Rorate Caeli

Additional information on the probable Motu Proprio

If any further confirmation was needed, the news agency of the Italian Episcopal Conference (CEI) has also... confirmed the existence of the text of the Motu Proprio, information which is published today in the Conference's own daily newspaper, Avvenire (PDF): the document would be published "shortly".

Andrea Tornielli's comments on the CEI news release in today's (October 12) issue of Il Giornale:

The existence of the "Motu Proprio" of Benedict XVI which should liberalize the old pre-Conciliar Missal, revealed yesterday by our daily, has been confirmed even by SIR, the news agency of Catholic weeklies established by the Italian Episcopal Conference. "The news is learned from authoritative Italian sources -- writes SIR -- which thus confirm and detail some news published by the press". The "authoritative sources" consulted by the agency have not indicated "the time of release". Even though the text of the Papal document is substantially ready, it would not have been signed yet (in which case the promulgation should, in fact, happen shortly).
In its release, the Swiss-French agency APIC included this interesting note: "Also according to Vatican sources, the document would not focus only on the Mass of Saint Pius V, but it would have a larger liturgical dimension regarding Traditionalist questions"...


  1. This is good news...

    ...except for a question that has been nagging me, namely, "If the traditional Catholic Mass is 'liberated', are their any Novus Ordonistas who have the will and the ability to offer it?"

  2. There are, Gaufridus.

    I think a lot of traditionalists folks are not aware of the significant number of good, traditional-minded Novus Ordo priests that exist. Now, you might say that the fact they remain Novus Ordo priests shows they are neither good nor traditional-minded, but I think this would easily be shown to be false upon meeting and talking to them.

    Basically, a lot of them became priests and 1) didn't know much about Tradition (for which they could hardly be faulted, given the job that's been done to hide it) and /or 2) didn't see any viable way to offer the Traditional Mass. They see their position nowadays as unfortunate and greatly await more liberty in offering the Traditional Mass.

    The priests are out there. God knows how many, but they're there.

  3. I think many priests would offer it if they believed it would increased the faith and spirituality of their parishioners. They need encouragement. Sadly, many of even the most conservative and orthodox "Novus Ordinistas" view traditionalists as uncharitable, petty and divisive. This impression needs to be corrected.

  4. It would be nice if Pope Benedict would set an example by saying some public TLMs once in a while.

  5. to gaufridus

    It is extremely important precisely that Novus Ordo priests, properly trained, could benefit of the maximum of grace provided by TLM. It would be a strong response to the inner crisis of modern clergy.
    Besides in the young generations of priests, there is more than a curiosity for celebrating TLM : a neo-modernist leader, Abp Rouet expressed his fears about this to the French bishops conference in 2004.
    If many bishops and so many neo-liturgists were not utterly convinced of this powerful attraction of TLM on young priests, they would not be so fiercely dedicated to crush it everywhere.
    If you don't know, neo-modernists and liberals know.

  6. What is more disconcerting is that those who are not trained properly will introduce "bastardised" forms of The Latin Mass - note how the word 'liberated" in the public domain has become "liberalised". There is already abundant evidence that the so-called "Indult" mass is being abused liberally and exploited as a device to draw traditionalists away from properly conducted Latin Masses.
    This whole issue of which Mass bodes ill for the immediate future. This is a world where sheer ignorance and cunning deviance coexist alongside perfectly inspired human knowledge and The Divine Will.

    Pope St Pius V was indeed a pope-saint with more than mere spi ritual discernment when he wrote in his Papal Bull, "Quo Primum" -

    "Furthermore, by these presents and by virtue of our Apostolic authority We give and grant in perpetuity that for the signing or reading of Mass in any church whatsoever this Missal may be followed absolutely, without any scruple of conscience of fear of incurring any penalty, judgment or censure, and may be freely and lawfully used. Not shall bishops, administrators, canons, chaplains and other secular priests, or religious whatsoever Order or by whatsoever title designated, be obligated to celebrate Mass otherwise than enjoined by Us. We likewise order and declare that NO ONE whosoever shall be forced or coerced into altering this Missal; and this present Constitution can NEVER be revoked or modified, but shall for ever remain valid and have the force of the law..."

    Herein resides a true point of reference. This idea of permission to say The Latin Mass already exists, "in perpetuum". It is clear Pope John Paul (RIP) II wanted this to be understood since his "Ecclesia Dei" commission stated that The Latin Mass was never abrogated. It is abundantly clear also that Pope Paul VI did not dare abrogate this right either.

    Use whatever formula of words you like to make excuses for post-conciliar novel liturgical machinations and fabrications, the truth is The Latin Mass is already free to be celebrated by Roman Catholic priests and faithful everywhere. Only the misled intentions of hierarchs typified among the french episcopate stands as a stumbling-block, in the way. It is these characters who represent the ugly face of disobedience in the church and who are leading others along mistaken paths. Look at all the evidence of auto-demolition in the modern church. Look at the desecration regularly taking place in so many NO services. To pretend that this is the result of secularist trends in late modern society is as laughable an excuse as it is inadequate. We know in our Roman Catholic hearts and minds that the tragic turning point occurred in the 1960s with VC II and its tragic sequel.


    I have often asked the same question too as to why post-conciliar popes do not say a few Latin Masses in public. The answer is somewhere between fear of provoking open schism in the church, viz-a-viz such as the French bishops, and being too preoccupied with fullfilling the conciliar ecumenical and interfaith imperatives of convergence with all denominations and religions. The Latin Mass now appears to embarrass those objectives to some considerable extent.

    Maybe, Pope Benedict XVI will surprise us all and say a Latin Mass in public. Who can predict? However, which version he says is yet another point of, perhaps, futile speculation. My prayers follow him in his evident difficulties. Our Blessed Lady suffers with him, no doubt.

    Nevertheless, one factor presents itself without ambiguity - we are able to perceive with more clarity who the enemies of Tradition really are.

  7. If Quo primum demanded that the missal could not be changed and that all priests had the right to use it why:

    a) was the rite changed e.g. the triple blessing at the end of mass reserved for bishops and not as in the 1570 rite; the Holy Week changes in 1951, 1952 and 1956, the suppression of most of the octaves and vigils in 1955 etc. and,

    b) why do you need the 1971, 1984 indults or the indult which is now the subject of so much speculation?

  8. I must admit that I do not like the word "liberalization", because, in case the motu proprio is really signed in the near future, it will be a completely different thing -- not a liberation or a liberalization.

    The expression "universal indult" is completely inappropriate, since there is already a universal "indult", established by Quattuor Abhinc and extended by Ecclesia Dei (apart from the many particular "indults").


    Anyway, if it comes, it will not be an "indult", tribus candelis.

    Any further comment which MAY lead to divisive quarrels will be deleted.

  9. What will 'it' be if not an indult? I would be very interested to know.

  10. Well, we will certainly have a semantic maze to solve, tribus candelis. I intend to post something about this shortly -- but the post on papal authority upon which you have commented, along with the actual meaning of the word "indult", may give you some clues.

  11. On other news, (touching on liturgy) neocon (I believe) Rod Dreher has left Catholicism and joined Orthodoxy. He mentions a very good point made by a priest friend of his:
    "As my dearest friend, Fr. Joe Wilson, has said many times, the Scandal does not exist in isolation. It is only a part of a many-headed beast.
    The sex-abuse scandal can't be easily separated from the wider crisis in the American Catholic Church, involving the corruption of the liturgy, of catechesis, and so forth. I've come to understand how important this point is, because if most other things had been more or less solid, I think I could have weathered the storm. But I found it impossible to find solid ground."

  12. indult or not indult ?
    First observation : everywhere it is spoken in the news agencies of a "motu proprio" ; the 1984 indult was an annex of an Apostolic letter. The 1988 motu proprio was, among other things, a new interpretation of the original "indult" of 1984, a document ignored at first by nearly all bishops.
    Second observation : Bp Fellay specifically rejected the qualification of "indult" in setting his 2 conditions. Various sources are speaking of "extraordinary form" of the Roman rite and this would logically exclude the idea of an "indult". The request not only from SSPX but also from the start in the 1960's of a "recognition" (for ex. Latin Mass Society of England, F.I.U.V. etc.) is more than legitimate.
    Third observation : the 1986 ad hoc commission of cardinals never talked about any "indult" according to cardinal Stickler, one member ; His Holiness was another member of this 1986 commission. The unanimous conclusion was any Latin priest had a right to use the 1962 missal.
    Fourth observation : Joseph Ratzinger wrote why he thought suppressing or trying to suppress TLM was, according to him, an abuse of papal power. Why would he have changed his mind after being elected pope ?

    As one trad-hater said once speaking of the Wojtylian "indult", it was supposed to be a merciful interval. Benedict XVI indeed will probably terminate this indult interval to recall everybody loud and clear what should have never been forgotten : TLM is a legitimate rite of the Latin Church, whether the Bugninist mafia likes it or not.
    Ad majorem Dei gloriam.

  13. Thank you, dear Alsaticus. Your comments are always correct and accurate.

  14. I can think of no word whose meaning has been more perverted than that of "liberal" or, in this case, "liberalize." In the original sense of making more free, abundant or generous, I think it can be said that the purpose of the forthcoming Motu Proprio is to "liberalize" (make more accessible) the traditional order of Mass.

    I think "indult" is the wrong word for the 1971 Bugnini letter, which quietly and grudgingly granted tenuous permission to a small group of English speaking traditionalists.

    Alsaticus is right: The 1984 indult was designed to give peace and security to a generation of traditionalists which was probably expected to die out. One problem: Traditionalism is bigger today than it was then.

    Now it looks like a much more permanent canonical recognition is being given to the traditional order of Mass. It looks to be neither a tenuous little permission slip nor a transitional indult, but a true, secure and fully recognized (albeit "extra-ordinary") place in the canonical life of the Church.

    Alasticus- When you assert that Ratzinger wrote that the suppression of the TLM was an abuse of papal power, are you inferring this from the quote which appears at the top of the main page of this blog or are you referring to some other source? If the former, I think you are inferring too much from Ratzinger’s comments, which are designed to correct misunderstandings about the nature of papal power. Ratzinger does not assert that a pope can potentially or has in fact transgressed these limits. In virtually every liturgical document during the pontificate of Paul VI, the Magisterium strongly and consistently defended the reforms as not being manufactured artificially but being product of tradition. These claims, of course, are scoffed at and disputed by many traditionalists, but the real question is this: What does Pope Ratzinger think of his predecessor’s claim that “No one should think that this revision of the Roman Missal has come out of nowhere” and that his Missal represents “the desire that [newly discovered] doctrinal and spiritual riches not be stored away in the dark, but to be put into use for the enlightenment of the mind of Christians and for the nurture of their spirit” (Missale Romanum, Apr 3, 1969)?

  15. Obviously, Ratzinger was referring to some theoretical developments with no relation whatsoever to reality!

    Give me a break...

  16. The Pope repeated his belief that the power of the pope over the liturgy is limited several times.He is to guard the tradition.Fr.Aidan Nichols states the same thing citing the Pope.Msgr. Gamber says that Pope Paul exceeded his authority and then Cardinal Ratzinger praised Gamber.The pope whil recognizing the good effects of the NO still calls it a fabrication.When Cardinal Ratzinger wrote,"Not only did the banning of the Old Mass represent a severe departure from tradition,but the revolutionary manner in which the NewMass was imposed has created theimpression that liturgy is something each community creates on its own,not something which is given...I was dismayed by the banning of the Old Missal seeing thata similar thing had never happened in the entire history of the litugy." I think these are radical words and the person who spoke them is now on Peter's throne and will soon start to undo the grave damage done unintentionallyby Paul VI. Its obvious whom Ratzinger was talking about.Who promulgated andapproved the NO.And we should face the fact PopePaul DID suppress if not abrogate the TLM excepr where it was begrudgingly allowed in rare circumstances in England in the truncated 65 missal form.The Pope said so.Now Benedict has to start the task of putting the shattered liturgy and church together. I wonder what is in the mind now of Rembert Weakland who reacted to Ratzingers remarks by stating that It was JohnPaul's decision in 1984 to allow the Tridentine rite that damaged the church and "totally derailed the liturgical renewal" and contributed to a "devastating" division and disunity within the church.

  17. "On other news, (touching on liturgy) neocon (I believe) Rod Dreher has left Catholicism and joined Orthodoxy."

    Frankly I'm surprised he took so long to leave the Church. To me it seemed he'd left in his heart about a year or two ago. It's a shame he's decided to retreat from catholicity, although I do understand how he came to be driven to such ends. The failings of our bishops, including Bishops of Rome, can be and often are injurious to one's faith, even though it is no justification for severing one's self from the Catholic Church.

  18. to with Peter

    quoting : "I think you are inferring too much from Ratzinger’s comments, which are designed to correct misunderstandings about the nature of papal power. Ratzinger does not assert that a pope can potentially or has in fact transgressed these limits. In virtually every liturgical document during the pontificate of Paul VI, the Magisterium strongly and consistently defended the reforms as not being manufactured artificially but being product of tradition."
    comment : I think Joseph Ratzinger made crystal-clear in various writings [re. The Spirit of Liturgy etc.]when has cardinal, speaking as a baptized and a theologian not as prefect of CDF, that he disapproved what the "the Magisterium strongly and consistently defended" i.e. " the reforms as not being manufactured artificially". Theologian Ratzinger thought like Fr. Louis Bouyer, like Msgr. Gamber and like many others, these liturgical "reforms" - in fact a revolution- have been artificially manufactured. May I say that Church historians are bringing proofs every day, even those of the Bologna school, that N.O.M. is mainly the product of a manufacture of experts, with the active complicity of cardinal Lercaro, who was - as you know - abruptly disgraced by Paul VI in 1968. The edition - alas incomplete - of cardinal Antonelli ofm diary is a confirmation for all who want to open a book. Cardinal Antonelli was by the way in favor of a reform and the secretary of the Conciliar commission on Liturgy, so a highly qualified expert himself.
    Naturally Paul VI tried to hide this undisputed fact in the encyclical curial language, traditionally sugar-coated. How can a pope say : I'm allowing a revolution that is largely unfaithful to the Vatican II mandate as exposed in Sacrosanctum concilium ? It is positively unthinkable.

    When Paul VI in Missale Romanum 1969 is making an analogy between himself with Vatican II and s. Pius V and Trent, he is wrong. Papal infallibility is not covering historical knowledge : read again "Pastor aeternus" dogmatic constitution. Only neo-cons are blind with an extreme ultramontane theory Vatican I has clearly rejected. This is not Catholicism, this is "Popism". The "Vicar of Christ" is a "vicar", he is not Christ !
    Not one historian, not a single liturgist can pretend s. Pius V did to the Roman rite in 1570 what Paul VI, under pressure this is also documented, allowed in 1964-1969. There is no possible analogy. Whether you like NOM or you hate it, there is quasi-unanimity on this.
    Just open any encyclopedia, any book exposing the liturgical reform, you won't find any who is supporting the weird idea of a strict "continuity" between NOM and TLM, except maybe the book of Dom Oury, who was a plea for a trad reading of NOM, which is possible but unknown de facto. Remember dom Oury's book was explicitely aimed at convincing Abp Lefebvre's followers. The French champion of this trad interpretation of a Latin Novus Ordo, Denis Crouan, is bitterly complaining he is the only one in the world to ask for it ... and he is right. Ask Adoremus members where this trad interpretation of NOM is.
    To give just one example of the revolution : the Roman rite had one Canon, one and only one ; it never had others. Paul VI kicked Abp Bugnini out when he was trying to legalize more than the 4 canons he had managed to impose in 1968 ; we have now over 25 canons with the 3rd edition of NOM.
    Now show me where Vatican II constitution is asking for an alteration of the Roman canon and allowing this incredible break up with the Roman rite history ? (spare your valuable time, Vatican II never allowed this horror, on the contrary, the Council forbade this imposing to any revision to come from "organic growth").

    I want here to quote a rabid ennemy of TLM and a supporter of the NOM revolution, Pierre Raffin, Bishop of Metz : " La coexistence de deux rites à la fois très proches et très différents, comme on vient de le montrer, est une totale nouveauté dans l’histoire de l’Eglise d’Occident" (Revue d'éthique et de théologie morale, septembre 2006). He is speaking of "two rites at the same time very close and very different" and he is underlining ... the differences, in favor according to him of the new "Roman" rite or the "ordinary form" of the Roman rite as it could be said in the expected papal motu proprio.

    At least, trad-hating bishops like Bp Raffin, neo-liturgists trashing TLM in their thick treaties at every page, Fr. Paul de Clerck, a prominent Bugninist consultor of CDW, who attacked a modern priest who had not "entirely uprooted the tridentine misconceptions" in his doctoral dissertation, are HONEST. They don't try to paint the real Novus Ordo, as it is celebrated, with Trent coating.
    Cardinal Ratzinger was honest in his books too : Novus Ordo Missae is a poor, distorted implementation of Sacrosanctum concilium. His newly appointed secretary of CDW, Abp Patabendige Don, said it in a mildly way recently. At least we can agree on basic facts, without hiding behind the mandatory smokey style of encyclicles.

    Finally we can cite many pastoral dispositions imposed by one pope and revoked by another : the famous Unigenitus bull (1713) is calling anathema on those who are asking lay people to read vernacular bibles. Half a century later, pope Benedict XIV was allowing this, over one century later pope Leo XIII was commending this and Vatican II Dei Verbum is confirming this too.
    Is there a contradiction ? yes and no. If you're a popist, yes. If you're a Catholic, no. Unigenitus pastoral provision made sense toward risks of protestantization, these risks were considered less dangerous later by the Holy See. Popes and councils are bound by the dogmatic approach of the Bible and Tradition, opposed to the protestant Sola Scriptura, but they are judges of the pastoral implementation of this permanent teaching.
    As much as I can respect the memory of Pius XII, I won't have a hick-up to imitate him. The Pacellian hick-up was not a dogma. Pastoral "mistakes" of Paul VI are a sort of hick-ups ; many popes if not all have made similar pastoral "mistakes" or controversial decisions, as we can feel today. Their mission is to keep the dogmatic faith of the Church intact and they did/do. That's why there is unam sanctam catholicam et apostolicam Ecclesiam.

  19. It seems to me, that whatever we believe about the right to say the 1962 mass, or the 1540 mass for that matter, the bishop controls the public worship in his diocese, and is de-facto preventing the 1962 mass from being made available "liberally". In order to resolve this situation, the Pope would need to make clear that the bishop has no authority to prevent any properly prepared priest from saying the 1962 mass in public at any time.

    God Bless,


  20. Alsaticus -bene scripsisti.Excellent presentation of the problem.Avery Cardinal Dulles wrote on the New Mass for either Crisis or First Things that Novus ordo broke every norm for renewal of the Mass stipulated by Vatican II.He said it was the first mass in history to be composed by a committee.

  21. Whatever else one may argue about the NO service, it certainly was not an organic development of previous liturgical form. It is almost totally different from The Latin Mass in every aspect and outcome. Its results and consequences are well nigh un-Catholic.

    As an alleged fruit of VCII it reflects the apparent tendencies of the councils. Even as Cardinal, The Holy Father indicated in his Principles of Catholic Theology that “not every valid council in the history of the Church has been a fruitful one; in the last analysis many of them have been just a waste of time” and “the last word about the historical value of Vatican Council II has yet to be spoken.”


    This is a useful time to bishop-watch. Some of them are giving themselves away already.

  22. Alasticus, let me begin by thanking you for the charity your post clearly manifests in applying such time, attention and intelligence in responding to me. As I read and reread your post, I am having some difficulty identifying the nature and extent of our disagreement. I do not wish to get sidetracked with an apologetic in favor of the new order’s “better qualities.” I’m just not sure, however, it is correct that the liturgical instructions of Pius XII and Paul VI are best described as “hick-ups.” As authentic acts of the Magisterium of the Catholic Church, they are entitled to some measure of respect and submissiveness. But this does not mean that these reforms, much less their implementation, are beyond any and all criticism: In virtually every century, we can identify popes who were elected precisely because of their respectful and intelligent opposition to various policies of the previous pope.

    With regard to the continuity between Tradition and the 1970 Missal, I think your comments are basically correct. The documents exaggerate the existence of such continuity and minimize the actual objections (i.e. sugar-coated). Now, this is actually one of the biggest failures in the implementation of the liturgical reform: If continuity WAS as strong as the documents imply, the Magisterium did itself a profound disservice by not demonstrating this for all to see. This would have pacified conservative objections and pulled in the reigns of liberal dissent. I think there was a kind of naïve positivism with regard to the liturgy, that is, a blindness to all the consequences of what was being done. I don’t think Bugnini was a modernist mastermind, but perhaps worse, a pushy optimist in love with his own little area of the Church’s business. The vision of what Paul VI and Bugnini wanted from the liturgical reform perhaps blinded them to the obvious negative consequences that would follow from the reform.

    Now, Alasticus, I basically agree with all your criticisms, but it still leaves us in something of a quandary because the magisterial documents of Paul VI do involve an interpretation of tradition, i.e. ‘these reforms are consistent with tradition.’ And the Church’s dogmatic teaching on the ordinary and universal teaching authority is clear: It cannot be simply rejected or dissented from. What is more, at some point we have to ask when we’ve crossed the line and have begun judging Peter (Denz 353, 469, 570, 1830). These passages show that much of what you derogatively call “Popism” is part and parcel of “Catholicism.”

    Is Paul VI wrong in his analogy to St. Pius V? Well, firstly, an analogy is an association based similar characteristics: There is an analogy between Hitler and Gandhi if their favorite color is purple. So the fact that there are significant differences between the two men and their decisions does not invalidate the analogy. An analogy is invalid if the trait asserted as similar is actually dissimilar. What does Paul VI assert as uniting him with Pius V?

    1. Executing the decree of the most recently held Council. You say the Pius V Missal is a much better implementation of Trent then the Paul VI Missal is of Vatican II. Fine. Paul VI doesn’t compare the quality of the two implementations. Even if the 1970 Missal is – as you say - a poor and distorted implementation, it is an implementation. There is in fact increased attention to Scripture, reduction of duplicated elements, restoration of the general intercessions, etc., all things called for by the Council.

    2. “Recognized by all as one of the admirable results of the Council.” I don’t think Paul VI asserts this as part of the analogy. Therefore, he is making a correct historical statement about the 1570 Missal, which he is hoping will one day prove true for the 1970 Missal (not holding my breath).

    3. Both are the fruit of the rigorous scholarly study of ancient manuscripts. I don’t think the scholarship of the new order can be denied. Even if the new order is pure modernism, the modernists were exceptionally gifted scholars. The problem with Alfred Loisy was not his scholarly credentials! Moreover, many aspects of ancient practice were restored (e.g. sign of peace, Hippolytus, etc.). I do not deny that this claim is often exaggerated, but I would ardently defend that the claim has at least some basis in truth.

    4. Expectation of the Missal becoming an instrument of liturgical unity and the expression of pure and reverent worship in the Church. Whether or not this unity or expression have (or could have) resulted from the implementation of the 1970 Missal is dubious, but the expectation is not. Who can doubt that Paul VI sincerely expected that his missal to be a great gift to the Church?

    Under each of these four aspects, the analogy between Paul VI and Pius V is valid. Of course, the greatest analogy is that these two are popes who undertook the most radical revision and promulgation of the Roman Missal in the history of the Church. Of course, Pius' revision is less radical and more organic than Paul's, but in this regard the 1570 Missal stands out among all others.

  23. I will wait to see if Alsaticus is interested in this discussion.

    If he is not, I will delete any Apologia which may cause divisiveness among our readers in these very sensitive times.

  24. If my post is in fact divisive, I am sorry. My purpose was to submit my opinion for Alasticus' and all of your consideration with sincerity and respect. If anyone can make it apparent to me what line violates this purpose, I will retract without hesitation.


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