Friday, September 14, 2007

Triumph of the "Extraordinary"

This might be the liturgical commemoration of the Triumph of the Cross -- the feast recalling the discovery of what was believed to be the cross of Calvary by St Helena (the mother of Constantine) in the early fourth century...

...but for not a few, the de facto celebration of the day is, of course, the implementation of Summorum Pontificum, B16's July motu proprio conceding a greater availability for the celebration of the Eucharist according to the 1962 Missal of Bl John XXIII.

Even from this hour, Masses in the pre-Conciliar form -- now officially termed the "Extraordinary Use" of the Roman rite -- are being said to mark the event the world over, including the first televised '62 Mass from the chapel of EWTN's Shrine of the Blessed Sacrament in Alabama.

A cherished project of the Pope's, one long sought by clergy and faithful inclined to the ritual precision and somber dignity of the "Old Mass," the oversight of the new norms falls to the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei. On the eve of their effective date, the dicastery's president Cardinal Dario Castrillion Hoyos -- also the Holy See's top liaison to the traditionalist groups currently out of communion with Rome -- was interviewed by Vatican Radio.
The Pope has a special love for the liturgy -- a love that is translated into a capacity for study, of learning more about the liturgy itself. This is why Benedict XVI considers the liturgy from before the Council reform an inestimable treasure.

The Pope does not want to go backward. It is important to know and underline that the Council did not prohibit the liturgy of St. Pius V and we must also say that the Fathers of the Council celebrated the Mass of Pius V.

It is not -- as many sustain because they don't know the reality -- a step backward. On the contrary.

The Council wanted to give ample freedom to the faithful. One of these freedoms was that of taking this treasure -- as the Pope says -- which is the liturgy, to keep it alive.

Q: What has changed, really, with this "motu proprio"?

Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos: With this "motu proprio," in reality, there has not been a big change. The important thing is that in this moment, priests can decide, without permission from the Holy See or the bishop, to celebrate the Mass in the ancient rite. And this holds true for all priests. It is the parish priests who must open the doors to those priests that, having the faculty, go to celebrate. It is not therefore necessary to ask any other permission.

Q: Your Eminence, this document was accompanied by fear and polemics. What is not true about what has been said or read?

Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos: It is not true, for example, that power was taken away from bishops over the liturgy, because the Code of Canon Law says who must give permission to say Mass and it is not the bishop: The bishop gives the "celebret," the power to be able to celebrate, but when a priest has this power, it is the parish priest and the chaplain who must grant the altar to celebrate.

If anyone impedes him, it is up to the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, in the name of the Holy Father, to take measures until this right -- which is a right that is clear to the faithful by now -- is respected.

Q: On the vigil of the "motu proprio" taking effect, what are your hopes?

Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos: My hopes are these: The Eucharist is the greatest thing we have, it is the greatest manifestation of love, of God’s redemptive love who wants to stay with us with this Eucharistic presence. This must never be a motive for discord but only love.

I hope that this can be a reason for joy for all those who love tradition, a reason for joy for all those parishes that will no longer be divided, but will have -- on the contrary -- a multiplicity of holiness with a rite that was certainly a factor and instrument of sanctification for more than a thousand years.

We thank, therefore, the Holy Father who recovered this treasure for the Church. Nothing is imposed on anyone, the Pope does not impose the obligation; the Pope does impose offering this possibility where the faithful request it.

If there is a conflict, because humanly speaking two groups can enter into conflict, the authority of the bishop -- as written in the "motu proprio" -- must intervene to avoid it, but without canceling the right that the Pope gave to the entire Church.