Rorate Caeli

Motu proprio notes: What's news?

Most readers must be bored with our caveat regarding supposed contents of the motu proprio before the actual text is known, but we cannot fail to notice that several rumored aspects of the document are being presented as news... when in fact they are quite old.

For instance, the motu proprio will deal not only with the Mass, but with all rites of Sacraments. Is that news? Well, not for those who have been following the debate. Just this past May in Aparecida, Brazil, Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos said that "the Holy Father has the intention of extending to the entire Latin Church the possibility of celebrating Holy Mass and the Sacraments according to the liturgical books promulgated by Blessed John XXIII in 1962".

What about calling the Traditional Roman Rite an "extraordinary form" of the "one" Roman Rite? This academic concept has permeated the Vatican language for a couple of years. In October 2006, Cardinal Ricard, President of the French Episcopal Conference, explained that he called the Traditional Roman Rite "what the Pope calls [it]": "an extraordinary form of the Roman Rite". And this expression has been constantly repeated by Vatican officials. Once again, no news.

All supposed contents of the motu proprio being published by the press and repeated by several weblogs seem to be old news, except for one important aspect, whose appearance is new - it does not matter what it is, for why comment upon an aspect of the document if it may very well not turn out to be true? Is it not better to wait until the texts of the motu proprio and its accompanying letter are actually known?

Which is why we will keep our pre-publication caveat:

Considering the closeness of the date of publication of the motu proprio on the liberalization of the Traditional Roman Rite and its accompanying letter, we will avoid commenting on the contents of both documents, until the actual texts are publicly known.


IMPORTANT NOTE: That there will be a period of time before all legal aspects of the motu proprio come into effect (what in Canon Law is commonly referred to as "vacatio legis") is not any kind of rumored content, but almost a certainty, considering the last words of the communiqué of the Holy See Press Office: "with the indication of its successive coming into effect" (con la indicazione della sua successiva entrata in vigore), that is, of when it will be ordered to come into effect. The duration of this vacatio legis (1 day after publication? 30 days? 90 days? 180 days?) is unknown at this moment and will probably only be known with the public release of the document.


  1. Very telling passage from the article on the June 27 meeting with the bishops:

    "Some participants admitted it was hard to understand the Motu Proprio because it is in Latin."

  2. Anonymous9:12 PM

    "The Motu Proprio provides for a review of the situation in three years."

  3. Anonymous9:50 PM


    That's only a rumor.

    If, and I say if, there is a 3 yr review, it might not be what some people think it might be. I suspect that the NO is expected to reform itself on some kind of timetable--and that's what I expect will be reviewed if anything is. The expectation that the NO will improve in comparison to the Johnine mass (1962) is one of the Pope's motives for making the Motu Proprio.

    We've hit bottom and Rome has had enough **** from our dissidents, deadheads and slackers.

  4. Anonymous9:56 PM

    The 3 year rumor has its source in only one article among hundreds. Let's not panic.

  5. LOL
    I love the fact that the comments on a post that details why this blog won't comment on rumors, are the very rumors the blog won't discuss.

    I for one, agree, that at this point-- Let's wait for the documents

  6. Anonymous10:13 PM

    "That's only a rumor."


    And it is also the only "one important aspect, whose appearance is new" that I've seen, which is not being commented upon.

    I just can't see the point in avoiding discussing it.

  7. Anonymous10:18 PM

    TNLM made mention of that subject today:

    "The Motu Proprio provides for a review of the situation in three years."

    [Some have expressed concern over this. My view is this. It seems like any new initiative as this undergoes as kind of "ad experimentum" period. This is not unique. What should also be noted is that, politically, it would certainly be pyschologically helpful for people having trouble "buying in" in the episcopal front to at least know there is a normal safeguard in place. Whatever works to get us started! I wouldn't be too concerned by this aspect. In fact, typically I've often heard ad experimentum periods of 5 years; I'm pleased it is only 3, and would be more pleased for an even shorter period of time because it would mean it's that much more likely to come under the pontificate of Benedict.]

    That seems like a reasonable, responsible discussion.

  8. Anonymous11:21 PM


    POST-MOTU PROPRIO: What Traditional Catholics Want After Promulgation

    It appears certain that, in the coming days, our Holy Father will promulgate a motu proprio freeing the Traditional Latin Mass which was perfected in the sixth century and canonized in 1570 by Pope St. Pius V. However, without proper enforcement and enactment, it will mean little to traditional Catholics in their every day lives. Below is a respectful request to our prelates world wide upon its promulgation. Please pass along and spread the word:

    1. That all traditional Catholics, upon its promulgation, welcome it with humility and joy and not a “we win” attitude;
    2. That non-traditional Catholics see it less as an attack on the Novus Ordo Mass and liturgy but as an opportunity to grow their own Faith and return to the Church’s roots and the way of the Saints;
    3. That our bishops accept it in joy and gladness and profound respect for the Holy Father and implement it fully and without hesitation understanding that, while we do not just “prefer” the Traditional Latin Mass but desire it exclusively, we also do not question the validity of the Novus Ordo Mass if it adheres fully to the rubrics of the new missal and absent of abuses;
    4. That our bishops ensure at least one Traditional Latin Mass every day of the week, every week of the year;
    5. That every priest who wishes to pray the Traditional Latin Mass, whether publicly or privately, be able to do so without threat or intimidation by his bishop or the lay people of the diocese;
    6. That, if a diocese does not have a priest who wishes to pray the Traditional Latin Mass daily, the bishop work with a traditional group like the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP) or the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest (ICKSP) to bring one of their priests into his diocese for this purpose;
    7. That each and every diocese has at least one full parish that offers only the Traditional Latin Mass and Sacraments as well as the traditional Baltimore Catechism for the formation of traditional young Catholics;
    8. That our bishops provide at least one traditional Catholic school per diocese in order that our children may receive a classical Catholic education focused on the traditional Faith and Sacraments;
    9. That every bishop once a year confirms young, traditional Catholics into the Church in the traditional rite (which does not include a Mass during the ceremony);
    10. That every diocese has at least one parish with more than one Traditional Latin Mass each Sunday so that traditional Catholics have a choice in Mass times like all other Catholics who assist at the Novus Ordo Mass;
    11. That at least one parish have a priest who exclusively prays the Traditional Latin Mass and is not forced to “concelebrate” with Novus Ordo priests or confer new rite sacraments at another parish;
    12. That there be no mixing of the rites – if 1962 is the year for which traditionalism is recognized, then nothing post-1962 should ever enter the Traditional Latin Mass, Sacraments or liturgy;
    13. That the traditional calendar in place in 1962 is used in accordance with each and every Traditional Latin Mass;
    14. That at least one Traditional Latin Mass is available on each and every Holy Day of Obligation in effect in 1962 according to the traditional calendar;
    15. That every attempt is made by each bishop to bring any and all independent chapels or Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) chapels into full communion with him in his diocese. If they refuse, so be it, but at least make an honest attempt for the sake of the Faith.

    Many bishops are already using the talking points that they already allow a Traditional Latin Mass and “there really just isn’t any interest.” That is because, in most cases, they grant only one Mass a Sunday, at an hour too late in the day for most to attend, in the worst neighborhood in town, without the traditional Sacraments or chance of a daily Mass. Once they make it impossible to survive, they tell the media no one wants “that old Mass.” Let’s pray they put these desires into action and see what kind of response they get.

    While there is much more than this which is needed to finally bring the One True Faith back to its full glory in the future, this would be a wonderful and holy place to start once the motu proprio is promulgated. Let us pray that all Catholics, whether traditionally minded or not, welcome the wishes of the Holy Father and pray that this undertaking of his brings us closer together as we once were. Oremus pro invicem.

  9. Let's not worry about the term "extraordinary." As we well know it is practically meaningless in the Novus Ordo mentality. How many parishes do we know of where the same group of laypeople are assigned each week to carry out the "extraordinary ministry of Holy Communion" even when there is no need? If the "Extraordinary" Rite is used only half as much it will soon demonstrate its superiority.

  10. Anonymous2:54 AM

    Any three year review is probably to placate the whining bishops. In the end, if the Holy Father is still alive, it won't matter...

  11. Anonymous9:12 AM

    Indeed. May Mary the holy Mother of God, SS Peter and Paul and all the holy angels and saints pray that the Benedict has a long and wise reign!

  12. The three year review is a potential threat but also a great big opportunity to further extend the Latin Mass.

  13. Anonymous12:13 PM

    The 3 year clause is probably there to easily revoke the Motu Proprio durring the next pope's reign.

  14. Anonymous12:19 PM

    In three years,there will be a more Motu-friendly Curia and many more people prepared to scream if their TLM is taken away.Revocation is not Benedict's intention.

  15. Anonymous1:00 PM

    "The 3 year clause is probably there to easily revoke the Motu Proprio durring the next pope's reign."

    How can we speak of probabilities regarding something that may not even exist, or if it exists we have no knowledge at all what it entails. For all we know, this rumored three-year clause in that unsourced and unverifiable gossip article is merely a call for the bishops of the world in three years to submit reports to the CDW on the current state of affairs in their diocese regarding the old Latin Mass -- how many Masses are offered, how well are the priests being trained, are the Masses being offered in accordance with the 1962 rubrics. It would be irresponsible to institute a major change without ever stopping to examine how effective the change might be.

    Sorry, but assuming this rumor is true, there's no reason to be worried about it. Far too many people find to too easy to opt for the hermeneutics of cynicism and pessimism.

  16. Anonymous, that would add a new dimension to the rumor (since the mere resolution of liturgical dubia, even of that extremely polemical question, would not demand this aspect) - which is why the suppression of the comment seemed appropriate. We apologize for any misunderstanding.

  17. Anonymous2:49 PM

    Whatever you think is best, new catholic. It's your blog after all!

    PS Thanks for this blog during this wonderful, crazy, grace-filled time.

  18. Anonymous says:

    "12. That there be no mixing of the rites – if 1962 is the year for which traditionalism is recognized, then nothing post-1962 should ever enter the Traditional Latin Mass, Sacraments or liturgy;"

    But what of post-1962 saint feast days? (i.e., Padre Pio, et al)

    I thought that was a valid option for celebration of the 1962 missal.

    I certainly would not mind this one exception.

  19. Anonymous5:23 AM

    'That non-traditional Catholics see it less as an attack on the Novus Ordo Mass and liturgy but as an opportunity to grow their own Faith and return to the Church’s roots and the way of the Saints.' The trouble with this idea is that the old mass and the new mass are so different that they look like the rites of different religions. Your average churchgoer can't help noticing this. It is this fact I think that motivates a lot of episcopal opposition; bishops know that this is how the old mass will strike people, and some of the more informed ones will know that this is not an accident - it is because there is a fundamental theological opposition between the two; just as was explicitly intended by the designers of the new mass. They don't want the trouble this opposition is going to cause even if they don't feel deeply about the theology of the new mass. I don't think the Holy Father is willing to admit this to himself (just as well or he might not have done anything). There is no way that the motu proprio is going to lead to anything other than a huge struggle. This is a good thing, since the state of the Church is so desperate that such a struggle is needed; but traditionalists need to be honest and accept that this is what is coming, not stick their heads in the sand and think that reason and goodness will easily prevail.

  20. John,

    I think you're mistaken. Many of the young people I know who assist at the TLM migrated gradually from the average NO to a much more reverent NO and then to the TLM. While arguing the details of the prayers is important, one can generally see how a reverent NO can be compared to a TLM. The widespread use of the TLM is likely to increase the reverent NO, simply as a response by those clergy who favor the NO to not lose their congregation, that will also decrease the irreverent NO as well. Finally a common TLM would give the Holy Father greater ease in instituting changes to the NO, such as a required orientation, and corrections to the prayers, which may gradually bring it into line with what Vatican II actually instructed. Which would be a vast improvement over what's provided.

    God Bless,


  21. Irrespective of the MP, my masses will be with the SSPX.


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