Italian magazine Jesus interviews Card. Castrillon Hoyos of the P.C. “Ecclesia Dei”

By now quite a few people will have picked up on the fact that the Italian publication of the Paolini, Jesus, has a fine long interview with His Eminence Darío Card. Castrillon Hoyos, President of the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei". 

I’ve read it carefully and you should too.  There are some important statements here.

The interview is very well done and good questions were asked, not many softballs, and the Cardinal did well in responding, not dodging to much.  This is very useful.

There is another article in the same issue (9 May 2008) which I will get to, maybe tomorrow.  But for now…

Here is the article, in my translation, with my emphases and comments.


Darío Castrillon Hoyos: Tradition Without Conflict
by Vittoria Prisciandaro

The Cardinal, head of the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei", explains why Benedict XVI’s Motu Proprio is a great spiritual treasure for the whole Church.  And, the way in which problems which have arisen to this point are being resolved.

His Eminence is satisfied. The telephone of the ground floor office in the palace of the former Holy Office is alive with new life. Correspondence from the whole world is piling up on the desks. [Like the old days!] After the promulgation of the Motu Proprio, the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei" has in fact become an key link in the Vatican organizational flowchart. "Now I have twice the work I had at the Congregation for the Clergy", confides Cardinal Darío Castrillon Hoyos, a 79 year old Colombian, and a fervent supporter of the return home of the Lefebvrites, and, since the year 2000, President of the Commission. Established to manage relations with the Society of St. Pius X and groups moving in the orbit of the traditionalist galaxy, "Ecclesia Dei" has become today an inevitable interlocutor with dioceses and parishes concerning controversies relative to the use extraordinary rite.

Q: Eminence, at this point of a few months after the promulgation of the Motu Proprio, how do you assess the situation?

"With the Motu Proprio the Pope wanted to give everyone a renewed opportunity to take advantage of the enormous spiritual, religious and cultural riches in the liturgy of the Gregorian Rite. [An interesting way to put it, "Gregorian Rite", a term you don’t usually see.  Normally, you will see "Pian Rite", for St. Pius V.] The Motu Proprio originates as a treasure offered to all, not principally to meet part way with anyone’s complaints and requests. ["All", get it?  Not just a few people in usual pigeon holes.]  Not a few of those who at first were not involved in this Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite are showing great esteem for it. [It’s growing, brick by brick, friends.] Among the faithful I would distinguish three groups: [1] those who are bound up in an almost organic way with the Society of St. Pius X [For example the Transalpine Redemptorists, now moving closer to greater unity]; those of the [2] Fraternity of Saint Peter and, lastly, the most important and numerous group, [EXCELLENT!  3 – ] formed from people fond of the religious culture of all times, who today are discovering the spiritual intensity of the old rite, and among these people, many young people. In these last months new associations of persons belonging to this last group have been born."  [For example… the young people  attending WYD? ]

Q: Speaking of riches, some liturgists are underscoring the fact that the Extraordinary Rite does not offer the biblical riches introduced by the Novus Ordo… [A common complaint.  However, aside from the extra readings in the Novus Ordo often being beyond the ability of priests to preach on, and aside from giving the Novus Ordo that Mass is a "didactic moment", the older form, with fewer readings, helped people to know those readings very well and actually integrate them into their awareness and lives.]

"Those people haven’t read the Motu Proprio, because the Pope affirms that the two forms must mutually enrich each other. [This statement is going to irritate a lot of people, but clearly this is part of Pope Benedict’s purpose.  Still, I think it is more an influence more in one direction, than in the the other.] And it is clear that such a liturgical treasure should not be wasted.  In the Novus Ordo, over years, practically the whole Bible is read, and this is a treasure which shouldn’t be opposed to, but ought to be integrated in the extraordinary rite."  [Oooo… some people are not going to like that. But it really has to happen, eventually, in some way – who knows how.]

Q: Another objection is over the danger that separate and different celebrations can create separate communities…

"It is a diversity which enriches, it is a wider cultural freedom that the Pope is introducing in a daring way. [There is here an implicit admission that we are talking of different "cultures".  Thus, the issue of identity is really on the table.] Moreover, in parishes there are many differences in the the manner of celebrations, and lets not even talk about the abuses, because abuses are not the principle reason for the Motu Proprio."  [It goes far deeper… precisely to culture… identity.]

Q. Your secretary, [opps… Vice President, now] Msgr. Camille Perl, announced that soon there will be a clarifying document for the Motu Proprio. When will it come out?

"It was Cardinal Bertone who announced it, and he has the right to do that. But I, who am a servant of the Pope, will only announce it when the Pope will say so. [An indication that perhaps there is not smooth communication (harmony of vision?) between the Secretariate of State and the Commission.  That would be consistent with the past!  On the other hand…. there may be another reason.  More on that below.] Our Commission has informed the Pontiff that from every part of the world there are coming so many questions, very many of them justified, others owing to lack of knowledge. The Holy Father, and he alone, will say whether it is suitable to issue such a document, and when."

Q. What sort of questions have arrived here and what would merit a response?

"The first kind regards Latin, because – as they say – to celebrate in a language you do not know is not suitable. Unfortunately, seminarians, but also some priests, have not studied it, and therefore it is difficult for them to celebrate in the Extraordinary Form. To do this they ought know the at least the Canon of the Mass, the section of the consecration. We in "Ecclesia Dei" are equipping ourselves and are preparing meetings, courses and electronic resources for a deep-rooted knowledge of the previous liturgy. [This is very good news.  It signals that the resources of the Holy See will be put into implementing Summorum Pontificum.]  Some courses are already going on in France, Germany, Brazil, Central America and the United States. In Toledo, Spain, for example, it is being studied if it is suitable to found a special seminar [It is hard to tell here if "seminario" here means "seminary" or "seminar".  "Seminario" can mean both and the ideas are related.  Either way, the idea here is whether they should integrate the training in the local seminary or set up something separate.] for training for the Extraordinary Rite or to give special courses in the seminary of the diocese. In general, we’ve seen an interest for the return of Latin in academic world. It was sad in these years past to watch the abandonment not only of the language, but also of certain theological arguments connected with the semantic precision of the Latin language[Again… culture… identity.  Latin and its practical use in reading and study brings with it a world view]

Q: Another problem is the priest shortage …

"If in a diocese priests are lacking and only three or four faithful request the extraordinary rite, it’s a matter of common sense to think that it is difficult to satisfy this request. [Now PAY CLOSE ATTENTION…]  However, since it is the Pope’s intention, his mens, to grant this treasure for the good of the Church, in a place where there are no priests the best option would be to offer a celebration according to the extraordinary rite in one of the parish Sunday Masses. [That was really important.] It would be a Mass for everyone, and everyone, including younger generations, would benefit from the riches of the extraordinary rite, for example, those moments of contemplation that have disappeared in the Novus Ordo. [Remember that on the DVD prepared by the FSSP and EWTN, Card. Castrillon says that it is okay that priests establish a parish Mass even if there not requests. He seems to be saying something of the same thing here.  Think about it: even if there are not a lot of people making the request, offer a Sunday Mass anyway!  You can see where his mind is tending.]

Q: So you sustain that, even if there isn’t a consistent and stable group, in the future it is foreseen to offer one of the Sunday Masses in the extraordinary rite? [The journalist has adroitly picked up the key point!]

"I would say yes. On the other hand, this possibility had already been approved unanimously in 1986 by a Commission of Cardinals, in which there was also Cardinal Ratzinger, but back then it did not go into effect. Now I’m pretty be sure that it could carried out."  [Times have changed.  Also, I suspect that His Eminence has slightly pushed the border with the conclusion of the Commisione Cardinalizia, but, without question, Sunday Masses were foreseen back then.  Times, indeed, have changed.  And so those discussions back then have great chance of success now.  Part of what has changed is that fewer and fewer people are lugging around the heavy baggage of the ’60’s.]

Q: Another point to clarify is the definition of a "stable and consistent group". What is meant by this exactly?

"This is a matter of common sense: why create problems if the people who ask for the rite come from different parishes? [Keep in mind that some bishops in the USA, lately the Bishop of Gaylord, MI, to name only one, has tried to impose on Summorum Pontificum‘s provisions, that people must be registered in the parish if they wish to attend Mass – get that? – attend MASS? – in the extraordinary Form.] If they get together and request a Mass, they become a stable group, [OKAY… whew… this is a fairly open interpretation of "stable group".] even if they did not know each other before. Also the number (of the group) is a question of good will[In other words, if you have "ill will" you seek to restrict the use of the TLM by stating that there must be a minimum number.] In some parishes, especially in the countryside, on weekdays the people who come to the ordinary Mass are three or four, and the same occurs in not a few religious houses. Why, if those same three people request the old Mass, would it be pastorally necessary to refuse it?".  [Remember our WDTPRS argument that Latin coetus, in the MP, meant as small as 3 people?]

Q: So the future document should be more welcoming to requests from just a few? [I like this journalist!]

"Yes, but it must be understood not as something that ought to be to the detriment of others, of the majority, but for their enrichment, and always avoiding any type of antagonism, even the smallest."  [See the Rules of Engagement.]

Q. Then there is the problem of the sacraments: I have in mind the Rite of Ordination or of Confirmation, which refers to a different Code of Canon Law and uses different formulas... [This was clarifed years ago when I was at Ecclesia Dei.  The French bishops, probably trying to pplace some sort of obstacle, asked if the old sacramental form for Confirmation was valid.  The answer was, of course, yes, it is valid.  The same stands for Holy Orders.]

"Certainly at first sight there are some problems with regard to the Holy Orders, with Confirmation and also concerning the difference of the calendar. Regarding Holy Orders, in the ancient form there were tonsure, the minor orders, and the subdiaconate. This form is still in use and will continue to be in the institutes permanently bound to the old rite, such as the Fraternity of Saint Peter, the Soceity of Saint Pius X [Holy cow!  Card. Castrillon is either talking about the SSPX as if it is already in some way under the canonical umbrella or he is making a promise… an obvious promise, granted, but a promise.] and other institutes. Concerning Confirmation, even before the Motu Proprio, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith had already clarified that there is no conflict between the two formulas, [What I was talking about above.] given that both the new formula, just as the the old, are valid and the same can be said for the other sacraments where the formula is different. With regard to the calendars, which do not always coincide, some problems are arising, as in the case of feasts of the patrons of a parish, of shrines, of congregations and religious institutes, etc.  The necessary adaptions with be made with prudence and the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei" will also deal with this.[Interesting.  So, to resolve conflicts right now, perhaps it is best simply to write to the Commission?  Pile their desks a little higher?  Would bishops become a bit more involved at a local level, some problems could be resolved now.  It seems to me that flexibility is the key, and not a rigid solution such as was suggested recently in the UK and Wales.]

Q. What timeframe do you foresee for the reconciliation with the Society of Saint Pius X?

"There are positive signs, there is an uninterrupted dialogue. A few days ago I again wrote a new letter to [Bishop] Fellay, Superior of the Society, as a response to one of his previously. In addition to meetings and correspondence, we also speak together by telephone. I consider reconciliation with the Society of Saint Pius X to be viable because, as we have often said at "Ecclesia Dei", this does not concern a true schism [!] but an anomalous situation which developed after the "schismatic action" of Msgr Lefebvre in conferring the episcopate without pontifical mandate, nay rather, against the expressed will of the Pope. [So, it was a "schismatic act, which echos John Paul II’s 1988 Motu Proprio Ecclesia Dei adflcita, but one that did not result in a formal schism.] In my heart I have great faith that the Holy Father will be able to mend up the fabric of the Church with the arrival of these brothers in full communion. There still remain some differences, as we always had in the history of the Church".

Q. But with the Lefevbrites there is also a problem of the acceptance of ecumenical dialogue…

"Yes, as a matter of fact there are difficulties with the interpretation of texts of the Council in this regard and with some concrete ecumenical procedures, but no bishop of the Society of St. Pius X will say that we don’t have to seek the unity of Christians."

Q: After the Motu Proprio have some of the Society of St. Pius X returned to communion with the Church of Rome?

"Yes, and others have desire to do so. But I hope that the whole group comes, I don’t want them to split up. [Interesting… he is sending a strong message that the identity of the Society, with its aspirations and reasons for existing, will be respect as such.  Interesting.] But if an single person comes and says he wants unity with the Pope right now, he must be accepted. The Motu Proprio also caused other people to approach us. For example, on 28 March, I received a letter from a bishop, not Catholic, who has decided to enter the Catholic Church with other bishops and priests who celebrate the Tridentine Mass".

Q. Don’t the new powers of "Ecclesia Dei" come into conflict with the ministry of bishops?  [This is, I think, the main cause of fear about Summorum Pontificum for many bishops.  It is about who has power.]

"The Pope, who has the authority over the whole Church, over every member of the the faithful and over bishops, has laid down new norms in the Motu Proprio, and the Pontifical Commission is only an instrument in service to the Vicar of Christ so that his decision can be implemented. "Ecclesia Dei" is attending to the implementation the Motu Proprio in fraternal harmony, understanding and collaboration with the bishops. Attitudes of conflict with shepherds on the part of people, groups or institutions, because of the Motu Proprio, must be avoided. Certainly the shepherds, in obedience to the Pope, will have some sympathy for those faithful who have a special love for the liturgical tradition. I’ve always found this sympathy in bishops who have gotten into contact with us."

Q. In the introduction to the reprint of the Compendio di Liturgia Pratica by Trimeloni [I looked at this book here.  This is much like Fortesque/O’Connell.  It is very thorough.  Trimeloni’s edition is somewhat revised, to reflect legislation subsequent to 1962.], you write that the Pope avails himself of the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei" because in the diversity of forms of worship the riches of the treasures of faith and spirituality of the Bride of Christ can shine forth. What do the difference between the liturgy of John XXIII and the one reformed by Paul VI consist of?

"Pope John included the liturgy also in his desire for a dialogue of the Church with contemporary culture. Paul VI gave coherence to the reforms born of this desire. [Which statement doesn’t really explain why there are so many divergent practices today which don’t, in fact, show authentic diversity of worship… but I digress…] The Holy Spirit, Who always accompanies the Church, inspires necessary changes in every moment of history, without violent rupture in the process of perfecting which He Himself has inspired in the course of history. With this Motu Proprio, Benedict XVI sharing the riches of the two phases of the process, also healing in this way, the hardship of all those who believed that the liturgical sphere there had been an unacceptable rupture."

Q. After the reformulation of the Good Friday prayer it was said there was a set back of 40 years in JewishiChristian dialogue. Were these criticisms expected?

"Isn’t it a good thing to pray for our brothers, the sons of Abraham? Abraham is the father of the faith, but in a salvific chain in which the Messiah was expected. And the Messiah arrived. In the Acts of the Apostles we read that, in one day, five thousand Jews converted. I am not challenging the prayer in the Novus Ordo, but I consider perfect the present prayer in the Extraordinary Rite. And I gladly pray for the conversion of my close Jewish friends, because I truly believe Jesus is the Son of God and the Saviour of all".

Vittoria Prisciandaro

 Great interview.

I am especially mindful of the comments His Eminence made about having a TLMin a parish on Sunday even if a very small number of people request it.  Really, this is hand in glove with having a TLM even if no one requested it.  I think that is what His Eminence is aiming at.  This is effectively what he said on the DVD made by the FSSP and EWTN, as I pointed out here:

The cardinal said that parishes and priests should make available the Extraordinary Form so that “everyone may have access to this treasure of the ancient liturgy of the Church.” He also stressed that, “even if it is not specifically asked for, or requested” it should be provided. Interestingly, he added that the Pope wants this Mass to become normal in parishes, so that “young communities can also become familiar with this rite.”

About the comment about Card. Bertone:  This could be some subtle pressure to hurry the process of getting the document out.  Some time ago during a visit to Ecclesia Dei, I asked about it and they told me that their part was done.   I don’t know if there have to be other revisions.  That is possible.  But this seems like a way of turning the heat up under the back burner.

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  1. Father Z,

    Do you know if Cardinal Hoyos celebrates the Extraordinary form or the Ordinary form on a daily basis?

  2. Prof. Basto says:

    Great interview indeed.

    And the definition of stable group (people can come together from different parishes and thereby become a stable group; if there are few people for ordinary form Mass then the priest shouldn’t deny the request for the TLM because the group is too small, etc.) is most welcome.

  3. Although this is pure speculation and is a moot point…If Cardinal Hoyos was in charge of the reconciliation back in 1988, I don’t think Archbishop Lefebvre ordains the four bishops.

  4. schoolman says:

    Music to our ears! The direction is clear — but this will still take some time to be fully realized…patience and generosity will be critical during the transition period. Things are happening…

  5. I am a little leery about the additional scriptures being added to the Extraordinary form. I believe it can be done and would be a good thing…but manner in which it was done in the Novus Ordo was too haphazard. And I would really hope that additional readings are added that they are NOT added as “Optional readings”. For anyone who has attended the Novus Ordo on a daily basis it can be a nightmare to follow with all of the “options”.

    It has also been mentioned that additional prefaces from the Novus Ordo could be added but I don’t like this idea either because honestly the prefaces in the Novus Ordo aren’t exactly works of art.

  6. Michael says:

    All in all, I\’d say a very positive interview. There were only two statemets that I found curious and a bit worrisome.
    1. \”In the Novus Ordo, over years, practically the whole Bible is read, and this is a treasure which shouldn’t be opposed to, but ought to be integrated in the extraordinary rite.\”

    The assertion here is that reading the entire Bible – during the liturgy – is a treasure that should be incorporated. While this sounds reasonable, it seems to me that it has not quite worked out that way. Are Catholics today more conversant in Scripture than they were 40 years ago? Do they have a greater understanding of Scripture? In my (granted, limited) experience, just the opposite is the case. Maybe its not the \”what\” though, but is the \”how\”. I sincerely hope that if more readings are incorporated into the traditional liturgy, it is done with more prudence and thought that appears to be the case with the Novus Ordo.

    2. The Holy Spirit, Who always accompanies the Church, inspires necessary changes in every moment of history, without violent rupture in the process of perfecting which He Himself has inspired in the course of history.

    This is, of course true, but I would really have liked the Cardinal to have mentioned some of the missing pieces. While it is true that the Holy Ghost \”inspires necessary changes\” it is also true that He will not force anyone to accept and embrace that inspiration. Similarly, it is also true that the Holy Ghost will allow men to make unnecessary and even detrimental changes. I can easily see some defenders of novelty using this statement as a cudgel to \”de-Catholicize\” those who object one partular novel change or another (Communion in the hand comes immediately to mind)

  7. gary says:

    “Oooo” indeed, Father! :-) The case against incorporating the OF lectionary into the EF is a strong one; it’s been made often on this site, and I won’t rehearse it now. By itself, “it really has to happen” isn’t a case at all, but such an assertion, if repeated often enough (along with plenty of “more is better”), could provide its own inevitability – it wouldn’t be the first time. I can only hope that Vatican ears will not be closed to the contra argument before a change this massive is made.

    The old thesis-antithesis-synthesis paradigm hasn’t lost its attraction, has it? Miserere nobis.

  8. Volpius says:

    “In the Novus Ordo, over years, practically the whole Bible is read,”

    I have heard it claimed that important parts of the Bible which are included in the Gregorian Rite are missing from the new rite is this not true?

    “and this is a treasure which shouldn’t be opposed to, but ought to be integrated in the extraordinary rite.”
    [Oooo… some people are not going to like that. But it really has to happen, eventually, in some way – who knows how.]”

    Why does it have to happen?

  9. Jordanes says:

    Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos said: “In the Novus Ordo, over years, practically the whole Bible is read”

    In fact that’s an exaggeration. A LOT more of the Bible is read in the reformed rite than in the pre-Vatican II rite, but it’s still nowhere near “practically the whole Bible.”

    Volpius said: I have heard it claimed that important parts of the Bible which are included in the Gregorian Rite are missing from the new rite is this not true?

    That’s not true. It’s safe to say that if a lesson appears in the old rite, it appears in the new rite. So, in that sense they are not mimssing from the new rite. However, what IS true is that there are several lessons and Gospel pericopes that used to be heard on Sundays, but are now heard only on weekdays (when most Catholics, even most Sunday-going Catholics, won’t ever hear them). I have especially noticed that during the Sundays of Easter this year. A traditional Gospel is no longer heard on Sunday, whether it is cycle a, b, or c — but you’ll find it on a weekend near the Sunday it used to be read on.

  10. ALL: The issue of how much Scripture is read is only a SIDE SHOW, to the real attraction in this interview.

    Far more important is the way Card. Castrillon speaks of the way the TLM should be implemented in parishes.

  11. Volpius says:

    The more and more I hear from Rome the more and more those nay sayers who said the MP would simply lead to Rome destroying the Ancient Rite by attempting a hegelian synthesis are been proved right, what is with this constant diabolical obsession with change and the making of all things new, it is the same spirit that produced the NO just in a more moderate form as it attempts the synthesis of the old and new.

  12. Sid Cundiff says:

    in a place where there are no priests the best option would be to offer a celebration according to the extraordinary rite in one of the parish Sunday Masses.

    This is indeed big news. The implications are major: one of the Sunday Mass ought to me EF! Granted, the proviso is “where there are no priests”, but the priest shortage is the present circumstance almost everywhere. Pray that a Sunday MEF becomes a normal circumstance everywhere!

  13. mike c says:

    God love the nit-pickers, because only He could. The scripyual readings is indeed a non-issue. There is supposed to be a 3 year cycle in the NewMass Gospels, whereas TrueMass has a fixed annual cycle which keeps repaeating. No one is suggesting sticking a Gospel passage into the Ordo as perhaps a 3rd Collect, or 2nd Offertory. It is the lectionary (Book of Gospels) which would be expanded. I see no problem with that. I cannot see mixing portions of mMtthew & John to produce a sunday “theme.”
    If Cdl. Hoyos recognizes that there are different cultures then it is not a leap in logic to state that since the two usages different so vastly in rubrics, theology, postures and music that these are not uses of the same Rite, but different rites – Roman (gregorian) and Vatican (NewMass). Therefore it would be legitimate to request a separate canonical structure such as have been created for the oriental Catholic churches.
    Finally, the bomb here is that NewMass be offered in a parish even if no one requests it (to hell with “stable groups”!)

  14. Martha says:

    It’s good to see that the Cardinal doesn’t throw out incendiary epithets like “rad trads”, even against those who question some teachings of VII. What a gentlemen!

  15. Joe says:

    Father Z and commenters, I have a question after reading the article.

    The American Catholic Church is blessed with many deacons (often erroneously called “permanent” and “transitional”) but no subdeacons outside of the fraternities with the traditional tonsure and holy orders. In the past the Solemn High mass was filled by multiple priests; SP has the potential to call for ordained subdeacons to serve at mass since it appears the Holy Father desires the EF be available and enrich every Roman rite parish. Not every parish can be expected to perform Solemn High masses often, but a few times a year such as the patron saint of the parish’s feast day, Holy days of Obligation and other significant days like Corpus Christi seems practical. It’d be fitting to have a subdeacon assist on such days. Instruction and formation is needed in the parishes for a proper transition to occur in the minds of Catholics that concelebration in the EF is “legal but rare.” Preventing multiple priests at an altar serving as ministers in the Sacrifice of the Holy Mass outside of their ordinary role in mass could prevent further confusion (i.e. Father Tom is celebrant but Fathers Peter and Mark are the deacon and subdeacon, respectively). I wonder if bishops and rectors are addressing this in the formation of seminarians. A friend of mine at the Mount said that the topic surfaces among the seminarians as the EF is brought up and the article brought it back to the fore of my mind.

    I think about the seminarians assigned a parish near their seminary to serve during the year and how wonderful it would be to have an actual subdeacon assist rather than a man additionally ordained to the major orders above subdeacon or a “straw subdeacon.”
    I acknowledge few subdeacons are assigned to the average American Catholic parish, but the question I pose, I believe, is still worth consideration. I look forward to the replies.

  16. God bless Cardinal Hoyos and Pope Benedict! This is truly good news.

  17. RBrown says:

    Although this is pure speculation and is a moot point…If Cardinal Hoyos was in charge of the reconciliation back in 1988, I don’t think Archbishop Lefebvre ordains the four bishops.
    Comment by Greg Hessel in Arlington Diocese

    NB: Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos is operating under a different pope and with the horizon of the Motu Proprio in the background.

  18. Fr W says:

    More scripture? Well, yes. But isn’t it ironic that the recitation of many psalms in Prayers at the Foot of the Altar and the Offertory prayers were all ommitted for Berakah prayers and homemade ones.

    The English translations also made sure that the sound of the scriptures were not heard in the Eucharistic prayers.

    the spirit was not so much love of scriptures, but rationalism. quantity, quanity, quantity.

  19. RBrown says:

    “With the Motu Proprio the Pope wanted to give everyone a renewed opportunity to take advantage of the enormous spiritual, religious and cultural riches in the liturgy of the Gregorian Rite.”

    Finally, someone in the Curia has begun to acknowledge that what happened 40 years ago was the systematic destruction of the Church of Gregory the Great.

  20. RBrown: the systematic destruction of the Church of Gregory the Great.

    Now we have someone with a theological-historical persective that goes beyong Vatican II actually to embrace also Late Antiquity and the Fathers of the Church!

  21. Wm. Christopher Hoag says:

    I find the reference to the classical usage as “Gregorian” to be intriguing!

    I have seen the EF referred to as the Frankish-Roman (or Gallo-Roman) Carolingian Rite in liturgiology.

    However, I have only seen it referred to as the Gregorian Rite (or Rite of St. Gregory) among the Orthodox, especially Western Orthodox who use a modified version that includes an epiclesis acceptable to Photian schismatics.

    Again, intriguing!

  22. gary says:

    “Side show” – fair enough, the lectionary is certainly not the main point of the interview. But when Cdl. Hoyos apparently calls for the integration of the OF readings into the EF, it does raise the eyebrows, especially since, as PKTP observes, mixing of the forms is forbidden by SP.

    With that, I’m out of the rabbit hole. Overall, a very provocative and encouraging interview. Thanks, Fr. Z, for the translation and commentary.

  23. Athanasius says:

    I think scripture can be added to the Traditional Liturgy, if done right. Particularly on the feasts of saints who have no proper liturgical propers and readings, but the common Masses for various saints.

    What I dislike is the constant reference to the fact the NO has the whole Bible. We know that is not true unless you have a conscientious priests who substitutes the readings on sin, damnation, judgment, and prayers for the dead back into the lectionary which have been taken out. I can read the whole Bible at home (and do), the question is, how much do we retain of the bible at the Novus Ordo compared to the Traditional Mass? Fr. Z’s comment hits it on the head. Even reading the Bible, the Fathers, etc. I think I have learned more about it after years of attendance exclusively at a TLM than I did from the first 8 years of my Catholic life at the Novus Ordo.

    Another objection is over the danger that separate and different celebrations can create separate communities…

    I do wish the fear of what will happen if we are separate will go away. I don’t think I’ll ever go to the Novus Ordo again, but I don’t view Catholics who do as unCatholic. Neither do my Byzantine friends who aren’t interested in going to a Traditional Mass or the Novus Ordo, who have their own lectionary and propers, feast days, etc. and are just as Catholic as we are and regard us the same.

  24. Peter Karl T. Perkins says:

    The Cardinal’s statements very much confirm points I have been arguing from the beginning on various weblists and blogs.

    First of all, as I conjectured regarding “idoneus” in Section 4 of Article 5 of “Summorum Pontificum”, the intent there is to ensure that, in regularly-scheduled parish Masses (note that this Article does NOT restrict not-regularly scheduled ‘private’ Masses as mentioned in Articles 2 and 4), the celebrant must know the general sense of the prayers of the Ordinary, such that his bishop can ensure this.

    That does not mean that the celebrant must be able to render an accurate translation of each word or phrase, only that he must know the general meaning and purpose of each prayer. The reason is that, in order to intend what the Church intends, he must know the purpose of each prayer.

    His bishop does have the right to ensure that he knows the general meaning of each prayer, and that he can pronounce the words reasonably well (for the benefit of the people present), and that he knows the rubrics.

    But why can the bishop not prevent a priest from being able to translate the propers? It is because a priest has a general right to celebrate EITHER Mass (N.O. or T.L.M.) in his proper lingua sacra. This is guaranteed by Canon 928. If the celebrant’s grasp of Latin is poor, that is the fault of his seminary and his bishop, since he was supposed to be trained in Latin (cf. “Optatam Totius”, e.g.)

    In fact, the celebrant is required to know of the meaning of the propers–other than the lections–, but only immediately prior to celebrating a particular Mass! For only then is it necessary for the celebrant to know these prayers in order to intend what the Church intends (not that this is about the intention needed to confect the Eucharist but because a Mass must also fulfil the four ends of prayer).

    So, then, what about the lections? Well, since every priest has a right to recite or repeat them in the vernacular, he needn’t know the meaning in Latin, unless he intends to recite them ONLY in Latin, which is one option. But since his bishop cannot require him to celebrate in Latin only, that bishop cannot require him to know the meaning!

    All of this points much better to where the P.C.E.D. is going in the interpretation of “idoneus”. Some bishops have, in a rotten spirit, said, “Latin exams for the lot of you! Time to get out your Cicero and your Seneca! Ha!”. The P.C.E.D. is saying, No way. A celebrant need only know the general meaning and purpose of each prayer, can, for practical reasons, only be tested on his understanding of the prayers of the Ordinary, and must be able to pronouce the words and follow the rubrics. Canon 928 guarantees that every priest has a right to celebrate Mass in his own lingua sacra, whether he uses the old Missal or the New one.

    Peter Karl T. Perkins | 05.09.08 | #


    Second point, on stably-existing groups. This also reflects what I have been arguing from the outset.

    First of all, a group need be no more than three people. That is its meaning according to the precedence of Canon Law.

    Secondly, a group can be stable even if consists of people who merely *intend* to worship in a certain parish and who live outside of it. I have been saying this very clearly from the beginning. To manifest this intention, however, I would advice that three or more of them sign a declaration to that effect.

    Thirdly, what limits access to the old Mass is never the size of a petitioning group per se but, rather, the pastoral needs of those attached to the New Mass. Since the New Masss is the normative liturgy in all territorial parishes (except those fo the Campos Apostolic Administration), rights arising from the New Mass have place of possession.

    If, given its human and other resources, and given limitations on sacred places and canonical hours, a parish cannot reasonably accommodate a group attached to the old Mass, access to it might be denied there, but it should be provided elsewhere in the diocese.

    New Masses taking precedence over the old would be (a) those having the right of possession from ongoing previous practice (i.e. established Masses) and (b) those needed for larger groups asking for additional new Masses.

    Peter Karl T. Perkins | 05.09.08 | #


    In regard to the non-Catholic bishops and priests coming across:

    First, could these be from the Polish National Church or the Old Catholic Church? They cannot be the TAC bishops because their petition dates from October of 2007. The P.N.C. seems to be more likely because conservatives there don’t like the liberal drift coming in that communion, I think.

    Secondly, I would suggest to His Eminence that now is the time for him to erect an exempt international and personal apostolic administration. It could be excluded from those countries where concordats disallow it; and various groups could be incorporated into it, while others could choose to work under its auspices in some places but not in others. It could also reconcile future groups of traditionalist and independent traditionalist chapels.

    Peter Karl T. Perkins | 05.09.08 | #


    Fourth, notice the Cardinal’s comments regarding stable groups. It there are inadequate priests [or other problems] which make it impossible or unreasonable to offer the old Mass in a certain parish, it should be offered elsewhere in the diocese. He is suggesting, first, that there should be at least one Sunday T.L.M. per diocese. Alleluia!

    The Cardinal’s comments also support what I have been saying over and over and over again (and which Fr. Zuhlsdorf has also declared, albeit more timidly, from the outset), which is that Section 1 of Article 5 is not restrictive. It informs us that, should there be a stable group of petitioners, the parish priest should offer the old Mass. But NOWHERE does it suggest that the same parish priest can proceed to offer it ONLY if a group petitions for this. Au contraire, a reading of Article 1 of S.P. together with Canon 837.1, combined with the parish priest’s celebret from his bishop, gives that parish priest the general right to offer the old Mass even if NOBODY requests it; indeed, even if there IS no group of supporters for it in his parish. The only restriction on him is that he must respect the reasonable need of parishioners to have access to the New Mass. That means that he cannot easily cancel or move the times of New Masses without consulting those who benefit from them; nor can he easily reject a petition from other parishioners for more New Masses to meet their needs.

    Lastly, a parish priest has the right to ‘fly in’ other priests who are available, not only active priests BUT ALSO RETIRED PRIESTS who are willing and able. Ultimately, the private priest is the final weapon of a parish priest against a bishop who is determined to proscribe the old Mass. The reason is that a retired priest has the right to celebrate according to EITHER Missal and cannot be prevented from celebrating at least once per day.

    Bishop Ramirez of Las Cruces, are you listening? Archbishop Jordan of Reims, Do you get it?


  25. I totally agree with Peter Karl T. Perkins on the interpretation of Summorum Pontificum.

    The “old” Mass is to be provided if a stable group requests it.

    Yes. It says “if”. It does not say “only if”.

    Now Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos is saying the same thing. In fact, he is going further.

    A priest should celebrate the “old” Mass even where no one requests it.

    I think we can say goodbye to the proviso that there has to be a “stable group”.

    This is what the clarification from Ecclesia Dei needs to address :

    You don’t need a stable group to celebrate the traditional Mass.

    Start by celebrating the traditional Mass and you’ll soon have a stable group.

    Why is the “stable group” so unimportant ?
    Precisely because the traditional Mass is for the whole Church, not one little group.

  26. Legisperitus says:

    “The Pope, who has the authority … over bishops…”

    It’s nice to hear someone from Rome say that explicitly! :-)

  27. Limbo says:

    Each day brings more good news – cartwheels of joy ! God Bless Pope Benedict XVI and Cardinal Castrillion Hoyos.

    Who knows one day (probably by 2045) this wonderful news may find it’s way to my diocese where a ‘conservative’ priest is one who trots off to Medujorie on a regular basis. :((((( !

  28. Romuleus says:

    All of this sounds really great; however, not to start trouble (or be a naysayer), but I am concerned about what type of celebration we will see at the local parish if the EF is celebrated every Sunday. Will we be treated with:

    1. The majority receiving Communion in the hand and refusing to kneel for Communion or receive on the tongue?
    2. Girl altar servers (in cassock and surplice)?
    3. Lay (including female) lectors?
    4. The choir up front near the altar leading us in the same hymns we have come to know (and despise)?
    5. Lay (including female) cantors? (In my former home parish, many of these seemed to be part-time nightclub singers …)?
    6. Will Sister Buffy chant the Epistle?

    One of the benefits of attending a “personal” parish that celebrates the EF exclusively is that you are praying with those who have the same liturgical sensibilities as you. In all the years of attending an Oratory under the care of the ICKSP, I have never seen one, not one, liturgical abuse. Do you know how wonderful that is?

    To place the EF in one of my local parishes invites the parish liturgical establishment of my “canonical” (local) parish to come out and try to sabotage the celebration of the EF with demands for all of the above to be incorporated.

    Any comments to mitigate my concern would be appreciated.

  29. mike c says:

    With regard to the posibility of abuse, the fact that TrueMass is celebrated according to the rubrics of the 1962 Missal prohibits, not suggests that women are barred from the sanctuary, unless a bride in a nuptial ceremony or an enrolled member of a canonically erected Altar Society. Laics are not permitted in choir, unless they take the place of a clericxal schola, whose function is to chant the Propers and Ordinary of the Mass. A layman may be used as a straw “subdeacon” if a cleric is not available. So, no altar girls, altar hags, no lectors, no saccharin hymns. A simple announcement from the pulpit that in this rite Communion is to be received while kneeling and on the tongue, unless handicapped should suffice.
    In case after all that, abuses do occur,a letter to PCED with a copy to the pastor and bishop should suffice.

  30. I have had to remove some comments. Please, dear readers, don’t dominate the combox with very long, multiple messages. That kills discussion.

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