I read this in ZENIT.
Usually the transcripts of the actual questions and answers are eventually released.
It sounds as if the Pope might have been dealing with a question that was a bit polemical, but we’ll see.
My first inclination is to place this in the context of what the Holy See has always said to the French bishops: "toleratur", a placating way of saying that this is just something to be tolerated.
I suspect that this is not an example of the Holy Father walking back his provisions.
Pontiff Denies Claim 1962 Missal Is a Regression
Calls Liturgy a Living, Developing Reality
EN ROUTE TO PARIS, SEPT. 12, 2008 (Zenit.org).- An allowance for the celebration of Mass according to the 1962 Missal is in no way a return to the past, but rather an expression of pastoral concern, says Benedict XVI.
The Pope affirmed this today en route to France; he gave a brief press conference on the plane, answering four questions previously submitted by the journalists selected to be in the press corps accompanying the Holy Father.
The Pontiff said it is "groundless" to fear that "Summorum Pontificum" — which opened the way for a wider celebration of the Mass according to the 1962 Missal — is a regression.
"This ‘motu proprio’ is simply an act of tolerance, with a pastoral objective, for people who have been formed in this liturgy, who love it, know it and want to live with this liturgy," he said. "It is a small group, given that it presupposes a formation in Latin, a formation in a certain culture. But it seems to me a normal demand of faith and pastoral concern for a bishop of our Church to have love and tolerance for these people and permit them to live with this liturgy."
"There is no opposition whatsoever between the liturgy renewed by the Second Vatican Council and this liturgy," Benedict XVI continued. "Each day, the Council fathers celebrated Mass according to this old rite and, at the same time, have conceived a natural development for the liturgy in all of this century, since the liturgy is a living reality that develops and that conserves its identity in its development."
"Therefore, there are certainly distinct accents, but a fundamental identity that excludes a contradiction, an opposition between the renewed liturgy and the preceding liturgy," the Pope affirmed. "I think that there is the possibility of mutual enrichment. It’s clear that the renewed liturgy is the ordinary liturgy of our times."
So… effectively, the Holy Father has stressed that the liturgy, as something needing space for organic growth, must be seen in continuity. But he looks forward rather than backward.
More later as I digest.