[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.