Cardinal O’Malley on the Old Mass

Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley was one of small group of bishops who was invited to the June 27 meeting in the Vatican to discuss the soon-to-be-released motu proprio apostolic letter reviving the old Mass. Cardinal O’Malley and St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke were the only American invitees, according to CNS.

Cardinal O’Malley spoke with Father Raymond J. De Souza for the Register after Summorum Pontificum was released July 7.

What practical changes do you anticipate in the Archdiocese of Boston as a result of the Holy Father’s motu proprio and letter? Will it be necessary to train priests to offer the 1962 Mass?

The impact will be much greater in Europe than in Canada or the United States. In some countries attendance at the old Mass is very large — France and Germany and Switzerland. But in the United States about 140 dioceses have Tridentine Masses and about 60 do not have them. Where they are celebrated there are usually about 100 or 200 who attend. So I do not foresee a great groundswell for the old Missal and the Holy Father doesn’t foresee that either. After all, the novus ordo in Latin has always  been open to priests, but not many take that option.

I don’t think it necessary therefore to train priests for the 1962 Missal, but in the seminary this should give an impetus to studying the history of the Mass and the history of the praying Church.

At the meeting of June 27 with the Holy Father, what did Pope Benedict wish to emphasize to you?

He made it clear that this was a pastoral motivation and concern for those who have separated themselves from the Church, and to stress the continuity in the liturgy — there is no rupture between the Church before and after Vatican II. This gesture will reassure people and encourage them to return to full communion. For my part, I hope that it will make all those attached to the Latin liturgy feel more mainstream in the Church.

In addition to the goal of unity with the Society of Pius X, the Holy Father spoke the “mutually enriching” effect of two forms of the Latin rite. Is that likely to happen?

No one wants the liturgy to become a battleground; it should be the center of unity and communion for believers. A mutual respect and appreciation for the two forms, as Pope Benedict calls them, should be fostered.

We are the Latin Rite in the Church. Occasionally I go to Greek Orthodox churches or Jewish synagogues and a large part of the worship is in a liturgical language which is spoken regularly by a majority of the congregation. They do not find it off-putting, but uplifting and part of their tradition. I hope for an openness to Latin. I notice that in the parishes I visit people are singing more Latin than in the past — parts of the Mass and hymns for example. So we should be open to fullness of our tradition.

Do you intend to offer the Holy Mass according to the Missal of Blessed John XXIII yourself, for example at Holy Cross Cathedral?

At the Cathedral our congregation is mostly Hispanic, and there has not been a demand for it. We do have Tridentine Mass communities in Boston, and I envision as I visit the parishes, I might very well celebrate it. Remember, I grew up going to the Tridentine Mass daily, and as a young friar, we prayed the divine office together in the old rite. So I have been nourished by it and have affection for it.

Bishops Tap Becket

The 37-year-old general counsel and vice president of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty has been named general counsel of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

In September Anthony R. Picarello Jr. will fill the seat left vacant by the resignation of general counsel Mark Chopko, who had held the post since 1988. The U.S. bishops’ conference general secretary Msgr. David Malloy announced the appointment July 6.

A 1995 graduate of the University of Virginia Law School, Picarello holds a bachelor’s degree in social anthropology and comparative religions from Harvard University and a master’s degree in religious studies from the University of Chicago.

He has been with the Becket Fund for seven years, after previously working at the Washington law firm of Covington and Burling, where he specialized in environmental and employment law. While there, he also participated in a challenge to a Federal Election Commission audit and in a post-conviction death penalty appeal in Mississippi.             CNS

Fetal Homicide

A married Baltimore County man accused of killing his pregnant girlfriend will become the first person prosecuted under Maryland’s new fetal homicide law — a move applauded by a Catholic lobbyist and a medical professional.

After a grand jury handed down an indictment on two counts of first-degree murder for David L. Miller, 24, July 3, Baltimore County State’s Attorney Scott D. Shellenberger announced he would personally prosecute the case, along with an assistant state’s attorney.

Traditionally, state’s attorneys in large metropolitan counties spend little if any time in the courtroom.

“I decided to handle the Miller case myself because of the important and novel legal issues involved,” said Shellenberger, who was elected to his office last year. “This is, to my knowledge, the first murder prosecution for the death of a fetus since the (Maryland) Legislature enacted the statute permitting such prosecutions. Since this is the first prosecution of its kind, I thought it important to handle myself.”

Sydney News

The Pope will be at World Youth Day, but exactly where he’ll be is in dispute.

Pope Benedict XVI announced that he planned to attend World Youth Day celebrations in Australia in July 2008, and he encouraged young people to prepare for “this marvelous celebration of the faith.”

Speaking at the end of his general audience July 4, the Pope confirmed hopes that he would make the 10,000-mile journey from Rome to Sydney for the international assembly with hundreds of thousands of youths. “One year from now we will meet at World Youth Day in Sydney!” the Pope told a group of young people in Rome for a planning session. The Holy Father tentatively was scheduled to arrive in Sydney July 17, 2008, for four days of ceremonies.

“For many of us, this will be a long journey. Yet Australia and its people evoke images of a warm welcome and wondrous beauty, of an ancient aboriginal history, and a multitude of vibrant cities and communities,” he said.

But where will the event be held?

Horse trainers have threatened to legally challenge the use of Royal Randwick Racecourse near Sydney as the venue for the World Youth Day 2008 vigil and papal Mass.

The Randwick Trainers Association unanimously voted July 4 to explore legal avenues to stop the racecourse’s use for 10 weeks next year and challenge the right of the racecourse tenant, the Australian Jockey Club, to negotiate the deal with the World Youth Day Committee without their consent.

Anthony Cummings, president of the association, said legal advice “suggested the (Australian Jockey Club) chairman would be acting outside his charter to sign a document that would host another enterprise to the exclusion of racing and training at Randwick.”

Claiming that the New South Wales state government and World Youth Day Committee lack “knowledge of the process and training” at the racecourse, Cummings said he would not rule out the trainers’ right to sue for compensation should the trainers incur financial disability.     CNS


There are several paths within the journey that has brought 15 women religious into communion with the Catholic Church.

But one of the key turning points in the journey was watching the moving funeral liturgy for Pope John Paul II. Two former members of the schismatic community at Mount St. Michael (pictured) in north Spokane discussed their return to the Catholic Church in an interview with Inland Register, Spokane diocesan newspaper, at their new home at Immaculate Heart Retreat Center in Spokane.

The Mount St. Michael community believes in a theological position of “sedevacantism,” which, expressed simply, means that because of heresy, the chair of Peter has been vacant since Pope Pius XII, who died in 1958. Individually, some members of the Religious Congregation of Mary Immaculate Queen at Mount St. Michael found themselves beginning to question that position. “It wasn’t like we planned anything, or the sisters came together to this conclusion,” said Mother Marie de Lourdes.Rather, individuals began to reconsider the position, “and discovered others on a similar journey.”    CNS

China Disobedience

A Catholic lay leader from Beijing said China will continue to “self-elect and self-ordain” bishops. “We ordain bishops only for the sake of evangelization in the mainland. Nobody can stop us,” said Anthony Liu Bainian, vice chairman of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association, which acts as a liaison between the Chinese government and Catholic churches that have registered with the government.

Liu told the Asian church news agency UCA News July 3 that it is up to Rome to recognize these bishops.

Pope Benedict XVI’s June 30 letter to the Catholic community in China described the self-elected and self-ordained bishops in China as “validly ordained.” But it said certain bishops among them “lack a pontifical mandate” and are to be considered “illegitimate.”

Usually the elected bishop candidate would apply to the Vatican for approval after his episcopal election in China. In some cases the Vatican did not give its approval, but “the fault lies not with China,” Liu said, noting that he had read the papal letter three times and found it comprehensive.         CNS