07/07/07 – 13th Anniversary of Summorum Pontificum – Fr. Z rants.

Today is the 13th Anniversary of the release of the of Benedict XVI’s Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum.   The text was released on 7 July 2007 – 7/7/7

Just for fun, this blog’s page on that day: HERE

It is good to take stock of the fruits of the Motu Proprio.

Firstly, one could argue that Summorum Pontificum was the most important thing that Benedict XVI gave to the Church.  It will have the longest and most profound consequences.

Why?   Because of the knock on effect created when priests learn to say the Traditional Mass.  It changes the priest and how he sees himself and understands his role at the altar and in the Church.  That produces a ripple through those whom he serves.

Why?  Because lay people begin to experience our sacred liturgical worship on a new, deeper level.  There’s more “sustenance”.   This has its own knock on effect in their sphere of life.

Why?  Because “WE ARE OUR RITES!”

We are facing huge changes in the Church.  We had to face them anyway, but COVID-1984 has accelerated the process.  A demographic sink hole is going to open up under the Church in these USA and swathes of “Catholics” will disappear.  Those left will be of a traditional leaning together with converts from Evangelical backgrounds and well-rooted charismatics who are enthusiastic about their Faith.  There will be some frictions, but these groups will find each other out of need.  The result, I predict, will be amazing.

The Traditional Latin Mass is the key to the future.  It must become widespread and frequent and beautifully executed.  Only after a significant period of stability with the traditional forms will the real “mutual enrichment”, as Benedict XVI called it, or “gravitational pull” as I have called it, will manifest its effects.  Until then, avoiding any impatient tinkering, we must have an increase in celebrations of our traditional worship, which means more than just Holy Mass.  We need all the devotions and other rites as well.


They shape us from the outside in and the inside out.  They inform us and give us our identity.   In order to have an impact on the world, which is our Christian duty, we have to know who we are.  Hence, we need solid CULT, CODE and CREED.   Worship, Catechism, and Law.   Every good initiative we have as a Church must begin in and return to sacred liturgical worship.  This is clear because of the necessity of the virtue of Religion, which must order our lives, orient us.

That’s enough for this rant.

Here is something I have written in the past:


I call the Motu Proprio “The Emancipation Proclamation”.

Summorum Pontificum was a hugely important gift to the entire Church.  It was perhaps the most important thing that Benedict XVI did in his pontificate.

I’ve called this important Motu Proprio a key element of Benedict’s “Marshall Plan“.  Summorum Pontificum was a key element of Benedict’s vision of revitalizing the Church by jump starting, as it were, the organic development of liturgical worship, so critical to our Catholic identity.  Benedict hoped to rebuild the Church in the wake of post-Conciliar devastation and against the onslaught of the dictatorship of relativism.

No initiative we undertake in the Church can succeed without it being rooted in our sacred liturgical worship.   However, our collective sacred liturgical worship is presently in a state of cataclysmic disorder.   I believe with all my heart and mind that we, collectively, cannot in this present state fulfill properly our obligation to God according to the virtue of religion, that virtue which directs us to give to God what is His due.   Hence, according to the hierarchy of goods which we all must embrace, we are, collectively, disordered.  Nothing we can do as a Church will succeed in this state of affairs.  We have to see to our worship of God.

The use of the TLM will help us to correct our downward trajectory.  The knock-on effect that learning the TLM has on priests is remarkable.  That knock-on effect ripples beyond the sanctuary to congregations.

So much more has to be done.  An alarmed Enemy is fighting back and fighting hard.

The revitalization for the Church through a restoration of our Catholic identity will require nearly heroic courage from priests.

Priests will need to work hard to acquire tools that they were systematically cheated out of in their formation.  They will be intimidated.  They will fear that they can’t do it.  They can do it, but it will take hard work and support from others.  Graces will be given in this undertaking, because the connection of the priest and the altar is fundamental to the Church’s life.  No other thing that the priest does is more important.  Priests must also be willing to suffer attacks from libs, many of whom are not malicious but who are blinkered and nearly brainwashed.

Next, it is going to require nearly heroic courage and spirit of sacrifice from lay people who must support their priests and encourage them in projects that they will be reluctant to undertake.  Lay people must also be ready to engage in their parishes on a new level.

Remember, friends, that we are our rites.  As the Church prays, so do we believe and live.

Everything that we are and do as a Church flows from and returns to sacred liturgical worship.  We are our rites.

Summorum Pontificum is a great gift.  Pray for Benedict XVI and thank God for this gift.

Finally, a nostalgic image from back in the days of the “Sabine Farm”.

And with a little help from a one-time reader… “Vincenzo”.

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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5 Responses to 07/07/07 – 13th Anniversary of Summorum Pontificum – Fr. Z rants.

  1. paxbenedict says:

    Today is also (sadly…!) the 43rd anniversary, the date the 7th July 1977, of the indult that first allowed communion in the hand here in Scotland. Since the covid 19 debacle this is now the ONLY way allowed to receive communion in a parish here, when they finally have mass again. Took them 43 years.

    Summorum Pontificum was indeed a hugely important gift to the entire Church and God Bless His Holiness Benedict XVI for this. Good to celebrate that here in Scotland at least.

  2. I’ve been extremely lucky to have access to, since I have residence (most of the time) here in Fall River, to the EF on Sunday morning. It’s not in my diocese per se, but close enough that it might as well be. It’s well-celebrated, and while not packing them in (Wuhan Flu not withstanding), it is a stable group that is there, Sunday after Sunday, families, senior citizens, youngsters…a nice cross-section of people who attend and I’m sure are the bedrock upon which our Faith depends. That this parish also seems to be regularly sending young men to the seminary (two I know of who are/were servers in the EF) also speaks to the fruits of the implementation of +Benedict’s “Marshall Plan” as you’ve so aptly named it.

    When the opportunity arises (either by geography or circumstance) that I attend the ordinary form…there is something missing. That’s not to say that there is any obvious liturgical variation from the red…but it seems too pedestrian…too ‘performance art’ where the personality becomes the focus and not the action on that altar.

    It’s a bit harder to encounter a mystery if it is non-stop noise, commentary, music, physical action for action’s sake. Maybe it’s just me…but couple the focused ritual of the EF against the somewhat constant visual and auditory stimulation of the OF…my own opinion is that I leave the OF with a sense of ‘what have we thrown out’ of what should be the summit of our Faith when compared to the EF where it’s obvious that what happens is sublime, mysterious, and inviting to unite more closely with the priest as he leads us into the reality of the Mass.

    Don’t know if I made sense with that. But, I thank +Benedict’s foresight and generosity in stating what we knew to be true by the working of the Spirit. And for all the priests who have taken up the cudgel against all forces (sadly, some of them are their brothers and fathers in the faith), know that prayers ascend for your strengthening and fortitude as you soldier forth.

  3. tho says:

    Sadly, I think that what is happening in our country today, is similar (without the violence) to what happened to our church after VII, the needless destruction and removal of statues, altars or sacred images that harkened to our heritage.
    Yes, the country is in turmoil from the rioting of mindless morons, but those who should know better are aiding and abetting this behavior, similar to what happened 50 years ago. Although I am prone to be pessimistic, todays post lifted my spirits, it points to hope for the next generation.

  4. Blaise says:

    Today is also the 15th anniversary of the Islamic terrorist bombings in London. Perhaps of less lasting significance but please pray for the souls of those who were killed that day, those who may still grieve them or those who still suffer as a result.

  5. monstrance says:

    Reading the media comments of 7/7/7 …
    “Running away from Vatican II” is a reoccurring trope.
    Back then, even most traditional Catholics would deny it.
    Today – Nope. The worm is turning on this debate. Even among those not so traditional.
    Pope Benedict XVI clever as a fox ? With the guidance of The Holy Spirit, he had to have known that this MP was like throwing a wrench into the VII wheelhouse.

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