Rorate Caeli

Il Tempo: "Yes to the Mass..."


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"



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.


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. ...

Some have said this blog has declared something will happen during Holy Week. Something may happen; we have only forwarded news from different sources, but we really cannot vouch for specific dates or for the content of a hypothetical document. All kinds of things may happen and we can only say that there is a clear crescendo (and also an enormous amount of rumors, some of which clearly wild and unfounded), though we do not know for sure what will come out of it. We have always recommended, since those early days of Septuagesima, prayer and penance, which are within our reach. Pray especially for the Pope -- and celebrate the most solemn days of the year.

Confidite, Ego vici mundum!

Laudetur Iesus Christus!

Observation (1730 GMT): It is an often repeated quip that the Italian press is unreliable. In our experience, it is not more or less reliable than the English-language press (we would say it is probably more reliable than the average American newspaper -- just check the ridiculous propaganda piece in The New York Times Magazine on abortion in El Salvador this Sunday). What is definitely true is that some journalists are more reliable than others. This particular journalist, Paolo Luigi Rodari, has twice before just in the past month described well: what would be the main theme of the pre-consistory meeting (and even we considered unlikely that the question of Archbishop Lefebvre would be a main theme of the meeting of all cardinals -- link); as well as what would happen on the eve of the merger of the presidencies of four Roman dicasteries (link).

You may take it or leave it, but just to yell "Italian Press!" is not enough.
Monday Update (April 10, 1700 GMT):
Yves Chiron's Aletheia bulletin (in French) and Alejandro Bermúdez's Catholic News Agency-CNA/ACIPrensa have joined the choir of those who have declared that the Pope has signed a document and will have it published in the next few days.

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).

Tuesday Update (April 11, 2230 GMT):

Now even the very careful CWN admits that something is going on... (copy of the original release at Angelqueen), though unfortunately this news agency does not acknowledge the Il Tempo report, first translated here (CWN says: "My own prediction-- based on hints and inferences and hunches, nothing more-- is that the document will be at least as strong as a universal indult, but will not resolve the canonical status of the Society of St. Pius X. Again that is a prediction, not a report.").

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."

2. (1200 GMT) It still seems odd to us that not a word on this possible document has been uttered by other well-known sources, if only to deny its existence. In his latest web article, Sandro Magister once again deals with liturgical matters, but is completely silent on the possible document, as if it were a non-issue.

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.