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From Bishop Hopes
I am writing with regard to your leader “The old rite put in its place” (8 August). In his message welcoming priests to the training conference provided by the Diocese of Westminster in conjunction with the Latin Mass Society, Archbishop Nichols expresses his gratitude to those priests who have given up their time to respond to a need in the Church today.
By providing this conference for priests wishing to learn the extraordinary rite, the Diocese of Westminster is not only affirming the import ance of the worthy celebration of the liturgy and the proper attention that priests should pay to good celebration but also reminding us that the diocesan bishop is the moderator, promoter and guardian of the whole of the diocese’s liturgical life. He is not “seeking to nip potential schism in the bud” or suggesting that the place of the Tridentine Rite is “necessarily marginal”.
Just as Pope Benedict pointed out in the letter he sent to the Church’s bishops to accompany “Summorum Pontificum”, so the archbishop notes the relationship between the ordinary and the extraordinary forms. Above all he emphasises the importance of the Mass as the “source and expression of the unity of the Church”. In this Year for Priests, Archbishop Vincent recognises the responsibility priests face whatever the form the liturgy takes – the active participation of all. This is an idea, common to papal teaching on the liturgy from the beginning of the twentieth century. This “active participation” has always been understood to be internal and external. To reduce participation to solely external signs is both a simplification and a misguided attack in the “culture wars” you seek to avoid.
(Bishop) Alan Hopes
Auxiliary Bishop of Westminster, London SW1
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