Der Spiegel: Motu Proprio THIS WEEK

At the same moment that GK sent an e-mail I was reading an article in Der Spiegel which says that the Motu Proprio will be coming out this week.  There is a comment in the context of a larger issue: China.  I suspect that this person might not have done much homework on the issue of the Motu Proprio.  I suspect this prediction is not correct.

"Die Völker neolateinischer oder romanischer Sprache", rief de Mattei aus, "sind zahlenmäßig stärker als jene in der Welt, die englisch oder arabisch sprechen." Während die Lateiner derart angeregt ins Pfingstwochenende gingen, schrieb der Papst an seiner Sonntagsansprache. Offenbar soll noch diese Woche ein "Motu proprio" (lat.: aus eigenem Beweggrund) veröffentlicht werden, eine kleine päpstliche Privatmeinung, ohne Siegel, Gegenzeichnung oder Anlass.

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  1. Romulus says:

    The NLM blog today mentions a report that yesterday the Holy Father received Robert Spaemann, professor emeritus of the University of Munich. Could it be that Professor Speamann is the source for this article in De Spiegel?

  2. Brian Sudlow says:

    I read something about this possible letter on China the other day and was wondering if the pope is not killing two Traditionalist birds with two stones, if you get the metaphor. I’ll explain. The Motu Proprio comes along and looks like a coup for the Traditionalists. At the same time the pope publishes a letter on the Chinese situation but the Chinese situation includes something really essential for the Traditionalists. Yes, they can have the Mass (Motu proprio), but, as the pope will probably explain in his Chinese letter, the handing on of episcopal orders is not something purely sacramental but has an ecclesial dimension to it. Archbishop Lefebvre’s justification for his consecrations was that it was ‘for the sacraments’ but de facto they created a semi-autonomous flock whose doctrinal, liturgical and canonical links to the visible Church are in jeopardy (a reality far from ABL’s own intentions, I’m sure). Not that the Chinese situation doesn’t merit a letter in itself. But it will offer a complementary commentary on the Traditionalist position in the Church: yes, we can have the 1962 liturgy, but there’s only one shepherd!

  3. danphunter1 says:

    This would make sense in that Pope Benedict told Alice Von Hildebrand that the Motu Proprio would be issued in May.
    God bless you

  4. woodyjones says:

    OK, I bite. 31 May, the Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Old Rite, and the Visitation in the New Rite; plenty of room for harmonization of the two, I would suspect, in any kind of introduction.

  5. Cerimoniere says:

    Yes, I noticed Prof. Spaemann’s name in the list of audiences as well. I strongly doubt that he would speak to the press about something that the Holy Father had told him privately. However, it is impossible to imagine that the subject did not come up, and that Prof. Spaemann’s presence did not remind the Holy Father of how deeply desired the Motu Proprio is, and how long awaited by so many.

  6. Father Bartoloma says:

    I have just returned to my rectory after practicing the T.M. on the sacristy counter. Reading this post brought a smile to my face. Anyway, que sera, sera.

  7. mona says:

    This article should not be taken too seriously.
    It’s part of a weekly column with a more or less satirical background.

  8. Lynne says:

    “I have just returned to my rectory after practicing the T.M.”

    Father, Transcendental Meditation?!?!

    (just kidding)

  9. Brian Sudlow–a remarkable insight.I had never thought of the two documents in tandem but it makes perfect sense.If it is true it is a masterful stroke. I dont want to complain but reading that the Pope had just established a commission that he had deestablished I wonder if this Pontiff really knows how to administer.He has given us wonderful sermons on the Fathers as on other topics but DOING does not seem his forte.Marini remains and why?I think if Cardinal Arinze had been elected he would have sacked him at the same time he accepted his election.The Exhortation on the Eucharist has not been followed up with enforcement as far as I can see.How many dioceses have named a Penitentiary (which the Exhortation calls for)?But in his wisdom Pope Benedict may know he has more than a few years and he is laying the foundation for the great future.Yet sometimes it seems that someting is missing and that something is JPII.The two were a team and probably neither could have operated effectively without the other.Viva il Papa!

  10. Prof. Basto says:


    Could you please provide a translation to any of the following languages: English, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, French or Latin?

  11. Irulats says:

    Prof Basto: From Babelfish, poor but one gets the gist…….”the peoples neolateinischer or Roman language”, de Mattei proclaimed, “is in terms of figures more strongly than those in the world, the English or Arab speaks.” While the Lateiner went in such a manner lively into the Pfingstwochenende, the Pope wrote at his Sundays speech. Obviously still this week a “Motu is proprio” (lat.: from own motive) to be published, a small papal private opinion, without seals, counter signature or cause.

  12. RC says:

    “The peoples of neo-latin or ‘romance’ languages,” declared de Mattei, “are numerically stronger than those in the world who speak English or Arabic.” While the Latins are looking forward to Pentecost weekend in their own way, the Pope was writing his Sunday address. Apparently this week a “motu proprio” (Latin: at his own initiative) is expected to be published, a minor papal private opinion, without seal, signature, or any particular occasion.

    But that’s not really what a Motu Proprio is, is it? An MP isn’t a private opinion but a decree — so how reliable is the rest of the comment?

  13. Father Bartoloma says:

    Lynne: In a way, I suppose it was!

  14. Rose says:

    I think Fr. McAfee may be right, except that I do not agree with his judgment with regard to the politics of the moment. I think many of the problems that are surfacing were already evident under the previous Pope. I am going to take a lot of flack for saying this but I think that a long papacy such as JPIIs does have a negative aspect from an organizational point of view in that bureaucracies get entrenched and power blocs develop. In corporations, it is well known that whoever succeeds a long tenure either sweeps clean or faces an impossible task of governing. For someone who seems so unworldly and humble as Pope Benedict, governance of such a fractious place as the Vatican must seem like a precious waste of time, eternally speaking. And I happen to believe Pope Benedict has different priorities: he thinks it is more important to write books (yes!, teach, appoint the right bishops to the local churches (just like the Apostles and Paul) and engage in ideas and philosophies of the day than restructure the Curia. Maybe like many of us, he does not think Church governance will change anything at all because the Church is not a political body but the Body of Christ. And won’t that be a revolutionary idea! Btw, let’s not forget that JPII reigned for 26 years during which the world expressed many beautiful sentiments toward his person but in terms of the Church’s teachings, the world was totally indifferent. In faith, morals, evangelization or religious freedoms, the Church did not fare well in the world during those years, neither in the free world or in the post-communist world. Islamic nations saluted JPII as a great man of peace but nothing changed; since Regensberg, I have seen some signs of awareness and defensiveness (lst sign of self-reflection) among Islamic scholars and leaders (even as they join the world in decrying Pope Benedict’s words.) The so called gaffe on excommunication in the airplane interview has brought the subject out in the open and engaged people (like me) even as those on Catholic blogs and the MSM tut-tutted over another “embarrassment” and waxed nostalgic. The comments on evangelization were not offensive and certainly he has not reversed himself. I have noticed that I too share the initial dismay (I am human and am subject to media influence too) but then something funny happens; I start thinking of what the Pope actually said and before you know it, I reflect on whether he was right or not, and then, wow, I actually see the arguments and the issues and see how relevant they are to my everyday life and action as a Catholic in the world. God works in mysterious ways. I hope Pope Benedict will have the time (ideas take time to effect change) but I am confident that with time, the Pope who teaches and writes will have just as important an influence on the course of human history (albeit not half as favourable in media coverage) as the Pope whose charisma with his countrymen brought down the evil empire!!!!

  15. Sarafino says:

    It is nice to see that hope springs eternal on this blog for the Motu Proprio.

  16. Zach says:

    I wouldn’t put a whole lot of weight behind this. It’s pretty simple to see how this rumor came about. First off, everybody is expecting (because of the previous rumor with Von Hildebrand) for the MP to come out in May. With only a week (well less than that) left in May it is obvious that an overzealous person would proclaim that the MP would come out this week without any references. I don’t buy it for a minute. Right now it just seems that the Vatican is hanging the proverbial carrot on a stick in front of our faces. I’ll believe it when the ink is dry on the paper.

  17. Sub Umbra Mortis says:

    I believe the date for the MP is May 32.

  18. Everyone says that the ink is dry on the paper. It’s just where that paper is that’s uncertain.

  19. Domenico says:

    It is my first comment on this blog that I read since some time. Sorry for bothering you.
    I find the comment of Rose full of wisdom.
    I have read the thoughts of the card. Ratzinger about the draconian decision taken by pope Paul VI about the Roman Missal – Why do you expect draconian measures from a man that do not like draconian measures? – in his book “Introduzione allo spirito della liturgia”. As for the motu proprio, I have some questions.
    The first is: Do you know the ordo and the language used by the Pope in his everyday celebration of the Mass? If you do not know already the answer, you can have a look at this video ( .wmv) about one day in life of the Bavarian Pope. RAI UNO is the Italian tv.
    Another question is: what is the percentage of the Italian people attending the Sunday Mass in their parish church that say the ‘Padre Nostro’, let alone have an idea of what the priest is reading or saying? This is the background (cultural, etc.) of the question.
    On the other hand there is the Pope who does not consider private his Mass because he has 5 Italian faithfuls to care of. There is a wisdom in this for me.

  20. My wife’s translation of the Spiegel article.

    There is circumstantial evidence for the source being Professor Spaemann but no more. He was interviewed by them late 2006, and he is doing a Spiegel sponsored university meeting in Hamburg next week. Big maybe though.

    For once a verse of a protestant hymn is appropriate

    Though with a scornful wonder
    Men see her sore oppressed,
    By schisms rent asunder,
    By heresies distressed,
    Yet saints their watch are keeping;
    Their cry goes up, “How long?”
    And soon the night of weeping
    Shall be the morn of song.

    Sadly, even with the indult, there is still a long, long road to travel before the Church is widely recognised for what she is, the torrent of Divine Grace given to humanity from and through the Seven Sacraments.

  21. Rose,

    What a beautiful and wonderful comment. I liked this part the best:

    I have noticed that I too share the initial dismay (I am human and am subject to media influence too) but then something funny happens; I start thinking of what the Pope actually said and before you know it, I reflect on whether he was right or not, and then, wow, I actually see the arguments and the issues and see how relevant they are to my everyday life and action as a Catholic in the world.

    And THIS aspect of the pope’s methodology, so I hear, has the Modernists in quite a rage.

  22. Joshua says:

    If it does come out on May 31st (which was the date the Feast of Our Lady Mediatrix of All Graces was celebrated before the Feast of Our Queen was established in 1955) it would be somewhat surprising. I have a strong suspicion that the MP was again delayed. I know that Archbishop Rajinth himself said that it would be May, and that was on May 11. But it seems less likely now.

  23. How possible is it that maybe there will not be any Motu Proprio> Lately the Pope while making several good appointments, also He has elected to perhaps give approval to the Neocatemenical Way which everyone knows is not authentic Catholic in its liturgical experimentations and other practices. They are much more like a cult, than part of the Church. To give them recognition, but at the same time have no Motu Proprio shows a favoritism towards the more progressive element of the Church. I’m only beginning reading this web page, but I think many over estimate the good will of the Pope to traditional Catolicism. The expression is “By their actions you will know them”…well By Pope Benedict XVI there are not so many actions that we can measure His good will to traditional Catholics, and His efforts to restore the Church.
    I don’t think He has the will to stand up strongly to those old guard liberals who want otherwise.

  24. Bernard of Arezzo says:

    I know little about the Neocatecumenical Way, so can’t speak to that directly, but I think that the trick to understanding B XVI is that he is a both/and rather than either/or kind of guy. So he wants both TLM and NO; both traditional religious life and the new movements. Many people, both ‘traddies’ and ‘liberals’ are either/or: either TLM or NO (in the vulgar tounges, of course), but no both. This is why he annoys both sides, because neither will get (or keep) the hegemony they want in the church. I suspect this is why it is taking so long, and the projected MP gets delayed everytime some Bishop’s conference raises fuss: not because he will bail on it, but because he is trying to hold everyone together.

  25. Ryan says:

    I have long been sympathetic to the traditionalist movement and to traditionalists. But reading the comments here (Fr. Z’s comments are always edifying and excellent of course), and on other traddie blogs in recent years has convinced me that among traditionalists are some of the most whiny, hateful, impatient, ignorant, uncharitable, calumnious, and un-Catholic people I have ever encountered.

    Every day there is a new calumny against the Holy Father, and the highest praise for crypto-sedevacantists like the leadership of the SSPX (yes, speaking about the “conciliar Church” vs. the “real” Church is just code for sede-vacantism).

    You angry, proud traddies sit at your little word-processors, denouncing the Pope because he doesn’t consult you and cause division, strife, and despair everywhere in your wake because you are such profoundly perfidous and thus unhappy people.

    What if there NEVER is a motu proprio? What will you do then? Leave the Church? Join the Eastern Orthodox? Serve excommnunicated Bishops of the SSPX who have pet projects like abolishing religious freedom and restoring the French Monarchy to the crown? All of this because the church doesn’t fit your schedule?

    Will you leave because if everything is not set right during your puny lifetime you will conclude that the Church has failed?

    The devil works through you. You cause division and despair in the name of your imaginary “traditional” and “pre-coniliar. Church” Repugnant.

  26. jpsonnen says:

    Last March I went to the tomb of Archiep. A. Bugnini to ask for his intercession for the coming indult. I still hope that my prayers were heard.

  27. John: Last March I went to the tomb of Archiep. A. Bugnini to ask for his intercession for the coming indult.

    If I didn’t know you, that might sound to some like a cruel joke. I know, however, you didn’t intend it that way. o{]:¬)

  28. Michael says:

    “You angry, proud traddies sit at your little word-processors, denouncing … The devil works through you.”

    Perhaps you as well, sir. To be sure there are bitter and angy traddies. There are also many deeply wounded traddies. There are also many deeply angry and bitter neo-modernists who have not yet gotten their way with things. And frankly, nastiness seems to be found in every parish whether NO or Traditionalist. Your responsibility is for yourself and maybe as part of that you can consider censoring your own tongue, or, in this case, your little word-processor.

  29. danphunter1 says:

    Order the book “Iota Unum”,by Romano Amerio,and read it as soon as you get it.
    Then repeat what you have above stated.
    God bless you,and God bless our Holy Father.

  30. “Tomb of Archiep. A. Bugnini”

    Where is this?

  31. B. says:

    It should be noted that nothing, I repeat, absolutely nothing written in Der Spiegel about the Catholic Church should ever be taken seriously in any way.
    Der Spiegel is notorious for its hatred of the Catholic Church and is frequently inventing stories and telling outright lies to make the Church look bad. I have yet to read an article on the Church in that magazine that doesn’t have at least three factual errors.

    E.g. In the Article “Der Gotteskrieger vom Rhein” (The Holy Warrior from the Rhine) in which they portrayed Cardinal Meisner as a religious extremist trying to reinstitute the Inquisition in Germany contained the notable sentence that Cardinal Meisner gives protection to a certain extremist group called Indult, for which “praying against the perfidious gaggle of Jews plays a big role”.

  32. Angry traditionalists I know well, and also more the same kind of angry liberals. The later are more obnoxios. In my American parish, we have all mostly the usuall Protestant influence, and it is hard to distingish between the two. But angry as we become because of frustrations over the time for the Motu Proprio to appear, and the abuses at Mass, remember that in parts of the world (Japan for instance) there is now pagan practices in the Mass have passed normally for years without complait of the Pope etc. Ancestors, and Buddhist traditions here and there are in the Mass. This is why among many reasons that the Motu Proprio is needed . INdia too, sometimes it hardly even looks like a Christian cereomny. So in USA we should be alittle relieved that though the Mass is not as we like, or even very Catholic, at least it is not pagan. I was in Japan until 2004, and visited India also. So much here we complain regarding this or that in Catholic life or Mass, but should count blessings that we are here not like in Europe (mostly Belgium, Neth., or parts of France, on in Japan, India etc. where nothing appears Catholic at all.
    I think the Motu Proprio will come, and it will be greatly a blessing for the whole Church. Everone will be surprised.

    **PS- Read unfortunate statements from the Brazl Bishops conference meeting. Even with the Pope’s speeches, the dissidenting agedda of the liberals won out. Nothing will change there.
    All the more reason for the Motu Proprio.


  33. Bob K. says:

    So much for that theory!. Last day of May and no Motu Proprio. I guess Alice Von Hildebrand was wrong!.

  34. Bob K. says:

    Quote “I think the Motu Proprio will come, and it will be greatly a blessing for the whole Church. Everone will be surprised.”
    And I will win the Powerball to!. June 1st and counting.
    Quote “What if there NEVER is a motu proprio? What will you do then? Leave the Church? Join the Eastern Orthodox?”
    Answer. “Join the Eastern Orthodox like I should have done in the first place, instead of getting my hopes up on something that will probably never come out or see the light of day in my parish”.

  35. Jordan Potter says:

    I respect the Eastern Orthodox Churches far too much to consider even more a moment the thought of inflicting myself on them as a member.

  36. Bob K: I never gave what von Hildebrand a lot of weight. The Holy Father isn’t going to employ Alice von Hildebrand as the official instrument of promulgation.

    On the other hand, last night when I was out to supper with a couple guys, one of them confirmed that it is signed. As to its release, I am guessing that will happen when I am a) away from Rome and b) away from my computer and telephone. Therefore, I should do the whole world a favor and go fishing as soon as possible after returning to the Sabine Farm.

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