“no more than a project of the Colombian Cardinal”???

Once again we refer you to Rorate Coeli, this time for some a rather disconcerting story of Hervé 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.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in SESSIUNCULA. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Father Bartoloma says:

    “the “unease” of the USCCB”: I wonder what will come out of the approaching USCCB meeting. Memento -> The allignments and interaction between the American and French Revolutions.

  2. RBrown says:

    Sooner or later Rome needs to begin serious reform of the liturgy, and minor language changes that improve the translation are a short rope to a drowning man. If that is all that happens, then we will have yet another pope who cries about the present state of the Church and does next to nothing to reform it except promising that things will be better long after we are all dead.

    I don’t know whether the reform should begin with universal permission to use the 1962 Missal (as well as the Carmelite, Dominican, and Carthusians rites) or removing the picnic table from the sanctuary. But I do know that there will be NO smooth transition in any real reform of the liturgy. If Vatican bureaucrats are looking for one, they are wasting their time.

    The flaw in the conservative mind is that it often prefers the settled evil (stare decisis for Supreme Court Justices) of the status quo to the goodness that follows substantial reform.

    Whatever disturbance that will result from serious liturgical reform is nothing compared to the sexual scandals and other problems that currently plague the Church.

    BTW, I used to make my living consulting on transitions in main frame software. Sometimes Cold Turkey cannot be avoided.

  3. RBrown: Insightful comments. I substantially agree. If there is a real desire for serious and lasting reform, then some risks must be taken.

  4. Dan Hunter says:

    If the priesthood is what Christ instituted at The Last Supper than all priests should be expected to offer the Tridentine mass.Learn it. It is holy but not mind boggling to learn.If priests of today can learn about detailed, secular, social projects,they can most surely learn the rubrics of The Beautiful mass.All priests and seminarians must become fully aquanted with the Missal of 1962.They just have to do it.

  5. Consider the following:

    * A recent declaration that no longer will extraordinary ministers of holy communion purify vessels.

    * A new, more faithful translation of the Paul VI Missal is on the way.

    * A revision in the lectionary.

    * Word that pro multis will no longer be translated “for all.”

    * Very credible stories of liberalization/liberation of the 1962 Missal.

    * A document following up the synod on the Eucharist which seems oddly delayed.

    * A pope who has written extensively, prior to election, on the liturgy, and a need for rethinking the implementation of Vatican II.

    What does it all add up to?

  6. Paul Haley says:

    Once again I have posted a message on angelqueen.org asking for a show of support to the Holy Father during these obviously trying times. Text of the message is as follows:
    This is important! With all the rumors flying about the motu-proprio not being finalized I asked everyone in another thread to e-mail Pope BendictXVI to express support for his initiatives. I sent the following message to him myself on behalf of everyone who seeks to see the TLM restored to its proper place and the SSPX brought into full communion:
    Dear Holy Father,

    There is much internet discussion on the subject of the motu-proprio for freeing up the Mass of St. Pius V and anticipated resistance from the French Episcopal Conference as well as from others with a modernist inclination. I just wanted to express my unqualified support to you as you undertake to heal the wounds in the Mystical Body and bring the SSPX into full communion with you. I do not attend Mass at a SSPX venue but I know many catholics that do and their only desire is to uphold Tradition. I know also others who attend the so-called indult Mass who have the same desire. All of these people simply want to practice their Faith as they have always practiced their Faith, in full adherence to the doctrines and dogmas of the Church proclaimed over its now 2000 plus year history. The problem is – many locations do not allow the Mass of St. Pius V and some that do do not offer all sacraments in the traditional rite. Is it not time for a worldwide apostolic administration to allow all of these catholics to practice their Faith in the manner that they perceive best leads to the salvation of their souls, the supreme law of the church? Is it not time for all of us to be one, as the Father and Son are one? I beg you, holy father, to respond favorably to my request submitted on behalf of all catholics desiring to practice their Faith in the light of Tradition. Thank you, holy father, for considering my humble request.

    Once again I urge all who share my desire to e-mail the Pope with a similar message since the modernists are clearly attempting to derail or water down the MP. His e-mail address is benedictxvi@vatican.va and I hope everyone will counteract the modernists with a show of support and encouragement to our Pope.

    I encourage everyone who has similar thoughts to e-mail their support to the Holy Father. Now is not the time to sit on our hands.

  7. Henry Edwards says:

    From the Rorate Coeli translation:

    The American Episcopal Conference [USCCB] had already made its uneasiness known.

    I don’t recall seeing any account of a vote on this by our U.S. bishops. Does anyone know anything about this?

  8. Jon says:


    They elected our friend from Erie to Liturgy. I’d think that qualifies as a perpetual expression of “uneasiness.”

  9. So what did the council intend? What were the problems with the (at the time) current Roman Rite when the Council happened? Rather than looking at whether the Tridentine or Novus Ordo is better (or more familiar), we need to see what really was expected of the liturgical reform of Vatican II. Traditionalists want to go back to the Tridentine, but the whole point of the council was that there needed to be reform. I find most ultra Traditionalists stuck in 1962 to the point that legitimate reform of the Tridentine would also not be tolerated. Of course I think anyone with a brain can see that the Novus Ordo was not what the council intended.
    I think we need to get over the “we don’t want to confuse the faithful by making changes too quickly” because we are already at that point. In general the faithful are confused by the fact that Masses are so varied from parish to parish.
    I say get the reform moving and get it over with as soon as possible. Any change will be awkward and will make someone mad, but people will get used to it. Supposedly they got used to the Novus Ordo within a couple of decades, can’t we get used to the authentic renewal?
    I say acknowledge that a committee based liturgy is not what the council intended, start over and legitimately reform the Tridentine and get the ball rolling.
    I would think if the Church survived (for the most part) the shock of going over to the Novus Ordo, She could do even better in dealing with a true, legitimate reform of the tliturgy.

  10. fr.franklyn says:

    Where is the Exhortation on the synod? How can the Pope have the time to work on another book when he has notissued the exhortation more than a year after the synod concluded.Pope Benedict said in June that he had read a draft and was being pressured by some bishops to release it.But still no document.I believe the exhortation if it reflects Benedicts’s thinking will have more impact than the indult because it will effect the NO in areas like LA and Orange county.I am not made to feel any better when someone says “look how long the document on homosexuality took” and after so many rumors because that document is not being enforced or if it is has ther ebeen any corrective to the statements of bishops dismissing it while bowing in its direction. Fr.Z.Were you in Rome when Pope JPII was going to issue a universal indult until the same people ganged up on him? You would think that Benedict would know this and provide accordingly. Vae mihi!

  11. Fr. Franklyn: Yes, indeed I was here.

  12. Henry Edwards says:

    Consider the following:

    [ snip 7 items ]

    What does it all add up to?

    I don’t know, but now we can add an 8th item:

    * A possible motu proprio on sacred music

    Vatican experts say Pope may propose reform of liturgical music in coming weeks

  13. Henry Edwards says:

    So what did the council intend?

    There are those who would answer that the 1965 Ordo Missae represented faithfully the intent of the Council. No doubt there also are those who would not say this. But the title page of my copy of the 1966 NEW St. Joseph Daily Missal says “In accordance with the New Revised Liturgy as directed by Vatican Council II”. At any rate, see


    for a brief description of this “Mass of Vatican II”.

  14. Garrett says:

    I still think that things like the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar and the Last Gospel really enhance the TLM, and therefore prefer the TLM over the Mass of ’65.

  15. Cathy Dawson says:

    Per Paul Haley’s request, I sent a letter to the Holy Father. I realize that the chances of him reading it are nil but hopefully someone is at least conscious of how many folks are begging for the Old Mass (or whatever is the correct term here). Here is the text of my letter. Maybe SOMEBODY out there can give me some suggestions as to how to survive spiritually out in this liturgical wasteland that I find myself in. I can’t find a priest out here to turn to for advice who even begins to understand the problem as they are part of the problem. Here’s my letter:

    Dear Holy Father,

    I’m writing to you to add my voice to those who are requesting a reform of the liturgy and for greater access to the Traditional Latin Mass. For several years, I was blessed to belong to a parish where the Fraternity of St. Peter had a priest. Though I was a convert (from atheism) and very unfamiliar with Catholic liturgy, I grew to love the Traditional Mass.

    It has since been necessary for me to move to an area of the country where I don’t have access to a licit Traditional Mass. I had always found that my faith was tested when I began to attend the Novus Ordo. I would simply begin to drift away from God. Since my conversion, I have been determined to love God with my whole mind and soul and couldn’t understand why I fell so badly without the Traditional Mass. When I moved, I placed my trust in God and decided to worship in whatever way He provided for me. At my new parish, I sing the songs that the congregation is encouraged to sing and follow the words of the readings and prayers to the best of my ability. I give my whole heart to worship. And yet, something is profoundly missing. At the Traditional Mass, I walked away transformed, ready to die for Christ. Now, at best, I walk away with a peaceful feeling. I have begun to doubt my faith and wonder if I should even bother to go to church. I am determined to stay faithful, but I now have very little to give my family and the world around me.

    I have tried to understand why this is happening. I read your book The Spirit of the Liturgy. It helped me realize that one thing that is missing from my worship is that I do not offer myself in union with the Eucharistic Sacrifice like I did at the Traditional Mass. In my new parish, it is difficult with all the activity at Mass to have time to prayerfully unite myself with what is happening at the altar. The music actually leads me away from the action of the liturgy. I am trying to be more prayerful at Mass now, but it is hard and I find that I am having to do something different from what everyone else is doing.

    Since I joined the Church 10 years ago, I have prayed for the renewal of every part of the Church – that we will become one, holy, and apostolic. I firmly believe that the renewal of the liturgy is absolutely essential for the spiritual renewal of the Church. We are dying in this desert. Please bring the needed reform about soon, regardless of the cost. Perhaps it is time for a smaller Church of those who embrace the fullness of the faith and desire to give themselves entirely to Christ. Changes in the liturgy will cause many to leave, but those of us who stay will be fed and will be strong like the Apostles.

    You have my deepest affection and prayers. Thank you for all of your work and sacrifice for the Church.

    In Christ,
    Cathy Dawson

    P.S. My children ask that their names be added to this letter. They are Samantha, Martin, and Rebecca.

  16. By all means everyone can and should write to the Holy Father. Write very brief notes to him, really getting to the point.

  17. Guy Power says:

    [quote=Fr.Z]By all means everyone can and should write to the Holy Father. Write very brief notes to him, really getting to the point.[/quote]

    Done! I was brief, polite, succinct, & respectful.

    errrrr …. aren’t brief & succinct synonyms? Rats; I was too wordy.

  18. Paul Haley says:

    To Cathy Dawson,
    Your message to Pope Benedict touched me dearly. Hopefully, it will touch the Holy Father’s heart as well, if it ever reaches him. But rest assured that Our Lord and Savior is well aware of your request and holds you in His hands with every hair on your head numbered as well as your loved ones. Hang in there – better times are on the way.

  19. fr.franklyn says:

    The Holy Father may not read your messages but YOU will know you did your part to support him so your conscience is clear.And maybe he WILL read them.Send the message and pray that he views them. What Benedictis doing and seemingly failing is what he has on written about before he became pope-the implementation of the Council.If he should come out tomorrow and mandate that every catholic be able to say or sing the parts of the mass that invoves them in Latin there would be a revolt.A clown mass with sung parts in Latin?If he should come out tomorow and mandate that Gregorian chant have pride of place in the liturgy how widely would that be obeyed.But both these things were mandated by the council.Liturgical dancing wasn’t,halloween masses were not,great numbers of extraordinary ministers were not etc.The question is this :will Pope Benedict have the courage to implement the Council that everyone claims but disobeys. All seems hopless and that is why I remain hopeful.

  20. RBrown says:

    “We need a lot of patience and calm understanding.”


    I’ve been waiting since 1970 for reform of the Church.

    Thirty-six years is a helluva lot of patience.

  21. David says:

    I sent this last week:

    Most Holy Father,

    I hope you are very well indeed.

    I am writing to you as someone who was received into the Catholic Church last Easter. Becoming Catholic for me was the fulfilment of many years of spiritual searching and hunger for the Source of love and truth and, thus, a new beginning in my life.

    However, as a new Catholic I find myself struggling to find spiritual nourishment and consolation in much of the worship I find in Catholic churches. A real sense of the Mystery of God and reverence for Christ in His Eucharistic species seems so often to be the exception rather than the rule in the churches that I have attended. I found it difficult to see how the Catholic Church actually believed that Christ was really, truly, and substantially present in the consecrated bread and wine when they seemed to be so rarely treated as such.

    Then, a few months, ago I attended a indult Traditional Latin Mass and found the beauty, reverence, and mystery I had hoped to find in the Church. And, then, at Latin Benediction after the Mass I suddenly felt a light go on inside me and I really felt that, yes, the Church really does believe that this is the Body and Blood of Christ.

    For this reason, I would like to give my full support to your Holiness regarding any forthcoming “freeing” of the Traditional Roman Rite which has spiritually nourished and sanctified scores of generations of the Faithful. I also believe that any liberalisation of the Traditional Roman Rite can only have a salutary effect on the Pauline Rite which can have a simple beauty and reverence of its own.

    Your Holiness and your intentions are very much in my prayers.

    Yours faithfully,
    David Brower

  22. Cathy Dawson says:


    Thank you! Your encouragement gives me a big lift. Our Lord sustains us not only through the Sacraments, but through each other. God bless you.

  23. Henry Edwards says:

    I have tried to understand why this is happening. I read your book The Spirit of the Liturgy. It helped me realize that one thing that is missing from my worship is that I do not offer myself in union with the Eucharistic Sacrifice like I did at the Traditional Mass. In my new parish, it is difficult with all the activity at Mass to have time to prayerfully unite myself with what is happening at the altar. The music actually leads me away from the action of the liturgy. I am trying to be more prayerful at Mass now, but it is hard and I find that I am having to do something different from what everyone else is doing.

    I hope someone in the Vatican will read this. Pope Benedict likely has never experienced personally the liturgical indignities that are forced constantly on so many of his faithful flock. So I sometimes wonder how he could possibly comphrehend the way those who actually try to pray the Mass most force themselves against the grain of what’s happening around them at a typical new Mass, attempting to close their minds to the surrounding cacophony.

  24. Jon says:


    “Pope Benedict likely has never experienced personally the liturgical indignities that are forced constantly on so many of his faithful flock.”

    In that case, maybe we should sent him this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=khco_N-uEOY&eurl=

  25. Alex says:

    Oh no. Father, are you serious about the “Lefebvre schism” thing? I hope not.

    It is very clear who is being schismatic. They talk French like Abp. Lefebvre, but they ain’tSSPX bishops!

  26. Alex: That’s just ridiculous. There is a formal schism in the case of the SSPX. Someone would perhaps want to argue that the French bishops are in material schism, but Pope Benedict has not said they are. His is the opinion that counts.

  27. No special comment, but I like to have the information, in order to develop the Latin Liturgy in the Netherlands. The information gives me more background.
    Ing.H.J.M.J. Kortmann

Comments are closed.