Pope Saint Paul VI on Implementing the Liturgical Reform

I recently came across a speech by Pope Saint Paul VI on the implementation of the Second Vatican Council. The speech is from 1966, but I am struck by the fact that the themes Paul VI articulated here remain relevant today. It was given to the assembly of Italian bishops.

Readers of Pray Tell will notice that Paul VI urges his listeners to embrace the liturgical reform ardently and in a unified manner. This is very much like what Pope Francis has done in Traditionis custodes. There is also an element of teaching and mission in Paul VI’s vision. Again, Pope Francis pursues the same direction through his ministry, which is outward-directed and apostolic, and deeply influenced by listening to the teachings of the Council. Paul VI refers to the Council as a “patrimony” and “the great catechism” of our time, to be studied and lived out with apostolic zeal.

Do we still regard the patrimony of the Council as our source of inspiration today? One might say “Oh, this is so long ago” or “Too much has changed to take this seriously anymore.” Yet I suspect Paul VI’s words are precisely what we need to hear right now. After Traditionis custodes, it is a more urgent task than ever to recover the spirit of the Council, and to embrace its ideas and vision as gifts for our time, without the cynicism or hardened skepticism of “been there, done that.” If the reformed liturgy is the sole lex orandi, we need to understand it deeply and know where it is coming from.

Historians have noted that every Council has a backlash. We have been through such a backlash in recent years. Yet the floodwaters may be receding. The question is “Where do we go now?”

Pope Francis is clearly not saying we have to “get beyond the Council” or conjure up a Vatican III, though some Catholics would obviously like to do that, just as others would like to consign Vatican II to the dustbin of history as a terrible mistake and go back to pre-conciliar norms and expectations.

What I believe Pope Francis is saying, instead, is that we need to ground ourselves in Vatican II principles and really understand them. Only by doing so will we be able to rediscover the liturgical reform as a gift, coherent and inspiring in its own right.

For example, Vatican II rediscovered the Church as the people of God, and presented the liturgy as, first and foremost, the action of the people of God. This is part of the precious heritage of the Council and it was written into every one of the liturgical rites that were revised in the reform.

I do believe that if we want to be grounded in the Council, it helps to read Pope Saint Paul VI. And when we read him in conjunction with Pope Francis, some connections leap to the eye.

See what you think. [I’ve highlighted some words and phrases that I think are important.]

(The translation is from Google, so imperfect, but you can get the idea. Click through to the original Italian if you like.)

KNOWLEDGE STUDY APPLICATION OF THE HERITAGE OF THE COUNCIL

A word about the judgment that we must have and profess on the Council, because it will be good for this judgment to be clear, unambiguous, positive and efficient. When the construction of a large building is started, the work appears full of difficulties and uncertainties, both in the idea and in the execution, indeed full of deficiencies and fatigue; the nascent structures do not yet allow us to glimpse the definitive lines. When the work is finished, the scaffolding removed, the architectural design, which presided over the work, reveals itself in its beauty and balance. So it was with the Ecumenical Council.

It is an event of secular importance. It cannot be considered a closed and finished episode. The Council gives the Church a “tome”, a volume of doctrines and decrees, which can mark its new spring. It is not inertia, nor criticism, nor revision, nor is it rejection of the conciliar work that can benefit the Church. It is the knowledge, the study, the application of the inheritance of the Council, which must engage theological study on the one hand, and pastoral governance on the other, so that this new patrimony is inserted in the “deposit”, in the broad framework of truths already acquired by the Church. We must look to the Council with gratitude to God and with confidence for the future of the Church; it will be the great catechism of the new times. It certainly does not authorize, on the contrary, it contains and corrects the doctrinal and disciplinary arbitrators, which some restless spirit would like to derive from it; but [it] exhorts us to deepen our meditation on the mystery of truth, which the Church carries with her, and to dare with confidence the new apostolic effort so that this mystery may become more and more the light of the world.

In this regard, we still want to vote for a wise, unanimous, effective application of the liturgical reform. We know well that the Episcopate of Italy has already given many opportune dispositions and has already undertaken many good initiatives, so that this great conciliar novelty will sign for the Italian people a true rebirth of religious sentiment, an opportune reference to authentic religious forms, a principle new spiritual education, a better process of Catholic community formation, a life-giving impulse to the indispensable and always urgent effort for the religious education of your peoples. Let us not spend any other words, but express Our complacency for the work begun and Our encouragement for the much that still remains to be done.

 

 

 

50 comments

  1. Good speech. One can certainly highlight and emphasize other areas in the address, such as the two below:

    “…so that this new patrimony is inserted in the “deposit”, in the broad framework of truths already acquired by the Church.”

    “It certainly does not authorize, on the contrary, it contains and corrects the doctrinal and disciplinary arbitrators, which some restless spirit would like to derive from it;”

  2. Two cents worth, IMO – catechism unfortunately nullifies one of your main points. Catechism merely is a snapshot in time and for too many becomes a marker that can not evolve, change, or read the signs of the times. Just saying Also, catechism too often is just a summary (of someone’s interpretation). It avoids the work of actually studying and learning the actual documents, writings, etc.

  3. Google is an amazing translation resource. In this case I think there are some nuances it has missed.

    Esso è un avvenimento di importanza secolare, which Google rendered “It is an event of secular importance.” I think secolare here isn’t in opposition to “clerical”, but something more like “of a hundred years”, i.e. “an development of long-lasting import”, or one that will unfold over a long period of time.

    vogliamo ancora esprimere il voto per una saggia, concorde, efficace applicazione della riforma liturgica, rendered as “we still want to vote for a wise, unanimous, effective application of the liturgical reform.” Voto can mean “vote”, but here I think it is something like “vow” or “pledge”: we still want to express our pledge for … the liturgical reform.”

    la Nostra compiacenza per il lavoro incominciato, translated as “our complacency for the work begun”. Google hit on the false friend “complacency”, but compiacenza here means “satisfaction” or “pleasure” or “approval”.

    1. Excellent, Jonathan. Neither Google translate nor DeepL, which some people claim is better, are a substitute for a real human translator who understands the finer points of language. Your nuances are right on the button!

  4. Papal authority and its limits remains the key question.

    Clearly for some Paul VI implemented Vatican II correctly, and then John Paul II and (especially) Benedict XVI got things off track. For these critics, Francis has returned things to the correct path of Paul VI. These critics wrote articles criticizing John Paul II and (again, especially) Benedict XVI. Now they extol Francis.

    What will happen if some future pope returns to the interpretive arguments of Benedict XVI? Will that pope be wrongheaded because he departed from the orthodoxy of Paul VI/Francis? Will he be “disobedient to the Council” because he departs from the Pauline/Franciscan path?

    (D’ailleurs, what if meanwhile we canonize each and every one of these popes who reigned during or since Vatican II?)

    Are ecumenical councils only correctly interpreted by the pope who reigned as they closed? Do ecumenical councils lose significance only when some new council addresses the same topics as the old? When did Lateran IV cease to be the paradigm for orthodoxy?

    Or is Vatican II the sole “irreversible” council, and Paul VI its eternal translator?

    1. Read Vatican II. It’s pretty clear that Paul and Francis are following it. I just don’t find the arguments convincing that Benedict did – there’s no basis whatsoever in Vatican II for the continuance of the old liturgy in its unreformed state. This point seems so obvious that it shouldn’t need arguing.
      awr

  5. This address in indeed helpful in understanding Vatican II. I bring your attention the the following remark:

    “It is the knowledge, the study, the application of the inheritance of the Council, which must engage theological study on the one hand, and pastoral governance on the other, so that this new patrimony is inserted in the “deposit”, in the broad framework of truths already acquired by the Church.

    Vatican II can only be properly understood as a part of the broader deposit of faith that existed up to the Council. While deepening our understanding of the faith, it does not change the content of the faith. What was true before the Council is true after it. Later St. Paul VI continues (in Italian):

    “Esso non autorizza certamente, anzi contiene e corregge gli arbitri dottrinali e disciplinari, che qualche spirito inquieto ne vorrebbe derivare; ma ci esorta ad approfondire la nostra meditazione sul mistero di verità, che la Chiesa porta con sé, e ad osare con fiducia lo sforzo apostolico nuovo perché tale mistero diventi sempre più la luce del mondo.”

    I would suggest that a better translation would be:

    “It certainly does not give license, indeed it contains and corrects the doctrinal and disciplinary authorities, which some restless spirits would like to differentiate from it; but it exhorts us to deepen our meditation on the mystery of truth, which the Church carries with her, and to dare with confidence the new apostolic effort so that this mystery may become more and more the light of the world.”

    Thus, like Pope Benedict, Paul VI warns against trying to oppose the Council to what the Church taught and believed before the Council; reform in continuity, not rupture.

  6. Since Vatican II, the clerical church has mainly concentrated on internal matters: priestly celibacy, Humanae Vitae, the non-ordination of women, for the last 20 years, clerical sex scandals, and now, the ever more correct implementation of Vatican II. In the meanwhile, seminaries and churches in the West have lost half or more of their population.
    I notice that those who refer to Saint Paul VI, Saint Paul II, Saint Benedict XVI, and soon to be Saint Pope Francis implicitly speak the language of obedience by appealing to Vatican II as catechism, patrimony, deposit, etc. On the other side, those who refer to Paul VI, John Paul II, Benedict XVI, and Pope Francis speak the language of critical scholarship, but they may be viewed with suspicion by the holy ones. Is this correct, grosso modo?
    People in the pews only know what they hear in the 10-minute weekly homilies. How often have you heard someone preach about Vatican II during the last few years? The problem for many people in the pews is that their own children drop out of the church, in spite of the Vatican II reforms.
    There seems to be a divide between those who see the plight of the local churches and those who whose intellectual home is in the institution. Is this correct? I wish there would be more concern for people in the pews than for internal re-reforms.

    1. Hi Pierre,

      It seems to irritate you that Pope Paul VI was canonized. In fact, from your comment here it seems that you are interested in dividing people into camps based on what terms and titles they use. This is simplistic and silly, and leads to false conclusions about who is concerned about what. It’s entirely possible to be concerned about attrition, about internal affairs, and about the fate of the outside world at the same time.

      Vatican II offers essential guidance for the Church today. To give just one example, ecumenism and the attitude of Catholics toward the Jewish people: Catholic attitudes and practices on this front have been profoundly changed because of the Council. People know this not because they heard a homily on Nostra aetate or Unitatis redintegratio, but because of how we now act. We would not be acting differently if these documents and the principles enunciated in them were never written, disseminated, or received.

      I find it insulting, frankly, to hear someone dismiss Vatican II, when in fact, the Council turned the ship on these and many other issues (conscience, Catholic social teaching and integral human development, the Church as the people of God and more). Inertia is a big problem, true, but in any human society you’ve got a mixed bag. A fresh return to the Council’s teachings would be a good thing!

      The claim that “People in the pews only know what they hear in 10 minute homilies” betrays an unfortunate clericalist assumption: “they only know what we tell them from the pulpit.” On the contrary. We learn what we know from parents and family members, friends and teachers, enemies and antagonists, media, from music, art, and architecture, from the literature of devotion as well as instruction and academic theology. Most of all we learn from example. When the faithful at Mass exchange the sign of peace they are saying something about the true nature of church, and that message is being received, but not in a vacuum. That’s a complex reality, not served by dismissing Vatican II.

  7. Here’s Karl Rahner introducing his Current Problems in Christology:
    ” The clearest formulations, the most sanctified formulas, the classic condensations of the centuries long work of the Church in prayer, reflection and struggle concerning God’s mysteries: all these derive their life from the fact that they are not an end but a beginning, not goal but means, truths which open the way to the–ever greater–Truth…every formula transcends itself, not because it is false but precisely because it is true…(such formulae) are off after the greater fullness of Reality and Truth itself.” He goes on to say that such long sanctioned formulae are not wrong, discarded and forgotten in what comes after, but rather taken up and expanded.

    This seems like part of the spirit of Vatican 2.

    1. Wow, Jeff, that’s a wonderful quote. Thank you. He said something similar in Theological Investigations Volume 4, in discussing the Chalcedonian doctrine, if I remember correctly. Every formulation is both the end of a discussion and the starting point of a new one. The quote you offer supplies that wonderful element of “being off after the greater fullness of Reality and Truth itself.”

    2. I don’t know about the “spirit of Vatican 2” but this reflection by Rahner reminds me of Lonergan’s concept of sublation which I have always admired:

      What sublates goes beyond what is sublated, introduces something new and distinct, yet so far from interfering with the sublated or destroying it, on the contrary needs it, includes it, preserves all its proper features and properties, and carries them forward to a fuller realization within a richer context.” (Method in Theology, p. 241 )

      1. Yes, that’s very good and concise. I see this as analogous with the notion of V2 introducing “discontinuities within larger continuities” , mentioned by Anthony in his post at 4:56 pm below.

  8. Rita, yes, the bit I posted turns immediately into a discussion of Chalcedonian doctrine. The opening page and half of this article are just classic Rahner and expand on what I posted more fully. What you wrote is exactly right.

    Oh, this article appears in Vol. 1 of the Theological Investigations.

    1. And I suspect that they all owe the insight to Hegel who, in his discussion of historical dialectic, points out that the challenge of a new age is finding a way to carry over the spiritual content of the previous age while finding a new and more appropriate form for it. I would submit that we who have been raised in the world’s longest running large democracy cannot do Eucharist in forms derived from a monarchical culture.

  9. I think this essay comes early in Rahner’s writings. It most certainly utilizes/echoes Hegel’s ‘aufhebung’ which can be translated as ‘sublation’. Rahner studied with Heidegger (although he’s no Heideggerian) and Gadamer and Hermeneutics were also in the air. The notion of dialectic as dialogue with others and with the past is important to Rahner.

  10. It seems to me that the abrupt unilateral near abolition of the the Traditional Latin Mass ,with scant pastoral care to those attached to the Old Rites is the height of Monarchial Absolutism . This enforced uniformity seems foreign to persons raised in a democratic pluralistic society.

    1. It’s strange that you should say this, Thomas. What do you make of the fact that Pope Francis consulted the world’s bishops before making his decision? Or that he restored to the bishops their competency in the local church on this matter?

      1. The survey of Bishops is confidential, hardly transparent. The restoration of the Bishops power is very limited as per the Motu Proprio ,not collegial in the least. As you have pointed out clearly in your writings on the topic the Old Mass must not be celebrated be in parishes and should eventually be eliminated. You also indicated that the Bishops were not free to apply this decree in a flexible manner.It seems clear that the intention of the Motu Proprio and your interpretation of it calls for the eventual elimination of the Old Rite.
        This is not openness and diversity; It appears rather rigid.
        The net effect is it makes a diverse group of Catholics who want to be in union with Rome and the local Church feel very marginalized and hurt.

      2. and the people in the pews, should not they have the say in their religion? it seems one party was content with live and let live, and the other not. i can understand certainly the concern over the attitudes of those who are getting ordained, but see nothing pastoral about any of it towards the people – which is what the whole religion thing is supposed to be about.

    2. Thank you for explaining, Thomas. Collegiality and transparency are two different things. Neither of Pope Francis’s predecessors were transparent concerning their process. Neither of them. John Paul II didn’t reveal why he asked what the bishops thought and then overruled them when only 1.5% of them agreed with him. Benedict didn’t reveal why he took no survey, or who pleaded with him to not do what he decided to do, or why three years after SP no attempt was made, as promised, to seek evaluation. No transparency there at all. This is not new. Actually Francis has been more collegial than either of his predecessors.

      In any case, your quarrel isn’t with process, it’s with the results, it seems to me. The principle that the reformed liturgy represents the lex orandi has to be faced, and that, I propose, is the real issue. And that’s not even Francis. It’s inherent in the reform itself.

      1. If the principle is that the reformed liturgy represents the lex orandi then let the Missal of 1970 speak for itself and lift all the restriction that allow for a traditional form of that Mass. Allow for the access to the tradition that Pope Francis calls for in his letter to the bishops. It is a form of special pleading to condemn those attached to the ancient form of the Mass when those who push for the reformed liturgy do not accept the Missal of 1970 themselves. The implication is that the Missal of 1970 is itself contrary to the liturgical reform, a proposition that is fallacious on its face.

        In this regard I would also respectfully ask that my response to Fr. Ruff’s comment on September 3 at 5:46 pm be restored. Surely the unity that Pope Francis is calling us is to be achieved by honest dialogue rather than harsh censorship.

      2. Pope Francis seems to think that there was an evaluation three years after Summorum Pontificum. He discusses it in the interview that he recently gave with Cope and says that the survey found that everything was fine. Francis also seems to imply that if things had stayed that way, then no changes would have been necessary.

        “After three years [Benedict] said that an evaluation had to be made. An evaluation was made, and it seemed that everything was going well. And it was fine. “

      3. Alex, that’s news to me. Do you know anything about a 2010 survey? First I’ve heard of it.
        I suppose that “evaluation” and “survey of bishops” could be two different things. Perhaps the Ecclesia Dei officials evaluated it and said everything was fine?

      4. Archbishop Guido Pozzo (then secretary of the Ecclesia Dei Commission) did confirm that a survey was sent out to the bishops through nunciatures in 2010 and that about a 1/3 of the world’s bishops responded. I could link to something here but I don’t know what the policy about that is on this site.

        Either way, Benedict did follow through with the request for input. The results of the 2010 survey were not made public, though neither were the results of the 2020 survey to be fair.

    3. Fr. Anthony Forte @ 6:40 AM, “If the principle is that the reformed liturgy represents the lex orandi then let the Missal of 1970 speak for itself and lift all the restriction that allow for a traditional form of that Mass.”

      Another example of fallacious reasoning based on taking as normal an abnormal situation, namely, the permission to use the 1962 rites. This permission (1962) is limited to a moment in time because it is a concession. Normal liturgy is not a flash-frozen single edition of a Missal. Neither is the 1970 edition a litmus test for acceptance of the reform. To embrace an earlier edition when we are now in 2021, and several revisions have taken place, would be contrary to tradition and common sense. The fact that you might even suggest such a thing underlines the fact that this experiment has distorted your thinking about what a liturgical reform is, and how it works.

      1. I was speaking of a traditional form of the new Mass. I used the term “Missal of 1970” in deference to this term being used by Pope Francis for the present reformed Mass, not to imply that we should return to the original 1970 missal. So in order to avoid confusion let me reword my statement:

        If the principle is that the reformed liturgy represents the lex orandi then let the present reformed missal speak for itself and lift all the restriction that allow for a traditional form of that Mass. Allow for the access to the tradition that Pope Francis calls for in his letter to the bishops. It is a form of special pleading to condemn those attached to the ancient form of the Mass when those who push for the reformed liturgy do not accept the present reformed missal themselves. The implication is that the present reformed missal is itself contrary to the liturgical reform, a proposition that is fallacious on its face.

      2. Lee,

        One thing that the people on this site leave out in this discussion is that Pope Paul VI’s views on doctrinal development are essentially the same as Ratzinger’s. Whenever St. Paul VI talked about it he always referred to Vincent de Lerins and Newman, and he also frequently warned against construing the pre-Vatican II church as in contradiction to the post-Vatican II church. The same is true for Pope Francis, btw.

      3. Well, be that as is may, there’s no denying the Paul VI prohibited the old Mass (except the Agatha Christi indult to use the 1965 missal with the 1967 alterations) and spoke of the reformed liturgy as replacing the old liturgy; Benedict legislated in ways that contradicted Paul VI; and Francis has contradicted Benedict (and *revoked* his legislation) in moving us closer to Paul VI but not entirely. Surely these differences are not without significance.

        All the popes believe in continuity and all the popes believe in liturgical reform. (Even Benedict spoke of discontinuities within larger continuities.) But where the place the emphasis is very interesting.

        awr

      4. All I’m saying, awr, is that there is a straight line from Newman’s Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine to Paul VI’s closing address at the Second Vatican Council and Benedict XVI’s 2005 address to the Roman Curia.

  11. My comments were in response to the post that in the USA the Traditional Rites were too Monarchial for our democratic society. It seems Pope Francis is quite Imperial when he chooses to act.
    Inculturation is ok unless it is the patrimony of the Traditional Latin Mass which must be cancelled.
    The old diplomatic axiom of the futility of citing Bulls from a Dead (retired ) Pope appears to regrettably be paramount now. This saddens me.

  12. Exactly Sandor, Zero Pastoral care for those settled into the beauty of the Old Rites for 30 plus years with prior Papal approbation. A harsh inflexible iconoclasm.

    1. Sandor Toth says, “the people in the pews, should not they have the say in their religion?”

      They do have a say in their religion. It’s called popular religiosity and it can be very rich and rewarding to the extent that it is inspired by faith and pursued in harmony with the liturgy and teachings of the Church.

      What they do not have is the authority to regulate the liturgy in their diocese or the universal church. That belongs to the bishops, in union with the Pope.

  13. Thomas Basile said It seems clear that the intention of the Motu Proprio and your interpretation of it calls for the eventual elimination of the Old Rite.

    But this is nothing new. The intention of Paul VI was precisely to eliminate the Old Rite, as Pierre Jounel so ably demonstrates. The Church had moved on.

    The fact that indults were obtained for splinter group celebrations was not so that those tiny groups could flower and blossom but so that they could continue to be happy until they died a natural death. It was assumed that this would happen within a two or three decades at most. Most of the people pushing today for not just the retention but the expansion of the preconciliar rite were not even born when all that was going on.

    I say again.: the Church has moved on. The entire argument is not so much about liturgical trappings as about ecclesiology. No doubt some would prefer to be living in the Church of the time of Gregory the Great or Trent or even the “glorious 1950s”; but that is not where we are, nor who we are. Almost 60 years into the Post-Tridentine era, the time has come to embrace the Church or lurch into schism.

  14. I have been a Roman Catholic my entire life .I have been nourished by the old rites for over 30 years and my aspirations in this regard were considered proper and to be accommodated in our Catholic Church as per the Decrees of two Popes. I will not be pushed into schism . The Church is my mother, nor will I quietly accept the typical dry uninspiring ( although valid)liturgies on offer in most parishes where I live . Have you been to Mass in the Northeast of the USA lately? Attendance is rather thin. The traditional communities are growing and are younger in the Northeast . Also ,don’t assume a set theological point of view from TLM attendees other than an appreciation of a rich cultural patrimony of music ,art ,beauty and a desire for sacramental grace. Pax

    1. Have you been to Mass in the Northeast of the USA lately? Attendance is rather thin.

      Yes, as a matter of fact I have, virtually. Of course attendance is thin. There’s a pandemic on, and many are still scared of returning to church.

      Also ,don’t assume a set theological point of view from TLM attendees other than an appreciation of a rich cultural patrimony of music ,art ,beauty and a desire for sacramental grace.

      If this is trying to imply is that those who celebrate the postconciliar rite, now reaffirmed as the only true expression of the Church, do not also appreciate the rich cultural patrimony of music, art and beauty, that is quite incorrect. All those things can be found in many postconciliar celebrations.

      (There may be a debate about how one defines beauty, but that would be the subject of a separate thread.)

      1. If anyone is implying qualities of Mass attendees at a specific rite it has been you. Calling your fellow Catholics splinter groups who must now lurch into schism due to a preference for the Old Mass is not very charitable. I apologize for not dying yet but I am only in my 50s.

      2. It’s not true that Benedict intended his permissions only for the sake of those who were alive in an a certain era. That falsehood has been repeated often as a way to criticize those of a certain age who prefer the older liturgy.

        I would suggest though that there is another issue afoot here.

        It’s not just about the Pauline Missal. It’s about particular options in Paul’s Missal being more acceptable to some than others.

        The question of Missal acceptance is often not the point of contention. It’s the question of legitimate options of the Pauline Missal that are treated as just as radioactive as the use of the Pian Missal.

        Papal authority is still the elephant in the room. Until that issue is explored in depth, those who today praise Francis while yesterday they criticized Benedict might find a future pope not to their liking. Mutatis mutandis.

      3. I disagree about papal Authority being the elephant in the room. To my mind the true pachyderm is the use of a particular liturgical concession to build a fortress from which Vat2, and the present Pope can be attacked. For me this almost amounts to a blasphemous abuse of the Eucharist.

      4. Lee Fratantuno said It’s not true that Benedict intended his permissions only for the sake of those who were alive in an a certain era. That falsehood has been repeated often as a way to criticize those of a certain age who prefer the older liturgy.

        It’s actually even more restrictive. Here’s Benedict giving an interview during a flight on 12 September 2008:

        “This Motu Proprio is simply an act of tolerance, with a pastoral aim for people who were formed in this liturgy, love it, know it, and wish to live with this liturgy. It’s a small group because this presupposes a formation in Latin, a formation in a certain culture.”

      5. In the letter accompanying Summorum Pontificum, Benedict clearly states that:

        “Immediately after the Second Vatican Council it was presumed that requests for the use of the 1962 Missal would be limited to the older generation which had grown up with it, but in the meantime it has clearly been demonstrated that young persons too have discovered this liturgical form, felt its attraction and found in it a form of encounter with the Mystery of the Most Holy Eucharist, particularly suited to them. Thus the need has arisen for a clearer juridical regulation which had not been foreseen at the time of the 1988 Motu Proprio. The present Norms are also meant to free Bishops from constantly having to evaluate anew how they are to respond to various situations.”

        Then the instruction for Universae Ecclesiae (2011) (approved by Benedict) stated the following:

        “The Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum constitutes an important expression of the Magisterium of the Roman Pontiff and of his munus of regulating and ordering the Church’s Sacred Liturgy.3 The Motu Proprio manifests his solicitude as Vicar of Christ and Supreme Pastor of the Universal Church,4 and has the aim of:

        a.) offering to all the faithful the Roman Liturgy in the Usus Antiquior, considered as a precious treasure to be preserved;

        b.) effectively guaranteeing and ensuring the use of the forma extraordinaria for all who ask for it, given that the use of the 1962 Roman Liturgy is a faculty generously granted for the good of the faithful and therefore is to be interpreted in a sense favourable to the faithful who are its principal addressees;”

    2. This is a tired old talking point, that the “traditional” communities are flourishing and their Masses are full while the churches that celebrate the reformed liturgy are empty.

      The number of adherents to the 1962 ordo is extremely small relative to the mainstream.
      https://crc.blog.fordham.edu/faith-religion/latin-mass-hysteria/

      Worldwide, 1% of priests have celebrated according to the older rites, which means of course that 99% are celebrating the reformed rites.
      https://www.katholisch.de/artikel/20720-schaetzung-ein-prozent-der-priester-feiert-alte-messe

      I live in the Northeastern United States. All the Masses I attend are full, or were full before the pandemic. Depends where you go.

  15. My comment about cultural forms has been changed into an attack upon one man. To clarify: look at YouTube for the videos of celebrations by Pius XII with the sedia gestatoria, the very long papal cloak, the flabella, the Noble Guard, etc. while the crowds fill St. Peter’s Square with cheering. It proclaims the monarchical understanding of the Church which had been building for centuries. Is it beautiful and amazing theatre? Yes. But is it the only expression of the meaning of Church? Then look at the videos of the inauguration (not coronation) of Benedict XVI. He walks through the Square, and the sign of his office is the traditional pallium. Francis at his proclamation to the crowd in the Square eschewed the cape and slippers and asked the crowd to pray for him before he blessed them. That is a different ecclesiology at work.

    As for Francis’s decision gradually to abolish the Tridentine Mass, his style might be labelled monarchical or even tyrannical, but it seems, as Rita has pointed out, to be an ordinary exercise of the papal magisterium done in consultation with his fellow-bishops as opposed to the decisions of his two immediate predecessors in regard to the Tridentine Mass. I would suggest that the energy spent in the protests (and at times vicious personal slanders) directed against the Bishop of Rome because of this decision would be better spent in getting involved in the grass roots beginnings of the synod on synodality which begin next month.

  16. I don’t recall saying anywhere that the preconciliar liturgy is the only expression of the meaning of the Church. At its core all the protest generally stems from a desire to remain in the Church and have access to the traditional rites in parish Churches .Must this be a zero sum contest?

      1. The question was “must it be a zero sum game”. Would we not all gain from having the opportunity to worship in any authentic way available.
        Not only do we know neither what Rome perceived as the problem, nor how large they found it. We do not even know what questions they asked, let alone what answers they received. I do know there were strident voices crying ‘down with Vatican II’, and with that went a false ecclesiology.
        I am for peace: but when I say so, they are for war.

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