict XVI issued the document Summorum Pontificum, in which he declared Blessed Pope John XXIII´s 1962 revision of the traditional Latin Mass an "extraordinary" form of the Roman rite. The "ordinary" form, he said, is Pope Paul VI´s 1970 revision of the Roman Missal, on which vernacular Masses are based. Pope Benedict approved wider use of the extraordinary rite to serve Catholics who prefer it.

In the April 4 rorate-caeli post, titled "Note on the Situation in Manila," Carlos Antonio Palad reported difficulties of a "little community" of Catholics dedicated to the 1962 Roman Missal.

He also reported the impact of an April 2 report in The Tablet, a British Catholic weekly paper available online. That report said Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, president of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, had written Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales of Manila that guidelines on celebrating Tridentine Masses in his archdiocese are "unduly restrictive."

Manila archdiocese posted the guidelines, issued Dec. 8, on its website.

According to Palad a local group was preparing to ask Manila archdiocese to reconsider its guidelines, when The Tablet report arrived. He said the group wanted to approach the archdiocese first, before appealing the matter to Rome, if necessary, with support from Una Voce America, an international organization promoting the Tridentine Mass.

Palad, an Una Voce member, said Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos´ reported concern elicited "joy and gratitude" from Tridentine Mass promoters in the Philippines.

However, he warned of persisting "sad" situations, including bishops´ prohibitions. "Archbishop of Ozamiz, Msgr. Jesus Dosado, declared that no TLM can be celebrated in his archdiocese without his permission," Palad wrote.

On April 16, Palad told UCA News he based his assertion on a news brief in the March 16-29 issue of the Philippine bishops´ CBCP Monitor. Titled "Archbishop warns vs ´unauthorized´ Latin Mass," the report said Ozamiz archdiocese had issued a warning to its Catholics that "any Latin Mass is deemed illegal without the consent of the Ozamiz Archbishop Jesus Dosado."

The archbishop clarified his stand in the recent interview. "I do not forbid (TLM) here," he said. "If people ask me for that, it is my obligation as a bishop to provide them a priest."

He acknowledged only having opposed SSPX priests saying Mass in his archdiocese. Even though Pope Benedict on Jan. 21 lifted the excommunication of SSPX bishops, he said, priests of the society "can say Mass validly, but not licitly."

The four bishops were excommunicated with Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, SSPX founder, after he ordained them bishops in 1988 despite the Vatican warning he could not do so without a papal mandate.

SSPX rejects the 1970 Roman Missal and other reforms spurred by the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965).

According to Archbishop Dosado, no Catholics in Ozamiz have asked for a Tridentine Mass since the Pope issued Summorum Pontificum.

In Manila where people have asked for the traditional liturgy, Cardinal Rosales has assigned its celebration to a chapel of Manila Metropolitan Cathedral once a month, but not on a Sunday or holy day of obligation. The archdiocesan Ministry for Liturgical Affairs is responsible for regulating Mass ministers.

Any priest who would preside at one of these Masses must be "duly appointed" by the Manila archbishop. The cardinal also "encouraged" those wishing to attend these Masses to undergo catechetical orientation first.

When UCA News asked to interview Cardinal Rosales about the reported letter from Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos and the archdiocesan guidelines, the Manila archbishop´s secretary replied: "The subject matter in question is being addressed by Cardinal Rosales mindful of the pastoral situation and needs of the faithful."

Cardinal Rosales "will answer the letter of Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos," the secretary, Father Reginald Malicdem, wrote on April 7.
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