Video interview with the Secretary of the Pont. Comm. “Ecclesia Dei”

On Gloria.TV there is an interesting video interview with the Secretary of the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei”, Msgr. Guido Pozzo, about many matters concerning the SSPX, the talks with the Holy See, and the traditional form of the Roman Rite.  The questions are displayed in English in text and then Msgr. Pozzo responds in Italian.  There are English subtitles.

Give it a few minutes of your time.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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


  2. merrydelval says:

    My favourite professor at the Gregorian! How wonderful to see him in action again. This video is very important, I think, because it gives clear indication of where the Vatican is when it comes to the liturgy.

  3. AnAmericanMother says:

    This is most impressive. Well worth watching the whole thing.

  4. Indeed, the video is impressive, and the English subtitles are well-done, but Gloria TV has also posted a full English transcript of the interview.

  5. joanofarcfan says:

    I hope the combining of the forms he speaks of happens long after I am dead and gone.

  6. Centristian says:

    I appreciate Msgr. Pozzo’s obervations concerning a future form of the liturgy that blends elements of the ordinary form with elements of the extraordinary form. This “tertium quid” that I pray will not take a lifetime to emerge has been discussed on this very blog in the past. I, personally, would be content to see the Mass of Paul VI celebrated with the traditional ars celebrandi that are always seen in the extraordinary form of Mass, ad orientem, with the Eucharistic Prayer in Latin. I don’t think it is so radical to propose that Mass be celebrated, universally, in a Catholic way. That isn’t even a “tertium quid” really, just an adjustment of the way we approach the “secundum quid”.

    Some traditionalists assail the notion of a hybrid liturgy, worried that such a development will represent the death knell of the “EF”. I don’t think those Catholics who are attached to the pre-Conciliar forms need to feel threatened, however, as that discussion really involves a reform of the ordinary form of the Mass and the way in which it is typically celebrated.

    Summorum Pontificum means that the pre-Conciliar forms are preserved, but the conversation about a “hybrid” Mass means that opposite (or alongside) the extraordinary form will no longer be this unfortunate thing that many of us lament and that traditionalists despise, but something much more like the pre-Conciliar liturgy than most Catholics ever imagined possible with the liturgy of Pope Paul VI. Such a reimagining of the ordinary form of Mass means that the “OF” and the “EF” would no longer be miles apart, no longer wholly dissimilar to one another, but rather like one another. Such a development would be something to rejoice in, not to fear. I say bring it on.

    Monsignor Pozzo points out that liturgical development is something that happens over time and not something to be carried out “at a desk.” Reforms to the reform will not happen overnight, therefore, but will develop as the Christian people “mature.” I would, however, like to know what Monsignor Pozzo believes will bring about this “maturation” of the Christian people. Not to sound cynical, but I don’t see that in the cards, really. I see the opposite happening, in fact. I see Christians and the Church becoming ever more immature, and it seems to me that our immature public worship is hugely responsible for the current immaturity of the Christian Church.

    I think Monsignor Pozzo has it reversed. I think a reform of the way the ordinary form of the liturgy is presented to us precedes and eventually fosters the maturity of the People of God.

  7. asperges says:

    What an eye-opener. First, a much more positive view of the the SSPX talks and, I suspect more realistic than the doom being spread over the Internet. Then the sort of admission which we would never have heard before: that the NO is largely celebrated in a way not at all conceived of by Paul VI. I am sure this is right, but the problem with the reforms is that they HAVE been misinterpreted and abused and in a sense there comes a point where repairing the damage is much more difficult than scrapping a fundamentally bad model. If this was a car that kept pulling to the left or wouldn’t go up hills, I know what I would do…

    Then Mgr then goes on to explain (in relationship to the acknowledged widespread opposition to the old liturgy) how profoundly there has been no proper liturgical formation for years amongst clergy or people and that many clergy have simply seem the reforms as a framework for their own “creativity” and – YES – to them the novus ordo was a positive break from the EF. No wonder they cannot swallow the concept of “continuity” which is the last things they want to hear after decades of preaching the contrary.

    Finally there is hope of some sort of enrichment between rites for the future but that it will not be worked out quickly “at a desk.” There is a saying that a zebra is really a horse conceived by a committee. If ever there was a rite conceived by a committee it must have been the NO.

    All this is very heartening and shows what enormous progress has been made by this liturgically-minded Pope. Alas, the bad situation has been allowed to drag on so long under Paul VI’s successors until now. If only this sort of frankness and determination to pull the ends together had been tackled in the 70s and 80s we could all have been spared so much unhappiness and so many more souls could have been saved.

  8. mrose says:

    Churchmen have gotten the Latin Church into a most bizarre situation with the so-called reform of Bugnini, Paul VI, and co. Liturgy by committee is a most egregious novelty in the entire history of Christianity (minus the Protestants of course), and so it would represent a rupture even if the content of the novus ordo wasn’t indicative of a rupture. How bizarre that the “solution” may come through more liturgy-by-committee…

    I appreciated Msgr. Pozzo’s clear and frank responses to questions, his recognition of the benefits of the usus antiquor that go beyond how one can simply decorate the n.o. (Latin, chant, etc.). I do, however, find it incredible that he of all people thinks the actual texts of the Pauline rite represent no rupture. Incredible. I understand that even if he thought or suspected so, he may not quite be at liberty to say such things in so public a setting. That being said, I think if one recognizes the ridiculousness of how the Pauline rite is celebrated in many places (as Msgr. Pozzo explicitly affirms in the interview), one might recognize that their are certain factors in the rite and its rubrics that lend themselves toward such things (even if they aren’t actually condoned). And that does not even get to the perhaps trickier issues of rupture in the portions of the Pauline rite not plauged by option-itis, etc. (i.e. redefinition of the mysterium fidei, offertory, text of the confiteor).

  9. anilwang says:


    My own take on “maturation” is simple.

    If the Church offers nothing more than what can be provided by a secular organization, the Church will become irrelevant. This can repeatedly been seen in Protestant circles. Anyone that sees the Church as only “great music”, “good preaching”, “fellowship”, and “community service” can find much better examples of all these outside the Church in the secular world. Any musician worth his salt will tell you that most music on Christian Radio (which forms the music of many “with it” Protestant denominations”) is a poor imitation of popular music and often just copies popular music and replaces any reference to “the opposite sex” with God. Many conservative Christians wonder why they need to go through the bother of going to Church at all. After all, you can sing wonderful songs (better than what you’d hear at your parish), listen to fantastic podcasts (better the sermons at your local parish), and fellowship with “less annoying people” at your home and volunteer on your own time.

    The treads, repeatedly re-enforced by survey after survey, are clear. Any mass which does not rise above secularism will die off due to superior secular competition, and the dying off that people who hang on to the Church for periphery reasons (i.e family and nostalgia).

    So from a purely natural law perspective maturation is inevitable. The only question is, how big will the Church be? Will the Church be able to draw those at its borders to maturity, and thus continue to grow, or will the broader church remain immature and eventually fall away, leaving only a remnant of the faithful to carry on with the faith

  10. puma19 says:

    Gratias Fr Z for placing this video on the blog. How fascinating and insightful into the old and new of the Roman rite.
    Three quotes struck me from the interview:
    1. ‘The collapse of the liturgy’
    2.’Wild creativity’ that has occured since 1968
    3. ‘Reunification of the two forms’ of the liturgy.
    I was especially struck by the honesty here, and about time too, of the Msgr and his acknowledgment that the the liturgy ‘had collapsed’. Indeed that’s what so many catholics believe has happened since the Council decree on the liturgy and it aligns with point 2, that of the
    ‘wild creativity’ that has taken place acrosss the catholic world. We have seen abominable forms of litrugy, from the dances, the music, the language, the self promotion, the outrageous vestments, the lack of the sacred. It has been an exploit in creativity that perhaps Dali and Picasso could never have achieved in their own spheres.
    That is why the interview was so enlightening and I wish more bishops and cardinals had been so adroit and straighforward on this years ago. So many bishops, sadly, have let the liturgy ‘go off the radar’ and that has been a total tragedy.
    No 3 on the reunification of the two forms is also a fascinating point he makes. I have often why the label ‘the Extraordinary’ form the Mass is put on the Latin liturgy. After all this was the norm and way of the Church for centuries. Suddenly it became extra- ordinary!! Why cannot we just have a latin lirturgy and a vernacular liturgy which express the one and same eucharistic sacrifice? I love Latin. I was brought up in latin classes for 6 years ar school and have never regretted it. I have studied philosoophy and theology and the great Aquinas, whose intellect and latin arguments are amazing and so solid.
    There needs to be a reunification. The Monsignor was spot on and it was a magnficient interview.
    Thanks again Fr Z for putting it on here.

  11. Jbuntin says:

    Father, this is one of the many reasons I stop by WDTPRS daily. I would have never run across this if you hadn’t posted it.
    I probably will not experience the meshing of the EF and the OF in my life time but I can almost taste how wonderful it will be.
    Until then I will attend the EF as long as I can.

  12. Alan Aversa says:

    Thesis + antithesis = synthesis?
    How about: Thesis destroys anti-thesis = thesis,
    where thesis = EF & antithesis = OF ?

    It is good he noticed the “wild creativity” immediately after the introduction of the Novus Ordo, but what does he think caused it? I really wonder if he’s read the Ottaviani Intervention.

  13. cyrillist says:

    Central to the question of how a “hybrid” Mass could be brought about is the question of how God may best be worshipped. A primary assumption behind the formulation of the Novus Ordo was that the TLM needed to be reformed, that it was lacking in some way. The only way in which a legitimate synthesis of the NO and the TLM could take place would be to retain the best from both, abandoning that which is deficient in either.

    Any discussion of a possible “hybrid” must presuppose the highest manifestation of both rites/forms, such that each is celebrated with a maximum of reverence and adherence to its rubrics, i.e., no clown Masses on the one hand, no mumbled rapid-fire Latin on the other. If the manner of worship embodied in the NO is superior in all respects to that of the TLM, then it would have been indeed fitting and proper for the TLM to have been abolished in its favor. If the opposite is the case, then the rationale for the NO’s very existence falls to the ground.

    What must be avoided at all costs would be a false sense of “fairness,” that a strict equality must be maintained between the contributory factors from each rite/form, regardless of the quality of these factors. The worship of God must be given of our very best, regardless of the tastes and preferences of those tasked with the responsibility of making liturgical decisions for the universal Church, and utmost efforts must be made by all involved parties to rise above such individual tastes and preferences, even though the results may not be to their liking.

    I personally believe that the inevitable result of such honest, strenuous and prayerful efforts at objectivity would be the reinstatement of the TLM as it existed before the Holy Week reforms of 1955 (with changes which may possibly be inspired to actually increase its degree of reverence), and the wholesale abandonment of the NO. (And in the interest of full disclosure, I must acknowledge that such a result would be completely in line with my own tastes and preferences!)

  14. Frankly, I have no great problem with the authentic text of the Novus ordo, except in one area: the offertory rite and prayers. Whoever imposed this didn’t have their liturgical head screwed on tightly. Small wonder that so many clergy do this portion silently. Why not restore the more ancient prayers, at least as an option?

  15. I would also like to see prayers at the foot of the altar returned to their rightful place, and reserve the seated position to after the Collect.

  16. Mariana says:

    Very good. Nice sense of humour, too.

  17. jjfxg says:

    great interview, thanks for posting this one, Fr. Z.

  18. leonugent2005 says:

    In the reunification of both forms which lectionary would be used? I’ve heard a great deal of venom and hatred spewed at this new lectionary.

  19. Hooksdoc says:

    Msgr Pozzi is a tad disingenuous. He was born on 26/12/1951, and was almost 18 when the NO mass was introduced in November, 1969. He had no involvement in ‘the celebration’ of the Mass, before his ordination in 1977; is he coyly saying for the first 18 years of his life he didn’t attend Mass on Sundays? The story of his conversion might be an interesting read, as his subsequent seminary training and priestly life devoted to and inspired by the NO mass is contemporaneous with my personal battle to accept this ‘mass of potage’, and its ultimate failure, only to be saved by the restoration of the Mass in our diocese by the FSSP.

  20. jeff says:

    To me it seems misplaced to raise the question now of what will happen if such difficulties were to be considered serious, insurmountable. At this time there is no such problem.

    “Misplaced” to even ask about an SSPX refusal??? This guy is much more in the “know” than the multitude of self proclaimed experts on the issue. I’ll take this to mean that the SSPX’s reunification with Holy Mother Church is all-but signed, sealed and delivered.

    Give thanks to the LORD for he is good! His mercy endureth for ever!

  21. Maltese says:

    A hybrid mass would be akin to mixing water with an aged cabernet; the more novus ordo you put in the weaker and less tasteful the wine.

  22. leonugent2005 says:

    Jesuits and Franciscans have made wonderful bishops. How soon can we expect the SSPX to be providing bishops for our diocese?

  23. Msgr. Pozzo is admirably diplomatic in the way he frames the current situation WRT the liturgy of the Roman Rite.

    Even though he was very careful to draw distinctions between the OF properly celebrated and the creativity that has been unduly forced upon it, Msgr. Pozzo’s comments make it clear that liturgical abuse is not the sole matter of concern with regard to the Novus Ordo Missae.

    In sum what he is saying is that while the OF Mass possesses by virtue of its essence a sacrificial character, a degree of sacredness and the promise of an encounter with the Divine, it is inferior to the EF of the rite in its outward signs and the degree to which this reality is expressed and experienced by God’s People.

    In other words, even when celebrated “by the book” the OF represents a liturgical step backward since rather than making the underlying reality of the liturgy more explicitly present to God’s People (as compared to the traditional rite) it actually serves to obscure it in some measure.

    Many people would argue this assessment, but at the risk of coming off as arrogant, it seems to me that the majority of those who would are largely the unwitting victims of the “reform” such as we’ve known it; i.e., thanks to all that has been stated above, we now have among us entire generations of Catholics that have no blessed idea what has been taken away.

  24. wolfeken says:

    Excellent point, Louie Verrecchio. And this is precisely why the reform-of-the-reform movement has largely failed and been replaced with the Summorum Pontificum movement.

    Even if the novus were offered in Latin, facing liturgical east, with beautiful vestments including a biretta and maniple, with male-only acolytes, with Gregorian chant and sacred polyphony, with the actual Canon, with communion kneeling on the tongue at a rail from priests, etc., it is still miles apart from the traditional Latin Mass. There are dozens of things that cannot be done with the novus ordo, and there are dozens of things that must be done with the novus ordo, all etched in GIRM and 1969/2011 calendar stone.

    If the solution to the liturgical crisis were to simply enforce a pure and dressed up novus ordo missal, then the reform-of-the-reform movement would have taken off. Obviously it hasn’t. Rather, the solution is a return to the traditional Latin mass — not some sort of crazy hybrid just to say we paid homage to the novus ordo. The novus ordo is a bulk of the problem — it cannot be a part of the solution.

    I sense that even those who don’t attend an SSPX chapel are thankful that the SSPX is carrying the water on these and other matters lately. We should pray for them as they do this important heavy lifting (as well as for Vatican officials meeting with them). Ultimately we are all going to benefit from their bravery.

  25. “Rather, the solution is a return to the traditional Latin mass — not some sort of crazy hybrid just to say we paid homage to the novus ordo. The novus ordo is a bulk of the problem — it cannot be a part of the solution.”

    The problem is that the route back to the traditional Mass must start with the Novus Ordo, because that’s what the Mass for 99% of Catholics is now, and no surgical replacement of the Novus Ordo will be thinkable in the foreseeable future. Too bad we have to start where we are, rather than simply going back forty years and starting over at the fork of the road where the wrong branch was taken.

    Perhaps what we can hope for is that — while the OF is “reformed back” — the EF remains a stable target for the reform of the reform, with minimal organic development (like adding Padre Pio to the calendar, etc.)

  26. AnAmericanMother says:

    Henry Edwards,
    Exactly. As C. S. Lewis said, “The spell must be unwound, bit by bit, ‘with backward mutters of dissevering power’ – or else not.”
    He was quoting Milton, but he’s still right.

  27. romavideo says:

    This has probably been addressed before elsewhere. Nevertheless:

    What is to prevent, should some “third form” be invented or evolved, for there to exist three different forms of the Mass? The justification, or part of it, for the EF in Summorum Pontificum was that (paraphrase) “what the Church once considered holy, it still does, and cannot be said to be harmful.” Won’t that have the double effect of applying to the present OF, and, if so, is it really possibility for there to return uniformity to the Roman Rite?

  28. Bea says:

    Copied down as much as I considered pertinent. Wish there was a place to get a print-out of his interview. Is there one Fr. Z?

    I know a couple of priests who need to see this.


  29. moon1234 says:

    I doubt there will ever be a return or a true reform. We will soon have an Anglican use to add to the Eastern Divine Liturgy, Syrian Use, etc. The EF will simply fall into this category.

    I have to agree with the previous poster that we need to return to 1955 and get rid of all of the tinkering with Holy Week. Even the NO chucked most of Buggnini’s Holy Week changes. At THAT point we could see additions of saint’s, calendar updates, etc. THAT would be natural organic development in the liturgy.

    Sadly I don’t think it will ever happen. The SSPX is, for many traditional Catholics, an oasis in a sea of uncertanity. Even in EF parishes at the diocese level there are changes that are not traditional, yet still use. Simple things like replacing real candles with plastic fake candles that burn wax, using CCD texts that are less than traditional or proper to form a young soul, etc. These are little things, but they are still things that you would NOT find in an SSPX chapel.

    I would love to have the stability of a Mass that was the same my whole life. To never have to worry what the next liturgical innovation was. To go on vacation and not have to worry what whacky thing my kids will be exposed to at Mass. To not have to worry about finding people in spaghetti straps and normal street clothes at Mass.

    All of these things, while in themselves insignificant, add up to little niggles that push one towards the SSPX and “stability”. I sure hope that they are regularized and soon.

  30. moon1234 says:

    Simple things like replacing real candles with plastic fake candles that burn wax,

    That should have said DON’T burn wax, rather oil.

    I would LOVE to have an edit button for some of my posts.

  31. RobertK says:

    Well on Friday Oct 7, 2011 the talks start. We will see. I think the SSPX will be organised like the Anglican Use. They will be under Rome and not the local Bishops and Archdioceses. I think this will be a requirement. so that nothing can stand in their way of continuing their liturgical life and spirituality. I wonder if the FSSP and other traditional orders, may get a similar structure in the future, if this gets signed.

  32. RobertK says:

    With actions like this still taking place it wouldn’t surprise me one bit if they refuse. Please watch this. This is why they seem to be not to optimistic Fr.Z. A perfectly good priest relocated for being Catholic, by his Bishop. Where is the justification in this?!!

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