Saturday, July 11, 2009

A Canon Lawyer on Ecclesiæ Unitatem

Since the new motu proprio Ecclesiæ Unitatem (Latin/English), which attaches the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, is silent on the liturgical competences of PCED, many have been wondering what has become of them. Here is the take of the German latinist and canon lawyer Dr. jur. can. Gero P. Weishaupt. Fr. Weishaupt is judicial vicar of the Dutch diocese ´s-Hertogenbosch, and his comments were published on the German website Summorum Pontificum. Here they are in an NLM translation:

With the motu proprio "Ecclesiæ Unitatem", Ecclesia Dei has been incorporated into the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and is thus no longer an independent Commission, immediately subject to the Pope. This does not mean however that Ecclesia Dei loses comeptences. It will continue to be responsible for implementing the motu proprio "Summorum Pontificum". A limitation of competence in this regard does not result from either "Summorum Pontificum" or "Ecclesiæ Unitatem". "Summorum Pontificum", on the contrary, even speaks of an extension of competences of the Commission.

Only as far as the doctrinal dialogue with the Fraternity of St. Pius X is concerned (Ecclesiæ Unitatem, no. 5 reads: "... Quandoquidem quæstiones ... ad doctrinam spectant ...), the work of the Commission in the future will be carried out in close collaboration with the Congregation of the Faith, which has the ultimate responsibility. This transfer of competence clearly follows from no. 5 of the recent motu proprio Ecclesiæ Unitatem: ut Commissionis Eccleisæ Dei structura denuo componatur, dum cum Congregatione pro Doctrina Fidei arte nectitur. Insofar as this dialogue essentially concerns doctrine, the work of Ecclesia Dei is ordered towards the Congregation of the Faith. Thus the legislator, the Holy Father, himself indicates, that the dialogue with the Fraternity of St. Pius X does not primarily concern the liturgy, but doctrine. All the other tasks that do not affect this dialogue, continue to be autonomously in the hands of the Commission, with the possibility that issues strictly related to the liturgy might be resolved in collaboration with the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. The recent appointment of a second undersecretary of this Congregation points in this direction.

The last observation echoes my own musings on the appointment of Msgr. Ferrer last week.

More recent articles:

For more articles, see the NLM archives: