Comprehensive answers

We are all having fun with conjectures about a date for the Motu Proprio. And it is fun isn’t it?  Still we must be realistic about it as well as more than a little resigned.  If we retain a sense of humor about the whole thing, it won’t weigh on us too heavily.

Now for the strong cup of much needed espresso.

Over at Rorate there is an entry about how the SSPX Bishop Barnard Fellay says the MP "is a strong wish of Benedict XVI, and it is probable that the text will at last arrive". When? "In May", possibly, but "most probably at the end of the year, or even later".  Rorate also reports that the German bishops may be fighting the MP now too.

No surprises there.

When I was a kid I would call a friend by phone and occasionally get his not too bright sister who, after mistaking me for her brother, would eventually exclaim, "He’s either here or somewhere else."  

Yep, those are the choices.  A comprehensive answer if there ever was one.

So, the MP will come out in May, or maybe later in the year, or may be even later than that.  

In the meantime, let us dream about tomorrow.

Still chillin’ the Veuve!

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    I’ve been meaning to ask, Father.

    Does the Vatican have a history of releasing documents or news on a Saturday?

  2. Jacob says:

    The Rorate Blog has a comment where someone says that Alice Von Hildebrand spoke to the Holy Father about when the MP is supposed to come out. He, apparently, said nothing about the 5th but just say it would be in May.

  3. Henry Edwards says:

    The only consolation here is that Bishop Fellay knows no more than any of the rest of us. Namely, nothing, apparently. At any rate, I suspect he’s no more in the loop than I am.

  4. Andrew Fanco says:

    I can confirm that. She said that on April 28, 2007 in the presence of hundred of members of the faithful, I being one of them. Fr. Z’s good friend Fr. Perrone was probably there too. He at least conducted his choir at the Mass which followed her talk.

  5. Andrew Fanco says:

    I have a recording of it, too.

  6. Brian Sudlow says:

    More time to get the episcopal torture engines ready in the Vatican basement
    for non-compliant bishops, mwha, ha, he, he, he….

  7. Craigmaddie says:

    I certainly don’t get the sense that it will be released tomorrow. But I believe that there is something that has been upsetting various European bishops relating to the liberalisation of the 1962 Missal.

    Och well. I’m off on holiday to Canada tomorrow and will be internet-free but will be close to the FSSP parish church in St Catherine’s, Ontario. Deo gratias!

  8. Craig: That’s as good as having the MP, in many ways.

  9. danphunter1 says:

    Its not fun anymore when my wife, who has advanced rheumatoid arthritis,two new hips,almost all of her cartilige gone and in constant pain,and we have to drive 98 mile one way to assist at a Tridentine Mass once a week.We need to go to mass every day and much closer to home.
    The same old story, I know, but she insists on going to the ONLY indult mass in NC,and she crys in agony the whole way.
    Enough,Enough not fun.We must have this Motu Proprio tomorrow.
    I love my wife,and we do not want to go to an SSPX church again.
    Help us Holy Father,Please.

  10. gravitas says:

    While we can say H.E. Fellay may not know, this, now on Rorate, is greatly disturbing because the Msgr. is as in the know
    as anyone:

    For the Record: Schmitz (ICRSS) on the Motu proprio:
    “We may still be thinking that [any day it will come] in 30 years’ time”
    From this week’s Catholic Herald (UK):

    It is expected that there will soon be the eagerly anticipated motu proprio to lift restrictions on the Tridentine Mass.

    Yet Mgr Schmitz [vicar-general of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest (ICRSS) and Provincial Superior of its American branch]is not getting too excited. “Recently, we have been thinking that any day it will come,” he says. “But we may still be thinking that in 30 years’ time.”

    Can we be certain, though, that the Holy Father wants this reform? “Before he became Pope,” Mgr Schmitz observes, “he offered many indications that there should be continuity. The Church cannot ban a liturgy that has been hers for the greatest part of her history.”

  11. Fr Charles Johnson says:

    This is for Mr Dan P. Hunter and his wife: I am not currently in NC (as I’m deployed for the time being in Iraq), but when I return I will be in Jacksonville, NC, for several months. If you would care to contact me–and if driving to Jacksonville is closer than the indult chapel where you currently go–perhaps we could arrange Sunday Mass in the old rite for at least the two of you. If you’re interested, please drop me a line at this address: God bless, and I will remember you at Mass tomorrow (St Pius V)! Fr J.

  12. Londiniensis says:

    M P , or not M P : that is the question;
    Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
    The slings and arrows of outrageous waiting,
    Or to take arms against the See of Peter,
    By joining the Lefebvrists? To join: to pray;
    No more abuses; no more tolerate
    The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
    N O is heir to, ’tis a consummation
    Devoutly to be wish’d. To join: to pray,
    To pray, perchance to think, ay there’s the rub;
    For in that prayer to God what thoughts may come
    When we have shuffled off Obedience
    Must give us pause: there’s the respect
    That’s due to Peter and his heirs;
    For who could bear the whips and scorns of Sin
    Outside communion with the Holy Church?
    The clerics’ bias, the bishops’ contumely,
    The insolence of office, Rome’s delay
    We must with patience and forbearance take.
    For who would sever two millennia
    With a bare bodkin? Why abuses bear,
    Why grunt and sweat under a weary rite
    But that the dread of something even worse:
    Sectarian schism, born of Love but now
    In Pride embittered and intemperate;
    And makes us rather bear those ills we have
    Than fly to others that we know not of?
    Thus Conscience does cry “Patience” to us all;
    And thus the metal base of revolution
    Is now transmuted into Fortitude,
    And enterprises of great pith and moment
    With this regard are sure deployed within
    And thus may inspire action. – Let us pray:
    Oh Mary, Mother of the Church, in thy sweet prayers
    Be all our hopes remember’d.

  13. Londiniensis: Bravo! Well done. This is the sort of monologue WDTPRS likes.

    Hamlet had four more, btw. Any plans?

  14. danphunter1 says:

    Dear Father Johnson,
    Thank you for the more than generous offer.I will e-mail you immediately.
    God bless you for your priesthood and self sacrifice.
    Yours in Christ,Dan and Elena Hunter

  15. Henry Edwards says:

    Msgr. Schmidt’s remarks made Feb. 19. 2007 are posted at

    The 30-years remark was clearly jocular:

    Well, this talk is taped, but still I want to say that we joke sometimes at table at our community, saying “Well, in thirty years we will all be here, white-haired, and we will say ‘The indult will come out any day now’.”

    He went on to say

    Well, I hope not. To close this short talk, I can only tell you at least that the document is ready and that the person who is responsible for all of it does not want to discuss it any longer. We have now only to pray that the appropriate time to publish it will be found soon. This will bring about a great strengthening not only of Traditional Latin Mass groups — it will bring about a renewal of the liturgy, it will bring about a renewal of the clergy, it will bring about a renewal of the beauty of the Church. It will be like seeing your mother all dusty and in rags on the streets; you go up to her and rip off the old dusty clothing and below that you see the golden clothes that she has brought for the most beautiful ball she has ever attended.

    Perhaps these last two sentences will bring tears to your eyes if you recall his opening remark that the Church may see paralyzed at present, “but She is still a giant, and she is everywhere present, and under the rags and underneath the dust that seems to cover Her, She is still the powerful queen that She has always been.”

    At any rate, judging from the talk as a whole, Msgr. Schmidt expects the MP soon. But, in a sense, he thinks most of what has been rumored (i.e., about private Masses) is already in effect:

    It has already been confirmed by many canonists that the canonical situation seems to be such that every priest can already say the Mass privately. The public Mass will hopefully soon be reinstated at least as an opportunity for everyone.

  16. Henry Edwards says:

    Incidentally, perhaps he’ll tell us himself this very day:

    Msgr. Michael Schmitz to be interviewed on Catholic Answers Live radio

    On Friday, May 4th, 2005, at 6:00 pm ET (22:00 GMT) Msgr. R. Michael Schmitz, Vicar General of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest and its Provincial Superior for the United States, will be interviewed on “Catholic Answers Live.” Hosted by Jerry Usher, the program is broadcast on more than 80 AM and FM radio stations across the United States, as well as over the internet on EWTN Radio (

    The theme of the interview will be the “Growing Popularity of the Classical Roman Rite.”

    There will be opportunity for live questions from the listening audience.

  17. Ansjo says:

    I’ve never even been to a Tridentine mass (I’m going to my first in a couple of weeks) and even I’m getting excited and impatient at the thought of the Motu Proprio. If May 5th passes by with no MP I shall be quite disappointed!

    Although I think that Vatican II was right to call for liturgical reform and that many aspects of the reform have been positive, I can well appreciate the shortcomings of the Novus Ordo and particularly the manner in which it is often conducted. Likewise I can appreciate why many feel they ought to be able to attend mass according to the ‘Tridentine’ rite.

    I hope that an MP will contribute to making lovers of the Tridentine Mass feel more at home in the Church again, and to the development of a “liturgical awareness” that will be of aid in the Reform of the Reform.

  18. Robert says:

    The most anticipated document of the previous pontificate was the encyclical letter Veritatis Splendor. John Paul II announced in 1987 that it was in preparation. Cardinal Ratzinger brought it up again during a talk in 1991. By 1993 there was feverish speculation regarding its contents and the date it would be signed. Drafts were allegedly leaked, reports that it was imminent with date predictions appeared in the media, campaigns were mounted by those who feared what they believed the document would contain. In July 1993 a Vatican official confirmed that the document was on the Pope’s desk but declined to say whether it would be released on the Feast of the Transfiguration of that year (August 6) as was widely predicted. August 6 came and went with no sign of the encyclical. But when it was released in October of that year, it was indeed dated August 6. All of this was before most people had heard of the internet.

    Morals of the story: Rome moves very slowly, particularly with delicate matters; there is usually a gap between signing date and release date; some speculations inevitably turn out to be true. I suspect it’s already been signed and it will be released on some non-significant day, or it may be signed tomorrow and released a month or two down the road. Or in three years time…who’s to say?

  19. Craigmaddie says:

    I hope that an MP will contribute to making lovers of the Tridentine Mass feel more at home in the Church again

    Exactly my wish. It’s hard to describe the distress I have felt at times at having fallen in love with something that was once regarded as good and holy and which now puts one “beyond the pale”.

  20. gravitas says:

    Exactly my wish. It’s hard to describe the distress I have felt at times at having fallen in love with something that was once regarded as good and holy and which now puts one “beyond the pale”.

    Well, let’s not allow ourselves to feel distress. For anyone who, one, tries to make us feel that way for loving
    the true Mass or, two, doesn’t understand why the true Mass should be celebrated everywhere, they do not know
    what being Catholic really means and you shouldn’t care what they think.

    No “indult” is needed to celebrate or attend the traditional Mass — a mass canonized by a dogmatic Council and a Saint-Pope.

  21. totustuusmaria says:

    That was a brilliant reply! It was exactly what I was thinking when I read the Rorate article!

  22. Andrew Fanco says:

    Since we are doing parodies, here is one of Belloc.

    Wherever the Catholic Sun did shine,
    There had been the missal Tridentine.
    At least I’d always found it so.
    Where is the Motu Proprio?

    The original:

    The Catholic Sun

    Wherever the Catholic sun doth shine,
    There’s always laughter and good red wine.
    At least I’ve always found it so.
    Benedicamus Domino!

  23. Brian says:

    “No “indult” is needed to celebrate or attend the traditional Mass”

    That always sounds so good in theory, and it may even be reality in independent chapels as well as those in an “irregular juridical status”…but in the real world the rest of us inhabit, it is a meaningless cliche.

    That may be why the Motu Proprio is seen as vitally important to the vast majority of Catholics worldwide, while extremists mock it and mock those who are hopeful of its publication.

  24. prof. Basto says:

    I have a feeling that this is a “ye men of little faith” moment.

    I would find all those doubts credible if we hadn´t heard from the Secretary of State.

    But we have his word, the word of the Secretary of His Holiness, that the Pontiff WILL liberalize the Tridentine rite, that the decision HAS BEEN MADE. If it has been made, then obviously it won´t take 30 years.


    By the way, on an urelated topic, I´m very sorry to read in the presentation document published by the Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff regarding the Papal Visit to Brazil that the pope will use for the Canonization Mass of Blessed Frei Galvão the Eucharistic Prayer V found in Brazilian Missals (drafted by the National Eucharistic Congress of Manaus and subsequently regrettably approved by the Holy See). This Eucharistic Prayer contains very poor, pedestrian language, absolutely no mention of the Sacrificial nature of the Mass. An Eucharistic Prayer that refers to the Blood of Christ, AFTER CONSACRATION, as “this wine that saves and gives courage”. That begs God´s protection upon “the Church that walks on the roads of the world”, that uses informal Portuguese expressions such as “bem firme”, “bem felizes”, “bem unidos”. This prayer is so pedestrian that it should be scrapped, never, never used in a Papal Mass. Next to Eucharistic Prayer V the much criticized Eucharistic Prayer II looks as reverent as the Roman Canon

  25. athanasius says:

    “That may be why the Motu Proprio is seen as vitally important to the vast majority of Catholics worldwide”

    You really think the vast majority of Catholics think the motu proprio is vitally important?
    I’ll be you dinner the vast vast majority of Catholics don’t even know what a
    motu proprio is!!!

  26. RBrown says:

    I was in Rome in the days of Veritatis Splendor. A document like VS goes through a long cursus honorum. It is written, then given to the theological consultors at the appropriate Congregation (here, the SCDF), who examine it, make suggestions, then, if they’re satisfied, vote. After which, the bishops of the Congregation convene for the same purpose. It is possible that a document be examined by the consultors and bishops in the Congregation more than once.

    When they’re finally satisfied, it it goes to the pope.

    VS went through many revisions, not all in Rome, before it went to the consultors at the SCDF. It simply took a long time for the document to be finished. Probably, it wasn’t released until some time after it was signed because of the August vacation.

    Release dates are significant so the document can be the center of attention. My guess is that October was thought to be a good date for release because all the students and profs are back in Rome.

    I never heard of any leaked drafts.

  27. swmichigancatholic says:

    Ah yes, religion by committee. Wasn’t there a time not so long ago when the pope could say something without being second-guessed by umpteen million bureaucrats? It’s no wonder the Church looks like it does these days.

  28. swmichigancatholic says:

    And, in answer to your question, it’s not fun. It’s nerve-wracking, disgusting and irritating. Not the thing of cartoons.

    It has rapidly become one more thing that pains me about the Roman Catholic Church. Along with the Brady Bunch hymn and all the rest of it. Mind you, I’m not going anywhere, but I’ve learned to tune a lot of crap out. And when you tune out the crap, there’s not too darned much left of it, which is sad. Catholicism has been gutted over the last 40 years.


  29. swmichigan: Time to lighten up, at least in this blog! o{]:¬)

  30. swmichigancatholic says:

    Ok, Fr.

  31. RBrown says:

    Ah yes, religion by committee. Wasn’t there a time not so long ago when the pope could say something without being second-guessed by umpteen million bureaucrats? It’s no wonder the Church looks like it does these days.

    No, there was never such a time. Any head of a large organization who doesn’t want to listen to those around him is asking for failure. The successful leader knows whom to heed. Paul VI listened to the wrong people and got burned; Bush43 listened to Cheney and Dumsfeld instead of Powell and gave us the mess in Iraq.

    Although the final authority and decision belongs to the pope, there are others who offer input. Sometimes, they offer a lot: It is well known that Garrigou LaGrange was the author of Humani Generis, less well known that one of my professors was the primary author of Ordinatio Sacerdotalis. And sometimes they only are offering opinion.

    NB: Before the Marian definitions by Pius IX and XII, all the bishops in the world were polled.

  32. swmichigancatholic says:

    Then, RBrown, we need better consultors (bishops) because the ones we have stink.

  33. I am not Spartacus says:

    What if the Captain of St. Peter’s let word leak he had signed the M.P. just so he could hear the reactions from the Port and Starboard sides of the Barque?

    From the Port cries of rebellion and opposition rise. “You’ll set the Church back 40 years. You’ll turn back the clock. You’ll be making a concession to the schismatics.”

    From the Starboard cries of recrimination and threats rise. “It’s about time. Finally, a Pope who cares about us. Anyone who opposes this will be a motard.”

    Maybe the Captain decides – “To heck with it. Who needs the hassle?”

    A question for the Port side – Will you continue to deprive us of authentic translations and solemn liturgies even if the MP is not promulgated? Can we have the Liturgical Reform Vatican Two desired?

    A question for the Starboard side. “If the Pope does not promulgate/issue the MP, will he become known as Popetard?

  34. RBrown says:

    Then, RBrown, we need better consultors (bishops) because the ones we have stink.

    1. Are you saying there’s something wrong with Veritatis Splendor? What is wrong with it?

    2. BTW, as I said above, the consultors are not bishops.

  35. swmichigancatholic says:

    RBrown, I said nothing about Veritatis Splendor or any other document. I did refer to the Church’s practice of believing that the pope is the head of the Church. I am neither an episcopalian nor a congregationalist. How about you?

  36. Maynardus says:

    Further proof that Shakespeare was Catholic:

    Is this an m.p. I see before me,
    its handle toward my hand?
    Come, let me clutch thee,
    I have thee not and yet I see thee still!

  37. Maynardus says:

    Oops – `that last ditty should have read:

    Is this an m.p. I see before me,
    its bulla toward my hand?
    Come, let me clutch thee,
    I have thee not and yet I see thee still!


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