Foederatio Internationalis Una Voce: Comment on the Guidelines Laid Down by the Archbishop of Manila With Regard to the Extraordinary Form of Mass

There is so much in error with these guidelines that even though they mention the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum, it is clear that the person who drafted the guidelines cannot possibly have read the Motu Proprio. The writer seems unaware that the previous rigidly-controlled state that existed under the indults of 1988 (Ecclesia Dei adflicta) and 1984 (Quattuor abhinc annos) ended abruptly at midnight on 13th September 2007. Under these indults, people and priests had to obtain permission from their local Ordinary before any celebrations of Mass using the Missal of 1962 could take place. Under Summorum Pontificum, which took effect from midnight on 13th September (i.e. from 14th September 2007), the permission to celebrate Mass according to the Missal of 1962 has been granted by the Supreme Legislator, the Pope, to “each Catholic priest of the Latin rite, whether secular or regular,” to “use the Roman Missal published by Blessed Pope John XXIII in 1962,…and may do so on any day with the exception of the Easter Triduum. For such celebrations……..the priest has no need for permission from the Apostolic See or from his Ordinary.” [Summ. Pont. Art 2]. The fact that one does not need the permission of the local ordinary to celebrate or attend Holy Mass in the Extraordinary Form, does not, in itself, derogate from the right of bishops to regulate liturgical matters in their sees. No doubt the Supreme Pontiff took that right into account when he assumed that no Catholic bishop would dissent from the superseding right of the Successor of Peter to regulate the liturgy for the universal Church.

Therefore, not only has any priest of the Latin rite the freedom to celebrate Mass on any day of the year (excluding the Easter Triduum but NOT excluding Sundays), but the Motu Proprio removes a need to obtain permission from anyone – either from the Holy See or his local bishop [Summ. Pont. Art.2].

To comment specifically on the detail of the guidelines:

  1. Despite what is said in the opening statement these guidelines are NOT in accordance with the norms laid down by the Apostolic Letter of Pope Benedict XVI.
  2. In Summorum Pontificum, the Supreme Pontiff dispensed local ordinaries from “regulating” the celebration according to the Extraordinary Form when, in his Letter to Bishops accompanying the Motu Proprio, His Holiness states “The present norms are also meant to free Bishops from constantly having to evaluate anew how they are to respond to various situations.”
  3. “The presider at this form of celebration should be a priest duly appointed by the Archbishop….” [Guidelines, para.4] There is no ‘presider’ at a Mass in the Extraordinary Form, this is a term introduced with the new order of Mass. In the Extraordinary Form of Mass there is a ‘celebrant’ who offers up the sacred mysteries acting in persona Christi.
  4. Concerning paragraph 5 of the Guidelines – it is the duty of all Sacred Pastors to ensure the solemnity and orderliness of the celebration of ALL forms of liturgy in their diocese so it needs to be explained why the Extraordinary Form requires special attention? As the Extraordinary Form and the Ordinary Form are “two uses of the same rite” [Summ. Pont. Art. 1], is the participation of other ministers (i.e., lectors, Master of Ceremonies, servers, choir, etc.) in the Ordinary Form also to be determined and regulated by the Ministry for Liturgical Affairs of the Archdiocese of Manila?
  5. It is commendable that a missal / booklet of the rite in Latin and English be prepared to help the faithful follow the celebration but why should those who wish to participate in this Mass have to undergo a catechetical orientation before the celebration? Will this requirement for a catechetical orientation apply equally to those attending the Ordinary Form?
  6. The local Ordinary has jurisdiction over this celebration in the sense that he must ensure that ALL liturgy under his jurisdiction is celebrated in conformity with the laws of the Church. Whatever is decided in relation with the Extraordinary Form of Mass must be decided “in full harmony, however, with all that has been laid down by the new norms of the Motu Proprio” [Letter to Bishops]. It is an abuse of authority, and in disobedience to the law expressed by the Supreme Pontiff, our Holy Father, to interfere in the right granted by the Successor of Peter to any priest in good standing to celebrate the Extraordinary Form of Mass. The Pope, the Supreme Legislator, has issued a DECREE, for the benefit of all priests and faithful of the Roman Rite in the Universal Church and no local bishop can interfere with this law and impose his own conditions in an act of public disobedience to the Vicar of Christ

The way forward for any priest or member of the faithful is clear. In accordance with article 7 of the Motu Proprio they must contact immediately the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei for clarification and send a copy of the guidelines that obstruct the provisions of Summorum Pontificum. They should write to:

    H.E. Dario Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos,
    President, Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei,
    Palazzo della Congr. per la Dottrina della Fide,
    Piazza del Sant Ufficio,
    00193 Rome,
    Fax: +39 06 69 88 34 12. Email:


Leo Darroch
Executive President
International Federation Una Voce.
11th February 2009.


A hobbit thanks to Carlos Palad in Rorate Caeli

Tridentine Mass at Divine Mercy Church in Sikatuna, Quezon City


Last Sunday, my friend and I decided to hear a Tridentine mass at the Divine Mercy Church in Sikatuna, Quezon City.  It was more than an hour of travel for both of us: she came from Novaliches; I came from Makati.  We met at the St. Joseph’s Shrine in the corner of Anonas Street and Aurora Boulevard in Quezon City.

I waited for her at the church’s basement in the Adoration Chapel, where people sat on the benches or knelt at the pews to pray.  After kneeling for a few minutes in prayer, I sat on the last row gazing at the Blessed Sacrament behind glass walls.  On my left are some statues.  The one closest is the Statue of The Sacred Heart of Jesus beside the portrait of Our Lady of Guadalupe.    Behind the statues is a glass wall separating us from people outside standing silently in prayer before rows of lighted candles.  One person limped forward with a cane.  Another left with head bowed in grief.  I closed my eyes.

I felt a tap on my shoulder.  “You have slept,” a voice said.

I opened my eyes.  It was my friend.  Maybe I really slept.  She knelt down to pray.

“Did you bring your beautiful veil,” I asked her when we left the chapel.

“No, it is too big,” she said.  “I found something smaller.”

And she showed me  a laced veil large enough to cover her head and shoulders.  Her white veil matched her white dress.  Had she not put on her knitted, gray sweater, she would look like a girl dressed for her first communion.  Or a woman for her wedding.


We rode a tricycle at Anonas Street and stopped at a corner  leading to the church.  The Divine Mercy church stands blue and gray amidst a road strewn with stone barrels and rock fragments.  I ditch is being dug.  I paid the P 30.00 fare and we got off.

We entered the church.  We dipped our fingers into the holy water font held by an angel and made the sign of the cross with bent knees.  Most of the women wore veils.  So my friend wore hers.  We found an empty pew on the right side in front of the tabernacle and beside the statue of Pope St. Gregory the Great.  We sat.

I gazed around.  Many used missals.  Others even have missals with Gregorian chant musical neumes–those little square boxes drawn rising and falling against four horizontal lines to indicate the pitch and duration of chant syllables.  I forgot to bring the 17-page missal I downloaded from the internet.  I used it a year ago when I tried my first Tridentine mass.  I loved this mass, though this is only my third time, for it is too far from my parish.  But I am glad that this time I brought a friend.

The mass began.  The priest wore purple chasuble with white laces.  The four old sacristans wore black with white laces; the four little ones (barely four years old) wore red with white laces.  At the stomp of the feet from a senior sacristan, these little ones would kneel or walk while carrying the candles.  They are too young to be boy scouts, yet these little boys are liturgically precise.  They are serious.

The readings were read by the deacon and the gospel were read by a priest.  Then the priest reads both the readings and the Gospel in English.

I self-studied some basic Latin and could understand the Latin sentences in my missal when I read them by sight.  But since I have no missal, I could hardly catch the priest’s words.  But I know now a few since the priest keeps repeating them:

“Dominus vobiscum,” the priest said.

“Et cum espiritu tuo,” the congregation responded.

“Per omnia saecula saeculorum,” the priest said.


I closed my eyes when I smelled the waft of incense.  I closed my eyes when I heard the choir sing the chants of angels.  I closed my eyes when the priest raised the body and blood of Christ. I wish to see, smell, and hear these beautiful things more clearly and savor them while they last.  I closed my eyes.

When the mass ended, the sacristan passed us by while he rang the little bells.  One note resonated in my ears that it seemed prolonged to eternity. I closed my eyes.  This is heaven.

If I were to be married someday, I would wish it to be in this mass.


Note: The Tridentine Mass in Philippines in general and in the Divine Mercy Church in particular is described by Gerald in his prodeoetpatria blog.