28 June 2007

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'.]

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