Monday, August 30, 2010

"Benedict XVI has dared to do it."

A while ago, we mentioned an upcoming publication by Ignatius Press, The Old Mass and the New: Explaining the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum of Pope Benedict XVI, by Bishop Marc Aillet of Bayonne, France, cf. NLM post here. Ignatius Press now has put online the preface to the book by Bishop Aillet. Here is a part of it; you can read the entire preface at this link.

Benedict XVI has dared to do it. Announced as forthcoming for months, awaited by some with frantic impatience, dreaded by others with some anxiety, the motu proprio was finally published on July 7, 2007, with the title of Summorum Pontificum. It was accompanied by a personal letter from the Pope to the bishops, to explain the reasons for his decision.

The press, whether ill-informed or ill-intentioned, denounced the victory of traditionalist pressure groups, considerably overestimating their influence on the Pope, who is said to be "conservative". It said nothing, on the other hand, about the pressure that may have been brought to bear on him to try to modify his decision: people had even brandished the politico-religious specter of the encouragement that would supposedly be given to the extreme right, since the sociological context of our country was so far beyond the insight of the Roman Curia. In any case, it was the first time in thirty years that some fear for the authority of the bishops where liturgy was concerned and that some objected to the risk of "subjectivism" in the way it was celebrated. And then it was necessary to reassure the directors of the reform, whose goodwill can rightly be acknowledged but who had been sent to work with so little liturgical formation.

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