Thursday, 8 November 2012

SP: Two glances

Some time ago now I posted to the effect that Summorum Pontificum was promulgated with a glance being given in two different directions. See here, and scroll down to question 4; and here, scroll down towards the end.

It has therefore been quite interesting to see two recent contributions from the Holy See that seem to support my interpretation of Summorum Pontificum.

The first was the declaration of the Pontifical Council Ecclesia Dei, with regard to negotiations between the Holy See and the Society of St Pius X.
...Once these doctrinal dialogues were concluded, it became possible to proceed to a phase of discussion more directly focused on the greatly desired reconciliation of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Pius X with the See of Peter.

"Other critical steps in this positive process of gradual reintegration had already been taken by the Holy See in 2007 with the extension of the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite to the Universal Church by the Motu Proprio 'Summorum Pontificum' ....
The second is the message sent in the name of Pope Benedict XVI by the Cardinal Secretary of State to the participants in a pilgrimage to Rome of those attached to the Extraordinary Form.
" this Motu Proprio, the Holy Father wished to respond to the hopes of the faithful regarding the forms of liturgy", prior to Vatican Council II.
I find a double interest in the fact that it was the Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments who celebrated Mass for this pilgrimage, and not Pope Benedict himself. It has been noted that, in matters Liturgical, Pope Benedict is inclined to lead by example rather than by direction. In not acceding to requests to celebrate Mass in the Extraordinary Form on such a high profile occasion, is not the Holy Father setting an example with regard to the Ordinary Form of the Roman rite being the form that should unify the Church (cf his letter to Bishops accompanying Summorum Pontificum)? One might also see in his decision an exercise in respect for his collaborators, the celebration being left to the Prefect of the dicastery properly responsible for matters Liturgical.

The second interest lies precisely in that. It suggests to me that the celebration of the Extraordinary Form exists in a relation to the Liturgical life of the Church as a whole, and not simply in a relation to the life of those attached to the Extraordinary Form itself (which would have been suggested if the pilgrimage Mass had been celebrated by a representative of the commission Ecclesia Dei). One can read this as suggesting a higher profile across the wider Church for the Extraordinary Form. Or one can read it as promoting the mutual relation of the Extraordinary Form and the Ordinary Form in one Roman rite - the agenda of "mutual enrichment" to date almost totally disregarded.

A final observation might be made about the underlying impulse for unity, expressed in the two-fold glance contained in Summorum Pontificum and the accompanying letter to the bishops, and also in the message to the recent pilgrimage:
Cardinal Bertone adds that in the Year of Faith, which coincides with "the fiftieth anniversary of Vatican Council II, the Holy Father invites all the faithful to make a special demonstration of their unity in faith; in this way they will become effective agents of new evangelisation”.

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