10 December 2006

What's in a Motu Proprio - a Mass by any other Rite ...

In an excited and premature message about the Holy Father's Motu Proprio about the celebration of the Tridentine Rite of Mass, Father Zuhlsdorf wrote:

"1) The document will definitely be a Motu Proprio. (That means it will be from the Pope and not a document of a Congregation or joint document issued by different dicasteries.)

2) At the beginning of November it was in its final draft, after four revisions.

3) During the third week of November it was suggested that the document might come out in about three weeks. This would put it around… well… now.

4) It will authorize private celebration of Mass with the 1962 Missal by any priest as he chooses. Public Masses will be regulated by the bishop.

5) What a "private" Mass is will be defined in the document. A number will be established for what constitutes a "private" Mass. Provided the group is that size, no permission of the bishop will be necessary.

6) If I understand it right, and I admit I might be confused, there might be something in the document about greater numbers of people (than what would constitute a "private" Mass) being allowed to attend without the bishop’s permission so long as a Mass in the Novus Ordo is first provided for those who want it. I am not sure about this element, but it might be a prudent solution. If I am right about this element of the document, the idea would be to ensure that a priest doesn’t simply stop offering people the chance to attend the Novus Ordo and thus force everyone to go to the older form. See what I mean?

7) The document will stress the obligation of bishops to be "generous" in allowing the older form of Mass to be offered publicly with language much strong than that in the Motu Proprio "Ecclesia Dei adflicta" of John Paul II. "

Let's imagine he's spot on.

Imagine the excitement! We've got it! The Old Rite is back!

But let's imagine what the Hierarchy will say. (Obviously this is guesswork: I have no inside track on what the Catholic Bishops' Conference in England and Wales is planning. And it would be wrong to imagine that the Episcopal Conference plans against gossip about a putative Motu Proprio.) But how likely does the following sound.

"Private Masses are not the 0930 Mass that the Parish Newsletter advertises for every weekday.

Private Masses are not, in fact, to be advertised, because they are "private".

You can have a few people round but under the same conditions as for a "House Mass" in the Novus Praxis.

No priest can be forced to say Mass in the Old Rite (as if any could, but the Bishops will make a big deal about the pressure the Old Massians will put on a few simple priests).

"Parish Masses" ( however defined by the local Ordinary) must be in the New Rite.

No priest can celebrate the Old Rite who has not passed a test, and we will establish a committee to set one: it will put in place conditions by 2012.

No unreordering of Churches may take place just to favour celebration of the Old Rite.

The Novus Ordo must always have primacy over the Vetus Ordo.

And we have leant so far back to accomodate you that any cavilling against our authority is an attack against the Church."

I'm probably wrong: the Bishops will welcome the opportunity for Mass to be celebrated always and everywhere as it was always celebrated. I can recognise a flying pig when I see one!


Anagnostis said...

I'm certain you're right - assuming the thing ever appears at all. Assuming it isn't simply another toothless tiger ab initio.

Ruminating on this has deepened the sepulchral gloom at my own place.

PS: Cheer me up soon with something on that Welsh mystic!

Anonymous said...

In the immortal words of Johnny Rotten: "Ever felt like you've been cheated?"

Ttony said...

The Welsh mystic will be along in a couple of days. Just as in life she didn't want to be singled out, she's proving more elusive in death. (You can find ot that she was Wales' greatest female poet and hymn writer, but explaining why she is a mystic in the Catholic sense means me doing the work instead of lazily letting the Internet do it for me.)