Roma 24 maggio 2003

Basilica di S. Maria Maggiore


Articoli e segnalazioni prima della celebrazione

1 maggio 2003 - The Catholic Herald

Pope prepares to lift restrictions on Tridentine Mass

English bishops request secret report from Latin Mass Society

By Simon Caldwell 

The Pope might soon allow the world's Catholic priests the right to celebrate the old rite Latin Mass on Sundays and holy days without the permission of their bishops, according to sources close to the Vatican.
John Paul II is understood to be ready to grant a "universal indult" by the end of the year to permit all priests to choose freely between the celebration of Mass in the so-called Tridentine rite used up to 1962 - before the disciplinary reforms of the Second Vatican Council - and the novus ordo Mass used after 1970. 
It will mean that a priest who wants to celebrate old rite Masses will no longer need to apply for an indult to Ecclesia Dei, a pontifical commission set up to study the implications of the Lefebvrist schism, after first gaining permission from his bishop.
The indult may be announced as part of the publication of forthcoming juridical notes on Ecclesia de Eucharistia, the new encyclical on the Eucharist, published on Holy Thursday, in which the Pope affirmed the Church's traditional teaching of the sacrificial nature of the Mass.
It might also be announced at the Basilica of St Mary Major in Rome on May 24, when Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, the Prefect for the Congregation of the Clergy and the president of Ecclesia Dei, becomes the first cardinal prefect to celebrate an old rite Mass in a main Roman basilica for 30 years.
Organised by the Latin Mass movement, Una Voce, the event is one of many indications that Rome is dropping restrictions on the celebration of the old rite.
Last month, the Holy Father, who celebrated a Tridentine Mass last summer, published a command called Rescriptum ex Audientia to authorise the celebration of the old rite Mass in St Peter's Basilica, Rome, by any priest who possessed an indult.
The Vatican also asked the Scottish bishops, ahead of their five-yearly ad limina visit to Rome in March, to reveal what provisions they made for the celebration of the old rite Mass in their dioceses. Since the meeting, the Scottish bishops have stepped up their provision from just four a year in the whole of the country to at least one a month in Glasgow and Edinburgh.
The same requests have been made in a questionnaire to the English and Welsh bishops, whose next ad limina visit to Rome will take place in the autumn.
The bishops have invited the Latin Mass Society (LMS), set up to promote the practice of the old rite, to submit a report on the provision of the Tridentine Mass ahead of their low week meeting in London this week when they were scheduled to discuss the issue.
John Medlin, LMS development officer, confirmed that a "full document" had been circulated to the bishops but refused to discuss its contents.
But Francis Carey, LMS treasurer, said: "We are approaching a critical point in the process to re-embed the traditional rite and sacraments in the centre of the Church's life, something for which a generation of traditional Catholics has prayed. I am looking forward to the future months with great confidence."
As a result of the efforts of the LMS, the old rite Mass is celebrated with varying frequency in most dioceses of the country, mostly in the archdioceses of Westminster, Southwark and Birmingham and the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle.
The LMS says it is acting in accordance with the wishes of the Holy Father, who published a motu proprio, Ecclesia Dei, in 1988 calling for the bishops of the world to be generous in their provision of the old rite.
The Pope was distressed that Swiss Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, who rejected the reforms of the 1960s as "Marxist" and "neo-Protestant", incurred excommunication that year after he ordained four bishops against the wishes of Rome.
About 400 priests followed Lefebvre out of full communion with the Church to form the Society of St Pius X. The Pope, who has actively sought the unity of the whole Church during his pontificate, remains keen to heal the schism. <sommaire>
"On all sides, we hear that the Pope would like to settle this matter before he dies," said Swiss Bishop Bernard Fellay, superior of the Priestly Fraternity of St Pius X, in a letter to supporters in January.
Bishop Fellay, consecrated by Lefebvre and excommunicated with him, said Rome had offered to give him an "personal apostolic administration", similar to a diocese, as it did in 2002 with the Priestly Union of St John Vianney, a group of schismatic traditionalists in Campos, Brazil.
But he said: "If one considers Rome's offer of an apostolic administration just by itself, it is as splendid as the architect's plan of a beautiful mansion. But the real problem is the practical problem of what foundations the mansion will rest on. On the shifting sands of Vatican II, or on the rock of tradition going back to the Apostles?"
In an interview with Il Giornole last Friday, the bishop welcomed Ecclesia de Eucharistia as a "positive sign". He also said there was a chance of reconciliation with Rome but he wanted a declaration that the old rite had never been abrogated and that the decree of excommunication of Lefebvre and his followers be annulled prior to any agreement.
He said: "The negotiations continue - they are not dead. They advance with prudence on both sides. I do not envisage, for the moment, the possibility of an immediate agreement. We need a slow process. But we have confidence in God, who can change the plans of men. We believe in the Church, we believe in the Holy Spirit, who can make what is not foreseeable today happen."
The Pope believes the old rite poses neither a threat to the unity of the Church nor to the genuine reforms of the Second Vatican Council.
Indeed, he has been ready on at least two other occasions to grant a universal indult ­ once in 1982 and once in 1986 - but was dissuaded by influential bishops, in the latter instance by Cardinal Basil Hume, among others, who was said to have been irritated by the actions of some people promoting the old-rite Mass.
Today, however, the LMS is keen to demonstrate its obedience to both the local bishops and the Holy See. Last year, it suspended Dr Carol Byrne, its deputy chairman, because of her public support for the Society of Pius X.
The Pope has furthered his cause by appointing to the Ecclesia Dei Commission people who hold his views, among them Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, who became a member two years ago.
The Cardinal shares the Pope's concern that abuses of the new rite, listed in the latest encyclical, have led to the depreciation of the Eucharist and the loss of some of the awe and mystery of the Mass.
A constant theme of the two has been "reform of the reform", rather than "restoration", and some Vatican observers claim wider practice of the old rite Mass would provide a norm against which the new Mass could be considered. "Nobody would be able to deny the sacrificial nature of the Mass," said one source.


Ritorna a Roma Maggio 2003

Ritorna al Sommario Articoli
 Ritorna al Sommario Argomenti
 Ritorna al Sommario Articoli Diversi

Ritorna al Sommario Documenti