“The liturgical possibilities are in place” | Catholic National Register


VATICAN CITY – Promotion of the traditional liturgy has been “reduced but does not characterize discrimination,” Archbishop Arthur Roche said in Dec. 22 comments to the Register.

“What is important to understand now is that the Holy Father has spoken,” continued the Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. “The liturgical possibilities are in place; the challenge is to continue without healing the wounds when no one has been injured.

The Archbishop answered questions by e-mail on Responsa ad dubiaresponses to 11 dubia (questions) that he issued with the approval of the Pope on the application of the apostolic letter of Pope Francis of July 16 Traditionis Custodes (Guardians of Tradition).

This papal document, issued motu proprio (of his own volition), issued drastic restrictions on the traditional form of the Roman rite, the liturgy in use before the liturgical reforms that followed Vatican Council II, causing considerable consternation among supporters of the extraordinary form of the Mass .

In his responses, Archbishop Roche rejected accusations that the restrictions were not applied in a synodal manner, saying that synodality means “to walk together”, which is “the precise purpose of the motu proprio expressing the direction in which the Church should walk in her prayer.

He also answered other questions about the Responsa ad dubia, including if this applies to traditional institutes, reports that the survey of bishops on which Traditionis Custodes, and now the Responnse, are founded, have been misinterpreted, and why other traditional or alternative forms of the Roman rite are accepted without such constraints.

Your Excellency, is the Responnse apply to the institutes ex-Ecclesia Dei, in particular with regard to ordinations in the traditional form of the Roman rite, or are these ordinations allowed to continue in these institutes, as they were not specifically mentioned in the Responnse?

First, let me, by way of introduction to some of these questions, make an important point. The universal law concerning the liturgy antecedent to the reforms of the Vatican Council II is now established by the Motu Proprio, Traditionis Custodes of July 16, 2021, which replaces all previous legislation.

the Responsa ad dubia of December 4, 2021, published by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, is an authoritative interpretation of how this law is to be applied. The Congregation for Consecrated Life and the Societies of Apostolic Life has jurisdiction over the particular Institutes that you mention. This Congregation has not made any statement about these Institutes. However, the principle has been established that ordinations in the Latin Church are conferred in accordance with the Rite approved by the Apostolic Constitution in 1968. [New Rites of Sacred Ordination issued by Pope St. Paul VI].

The Second Responsum says that the diocesan bishop is not authorized to grant permission to use Romanesque pontifical. Does this mean that bishops cannot use the Romanesque pontifical, or that they can’t give permission to use it? If these, to whom are they not authorized to authorize their use?

the Romanesque pontifical of this antecedent liturgy is no longer in use. However, a concession was made for the use of the Roman ritual in personal parishes, but which excludes the Sacrament of Confirmation, which was replaced by the Apostolic Constitution in 1971.

the Responnse has been describe by canonists as illicit, because they do not respect various canons, [i.e. Canon 18: “Laws which establish a penalty, restrict the free exercise of rights, or contain an exception from the law are subject to strict interpretation,” and Canon 87: “A diocesan bishop, whenever he judges that it contributes to their spiritual good, is able to dispense the faithful from universal and particular disciplinary laws issued for his territory or his subjects by the supreme authority of the Church. He is not able to dispense, however, from procedural or penal laws nor from those whose dispensation is specially reserved to the Apostolic See or some other authority…”], the integrity of the traditional rite, and for other legal reasons. So they say the document has no force and can be ignored. What’s your response to that?

The answers to the different dubia are obviously legitimate and fully in accordance with Canon Law in their elaboration by this Congregation whose authority in the matter is unchallenged.

the Responnse forbids the traditional mass to be announced in a parish schedule and yet says that it does not marginalize traditional Catholics. Why was such a step taken if traditional Catholics are faithful and this initiative aims for unity? Does not this accentuation of the difference only accentuate the divisions, even at the local level?

It is clear in Traditionis Custodes that the celebration of Mass with the help of Missale Romanum of 1962 is a concession and is therefore not the normal arrangement of the Church’s liturgy as provided for by Vatican Council II.

The rites approved by Holy Popes Paul VI and John Paul II are the unique expression of the Church’s liturgy. As you yourself noted in one of your own statements, most adherents to the 1962 Missal have no problem with the Reformed Liturgy or the Second Vatican Council but prefer that of 1962, which is why the celebration Mass using this Missal is available. for them.

However, let me clarify an important question. The liturgy is never simply a matter of personal taste or preference. It’s the lex orandi of the Church, which, faithful to the tradition received from apostolic times, is determined by the Church and not by individual members. The Roman Missal of the Holy Popes, Paul VI and John Paul II, is the witness of an unchanged faith and of an uninterrupted and living tradition.

Many mainstream Catholics say they have been unfairly discriminated against by Traditionis Custodes and the Responsa ad dubia and excluded from consultations. They say these new rules were unfairly imposed on them based on a 2020 CDF survey of bishops. However, according to well documented reports, contrary to the explanatory note of the Holy Father on Traditionis Custodes, the survey showed that most bishops wished to proceed with a cautious and prudent application of the Summorum Pontificum. The CDF then transmitted these findings to the Holy Father in a detailed report. So will the Congregation for Divine Worship take all these factors and concerns into account in a spirit of synodality and respond to them, as they would if they were part of the current universal synodal process? Will the congregation also work from the actual results of the investigation rather than what these reports say is a misinterpretation of them?

The promotion of the antecedent liturgy has been reduced but does not characterize discrimination. No more Ecclesia Dei of Saint John Paul II nor Summorum Pontificum of Pope Benedict XVI foresaw the promotion of these liturgies which, having subsequently arisen, became problematic to what the Council, which is the highest form of legislation in the Catholic Church, had decreed.

You will remember what Pope Benedict told the press on his way to France in 2008 that “this ‘Motu Proprio’ (he was talking about Summorum Pontificum which has just been published), is only an act of tolerance, with a pastoral aim, for those who have been brought up with this liturgy, who love it, know it and want to live with this liturgy. They form a small group, because that supposes a schooling in Latin, a formation in a certain culture. Unfortunately, many have taken the opportunity to take the opposite direction.

As for your point on the consultation, the Holy Father has listened very attentively to the bishops and, more recently, the Congregation has responded to the questions raised by them and various others.

What is important to understand now is that the Holy Father has spoken; the liturgical possibilities are in place; the challenge is to continue without healing the wounds when no one has been injured. As for your remark on synodality, the word means “to walk together”, which is the precise goal of the Motu Proprio expressing the direction in which the Church must walk in its prayer.

Many traditional devotees have no problem with the Reformed or Vatican II liturgy but prefer the traditional form. Why, therefore, cannot the traditional form of the Roman rite be accepted as other traditional forms other than the Roman rite are accepted, such as the Ambrosian, Gallican, Dominican or Anglican (ordinariate) rites?

With respect, your determination of the rites is not entirely correct. There is only one Roman rite, just as there is only one Ambrosian rite and one Mozarabic rite. The Gallican rite died out centuries ago, although many of its prayers have been incorporated into various liturgical books today. The others are not rites but uses – adaptations or inculturation of the Roman Rite, which received the approval of the Apostolic See for specific reasons.


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