On the tenth anniversary of the promulgation of the document Ecclesia Dei Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, remarked on the "great number of priestly and religious vocations," that have come from communities attached to the traditional Latin liturgy, founded as a result of that document.
This was highlighted on 15 December 2000 in an historic ceremony when Bishop Kevin Manning of Parramatta ordained Glen Tattersall and John Fongemie to the diaconate for the Priestly Fraternity of St Peter. The Fraternity is a "Society of Apostolic Life" set up by Pope John Paul II, dedicated to the celebration of the traditional Latin liturgy.
The ordinations, which took place at the St John Vianney Church, Doonside, in the Parramatta Diocese, were followed by Pontifical Mass according to the traditional Latin rites. While such ordinations have taken place in America and Europe for some time, this was the first time an Australian bishop had celebrated the ordination rites according to the traditional Latin forms since the liturgical reforms of 1969.
The solemn Latin Mass was accompanied by Gregorian Chant and polyphony, both of which were recognised in the Second Vatican Council as having a special place in the Roman Liturgy. Local clergy assisted on the day as well as priests from Canberra and Melbourne.
Bishop Manning said afterwards that he enjoyed the opportunity to ordain these men and celebrate this Rite of Mass. This was in line with the Ecclesia Dei document which recognises and provides for the "rightful aspirations" of "all those Catholic faithful who feel attached to some previous liturgical and disciplinary forms of the Latin tradition" and grants permission for the continued celebration of the traditional Latin liturgy.
The Fraternity was recently accepted into Melbourne by Archbishop George Pell, who has also celebrated the old Latin Mass on a number of occasions. The Fraternity already has a strong presence both in America and Europe, but this is their inaugural foundation in Australia. The house now comprises four members, the two newly ordained deacons, Fr Laurence Gresser, an Australian priest ordained in Canada last March, and Fr John Rizzo from America.
The website for the Melbourne house of the Fraternity of St Peter is www.geocities.com/fsspaustralia and the website of the Ecclesia Dei Society is at http://ecclesia-dei-society.aethernity.com.au