Summorum Pontificum – Pope Benedict XVI

Apostolic Letter
In the form “motu proprio”

Benedict XVI

“Summorum Pontificum”

Up to our own times, it has been the constant concern of Supreme Pontiffs to ensure that the Church of Christ offers a worthy ritual to the Divine Majesty, “to the praise and glory of His name,” and “to the benefit of all His Holy Church.”

Since time immemorial it has been necessary — as it is also for the future — to maintain the principle according to which “each particular Church must concur with the universal Church, not only as regards the doctrine of the faith and the sacramental signs, but also as regards the usages universally accepted by uninterrupted apostolic Tradition, which must be observed not only to avoid errors but also to transmit the integrity of the faith, because the Church’s law of prayer corresponds to her law of faith.”[1]

Among the Pontiffs who showed that requisite concern, particularly outstanding is the name of St. Gregory the Great, who made every effort to ensure that the new peoples ofEurope received both the Catholic faith and the treasures of worship and culture that had been accumulated by the Romans in preceding centuries. He commanded that the form of the sacred liturgy as celebrated in Rome (concerning both the Sacrifice of Mass and the Divine Office) be conserved. He took great concern to ensure the dissemination of monks and nuns who, following the Rule of St. Benedict, together with the announcement of the Gospel, illustrated with their lives the wise provision of their rule that “nothing should be placed before the work of God.” In this way the sacred liturgy, celebrated according to the Roman use, enriched not only the faith and piety but also the culture of many peoples. It is known, in fact, that the Latin liturgy of the Church in its various forms, in each century of the Christian era, has been a spur to the spiritual life of many saints, has reinforced many peoples in the virtue of religion and fecundated their piety.

Many other Roman pontiffs, in the course of the centuries, showed particular solicitude in ensuring that the sacred liturgy accomplished this task more effectively. Outstanding among them is St. Pius V who, sustained by great pastoral zeal and following the exhortations of the Council of Trent, renewed the entire liturgy of the Church, oversaw the publication of liturgical books amended and “renewed in accordance with the norms of the fathers,” and provided them for the use of the Latin Church.

One of the liturgical books of the Roman rite is the Roman Missal, which developed in the city of Rome and, with the passing of the centuries, little by little took forms very similar to that it has had in recent times.

“It was towards this same goal that succeeding Roman Pontiffs directed their energies during the subsequent centuries in order to ensure that the rites and liturgical books were brought up to date and when necessary clarified. From the beginning of this century they undertook a more general reform.”[2] Thus our predecessors Clement VIII, Urban VIII, St. Pius X,[3] Benedict XV, Pius XII and Blessed John XXIII all played a part.

In more recent times, the Second Vatican Council expressed a desire that the respectful reverence due to divine worship should be renewed and adapted to the needs of our time. Moved by this desire our predecessor, the Supreme Pontiff Paul VI, approved, in 1970, reformed and partly renewed liturgical books for the Latin Church. These, translated into the various languages of the world, were willingly accepted by bishops, priests and faithful. John Paul II amended the third typical edition of the Roman Missal. Thus Roman Pontiffs have operated to ensure that “this kind of liturgical edifice … should again appear resplendent for its dignity and harmony.”[4]

But in some regions, no small numbers of faithful adhered and continue to adhere with great love and affection to the earlier liturgical forms. These had so deeply marked their culture and their spirit that in 1984 the Supreme Pontiff John Paul II, moved by a concern for the pastoral care of these faithful, with the special indult “Quattuor Abhinc Anno,” issued by the Congregation for Divine Worship, granted permission to use the Roman Missal published by Blessed John XXIII in the year 1962. Later, in the year 1988, John Paul II with the apostolic letter given as “motu proprio, “Ecclesia Dei,” exhorted bishops to make generous use of this power in favor of all the faithful who so desired.

Following the insistent prayers of these faithful, long deliberated upon by our predecessor John Paul II, and after having listened to the views of the cardinal fathers of the consistory of 22 March 2006, having reflected deeply upon all aspects of the question, invoked the Holy Spirit and trusting in the help of God, with these apostolic letters we establish the following:

Art 1. The Roman Missal promulgated by Paul VI is the ordinary expression of the “Lex orandi” (Law of prayer) of the Catholic Church of the Latin rite. Nonetheless, the Roman Missal promulgated by St. Pius V and reissued by Blessed John XXIII is to be considered as an extraordinary expression of that same “Lex orandi,” and must be given due honor for its venerable and ancient usage. These two expressions of the Church’s “Lex orandi” will in no any way lead to a division in the Church’s “Lex credendi” (Law of belief). They are, in fact two usages of the one Roman rite.

It is, therefore, permissible to celebrate the Sacrifice of the Mass following the typical edition of the Roman Missal promulgated by Blessed John XXIII in 1962 and never abrogated, as an extraordinary form of the liturgy of the Church. The conditions for the use of this Missal as laid down by earlier documents “Quattuor Abhinc Annis” and “Ecclesia Dei,” are substituted as follows:

Art. 2. In Masses celebrated without the people, each Catholic priest of the Latin rite, whether secular or regular, may use the Roman Missal published by Blessed Pope John XXIII in 1962, or the Roman Missal promulgated by Pope Paul VI in 1970, and may do so on any day with the exception of the Easter Triduum. For such celebrations, with either one Missal or the other, the priest has no need for permission from the Apostolic See or from his ordinary.

Art. 3. Communities of institutes of consecrated life and of societies of apostolic life, of either pontifical or diocesan right, wishing to celebrate Mass in accordance with the edition of the Roman Missal promulgated in 1962, for conventual or “community” celebration in their oratories, may do so. If an individual community or an entire institute or society wishes to undertake such celebrations often, habitually or permanently, the decision must be taken by the superiors major, in accordance with the law and following their own specific decrees and statues.

Art. 4. Celebrations of Mass as mentioned above in art. 2 may — observing all the norms of law — also be attended by faithful who, of their own free will, ask to be admitted.

Art. 5. §1 In parishes, where there is a stable group of faithful who adhere to the earlier liturgical tradition, the pastor should willingly accept their requests to celebrate the Mass according to the rite of the Roman Missal published in 1962, and ensure that the welfare of these faithful harmonizes with the ordinary pastoral care of the parish, under the guidance of the bishop in accordance with Canon 392, avoiding discord and favoring the unity of the whole Church.

§2 Celebration in accordance with the Missal of Blessed John XXIII may take place on working days; while on Sundays and feast days one such celebration may also be held.

§3 For faithful and priests who request it, the pastor should also allow celebrations in this extraordinary form for special circumstances such as marriages, funerals or occasional celebrations, i.e., pilgrimages.

§4 Priests who use the Missal of Blessed John XXIII must be qualified to do so and not juridically impeded.

§5 In churches that are not parish or conventual churches, it is the duty of the rector of the church to grant the above permission.

Art. 6. In Masses celebrated in the presence of the people in accordance with the Missal of Blessed John XXIII, the readings may be given in the vernacular, using editions recognized by the Apostolic See.

Art. 7. If a group of lay faithful, as mentioned in art. 5 §1, has not obtained satisfaction to their requests from the pastor, they should inform the diocesan bishop. The bishop is strongly requested to satisfy their wishes. If he cannot arrange for such celebration to take place, the matter should be referred to the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei.

Art. 8. A bishop who, desirous of satisfying such requests, but who for various reasons is unable to do so, may refer the problem to the Commission Ecclesia Dei to obtain counsel and assistance.

Art. 9. §1 The pastor, having attentively examined all aspects, may also grant permission to use the earlier ritual for the administration of the sacraments of baptism, marriage, penance, and the anointing of the sick, if the good of souls would seem to require it.

§ 2 Ordinaries are given the right to celebrate the sacrament of confirmation using the earlier Roman Pontifical, if the good of souls would seem to require it.

§ 2 Clerics ordained “in sacris constitutis” may use the Roman Breviary promulgated by Blessed John XXIII in 1962.

Art. 10. The ordinary of a particular place, if he feels it appropriate, may erect a personal parish in accordance with Canon 518 for celebrations following the ancient form of the Roman rite, or appoint a chaplain, while observing all the norms of law.

Art. 11. The Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, erected by John Paul II in 1988[5], continues to exercise its function. Said commission will have the form, duties and norms that the Roman Pontiff wishes to assign it.

Art. 12. This commission, apart from the powers it enjoys, will exercise the authority of the Holy See, supervising the observance and application of these dispositions.

We order that everything We have established with these apostolic letters issued as “motu proprio” be considered as “established and decreed,” and to be observed from Sept. 14 of this year, feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, whatever there may be to the contrary.

From Rome, at St. Peter’s, July 7, 2007, third year of Our Pontificate.

 

VATICAN CITY, JULY 7, 2007 (Zenit.org).- Here is a non-official English translation, issued by the Vatican Information Service, of Benedict XVI’s apostolic letter “Summorum Pontificum,” issued “motu proprio,” on one’s own initiative, concerning the use of the Roman Missal promulgated by John XXIII in 1962. The original text written in Latin can be found on theVatican’s Web site.

Tags:
Pope Benedict XVI

Joseph Ratzinger, the future Pope Benedict XVI, was born in Bavaria, Germany, on April 16, 1927, Holy Saturday, and baptized the very same day, in the newly blessed Easter water. This special baptism was seen from the beginning of his life as a very special blessing of Divine Providence. Josef and his brother George entered the seminary and were ordained priests together on June 29, 1951. After receiving his doctorate in theology from the University of Munich in 1953, Fr. Joseph Ratzinger became a professor of dogmatic theology at the University of Bonn. When Vatican Council II began in 1962, Fr. Ratzinger, only 35 years old at the time, was named chief “peritus” or theological advisor to the Archbishop of Cologne, Joseph Cardinal Frings and accompanied him to all four sessions of the council, having input on the writing of several of the Council Documents. From 1969 until 1977 he taught theology at the University of Regensburg and, from 1969 until 1980, he was a member of the Vatican’s International Theological Commission. Fr. Joseph Ratzinger was ordained archbishop of Munich-Freising on May 28, 1977 and was created a cardinal priest by Pope Paul VI on June 27, 1977, his titular church in Rome being St. Mary of Consolation (in Tiburtina). On April 5, 1993 Cardinal Ratzinger was transferred by Pope John Paul II to the order of cardinal bishops as titular bishop of the suburbicarian see of Velletri-Signi. In 1981 Cardinal Ratzinger became the Prefect (head) of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican department in charge of protecting the sacred deposit of the faith handed on from the apostles. As such, he was Pope John Paul II’s chief assistant in the formulation of the Pope’s teaching and writing. There is perhaps no one who worked more closely with Pope John Paul II during the course of his pontificate. Cardinal Ratzinger would generally have lengthy private meetings with the Pope twice per week. Before his election as Pope Benedict XVI, Cardinal Ratzinger also served president of the Pontifical Biblical and Theological Commissions. On November 6, 1998, Cardinal Ratzinger was appointed Vice-dean of the Sacred College of Cardinals. Prior to the death of Pope John Paul II, he served as a member of the Congregation of Bishops, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, the Congregation for Catholic Education, the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, the Council for Christian Unity, the Council for Culture, the Commission Ecclesia Dei, and the Commission for Latin America. As prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Ratzinger had a decisive role in the writing of the “Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification,” signed in October 1999 by the Holy See and the World Lutheran Federation in Augsburg, Germany. The declaration, one of the most important ecumenical steps since Martin Luther’s split with the Catholic Church in the 16th century, took place thanks to the dialogue held in November 1998 between Cardinal Ratzinger and Lutheran Bishop Johannes Hanselman in Munich. As he approached his mid-seventies, Cardinal Ratzinger attempted to retire several times, but Pope John Paul II would not accept his resignation. It seems Pope John Paul II knew God had other plans for the German Cardinal. At 78, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was elected as Pope Benedict XVI on April 19, 2005, only the second day of the conclave. This speedy election demonstrates a remarkable consensus on the part of the 115 Cardinals who elected him by a two-thirds majority. Their vote was for a defender of the truth, a man of prayer, a humble servant of the servants of God. Besides his academic articles and official Church documents, the new Pope Benedict XVI provides us with a window into his mind and heart through several books, the Ratzinger Report (1996), The Spirit of the Liturgy (2000), God and the World (2002) and Introduction to Christianity. For those who have had the privilege of knowing him personally, what is most striking about him is his simplicity, humility, and childlike wonder at things. His self-effacing manner is combined, however, with a firm but gentle courage in defending the faith in all its fullness and integrity. In his resolute opposition to error, he is however, never personally defensive since he has no ego to protect. It is worth noting that on his coat of arms, Benedict replaced the traditional papal tiara with a bishop’s miter with three stripes representing the Church’s three-fold mission to teach, sanctify, and govern. At his inaugural Mass, he took the time to explain the importance of the pallium which symbolizes the shepherd’s mission and the yoke of Christ.