Friday, June 29, 2007

Draft Five, Brief One

Word's been creeping out over The Document... so, as promised, here's a review of (credible) things as they stand.

For starters, the presence (first reported here) of Boston's Cardinal Sean O'Malley OFM Cap. and Archbishop Raymond Burke of St Louis as the sole US prelates in attendance at Wednesday's briefing on the finalized motu proprio text was subsequently reaffirmed by Catholic News Service.

Also among the 15 (as opposed to the previously-cited 30) other prelates present at the session, presided over by the Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone SDB, was Cardinal Francis Arinze, the prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. A convinced opponent of the wider permission for the celebration of the 1962 Missal of Bl. John XXIII -- as the Tridentine rite is now being referred to by the Holy See -- Arinze is thought to be the only person at the Roman dicastery overseeing liturgy who has seen the concession's final text.

While the document's first two drafts -- heavily influenced by the president of the indult-responsible Ecclesia Dei Commission Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos -- numbered close to 30 pages, the final product is widely reported to be much slimmer, with the Pope's cover letter to the bishops (tipped at four pages) said to be longer than the three-page motu proprio, itself. The language, too, has reportedly been shifted away from the ecclesiology employed in earlier versions, which sought to portray the pre-Concilar liturgy not merely as a Mass "inter pares" ("among equals"), but restoring its status as the first among them.

That, of course, raised no small amount of hackles as the draft passed through several congregations, and the final product will apparently agree with the qualms, including the reiteration that the 1970 Mass of Paul VI -- or, rather, the 2000 editio typica of John Paul II -- remains the "ordinary rite" for the faithful of the Roman church.

Lastly, it was reported here in early May that the norms "might" be implemented solely for an ad experimentum period of five years before becoming subject to Roman review. Today, the highly-respected Gerry O'Connell reported that the review provision will kick in not after five years, but three.

O'Connell also said that, echoing the Pope's impending cover letter, Bertone mentioned three "key reasons" for the document's release:
The first and main one is to ease the full communion and reconciliation of the St. Pius X Society with the pope. Suppression of the Tridentine Mass was a major reason for Archbishop Lefebvre and his followers to break with the pope.

The "Lefebvrites" also disagreed with much of what the Second Vatican Council taught about ecumenism and interfaith dialogue. The meeting's participants were given updated statistics on the Saint Pius X Society.

A second reason for the Motu Proprio is to enable "wider use" of the Tridentine Mass. Unlike the "ordinary form" approved by Paul VI in 1969, in the Motu Proprio, the Tridentine Mass is considered an "extraordinary" expression of the Latin Rite.

John Paul II authorized bishops to approve requests of people for the Tridentine Mass, but many bishops have refused to do so. Benedict, lobbied by traditionalists and basically sympathetic to them, devised the "extraordinary" form as a way to unblock the situation and accommodate those people.

The third reason for the Motu Proprio is to preserve "the treasures" of the Church's older culture, including Latin in the liturgy, and to integrate them into the contemporary culture.

Pope Benedict suggested in his nearly one-hour meeting with participants that if five or six Sunday Masses are offered in a diocesan cathedral, the bishop could designate one of them for celebration according to the John XXIII missal, if a sizable number of people ask for it.

All participants expressed their views at the meeting. Some saw the Motu Proprio as an expression of "pastoral charity," or a strong affirmation of "diversity in unity." By the end of the meeting, most indicated their basic acceptance of the text, but a few, like the French, still had reservations.
More as it happens....