“Attitude adjustment” by Pope Benedict? – Catholic University of Milan: older Mass to be celebrated

Today there is a comment in Il Giornale by Andrea Tornielli, who is proving to be pretty reliable about matters concerning Pope Benedict XVI’s Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum.

Here is his piece from 11 October, in my translation and with my emphases.

The old Tridentine Mass (but with the Roman Missal) in the heart of Milan:  this afternoon at 6 pm in the chapel of Sacred Heart Catholic University (at Largo Gemelli 1) Mass will be celebrated in the "extraordinary" form of the Roman Rite thanks to the derestriction desired by Pope Benedict XVI with his Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum.  Presiding at the rite will be Msgr. Gianni Ambrosi, chaplain at the Catholic University.

As is known, the derestriction by the Pope was not applied in the "Ambrosian" diocese [Milan], which has its own rite different from the Roman.  Many letters and requestions arrived in Rome in these last weeks at the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei", which according to Ratzinger’s will concerns itself wtih the application of the Motu Proprio.  In the Vatican, therefore, the case of Milan is also being studied.  The Pope himself would be quite displeased by some of the instances of "resistance" being shown even in Italian dioceses and it is likely that quite soon some interpretive norms will be issued to correct the application of the document according to the meaning desired by Benedict XVI.

If you recall, a highly placed official in Milan said that the Motu Proprio would not pertain to most of Milan, where the Ambrosian Rite is used, but only the very few places where the Roman Rite is used in that Archdiocese.

However, some historical perspective is helpful.   If you read St. Pius V’s Quo primum we see that at the same time as that Pontiff said that in some regions venerable local rites could be retained, no priest could be prevented from using also the Roman Rite if he desired to use it even in those regions.  Pius V allowed, therefore, universal use of the Roman Rite that overlaid even those places where local rites were retained.  Frankly, that is pretty flexible.

However, in contrast to what some people imagine were the repressive times of the 16th century, since 1970 we saw a far more restrictive attitude about the use of venerable rites (such as the older form of the Roman Rite), though lip service was given to freedom and flexibility.  It is ironic in a way that, today, some officials in dioceses, even diocese where no local rite has ever been in use, should be less flexible and permissive than Pope Pius V.

Let us hope that this celebration of Holy Mass will be a regular occurance at the Cattolica in Milan.

Will we be seeing some "attitude adjustments" by Pope Benedict?  

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  1. Mathew Mattingly says:

    I also read that the Pope (called Papa Ratzinger in the article I read, not Benedict XVI), is very displeased, annoyed, irritated by the bishops in a few parts of Italy, the Curia, and in other countries. And that “measures are being considered” to clarify that full freedom for the Tridentine Latin Mass and cooperation is not only desired, but expected.
    I can translate enough Italian to understand the meaning of the article. The Pope is displeased.
    I would not at all be surprised, to see a short but very authorative and definitive statement from Pope Benedict XVI, in effect disallowing Bishops to publish “guidelines” etc. as has been shown and commented on here. I would not be surprised if the Pope comes down hard on the bishops. And it would be totally justified.
    If a new adjustment and disiplinary document comes against the Bishops, I think you’d be able to hear the applause for the Pope in the Catholic world.

  2. Fr. John says:

    The possible “disciplinary document” to me is the real news, most of the bishops it seems have been trying to squirm out of the Motu Proprio, thank God that Pope Benedict is indignant at the resistance and attempts of containment. It gives me hope.

  3. ALL: Let’s be careful about something and add a big “maybe” to all this business about the Pope’s attitude. I think it is likely that he would be a little irked, but this is a fellow with a very even and calm disposition and great patience. He is far more likely to try to work with individuals behind the scenes than he is to issue a public barrage. We are barely a month since the Motu Proprio went into force and we have yet to hear “boo” from the Pont. Comm. “Ecclesia Dei”. That will be the first move, believe me. The Commission will have to take some action first and make itself known before the Pope does an end around his own Commission.

    I suspect there will be first some casus belli test case handled by the Commission.

  4. Sid Cundiff says:

    Let’s forget about “attitude” and focus on words and deeds, public and private. However Holy Father chooses to correct misinterpretations and misdeeds, pray that he corrects all the same.

  5. danphunter1 says:

    God Bless our Supreme Pontiff.
    Let us all pray the Memorare for His Holiness intentions.
    God bless you.

  6. FranzJosf says:

    I agree with Fr. Z: The first move will come from Cardinal Castrillon. And it will come. What I like about it is even bigger than the new freedom for the TLM. Namely, a new assertiveness of Papal authority. No DOA as often happened with JPII. I haven’t seen anyone comment on it, and my high school Latin is rusty, but I think in Latin the first two words of the document might have been other words in the sentence, but they weren’t. The were SUPREME PONTIFF. I don’t think that was by accident.

  7. You made an interesting point about the Tridentine reform vs. the Novus Ordo reform, which seems to agree with something I learned about the older reform. I was taught that the Tridentine reform did not really force everyone in the West to adopt it, but rather that many places with their own rites voluntarily took up the Tridentine form of the Mass. While this may have been done to show solidarity with Rome, especially in the situation of the Protestant revolt and following counter-reformation, I’ve heard some liturgical experts lament the abandonment of these rites, especially those of religious orders. Still the intentions were reasonable, and whether it was right or wrong is something for the liturgical experts to debate.
    In contrast, the “Novus Ordo” reform was implemented in a rather mandatory way. I think the necessity of “Summorum Pontificum” can show how damaging that implementation was.

  8. dan: Let us all pray the Memorare for His Holiness intentions.

    An EXCELLENT idea. As a matter of fact I add that prayer every day after my Mass after the Leonine Prayers with the specific intention for my bishop, the bishop of my home diocese, and the local bishop. The Memorare is a fine and powerful prayer.

    MEMORARE, O piissima Virgo Maria,
    non esse auditum a saeculo, quemquam ad tua currentem praesidia,
    tua implorantem auxilia, tua petentem suffragia,
    esse derelictum.
    Ego tali animatus confidentia,
    ad te, Virgo Virginum, Mater,
    curro, ad te venio, coram te gemens peccator assisto.
    Noli, Mater Verbi,
    verba mea despicere;
    sed audi propitia et exaudi.

    Remember, O Most Gracious Virgin Mary,
    that never was it known that anyone who fled to Thy protection,
    implored Thy help or sought Thy intercession,
    was left unaided.
    Inspired by this confidence,
    I fly unto Thee, O Virgin of Virgins, my Mother;
    to Thee do I come, before thee I kneel, sinful and sorrowful.
    O Mother of the Word Incarnate,
    despise not my petitions,
    but in Thy clemency, hear and answer me.

  9. Henry Edwards says:

    FranzJosf: The were SUPREME PONTIFF. I don’t think that was by accident.

    I think you’re exactly right. And this theme was hammered home in a remarkable way by Fr. Calvin Goodwin FSSP in his extraordinary sermon at the EWTN solemn high Mass on motu proprio day.

    Everyone (who hasn’t already) should listen to or download this sermon from the http://www.ewtn.com Motu Proprio Resources page. I’ve done so a number of times, but haven’t yet counted the number of times he referred to Pope Benedict as the Supreme Pontiff or the Vicar of Christ, emphasizing “that unique power of legislation for the whole Church that he alone exercises”.

    The 2-hour DVD of the whole Mass — with the finest camera work yet for a TLM video — is now available from the EWTN Religious Catalogue. I’ve laid in a supply to give one to every priest I think will view it, warning them not to fast forward through the sermon. Every Catholic needs the lesson on papal authority that it communicates so powerfully.

  10. RBrown says:

    1. Popes are commonly referred to by their last names: Papa Pacelli, Papa Ronalli, Papa Wojtyla, et al.

    2. I doubt any definitive statement about diocesan guidelines will come from the pope. He issued the document, but it ED has the authority to implement it. Any statement he would now make not only would undermine Cardinal Castrillon and the EC, but it would also encourage stalling some bishops to use tactics (we’re waiting for the pope to respond).

    3. The mention of the pope’s displeasure also empowers Cardinal Castrillon.

  11. Mary says:

    Henry Edwards — If you’re interested, there’s an unofficial (and unauthorized but I think 99%+ accurate) transcript of Fr. Goodwin’s sermon here: Homily of Fr. Calvin Goodwin on EWTN (Transcript).

  12. Tom S. says:

    RBrown brings us a good point. Wasn’t part of Summorum Pontificum supposed to be the expansion of the PCED to assist with the implementation? If so, shouldn’t a document spelling out any expanded powers be forthcoming? It seems that such a document be a good place to clearly elaborate in unambiguous detail on His Holiness’ expectations?

  13. RBrown says:

    encourage stalling some bishops to use tactics

    should be: “encourage some bishops to use stalling tactics”

  14. RBrown says:

    Wasn’t part of Summorum Pontificum supposed to be the expansion of the PCED to assist with the implementation? If so, shouldn’t a document spelling out any expanded powers be forthcoming? It seems that such a document be a good place to clearly elaborate in unambiguous detail on His Holiness’ expectations?
    Comment by Tom S.

    It’s already done. NB: Art 11 and 12 of SP.

    My guess is the PCED text(s) of the responsa ad dubia will end by noting the approval of the Holy Father.

  15. Berolinensis says:

    I don’t think Tornielli suggests that the Pope himself will do anything. The article says “Rome”, “the Vatican”, which can, together with the sentences before that, only mean Ecclesia Dei. So, if something is issued – guidelines for the implementation of Summ. Pont., that is, nobody said anything about disciplinary measures – it will be by Ecclesia Dei.

  16. fr.franklyn mcafee says:

    It is correct that the Pope will not himself say anything on the matter except for his ad limina talks,but he can have the Ecclesia Dei commission issue something which he has specifically approved.He might also have Cardinal Bertone say something or send a memo to the bishops’conferences stating what Archbishop Bagnasco told his fellow bishops ,that they were to implement not interpret the MP.Ususally this is done when the conferences meet.The nuncio or apostolic delegate would deliver the angst of the Supreme Pontiff and tell them to lay off the MP. Historically there is reason to despair.After Quo Primum several bishops in France ignored both Pius V and his reformed missal and went on celebrating mass their way.The pope did nothing.Eventually over the years the Tridentine missal became the norm but not from any papal fiat.I would have Benedict personally chastize the offending bishops,but it propbably won’t be that way.In any case Pius V became a saint.By the way he was known for his patient kindness.

  17. joe says:

    Either way, I pray that through the efforts and prayers of Our Lord’s Vicar on earth, hearts may be softened and attitudes changed.

    (To say nothing of actions, directions and statements.)



  18. Perhaps the recently improving relations with the Russian Orthodox Church would allow for the establishment of an Episcopal Liturgical Training School in far northern Siberia, to which a number of bishops could be sent to learn how to truly implement Summorum Pontificum?

  19. Jeff Pinyan says:

    Speaking of the Memorare, does anyone know of an online copy of the Memorare in Gregorian Chant? I checked http://romaaeterna.jp/ but to no avail.

  20. David Kubiak says:

    How right Fr. Z. is about the 16th century being more accomodating than the 20th in matters liturgical, which leads me to a question. Has there been a discussion anywhere about the Pope’s saying that the old missal was never formally abrogated? If you were around in the 70’s this seems like rather bold revisionist history. I would like to see evidence for the claim given how obvious it was that Pope Paul wanted the traditional rite completely suppressed and empowered Vatican bureaucrats to act on that assumption.

  21. M Kr says:


    If in 1570 Pope Pius V allowed uses of the Roman Rite that had existed for more than 200 years to continue, that is, he never formally abrogated them, and since many such uses of local dioceses continued until recent times, and I suppose in many places until 1970 (someone can correct me on that if I’m wrong), then if Pope Benedict has stated that the Roman Missal of 1962 was never abrogated, can we assume that these other local uses (such as Sarum, Cologne, Braga, etc.) were never abrogated either and can still be used? How do they relate to the Motu Proprio?

  22. Bruce T. says:

    That’s great news for the Catholic Univeristy in Milan!
    I hope students at the Catholic University of America willa also be able to rejoice soon.

  23. Dismayed Again says:

    Stay tuned for the latest volley from Bishop Donald Trautman of the Diocese of Erie. A “Decree of Promulgation of the Instruction Norms fo the Implementation of the motu proprio Apostolic Letter Concerning the Extraordinary Form of the Celebration of the Mass and Sacraments Summorum Pontificum in the Diocses of Erie was given at the Chancery on October 5th, 2007 and realeased on October 11th. This “Decree of Promulgation” of norms for the implementaion etc. will acquire the force of particular law for the Diocse of Erie on November 1, 2007. To describe Bishop Trautman’s latest pronouncement as “restrictive” would be an understatement. I suspect someone will be uploading it to the web shortly.

    One can only hope and pray that the rumored vatican directive on Summorum Pontificum does, in fact, come out soon. The opposition is becoming formidable.

  24. Daniel Muller says:

    to Thee do I come, before thee I kneel, sinful and sorrowful.

    I am only familiar with “before thee I stand,” which I think is a standard translation harking to the idea, if not the text, of sto, stare. Before thee I present myself. I suppose if one usually kneels during the Memorare in English, …

    does anyone know of an online copy of the Memorare in Gregorian Chant?

    Good luck with that! I went through my extensive library and only found it in English (SPX #87) written out to psalm tone VII. Google tells us that some kind of chanted Memorare has been recorded. I say: why not practice your psalm tone VII?

  25. Frederick Jones says:

    The late Cardinal Heenan of Westminster once remarked that “heresy is now inter-confessional”. It seems that anarchy is also like that. I admire and respect the Pope, why cannot Catholics do likewise? Do some of your bishops think that they know better?

  26. Berolinensis says:

    The Ecclesia Dei document is coming, confirms Msgr. Perl, secretary of the Commission:


    Some snippets:

    – “It’s true, we are redacting a document/instruction on the right interpretation of the Motu Proprio ‘Summorum Pontificum’.”
    – The document will contain “the definition of some aspects of the papal Motu Proprio as, e.g., the stable group. We will have to clarify what is to be understood as a stabel group, how many people precisely have to ask their parish priest to celebrate in the preconciliar rite.”
    – (Asked why man priests and bishops don’t accept the MP) “Today, in all areas of society, the sense of obedience and of respect for authority has been lost.”

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