30 June 2007

yet another motu proprio? :p

[Taken from Catholic World News]
Pope Benedict the XVI will soon release a moto proprio permitting the celebration of the Novus Ordo Mass without liturgical abuses, CWN has learned.

The 1-page document, accompanied by a 50-page explanatory letter, will allow individual priests to celebrate the Mass of 1969 according to the revised General Instruction for the Roman Missal. Bishop Ronald Mackerelperson criticized the relaxed rules that will permit the lawful celebration of the Novus Ordo. In a prepared statement, Mackerelperson said that the Holy See is overlooking the pastoral benefits of liturgical abuse. "When I see Mother Superior of the Erie Benedictine nuns in a polyester leotard performing a liturgical dance, I ask myself what could make the liturgy more relevant to Dick and Jane in the pews," he said.

Mackerelperson said that as a result of this kind of liturgical expertise on the part of the Benedictine nuns, he has appointed nuns as permanent administrators of most of the parishes in his diocese. The bishop predicted "pastoral chaos" if the liturgical abuse is outlawed. "Liturgy must be accessible to the young people and giving unregulated permission to priests to celebrate Mass according to the rubrics should not be tolerated," he complained.

Bishop Mackerelperson added the proposed motu proprio, if it is issued in the form being discussed by Vatican-watchers, would "disrupt years of careful liturgical training of priests and laity."

German coverage of the Motu Proprio

[Taken from Closed Cafeteria]
The German paper Die Tagespost, via Kath.net has an interesting article on the Motu proprio. I've translated it.
Now it is being read, studied, commented on and examined for possible consequences. The Motu proprio of Pope Benedict XVI. which is supposed to revive the Latin Rite, which was last promulgated by Pope John XXIII. in 1962 in the official Missale Romanum and whose basics were defined by the Council of Trent (1545-1563), is making its way through the global Church. Especially through those parts in which the Tridentine Mass is a topic because they have religious institutes with an indult for the use of the old Missal or because the faithful are asking for Masses according to the old Missal.

In the Vatican it is well known where the champions of the "old" Mass are. The commission Ecclesia Dei takes care of that. It is supposed to build bridges to priests and religious who are sticking to the Tridentine Rite but, as opposed to the Lefebvrite SSPX, want to remain in full communion with Rome. To facilitate this, John Paul II. established Ecclesia Dei almost immediately after the illicit ordinations by Lefebvre. In the time since, the commission has acquired a very good idea of the "map" of traditionalists faithful to Rome.

A group of bishops from bishops conferences and dioceses that are on this "map" had been invited to the Apostolic Palace by the Secretary of State, Cardinal Bertone, to get more detailed information on the Motu proprio. Germany has friends of the "old" Mass, too, so Cardinal Lehmann, head of the German bishops conference, was there as well on Wednesday afternoon.

The Vatican hasn't published a list of the participants, but from within the Curia it has been said that among the participants were the president of the French bishops conference and Archbishop of Bordeaux, Cardinal Ricard and the Archbishop of Lyon, Cardinal Barbarin. Especially bishops from France and Germany had, in recent months, let the Pope know that they thought this liberalization of the Tridentine Mass was a step prone to sow confussion and possible splits among the faithful.

Further present were the vicar general of Rome, Cardinal Ruini, the president of the Italian bishops conference and archbishop of Genua, Bagnasco; the archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor, Cardinal O'Malley, the archbishop of Boston and Archbishop Raymond Burke of St. Louis. Cardinal Pell of Sydney, Australia, Archbishop Toppo from India. Archbishop Engone of Gabon, Africa.

That Pope Benedict spent an hour talking to the bishops about the Motu proprio shows that it is an issue very dear to his heart, that he wants it to be received positively and that it shouldn't be misunderstood. The Motu proprio is three pages long, the Pope's accompanying letter even a page longer.

As soon as all bishops of the global Church have received the documents, it can go into effect and will be published. Most observers think this will happen in a week (July 7th). The path taken by the Vatican in the publication of this Papal text is unusual. The danger is great that it will fall into journalists' hands before the official publication - it would then depend on the good faith and knowledge of the journalists, whether it will be quoted and described accurately.

Pope Benedict does not want to undo the liturgical reforms after the Second Vatican Council. He also does not want to kick out so-called people's altars and re-install communion rails. With the Motu proprio he simply wants to free a Rite which should not have been abolished with the stroke of a pen. As a cardinal, Joseph Ratzinger continually advocated the return of the Latin language to the Mass, that Gregorian Chant be sung and that the congregation does not stand around the altar fixated on the priest but rather face, together with the priest, towards East, looking towards God. Above all he wants that this liturgy, that was celebrated for centuries, expressing the holiest that the Church possesses, the Eucharistic sacrifice, lives again and continues to develop, accompanying the life of the faithful through time.

The greatest point of criticism of the change of the Missals almost forty years ago for Pope Benedict: That an organically grown Rite was struck like some paragraphs in a law and that it was replaced by a new one that, although it included elements of the old one, was a construct, a fabrication that came in force by an act of ecclesial legislation. The old Rite was frozen. Now it is supposed to thaw. The return of the Tridentine Mass into the life of the Church is to him an enrichment, not a curtailment. It is a liberalization in the best meaning of the word, also with the goal to let new things grow. The Pope explicitly states the unity of the Roman Rite. But, this rite can from now on be celebrated in ordinary and in extraordinary form, whereas both are supposed to inspire one another.

Motu Proprop & Cardinal O'Malley

[Taken from WDTPRS]
On the blog of His Eminence Sean Card. O’Malley, we read an account of the meeting he attended in Rome concerning the Motu Proprio. My emphases and comments.

From Cleveland I flew to Rome at the request of Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone to participate in a meeting discussing the Holy Father’s Moto Proprio about the use of the older form of the Latin Mass. [Very good! A distinction! Someone who understands that "Latin Mass" is any Mass in Latin, not the so-called "Tridentine" Mass.] There were about 25 bishops there, [Okay… was it 15? Was it 30? Was I right after all? After correcting myself?] including the president of Ecclesia Dei Cardinal Darío Castrillón Hoyos, the prefect of Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments Cardinal Francis Arinze, several heads of bishops’ conferences as well as some cardinals [Yep… that’s Rome for ya….] and other residential bishops.

They shared with us the Moto Proprio and the Holy Father’s letter explaining it. We also had an opportunity to read the Latin document. We each commented on that, and then the Holy Father came in and shared [Ahhh… sharing….] some of his thoughts with us. The Holy Father is obviously most concerned about trying to bring about reconciliation in the Church. There are about 600,000 Catholics who are participating in the liturgies of the Society of St. Pius X, along with about 400 priest. [I wonder where this figure came from. Perhaps it came from the meeting. Sometimes we hear of numbers as high as 1 million.]

The Holy Father was very clear that the ordinary form of celebrating the Mass will be the new rite, the Norvus Ordo. But by making the Latin Mass more available, the Holy Father is hoping to convince those disaffected Catholics that it is time for them to return to full union with the Catholic Church. [But wait! There’s more! There are deeper reasons for this MP.]

So the Holy Father’s motivation for this decision is pastoral. He does not want this to be seen as establishing two different Roman Rites, but rather one Roman Rite celebrated with different forms. The Moto Propio is his latest attempt at reconciliation. [H.E. seems to want to limit the Holy Father’s move with a very narrow motive.]

In my comments at the meeting I told my brother bishops that in the United States the number of people who participate in the Latin Mass even with permission is very low. [Where in the USA? It’s a big place. Could Archbishop Burke have had a different experience?] Additionally, according to the research that I did, there are only 18 priories of the Society of St. Pius X in the entire country. Therefore this document will not result in a great deal of change for the Catholics in the U.S. Indeed, interest in the Latin Mass is particularly low here in New England. [Time will tell. I have the impression that this expresses H.E.’s hope rather than his prediction. But when you are a Cardinal Archbishop, those often coincide.]

In our archdiocese, the permission to celebrate the Latin Mass [Oooopppsss, a fumble on the 10 yrd line.] has been in place for several years, and I granted permission when I was in Fall River for a Mass down on the Cape. The archdiocesan Mass [...singular…] is now at Immaculate Mary of Lourdes Parish in Newton. It is well attended, and if the need arises for an extension of that we would, of course, address it.

This issue of the Latin Mass [Oh my! Another fumble at the 2!] is not urgent for our country, [I suspect it may be more urgent than H.E. may beleive.] however I think they wanted us to be part of the conversation so that we would be able to understand what the situation is in countries where the numbers are very significant. [I think that the "1" for whom the shepherd described by Jesus left the "99" was "very significant".] For example, in Brazil there is an entire diocese of 30,000 people that has already been reconciled to the Church.

All in all an interesting report from His Eminence. I am grateful that he posted it.

[And some commentary taken from Rorate Caeli]
How amusing it is to watch a Cardinal spin and downplay the greatest move of a pontificate. "This issue of the Latin Mass is not urgent for our country," says Cardinal O'Malley.

This is quite at odds with what the Cardinal responsible for the matter in the Roman Curia, Darío Castrillón Hoyos, said just last month in Aparecida: "The interest of the young curiously increases in France, the United States, Brazil, Italy, Scandinavia, Australia, and China". Any study of the "Traditionalist Question" around the world would confirm that: the number of Traditionalists in America is probably smaller only than that of France. And no other nation has such great potential for the Traditional Mass in the near future as the United States: the motu proprio will almost certainly have a greater numerical impact in America than in any other country.

Cardinal O'Malley does not stop there in this rhetorical tour de force: he dives deep into his own personal experience to say that "in the United States the number of people who participate in the Latin Mass even with permission is very low"; he adds that in his "archdiocese, the permission to celebrate the Latin Mass has been in place for several years". Very true, but Catholics in Boston are well aware of the humiliating and persistent denials of the Archbishop for the establishment of a more stable community, despite the "rightful aspirations" (Ecclesia Dei, 5) of the faithful attached to the Traditional Mass. We go to our archives to find this letter from an Archbishop and Chancery officials who believe they are being generous enough with the faithful:

First I wish to express my regrets that your 21 August 2005 is being acknowledged in such a tardy manner; however, I only recently have received it from the Office of the Archbishop with a request to respond to it. I note that your letter regards Holy Trinity Parish in Boston and specifically your request that the Archbishop invite either the Fraternity of Saints Peter and Paul [sic] or the Institute of Christ the King to come to the Archdiocese of Boston to service the Tridentine Community.

Please know that the Archbishop has received requests similar to yours in the past and has consistently responded that in accord with the request of Ecclesia Dei the Archdiocese of Boston provides the celebration of Mass in the Tridentine Rite and has the qualified priests to celebrate this Mass. It is not the intention of the Archbishop to begin a Tridentine Rite parish, thus at this time he does not envision the necessity nor the advantage of inviting priests from either of the two groups that you mention to the Archdiocese as we can provide for the celebration of the Mass on a weekly basis.

So, while the Cardinal spins and downplays the significance of the motu proprio now ("this document will not result in a great deal of change for the Catholics in the U.S. Indeed, interest in the Latin Mass is particularly low here in New England"), what was actually acknowledged by the Archbishop in the quite candid letter sent by the Archdiocese to a Catholic in Boston was that: (1) there had been repeated requests for the establishment of Ecclesia Dei orders in Boston (so much for "particularly low interest"); (2) it was enough to provide for the celebration of the Traditional Mass in one venue on a weekly basis in one of the largest archdioceses in the country.

This venue was recently relocated, as is often the case with Ecclesia Dei Masses, distinguished around the world by their great instability, including all kinds of incidents (such as the arrival of a new bishop, or the death of an old priest, or the closing of a church) which prevent most of the Ecclesia Dei faithful from establishing any long-term plans for their spiritual welfare and that of their families, as almost all Catholics are able to do in their parishes.

Unfortunately, Cardinal O'Malley's spin operation does not end in his own backyard. Considering the great relevance of the current position of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X (FSSPX/SSPX) for the papal decision, SSPX activities in America were nonetheless presented as a minor operation:

"In my comments at the meeting I told my brother bishops that in the United States ... , according to the research that I did, there are only 18 priories of the Society of St. Pius X in the entire country."

This must come as quite a surprise for the SSPX superiors, for whom the District of the United States is their second largest operation worldwide. Since we must charitably presume that the Cardinal is not intentionally presenting a skewed view of the SSPX numbers in America, we have to assume that his aides are not much of a help prepping him for important meetings. Had the Cardinal taken the trouble to merely checking the SSPX website in the United States, he would have been able to give a more accurate picture of the "SSPX Question" in the country.

For instance, according to the SSPX website, the numbers are more like this, similar to those of a small diocese: besides the "only" 18 priories, which are not only "parishes", but "priest distribution centers", there are regular Masses in 38 states, 104 Chapels (not counting SSPX-friendly chapels), 24 schools, 4 retreat houses, 4 Summer camps, 1 College, 1 Seminary, 64 priests, and 63 seminarians .

The time is up: it is time to stop giving the wrong picture to the "brothers". The age of mere generosity is coming to an end. It is time to face facts and to end the spin.


We repeat our caveat for readers who may be curious on why various rumored contents of the motu proprio are not being discussed here: Considering the closeness of the date of publication of the motu proprio on the liberalization of the Traditional Roman Rite and its accompanying letter, we will avoid commenting on the contents of both documents, until the actual texts are publicly known.

Onward Christian Soldiers!

[Taken from WDTPRS]

On the website of the one of the worst, one of the most liberal newspapers in the USA, the execrable Minneapolis Star-Tribune, there is an informal poll:

Instant poll: Should the church allow wider use of the Latin Mass?

Pope Benedict has decided to relax restrictions that have existed since the 1960s.

Yes No Don’t know

Whaddya, think?

Get out the vote! Post links on your own blog, if you have one. Make a difference.

Remember, a lot of clergy of that Archdiocese will be reading these results.

Folks! You have your marching orders.

Some Leads about the Motu Proprio....

[Taken from NLM]
In a news story in Il Giornale, Il Papa ai vescovi: via libera alla messa antica, they claim the following as being part of the Motu Proprio on the classical Roman liturgy:

1. "The text [of the Motu Proprio] declares that the ancient Roman rite has not been abolished"

2. The faithful will be able to directly approach the parish priest about celebrating the classical Roman rite. The role of the bishop is spoken of, but I can't make out the text. (A full translation would be good for anyone fluent in Italian.)

3. There will not be "two rites" but an "extraordinary" and "ordinary" form of the Roman rite. This is how it is spoken of.

4. The classical calendar and readings will be retained.

5. The MP pertains to all the sacramental rites as well in use in 1962.

6. The cover letter to the bishops explains that this is not a retreat into the past, or rejection of the Council; again, I find it hard to make out, but there is also something about liturgical rupture or 'fracture' as perhaps also not being the intention of the Council.

[Taken from WDTPRS]

The solid Andrea Tornielli has a meaty piece in Il Giornale about the Motu Proprio.


1) The MP will be released probably on 7 July.
2) There will probably be no press conference to present the document.
3) The Pope offers a letter with the document to explain his decison.
4) The older rite was not abolished.
5) It had been decided by a group of cardinals in 1982 that there should be more use of the 1962 Missale.
6) The prayer about the "perfidis judeais" was already gone from that edition.
7) When "stable groups" ("gruppi stabili") want the older Mass they can go to the parish priest (pastor).
8) It will be the bishops role to help iron out problems, resolve difficulties.
9) The old calendar and readings for Mass are preserved.
10) People can have not only Mass but all the sacraments in the old rite.
11) We don’t speak any longer of two rites, of Paul VI and of "Tridentine", but of one rite of the Latin church in two forms, ordinary and extraordinary.
12) The Pope explains in his letter that this is not a return to the past.
13) What happened after the Council was not supposed to be a break with the past.
14) Mass must be celebrated well in either form.
15) Card. Castrillon Hoyos explained the text.
16) The Pope came and they discused things for an hour.
17) In the last few months very few and very small changes were made to the text, as was explained on Wednesday.
18) In the last few weeks Cardinal Lehmanand Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor brought up the point abut Jews being upset.
19) The French had expressed worry abou tht e "unity" of the Church, something they did not seem to wory about in the face of liturgical abuses in the Novus Ordo.
20) The Letter to the Chinese will be 28 pages.
21) The Pope declares the full validity of the sacraments celebrated by both the official and clandestine Churches.

Great article! Tornielli gets a thumbs up.

The 13 Bishops

[Taken from Rorate Caeli]
We thank reader Simon Peter for compiling the list of those who were present at the meeting last Wednesday for the presentation of the motu proprio on the liberalization of the Traditional Mass and its accompanying letter, and who were later joined by the Holy Father, to which we added a couple who were missing. The list reveals as much about those who were present, as about those who were not invited.

Roman Curia:
1. Cardinal Bertone, Secretary of State
2. Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos, President of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei
3. Cardinal Arinze, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments


4. Cardinal Ruini, Cardinal Vicar of Rome.
5. Angelo Bagnasco, Archbishop of Genoa, President of the Italian Episcopal Conference

6. Cardinal Ricard, Archbishop of Bordeaux, President of the French Episcopal Conference.
7. Cardinal Barbarin, Archbishop of Lyon

8. Cardinal Lehmann, President of the German Episcopal Conference

England and Wales
9. Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor, Archbishop of Westminster, President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales

10. Kurt Koch, Bishop of Basel, President of the Swiss Episcopal Conference


United States
11. Cardinal O'Malley, Archbishop of Boston
12. Raymond Burke, Archbishop of Saint Louis


13. Basile Mvé Engone, Archbishop of Libreville, President of the Episcopal Conference of Gabon


14. Cardinal Toppo, Archbishop of Ranchi, President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India

15. Cardinal Pell, Archbishop of Sydney

Different sources affirm that two Latin-American prelates (probably, considering the list, two presidents of episcopal conferences) were invited, but "justified" their absence. They probably had no idea that the Pope would personally greet them and discuss the matter with them for one hour. The pretentiousness and self-sufficiency of many Latin-American Bishops was not softened by the Papal visit to the region in May...

29 June 2007

St Peter and St Paul, Apostles

What happen's in today's world makes us consider the problems facing the Church: growing materialism, great "fallings away", the apparent vicotry of errors, persecution or expulsion, being brought into the position of minority. But all this does not affect the strength of the Church.

The Church grows through the faith and the grace and the sacrament given to her by Christ. He leads her to strength through the person of his Vicar on earth, the Bishop of Rome. St Paul joins St Peter in today's celebration because he was a brave co-worker and witness to St Peter's papal authority.

The Liturgy helps us to understand the Papacy. St Peter confesses that Christ is really God. Christ then gives him the name of Peter, which means rock, and builds his Church upon him. *

By making St Peter the rock of his Church, Christ gives him full responsibility and authority over the community of the new creation. Neither he nor his power can be destroyed by evil any more than the new creation itself.

Since we are baptized and incorporated in Christ and his new Creation, we too have been built upon this "Rock". We share in the Life of the Church, and we carry responsibility for it. Our task is to witness before all men that the Church is really a firm establishment. Only by sin do we harm her: by sin we witness to evil, and attack the holy mystery which she is.

* The firmness of God's coveneant with his people make them consider him as a rock.

Jerusalem was built upon a firm rock. Mount Sion was seen as the rock of living water, following the people in their travel to Jerusalem (Exodus 17:1-6, Psalm 78:15-20). Christ is the rock because he gives living water, and because he is the cornerstone, upon which the new Sion stands firm (John 7:37-39, 1 Corinthians 10:1-4)

The Messia would be the cornerstone in the new construction, which Isaia foretells when he sees the people rebuilding the ruined walls of the city (Ephesians 2:19-22, Isaia 28:16-17). But the cornerstone would first be rejected, the Messia must suffer (Psalm 118:22, Matthew 21:40-42, Acts 4:11, 1 Peter 2:1-8). In the begining this aspect seems not to have been clearly understood by St Peter (Matthew 16:21-23).

On this same rock the pagan nations would be broken. It would be a rock of judgement and condemnation for the enemies of the Kingdom (Isaia 8:11-15, Romans 9:30-33, 1 Peter 2:7-8,Luke 2:34, Daniel 2:31-45).

The Church, the fulfilment of God's plan, is the building which stands upon Christ and upon St peter; St Paul and the other Apostles are its pillars; and we Christians are its living stones. (1 Corinithians 14, 2 Corinthians 10:8, 13:10, Colossians 2:6-7, John 14:15-17, Romans 15:2)

- 1962 St Andrew's Bible Missal

St Peter, son of Jona and brother of Andrew, was a fisherman of Bethsaida. A disciple of John the Baptist, he became a follower of Jesus at the beginining of His ministry. Because of his generosity and strong faith he was selected for many favours from Our Lord. He was chosen as a witness of the raising of Jairus' daughter from the dead, of the Transfiguration, and of the agony in the garden. The Saviour changed his name to Peter and appointed him head of the Church. After his liberation from prison in Jerusalem he went to Antioch and established his see there. Later he went to Rome and made it the center of the Church. He wrote two Epistles. He was matryred under Nero by being crucified head downwards (AD 67), and was buried at the foot of Vatican hill.

Today's Mass describes St Peter as the rock and foundation of the Church. "Thou art rock and on this rock I will build my Church." He was first among the Apostles to profess openly and courageously the Divinity of Christ. In reward Our Lord made him head over all the Church, constituted him prince over all the earth, protected him, and liberated him from the hands of his enemies.

"This day Simon Peter ascended the gibbet of the cross, alleluia. This day the key-bearer of heaven went on his way to Christ with joy. This day the Apostle Paul, the light of the world, bowing his head for the name of Christ was crowned with martyrdon, alleluia."

- 1961 Cathedral Daily Missal

Veneration of the two great Apostles, Peter and Paul, has its roots in the very foundations of the Church. They are the solid rock on which the Church is built. They are the origin of her faith and will for ever remain her protectors and her guides. To them Rome owes her true greatness, for it was under God's providential guidance that they were led to make of the capital of the Empire, sanctified by their martyrdom, the centre of the Christian world, whence, shoudl radiate the preaching of the Gospel.

St Peter suffered martyrdon under Nero, in AD 66 or 67. He was buried on the hill of the Vatican, where recent excavations have revealed his tomb on the very site of the basilica of St Peter. St Paul was beheaded in the via Ostia on the spot where now stands the basilica bearing his name. Down the centuries, Christian people in their thousands have gone to pilgrimage to the tombs of these Apostles. In the second and third centuries, the Roman Church already stood pre-eminent by reason of her apostolicity, the infallible truth of her teaching and her two great figures, Saints Peter and Paul.

The Mass expresses the confidence of the Church in the intercession of those "from who she first received the faith". Particular emphasis is laid on the perogative of Peter, God's special protection of him; and Christians realize when they sing Tu es Petrus that Peter's prerogatives have been handed down to the Popes, Peter's sucessors in the See of Rome, just as they are sure of the special providence watching over the Vicar of Christ in his office as head of the Church.

- 1961 St Andrew Daily Missal

Motu Proprio - "Last Word"?

[Taken from Rorate Caeli]
The news flood of the past few hours may have left some confused. For instance, an ANSA dispatch on the motu proprio includes the following*:

From last December, behind the scenes, various modifications were made to the original document, to grant to the bishops – or so it seems – to nevertheless have "the last word".

"The role of the bishop is central in the dispositions of the order of celebrations", the Cardinal Secretary of State, Tarcisio Bertone, explained today, commenting on the Motu Proprio. With the restoration of the pre-Conciliar liturgy, he added, it was desired above all to give homage to the "great riches of tradition".

The use of quotation marks could leave some with the impression that Cardinal Bertone himself used the expression "the last word" when speaking of episcopal power on the matter. Alas, that was not the case.

The expression "the last word" was first found in the past 24 hours in the La Croix story we translated and posted yesterday and was picked up by the Italian papal news website Petrus, which added the quotation marks: "From last December, behind the scenes, various modifications were made to the original document, to grant to the bishops – or so it seems – to nevertheless have 'the last word' on liturgical celebrations in their dioceses." This almost exact text, which did not include any declaration by Cardinal Bertone, was later introduced by ANSA in its dispatch, causing the impression that the Cardinal had spoken it (in the picture, the Cardinal celebrates his farewell Mass in Genoa, according to the new rite).

What the Cardinal actually said today, as reported by Petrus in another story, included the following:

"Yesterday afternoon, a meeting on the 'motu proprio' which delineates a few conditions for the celebration of the Mass according to the Missal of John XXIII of 1962 took place at the Vatican, and the Pope explained his motivations. The 'motu proprio' will be published with all its rules in the next few days and it will come into effect soon afterwards."

"In addition, there is a beautiful personal letter of the Pope to all the bishops of the world which explains the why of reevaluating and rediscovering the pre-Conciliar liturgical form, [which is] a great wealth."

"The role of the bishop is central in the dispositions of the order of celebrations, priests are not autonomous but submitted to the bishop, who refers [fare riferimento] to the Pope and to the liturgy of the universal Church; there is a communion and there must be harmony in this beautiful orchestra."

The Cardinal, therefore, never said that the bishops will have "the last word".

Considering the closeness of the date of publication of the motu proprio on the liberalization of the Traditional Roman Rite and its accompanying letter, and to prevent this sort of mix-up, we will avoid commenting on the contents of both documents (for instance, on what would be limits of episcopal power in the matter), until the actual texts are publicly known.

More Motu Proprio Fever

[Taken from Rorate Caeli]
Some further details from the news website of the Belgian Episcopal Conference.


In a declaration made on June 28 to the press, Father Lombardi [the head of the Holy See Press Office] assured that the publication of this document should take place in the days ahead, "maybe next week".

"The pope wished to present the document personally to the authorities most interested [in it],"explained the director of the Holy See Press Office. He added that Benedict XVI had thus wished for "a personal, direct and non-epistolary presentation" of the Motu Proprio to the bishops.

Fifteen people took part in the meeting, detailed Father Lombardi, among whom French Cardinals Philippe Barbarin, Primate of the Gauls, and Jean-Pierre Ricard, President of the French Episcopal Conference.Three Cardinals of the Curia were also present: Cardinals Tarcisio Bertone, Secretary of State of the Holy See, Darío Castrillón Hoyos, President of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, and Francis Arinze, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.

Father Federico Lombardi indicated that the document would now be sent to the Bishops. The director of the Holy See Press Office added that no press conference will take place.


The text presented to the prelates on June 27 should still undergo "some small retouches", the [news] agency I.Media has otherwise learned.

The statement in the last paragraph was provided by the news agency, not by Father Lombardi.

28 June 2007

Meeting Discusses Motu Proprio on use of John XXIII Missal

VATICAN CITY, JUN 28, 2007 (VIS) - Given below is the text of a communique released today by the Holy See Press Office concerning Benedict XVI's forthcoming "Motu Proprio" on the use of the Missal promulgated by Blessed John XXIII in 1962.

"Yesterday afternoon in the Vatican, a meeting was held under the presidency of the Cardinal Secretary of State in which the content and spirit of the Holy Father's forthcoming 'Motu Proprio' on the use of the Missal promulgated by John XXIII in 1962 was explained to representatives from various episcopal conferences. The Holy Father also arrived to greet those present, spending nearly an hour in deep conversation with them.

"The publication of the document - which will be accompanied by an extensive personal letter from the Holy Father to individual bishops - is expected within a few days, once the document itself has been sent to all the bishops with an indication of when it will come into effect."

OP/MOTU PROPRIO/... VIS 070628 (180)

Communique of the Holy See Press Office

[Taken from Rorate Caeli]

A meeting took place yesterday afternoon at the Vatican, presided by the Cardinal Secretary of State, in which the content and the spirit of the expected "Motu proprio" of the Holy Father on the use of the Missal promulgated by John XXIII in 1962 were explained to the representatives of several episcopal conferences. The Holy Father came to greet those who were present and maintained a profound discussion with them for about one hour. The publication of the document - which will be accompanied by a thorough personal letter of the Holy Father to the singular Bishops - is predicted for within a few days, when the document itself will be sent to all Bishops with the indication of its successive coming into effect.

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Very interesting.... :)

NLM Motu Proprio Commentary

[Taken from NLM]
The Motu Proprio on the Missal of Saint Pius V revealed to the bishops

by Isabelle GAULMYN, in Rome

Wednesday June 27 a meeting was held in the Vatican with representatives of episcopal conferences, to which Cardinal Bertone delivered the contents of the motu proprio aiming at liberalizing the use of the Tridentine missal.

In the afternoon, Wednesday June 27, the cardinals and archbishops of various countries were joined together around Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Secretary of State, to take note of the contents of the motu proprio aimed at liberalizing the use of the missal in Tridentine rite, called “of Saint Pius V”.

“It is a internal [private] form of publication to the Church”, discloses one of the curia. The “external” [public] publication, i.e. official, should occur soon, by way of L'Osservatore Romano, the daily newspaper published by the Holy See. The text, written in Latin, will be accompanied by a letter of Benedict XVI in several languages.

Before this meeting, the bishops were unaware of all the final contents of the text. Actually, since the last known meeting of the Ecclesia Dei commission, in charge of the bringing together of the integrist movements [NLM note: seems polemical since applied without distinction, but it could be in the translation], on December 12, 2006, the discussions were returned in greatest discretion.


The pope, who wishes to facilitate the recourse to the rite of Saint Pius V, had asked since 2006 the Ecclesia Dei commission to work toward a solution. With a double objective: to support the return of the integrist communities in the Catholic Church, but also to encourage the attachment of the Catholics to a liturgical tradition, in their view [NLM: see comment below] abused since the Vatican II.

Thanks to indiscretions of the press, confirmed by the Holy See, one knew since last October that a project of motu proprio aiming at liberalizing the Tridentine rite was in preparation. It would put this rite on the same full level as that known as “of Paul VI” and there would be no more, like today, of preliminary authorization necessary on behalf of the bishop.

The project caused the hesitation of a certain number of episcopates, of which France and the United States, for which this biritualism in fact presents a risk for the unity of the Church. [NLM note: the piece and some of the commentary certainly seems a bit editorialized. It is interesting that the concern over the liturgical tradition being abused since Vatican II is portrayed as a subjective, "in their view" matter -- even though such has clearly been spoken of by Church authorities -- whereas this issue of concern for disunity by the some of the bishops is noted as being a factual concern. This tends to put the matters on different levels, even though they are not. Of course, I'd like to point out again that if liturgical unity was required for unity in Faith, then the whole church should have one liturgical rite, and there should be no liturgical options or variations. Unity comes in the unity of Faith, which can be expressed by a legitimate variety of Catholic rites. Unity would be best served by a truly open and generous spirit that could build trust.] Fear is that the bishop, subjected to pressures in favour of the rite, loses his authority in the diocese. Concerns heard by the pope who, in the exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis in March, specified that it is with the bishop, “liturgist par excellence of his diocese”, that it returns “to safeguard the unanimous unity of the celebrations in his diocese”. [NLM: Actually, this is standard teaching, so it seems a stretch to say it there is necessarily a direct co-relation as a kind of response or acknowledgement, except in the most general sense of a continuing sort of acknowledgement. As well, much of the bishop's present authority with regard the classical Roman rite seems particularly characterized by the fact it has been classified as an indult; a special permission. It will be interesting to see what happens in this regard, if anything. That will certainly nuance this particular issue in relation to the bishop. It will be interesting to see how this plays itself out. But again, we need to see the two documents.]

The motu proprio should envisage safeguards to guarantee to the bishop the last word, in the event of dispute between faithful and priests on this point. [NLM: I'd caution people about taking this statement at face value. However, it is interesting that it is qualified as being "in the event of a dispute" as opposed to applying generally to the liturgical rite as it is present state. But again, best to wait to read the document and, hopefully, the accompanying letter.]

[The rest of the article details in brief the controversy raised by some about 'anti-semitism'.]

Motu Proprio Date

[Taken from Closed Cafeteria]
My Austrian friends just emailed me. Kath.net/Die Welt (Klaus Badde) report (my translation:) that the motu proprio liberating the Tridentine Mass for the entire Catholic Church has been given to about 30 bishops from all over the world in the Sala Bologna of the Apostolic Palace by Vatican Secretary of State Tarcisio Cardinal Bertone. The bishops had been invited to Rome for that purpose.

At the end of the meeting, in which the motu proprio was introduced together with a letter of explanation by Pope Benedict XVI., Pope Benedict met with the bishops. The document is about three pages long, the accompanying letter about four. From Germany, Cardinal Lehmann (the head of the German bishops conference) had been invited. The circumstances of the procedure make clear that the Pope was very interested to personally inform the bishops, in collegial manner, of the content rather than have them learn about it from the media.

The publication of both documents will take place on July 7th. It emphasizes the unity of the Roman Rite which will consist of an ordinary and an extraordinary form which are supposed to inspire each other. The ordinary/regular form will continue to be the new rite of 1969. The extraordinary form will be the Missal of Bl. John XXIII. of 1962.

Paul Badde is the Vatican correspondent of the German newspaper Die Welt and has written several books on Catholic topics.

Update: The French paper La Croix (The Cross) also writes that the motu proprio has been given to a group of bishops, under the headline "Motu proprio about the Missal of St. Pius V. unveiled to bishops". Rorate Caeli has a partial translation
On Wednesday, June 27, in the afternoon, Cardinals and Archbishops from different countries assembled around Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Secretary of State, to take hold of the contents of the motu proprio aiming to liberalize the use of the missal in Tridentine rite, said "of Saint Pius V".

"It is a kind of internal publication to the Church," it is said in the Curia. The "external" publication, that is, the official one, should take place soon, by way of L' Osservatore Romano, the daily edited by the Holy See. The text, written in Latin, will be accompanied by a letter of Benedict XVI, in several languages.

Before this meeting, the Bishops ignored the entire final content of the text. In fact, after the last known meeting of the Ecclesia Dei commission, charged with the rapprochement with the integrist [sic] movements, on December 12, 2006, the decisions were taken with the utmost discretion.

Safeguards to guarantee the last word to the Bishop

The Pope, who wishes to ease the access to the rite of Saint Pius V, had asked the Ecclesia Dei commission to work towards a solution since 2006. With a double objective: favoring the return of integrist communities to the Catholic Church, but also to encourage the attachment of Catholics to a liturgical tradition mishandled, in his eyes, after Vatican II.

The motu proprio should predict safeguards to guarantee the last word to the bishop, in case of a disagreement between faithful and priests on this matter.

Here the German article:

Das Dokument, mit dem Papst Benedikt XVI. die alte tridentinische Liturgie aus eigenem Willen (lat.: „motu proprio“) für die gesamte katholische Kirche wieder freigibt, ist am Mittwochnachmittag rund 30 Bischöfen aus aller Welt in der Sala Bologna des Apostolischen Palastes von Kardinalstaatsekretär Tarcisio Bertone übergeben worden.

Die Bischöfe waren eigens dafür nach Rom eingeladen worden. Am Ende der Begegnung, in der das Papier zusammen mit einem erläuternden Begleitbrief vorgestellt wurde, kam auch Benedikt XVI. selbst zu der Vorstellung. Eine Diskussion der Entscheidung war jedoch nicht mehr vorgesehen. Das Dokument stellt auf knapp drei Seiten lang eine Epochenwende der katholischen Messfeiern dar.

Der Begleitbrief umfasst gut vier Seiten. Aus Deutschland war Kardinal Karl Lehmann, der Vorsitzende der deutschen Bischofskonferenz, zu der Übergabe eingeladen. Alle Umstände des Vorgangs machen deutlich, wie sehr dem Papst daran gelegen war, dass die Bischöfe den brisanten Inhalt „in einem besonderen Akt kollegialen Entgegenkommens“ von ihm selbst und nicht aus der Presse oder anderen Medien erfahren sollten.

Die allgemeine Veröffentlichung beider Dokumente ist für den 7. Juli vorgesehen. Die Erläuterungen des Begleitbriefs halten noch einmal ausdrücklich die Einheit des römischen Ritus fest. Der eine Ritus wird sich jedoch ab jetzt in eine ordentliche und eine außerordentliche Form gliedern, die sich fortan gegenseitig befruchten sollen.

Die ordentliche Form wird weiterhin der neue Ritus sein, den Papst Paul VI. 1969 mit einem beispiellosen Federstrich verfügt hat. Als außerordentliche Form bleibt nun aber auch der lateinische Ritus erlaubt, den Papst Johannes XXIII. zum letzten Mal 1962 im offiziellen „Missale Romanum“ niederlegte, dessen Grundzüge zum letzten Mal im Konzil von Trient (1545 – 1563) festgelegt worden waren.


[Taken from WDTPRS]
On Wednesday afternoon the Secretary of State, Tarcisio Card. Bertone gave the Motu Proprio to 30 bishops from around the world on Wednesday afternoon in the Apostolic Palace. The bishops were explicitly chosen and invited for this. (I am guessing that they were heads of Bishops Conferences.) Pope Benedict XVI later came to the meeting. The document is three pages long, though what the format is in not revealed. The Pope’s accompanying letter is four pages.

It is clear from the way this was done that the Holy Father wanted to make sure that bishops got this document in this way, rather than having to read about it in the paper. I assume that what will happen now is that these bishops, if they are heads of conferences, will return home and distribute the document to the bishop members of the conference.

[UPDATE: They are not only heads of conferences: H.E. Archbp. Raymond Burke of St. Louis and H.E. Sean Card. O’Malley of Boston was there, whether because of this meeting or a coincidental meeting is not clear.]

The general publication is 7 July. Review the FIVE RULES.

Many thanks to Kath.net to whom I solemnly tip my biretta for the newsflash. o{]:¬)

25 June 2007

Nihil Obstat?

[Taken from WDTPRS]

I am told by a very well-placed source that the text of the Motu Proprio is being printed at the Vatican Tipografia.

On Italian news via RAI tg2 on Sunday, it was said that the MP will come "in the upcoming days" and "next week".

It has been said that the MP would come before the Holy Father leaves Rome for his summer break. He leaves in early July.

UPDATE: The Roman daily Il Tempo has a story on the MP. It states that the Pope will release the MP "in settimana… during the week". Once again, we find the comment that at least 30 people have to make the request.

20 June 2007

What is the basic difficulty?

[Taken from Rorate Caeli]
Why have the new translations become so problematic, so non-pastoral? What is the basic difficulty?

May we venture a guess? We call to the stand Dom Prosper Guéranger:

Since the liturgical reform had for one of its principal aims the abolition of actions and formulas of mystical signification, it is a logical consequence that its authors had to vindicate the use of the vernacular in divine worship.

This is in the eyes of sectarians a most important item. 'Worship is no secret matter.' 'The people,' they say, 'must understand what they sing.'

Hatred for the Latin language is inborn in the hearts of all the enemies of Rome. They recognize it as the bond among Catholics throughout the universe, as the arsenal of orthodoxy against all the subtleties of the sectarian spirit. ...

The spirit of rebellion which drives them to confide the universal prayer to the language of each people, of each province, of each century, has for the rest produced its fruits, and the reformed themselves constantly perceive that the Catholic people, in spite of their Latin prayers, relish better and accomplish with more zeal the duties of the cult than most of the Protestant people. At every hour of the day, divine worship takes place in Catholic churches. The faithful Catholic who attends leaves his mother tongue at the door. Apart form the sermons, he hears nothing but mysterious words which, even so, are not heard in the most solemn moment of the Canon of the Mass. Nevertheless, this mystery charms him in such a way that he is not jealous of the lot of the Protestant, even though the ear of the latter doesn’t hear a single sound without perceiving its meaning.

While the reformed temple assembles, with great difficulty, purist Christians once a week, the 'Popish Church' watches unceasingly her numerous altars visited upon by her religious children; every day, they withdraw from their work to come hear those mysterious words which must be of God, for they nourish the faith and ease the pains.

We must admit it is a master blow of Protestantism to have declared war on the sacred language. If it should ever succeed in ever destroying it, it would be well on the way to victory. Exposed to profane gaze, like a virgin who has been violated, from that moment on the Liturgy has lost much of its sacred character, and very soon people find that it is not worthwhile putting aside one’s work or pleasure in order to go and listen to what is being spoken in the way one speaks on the town square. ...

Loss of the Sacred

[Taken from Paterson Diocese Website, Comments and emphasis by Fr. Zuhlsdorf on WDTPRS]
In the 17th century, Descartes, the father of modern philosophy, rejected the philosophical traditions of Aristotle and the Scholastics. For Descartes, the very fact that we think is the proof that we exist. Cogito, ergo sum. I think, therefore I am. He rejected the use of his senses as the basis for knowledge. In so doing, he wounded the unity between mind and body found in classical philosophy. Over the course of time, the wound has widened. The spiritual and the material have drifted apart. The sacred and the secular clearly divided.

Besides modern philosophy, other factors have contributed to the separation of the sacred from the secular. The scientific manipulation of human life in test tubes has lessened the respect for life itself. Life is no longer, for some, a sacred gift from God. Likewise, the divorce of human sexuality from procreation, coupled with the continual campaign to redefine marriage has helped to push God out of the intimacies of human life. Marriage is no longer recognized as a sacred institution given by God for a man and woman to join with Him in bringing new life into the world. The sacredness of even the natural order as coming from the hands of an all-wise God is thus lost.

The anti-authoritarian prejudice that we have inherited from the social revolution of the '60’s imprinted on many a deep mistrust not only of government but of Church. Some even reject the very idea of hierarchy (literally, “a sacred origin”) as a spiritual authority established by God. As a result, Church means, for some, simply the assembly of like-minded believers who organize themselves and make their own rules and dogmas. Thus, the Church’s role in the spiritual realm is greatly eclipsed.

On the first day of the new millennium, Prince Charles of England said, "In an age of secularism, I hope, with all my heart, in a new millennium we will rediscover a sense of the sacred in all that surrounds us." He said he hoped this would hold true whether in growing crops, raising livestock, building homes in the countryside, treating disease or educating the young. He recognized by his statement that we have lost a sense of the sacred.

Living in our world, we breathe the toxic air that surrounds us. Even within the most sacred precincts of the Church, we witness a loss of the sense of the sacred [Do my eyes deceive? I think H.E. just set up a parallel between irreverence in church and breathing toxic air. Notice he used the word "precinct". Oooooo Bp Trautman won’t like that one. Toooo harrrrd!]. With the enthusiasm that followed the Second Vatican Council, there was a well-intentioned effort to make the liturgy modern. It became commonplace to say that the liturgy had to be relevant to the worshipper. [Again, the spectre of Bp. Trautman’s argument about liturgical translations slithers into view, as well as that execrable letter from the ordinary of Los Angeles, Gathering Faithfully [sic] Together. Brrrrr….] Old songs were jettisoned. The guitar replaced the organ. Some priests even began to walk down the road of liturgical innovation, only to discover it was a dead end. [Nice analogy.] And all the while, the awareness of entering into something sacred that has been given to us from above and draws us out of ourselves and into the mystery of God was gone. [Excellent, Excellency! Holy Mass is not about us or about what we do, ultimately, but rather about what God does for us and through us. Mass is not a "truly human experience", as it was called by an old incarnation of the BCL at the time liturgy was being dismantled.]

Teaching about the Mass began to emphasize the community. The Mass was seen as a community meal. It was something everyone did together. Lost was the notion of sacrifice. Lost the awesome mystery of the Eucharist as Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. The priest was no longer seen as specially consecrated. He was no different than the laity. With all of this, a profound loss of the sacred.

Not one factor can account for the decline in Mass attendance, Church marriages, baptisms and funerals in the last years. But most certainly, the loss of the sense of the sacred has had a major impact.

Walk into any church today before Mass and you will notice that the silence that should embrace those who stand in God’s House is gone. Even the Church is no longer a sacred place. Gathering for Mass sometimes becomes as noisy as gathering for any other social event. We may not have the ability to do much about the loss of the sacredness of life in the songs, videos and movies of our day. But, most assuredly, we can do much about helping one another recover the sacredness of God’s Presence in His Church.

On the first day of this millennium, the Prince of Wales struck a strong note of optimism for the recovery of the sacred. Paraphrasing Dante, he remarked: "The strongest desire of everything, and the one first implanted by nature, is to return to its source. And since God is the source of our souls and has made it alike unto Himself, therefore this soul desires above all things to return to Him." There is one place where we can begin to rediscover the sacred.

18 June 2007

Some Bibles and Liturgical Books

Catholic Overstock is selling Baronius Press' Douay Rheims @ 50% off. Its a great offer with one caveat: these did not pass the quality checks and may have some defects like the Cover or spine printing may be blotchy or missing in small areas. Nevertheless they are guaranteed to be complete without any missing pages or chapters.

Liturgical Books
1. I just happened to drop by Carlo Catholic Bookshop in the city today and noticed that they have the fresh print of the Collins Divine Office. They have 2 in stock and are selling it as a set at S$320.
2. Also out of curiosity I was looking for how much an equivalent Divine Office of the Maronite Catholics costs. They call their Divine Office the “Prayer of the Faithful” [Arabic: Salaat l’ Moo’men], because all believers are called to pray the “hours,” not only the religious. However, for laypersons it not obligatory as it is for women and men religious. It comes in 3 volumes and costs US$110. (http://stmaron.org/pubs.html#liturgy) They also have a shortened version called Eye of the Heart which only costs US$5 (http://stmaron.org/mv_pubs.html#3)
3. Looks like Roman Catholic Books is having a wonderful offer for the fresh print of the 1962 Missale Romanum printed by Neuman Press. Its going for US$155 and apparently shipping is included. Elsewhere this is going for around US$310 to US$248 excluding shipping.

17 June 2007

Another Motu Proprio Article

[Taken from Rorate Caeli]
Andrea Tornielli, one of the most respected religious journalists in Italy, confirms in this Sunday's edition of Il Giornale the reports of the past few days, adding some interesting new historical information. We keep our great caution on possible dates and note again the oddity that so much could be apparently known, yet a simple piece of information -- the very title of the document, its first Latin words -- seems to be ignored.

Ratzinger's turning point on the liturgy - All clear for the Ancient Latin Mass

by Andrea Tornielli

from Rome


Benedict XVI has signed the text of the "motu proprio" which will render easier the use of the ancient pre-Conciliar Missal in the liturgical celebrations, clarifying that it has never been abolished or prohibited and that it represents instead a richness for the Church. A precedent which has up to now remained secret provides the reasons for this decision, a text which the Cardinals of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith had prepared in November 1982 and that "Il Giornale" is able to reveal. [SEE NOTE]

The publication of the "motu proprio" should take place in the next few days, probably even before the beginning of the vacations of the Pontiff. It is a meditated decision, following long collegial consultations, which Ratzinger took to recognize the requests of the faithful who remained attached to the ancient liturgy.
Already on November 16, 1982, on request of Pope Wojtyla, a meeting presided by Ratzinger, then-Prefect of the former Holy Office, at which also took part Cardinals Baggio, Baum, Casaroli (then Secretary of State), Oddi, and Archbishop [future Cardinal] Casoria, had confirmed that "the Roman Missal in the form in which it remained in use up to 1969, independently of the 'Lefebvre question', should 'be admitted by the Holy See for all Masses celebrated in the Latin language". With two conditions [in the 1982 decision]: the use of the old liturgical books should presuppose the full reception of the norms issued after Vatican II and should not express the suspicion that the latter "were heretical or invalid"; [2] on the public Masses celebrated in Parish churches on Sundays and Feastdays, "the new liturgical calendar" should be observed.

All Cardinals unanimously answered in the "affirmative", that is, "yes", to the question of whether the Mass in the ancient rite were licit. Moreover, at that meeting, a document against liturgical abuses, identified among the reasons "for the current crisis of the Church", was also suggested, as well as, in a remote future, a synthesis "of both missals". That future is today less remote. The decision of Benedict XVI is thus not a step back, but a stage of the liturgical reform willed by the Council and not yet fully accomplished.

In the letter of presentation, Benedict XVI will preventively respond to the objections raised against the liberalization of the ancient Missal, that is, the "lack of obedience to the Council" and the "rupture of unity".


Rorate Cæli NOTE: the first public revelation of this secret 1982 decision was made by the French daily Le Figaro on December 12, 2006, the very day of the plenary meeting of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei which discussed the draft of the papal document. Our post of that day was the following:

In today's edition of Le Figaro, Sophie de Ravinel tells us that her paper has had access to the minutes of a 1982 meeting of curial cardinals that dealt with the abrogation, or not, of the Traditional Mass.

The Commission, led by then Cardinal Ratzinger, concluded, inter alia, that the "Roman Missal, in the form which was used up to 1969, should be allowed by the Holy See to be used, in the whole Church, for Masses celebrated in the Latin language."

Beyond that conclusion, the Commission recommended a series of steps aimed at curbing liturgical abuses, and a possible reunification of the the Old and New rites, which Mrs. de Ravinel connects to the so called "Reform of the Reform".

Il Foglio was, to our knowledge, the second source to reveal the results of this crucial 1982 meeting.

16 June 2007

The Classical Latin Rite Mass Described Accurately

[Taken from Rorate Caeli]
The Tridentine Mass is completely celebrated in Latin, with the exception of a few words and sentences in Ancient Greek and in Hebrew; it is interspersed with long periods of silence, to allow the faithful to adequately meditate on the greatness of the Eucharistic mystery which they are called to attend. The faithful follow the liturgy reading the bilingual handmissal or leaflet, which carry, side by side with the Latin text, the integral translation of the actions in Italian or in the other national languages.

It is not only the use of the ecclesiastical and universal language ("Catholic" means precisely universal) which represents the sole standing difference between the Tridentine Mass and the modern one. The priest, differently than what takes place in the course of the new rite, turns his back to the faithful, as he celebrates turned to the tabernacle and the altar which constitutes the representation of Calvary; the image is that of the celebrant who guides the people.

The Gospel is always read at the right side of the altar, while the Epistle on the left side (from whence the terms "in cornu evangelii" and "in cornu epistulae"). Communion - only the Host [sic] for the faithful - is received while kneeling and in the mouth. [Psalmus 42 Comment: The Tridentine Mass has specific rubrics to signify the life of Christ on earth. The center of the altar represents Jerusalem, where Christ was sacrificed. The priest, facing east, ascends to the center of the altar and kisses it. He then moves to the south to read the introit, which is the first prayer that changes in the Mass. He moves south because Bethlehem, where Christ was born, is south of Jerusalem. The priest faces east when he reads the prayer. The reason the priest moves south for the first changeable prayer is because it signifies the beginning of the Mass of the day. It is a the "birth" of a new Mass, just as Christ was born in Bethlehem.

The priest returns to the center for the Kyrie and Gloria. Christ gave glory to the Father and poured out his mercy for us in Jerusalem, which is why the priest returns to the center.

The priest the reads the collect and epistle at the south end of the altar, again to signify the birth of Christ. The collect is just as it sounds, the priest offering the prayer for the people to the Father. The epistle is a reading from the Old or New Testament which compliments the Gospel reading of the day.

When the priest finishes the epistle, he returns to the center to say the munda cor, which he asks God to "purify his lips to proclaim the Gospel." This corresponds again to Christ's sacrifice on the cross in Jerusalem to purify us from our sins.

The priest then moves north to proclaim the Gospel. The reason for this is because Nazareth, where Jesus lived for the first 30 years of His life, is north of Jerusalem. Jesus began his mission to preach the Gospel from Nazareth, which is why the priest reads the Gospel at the north end of the altar. (Reference)]

[The faithful] mostly kneel during Mass, because [they] believe in its great mystery, because [they] believe in the real presence of Jesus in body, blood, soul, and divinity, because kneeling is the posture of the humble sinner who begs for God's mercy.

Motu Proprio News/Rumour Round Up

Item #1
The Vatican spokesman, Fr. Federico Lombardi, has declared this Wednesday in Vienna, in an interview to Kath.net, that the Motu proprio on the "old Mass", willed by Pope Benedict, will certainly come [be released]. Questioned on the matter of the delay, Fr. Lombardi detailed that the exact date is still unknown; however, publication is expected for this year. (Rorate Caeli, translating Kath.net)

Item #2
The Papal "Motu Proprio" for the liberalization of the Latin Mass according to the Tridentine rite of Saint Pius V is ready, is about to be translated into several languages and will be published right before the departure of Benedict XVI for the summer vacation. [Rorate note: The Pope's early vacation this summer will be spent in a small villa owned by the Diocese of Treviso, in the tiny hamlet of Lorenzago di Cadore, Province of Belluno, in the Veneto region, in the July 9-27 period.]

The text has already been signed by the Pontiff, who has even written a long exaplanatory letter, of a theological character, "addressed to all the Bishops of the world", as it can be read in its introduction, "so that they may receive this document with serenity and patience".
The Pope thus asks the Bishops, the clergy, and the faithful for a serene mood in the acceptance of the "Motu Proprio", which will be presented in a Press Conference by Cardinals Francis Arinze, Dario Castrillon Hoyos, and Julian Herranz. [Psalmus 42 Comment: Strange. Motu Proprio News/Rumours seem to be becoming more and more elaborate at each turn. Not to long ago there was comment about the lack of information about pending press conferences... but then again, the main question of exactly when is still not answered.]

The delay in the publication of the document seems to be related to strong oppositions from some sectors of the clergy (especially from the French Episcopal Conference).

Monsignor Nicola Bux (a personal friend of the Pope), a theologian and collaborator of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, declares: "You may write calmly [that] Pope Benedict XVI loves agreement and collaboration, and does not wish to decide everything on his own, which is why he has heard several and repeated opinions, but the Motu Proprio for the liberalization of the Latin Mass has been signed and its publication is imminent, I would say it is a matter of days." (Rorate Caeli, translating Petrus)

Item #3
Letter from the President of the International Una Voce Federation:

11th/13th June 2007
Short Preliminary Report

Dear Friends,

Leo Darroch, Monika Rheinschmitt and I have just returned from a visit to Rome. On Tuesday 12th June We were received in separate meetings by Dario Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos and Mgr Perl of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei and Archbishop Ranjith of the Congregation of Divine Worship.

On Wednesday morning 13th June we were at the General Audience of Pope Benedict and were granted seats on the "Prima Fila" (="first row"). This gave us the opportunity of having some private words with the Holy Father for a couple of minutes. Conversations with the Holy Father are confidential but we can confirm by the words of His Holiness that the Motu Proprio will come soon.

Both Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos and Archbishop Ranjith were very open and friendly. We gave them some papers about the situation in our countries and said that a great many lay people and priests are waiting patiently, and impatiently, for news from Rome about greater freedom for the traditional liturgy; not only the Mass but all the liturgical books. We gave them each a bound volume of all the public manifestos that have been published around the world in the past few months in support of the Holy Father.

We expressed our regret that some bishops conferences had written to Rome against the forthcoming indult but gave our opinion that they had not consulted anyone about their decisions and, in this matter, they did not speak for their people or for many of their priests. We were urged to pray for the Holy Father and the whole Church in these difficult days.

Best regards

In Christo

Jack P. Oostveen
Foederatio Internationalis Una Voce
(Rorate Caeli)

Item #4
Vatican - Agence I.MEDIA - 15 June 2007

The Motu Proprio liberalizing the Tridentine Rite has been signed by Benedict XVI

[Main excerpts:]

The Motu Proprio which will liberalize the Tridentine Mass has been signed by Benedict XVI and will be published very soon. An explanatory letter addressed to all the Bishops of the world will be joined to the text, Vatican sources close to the dossier have confirmed.

... Benedict XVI signed the document "a while ago", [the sources] have confided.


If "a precise date has been chosen" for its publication, it is still kept secret in the Vatican, it has been explained to I.MEDIA. While it is close, it would seem more prudent "to speak of weeks, instead of days".

... Father Federico Lombardi has for his part confirmed the information to I.MEDIA, without specifying the date of publication. He has not wished to confirm the fact that the document could be presented in a press conference at the Vatican. "I cannot tell things until they are confirmed and may be communicated, which I usually do by way of the Bulletin of the Press Office".


According to some Vatican rumors, the document could be published when Pope Benedict begins his Castel Gandolfo vacation, in late July [Rorate note: the Pope's late summer vacation this year at Castel Gandolfo will begin on July 28]. [The publication of] important and delicate documents [by the Holy See] during summer and vacations has already happened [in the past]. Such was the case of the Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the collaboration of men and women in the Church and in the world, of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, released in late July 2004. (R0rate Caeli)