RUMOR VOLAT: Buzzing about the suppression of the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei”

Reports are circulating into my phone, my mail box and onto the interwebs (Messa in Latino and Tossati) that the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei” (PCED) could be suppressed soon and absorbed into the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF).    Tossati claims that Francis has already signed a Motu Proprio and that it was to be published last Thursday.

The claim is, as Tossati puts it, the PCED was needed due to a “l’emergenza pastorale… pastoral emergency” which no longer exists.  Hence, the PCED isn’t needed.  This is against the backdrop of recent hostile voices in the Italian bishops conference against Benedict and Summorum Pontificum.   Of course that represents a spectacular example of the tightly parochial view of Italian bishops, in the worst sense of that word, a hyper “campanilismo”.

As a matter of fact, the blinkered hostility of Italian bishops demonstrates in a concrete way that there remains a “pastoral emergency”.  And this is a pastoral emergency created by those very bishops… much like they created The Present Crisis with the fecklessness and moral cowardice.

If it is true… if there is a signed Motu Proprio to be published… then there will be some consequences.  What they might be depends on the juridical dispositions made.

My sources – very discreet – say that, at this time, there is no reason for you readers to worry.

To be clear, that doesn’t mean that the rumor, above, has been denied.  My sources offered careful language.

However, I can offer a few thoughts.  Mind you, this is my speculation based on careful sources sparked by rumor.

At first, the PCED was set up as an “ad hoc” Commission.   That meant that it wasn’t intended to be permanent.  However, the “hoc” to which the “ad” pointed includes the reconciliation of the SSPX.   That isn’t going to happen in the near future and the work has been going on since 1988.

Next, the PCED was already absorbed into the CDF.   It still has its brief, with the backing of the CDF.  If it is completely absorbed, then the one responsible for at least some of what the PCED did would be the Cardinal Prefect of the CDF.

Were the PCED to be suppressed and its brief handed over to the CDF, then its disciplinary and juridical brief would more than likely be handed over at least in part to the canonical section of the CDF.   We would have little to worry about there.   If the law says X about something, then that is what those guys will defend.  For sure.

However, the PCED is also studying issues such as the synchronization or harmonization of calendars and so forth.  That work, I suppose, would go over the Cong. for Divine Worship, where also traditional rubrical questions might be answered.  Unless the right people were brought in for that, that could be… bad, given how those hallways were purged after roughly 2013.

Another aspect, an important one, that the PCED handles is the establishment of communities of religious life which want to use the traditional liturgical books and ways.  That part of the brief would probably be handed over to the Cong. for Religious, which, today, would spell…. how to put this… disaster.   Think Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate.   Existing communities would not be eradicated, but they would also not have much support.  Setting up something new, under this regime, would be, to my thinking, next to impossible.  There is too much patent hostility from the top of that Congregation down to imagine anything other.  It would be absurd  to deny it.  Look what they recently did to that group of sisters in France who just wanted the Novus Ordo in a traditional way and to wear habits while they took care of the elderly and infirm.

On the other hand, maybe the entire brief of the PCED will be retained within the CDF and things will go on as usual, except when bishops defy the legislation, they have the Prefect of the CDF to deal with.

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

Imagine the crowing of the libs.

They are not going to defeat tradition.

Dear readers, time and time and time again for years now I have been saying that the true renewal of traditional liturgy will only happen when diocesan priests take it up and go with it.   While I highly admire and appreciate the work of the specialized religious communities and priestly societies, they are nevertheless vulnerable.   When diocesan priests in larger numbers – and I think this is going to happen – take up the call, we shall see something entirely new.

Fathers.  Take this as a clarion call.   You MUST get to work now, to overcome whatever hesitation or fear you have about the work it will entail to learn the traditional rites.  You MUST integrate them into your priestly personal interior landscape, so that they become part of who you are, into your very bones and marrow.

Laypeople.  How many times have I urged you not to be complacent in your parishes where you have the traditional use of the Roman Rite.  I’ve urged you to take part in the life of the parish and, indeed, to make yourselves indispensable.  Do you do that?   If you haven’t, and you lose what you have because the priest doesn’t see you around except for only the things you like, then you have yourselves alone to blame.

We shall see.

Meanwhile, FORWARD.   We do not go backward.  The tank has only one gear.

I suggest that you pray, friends.

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

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in ¡Hagan lío!, Si vis pacem para bellum!, The Coming Storm, The future and our choices and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. ALL: I turned on the moderation queue, to keep the knucklehead stuff out of the way.

    READ before you comment and think before you post.

  2. David Willis says:

    this makes me very, very sad.
    i am so close to just giving up.
    the TLM is the only thing that keeps me in the Church.
    if i don’t have that, i too will be a former-Catholic.

    [This is exactly the attitude I strongly oppose. First, those who leave the Church, while believing, cannot be saved. Second, it smacks of cowardice.]

  3. rhhenry says:

    I am continuing to work on strengthening both my Latin skills and my personal and family prayer life. Liturgy of the Hours in English with some Latin now, all Latin later, then perhaps onto the Breviarium Romanum or even, someday, the Breviarium Monasticum.

    Should things end in “disaster,” this layman will be striving for increasing holiness in the present through increasing connectedness to the past. And my status as a layman gives me great freedom to do just that, and to do so pretty much however I please.

    I will continue to pray for traditional communities, no matter how things shake out . . .

  4. dbonneville says:

    “I’ve urged you to take part in the life of the parish and, indeed, to make yourselves indispensable. Do you do that? If you haven’t, and you lose what you have because the priest doesn’t see you around except for only the things you like, then you have yourselves alone to blame.”

    ^^^^ This. Working on it.

  5. Sword40 says:

    David, I can sympathize with you to a point. As I get older and my eye sight starts to fail, I need to adjust my Mass attendance. Currently I drive 80 miles each way to my FSSP parish. However, I had to modify my thinking this past Christmas eve. I went to a Novus Ordo mid-night Mass.

    All I could do was to offer it up to the Lord for my sins. It’s all I can do plus pray constantly for Holy Mother, the Church.

    My Bishop is near silent. My priests are safely vocal. (does that make sense?) So my personal plan is to continue driving the long way each Sunday (10:30am Sung Mass). And then do a Novus Ordo for any night time Masses.

    I continue to voice my opinion when ever possible. But most of all, I pray.

  6. Hidden One says:

    Another argument to support the oft-hidden internal positive reforms of the large, long-existing communities that won’t be suppressed. Like the Jesuits.

  7. Therese says:

    My dear David, please don’t abandon your Mother. The problem has to do with the faithlessness of churchmen, not the teachings of the Church Herself. That said, I too have experienced your pain. Those who made this mess have all gone to God; it has been left to the living to pray for the remedy and to stand firm against heresy–you can’t do these things if you walk away. May God bless you.

  8. Archlaic says:

    This sounds to me like a very sane, and balanced analysis; no less than we would expect given our cyber-host’s temperament as well as his connections and sources!

    As Father noted, the PCED is already under the CDF… Pope Benedict did this almost ten years ago and it is hard to see that it has made any real difference. OTOH the possibility of the Congregation for Religious gaining competence in the realm of orders or houses seeking to move toward tradition gives one a cold chill!

    For the record I do not believe SP will be abrogated, obrogated, deprecated, or defenestrated… Pope “X” being seen as reversing what “Pope “Y” had held would probably be a bridge-too-far for even the present incumbent; and of course we know what a master stroke it was for Benedict to couch SP in terms of a juridical finding, promulgated to address a pastoral need resulting from an incorrect application of the law, instead of the long-awaited “general indult” which would be much easier to withdraw.

    Interesting times, these!

  9. kurtmasur says:

    I have literally been scolded by a diocesan priest for suggesting that he learn and celebrate the EF Mass, and even the NO Mass “ad orientem”. He was definitely not aware of the existance of Summorum Pontificum, nor the statements of Cardinal Sarah regarding “ad orientem”. The reason I chose to approach him was because he has incorporated the use of incense in some of his Sunday masses. But apparently there are limits to his tradition-friendly ways. However, I admit I am not actively involved in the parish as Fr. Z suggests for us laypeople to do.

    Another problem is that there are no other laypeople other than me trying to push for the TLM in my diocese. I suspect things would become relatively easier to push for the TLM with a significant number of laypeople joining in with their efforts together…..but how to rouse the interest of other laypeople?

    I think that in the end it boils down to: “Hagan lio!”, which is up to us laypeople to do.

  10. HvonBlumenthal says:

    The consequence will almost certainly be that traditionalist priests will join the SSPX in droves.Is that what the Holy Father wants?

  11. marnie says:

    This made me sad, too, and I have to admit I started to cry a bit thinking of my beautiful Traditional parish, which we are very fortunate to have, being dismantled. But I can’t see that happening. Our pastor said he was told by other priests in the diocese that we have a good problem. We’re outgrowing our church and need more room. Even the overflow area (cry room space with a closed circuit television) is full.

    I’ve borrowed my motto from Winston Churchill…
    “Never give in, never give in, never, never, never – in nothing great or small, large or petty – never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense”.

  12. WmHesch says:

    Not surprised it hasn’t been released since today is the Curia’s first business day since 21 Dec (St Stephen is a public holiday in Italy).

    And the optics would be terrible if it’s released on the Feast of the Holy Innocents.

    Perhaps it might include a surprise recognition of the SSPX as-is… since that’s the primary purpose of the Commission?

  13. Henry Edwards says:

    In diocesan parishes like mine—where the EF Mass is a regularly scheduled parish Mass (with a convenient Sunday hour replacing a former OF Mass) fully integrated into parish life with holy day and Holy Week services in both forms, where many of the EF attenders are and are considered active parish members and supporters, where a number of parishioners go back and forth between EF and OF Masses without getting uptight about either—and in a diocese where seminarians are encouraged to learn to celebrate both accepted forms of the Roman rite, resulting in a growing group of young priests enthusiastically committed to beauty and reverence in both forms, it’s not clear that where or whether the PCED comes or goes is a matter of much concern. Or is it?

  14. Ms. M-S says:

    Beyond supporting the EF Mass with your presence (I’ve noticed that worshippers are counted) and your contributions (they too are counted) and your rosaries (you can be sure they count), another thing you can do is maintain friendly relations with your local pastor even if he knows you drive way outside his parish to attend the TLM. Invite him over. Never be adversarial about the lack of an EF Mass in his church, and exercise restraint in talking with his other parishioners, because you’re more likely to be listened to as a nice person with a reasonable suggestion (maybe we should try it?) than as a belligerent crank who thinks everyone else is a heretic. Here I think biting your tongue can be a form of humility and has a chance of working, if anything will.

  15. Pingback: More thoughts about upcoming Pont. Comm. “Ecclesia Dei” document or suppression | Fr. Z's Blog

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