DIOCESE OF HARRISBURG ‑ Office of the Bishop
4800 Union Deposit Road ‑ Box 2153 • Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17105-2153
Dr. David Drew
P .O. Box 7352
York, PA 17408
Dear Dr. Drew,
I received a copy of your recent letter to Bob Charlton, In that letter, you stated that I had a serious moral obligation to respond to your July letter, which you have posted on your web page. You also stated that a failure to respond "would create a legal presumption of (my) approval." You fail to appreciate that such a presumption can never be used to remedy illicit actions overtly opposed to Church discipline.
I am writing to let you know that I do not approve of your creation of the "Saints Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Mission." Neither did my predecessor, Bishop Nicholas Dattilo. I remind you of the prescriptions of canon law (canons 216 and 300) which state that apostolates or associations may not assume the name "Catholic" without the consent of competent ecclesiastical authority. I also remind you of canon 301,1 which states: "It is for the competent ecclesiastical authority alone to erect associations of the Christian faithful which propose to hand on Christian doctrine in the name of the Church or to promote public worship, or which intend other purposes whose pursuit is of its nature reserved to the same ecclesiastical authority".
You continue to maintain that I was mistaken to use the term "indult" regarding the faculty I used to expand the celebration of the Holy Mass in our diocese according to the 1962 Roman Missal back in 2005. His Holiness, Pope John Paul II, granted this indult. Pope Benedict XVI also spoke of the "special indult" Quattuor abhinc annos (1984) in his letter Summorum Pontificum.
I will not approve the actions you have taken against the laws of the Church: purchasing and using a place for divine worship without authorization (canons 37 and 1223); invalidly establishing an association which promotes public worship (canon 301, §1); and, most seriously, contracting priests for sacramental celebrations who are forbidden to do so because of canonical irregularity, impediment to exercise orders, or ecclesiastical penalty.
In your July letter, you quote Cardinal Ratzinger concerning the Second Vatican Council as well as the Novus Ordo. I encourage you to read, if you have not already done so, Pope Benedict XVI's Apostolic Exhortation, Sacramentum Caritatis. In this document, our Holy Father writes:
"If we consider the bimillenary history of God's Church, guided by the wisdom of the Holy Spirit, we can gratefully admire the orderly development of the ritual forms in which we commemorate the event of our salvation. From the varied forms of the early centuries, still resplendent in the rites of the Ancient Churches of the East, up to the spread of the Roman Rite; from the clear indications of the Council of Trent and the Missal of Saint Pius V to the liturgical renewal called for by the Second Vatican Council: in every age of the Church's history the Eucharistic celebration, as the source and summit of her life and mission, shines forth in the liturgical rite in all its richness and variety."
In the Apostolic letter, Summorum Pontificum, our Holy Father writes of the two forms of the Roman Rite: the ordinary form (Roman Missal of Pope Paul VI) and the extraordinary form (Roman Missal of Blessed John XXIII). I am very grateful for the new norms promulgated by Pope Benedict XVI and am committed to their observance in our diocese.
As you know, I have established the Mater Dei community in Harrisburg and I have appointed a chaplain for the celebration of all the rites according to the Missal of Blessed John XXIII. I invite you and all the members of the illicitly established Saints Peter and Paul Mission to join this community. I do not intend to establish the Saints Peter and Paul community as a confraternity in our diocese. I do not intend to submit your request to Rome, nor do I have plans to initiate a judicial process. My sole intention is to invite you to reconciliation with the Church.
I remember you and the members of the Saints Peter and Paul Mission in my prayers before the Most Blessed Sacrament. I hope and pray for your return to full communion with the Church. May the Holy Spirit guide you and Our Lady, Seat of Wisdom, intercede for you.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Most Reverend Kevin C. Rhoades
Bishop of Harrisburg