Monday, July 16, 2007

CWN reports that the Pope uses the 1962 Missale Romanum for many of his Private Masses

Catholic World News (CWN) has reported that sources have informed them that Pope Benedict uses the 1962 Missale Romanum for many of his own private masses.

Speculation about such a possibility rippled through some Catholic blogs after people caught sight of the Pope accidentally (or at least seemingly) using a rubric from the 1962 Missal within the context of a Pauline liturgy which has the celebrant genuflect prior to the elevation of the consecrated host and then after as well.

An excerpt from the CWN story:

Pope Benedict uses older ritual for his private Mass

Vatican, Jul. 16, 2007 ( - Pope Benedict XVI, who recently issued a motu proprio allowing all Catholic priests to celebrate the old Latin Mass, uses the older ritual himself for his private Mass, CWN has learned.

Informed sources at the Vatican have confirmed reports that the Holy Father regularly celebrates Mass using the 1962 Roman Missal.

In his motu proprio Summorum Pontificum the Pope says that the older form-- the form in universal use before the liturgical changes that followed Vatican II-- was never abrogated.

Since becoming Roman Pontiff, Benedict XVI has always used the new ritual-- which he identifies in Summorum Pontificum as the "ordinary form" of the Roman rite-- for public celebrations of the Eucharistic liturgy. However few people have witnessed the Pope celebrating his private daily Mass.

Unlike his predecessor John Paul II, who regularly invited visitors to attend the Mass that he celebrated each morning in his private chapel, Benedict XVI has made it his regular practice to celebrate Mass with only a few aides. The Pope's closest associates have established a reputation for preserving confidences.

[End of excerpt]

If so, people might ask, so what's the big deal? Well, in the new situation, indeed, nothing at all insofar as this extraordinary form of the Roman rite is a natural, normal part of liturgical life of the Roman rite.

But if so, it's precisely in that 'normalcy' that would reportedly see the Pope himself using it routinely for his own private masses that it is made extraordinary in that sense. Such can provide a striking confirmation, in practice, of the value the Pope sees in this liturgical use, and can speak volumes to those out there, particularly young priests, seminarians and the like, about the desireability and normalcy of these liturgical books in the life of the Church today.

(Some will of course point out that a public Mass as such would say even more. Who cannot say that such would be desireable? Indeed, perhaps under this pontiff we will see such, particularly now.)

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