Thursday, July 05, 2007

Post-MP terminology

A thought struck me last evening as I was pondering the upcoming release of Summorum Pontificum. There has been some discussion in the blog world, including in the comments here, about whether we should adopt new terminology after its release ('ordinary' and 'extraordinary'). For my own part, I don't believe it is necessary to modify terms like "classical" and "modern" Roman rite, though obviously I am not speaking against using those new identifiers which also have some advantages.

Our terminology is indeed important however, and this made me think of another term which would be more important to evaluate upon the release of this document. Namely, if this document changes the classical Roman liturgy in the Roman rite from the status of an "indult" then we should very quickly make a poignant effort to excise that word from our vocabulary in this regard. e.g. "indult Mass", "universal indult" and so on.

As you know, an "indult" is a special exemption to a law ("doing something not permitted by the common law" - Catholic Encyclopedia) but if Summorum Pontificum changes that so that such is no longer the case, then it would be quite important to lose that terminology. Aside from the matter of accuracy, "indult" can be understood and interpreted (and often is) diminuitively.

But again, we must wait and see. Certainly, however, I have read one recent report that suggests its status will indeed change and the 1962 Missale Romanum will no longer be an 'indult'. If that proves to be true, then such is a far more significant development than the 'universal indult' that was originally hoped for.

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