3 March 2007

Commentary on Motu Proprio Update from Envoy Magazine

(Taken from WDTPRS, Article in Question)

The source is Msgr. Michael Schmitz of the Institute of Christ the King during a 19 February talk held by Tradition, Family, Property in McLean, Virginia.

The article, "Traditional Liturgy Not Affected by ‘the Reform of the Reform’" seeks to put some traditionalists at ease about such dire things as the calendars of the old Missale and the new being coordinated.

There was a hint that the papal Master of Ceremonies, H.E. Piero Marini might be moving, but (and this is important) "Msgr. Schmitz did not give any details as to the nature of Archbishop Marini’s new assignment."

To my knowledge, Schmitz is well-placed to learn some things about these matters. Not only is he obviously one of the smartest and well-balanced clerics in the traditionalist movement, he has long-standing ties to the Holy Father, having been ordained priest by him years ago together with Msgr. Georg Ganswein, the Holy Father’s present personal secretary.

According to Mershon’s account of what Msgr. Schmitz communicated in the talk, the M.P. will allow every priest of the Latin Rite to say the older, "Tridentine" Mass not only privately (which he says priests can do now even without special permission) but also publicly. Many have wondered just how that would work, since seemingly it doesn’t allow much room for the rights of local bishops.

According to Mershon’s piece, if a bishop wants to block a priest from using the older Mass he would have to write to and get approval from the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei". On the other hand, priests would have recourse to the Commission in case of trouble. It remains to be seen if that is really the solution to the dilemma, but, while still problematic, it is not bad.

The piece reports that the Pope now has the text of the M.P. Apparently Msgr. Schmitz said: "The person who is responsible for it does not want to discuss it any longer." That is consistent with my experience here in Rome. A nearly complete wall of silence has dropped around the document (though not total!) which suggests that it is now in the Pope’s hands and is not longer subject to discussion in the dicasteries.

The recent interview in Inside the Vatican with Archbishop Ranjith, and what I have written about for years, presents the model that the side-by-side use of the newer and older Missals would result in the jump-start of an organic process of development of the Roman liturgy, each influencing the other. This was Joseph Ratzinger’s model. What Schmitz gave forth is largely consistent with that view. For the a "reform of the reform" to work, some things from the past need to be reclaimed, including greater use of Latin and ad orientem celebrations of Holy Mass, and maybe the recovery of elements such as the priest’s pre-Conciliar offertory prayers. It may be that these are elements in the Holy Father’s long-expected Post-Synodal Exhortation.

This might explain the long delays of both the Exhortation and the M.P.: they required coordination.

I urge you all once again to pray especially that the angel guardians work to soften the hearts of those who are obstinately opposing such a Motu Proprio so that its release will be irenic and fruitful.

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