A comment from Card. Castrillon about the “Instruction” on Summorum Pontificum

The other day our friend John Sonnen reported with photos about the Pontifical TLM celebrated at Santa Maria degli Angeli in Rome celebrated by Dario Card. Castrillon Hoyos of the P.C. Ecclesia Dei.

Subsequent to the wonderful Mass Italian journalist Bruno Volpe has interviewed Card. Castrillon.  Among the tidbits revealed, His Eminence speaks about the clarificatory instruction about Summorum Pontificum.

Also, the Cardinal continues to refer to the older rite as the venerable "Gregorian rite".  He also speaks very well of Fr. Nicola Bux.

In his recent wonderful book, the noted liturgist and theologian Fr. Nicola Bux underscored the pressing necessity of rediscovering the sense of the sacred in Mass.  Does [the Cardinal] share that? "The Liturgy in itself must aim at the sacred.  I esteem Fr. Bux, but what he says is at the basis of a good celebration."

Finally: the by now famous Instruction on the Motu Proprio which freed up the Mass according to the old Roman Rite, … a what point is it?  "In the Pope’s hands, now it’s his business.  Let’s trust in the Pope’s wisdom."


I am getting to the point where I am not sure I really want the "Instruction".

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Jeff Pinyan says:

    Father, I am afraid I don’t understand your last sentence. I am getting to the point where I am not sure I really want the “Instruction”. What do you mean?

    Puzzled in Princeton.

  2. Cory says:

    I believe Fr. Z is thinking that the Instruction may in fact be a tool for some confusion rather than to clarify Summorum Pontificum.

  3. Brian Mershon says:

    Father Z, Why?

    Perhaps we won’t like some of the answers that will be outlined as “norms”?

  4. Terth says:

    Hopefully the instruction will say: For over a year now certain Shepards of the Holy Church have run at the sound of barking wolves when the naysayers have criticized the Extraordinary Form of Holy Mass. No longer – [insert language that says “I want this form of the Holy Mass everywhere.”].

  5. EJ says:

    I’m happy that it’s in the Pope’s hands and I for one trust fully in his wisdom. I forget the liturgical instruction (still in the late days of Pope John Paul II) of the CDW that was significantly dumbed down after portions of it were leaked to the media, and liberals in the Curia and others had time to cry foul. If the Holy Father resisted the enormous pressure against Summorum Pontificum, I am sure that we can trust him of all people.

  6. schoolman says:

    I think its unrealistic to look to an “instuction” as a solution to all of our frustrations. It may help move things along – but this is a reform that will take a generation or two to be fully realized.

  7. Jeff Pinyan says:

    Corythe Instruction may in fact be a tool for some confusion rather than to clarify Summorum Pontificum.

    I was about to get all uppity and say, “Why in God’s name would Pope Benedict give us such a confusing Instruction?”

    But then the gears in my head started working. (It’s almost 4:00 PM, I might add…) ;)

    Are you (and Father Z) perhaps implying that the document which was given to the Pope is being delayed because it is of poor quality?

  8. chironomo says:

    There are several reasons why the “instruction” could be delayed, even once in the Pope’s hands. Perhaps, as suggested above, it is not quite what Benedict wanted and he is taking the time needed to make corrections. Perhaps it is everything he wanted, but there are preparations that need to be made before releasing it (recall the delays in the MP for the same reason). What if it DID, in fact, say that the point is to celebrate the TLM in every parish? Wouldn’t that require some preparation? I think that’s unlikely, but there are other provisions it could make that would require some “seeding the ground” before release.

    I doubt seriously that, whatever it ends up being, that any provision in it would restrict what Benedict very obviously wants de-restricted. It could very well be quite mundane, simply defining terms and clarifying some points of confusion regarding number of persons required to petition, etc… the best course of action is to just keep doing what’s being done and carry on. Time will tell.

  9. A year ago I felt a desperate yearning for the clarifying “instruction” to be released. But my sense is that Benedict’s strategy is working so well that the “instruction” –whatever its content — may no longer be needed. Maybe he feels the same way.

    I don’t mean that the over-the-hill gang who’ve always opposed the TLM are now embracing it. They never will. Who would want them to? That is, who wants to see the TLM celebrated by a priest who really doesn’t like it?

    But almost all young priests and seminarians are getting ready, and they’re a force that can’t be stopped. Nor do I think they’ll ever experience the opposition the preceding generation of orthodox young priests faced.

    Already TLM’s are popping up in parishes and diocese where a year ago they would not have been expected. The announcement of a weekly TLM in a typical round-church suburban parish is not the big (and perhaps unwanted) news it may have been just months ago.

    Just 15 months ago, the first solemn high Mass on global Catholic television (EWTN) seemed an epoch-making event. Now they occur with little or no comment. No big deal.

    Perhaps the most significant indicator is the “acceptance” the TLM in mainstream Catholic publications. For instance, below (for context) is a sampling of the articles in the December 2008 issue of the Liguorian magazine that Father Z has posted at



    His Gospel will be proclaimed on most Sundays in 2008

    With a touch of humor, the author describes the events that prompted her to help someone less fortunate.


    The author reflects on our “return to the future” with the decision of Pope Benedict XVI to remove the restrictions on celebrating Latin Mass.

    Truly, that last one is the bottom line. The handwriting is on the wall. Sure, I’d like to see a solemn papal Mass broadcast from St. Peter’s, but I don’t know what more another papal document might accomplish.

    Incidentally, the pictures in the Liguorian article are posted a bit more visibly at http://www.knoxlatinmass.net/newsletter.htm, having stemmed from our Knoxville Latin Mass Community web site.

  10. Geoffrey says:

    Why does His Eminence keep on using the term “Gregorian Rite” while His Holiness used the term “Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite”? I thought we finally had some official terminology in Summorum Pontificum! “Gregorian Rite” makes it sound that it is at odds with the “Roman Rite”, and is another rite entirely.

  11. Maureen says:

    Given how many folks who post here are just too set in their ways to call it the EF (And why shouldn’t they be? Language does what it wants when it wants it), I’m not surprised that a cardinal would be equally set in his ways.

  12. Cory says:

    Jeff, that is what I am implying. I’m not so sure what Fr. Z’s reasons are, but it is my feeling that Pope Benedict XVI wants to make sure that the document is so clear that not even the most liberal bishop or priest can construct an argument against the EF.

  13. Matt Q says:

    Perhaps it could be understood that the longer it takes for the “Instructions” to be issued, the more ineffectual it may be due to the fact it’s been sat on for so long that it would no longer really be able to address the issues and problems created by ill-willed bishops and priests trying to instigate their repression of the Tridentine Mass and the followers who desire it.

  14. I almost forgot there was supposed to be an instruction on SP…My only thinking of the delay is that the Pope is trying to put it into terminology such as the following: 1. There must be a daily Mass offered in the EF as well as on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation. This does not mean only one EF Mass can be offered publicly a day…

  15. ED says:

    I think the use of the name GREGORIAN RITE is very significant it could be the blockade that keeps the liberals from trying to mix the two rites. [Interesting.] If there is only one rite with both Ordinary and extraordinary how long will it be before experimenting will begin? If the rite has its own name they may not be able to superimpose the ordinary rite parts on it. Since Cardinal Hoyos says its called this in the VATICAN, it may be a way the Pope is hinting that they cant be mixed.

  16. Daniel says:

    I doubt that the Instruction will do a great deal to advance the TLM. Bishops and priests who support the TLM don’t require the Instruction. Bishops and priests who have for decades ignored the TLM as well as Summorum Pontificum (since July 2007) will simply ignore the Instruction.

    The Instruction would shake the Church only if the Holy Father expresses forcefully his supposed desire (according to Cardinal Castrillion) that the TLM be offered at each parish.

    Far more powerful than the Instruction is the fact that many, not all (let’s not kid ourselves, it’s far from all), but many seminarians and young priests wish to offer the TLM. During the next 10, 20+ years, they will take charge of dioceses and parishes and will offer the TLM.

    We are many, many long years away from the TLM being part of more than a couple of parishes in a given diocese. But 10 to 20 years from now, perhaps as much as 10 percent of parishes will offer the TLM.

    That would represent major growth from where we are. Let’s be realistic in that the TLM is a long way from being accepted as a Mass to be offered regularly.

  17. Mark says:

    “Gregorian rite” is significant because it identifies the Missal of Blessed John XXIII with the ancient Roman Rite, reformed by St. Gregory the Great. The term tells us that it is not just medieval, but ancient. The term seems also to suggest that there is something novel about the Ordinary Form, as it is not referred to as the “Gregorian rite.” Both forms have Roman roots, but there is an unprecedented shift in post-conciliar reform.

  18. GOR says:

    Father’s comment about the ‘Instruction’ also made me think. While we would like everything clarified and issues addressed, the instruction could also generate more controversy and endless hair-splitting. Do we want more interminable discussions along the lines of “ineffable” and “gibbet”…?

    Hardly. The Holy Father has set the process in motion – and it is working! Rome wasn’t built in a day…

  19. Maureen: Given how many folks who post here are just too set in their ways to call it the EF (And why shouldn’t they be?

    Several earlier threads that delineated the difference between a name or identifier on the one hand, and a description or classification on the other hand.

    The name of the old Mass in question — what you call it — is the Tridentine Mass, the traditional Latin Mass, etc.

    But the key to Benedict\’s \”bringing it back\” on equal footing with the new Mass was to declare that, for juridical purposes, they would be regarded as two forms of the same rite, so that the validity of one would carry over to the other. Thus the term \”extraordinary form\” is not really its name, but rather a description of its juridical status or classification.

    The following sentence illustrates the correct usage of both the name and the description:

    The traditional Latin Mass is the extraordinary form of the Roman rite.

    Admittedly, in my own numerous posts here — as well as at my own site — I often, for variety, use \”extraordinary form\” as a name. E.g. saying \”Those who attend the extraordinary form … .\” But we blogsperts might as well know the difference, even if we don\’t always observe it carefully.

  20. ED: I think the use of the name GREGORIAN RITE is very significant it could be the blockade that keeps the liberals from trying to mix the two rites.

    This is interesting.

    However, the Holy Father said in Summorum Pontificum that there is one Roman Rite in two forms or uses.

    Of course I have said all along that that is a a JURIDICAL solution to the problem of how to make sure all Latin priests have faculties. That does not resolve any of the theological or liturgical/historical questions.

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