I can't let 7/7/07 pass without mentioning Summorum Pontificum
. The blogosphere is full of interesting reflections on the motu proprio
- as well as the obvious sites, like the eminent Fr Z
, I recommend Fr John Boyle's post
, written from the perspective of a canon lawyer.
I pray that the great fruit of Summorum Pontificum
will be a gradual de-politicisation of the 'extraordinary form' of the Roman Rite - leading, as the English and Welsh Bishops hope, to a greater ecclesial unity. Though fixed by Trent and subsequent Pontiffs, the older form is indeed the 'Mass of the Ages' and constitutes an important part of our Tradition, from which every Catholic has a right to benefit. Now that it has come out of the closet, it can join the mainstream of the Church and be an option that can be chosen not so much to score points or follow an aggressive agenda but rather for 'our good and the good of all the Church'.
I imagine that priests will especially need to be prepared for requests to celebrate Funerals according to the 1962 Missal and possibly to hear confessions in the older form (which presumably can be requested by any individual penitent from 14 September).
It will be interesting to see how things develop over the next few months and how many requests will be made by the faithful. There will, of course, be logistical issues. I know many priests who would be happy to follow the new norms, as pastoral circumstances dictate, and yet lack the rubrical 'know-how'. The more zealous may need to exercise some patience! Churches may also lack copies of the 1962 Missal, altar cards, five-piece sets of vestments, trained servers and so on. Groups like the Latin Mass Society
will have an important role in assisting the clergy where necessary. Some publishers will make a fortune in re-issuing the Missale
, and they are undoubtedly drinking chilled Veuve tonight!
All in all, a red letter day in the Pontificate of Pope Benedict!