It is, I hope you will agree, a good letter; a good example of the love of Christ, of the care shown by a good shepherd for his flock, yet the actions you, as a Bishop, have taken, are precisely the same my friend spells out.
You have not only disregarded my Motu Proprio, you have poured ridicule and scorn on the laity who have responded to it and you have vilified those young men about to become servants of God and those already in His service, who expressed an interest in my call for the Extraordinary Form of Mass.
Please read my friend's letter in full and see if it touches your heart; if it reminds you of the vow of obedience you once made all those years ago and see if you can now put into practice all that is contained therein".
Signed: B------t - and the end of the "dream" letter - now for the real one!
It is with much bitterness of spirit that I have found that many of you have not taken up or made a right attitude of mind and heart toward the possibility given to the faithful by the motu proprio "Summorum Pontificum" of Pope Benedict XVI, of the celebration of Holy Mass "in the extraordinary form" according to the Missal of Blessed John XXIII, promulgated in 1962.
In the "Three days of the Clergy" of September 2007, I indicated with strength and clarity what is the value and the true meaning of the Motu Proprio, how we should interpret it and how we should accept it, with a mind that is open to the magisterial content of the document and with a ready willingness of a convinced obedience. The position taken by the Bishop was not missing its calm authority, strengthened by his full concordance with a solemn act of the Supreme Pontiff. The position of the Bishop was founded by reason of his theological argument on the nature of the Divine Liturgy, the immutability of the substance in its supernatural contents, and was also based on surveys of the practical, concrete, good sense of the Church.
The adverse reactions to the motu proprio and the theological and practical guidance of the bishop are almost always dictated by emotional and superficial theological reasoning, i.e. a rather poor and shortsighted "theological" vision, that is not part of and which does not reach the true nature of the things which concern the Faith and the work the Church's sacramental life, that is not fed by the perennial Tradition of the Church, which looks at rather marginal aspects or at least incomplete issues. Not without reason, had I, in "Three Days" cited above, prefaced with the operational guidelines and principles to guide action a doctrinal exposition on the "Unchanging Nature of the Liturgy".
I understand that in some areas, on the part of several priests and pastors, there was also the manifestation almost of ridicule toward faithful who have asked to make use of the option, and indeed of the right, for the celebration of Holy Mass in the Extraordinary Form; there is also an expression of contempt and almost of hostility toward Brother Priests who are well prepared to understand and respond to the requests of the faithful...
I ask that you put away every attitude not in conformity with ecclesial communion, the discipline of the Church and the convinced obedience due to important acts of the magisterium or government.
I am convinced that my call will be accepted in a spirit of filial respect and obedience.
The letter carries with it all my desire that it might help to reawaken and a strengthen our ecclesial communion and of our common desire to fulfill our ministry with a renewed fidelity to Christ and his Church.
Finally, I would ask you for much prayer for me and for my apostolic ministry, and I cordially bless you all.
Albenga, 1 January 2012, Solemnity of the Mother of God
Monsignor Mario Oliveri, Bishop