Motu Propio Q&A
Let us welcome and rejoice on the release of Pope Benedict's Motu Propio. First of all, what does this all mean to us?
Q. What is Motu Propio anyway?
A. This is legal latin meaning "of one's own initiative".
Q. What does it mean for Pope Benedict to issue a Motu Propio?
A. It means that he has issued a directive upon his own initiatve by way of an apostolic letter.
Q. What is the apostolic letter and what does it say?
A. The apostolic letter is called "Summorum Pontificum". It says that there are new norms that will allow the Roman Missal promulgated by Pope John XXIII in 1962 to be used as an extraordinary form of the liturgical celebration. Today, the Church celebrates the Novus Ordo mass (the mass that is celebrated in most parishes). The 1962 Missal uses the Tridentine mass (the mass celebrated in Latin). Both forms should be considered under one Roman rite. The letter further states that a priest can now celebrate mass using the 1962 missal without having to get approval from the Holy See or his ordinary (bishop). The faithful can now freely attend also, in fact, parish groups can now request their parish priest to celebrate mass using the 1962 missal. The norms allow for only one pre-Vatican II Mass to be said in parishes on Sundays and feast days.
Q. Why did Pope Benedict make this iniative?
A. For many years there has been a gap between those who considered each form of celebration as the more proper. Pope Benedict's decision was motivated by a desire to bring about "an interior reconciliation in the heart of the Church." According to Fr. Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, "The Pope wishes that the coexistence of the two forms of the rite will lead both, not to oppose each other, but to mutually enrich each other, on one side through a greater depth of sacrality, and on the other side through a greater variety and expressiveness of elements." Father Lombardi said that there is a message in the letter for all: "The liturgy must be celebrated with care and respect precisely because through it we communicate with the mystery of God. If this respect is lacking, it is not only the individual but the whole Church that suffers, because abuses are always the seed of division."
Q. Won't this initiative move us backward?
A. Absolutely not. Fr. Lombardi says "Benedict XVI will not move us backward but leads us forward, keeping us well inserted in the continuity of the historical path of the Church. It is a going forward that aims above all to make progress -- as persons and as community -- into the depths of the encounter with God."
Q. Where can I attend a mass celebrated according to the 1962 missal?
A. Call your archdiocesan office and they will give you the name of the parish and the schedule of masses. You can also go to this link.
Q. How can I learn how to follow the 1962 missal?A. You can go to the link for the full text.