Published today in La Stampa (Subscribers only)
RATZINGER'S "MOTU PROPRIO" IS READY, DESPITE THE CONTRARY OPINION OF THE FRENCH CHURCH
It is the go-ahead of the Pope; the Latin Mass returns
A hard blow to the opposition to the Lefebvrians [arrives] with Easter
CITTÀ DEL VATICANO - Benedict XVI "frees" the Tridentine Mass, the so-called "Latin" Mass loved - though not exclusively - by the followers of monsignor Lefebvre and, for this [reason], opposed by the "Progressives" of the Church. The "motu proprio" of the Pope, which should be published between the Feast of the Annunciation (March 25) and Easter, is ready.
The text is fully armored [blindatissimo]; and, according to indiscretions by excellent sources, should overrule the current situation. Currently, the Bishops have the power, also thanks to an extenuating bureaucracy, to make the celebration of the old Mass extremely difficult. With the motu proprio, their role should change: not arbiters anymore, but supervisors [controllori]. And, as a matter of fact, a sly Curial fox remarks, Bishop, "episkopos", means in Greek exactly that: supervisor. That means that the faithful who wish the Latin Mass (a minimal of thirty) have the right to demand its celebration, in any church whatsoever, except for a few general conditions of opportunity.
The "liberalization" will have a remarkable effect on relations with the Lefebvrists. It deprives them of one of their most powerful weapons, that is, the denunciation of the liturgical "betrayal" effected after the Second Vatican Council, and - according to many - against the will of the Conciliar Fathers; it forces them to dialogue with Rome, making clear the danger of "emptying" the movement at its base. If I am a Traditionalist faithful, why should I follow schismatic bishops and priests now that the Mass of Saint Pius V is "free", celebrated by priests in communion with the Pope?
At the end of February, at a farewell dinner before his permanent return to Chile, the 81-year-old Cardinal Jorge Medina Estevez, member of the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei", charged with relations with the Lefebvrists, told his porporati [Cardinalatial] friends that the publication of the "motu proprio" was imminent. A matter of weeks, other sources of the Sacred Palaces make clear.
[This] although the very feisty opposition party is always on guard. When, last Fall, the "motu proprio" began to take a concrete shape, some prelates met at a dinner in an abbey on the Aventine [Hill, Rome]: among others, an abbot and an extremely important character of the Papal entourage, notoriously inimical to the Tridentine Mass. It was discussed [at the meeting] how it was necessary to "help" the Pope, making him understand that the liberalization was a mistake; Bishop Le Gall, of Toulouse, was a point of reference in this work. And, in fact, Le Gall made very harsh declarations and, in a rapid succession, Cardinal Lustiger, his successor in Paris Vingt-Trois, and the Cardinal of Bordeaux, Ricard, arrived in Rome ("the invasion of the Gauls" [dei Galli], some remark in the Vatican) to campaign against the "motu proprio".
The detractors [of the opposition] hold that the French Church, which has seen the percentage of people who attend Sunday Mass drop from 14% to 4.5% in the 1978-2006 period, fears as a most dangerous poison the "clearance" of the lovers of the Traditional Mass. [This] also because, according to provisional data, in the current academical year, 120 young men have entered the seminaries in the 91 French dioceses; while four or five "Traditionalist" seminaries count some forty admissions.
The "invasion of the Gauls" truly froze the situation for a while, as the prelates of the Aventine, good connoisseurs of the character of Benedict XVI, prudent and almost shy, hoped [would happen], faced with an open and decided opposition. But now, Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos, president of the "Ecclesia Dei" commission, has confided to a friend, "the Pope is very decided".
Tip: reader; Transcript: Papa Ratzinger Blog.