More thoughts about upcoming Pont. Comm. “Ecclesia Dei” document or suppression

I’ve been thinking quite a bit about the implications of a new Motu Proprio by which the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei” might be suppressed because the “pastoral emergency” for which it was created is no long present.  It’s brief would, mostly, I suppose, be absorbed by the CDF.  I wrote about it also HERE.

Earlier I wrote about implications for the religious communities under the PCED and about issues like the calendar.  I wasn’t terribly positive about those elements, since other congregations would probably have to get involved.  Not only too many cooks, but not very good cooks.

However, it is a good idea to turn the sock inside out once in a while.

Mind you, this is my speculation based on careful sources sparked by rumor.

What if the text of the Motu Proprio, founded on the idea that the “pastoral emergency” is no longer urgent, instead of being negative, winds up to be positive?

What if Francis surprises everyone as he did when he – admittedly in an oddly non juridical way – made it possible for people to be validly absolved by SSPX priests and then provided for the proper witnessing of marriages with valid form?  Could there be something else in the Motu Proprio regarding them which could make the PCED’s brief less pressing?

I admit that I am now rather conditioned to suspect anything that comes from this pontificate, given the cast of characters involved at various levels.  It is a sad development.  Once upon a time, when I heard that a document was coming, I would look forward to it and, when it arrived, dig to find the gold.  These days, I dread every rumor of a document and, when it comes, I look for the bad rather than the good.  I don’t like this situation.

Hence, I’ll put it out there: if the “pastoral emergency” is over, then what could this mean?

First, consider that in the 10 years from the promulgation of Summorum Pontificum the number of places where the older Mass is in use has exploded, especially in these USA.  Here the number went from some 50 to some 500.

Next, the number of priests saying the older form is increasing with every ordination.

Next, the number of bishops saying the older form is increasing every year.  We now hear of Pontifical Masses all over the place.  Unthinkable 10 years ago.

Next, the number of vocations entering traditional communities is up.  The number of newly ordained for dioceses who say their First Mass in the traditional form is up.

There are positive indications.  It would be extremely foolish to try to suppress this movement now.  The numbers are up and attempts to suppress would fuel huge resistance.

So, maybe the Motu Proprio will be positive rather than negative.

Perhaps it will acknowledge that – with the passing of a pastoral emergency – what is going on is now main stream.

I have several sources of thin information about the document, and I am starting to think that my knee-jerk reaction was in the wrong direction.

Mind you, this is my speculation based on careful sources sparked by rumor.

Please, friends, pray to St. Joseph, the Church’s great Guardian and beautiful builder, to guide the release of the new document.

Moderation queue is ON.


See Edward Pentin on this.  HERE

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    Edward Pentin has a piece over at the National Catholic Register with yesterday’s date that seems to take a cautiously hopeful view, similar to yours, Fr. Z.
    Let’s storm heaven with our prayers for a good outcome here.

  2. Hidden One says:

    His Holiness has a history, going back before his election as Sovereign Pontiff, of favouring the SSPX in situations in which this has not been expected of him.

    Elsewhere I have lately read–I know not the reliability of that report–that the SSPX is not presently in favour of the continuance of the PCED and would rather negotiate directly with the Jesuit Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith than continue doing what has hitherto been done.

    I really do believe that Pope Francis desires full reconciliation with the SSPX and that his desire is authentically for the spiritual gain of the Society and of the Church, not a desire to gain control of the Society and to destroy it, as some have supposed over the years.

    If Pope Francis sees the suppression of the PCED and a realignment of its responsibilities in a particular direction as conducing toward an improved relationship with the SSPX, then it should be no surprise when he brings this about.

    What would surprise me greatly (and pleasantly) is if the people who quite publicly seem to believe that the present pope is out to destroy the Church give a positive interpretation to whatever it is that is coming and give Pope Francis whatever credit he would rightly be due. This document could be the occasion of the revelation of the true thoughts of many hearts within so-called “traditional circles” online.

  3. monstrance says:

    And yes,
    There has been a positive influence on the Novus Ordo.
    Moving to ad orientum and to communion rails, chant, etc….

  4. teomatteo says:

    Less Thoughts on The Upcoming “ecclessia dei” document. My misplaced unreliable non -sources thinks that it will send decisions on implimentation to bishops,conferences. (A good laugh for our blog director)

  5. SPWang says:

    Would it be possible that the SSPX would be bought ‘back in’? Therefore no longer needing the PCED.

  6. TonyO says:

    that the SSPX is not presently in favour of the continuance of the PCED and would rather negotiate directly with the Jesuit Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith than continue doing what has hitherto been done.

    OK, so if we are working on positive possibilities, how about this: Pope Francis suppresses the Jesuit order altogether and replaces it with the SSPX, and dissolves the PCED because he is erecting a brand new Vatican entity to foster exactly the mutual enrichment of the NO with the EF that Benedict called for, and makes the Superior General of the SSPX the ex officio head of this new Vatican dicastery.

    OK, once you get done laughing at that, what are the odds that PF wants the changes that occurred as a result of SP to go “mainstream”?

  7. Gabriel Syme says:

    I think both the SSPX and Church Authorities are happy to say that the bones of contention between them are doctrinal, not disciplinary.

    So, while I am no expert on the specifics of the role of PCED, it would seem to make sense (bearing in mind the above) for the SSPX and CDF to speak directly on these points of doctrinal dispute.

    The SSPX point to V2 statements which are ambiguous and so open to abuse. We see the results of this all around us – just compare the Church of today, with the Church of the first half of the 20th century, and throughout all history. However, the authorities’ stance is that the statements can – and must – be read in an orthodox manner.

    And so it seems to me that the big problem is not a genuine doctrinal dispute. Rather the authorities must accept that the problem is how the texts also support non-orthodox interpretations. An acceptance of this fact – and a resolve to rectify it – is likely the key to the whole matter.

    I think the authorities have been moving in this direction, for example I recall statements from ++Pozzo (of PCED) saying that you can question or criticise the V2 texts and still be a faithful Catholic. (Or, alternatively, could such statements be the reason behind any move against PCED?).

    In any case, with the SSPX situation currently being in a “good place” (in terms of sacramental recognition etc) thanks to the generosity of Pope Francis, it is appropriate to acknowledge the good work done by Archbishop Pozzo and PCED over many years.

    In my view, the SSPX is one of few positive threads in the current Pontificate – which, ironically, may paint it in a positive light, retrospectively in future. And while I am no fan of Pope Francis, I do appreciate his accommodations regarding the SSPX (which started long before he became Pope) and I find people “going off the deep end” regarding his supposed actions and intentions tiring.

    Pope Francis has said and done many things I find outrageous and wrong, but we can at least wait till he does them, before we get agitated over them. “Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof” – as a wise man once said.

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