Saturday, March 03, 2007

Sneak Preview?

In a recent talk in Virginia, the US superior of the Tridentine community said to be close to the papal circle offered his optimistic view of the proposed motu proprio for the Old Mass that now sits on Benedict XVI's desk... and impressions on other causes near and dear to his heart.

The remarks of Msgr Michael Schmitz (right), American provincial of the Institute of Christ the King, Sovereign Priest, were reported on by Envoy magazine.

In a first for the Pian movement, two deacons of the group's US branch -- now based in St Louis -- will be ordained to the priesthood in the 1962 rite at the city's landmark Cathedral-Basilica. The June liturgy will be celebrated by Archbishop Raymond Burke, who had formed a bond with the ICR long before his appointment to the onetime "Rome of the West."
Schmitz also reaffirmed that because the Traditional rite has never been abrogated, every Latin-rite priest currently has the right to offer it privately. In other words, there is no indult, or specific permission from any diocesan bishop necessary for a priest to offer the Traditional Latin rite privately, as many traditionalist Catholics have held for dozens of years.

He also said that the long-awaited and expected motu proprio, at least to his understanding of its most recent contents, allows for every Latin-rite priest to offer the Traditional liturgy publicly.

According to various news reports, the exception would be if a bishop who desired to forbid a particular priest from offering it, he would have to put the reasons in writing and gain approval through the [Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei]. Msgr. Schmitz added that priests who were forbidden from offering the Traditional rite by their diocesan ordinary could appeal to the PCED for recourse.

He also expressed a hopeful confidence that the Pope will issue the motu proprio easing restrictions for all priests to offer the Traditional Latin rite of Holy Mass, although without speculating on the timing. “I can tell you that the document is ready,” he said. “The person who is responsible for it does not want to discuss it any longer,” Schmitz added....

Msgr. Schmitz said that any renewal of the sacred liturgy specifically for the Novus Ordo missal will probably include an encouragement to move it more into line with Sacrosanctum Concilium and the intentions of the Second Vatican Council Fathers.

These two main restorative aspects are also features of the so-called Missal of Pope St. Pius V (Traditional Roman rite), he said, and include the priest again facing the resurrecting Christ toward the East [the ad orientem] and an increase in the use of Latin, the language of the Church.
A favorite of Ratzinger confidante Princess Gloria von Thurn und Taxis, Schmitz also dabbled in a bit of gossip....
Another notable newsworthy item that Msgr. Schmitz delivered at his February 19, hour-long presentation during the question-and-answer period was that Archbishop Piero Marini, whom many had speculated would have been removed long ago, has finally accepted another assignment.

“The Pope is before all else, a gentlemen [sic],” Msgr. Schmitz said, clarifying for many Catholics in the room why this particular step has taken as long as it has. Vaticanists have expected this move ever since the beginning of Pope Benedict’s pontificate. Msgr. Schmitz did not give any details as to the nature of Archbishop Marini’s new assignment.

As Cardinal Ratzinger, the current pope was openly critical of the style of many of the public liturgies for large gatherings of people during Pope John Paul’s world travels throughout his pontificate. Archbishop Marini, a reported disciple of Archbishop Annibale Bugnini, the primary architect of the post-conciliar liturgical reform, was the mastermind behind these creative” liturgies.

Msgr. Schmitz said that those opponents to easing the restrictions on the celebration of the Traditional Roman rite, who say the Church would be taking a step backward or giving in to those who reject the Second Vatican Council, had forgotten something of utmost importance.

“The Traditional Latin Mass, from the beginning to the end, was the liturgy of the Second Vatican Council,” he said. “Not one of the Fathers celebrated any other Mass privately or publicly [during the Council], and the great liturgies during the Council were the pontifical High Masses, if the Pope was involved,” he said.
In the interests of full disclosure, the "creativity" of modern papal liturgy was something "masterminded" straight from The Great -- and, if a first-hand account is to be believed, despite firm resistance from those charged with implementing it:
When I was assisting on the commission preparing the liturgy for the African Synod, the African bishops informed the master of ceremonies at St. Peter’s what they wanted to do, but he said, “You cannot have drums and dancing at St. Peter’s!” He told them to use a Latin musical setting because every African could sing in Latin, while the rest of the Mass would use the colonial languages of English, French, and Portuguese.

Shortly after this the commission had lunch with Pope John Paul II, and the pope asked, “How is the commission going?” One of the members said, “Your Holiness, there’s a minor issue,” and proceeded to explain the divided opinions about showcasing something African in the liturgy. Before he even finished, the pope said, “The more African, the better.” Well, that ended the whole discussion. It was fantastic. The cardinals were dancing in the Mass.
Pope Benedict announced in late February that the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation on the Eucharist will get his signature "shortly," and be published soon thereafter.

In other liturgy news, representatives of the English-speaking episcopal conferences wrapped a week-long meeting in Rome yesterday to strategize the implementation process of the new translation of the Missale Romanum which, at the earliest, is expected to be introduced late in 2009.

It's been said that, by the time of its first meeting of 2007 later this month, Vox Clara hopes to report the Holy See's recognitio of the first part of the new rendering, which was approved by the conferences after a lengthy battle last year. Notably, however, said sanction for the "Order of Mass" as a stand-apart section has been sought only by one of the bodies, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Maintaining the longstanding practice, the other conferences will only move for Rome's green-light when the whole project, consisting of the proper and seasonal texts that comprise the prayers of the Eucharistic celebration, is completed and approved by their respective memberships.