Today is the Anniversary of Summorum Pontificum
Three years ago today, Pope Benedict XVI, after long hesitation, published Summorum Pontificum, allowing wider celebration of the “old Mass.” The day is easy to remember because it was on the 7th day of the 7th month of the 7th year of the new millennium = 777. An antidote to another, slightly smaller number…
By Robert Moynihan
A Song of Solomon
Iam enim hiems transiit;
imber abiit, et recessit.
Flores apparuerunt in terra nostra;
tempus putationis advenit:
vox turturis audita est in terra nostra;
ficus protulit grossos suos;
vineæ florentes dederunt odorem suum.
“For now the winter is past,
the rain is over and gone.
The flowers have already appeared in our land;
The time has arrived for pruning the vines,
And the voice of the turtledove has been heard in our land.
The fig tree forms its early fruit;
the blossoming vines spread forth their fragrance.”
(The Song of Solomon, 2:11-13)
An Anniversary to Celebrate
Three years ago today, Pope Benedict XVI promulgated the motu proprio “Summorum Pontificum” (“Of the Supreme Pontiffs,” from the first words of the original Latin text), allowing the “old Mass” (the Tridentine Mass of Pope St. Pius V, codified and promulgated in 1570, 440 years ago) to be more freely celebrated throughout the Catholic Church.
And so one period in history of our Church came to an end.
(Some would say that one winter, and that a severe one, came to an end.)
A new springtime had come.
The Pope had long hesitated. In the months before the official promulgation, when the text was known to be already finished, but the date for its publication had not yet been set, officials in Rome close to the Pope confirmed to me that the opposition to this document was intense, and that the Pope was hesitating.
“You must pray for him,” I was told.
And then, the Pope took his decision, and issued the document.
I still believe, three years later, that it was one of the most important moments of his pontificate thus far, perhaps the most important one.
And so, today, there should perhaps be a moment of reflection, and prayer, and thanksgiving, for what Pope Benedict decided to do on July 7, 2007.
Today is also the anniversary of the execution of St. Thomas More, though his Feast Day is July 9.
The Text of the Document
Here, once again, is the text of that historic document.
SATURDAY, JULY 07, 2007
OF THE SUPREME PONTIFF
GIVEN MOTU PROPRIO
On the extraordinary use
of the ancient form of the Roman Rite
It has been the constant concern of the Supreme Pontiffs up to the present to ensure that the Church of Christ offers a worthy worship to the Divine Majesty, “to the praise and glory of His name,” and “to the benefit of all His Holy Church.”
Since time immemorial it has been necessary — as it is also for the future — to maintain the principle according to which “each particular Church must concur with the universal Church, not only as regards the doctrine of the faith and the sacramental signs, but also as regards the usages universally accepted by uninterrupted apostolic tradition, which must be observed not only to avoid errors but also to transmit the integrity of the faith, because the Church’s law of prayer corresponds to her law of faith.” (1)
Among the pontiffs who showed that requisite concern, particularly outstanding is the name of St. Gregory the Great, who made every effort to ensure that the new peoples of Europe received both the Catholic faith and the treasures of worship and culture that had been accumulated by the Romans in preceding centuries. He commanded that the form of the sacred liturgy as celebrated in Rome (concerning both the Sacrifice of Mass and the Divine Office) be conserved. He took great concern to ensure the dissemination of monks and nuns who, following the Rule of St. Benedict, together with the announcement of the Gospel illustrated with their lives the wise provision of their Rule that ‘nothing should be placed before the work of God.’ In this way the sacred liturgy, celebrated according to the Roman use, enriched not only the faith and piety but also the culture of many peoples. It is known, in fact, that the Latin liturgy of the Church in its various forms, in each century of the Christian era, has been a spur to the spiritual life of many saints, has reinforced many peoples in the virtue of religion and fecundated their piety.
Many other Roman pontiffs, in the course of the centuries, showed particular solicitude in ensuring that the sacred liturgy accomplished this task more effectively. Outstanding among them is Saint Pius V who, sustained by great pastoral zeal and following the exhortations of the Council of Trent, renewed the entire liturgy of the Church, oversaw the publication of liturgical books amended and “renewed in accordance with the norms of the Fathers,” and provided them for the use of the Latin Church.
One of the liturgical books of the Roman rite is the Roman Missal, which developed in the city of Rome and, with the passing of the centuries, little by little took forms very similar to that it has had in recent times.
“It was towards this same goal that succeeding Roman Pontiffs directed their energies during the subsequent centuries in order to ensure that the rites and liturgical books were brought up to date and when necessary clarified. From the beginning of this century they undertook a more general reform.” (2) Thus acted also our predecessors Clement VIII, Urban VIII, Saint Pius X (3), Benedict XV, Pius XII and Blessed John XXIII.
In more recent times, Vatican Council II expressed a desire that the respectful reverence due to divine worship should be renewed and adapted to the needs of our time. Moved by this desire our predecessor, the Supreme Pontiff Paul VI, approved, in 1970, reformed and partly renewed liturgical books for the Latin Church. These, translated into the various languages of the world, were willingly accepted by bishops, priests and faithful. John Paul II amended the third typical edition of the Roman Missal. Thus Roman pontiffs have operated to ensure that “this kind of liturgical edifice … should again appear resplendent for its dignity and harmony.” (4)
But in some regions, no small numbers of faithful adhered and continue to adhere with great love and affection to the earlier liturgical forms. These had so deeply marked their culture and their spirit that in 1984 the Supreme Pontiff John Paul II, moved by a concern for the pastoral care of these faithful, with the special indult “Quattuor abhinc annos”, issued by the Congregation for Divine Worship, granted permission to use the Roman Missal published by Blessed John XXIII in the year 1962. Later, in the year 1988, John Paul II with the Apostolic Letter given Motu Proprio, “Ecclesia Dei”, exhorted bishops to make generous use of this power in favor of all the faithful who so desired.
Our predecessor John Paul II having already considered the insistent petitions of these faithful, having listened to the views of the Cardinal Fathers of the Consistory of 22 March 2006, having reflected deeply upon all aspects of the question, invoked the Holy Spirit and trusting in the help of God, with this Apostolic Letter We DECREE the following:
Art. 1 The Roman Missal promulgated by Paul VI is the ordinary expression of the Lex orandi [Law of prayer] of the Catholic Church of the Latin rite. Nonetheless, the Roman Missal promulgated by St. Pius V and reissued by Bl. John XXIII is to be considered as an extraordinary expression of that same Lex orandi, and must be given due honour for its venerable and ancient usage. These two expressions of the Church’s Lex orandi will in no any way lead to a division in the Church’s Lex credendi [Law of belief]. They are, in fact two uses of the one Roman rite.
It is, therefore, permissible to celebrate the Sacrifice of the Mass following the typical edition of the Roman Missal promulgated by Bl. John XXIII in 1962 and never abrogated, as an extraordinary form of the Liturgy of the Church. The conditions for the use of this Missal as laid down by earlier documents “Quattuor abhinc annos” and “Ecclesia Dei”, are substituted as follows:
Art. 2 In Masses celebrated without the people, each Catholic priest of the Latin rite, whether secular or regular, may use the Roman Missal published by Bl. Pope John XXIII in 1962, or the Roman Missal promulgated by Pope Paul VI in 1970, and may do so on any day with the exception of the Easter Triduum. For such celebrations, with either one Missal or the other, the priest has no need for permission from the Apostolic See or from his Ordinary.
Art. 3 Communities of Institutes of consecrated life and of Societies of apostolic life, of either pontifical or diocesan right, wishing to celebrate Mass in accordance with the edition of the Roman Missal promulgated in 1962, for conventual or “community” celebration in their oratories, may do so. If an individual community or an entire Institute or Society wishes to undertake such celebrations often, habitually or permanently, the decision must be taken by the Superiors Major, in accordance with the law and following their own specific decrees and statutes.
Art. 4 Celebrations of Mass as mentioned above in art. 2 may – observing all the norms of law – also be attended by faithful who, of their own free will, ask to be admitted.
Art. 5 § 1 In parishes, where there is a group of faithful who stably adhere to the earlier liturgical tradition, the pastor should willingly accept their requests to celebrate the Mass according to the rite of the Roman Missal published in 1962, and ensure that the welfare of these faithful harmonises with the ordinary pastoral care of the parish, under the guidance of the bishop in accordance with canon 392, avoiding discord and favouring the unity of the whole Church.
§ 2 Celebration according to the Missal of Bl. John XXIII may take place on working days; while on Sundays and feast days one such celebration may also be held.
§ 3 For faithful and priests who request it, the pastor should also allow celebrations in this extraordinary form for special circumstances such as marriages, funerals or occasional celebrations, e.g. pilgrimages.
§ 4 Priests who use the Missal of Bl. John XXIII must be idoneous and not juridically impeded.
§ 5 In churches that are not parish or conventual churches, it is the duty of the Rector of the church to grant the above permission.
Art. 6 In Masses celebrated in the presence of the people in accordance with the Missal of Bl. John XXIII, the readings may be given in the vernacular, using editions recognised by the Apostolic See.
Art. 7 If a group of lay faithful, as mentioned in art. 5 § 1, has not obtained satisfaction to their requests from the pastor, they should inform the diocesan bishop. The bishop is strongly requested to satisfy their wishes. If he does not want to arrange for such celebration to take place, the matter should be referred to the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei”.
Art. 8 A bishop who, desirous of satisfying such requests, but who for various reasons is unable to do so, may refer the problem to the Commission “Ecclesia Dei” to obtain counsel and assistance.
Art. 9 § 1 The pastor, having attentively examined all aspects, may also grant permission to use the earlier ritual for the administration of the Sacraments of Baptism, Marriage, Penance, and the Anointing of the Sick, if the good of souls would seem to require it.
§ 2 Ordinaries are given the right to celebrate the Sacrament of Confirmation using the earlier Roman Pontifical, if the good of souls would seem to require it.
§ 3 Clerics ordained “in sacris constitutis” may use the Roman Breviary promulgated by Bl. John XXIII in 1962.
Art. 10 The ordinary of a particular place, if he feels it appropriate, may erect a personal parish in accordance with can. 518 for celebrations following the ancient form of the Roman rite, or appoint a chaplain, while observing all the norms of law.
Art. 11 The Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei” (5) , erected by John Paul II in 1988, continues to exercise its function. Said Commission will have the form, duties and norms that the Roman Pontiff wishes to assign it.
Art. 12 This Commission, apart from the powers it enjoys, will exercise the authority of the Holy See, supervising the observance and application of these dispositions.
We order that everything We have decreed with this Apostolic Letter given Motu Proprio be considered as having full and lasting force, and be observed from September 14 of this year, Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, notwithstanding any provisions to the contrary.
Given in Rome, at Saint Peter’s, on July 7, in the year of Our Lord 2007, the third of Our Pontificate.
BENEDICTUS PP. XVI
General Instruction of the Roman Missal, 3rd ed., 2002, no. 397.
John Paul II, Apostolic Letter “Vicesimus quintus annus,” 4 December 1988, 3: AAS 81 (1989), 899.
St. Pius X, Apostolic Letter Motu propio data, “Abhinc duos annos,” 23 October 1913: AAS 5 (1913), 449-450; cf John Paul II, Apostolic Letter “Vicesimus quintus annus,” no. 3: AAS 81 (1989), 899.
Cf John Paul II, Apostolic Letter Motu proprio data “Ecclesia Dei,” 2 July 1988, 6: AAS 80 (1988), 1498.
Official publication: AAS 99 (2007), 777-781.
“He that takes truth for his guide, and duty for his end, may safely trust to God’s providence to lead him aright.” —Blaise Pascal (French mathematician, philosopher, physicist and writer, 1623-1662)Note: Pilgrimage with special meetings inside the Vatican. We are now beginning to take preliminary requests for our Fall 2010 and Spring 2011 pilgrimages, which will include visits to Assisi, Norcia, Rome and the Vatican. If you would like information about these trips, email us at: pilgrimage@insidethevatican.
comBest-Seller: A Talk by Dr. Robert Moynihan about the “Old Mass” on CD
Unexpectedly, this little talk has become a minor “best-seller.”We have now produced more than 5,000 of these CDs, and they are still running out every few days. Why?Evidently, people really like this talk!It is called: “The Motu Proprio: Why the Latin Mass? Why Now?”
In this talk, Dr. Moynihan gives a 2,000-year history of the Mass in 60 minutes which is clear and easy to understand. The talk covers questions like:
— Does the motu proprio overcome some of the liturgical confusion since Vatican II?
— Who was Annibale Bugnini?— The mind of Pope Benedict: How can the Church restore the sense of the presence of God in the liturgy?Special note: Three years ago, we participated in a concert in Rome (on March 29, 2007) in which a Russian choir and orchestra, flying in from Moscow, performed a new version of The Passion According to St. Matthew composed a few months before by the young Russian Orthodox bishop (now Metropolitan and “foreign minister” of the Russian Orthodox Church, Hilarion Alfeyev).That moving concert, in which one or two of the exhausted women singers fainted on stage and had to be carried off, was broadcast live worldwide via a Vatican Television Center feed by EWTN.No DVD or CD was ever made of that concert — until a few days ago. After nearly three years, we have finally produced the DVD and CD of that historic concert, and they are now available for sale.I believe the sound of this music, and the sight of the performance, especially during Holy Week, when we recall Christ’s Passion, will bring tears to your eyes.The DVD and CD of this historic concert are now available on at website at the following link: https://www.insidethevatican.
com/products/concerts-dvd-cd. htmOther Gift Ideas:
On December 17, 2007, a leading Russian orchestra performed an exceptional “world premiere” concert of Russian Christmas music at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC. Now you can order your copy of the concert on DVD, which includes English sub-titles.
The music is a completely new composition by a young Russian Orthodox Archbishop, Hilarion Alfeyev, 43. At the time, he was the Russian Orthodox bishop for all of central Europe, based in Vienna, Austria. He is now a Metropolitan and the head of the External Relations Department of the Russian Orthodox Church.Makes a wonderful gift. Order one for yourself, one for a loved one and one for a friend… at three copies, the price is less! Click here to orderTo subscribe to the print edition of Inside the Vatican, click hereThe newsflash is free, but there are costs associated with producing it. To support this writing, you may call our toll-free number in the USA, 1-800-789-9494, or click hereThese reports are archived at www.themoynihanreport.com. To go there, click on the image below:Special note: We would be happy to receive feedback from our readers about these newsflashes. This newsflash is currently being sent to 17,100 people around the world. We hope it meets with your approval, and we will be happy to try to improve it according to your suggestions and needs.“Inside the Vatican is a magazine I read cover to cover. I find it balanced and informative. I especially appreciate its coverage of art and architecture. It is not only an important magazine, it is also a beautiful one.” —Prof. Mary Ann Glendon, Harvard University Law School, former United States Ambassador to the Holy See