Communique from the Holy See Press Office on the Motu Proprio

I slept in today, so I am sure others have posted already but…


Si è svolta ieri pomeriggio in Vaticano una riunione, presieduta dal Cardinale Segretario di Stato, in cui è stato illustrato ai rappresentanti di diverse conferenze episcopali il contenuto e lo spirito dell’annunciato "Motu proprio" del Santo Padre sull’uso del Messale promulgato da Giovanni XXIII nel 1962. Il Santo Padre si è recato a salutare i presenti e si è intrattenuto con loro in un’approfondita conversazione per circa un’ora. La pubblicazione del documento – che sarà accompagnato da un’ampia lettera personale del Santo Padre ai singoli Vescovi – è prevista entro alcuni giorni, quando il documento stesso sarà stato inviato a tutti i Vescovi con la indicazione della sua successiva entrata in vigore.

I am told the Vatican site was knocked offline.  HAR!

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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


  1. chris says:

    Father, on Rorate it says that the 1967 lectionary would be put in place (which i’ve heard is what Card. Ratzinger has always wanted). The word lectionary is so loosely defined. What exactly is it and why would anything post 1962 be in use?

  2. Jordan Potter says:

    Chris, it doesn’t say at Rorate Coeli that the “1967” (sic) lectionary would be put in place. That is nothing more than arrant speculation on the part of the writer of the La Croix article. It’s also something that we know will not happen. The whole idea of freeing up the 1962 Missal is to free up the 1962 Missal, not to take the 1962 and strip away the lections. Such a thing would be a major undertaking, since the Propers (Introit, Gradual, tc.) are integrally linked to the lections of the day. If they changed the 1962 lectionary, they’d also have to rewrite all of the Propers. That is just not going to happen, and even if it were to happen it would take several years to accomplish — which would undercut the whole point of the Motu Proprio. Anyway, how could anyone mash a three-year Sunday lectionary and two-year Daily lectionary together with a Missal that only has room for the traditional, ancient one-year lectionary of the Roman Rite?

  3. chris says:

    Jordan, good stuff. I really don’t understand the lectionary and how it works at all. The only thing that frustrates me is that my pastor doesn’t think i should use my ’45 missal or do anything pre-1962 because that isn’t what the indult provides. Yet, he and others incorporate many things post-1962 with no problem whatsoever. I just believe is, for whatever reason, 1962 is the magic year then they should stick to it as well.

  4. Jordan Potter says:

    You’re right, Chris. Church law allows only the 1962 Missal for indult Masses. Post-1962 reforms and emendations of that Missal are violations of liturgical law for such Masses.

  5. GCC Catholic says:

    As far as I’m aware, using a hand missal from the 1940s would not be a major problem. It simply would not correspond in all cases with the Mass as it is said. A priest, on the other hand, could not use a 1940s missal for Mass, because that isn’t what the Indult provides for.

    The several times that I’ve attended the TLM, I’ve used my 1942 “My Sunday Missal” and didn’t notice any problems. Also, I came to find out later that my grandmother had a slightly later edition of the same missal that she used (at least I would assume) up to the changes that took place in the 1960s.

  6. chris says:

    My only concern is that what is happening with rite blending at my indult gets worse with a 1967 lectionary. Two saturdays ago, a musical group called musica sacra came to our church and basically demanded they get to have a Mass on a saturday that was a sunday mass — the nativity of john the baptist. When told that cannot happen becuase it’s a saturday, they cited the 1967 “anticipation” rule and were granted the approval. It just seems like when some ask for pre-1962 things we’re called crazy trads. When our churches bring in post-1962 things it’s fine.

  7. Jordan Potter wrote:

    Post-1962 reforms and emendations of that Missal are violations of liturgical law for such Masses.

    This is quite incorrect. The Ecclesia Dei Commission has given many permissions respecting post-1962 emendations.

    Take a look at my blog to read some of them.

  8. Clayton says:

    Actually, both views are incorrect. The use of older elements of the rite from the typical editions of the Missale Romanum (e.g. the second Confiteor) and the use of those former editions of the Missal when a 1962 Missal is not available has long been a tolerated, even promoted, practice by the FSSP, because there was never any specific legislation that mandated the changes, only the publication of the new missal. Therefore, there is some question as to whether or not the 1962 Missal INTENDS to include those elements but simply does not.
    The second view, that there cannot be anything added or changed after 1962, conflicts with several communications issued by the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei. They have been most vigorously applied, for example, in the Fontgombault branch of Benedictine monasteries, such as Our Lady of the Annunciation of Clear Creek, where the Tridentine mass is celebrated almost like the 1965 Missal. Examples of such possibilities include the congregation singing together the whole Pater Noster, the omission of things sung by the choir/congregation on the part of the priest, the proclamation, at low mass, of the readings according to an approved translation, etc. How the motu proprio will affect this is yet unknown.

  9. Even the use of the new lectionary is envisioned in the 1991 letter from Cardinal Mayer to the U.S. Bishops:

    “Following upon the “wide and generous application” of the principles
    laid down in Quattour abhinc annos and the directives of the Fathers of the
    Second Vatican Council (cf. Sacrosanctum Concilium 51 & 54), the new
    Lectionary in the vernacular could be used as a way of “providing a richer
    fare for the faithful at the table of God’s Word” in Masses celebrated
    according to the 1962 Missal. However, we believe that this usage should not
    be imposed on congregations who decidedly wish to maintain the former
    liturgical tradition in its integrity according to the provision of the motu
    proprio Ecclesia Dei.”

    Hopefully the Motu Proprio will address these kinds of questions, like the confiteor before Communion.

    Perhaps Ecclesia Dei (or Una Voce) could publish a collation of the documents on the old liturgy currently in force, such as those permissions recently spotlighted on a number of blogs.

    Non-experts will need some help in figuring out all the rules, especially when we can’t just refer to the printed books.

  10. Dr. Lee Fratantuono says:

    Actually, there IS a 1967 lectionary.

    In 1967, a volume of readings was approved that provided every feria of the traditional calendar with a proper set of 2 readings: a lesson/epistle and a gospel.

    The book was translated into English and other vernaculars. It had a shelf life of less than 3 years.

    Its use was optional. I have a copy of the USA edition.

    As for the modifications the PCED has permitted…all of them are also optional.

  11. Cerimoniere says:

    Someone has posted on Rorate Caeli an interesting fact, of which I had previously been unaware. Apparently, there is a 1967 lectionary, for the traditional calendar, which provides extra lections for ferias which don’t have proper lections in the traditional missal. In other words, it provides readings for the days when one would otherwise repeat the Sunday Mass (or celebrate a votive Mass). I suppose it isn’t beyond the bounds of possibility that the MP could authorize the use of this with the 1962 Missal.

    To Clayton’s points: he refers to two facts which are undeniable, but which appear to contradict the applicable legislation.

    It’s true that the FSSP’s position is that the confiteor before Communion continues to be licit. However, contrary to what Clayton says, it is specifically prohibited by the General Rubrics of the Missal promulgated in 1960, and contained in the 1962 Missal. There’s no question that the Missal intends to exclude the confiteor at that point. I believe there is an argument that this wasn’t widely applied, and that there has been a consistent contrary custom wherever the traditional Mass has been celebrated of retaining it. Whatever validity that has, there’s no argument from the actual 1962 liturgical texts.

    It’s also true that the Commission has granted various permissions to deviate from the 1962 norms. It’s less clear that it has the authority to do so. Unless the Commission has subsequently received faculties broader than the ones granted to it in the “Ecclesia Dei” MP itself, these permissions would appear to be ultra vires. It has the faculty to grant permission for the use of the liturgical books of 1962, but not to resolve doubts about liturgical practice or to grant indults to deviate from the liturgical books.

    Evidently, people have petitioned and received their favours from the Commission in good faith, but it’s not clear that what has happened in this respect has been within the official legislation.

  12. Cerimoniere says:

    Dr. Fratantuono beat me to it on the first point; sorry for the duplication!

  13. Dr. Lee Fratantuono says:

    I have studied the 1967 lectionary (I was the anonymous poster at Rorate Caeli)…there’s absolutely no alteration to the 1962 Missal, simply the addition of lessons/epistles/gospels to days in, e.g., Advent, Christmas, Easter where there would otherwise be a repetition of the Sunday readings. The readings are optional, and note that on feasts of saints one could use the hitherto in-use “Commons” readings, or substitute, ad libitum, the proper ferial readings given in the new pericopes.

    One PRACTICAL problem with some of the PCED’s suggestions is the problem of books: if you were celebrating on the feast of Saints John and Paul the other day, and you wanted to use the Pauline Preface of Martyrs, you’d need a second Missal, unless you had some clever way to insert the text on a laminated card, etc., in your 1962 Missal. In practice, few priests, I suspect, use this option. It’s been around since at least 1991.

    The question of the PCED’s authority is an interesting one. They are, I should note, not opposed to extending permissions in the other direction. I once wrote them to ask about the use of the full Matins of pre-1960, at least for use on Sundays and major ferias, and they expressed no problem with its use.

  14. FranzJosf says:

    While we don’t actually know what is in the document, some of you may recall that when Cardinal Bertone announced, or confirmed, that a Motu Proprio was coming, he said it concern the 1962 Missal, together with its calendar.

  15. Cerimoniere says:

    I agree that such things are rarely done, partly for the practical reasons you mention and partly because most priests who use the traditional liturgy shy away from intermingling the books. At some point, perhaps the Holy Father will promulgate a new edition of the traditional Missal, including additions to the calendar and some of the extra prefaces, which would make things easier and underscore the continued vitality of the traditional Rite.

    I also agree that the Commission isn’t grinding an ideological axe with their permissions. I think they simply want everyone to be happy and to get peacefully on with whatever they want to do (kind of like the new rite): so the Fontgombault houses can do what they want, the ICRSS can do most of the old Holy Week, and almost everyone uses the second confiteor. Personally, I take a strict view, and do the 1962 thing as exactly as I can, since I think that’s what the Holy See has required, even though it doesn’t apparently much care!

Comments are closed.