Interview with Msgr. Pozzo, Secretary of the Pont. Comm. “Ecclesia Dei”

Over at NLM there is a very useful entry, which also asks from some help from people who are competent in German.

At the German site of Vatican Radio there was an interview with the Secretary of my old haunt the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei”.

I am sure the discussion over there will be interesting, as it is going to be here.  Do check it out.

My Preamble: For quite a while I grew less and less enthusiastic about the idea of a “clarificatory document” about Summorum Pontificum.  I am a bit more optimistic now.  Given the fact of ongoing talks with the SSPX, it is not at all likely that such a “clarificatory document” would not be quite favorable toward more traditional interpretations and aspirations.  See if you can discern something of that in what follows.

My emphases and comments.

Interview with Ecclesia Dei Secretary on Three Years of Summorum Pontificum
by Gregor Kollmorgen

The German Service of Vatican Radio today carries an interview with Msgr. Guido Pozzo, the Secretary of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, on the occasion of three years of Summorum Pontificum. NLM will try to provide a full translation (if any of our readers would be willing to help, that would be greatly appreciated – email addressed can be found at the top of the left side bar). [If you can help them, please go offer your services.] In the meantime, here are a few salient points:

1. (When asked about resistence to the usus antiquior:) The old Rite of the Mass has a deep richness that needs not only to be respected, but also to be rediscovered, for the benefit of the liturgy, also as it is celebrated today. These prejudices and resistance have to be overcome by a change in the forma mentis, the disposition. A more adequate liturgical formation is needed. [And yet I am aware of a cases in which bishops are claiming that it is not permitted under Summorum Pontificum to expand the use of the 1962 Missal.  I suggest a change in their forma mentis is in order.  Otherwise, perhaps the "Bux Protocol" might be applied.]

2. (When asked whether interest in the usus antiquior is growing:) I would say growing. Also, because we observe that especially in the younger generations there is interest in and popularity of the old form of the Mass. And this is surprising news. [Huh? "Und das ist eine überraschende Neuigkeit."  Yep.  That's what he said.  But... surprising to whom?  It shouldn't be a surprise to anyone working in the PCED.  It might be a surprise to a hardened liberal of the "Spirit of Vatican II" stripe.  ]

3. (When asked about numbers of faithful interested in the Extraordinary Form:) It is certainly clear, too, that the value of the Extraordinary Form of the Rite has nothing to do with numbers. Both forms are equal in value and dignity. [This needs to be repeated and repeated and repeated.  Opponents of Pope Benedict and Summorum Pontificum and all the Catholic faithful with legitimate liturgical aspirations that run in the traditional vein claim that "Extraordinary" is supposed to mean "rare".  Clearly that is not the case.]

4. I am of the opinion that one should offer seminarians in the seminaries the opportunity to learn the celebration in the Extraordinary Form properly – not as an obligation, but as a possibility. [I disagree.] Where possible, one could make use for the formation of the priests of those institutions which are under the jurisdiction of the Commission Ecclesia Dei and follow the traditional liturgical discipline.  [I disagree with the Secretary here.  I think that a priest ought to know how to offer the liturgical worship of his Church, his Rite.  If there are two forms of the Roman Rite, then a seminarian ought to know both of them.  Furthermore, I think that when a rector of a seminary stands in front of a bishop to declare that the deacons were suitably trained for the ministry of priests, and those seminarians were not trained in the older, Extraordinary Form, then there is a problem with the rector's statement.  And as long as I am ranting, what about 1983 CIC can. 249?]

5. In the letter to the bishops accompanying the motu proprio, Pope Benedict mentioned on the one hand the need to update the calendar of Saints, i.e. to insert the Saints proclaimed after 1962, and on the other hand that certain prefaces from the Missal of Paul VI should be incorporated in order to enrich the collection of the prefaces of the Missal of 1962. [Some of my traditional friends are against such a change.  I am not.  I am for it.] The Commission Ecclesia Dei has set up a study process to comply with the will of the Holy Father. Here one will soon, I think, arrive at a proposal, which will shortly be submitted to the Holy Father for approbation. [That's news.]

6. I think we must also recognize that the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite offers a more extensive reading of Scripture than the Missal of 1962.  [My very traditional friends will be pleased to read this part:] Nevertheless, an amendment of the Missal of 1962 in this regard is not easy, because one has to keep in mind the relation between the biblical readings and the antiphons or responsories of the Roman breviary for that day. It bears recalling, too, however, that under Pope Pius XII a number of additional readings for the commons of Saints has been added. Therefore, one can not rule out a possible extension for the readings of the Mass. That does not mean, however, that one may as a bishop or priest celebrant subjectively and arbitrarily change the sequence of the Lectionary or mix the two forms, so that the character of both is lost.

[And this is something that I have been repeating for many years now. ] 7. In light of these explanations (sc. in the letter to the bishops), it is clear that the Catholic faithful are urged to avoid participation in the Mass or the reception of the sacraments from a priest of the FSSPX, because they are canonically irregular.  [That said, it is still possible to fulfill one's Mass obligation at an SSPX chapel.  However, if there is an alternative, I suggest strongly that you chose the alternative.  Stick to that which is approved.]

WDTPRS kudos to NLM for getting on this fast.  I hope they can get the whole thing done soon.

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24 Responses to Interview with Msgr. Pozzo, Secretary of the Pont. Comm. “Ecclesia Dei”

  1. Fr Matthew says:

    I agree that every priest should be familiar with the Extraordinary Form. I’ve celebrated Mass in the E.F. twice in public and several times in private, and it really gives you (or at least, me) a different and enriching perspective on what the Mass is, and what the role of the priest is. To tell you the truth, I am still “digesting” it. Right from the beginning, though, it encourages a sense of the sacred and of the importance of what is being done. I find that many of the prayers the priest says which are longer than in the Novus Ordo (like the munda cor meum…) give a greater sense of connectedness with Sacred Scripture as well.
    I would be in favor of integrating a “more extensive reading of scripture”, but as indicated above, it would have to be done carefully and respecting the unity of the Mass’s readings, antiphons, etc. – so, not just using copy and paste from the N.O.

  2. kgurries says:

    Very good interview. The more I read from Msgr. Pozzo the more I like him. On the matter of being trained in both forms…I wonder if some will then attempt to turn the tables and insist that the Ecclesia Dei communities also are properly “trained” in the OF?

  3. kgurries,

    And perhaps they should.

    After all, Roman priests should be ready, willing and able to celebrate sacramental rites according to the books in force. That works both ways.

  4. wolfeken says:

    I think traditionalists could bend on incorporating newer prefaces into the traditional Mass. Advent, for instance. In fact, the FSSP’s position is that the mid-1960s prefaces can be used, as they were written before the novus ordo. Some are included in the annual Ordo. This is a personal desire of Pope Benedict XVI, so we shall see.

    On an update to the calendar, that would be very tricky, as the foundations are different. The novus ordo calendar is vastly different than the 1962 one. So it is easy to add a saint here and there, but there will be times where it just cannot be done. Again, we shall see.

    I hope there will be clarification on Article Six of the motu proprio. There still seems to be confusion whether the common practice of reading the Epistle and Gospel in the vernacular from the pulpit after they have been read for real in Latin at the altar was codified, or if a 1965-ish practice of skipping the Latin and going with vernacular-only was made an option. Sadly, several more liberal priests have gone with the latter even without the clarity.

    The tone of this interview seems to be: there may be some tweaking in the future, but for now don’t screw around with the 1962 missal and calendar. Say the black — in Latin — and do the red as written.

  5. danphunter1 says:

    “it is clear that the Catholic faithful are urged to avoid participation in the Mass or the reception of the sacraments from a priest of the FSSPX, because they are canonically irregular.”

    Then I would humbly pray and urge the Holy See to make the FSSPX canonically regular.

    ” [That said, it is still possible to fulfill one’s Mass obligation at an SSPX chapel.”
    Father, thank the good Lord for this, since there are many of the faithful who are attached to the Taditional Latin Mass who do not have access to a regular every Sunday, FSSP, diocesan, or Ecclesia Dei TLM.

  6. Childermass says:

    I would add that faithful should also be strongly urged to avoid “approved” Masses in which grave abuses are habitually committed. “Approval” these days is no guarantee of fidelity! Our Approvers have been culpably negligent.

    Regarding the comments, I welcome them but am troubled by the constant tinkeritis. Whatever happened to the understanding of the sacred liturgy as a given? I still fear that the Holy See continues to look at the sacred rites as clay to mold however it wishes ( an attitude beginning with Pius XII).

  7. kgurries says:

    I think the intention is to promote the peacefully co-existence between the two forms. Perhaps it would not be wise at this stage to start compelling priests to offer one or the other form. Some may be surprised to know that Archbishop Lefebvre expressed a similar notion: http://opuscula.blogspot.com/2010/01/peaceful-co-existence-of-rites.html

  8. Tradster says:

    I think it would help in treating both forms as truly equal if the arbitrary restriction in Article 5.2 to a single TLM was eliminated (“…on Sundays and feast days one such celebration may also be held.”). Granted that it will probably be a long time before two or more TLMs are needed in most parishes but pastors should still have the option. Unless I am misunderstanding the wording of that section.

  9. Apparently ueberraschende can mean that something came up behind you and caught up with you, as well as meaning something surprising. Maybe this is what he meant? :)

  10. P.McGrath says:

    Speaking of the NLM:

    Jeffery Tucker of NLM and the Chant Cafe has just published The Mystery of the Leaked Missal, which documents something really really bad that’s happening in the updating of the English language Roman Missal. Very briefly: Someone is messing around with the text that the Anglophone bishops around the world OK’d in 2008 and received the recognitio. That someone is degrading the text from the approved version. It’s going back to the Stupid Version again.

    Fortunately, someone has posted to a Wikisite an analysis of this degrading (both PDFs). The poster of these documents, who writes under the pseudonym “Xavier Rindfleisch,” concludes:

    “… how sad if, having waited so long and (at least for some of us) having defended so staunchly the project of providing an accurate and elegant English translation of the Missale Romanum, we were to find that someone took the 2008 text to which the bishops had given their canonical approbation and made . . . well, let’s ask them: how many more “corrections” are there besides those that appear here? How many gaffes even more awful than the mistranslations and English misconstructions we’ve set forth here? How many more deviations from the official documents in obedience to which the 2008 translators labored so faithfully and so long?
    “Let us ask those in authority in the local Churches and in Rome: How did this happen? How did something this flawed (2010) happen to something that fine (2008)? How did it get so far, i.e., into the hands of the Pope? And what happens now?
    ” … Can the Congregation, excluding those responsible for the so many ill-advised ‘revisions’ documented here, forget about face-saving and humbly correct those ‘revisions’ in consultation with the original 2008 translators, whose Latin skills and English style are head and shoulders above the revisers, in order to guarantee the English-speaking Church that has waited so long a meticulously accurate and truly elegant translation?
    “Let us ask the revisers again: Who are you? Where are you? Why did you do this? When? On whose authority?
    “Do not those of us who have supported the 2008 translation have a right to know?”

    Someone needs to let the Holy Father know about this.

  11. In the letter to the bishops accompanying the motu proprio, Pope Benedict mentioned on the one hand the need to update the calendar of Saints, i.e. to insert the Saints proclaimed after 1962, and on the other hand that certain prefaces from the Missal of Paul VI should be incorporated in order to enrich the collection of the prefaces of the Missal of 1962.

    I also believe that the extraordinary form must be subject to revision and updating. The Church did not die in 1962, and no living rite in the Church should be frozen in time like a museum piece. The living Christ left us a living Church, and her liturgy should reflect that. The calendar and the readings are the two big reasons I cannot embrace the extraordinary form without reservation. There certainly is no reason why the extraordinary form could not use the same calendar as the ordinary form, even if both must be changed to accomodate this.

  12. paulbailes says:

    Fr Z says “Stick to that which is approved.” – but in view of what rubbish the approvers approve of these days (as documented e.g. elsewhere in WDTPRS), just how bad does “that” have to be before Fr Z would allow one to attend the SSPX? (Kudos, Childermass)

    kgurries says “it would not be wise at this stage to start compelling priests to offer one or the other form” – but at “this stage” aren’t priests in fact not allowed to reject the NOM absolutley (vide FSSP priests being required to concelebrate the NOM on Holy Thursday)? As an interim stage in the withdrawal of the NOM, I’m with you and Abp. Lefebvre that we could allow the TLM and NOM to exist side-by-side (of course sans the current NOM coercion). Under such circs., in hypothetical conversation with NOM-ers, one would do well to quote Dave Allen: “you worship God your way; I’ll worship Him His way”.

    Andrew Saucci says “[what look like some modernist cliches, then ...] no reason why the extraordinary form could not use the same calendar as the ordinary form, even if both must be changed ” – changing calendars is what revolutionaries do! Changing the TLM calendar to accommodate the NOM (except maybe the post-62 saints) would be surrendering to the forces of revolution (behind whom is you-know-who)!!

    Cheers
    Paul

  13. Jerry says:

    @paulbailes – “(vide FSSP priests being required to concelebrate the NOM on Holy Thursday)”

    Where did you hear/read this? I have attended Holy Thursday services at a FSSP parish for 6 years and not once have the priests celebrated the OF.

  14. Jerry says:

    @danphunter1 – “Then I would humbly pray and urge the Holy See to make the FSSPX canonically regular. ”

    I believe this ball is in the SSPX’s court.

  15. Tony from Oz says:

    Andrew Saucci: Mate – what amazing tosh you are speaking! Liturgy does in fact organically develop – but not in the way it has been allowed to, fraudulently in the name of Vatican II (albeit later sanctioned by Paul VI). The whole, time immemorial practice of liturgy being ‘received’ , as opposed to concocted by Committee was trashed by the Bugnini Boyz in the name of the ‘spirit of Vatican II’.

    Liturgy does develop – at glacial pace, certainly not via pontifical commissions, parish liturgy committees etc etc. The best analogy for the Tradition is that of a coral reef which, over aeons, builds itself up: one does not, say, blow up the Great Barrier Reef to ‘recover the pristine riches of its earliest days; any more than one might propose that a grand old oak tree (analagous to the TLM) ought to revert to being an acorn.

    The inclusion of new saints in the calendar of the TLM? No problem; the Church always did this anyhow – it’s just that the chaos and quasi-suppression of the TLM till recently has meant that this has not happened to date, that’s all!

    As for the ludicrous suggestion that the TLM conform itself utterly to the ridiculous three year cycle of the N.O. (you know, that most natural cycle of time in nature, ‘the Triennium’ – LOL!!)- mate, where does one begin? For starters – even the Cardinal does not propose this because, amongst other things, there is the whole Divine office and correlation of readings between the TLM Mass and associated Office readings to consider. The whole notion of tinkering with readings – such as was undertaken by Bugnini’s Consilium – is really just the epitome of itchy Protestantism in pursuit of that alien notion to the Church, to wit: novelty. The Mass is not a bible study group – nor is it a pedagogical exercise; indeed, if you want truck loads of scripture, why not try Matins on for size?

  16. paulbailes says:

    Dear Jerry, I am not talking about the Holy Thursday evening mass in parishes, but rather the ‘Chrism Mass’ where the bishop blesses the Oil of Chrism (as used in Baptism and Confirmation).

    Also, re “this [canonical regularisation] ball is in the SSPX’s court” … we have only to look at the dear priests of the Most Holy Redeemer, in Orkney, to see what that path leads to. (Of course, the SSPX could I suppose abandon the TLM and adopt clown masses etc.; then they’d be “regularised” and their Masses “approved”, which I guess would make some people more comfortable.)

    Dear Tony from Oz, nice to see another right mind here from down under.

  17. Fr. A.M. says:

    This is good news indeed and I agree with Fr. Z’s comments entirely. It will be interesting to see what is being proposed for the calendar. It has to be very carefully done, and also – if new III class feasts are being introduced – some thought has to be given to the collects and the readings for Matins. I would not want to see too much of a diminution of ferias, and neither a too radical a reform of the calendar, especially if this would entail a good deal of alterations to breviaries, or even a new breviary. But let us see what happens.

  18. Tony from Oz says:

    G’day Paul,

    Thanks for the kind sentiments, mate. Greetings from Canberra – where do you hail from?

    By the way – I love your Dave Allen quote. Very droll!

  19. danphunter1 says:

    “I believe this ball is in the SSPX’s court.”

    Jerry,
    Actually only the Holy Father can regularise the FSSPX.
    The Society has no control over this matter.
    Bishop Fellay has stated that he awaits for a canonical plan, for the Society, from His Holiness, acknowleging that Pope Benedict is the only one with authority on earth to do so.

  20. Jerry says:

    @danphunter1 – “Actually only the Holy Father can regularise the FSSPX.
    The Society has no control over this matter.
    Bishop Fellay has stated that he awaits for a canonical plan, for the Society, from His Holiness, acknowleging that Pope Benedict is the only one with authority on earth to do so.”

    The Holy Father can’t force the SSPX to accept the Church’s terms for regularization.

  21. Jerry says:

    @paulbailes

    Thank you for the clarification regarding Holy Thursday. I’m afraid I don’t understand what you are alluding to regarding the Transalpine Redemptorists. What has that path led to?

  22. danphunter1 says:

    “The Holy Father can’t force the SSPX to accept the Church’s terms for regularization.”
    Jerry,
    Please forgive my ignorance, but what are those terms?

  23. danphunter1 says:

    Jerry,

    If I may help paulbailes:
    The Transalpine Redemptorists have been in a canonical limbo for over 2 years.
    They still have no canonical standing in the Church and are only regularised on Papa Stronsay.
    If this is not what paulbailes meant I apologize.

  24. paulbailes says:

    Dear danphunter1, re “Transalpine Redemptorists” that’s indeed what I meant. The authorities continue to seem to prove themselves untrustworthy.

    Dear Tony from Oz, greetings to you too. I’m in Brisbane.