Do you remember that there was supposed to be an Instruction concerning Summorum Pontificum?
So … where is it?
I have been of two minds about this instruction for a long time. On the one hand, perhaps the less said, the better. On the other hand, given that (as I interpret this pontificate) a renewal of liturgy plays a key role in the Holy Father’s “Marshall Plan” to revitalize Catholic identity, and given the fact of the ongoing talks with the SSPX, it is highly unlikely that Benedict XVI will allow the promulgation of a document which undermines his objectives of renewal and unity.
Keep in mind that Pope Benedict had asked for feedback about the implementation of Summorum Pontificum after three years. Three years went by. There has been sufficient time for feedback. It’s time for the instruction.
It is my understanding that the Instruction is on its way, that it has been, if I am right, approved by His Holiness, and will be issued in the first days of March. That implies a signature date of 22 February, the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter. Documents are often signed on a significant date, but released later.
My guess is that this Instruction is going to have juridical elements, to make clearer what was a bit foggy in Summorum Pontificum. What sort of juridical issues might be clarified? What “Extraordinary” means for one thing. The use vernacular readings instead of Latin, whether or not SP applies to other Latin Rites such as the Braga or Ambrosian in addition to the Roman Rite, what constitutes a “stable group”, how the present Code of Law and other decrees and liturgical laws affect older practices (i.e., suppression of minor orders, Communion in the hand, “straw” subdeacons, congregational singing, calendar coordination, etc.) whether there can be an mixture or cross-over of elements of the Ordinary Form and Extraordinary Form. Those are guesses.
It is probable that this Instruction will not be the last, when it comes to the subject matter of Summorum Pontificum.
This will surely signal that Benedict XVI has not forgotten Summorum Pontificum and that he considers it to be an important document.
A change in our liturgical worship is the sine qua non for any renewal of our Catholic identity, of any “New Evangelization”.