Archbishop on the TLM: “you must try to get as many people as possible to walk down this path of yours”

From Father Z at

 by Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Here is some great news.

I was sent a translation of a sermon given by the new Archbishop of Ferrara-Comacchio, His Excellency Most Rev. Luigi Negri, on Pentecost at the Marian Shrine of Poggetto.  The occasion was a celebration of Holy Mass with the 1962 Missale Romanum.  

I share here the last part of the sermon (my emphases):

This grace which the Church gives, you are living it at the spring of the Faith: the celebration of Holy Mass. You are able to drink these waters thanks to the great mercy of Benedict XVI. You can drink from this fresh stream, using one of the Church’s great treasures: the traditional liturgy. This is not an alternative to the reformed liturgy brought in after Vatican II, but is a fuller, freer, and more responsible form to be lived alongside the other one. Benedict XVI said as much in his wonderful Motu Proprio.

He wanted to widen the richness of the Liturgy to the whole Church, and so he asked the Church – starting with the Bishops – to be more respectful of his desire to widen these riches to anyone who legitimately wanted so they could fully live the truth of the Faith for the mission of today through this “older” form. The Pope thus overcame that spurious distinction between “old” and “new” which is made by the followers of the hermeneutic of discontinuity between what happened before the Council and what happened after it, and what we see in today’s world which has caused so much fatigue.

There is only ONE Church, and She has lived through history thanks to the Holy Spirit. The Second Vatican Ecumenical Council was an extremely important moment in time, although that moment was one of great challenges for the Church.

You may use this liturgy, and I am extremely happy that you do so in this Archdiocese where I arrived only a few months ago. You do not do so to attack anyone, or to push any opinion, but rather to live the mystery of the Church in accordance with the depth and truth of your right to live this way. The Church has made all this possible. Benedict XVI – I am not someone who uses words because he likes the sound they make – Benedict XVI showed his pastoral mercy by allowing this for individual Catholics or small groups who need not have a precise legal size. These are the “small groups” of the faithful who have the right and the duty to be able to come to this Mass. [small and now growing]

Now you have it all in your hands, and the Church allows you to spread it freely.

[NB] There can be no-one, no Diocese in Italy or anywhere in the world, who can stop you doing thisIf any Bishop ever dares to say “no” to you, he must be brought before an ecclesiastical tribunal immediately[!!!!] But before anything like that happens, there must be dialogue among the faithful who want the older Liturgy, and between the faithful and any priest who wants to help you take part in this beautiful Mass. To do so requires a certain level of preparation, but I am sure you have this already! I think that for it to become an experience for all those who want it a period of training and preparation will be needed. I tried to implement the Motu Proprio in a small Diocese, in San Marino-Montefeltro, where reactions were generally not extreme. I wrote to our Holy Father to tell him about the situation, mostly because the Instruction on how to apply the Motu Proprio was to take another two years. I received a short letter from Benedict XVI, who spoke very positively about how the Traditional Latin Mass had been brought back to my Diocese without any tension.

Try this older Liturgy for yourselves! Try out the truths of your faith! Try out the truths of your charity! Give impetus to your mission! Be like those who try out the same truths with the reformed Liturgy in the truth of their Faith and charity: they are two treasures for the same people[NB]People can be said to be grown-up Catholics if they understand these freedoms the Church gives them. Liturgical freedom is not something the Church merely gives: She guarantees it!

Do not hold on to any opinions you think you need to “defend” against others. The Archbishop of Ferrara-Comacchio is neither the keeper nor the propagator of any opinions. The Archbishop of Ferrara-Comacchio has only one opinion, the eternal truth of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the tradition of the Church, the teachings of the Holy Father, and the things he himself says when they are in line with the Pope. This is the space Benedict XVI has allowed usI am one of the few bishops (I am afraid to say we are very few) to have gained from all this a deeper sense of our identity in our dealings with God[The Italian bishops are not, as a body, on board with anything traditional.  Odd, but that’s the way it goes.]It is truly a great thing; and not just for those who practise it, but for the whole Church.

[Watch this!] Let me sum up by saying that this is why you must try to get as many people as possible to walk down this path of yours[Get that?] It will not take you away from the life of the Church, nor will it lighten the heavy burden of being in communion with them, although this is a wonderful thing.

[… He speaks then about recovering from the devastating earthquake….]

I shall always be close to you. I shall always encourage you. All I ask of you is that same humility which Pope Francis shows to the world in his words and actions, before he asks it of any of us. Have no other preoccupation than to live in the depths of your souls what the Church has given you for your own good and for the good of all. Remember that my support and help will never fail you. I offer you my correction too, as I do to every community that feels it needs such a thing, but I am sure I will never need to give you any!


Fr. Z kudos to the Archbishop of Ferrara-Comacchio!

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