Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Summorum Pontificum

The long-awaited Motu Proprio has finally arrived! Published on 7 July, it seems to do pretty much all that could reasonably be expected. It states clearly that the Missal promulgated by Blessed John XXIII in 1962 must be given due honour and it is permissible to use it for the celebration of Mass as an extraordinary form of the Liturgy of the Church. The Missal of Paul VI is described as the ordinary expression of the Lex orandi of the Latin rite.
Article 2 gives an unrestricted right to any priest to use the Missal of Blessed John XXIII in Masses celebrated without the people. Article 4 says that such Masses may also be attended by faithful who, of their own free will, ask to be admitted. Don't you just love Vatican drafting...
Article 5 puts an obligation on parish priests to respond to requests from a stable group of faithful who request the Missal of Blessed John XXIII.
The Motu Proprio comes into effect on 14 September.
Whereas the Motu Proprio "Ecclesia Dei" of John Paul II left provision of the traditional liturgy very much the in the hands of the bishops, this new document transfers that down the chain of the hierarchy to priests. This is a great opportunity for them but also a great responsibility.
On the question of nomenclature, I am not too keen on the use of the words 'ordinary' and 'extraordinary' to differentiate the two forms of the Roman rite. I think I prefer 'the Missal of Blessed John XXIII' and 'the Missal of Paul VI'.
To celebrate the publication of the Motu Proprio we sang the Te Deum after Mass according to the Missal of Blessed John XXIII at St Joseph's Gateshead on Sunday.

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