Friday, June 29, 2007

On The Motu Propio


The Motu Propio is to be published on July 7. Please pray for the successful reception of this promulgation.

Father Zuhlsdorf writes about the Motu Propio...

We won’t know the details of the Motu Proprio until it is promulgated, but we must consider several points. When a major document comes from the pen of a Pope, I always look at what he is saying both to the Church (ad intra) and to the world (ad extra). By this Motu Proprio Pope Benedict will establish the older form of Mass as an extraordinary rite of the Latin Church, the Novus Ordo being the ordinary rite. It will clarify that any priest can celebrate Holy Mass with the 1962 Missale Romanum in private.

Some traditionalists claimed that no priest needs permission, but this remained a disputed question. It will also more than likely lay down that when a certain number of the faithful make a request, a priest, probably a pastor of a parish, will be able to celebrate the older Mass publicly without specific permission of the local bishop. It is rumored that perhaps thirty people will be necessary for this. The Motu Proprio will certainly protect the authority of diocesan bishops and religious superiors to oversee their priests and liturgies.

I heard once that if a bishop wanted to block public celebrations in some place or by some priest the Motu Proprio might require him to present reasons to the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei”. That is speculation. Soon we will know for sure.

The Motu Proprio will more than likely spell out the role of the Pontifical Commission and what will happen if there are disputes between priests and bishops. What will the results of this be for the Church herself (the ad intra dimension)?

First, Pope Benedict is working to re-root celebrations of Holy Mass in the tradition whence it emerged. He has written that it was unreasonable that a rite of Mass so important to the Catholic Church for so long should suddenly be virtually forbidden. He wrote in the past about how liturgy grows slowly and organically, from rites and cultures enriching each other.

The Novus Ordo, stitched together by experts on table tops, constituted a break in this process. Derestriction of the older form of Mass will help to heal people hurt by the loss of the older rite. Widespread celebrations will have an impact on the way the Novus Ordo is celebrated… and vice versa! It cannot be otherwise. This has already been happening. The derestriction might help to heal the rift between the See of Peter and the SSPX, though there are also theological issues to work through (e.g., Vatican II’s document on religious liberty).

Gerald Augustinus translates a German commentary on the MP:

Pope Benedict does not want to undo the liturgical reforms after the Second Vatican Council. He also does not want to kick out so-called people's altars and re-install communion rails. With the Motu proprio he simply wants to free a Rite which should not have been abolished with the stroke of a pen.

As a cardinal, Joseph Ratzinger continually advocated the return of the Latin language to the Mass, that Gregorian Chant be sung and that the congregation does not stand around the altar fixated on the priest but rather face, together with the priest, towards East, looking towards God. Above all he wants that this liturgy, that was celebrated for centuries, expressing the holiest that the Church possesses, the Eucharistic sacrifice, lives again and continues to develop, accompanying the life of the faithful through time.

The greates point of criticism of the change of the Missals almost forty years ago for Pope Benedict: That an organically grown Rite was struck like some paragraphs in a law and that it was replaced by a new one that, although it included elements of the old one, was a construct, a fabrication that came in force by an act of ecclesial legislation.

The old Rite was frozen. Now it is supposed to thaw. The return of the Tridentine Mass into the life of the Church is to him an enrichment, not a curtailment. It is a
liberalization in the best meaning of the word, also with the goal to let new things grow.

The Pope explicitly states the unity of the Roman Rite. But, this rite can from now
on be celebrated in ordinary and in extraordinary form, whereas both are supposed to inspire one another.

Fr. Z is asking us to vote for the wider use of Latin Mass. Go vote now!


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