CHARLESTON — Pope Benedict XVI’s letter on the Tridentine Mass was met with welcome in South Carolina, where the traditional Latin Mass is celebrated in three churches.
Bishop Robert J. Baker granted an indult to celebrate the Tridentine Mass in 2001 to Msgr. Lawrence B. McInerny, pastor at Stella Maris Church on Sullivan’s Island, and later to Father Steven L. Brovey, director of the Office of Prayer and Worship and pastor of Prince of Peace Church in Taylors. He also gave permission for priests from the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter to celebrate a monthly Mass at Good Shepherd Church in Columbia.
After Pope Benedict XVI released his letter, Bishop Baker wrote to priests and Catholics in the Diocese of Charleston asking them to welcome “Motu Propio Summorum Pontificum.” In his letter, he reminded Catholics that the pope made it clear that there is only one Roman rite that has two forms, the “ordinary form,” which is the Missal promulgated by Pope Paul VI in 1970, and the “extraordinary form,” which was last issued by Blessed John XXIII in 1962.
Bishop Baker quoted Pope Benedict XVI’s letter accompanying Motu Proprio: “There is no contradiction between the two editions of the Roman Missal. In the history of the liturgy there is growth and progress, but no rupture. What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful.”
The bishop urged priests, deacons, religious and the laity to ensure that parish liturgies “are celebrated well, whether in the ‘ordinary form’ or the ‘extraordinary form’ of the Roman Missal.
“In particular,” he said, “let us be committed to celebrating the Sacred Mysteries ‘with great reverence in harmony with the liturgical directives,’ with well-trained liturgical ministers, the use of sacred music, giving pride of place to Gregorian chant, and providing on-going liturgical catechesis for the faithful.”
Bishop Baker requested that priests who want to celebrate the Tridentine Mass master the rubrics of the ancient Roman Missal, have a suitable grasp of Latin and follow the directives stated in Motu Proprio. The Office of Prayer and Worship will keep a list of priests who have agreed to train others in the proper manner to celebrate the traditional Latin Mass.
“The integrity of each Missal should be respected and faithfully followed,” Bishop Baker said. “There is to be no ‘co-mingling’ of rubrics, nor of Missals, without the approval of the Holy See.”
In a letter to his parishioners, Msgr. McInerny echoed that concern.
“Important to the traditional Mass is a strict obedience to the rubrics and the realization that the Mass is greater than the individual,” he stated. “We don’t change the Mass, it changes us.”
Latin Masses in South Carolina
Stella Maris, Sullivans Island, 5:30 p.m. Sundays
Prince of Peace, Taylors, 5 p.m. Sundays
Good Shepherd, Columbia, 3 p.m., the first Sunday of the month