Dear Bishop Moran...
London, May 18th 2010
Your Excellency, Bishop Moran,
May this find you well. I am a young Irish Catholic living in London. I spoke with your PA this morning and she invited me to write to you instead of leaving my mobile phone number. I am writing to you regarding a Latin Mass that was envisaged by Una Voce Scotland to take place at St. Magnus’ Cathedral.
As a lay person watching the events unfold in the media, it would appear that several anomalies have arisen, namely the use of the cathedral of St. Magnus’, the choice of 'newly reconciled' priests, crucially whether or not the Mass was indeed ‘blocked’ as has been described, and if the Mass may/will go ahead. I will explain my view of things, and would be grateful if you would make brief contact with me at either the address above or the phone number.
Una Voce Scotland received permission from The Church of Scotland for a Mass to be held in St. Magnus’ Cathedral, a church that was originally a Catholic church, but has been in the care of The Church of Scotland, since the Reformation. This follows Una Voce’s apostolate of holding Masses in pre-Reformation churches. When writing to you, Una Voce suggested that priests from the Transalpine Redemptorists offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in St. Magnus’ Cathedral, rather than giving you the task of finding a priest. Eight months ago, you replied to Una Voce Scotland, objecting to either Fr. Michael Mary or Fr. Anthony Mary of the Transalpine Redemptorists celebrating the Mass because as you wrote, "they have as yet only limited faculties to celebrate Mass in this diocese". True – this information is available on the web page of the Transalpine Redemptorists – yet you are in the position to grant them faculties for this unique Mass?
Your letter to Una Voce stated, "like all priests of the Church they are at liberty to celebrate the forma extraordinaria privately without specific permission, and to have some people with them when they do, but for public celebration the local bishop’s permission is needed". From the documented facts the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum clarifies that a priest does not need any special faculty to offer the Extraordinary Form. You, however as the bishop in this case may give express permission due to ordinary jurisdiction, considering the Mass would take place in your diocese.
I have not spoken to you, so have not had the opportunity to ascertain whether you intended to completely ‘block’ (that's the unfortunate word I keep reading) the celebration of the Mass in the EF altogether – or if you merely stipulated some concerns – which perhaps in the near future will be rectified. The latter may well be the case since you celebrated Mass (EF) in June 2009 at Papa Stronsay with the Transalpine Redemptorists. Photos and an account of which are available from http://the-hermeneutic-of-continuity.blogspot.com/2009/06/bishop-moran-celebrates-mass-at-papa.html
From my personal point of view, I will at this point pledge my whole hearted support for Mass in the Extraordinary Form to be celebrated at St. Magnus’ Cathedral. Presently, I am completely baffled as to why faculties have not been granted one of the Transalpine Redemptorist priests for the unique privilege of offering merely this Mass. I look forward to your response.
May I request that you offer a Mass for the intentions of Fr. Michael Mary, he has written this week on his web page that ‘things are not at all easy for us’ because to date the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer Papa Stronsay have not been canonically erected.
Please find the enclosed Mass stipend.
In Christo et Maria,
Damian Thompson’s blog: http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/damianthompson/100039754/a-historic-latin-mass-in-the-cathedral-of-the-orkney-isles-blocked-by-the-catholic-bishop/
Web page for the Transalpine Redemptorists: http://papastronsay.blogspot.com/