Saturday, 7 July 2007

Summorum Pontificum

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 Rituale, and they are undoubtedly drinking chilled Veuve tonight!

All in all, a red letter day in the Pontificate of Pope Benedict!



Anonymous Anonymous said...


This is going to sound daft, but in respect of the other sacraments, how do the faithful find out their form? It is easy to get a Missal to understand the forma extroardinativa, but to understand the rest of the sacraments, e.g. Penance?

Best wishes,

3:53 pm  
Blogger Fr Nicholas said...

Good question, Mark. Old Missals and prayer books should have the basic old form of the Sacrament of Confession. For the penitent this is virtually identical to the new form. The prayers said by the priest are slightly longer and (of course) in Latin. For the other sacraments and sacramentals you would look in the Ritual or (for Confirmation, Ordination or anything requiring a bishop) the Pontifical.

4:36 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you, Father. I shall have to check in the Missal. Not that my PP would offer Penance à la 1962.

6:11 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't see that the Motu Proprio will have much effect on the Balls Pond Road!

2:16 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some will be ruing the day they threw out maniples many years ago. What I have not been able to discover is why they were discontinued. Logically it seems to me that if you discard one of the vestments you may as well discard them all. I imagine that burses, too, will have to be restored? Personally, I hope all the vestments will be resumed and in future that stoles will be crossed in the ordinary as well as the extraordinary rites. It seems silly to do otherwise.

11:15 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why aren't they crossed in the 1970 Missal?

6:23 pm  

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