Rorate Caeli

The April 7 meeting : what to expect

What will this Friday's meeting of the Pope with the heads of dicasteries look like?

In fact, nobody outside of the most exclusive papal circles knows for sure.

From what we gathered and published in the past, this is what the meeting could look like.


First option: a meeting for the ratification of a Papal decision:

One of the possibilities is that His Holiness, with the results of the first consultative meeting (of February 13), and emboldened by the "free pass" (the "via libera") garnered at the pre-consistory meeting (of March 23), will announce some strong decisions regarding the Traditional Rites of the Latin Church.

If that is truly the case, then the result may either be announced in a short time or could be delayed until sometime in the near future. Could it be announced to the general public immediately? This possibility should not be entirely discarded.
Second option: the meeting will be of a merely consultative nature:

As the meeting of February 13, the meeting of April 7 could include only a convergence of opinions among the dicasteries, under the guidance of the Pope (considering the final opinions issued by the dicasteries involved in the process, as determined in the February meeting), before a more definitive move is decided by His Holiness. The meeting will nevertheless be guided by him -- unlike the February and pre-consistory meetings, in which he mostly listened.

Third option: the meeting will include only the discussion of matters unrelated to the Traditional Rites of the Latin Church. (This could well be the case; nothing is completely certain in the modus operandi of Pope Benedict, "the Serene"...)

In any case, it is certain, as we first reported here in March, that this second meeting will include (perhaps as its main topic) discussions on the new structure of the Roman Curia.

Finally, we call your attention to some of our February advices, which still hold true.

Update 1 (April 7, 1100 GMT): (a) The Bollettino simply confirms that the meeting took place, with no information of the matters discussed (exactly as it happened in February -- though differently from what took place after the pre-consistory meeting with the College of Cardinals).

(b) The Thursday edition of La Croix (the semi-official "progressive" Catholic French daily) mentions that the moment for the publication of a Papal "Motu Proprio" on the "rite of the Mass" is close. This is the first time the nature of the hypothetical document is mentioned in a reliable source.

(c) Le Salon Beige reports that Radio Vaticana (in its Italian feed) also mentioned that a "Motu Proprio" for the "liberalization" of the Traditional Missal could be issued shortly (in days?... weeks?... ). We have not been able to verify if Radio Vaticana has actually broadcast this information.

(d) Le Forum Catholique links to the final conclusions of this week's Assembly of the French Episcopal Conference (PDF file) in which the bishops reject a structure which is separate from the Diocesan Churches (Well... Is it really their decision?...); but they recognize that, regarding the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X (FSSPX/SSPX), the Pope "has a concern" and that "in the weeks or months ahead, [the pope] shall lay down the directives to facilitate the way to a possible return to full communion".

Update 2 (April 7, 1900 GMT): We have never witnessed this kind of silence before. Utter and complete silence. ACI Prensa (the Spanish original version of the Catholic News Agency), reports that "according to Vatican sources, the reform of the Roman Curia and a liberalization of the Missal of Saint Pius V would have been discussed".

As we suggested yesterday as our second option, ACI (i.e. Alejandro Bermúdez) reports that:

"In this second meeting with the Roman Curia, celebrated in the Bologna Hall of the Vatican, Benedict XVI would have collected the opinions of the heads of the dicasteries to take decisions regarding the liturgical reform in the line willed by John Paul II in his encyclical letter 'Ecclesia de Eucharistia'...

"According to the same cources, the most important announcement which would follow this meeting would be the liberalization of the Missal of 1962, a decision which is part of the liturgical reform set in motion by Pope Benedict XVI, but which could have a significant impact in the reconciliation process with the Lefebvrist schism."

Much of what is reported seems to be recycled news, though nonetheless encouraging.

Update 3 (April 7, 2100 GMT): As we first published in our Update 1 of 1100 GMT, item (c), Archivum confirms that Radio Vaticana has announced that His Holiness "has signed a document regarding the Rite of the Mass, as previously announced". The document will, "with all probability be made public on Maundy Thursday". We still have not been able to hear this news directly from Radio Vaticana -- we are, understandably, skeptical (since announcing breaking news of this kind has never been the tradition of Radio Vaticana).

In any case and at all times, regardless of what may happen,
Laudetur Iesus Christus.