Monday, November 24, 2008

Tremendous News: German Trappists Return to Usus Antiquior [update]

From the website of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei comes a very important announcement (NLM translation):

The Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei has, on November 21st, 2008, communicated to the Most Reverend Abbot Fr Josef Vollberg O.C.S.O. of the Abbey of Mariawald in Germany (diocese of Aachen) the privilege conceded by the Holy Father of a complete return to the Liturgy and the Observance in use in the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance (Trappists) until 1963/64.

Fr Abbot Josef Vollberg himself had in fact presented to the Holy Father a plea to be allowed to return to the Liturgy and the Observance according to the "usus" of Monte Cistello (Rome 1964), approved by the Holy See.

This is quite momentous. As far as I am aware, this is the first such instance of a monastic community returning wholesale to the usus antiquior. Not only is this significant in and of itself - after all, they have 14 monks, almost as many as, for instance, the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer (the former Transalpine Redemptorists) - , but also in terms of a possible
inspiration for other monastic communities/orders to take this step, which is,
it bears reminding, expressly foreseen in the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum (Art. 3). Lastly, it is excellent that they revive their own rite, which is, if I'm not mistaken, essentially the Cistercian Rite.

To the left you can see the abbey church of Mariawald, to the right Abbot Vollberg with the Holy Father in June this year. The Abbey of Mariawald is the only Trappist monastery in Germany.

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