Tuesday, August 21, 2007

"Extraordinary form" of the Ambrosian Rite? - second part

Let's now consider the situation after "Summorum Pontificum".

Fr. Moneta Caglio, in the preface to the series of articles I mentioned in the first part of this post, wrote:

"This inconvenience [viz. the fact that the true liturgical law is pretty much unknown], which is even more strong for our Rite than for the Roman Rite, is due to the fact that many people get involved into liturgical matters regarding rubrics, without applying the most elementary juridical principles".

It is very important to remind that Motu Proprio "Summorum Pontificum" isn't -so to speak- a document fallen down on earth out from outer space: it is to be read in accordance with general canon law principles, in particular those pertaining to liturgy.

One cannot presume that the Motu Proprio doesn't apply to non-Roman Latin Rites just because they're not explicitly mentioned in the text of "Summorum Pontificum". It would be, on the contrary, quite odd, because the Holy Father, the supreme and universal legistator of the Catholic Church, always gives universal laws.

In short, according to the "most elementary" principles of Canon Law, the general law always prevails over particular law, unless otherwise is specified. (cfr. Can. 12 - § 1. Legibus universalibus tenentur ubique terrarum omnes pro quibus latae sunt. § 2. A legibus autem universalibus, quae in certo territorio non vigent, eximuntur omnes qui in eo territorio actu versantur. § 3. Legibus conditis pro peculiari territorio ii subiciuntur proquibus latae sunt, quique ibidem domicilium vel quasi-domicilium habent et simul actu commorantur, firmo praescripto can. 13.)

In casu, we can say that the Motu Proprio liberalizing the use of the liturgical books in force in 1962 (general law), is already in force also for other non-Roman rites (particular law).

It is also important to consider the mens -i.e. the intention- of the Holy Father, expressed by his own words in his Motu Proprio.

At the beginning of the Motu Proprio, the Sovereign Pontiff reminds to us a key rule, inspiring his Letter: "Since time immemorial it has been necessary - as it is also for the future - to maintain the principle according to which 'each particular Church must concur with the universal Church, not only as regards the doctrine of the faith and the sacramental signs, but also as regards the usages universally accepted by uninterrupted apostolic tradition, which must be observed not only to avoid errors but also to transmit the integrity of the faith, because the Church's law of prayer corresponds to her law of faith.' "

Among the "usages universally accepted" stand, of course, also non-Roman rites, which must "concur with the universal Church". So, we can say we already have an answer to our question: it is -and always was- the will of the Church, clearly reaffirmed by the Holy Father, that all usages universally accepted conform with the discipline of the Universal Church.

The intention of the Supreme Legislator is thus clearly to liberalize the celebration of the Mass and the administration of the Sacraments according to liturgical books previously in force, even for those Latin liturgical traditions other than the Roman one, or, to say it with Pope Becendict's own words "the Latin liturgy of the Church in its various forms, [that] in each century of the Christian era, has been a spur to the spiritual life of many saints, has reinforced many peoples in the virtue of religion and fecundated their piety."

A new discipline has been established by the Supreme Legislative authority of the Catholic Church, and it is natural, or better necessary, for other liturgical traditions than the Roman to conform to it.

In this case, this new discipline can be put into practice immediately.

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