[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
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";  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.