Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Instruction on Summorum Pontificum in Early January 2009?

The following item was today posted on the Italian "Pontifex" site of Bruno Volpe (NLM translation). While what it says about the Instruction being submitted by Ecclesia Dei to the Holy Father agrees with the public declarations of the leadership of PCED, the rest should still be regarded as a rumour, as yet unconfirmed by any of the prestigious vaticanistas. The tone of the article, which is not exactly impartial, would suggest some caution, lest some wishful thinking is mixed into the reporting, and the last paragraph, to me at least, sounds somewhat confused. Still, if this is indeed accurate, it would be quite remarkable, and certainly more than many of the more pessimistic supporters of the usus antiquior had hoped for.

Instruction on the Motu Proprio Ready. Ecclesia Dei Strengthened.

The Instruction on the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum of 7 July 2007 which liberalized Holy Mass according to the ancient Roman rite, has been ready for some time already and is now being examined by Pope Benedict XVI. This Pontifex has learned from authoritative sources. The text, signed by Cardinal Darío Castrillón Hoyos, President of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, will be signed most likely by the Pope in late December and published in the first days of January 2009. In its most important parts the document, which had become indispensable after the many problems in the application of the Motu Proprio and forms of outright recalcitrance on the part of not a few bishops (incidentally appropriately denounced in September by the Vice President of the Commission Ecclesia Dei, Monsignor Camille Perl), addresses two crucial topics: the interpretation of the term "stable group of faithful" within an ordinary parish and the problem of personal parishes. It was even considered to list and to indicate a minimum number of faithful, but this solution has been discarded.

According to the document, the traditionalist faithful present in a parish will have the full protection of the law to ask for the old Mass, and if the bishop refuses (here is the news), saying that there are no priests capable of celebrating according to the ancient rite in that place, the Commission Ecclesia Dei will authoritatively ("di imperio") send a priest able to do so to that diocese. In short, the bishops will no longer be able to refuse a priori to have the old Mass celebrated, because in such cases, the Commission Ecclesia Dei will send a delegated priest of its own.

The document then analyzes the case of personal parishes in which the traditionalists want to celebrate the Christmas Mass or the Easter Triduum according to the ancient rite, also in cases of an absence of priests, or a prohibition by the bishop. The possibility of a shortage of priests could be envisaged, and also in this case, Ecclesia Dei will take care. The Holy See, therefore, wants to establish definitive clarity regarding the application of the Motu Proprio, and for this reason also the powers and prerogatives of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei will be better defined and strengthened.

Again, this should be taken for what it is, a rumour, and considered with due caution.

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