In his public statements during his visit to London in June, Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos stressed that the Holy Father’s Motu Proprio is law and establishes a new juridical reality in the Church which must be respected by bishops, priests and laity. Leo Darroch, President of the International Federation Una Voce, in the following reflection submitted on 2 June to the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei discusses the consequences of this new [juridical] reality for the integrity and development of the Gregorian Rite.
Since the promulgation of ‘Summorum Pontificum’ in July 2007 there has been great rejoicing from those in the Catholic Church who wish to retain traditions, and protect Tradition. There is no doubt that the statement from Pope Benedict that the Missal of 1962 had never been abrogated, and the freedom he has granted to priests of the Roman Rite to celebrate this form of the Mass, has led to a great increase in the celebrations of the ancient and venerable rite.
However, it is also clear that the promulgation of this Motu Proprio has led to many questions about the manner of celebration and the rubrics that apply to the Missal revised by Blessed John XXIII. It seems that there are some, including many bishops, who deliberately wish to create confusion and dissent in an attempt to dissuade priests and faithful from benefiting from the Holy Father’s pastoral solicitude, and insist that post-1962 developments (such as Communion in the hand and female altar servers) are perfectly valid in Masses celebrated according to the Missal of 1962.
On the other hand, there are others who have genuine queries about what is allowed during the celebration of the Extraordinary Form of the Mass. Questions are being raised more or less on a daily basis and the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei [PCED] is being inundated with letters containing requests for clarification, to such an extent that a document has been prepared that seeks to clarify matters once and for all. We have been advised to wait patiently for the publication of this document.
Mind of the Legislator
As I made clear in my report to the PCED on 29 April 2008, I believe that ‘Summorum Pontificum’ (and Quattuor Abhinc Annos [QAA] and Ecclesia Dei Adflicta [EDA] before it) should be interpreted according to the mind of the Legislator in his desire to redress, among other things, what many Traditional Catholics believe to have been abuses of their legitimate aspirations. I believe those who seek to modify the directives of ‘Summorum Pontificum’ to incorporate the changes post-1962 should be informed that they may freely avail themselves of the Novus Ordo in Latin where most of the various adaptations are already available, or can be adopted without any difficulty.
The 1965 Ordo and the 1967 Missa Normativa were, by their own nature, only transitory and temporary stages and lost any particular significance once the 1969 edition of the Roman Missal was published by Pope Paul VI. There is, consequently, no sense in encouraging the adoption of elements of those Ordos as somehow being natural and genuine evolutions of the 1962 Missal, which remains the only legitimate expression of the Extraordinary Form of Roman Rite as defined by His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI.
Recently, there has been much publicity given to a letter that was issued by the PCED in 1997 and signed by the then President, Cardinal Felici, and by Mgr Perl, the Secretary. This letter permits a number of modifications to celebrations of the Missal of 1962 concerning the Epistle, Gospel, Gloria, Credo, Pater Noster, and Prefaces from the appendix of the 1965 Missale Romanum and from that of 1970. They, therefore, are superseded by the provisions of ‘Summorum Pontificum’. For if the Supreme Pontiff wished prior liturgical provisions to be observed, he would have stated as much in his Motu Proprio of 7 July 2007.
In the midst of all this confusion there is, perhaps, a single question to be posed, the answer to which may make the responses to all the many queries irrelevant. But first it is necessary to set the scene.
1962 or 1970
The Holy Father could not have been clearer in stating what he means and meaning what he stated. He constantly refers to the Missal of 1962 or the Missal of 1970. There is no ambiguity; it is a straight choice between one or the other. There is no in-between.
With the full authority of Peter, the Supreme Legislator stated “We Decree”. He then states that the Missal of Blessed John XXIII:
The only concession granted by Pope Benedict in the Motu Proprio itself is in Article 6 when he states: “In Masses celebrated in the presence of the people in accordance with the Missal of Blessed John XXIII, the readings may [my emphasis)] be given in the vernacular, using editions recognised by the Apostolic See.”
Thus, the mind of Pope Benedict in the Motu Proprio is clear - it is either the Missal of 1970 or the Missal of 1962. His Holiness remains true to this theme in his Letter to Bishops which accompanied the Motu Proprio. He states that, “the last version of the Missale Romanum prior to the Council…in 1962 and used during the Council, will now be used as a Forma extraordinaria of the liturgical celebration.” He also states that, “There is no contradiction between the two editions of the Roman Missal”, thus indicating, once again, that, while there is no contradiction, there is a distinct difference between the two Missals.
And now I come to the crux of my argument. An indult is a permission, or privilege, granted by the competent ecclesiastical authority - the Holy See or the local ordinaries as the case may be - for an exception from a particular norm of church law in an individual case. Both Quattuor Abhinc Annos of 1984 and Ecclesia Dei Adflicta of 1988 were granted on the widespread opinion that the Missal of 1962 had been abrogated - abolished - following the publication of the Missal of Pope Paul VI in 1970. The motives for QAA and EDA would have been very different. EDA (after the commission of cardinals had reported) may have been pro bono pacis but this would not have applied to QAA.
In his Letter to the Bishops Pope Benedict states: “As for the use of the 1962 Missal…I would like to draw attention to the fact that this Missal was never juridically abrogated and, consequently, in principle, was always permitted.”
In ‘Summorum Pontificum’ he repeats this with the full force of law and states: “…It is therefore, permissible to celebrate the Sacrifice of the Mass following the typical edition of the Roman Missal promulgated by Blessed John XXIII in 1962 and never abrogated [my emphasis]…The conditions for the use of this Missal as laid down by the earlier documents ‘Quattuor abhinc annos’ and ‘Ecclesia Dei’ are substituted as follows:”[Art.1]
In the case of both these indults they were substituted as from midnight on 13 September 2007 and ceased to have any force of law. They are redundant, obsolete.
The Pope has given us two clear statements: that the Missal of 1962 was never abrogated, and that the Apostolic Letter’ Summorum Pontificum’ given Motu Proprio replaces the indults QAA and EDA. All the various permissions and modifications granted by the PCED were granted during the periods of the indults. Logic dictates, therefore, that if the Missal of 1962 was never abolished and the Holy Father states that the conditions laid down in earlier documents (QAA and EDA) for the use of the Missal of 1962 are substituted with effect from midnight on 13 September 2007, then all permissions, interpretations, relaxations, modifications et al that flowed from QAA and EDA must also be “substituted” with effect from midnight on 13 September 2007 and no longer apply.
The Pope has clarified the situation that has existed since 1970 and has wiped the slate clean concerning the indults of 1984 and 1988. Fourteenth of September 2007 brought us a new beginning in the understanding of the law, one which is based on juridical principles and not on the granting of a privilege.
If it is accepted that all the concessions and privileges that were granted under QAA and EDA have been superseded by the new law, what, then, is the current position? Quite clearly we start with a clean slate. From 14 September 2007 we start once again with the Missal of 1962, untouched and without modification or adaptation. In his Letter to the Bishops, Pope Benedict recognises that some change will take place but he is very specific, and he speaks in the future tense only, not in the past. He says: “new Saints and some of the new Prefaces can and should be inserted in the old Missal. The ‘Ecclesia Dei’ Commission, in contact with various bodies devoted to the usus antiquior, will study the practical possibilities in this regard.”
In effect, no changes can be made to the Missal of 1962 until the Ecclesia Dei Commission implements the will of the Holy Father and consults with the “various bodies” devoted to the usus antiquior. One would imagine that the first action of the Pontifical Commission would be the establishment of a list of “bodies” to be consulted. Only when the various bodies have been identified can the process begin of studying the practical possibilities of inserting new Saints and new Prefaces. We should be entering a period of quiet diplomacy and consultation during which the Missal of 1962 should remain untouched.
Engaging in this properly-structured process will have a number of benefits. Those who fear that the Missal of 1962 will be adulterated bit by bit, as happened during the 1960s, should be reassured that nothing will change until serious debate has taken place between the PCED and those who are attached to the ancient Latin liturgical tradition, and the PCED will be able to address itself to the task entrusted to it by Pope Benedict XVI without being inundated on a daily basis with requests for clarifications on various matters, many of which are trivial and serve only to overwhelm the staff in the Commission and divert them from the important work they are there to do.
[Taken from "Mass of Ages" August 2008, The Latin Mass Society's quarterly magazine]