Here is in interesting insight into the likely thinking of Pope Francis about Summorum Pontificum, the Motu Proprio of Benedict XVI allowing any priest to celebrate Mass as before the reforms of the Second Vatican Council in the so-called “extraoardinary” form. The report comes from Matias Augé, former consulter to the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship, longtime professor of liturgy at Sant’ Anselmo in Rome, and highly regarded liturgical theologian.
In a post yesterday at his blog Munus: Liturgia e dintorni, Augé tells of a liturgical conference he attended in Buenos Aires, Argentina, when Bergoglio was archbishop there. Augé writes:
I was told by one of the liturgist participants at the conference that the archbishop, Cardinal Bergoglio, had called upon him to celebrate Sunday Mass in a small church for a group, then about 20 people, who wanted to celebrate in the extraordinary form. This liturgist, a bit puzzled, said to the archbishop that he was not in agreement with such groups. The response of the cardinal [Bergoglio] was clear: “I say this to you because if I give the assignment to a priest who is in agreement with such groups, I divide the diocese.”
This comment is especially interesting against the backdrop of the sentiment expressed by Pope Benedict XVI when he issued Summorum Pontificum. In his letter accompanying that document, Benedict wrote:
[T]he fear was expressed in discussions about the awaited Motu Proprio, that the possibility of a wider use of the 1962 Missal would lead to disarray or even divisions within parish communities. This fear … strikes me as quite unfounded.
On the danger of divisions in the Church because of wider use of the unreformed pre-Vatican II liturgy, Bergoglio was of a different mind than Pope Benedict.
This Friday, July 7, will be the tenth anniversary of the issuance of Summorum Pontificum in 2007.