Once again we refer you to Rorate Coeli, this time for some a rather disconcerting story of HervÃƒÂ© Yannou writing for Le Figaro. Yannou’s story implies that perhaps Pope Benedict has been persuaded to wait on issuing a document to free up the older form of Mass.
The kernel is this: Pope Benedict has listened to various bishops. One of the salient texts of the article is this (in Rorate’s translation but emphasis mine) :
… Cardinal Ricard assured the [news] agency I.Media that it had been only "a suggestion by Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos … as a response to the demands of Bishop Fellay … …
The Pope assured [Ricard] that "the work and reflection are still to be done" and that not even the nature of the document had yet been defined. That is, the commotion of the French bishops was due to no more than a project of the Colombian Cardinal, considered as too favorable to the integrists, and to premature reports by the press.
So, the claim is made that Card. Ricard thinks all of this talk of a document has been blown out of proportion and Ricard is doing damage control among the French bishops.
On the other hand, too much has come out from the Holy See for us to think there isn’t something concrete going on, that it is, in fact, much more than a suggestion or project of Card. Castrillon Hoyos.
Consider the following. His Holiness was deeply involved with all these matters years before the Lefevbre schism. There is no one who knows the lay of the land better than Benedict XVI. Frankly, I don’t think the Pope, if he has really been thinking about derestricting the older Mass in concrete terms, is going to be in the least surprised by the vehement opposition of the French bishops or the "unease" of the USCCB. If he has been working on something concrete, I doubt very much that the complaints of these bishops are going to add anything new to the mix. The reactions are predictable.
However, you can imagine that a good deal of work would be necessary for any document having to do with the older form of Mass. The role of the bishops would need to be worked out. The bishops cannot be excluded from the provisions. Period. That can’t and won’t happen. And so, the document needs to be well-framed.
Think of it this way. If a bad or sloppy document is released, which does not adequately foresee some of the obviously throny scenarios that might result, the net effect for those who want the use of the older Mass would be catastrophic in the long term. The results for a healing of the schism or avoiding another would be seriously damaged. Bishops must be involved for the sake of order. Moreover, there exists now an ad hoc Commission of the Holy See, the Pontifical Commission "Eccelsia Dei" and it has its range of competence and its mandate. A document would have to deal in some way with the role of the Pont. Comm. "Eccelsia Dei". Would its competence be extended? Restricted? What problems would be referred to it?
What about liturgical questions? As it is, when you go to this place or that place where the old Mass is celebrated, you find a wide divergene of practices. The idea that all those people today using the older form of Mass all being on the same page is a dream. They are all over the map. The permission of the Holy See is for use of the 1962 editio typica of the Missale Romanum and not another. But some priests and laymen involved in the ceremonies seem to think they can do anything they please, based on some feeble arguments about traditions etc. when they are really just implementing their personal preferences. In effect, they are doing the same thing they criticize in the wackier priests of the slappy-happy-church-of-whats-happening-now. They only difference is really that they have marginally better taste. So, some sort of discipline must be brought to the picture and an authoritative point of reference must be determined for questions that will arise. The bishops will need to be involved and there must be a central point of authoritative reference.
In any event, it is fully understandable that many issues large and small must be hammered out for such a Motu Proprio to have a good long term effect.
We need a lot of patience and calm understanding.