Die Welt on the Motu Proprio and my comments

Biretta tip to the Cafeteria for a story in the German daily Die Welt.   Biretta tip  o{]:¬)  Here is the important part of the article in the translation from the Cafeteria:

An accompanying letter to all bishops has already been prepared. The matter has been decided. There will be no "system reboot" like with a crashed computer. Benedict XVI. gives back to the Catholic liturgy its original standard, by which the rite of 1969, which had frequently lost its orientation, can measure itself, new and decisively.

Folks: There is speculation about the date of the release.  Right now the Pope and the new head of the Italian Bishop’s conference are heavily engaging certain moral issues being hotly debated in the public square in Italy.  I am lead to wonder if, given the proximity to Holy Week and the hot debate, he might not wait for a more serene moment to release the Motu Proprio.  On the other hand, the Pope has been accused of not wanting to still thing up too much after the famous Regensburg Address and then he makes strong statement about Europe’s continuing desire to kill itself.

Anything is possible.



About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. arch167 says:

    Serene where? Not here on the blogosphere! If we don’t get this document before Holy Thursday, the anti MP peeps will go crazy! I don’t know if I can take that again. Honestly, the Pope should never forget that this is really all about me. Release it already.

  2. Fr. Sanders says:

    Fr. Z:

    Your point about the public debate that the Italians are embroiled in is well taken and I would suggest that we support them with our prayers and sacrifices. The issues are crucial to the survival of our society.

    Having said that and considering how papal documents usually reach the hands of the faithful, I could foresee a scenario in which the MP is signed (promulgated) on Holy Thursday but not actually see the light of day (presented) until a few weeks later during the Easter season. (This is what we just saw with the Apostolic Exhortation — promulgated Feb 22 and presented in March). So, if the document has been prepared and is simply awaiting the Holy Father’s signature as everyone presumes, all of the work is done and a simple signing ceremony could take place on Thursday without getting tied up in the local Italian debates. And then, a few weeks later, after the dust has settled, a press conference could be held to present the document.

    I think it is reasonable to expect the MP to be promulgated on Holy Thursday but naive to expect that the document will be presented before Easter.

  3. Henry Edwards says:

    With the five decades of the luminous mysteries that I offer daily for our Holy Father’s help and intentions, I beg Our Lady to pray that God rain down upon him strength and protection like dew from heaven.

    But I cannot help wondering whether our Pope realizes how weak and pusillanimous this procrastination makes him look to so many like me, whose views admittedly are of little consequence in the great scheme of things, and who may simply not be smart enough to comprehend his greater judgement and wisdom, which obviously are so much better informed and inspired than our own.

  4. Fr. Sanders: As I was reminded at lunch today, Holy Thursday used to be the day when the lists of censures were publicly read. But those were … happier (?) days. Timing might play an important role in the release of the MP. I would not be at all surprised, however, if it were actually already signed.

  5. Henry Edwards says:

    I should add that, if you read this whole substantial article at (once again)


    you get a greater sense of the resoluteness with which our Supreme Pontiff is facing the enormous opposition to his intentions. A pidgin-German translation of a few sentences:

    The readmission of old Latin rite of 1570 by Benedict XVI is approaching. Hardly an example of such a turn can be found in the history of the Catholic world. [Actually, most of us can probably think of at least one such discontinuity in our Catholic history.] This step will change the Church.

    Indeed it will! “Save the liturgy, save the world!”

  6. Father Bartoloma says:

    champagne = still chilling

  7. Brian Sudlow says:

    I wouldn’t be surprised if during the celebrations of Holy Week and Easter
    the pope wants to avoid the inevitable controversy the MP will provoke.
    But if, as Fr Z says, censures used to be read on Holy Thursday,maybe we can
    hope for the revival of more than one old custom!

  8. barb says:

    Alright already! (A great phrase I picked up from my Jewish friends in the 1960s.) And we jolly well better get an absolutely correct English translation or the scoundrels who want to block this will continue to twist everything. My champagne is still chilling, too.

  9. gravitas says:

    Henry, you pray the luminous mysteries for a return to tradition? Interesting …

    Father, I hear what you’re saying on the Italian debates, but I’m affraid that would only be yet another excuse and not an actual consideration. No one outside Europe is really focused on the debates in Italy, yet traditionals and anti-traditionals around the world are focused on the MP. A local situation should not have anything to do with something as monumental as the MP — even for the Bishop of Rome.

    Let’s not forget next week marks a full year since this MP was supposed to be released. Don’t want to be Debbie Downer but just trying to keep some perspective on things.

  10. Henry Edwards says:

    Henry, you pray the luminous mysteries for a return to tradition? Interesting …

    What might be more traditional in character than contemplation of our Lord’s baptism, his first miracle at Cana, his proclamation of the kingdom of God, his transfiguration, his institution of the Eucharist?

    Although the implementation of Vatican II was hijacked in the 1960s and truly organic development of the Mass unfortunately ceased with the promulgation of the Roman Missal of 1962, I accept John Paul II’s introduction of the luminous mysteries as a wholesome organic development of the Rosary.

  11. woodyjones says:

    I would hope that the Holy Father and his assistants would decide that far from detracting from the arguments over morals at the present time, restoration of the Church’s traditional rite of Mass would be seen as a further affirmation and evidence that the Church teaches, and practices, what she has had handed down to her from the beginning, in the light of living Tradition (see today’s general audience message), which allows for organic development of, in this case, the liturgy, over the centuries. Thus the MP would have the effect, I should think, of reinforcing the message in these other areas. Or put in other words: “You think we are giving in to the zeitgeist? Fugeddaboudit!”

  12. Sean says:

    Having flown off the handle in the past I am, on reflection, thankful that the Holy Father is even considering the matter.

  13. Jon says:


    “I accept John Paul II’s introduction of the luminous mysteries as a wholesome organic development of the Rosary.”

    I’m intrigued. How is it possible to term such an immediate, from the top down novelty an “organic” development? Also, doesn’t 200 Aves as opposed to 150 disrupt the entire ancient understanding of the Rosary as “Our Lady’s Psalter?”

    I know various mediations, such as chaplets of different sorts, attached themselves to the Rosary long before Rosarium Virginis Mariae. But those devotions were in addition to, extra-devotional, so to speak, rather than an integral part of the Rosary itself.

    As I usually only meditate on one set of mysteries at a time, the question is rather moot for me, but if the Luminous Mysteries are to be included when the entire Rosary is recited, wouldn’t it have been better for John Paul to have suggested leaving aside one of the other mysteries in favor of the Luminous, in order to preserve the integrity of “Our Lady’s Psalter?”

    Just askin’!

  14. Theodoricus says:

    My nerves are starting to crack….! I can’t take this much longer..
    My Champagne (10 bottles) is in the fridge for 2 weeks now…
    I pray and pray…ohhh where is the valium….

  15. gravitas says:

    Jon, you’re exactly right. And I’d add that the practice with traditional monks is to recite 150 Paters
    for the 150 psalms along with 150 Aves. That would have to change as well.

    Definitions of “organic” are often different as you will never hear a liberal theologian or anyone who supported the
    Second Vatican Conference say what stemmed from there wasn’t organic.

  16. Brian Day says:

    I freely admit that the Holy Father is much wiser than I am, but I wonder why there is the perception that the Church (Vatican) cannot walk and chew gum at the same time (metaphorically speaking)?

    Is there any reason why the Church cannot tackle more than one issue at a time? Does the “debate” in Italy trump the needs of the universal Church? I don’t recall that the Church dropped everything during the American abuse crisis.

    I’m not complaining, mind you. Just saying.

  17. gravitas says:


    The answer most apologists will give is that the church views things in centuries not days or years. Then you’ll
    say, “But the Mass was destroyed over night, why not bring it back over night?” Then they’ll say, it was wrong
    then and it would be wrong now.

    This is all, of course, excuse making at least in appearance to some of us. If bringing back the “Most beautiful
    thing this side of heaven” and the Mass of Ages is a wonderful thing, why not do it immediately? The fact is, there
    is no logical reason.

    Just keep praying — and raising heck about it.

    And, remember the traditionalist motto:

    “We are what you once were. We believe as you once believed. We worship as you once worshipped. If you were right then, we are right now. If we are wrong now, you were wrong then.”

  18. Henry Edwards says:


    I think your question may be at least partly based on a questionable analogy between public worship and private devotion, and an implicit premise that The Rosary is like The Mass. Whereas the Mass is public liturgy with prescribed rubrics, the rosary is private devotion with no rubrics rigidly prescribed in the sense that there’s only a single way of praying it correctly. Perhaps we might say the rosary is part of tradition, whereas the Mass is part of Tradition.

    However, I must admit that I keep my rosary tradition and eat it too. When Rosarium Virginis Mariae appeared on October 15, 2002 — the same day it was signed, for whatever this fact may be worth in the present context — I was following the usual MTWTFS cycle of joyful-sorrowful-glorious mysteries on successive days of the week. I still do. The luminous mysteries immediately struck me as such a clearly wholesome and harmonious addition to rosary devotion, filling indeed an obvious lacuna in the rosary’s retracing of the redemptive cycle, that on that very day I added (and have kept ever since) the luminous mysteries as an additional daily rosary devotion.

    The benefits of the rosary are, of course, incalculable and indescribable. But its ancient and pious interpretation as Our Lady’s Psalter may not be necessary for everyone, especially now that there’s no reason (as there was then) for anyone who (like you and me) wishes to pray the real Psalter. Of course, I would not go so far as to classify rigid 150-ists among Father Z’s beloved fly-in-amber types.

  19. Ryan says:

    Henry, it is perfectly appropriate to pray the Luminous mysteries
    wherever and whenever you feel like.

    There is nothing doctrinal about saying the Rosary at all, but it is there as a helpful guide and personal devotion. That is -PERSONAL devotion.

    Why is is anyone’s business what mysteries you medidate on is beyond me. Thomas a Kempis says specifically to the self-righteous chatterers that one should keep his mouth shut about his personal devotions.

    Also, Saint Catherine of Siena in one of the few sections on prayer in The Dialogues, notes that the whole point of reciting prayers like the Rosary is to become lost in meditation and prayer. She specifically says that if you lose count of how many prayers you’re recited or in what form, to not care.
    None of that matters. What matters is that your mind has been lifted to God.

    She says specifically that those who keep meticulous count of their paternosters are missing the point.

    Whatever lifts your mind to Holy things, so be it. Those who pontifficate endlessly
    about how many ave marias should be recited miss the whole point and also play perfectly into the Protestant criticism of Catholics as rote reciters of
    of prayer.

  20. rlb says:

    My Champagne has been chilling for a year.
    In that year, the antis have had time to come to terms with the idea, and to accept it to some degree.
    Others have had the opportunity to digest the idea.

  21. Henry Edwards says:

    Also, Jon, my Dom Perignon 1996 is (fortunately or unfortunately) still unopened, right where it was when you stopped by on a trip last October. But my question is this. Do you think just a celebratory sip of fine champagne is ok while reciting a joyful Te Deum? Well, maybe not if it’s in Latin, but what about a vulgar vernacular rendition?

  22. Jon says:


    I understand your point regarding liturgical vs. private prayer. I’m afraid I’m pressed for time at the moment, so I’ll respond in this wise – Although the Rosary is private prayer, it is singularly blessed among devotions, earning the attention of countless popes, and Our Lady herself in numerous apparitions.

    During those apparitions, Our Lady often refers directly to the Rosary as “my Psalter.” In her appearance to St. Dominic, as described by St. Louis de Montfort, she spoke of the Rosary and it’s role as a weapon in the fight with the Albigenisans (Culture of Death liberals?). She said, “I want you to know that, in this kind of warfare, the battering ram has always been the Angelic Psalter which is the foundation stone of the New Testament. Therefore if you want to reach these hardened souls and win them over to God, preach My Psalter.”

    Simply because of that, I don’t think it was wise to obscure the link between the Rosary and the Psalter.

    Also, while it’s true that many more lay people today pray the Divine Office, whether reformed or traditional, than they did in the Middle Ages, remember that back then many people still prayed the Little Office of Blessed Virgin Mary. Wide spread literacy at some levels and the existence of on-paper devotions didn’t prohibit the association of the Rosary with the Psalter then any more than it does now.

    Then, of course, there’s this, which speaks for itself,;^)

    “In 1972 Father Annibale Bugnini proposed to change the Rosary. Paul VI responded to this proposal… ‘The faithful would conclude that the Pope has changed the Rosary, and the psychological effect would be disastrous… Any change in it cannot but lessen the confidence of the simple and the poor.” Not happy with this answer Bugnini tried again in 1973. This time Paul VI admonished him saying: “The Rosary is to remain single in form and unchanged from what it is now. Let any new forms of Marian devotion take their place alongside the Rosary.'”

  23. Brian Day says:


    Thanks for the reply. I know that the Church tends to think long-term. I was going to paraphrase the Paul Masson slogan: “We will sell no wine before its time.” but I couldn’t come up with a glib phrase that works in the MP. :-)

    But I don’t think that your reply adequately addresses the point of not being able or willing to address two things at once. But then, maybe it’s just me.

  24. No more comments on the Luminous Mysteries. That discussion is going here. PERIOD. Total ban in this entry.

  25. Jon says:


    “Do you think just a celebratory sip of fine champagne is ok while reciting a joyful Te Deum? Well, maybe not if it’s in Latin, but what about a vulgar vernacular rendition?”

    Vernacular rendition? Why of course it’s okay. It’s precisely the occasion foreseen by Pius XII in Mediator Dei!

  26. Sid Cundiff says:

    Here we go again…. Listen up, Dudes and Dudettes. It’s time to rise from sweet dreams and perfervid desiderata to a reality check, sharply focused, hairsplittingly reasonable, mellifluously nice: Whether and when, albeit and howbeit, we get any indult at all whatsoever, we can expect only one of four outcomes:

    1. bishops decide what and who and when and where. Dolor-fully, the outcome most likely. Sooner await Henry VIII, the celibate; Evel Knievel, the traffic cop; Oliver Cromwell, Lord Mayor of Drogheda.

    2. the local pastor decides: the fox guards the henhouse; Lucrezia Borgia does her community service at Meals-On-Wheels.

    3. each priest decides. But then how many even know how to say the Mass of Gregory the Great? To say nothing of how many would wish to so learn? Or seminaries willing to so train them? Does Berlitz have Latin? So expect this Mass to be offered each and every blue moon that falls on the 1st of April, at 2am sharp, at Point Barrow, in Franz-Josef Land, in the gym of San José de Cupertino on Easter Island, or in the activity center at St. Jude’s in Machu Picchu – weather permitting.

    4. we get a new rite with its own bishops – an outcome as aureate as it is quixotic. Sooner expect Calvinist humor, Pentecostal silent mediation, Quaker prolixity, Presbyterian prodigality, Shaker satyriasis, Missouri Synod yoga, Amish sybaritics, Baptist bartending (and breakdancing), Church of Christ iconography, a Unitarian Holy Office, an Anglican magisterium, Dispensationalist historical-critical method, French humility, Swiss (and Scottish) hilarity, Norman pacifism, American Bescheidenheit, Swedish tax loopholes, Italian traffic safety, a Dutchman with closed curtains, Scandinavian spice racks, Kosher cheeseburgers, Methodist Mai Tais, the Viennese Low-Carb Diet, and ambrosial English cuisine. It ain’t gonna happen.

    Bottom line: to quote a friend: Expect nothing, and you’ll never be disappointed. Or almost nothing: “et exspecto ….”

  27. One of the those beatitudes that didn’t make it into the official list.

    Beati qui non expectant, quia non disappointabuntur.

  28. gravitas says:


    Sorry about that, trying to be nice and respectful to our prelates, as hard as that may be at times!

    They are able to tackle two things at once, just not willing.

    Collegiality has crippled our Church since V-II. Making everyone happy (besides us), having little popes in
    every diocese, not forcing anything on anyone, etc.

    It’s all smoke and mirrors guised with reasoning I, at least, can never understand and am told that I shouldn’t
    have to understand if i just “trust in the Holy Spirit.”

    You know what’s right — just as the cannonized saints of 2,000 years knew what was right. Don’t allow anyone
    to make you question what you know to be good and true. And don’t get hung up on excuses like social qualms
    in Italy. Smoke and mirrors — smoke and mirrors.

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