Fr Simon Henry at Offerimus tibi Domine has a very good post today about the implementation of Summorum Pontificum and Universae Ecclesiae. I would recommend anyone to read it.
These documents cover many areas, and one could spend a long time studying them. However, I would like to single out Article 5.1 of Summorum Pontificum. This is the bit that states that any stable group of the faithful is entitled to ask their "pastor" (parish priest of equivalent)for provision of the Mass and the other sacraments in the usus antiquior. Universae Ecclesiae explains that the group can be small and members need not necessarily come from the same parish, or indeed diocese.
So any group of people, five would be sufficient, who are stable (ie not here today and gone tomorrow) is perfectly entitled to ask their priest for provision of Mass in the older form. He should do his best to to satisfy the request in a reasonable fashion. This may be with a differenr priest as celebrant, or in a neighbouring parish. The point is that all reasonable possibilities should be explored.
If, after exploring the possibilities, the priest cannot find a way of satisfying the request, or it is felt that the priest has not taken the request sufficiently seriously, the applicants have the right to refer the matter to the bishop of the diocese. It then becomes his duty to attempt to resolve the matter. If this fails, the matter can be referred to Rome. So that there can be no dispute, it would be wise for the original request and all subsequent correspondence, to be in writing, and contain the names of all the applicants.
Summorum Pontificum is remarkable in the degree to which it delegates power to the laity. In matters concerning the older rites, the laity are empowered to set the ball rolling, and the clergy, even possibly the episcopy, are required to respond. Where reasonably practical, they must at least attempt to deliver the goods.
People often say that there is no point in asking their parish priest, because he is "so against it". In fact it is important that the question is asked, regardless of the expected answer, because the very asking is an important part of the procedure laid down by Summorum Pontificum. All bishops have recently had to send a report to Rome dealing with the reception of summorum pontificum in their diocese. One of the points that they will, no doubt, have remarked on is the number of requests that were received during the three year period.
This is why I say that it is up to you. If you don't ask you don't get. It you take the trouble to make a request, something should happen. You will notice that I have used the words "reasonably practical" and "reasonably possible" several times. We have to accept that many priests have never learned any Latin in their life, and may find the language very difficult. There may be other priests who, although they may be able to cope with the Latin, are so set in their ways that they cannot bring themselves to learn something new.
On the other hand, as Father Henry says, there are priests about that are very willing and able to say Mass in the usus antiquior. There are more than 100 who have attended the Priests' Training Conferences put on by the Latin Mass Society. There are many others who have taught themselves. In most cases, these priests would be delighted to be asked.
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