Friday, December 28, 2007

New Ecclesia Dei document

Today the Catholic News Service gives a summary of Pope Benedict`s plans for 2008. Among them are the new document from the Ecclesia Dei comission which will clarify questions that have arisen over Summorum Pontificum. When a document comes out from a Vatican congregation sometimes hair-splitters who don`t like what the document says will say that it is a document of low authority because it is not the work of the Pope but a Vatican department and so it effectively gets ignored. A document from a congregation can acquire greater authority if it is signed by the Pope himself in forma specifica. The good news from the Catholic News Service is that this appears to be what is going to happen. Here is the relevant paragraph.

Sometime early in the year, the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei" plans to issue a document clarifying questions that have arisen regarding the pope's 2007 document relaxing restrictions on use of the Tridentine Mass. Sources said the pope personally is interested in removing ambiguities, and will sign off on the new document.

I have great hopes for this document as there appear to be cases where the Motu Proprio is being ignored or misinterpreted to prevent a more ready access to the 1962 missal for those who request it and various specious excuses are put forward to block access. Sometimes it is said that a Mass can only happen if the people requesting it are from that particular parish but then on the other hand when people from a parish have made a request they have been told that they can`t have it because there is already provision about twenty miles away in another parish. Let`s hope this new document will clear up some of the recent obstacles.


Dr. Peter H. Wright said...

Summorum Pontificum was essentially a juridical document.

The forthcoming clarification will be a pastoral document.

Many of the comments I was reading on this subject over at Fr. Z's blog seem to me unnecessarily
unnecessarily pessimistic :

e.g. Opponents of Summorum Pontificum will ignore, or find ways round, the clarification. It won't really make any difference. Things won't get any bettter. Etc., etc.

But things are changing in the Church.

When I first read Pope Benedict's "Spe Salvi", I never though I would find myself in 2007 reading a papal encyclical which contains not one direct reference to Vatican II !

Coming from the hand of Pope Benedict XVI, I can't believe that is accidental !

There are other signs and portents and (always) rumours.

But the era of the Indult Masses, for instance, has gone for good.

(I don't know if the significance of this has fully sunk in, yet, in various minds.)

All will be well !
(Sooner or later.)

Fr Michael Brown said...

Dear Dr Wright, you are correct in your distinctions and I know too well from past experience that even if a Roman document comes signed by the Pope, in forma specifica, it is often still ignored.

The old guard is still putting up quite a fight against the implementation of the MP. I know of a couple of cases, which I can`t speak about yet, but I hope eventually, with a bit of publicity thrown in, there will be a retreat by the opposition. The new document will, I hope, be further useful ammunition in the battle but won`t be more than that.