At last, the matter has reached the Italian press. This Palm Sunday, the old Roman daily Il Tempo publishes the following article filled with the kind of information we have been witnessing for a couple of weeks. All information contained in the following article is provided by Il Tempo and we cannot vouch for its details of date or nature of the possible "gesture" (you will notice that the reporter himself is very careful). Parts of it are unrelated to the Mass and, naturally, we cannot translate all of it, for legal reasons:
Yes to the Mass "with the back to the people"
by PAOLO LUIGI RODARI
IN the next few days, maybe on Holy Thursday (the news is not still certain), Benedict XVI could decide to fulfill an official gesture in which he would grant the possibility, to whomever wishes to do so, to celebrate Holy Mass according to the ancient rite, that of Saint Pius V, and could do so by declaring that this rite (which was the one in force before the Second Vatican Council) is still in effect today simply because it has never been abolished.
[WHAT COULD HAPPEN]
The Pope's gesture, which, if accomplished, could determine an important development even towards the schismatic Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X, founded by bishop Marcel Lefebvre. With this kind of indult, in fact, all Traditionalists of the Holy Roman Church could return to celebrate Mass with the ancient rite without asking for the permission of a diocesan bishop and, in the meantime, the Lefebvrists, in view of the openness to Tradition made by Rome, could arrive at a declaration of acceptance, without conditions, of the accomplishments made by the Church during and after the Second Vatican Council and, in this way, receive the revocation of the excommunication by the pope, they themselves also returning [and] celebrating freely the Mass with the old rite.
[The new members of P. C. Ecclesia Dei]
Yesterday, ... the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, ... received the nomination of three new members..., all cardinals created in the last consistory. They are William Levada,...Jean-Pierre Ricard, ... and Antonio Canizares [sic] Llovera..., three routine nominations, probably made on the suggestion of Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos, who is the president of Ecclesia Dei.
It is a common practice, in fact, that, after every consistory, the new porporati be admitted as members of a few dicasteries of the Roman Curia and the choice of these three for the commission which cares for the relations with the Lefebvrists is justifiable, more than anything else, for technical reasons. ... Levada has been named as prefect of the former Holy Office (when he was a cardinal, Ratzinger occupied this position), because it is obvious that the president of Doctrine of the Faith be a member of a commission which deals with doctrinal questions. Ricard was already a member of Ecclesia Dei from the time he was a bishop (he has been nominated because it is in France that there is the highest number of practicing Lefebvrists [sic]) and, thus, his has been above all an ordinary reconfirmation. Perhaps the only unexpected nomination was that of Canizares, a great friend of Ratzinger, whose outstanding theological preparation can only add to the commission. ...
Confidite, Ego vici mundum!
Laudetur Iesus Christus!
Following an excellent review of the steps taken during the past ten months, Aletheia declares: "• Holy Thursday, April 13: Benedict XVI should make public a motu proprio on the rite of the mass."
CNA publishes the information that "according to [its] source, the announcement could come 'between Holy Thursday and Easter Sunday,' but the exact day has not yet been set. Nevertheless, the source said the decision has already been made by the Holy Father and that it’s ' only a matter of time' before it is publicly announced."
Caveat: It could be that all of these new sources are simply echoing Il Tempo and others; nevertheless, these news sources, particularly CNA, usually double-check their own sources, so we are inclined to believe that they are not merely copying Il Tempo. (If you have any difficulties linking to CNA, you can find a copy of the original release at Angelqueen).
Nonetheless, it is particularly odd that many well-known Vaticanists seem to be ignoring what could be a turning point in the current pontificate. Some of our own favorites, including Sandro Magister, Andrea Tornielli (since immediately after the March 23 pre-consistory meeting), and Vittorio Messori have been completely silent on the matter. It is also curious that "progressives", as Marco Politi and Giancarlo Zizola, have not mentioned anything on this pivotal subject, to our knowledge.
Wednesday Update (April 12, 1000 GMT):
1. Archivum, which first mentioned the news of the possible document on the Traditional Rites of the Latin Church, adds the following information today: "Several sources confirm that tomorrow, Holy Thursday, an important Papal document should be released, having as its subject the current validity of the Tridentine liturgy. This document --in the form of a Motu Proprio, it is said -- has already been signed and would simply be officially promulgated. Very recent Papal audiences with card. Arinze allow [us] to reasonably suppose that the date of publication shall be precisely tomorrow."
On the other hand, the almost complete silence of our own Vatican sources is of a kind unknown to us and is startling.
3. (1700 GMT) The website of the Latin Mass Community in Melbourne, Australia, administered by priests of the Fraternity of Saint Peter (FSSP), has published the following news: "It now appears certain that the Holy Father has signed a significant document on the Sacred Liturgy, and on the classical Latin liturgy in particular. We will let you know as soon as further details are to hand." Anything is possible at this moment, but we truly believe an official website would be careful with its sources and that these would be internal sources. (Thanks to reader Jon for pointing this out).
It is already Maundy Thursday in Australia and we hope they are right...
4. (2000 GMT) Regarding the news mentioned in the previous item, unofficial contacts have not confirmed the information made public in the FSSP website, though they have not denied it, either.