Rorate Caeli

Traditional Mass: Sign of Contradiction - II
When all else fails, lie, lie, lie...

The devilish enemies of the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum now have found a really powerful argument against its application...

From this Saturday's edition of Corriere della Sera:



They are called the Acta Apostolicæ Sedis [The Acts of the Apostolic See-AAS] and have been for a century the organ which gives force to papal provisions. It may happen that the [Holy See] Press Office or that the website precede them, but their wording [sic] is the official one.

The fact that the motu proprio on the use of the Tridentine Missal, in force from September 14, has still not been published on the Acta, maybe in the expectation of solving some of the doubts which it brings, causes reflection.

Other than the objection which the Pope showed himself to know in his letter to the Bishops, there were the Latin flaws detected by Carlo Ossola... Then, Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini stepped in to explain why he had not used the privilege which the motu proprio granted. Some liturgists have underlined that the conditions established by the motu proprio for the use of the Tridentine rite are rather severe, more than the Traditionalist enthusiasm may make believe.

A great scholar of the Latin liturgical books, Manlio Sodi, documented afterwards that there is a Missal of Tradition and Scripture, that is, the well thought out Missal of Paul VI, and not the one born from that chaotic phase of the post-Tridentine Council. The reality, in fact, [is that] the distinctions between ordinary and extraordinary form of the Mass (which then-Cardinal Ratzinger in 1982 and 1983) demands harsh pastoral forcefulness.

From [all of] this he wise decision to keep still in the boiling pan [lit. bain-marie] a text which is creating more problems than those which it does not solve: even at the cost of putting into force an act which exists (how to say it?) in "Web tantum". [Rorate note: that is, only 'on the web' not in 'law'.]

There is, first, an incredible lie when Melloni says that, "some liturgists have underlined that the conditions established by the motu proprio for the use of the Tridentine rite are rather severe" - the use of "some" in such comments hides the fact that no names are mentioned, since no honest person can state that there are any "severe" conditions established by the motu proprio. On the contrary: all distortions in the application of the motu proprio have been caused exclusively by ill-intentioned bishops who have sought to "interpret" the motu proprio their own way, as if it were a second "Ecclesia Dei", not a document which clarifies the rights (not "privileges") of priests and faithful.

There is also the lie that the Traditional Missal was somehow "created" after the Council of Trent (in the "chaotic post-Tridentine years"...), which no mediocre student of the liturgy of the Latin Church would ever ascertain. Naturally, lying is all that is left for Melloni and his companions of intellectual thuggery.

The fact that the official publication of Summorum Pontificum in the AAS has not appeared is absolutely irrelevant to its application, as Melloni knows well (then again, distortion is the favorite sport of the "Rupturists-discontinuists" of the school of Bologna, the heirs to what Pope Benedict calls "the hermeneutic of rupture and discontinuity" - now in definitive exile from the Vatican halls). For the sake of our readers, the appropriate texts of the Code of Canon Law:

Can. 7 A law comes into being when it is promulgated.

Can. 8 §1 Universal ecclesiastical laws are promulgated by publication in the 'Acta Apostolicae Sedis', unless in particular cases another manner of promulgation has been prescribed. They come into force only on the expiry of three months from the date appearing on the particular issue of the 'Acta', unless because of the nature of the case they bind at once, or unless a shorter or a longer interval has been specifically and expressly prescribed in the law itself. [Translation: Canon Law Society of America]

There is obviously no doubt that Summorum Pontificum is in full force, irrespective of its official publication in the AAS: "We order that everything We have decreed with this Apostolic Letter given Motu Proprio be considered as having full and lasting force, and be observed from September 14 of this year, Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, notwithstanding any provisions to the contrary." What is left is for priests and faithful to exercise their rights and for Bishops to provide for what the new law asks of them, when their intervention is at all necessary - and not to "interpret" the new law, a role reserved to the Apostolic See and its special dicastery, the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei.

Transcript of Corriere article: Papa Ratzinger Blog


  1. Anonymous6:10 PM

    Questo giurisdicismo mi sembra comico se non fosse tragico, come lo è stato quello di Tettamanzi, quando ha mandato dire (perchè non ne ha avuto il coraggio di dire) che non accetava la Potestà Suprema del Pontefice su tutta la Chiesa.
    Come sono attacati alla lettera, alle norme, però che ne siano veramente, in quello che importa, non solo in quello che è del loro interesse, obedendo le normative del romano Pontefice, il qualale è “il perpetuo e visibile principio e fondamento dell’unità sia dei vescovi sia della moltitudine dei fedeli”(LUMEN GENTIUM, 23)
    Smettetela di fare i ridicoli voi tutti che vi solevate contra il Pontefice e seguite le norme del Diritto Canonico, e dei Concili, incluso il Vaticano II, rispetto all’obedienza che dovete, e che tanti di voi avete promesso esplicitamente, al Papa.
    Pio, Brasile

  2. Anonymous10:33 PM

    Inquiring minds want to know what the "errors" are in the Latin text of the MP.

    I'll gues that they are first of al those words which follow the title of the Apostolic Letter:

    motu proprio data

    Not, so collegial sounding those Latin words.....

  3. Anonymous10:36 PM

    For all you know the Vatican could be playing the same game it has played in the past, most notably with the Catechism of John Paul II. Namely, to put the document out there in the vernacular for "peer review", and, once it's come back, publish the "official" edition in the AAS. Let's hope this is not the case. The canon you mention does not, unfortunately, exclude what the enemy is saying. The fact is you cannot know WHAT the law prescribes until you see the law itself. The internet does not count as official promulgation of a document, sorry. The organs for promulgations of papal docs are the AAS (by default) or the L'Osservatore Romano. Note what the canon says: The law "come[s] into force only on the expiry of three months from the date appearing on the" AAS unless the Pope prescribes it be observed earlier. Let's say the Pope issued a document, which was signed 1 February. He can do three things: (a) Have it go in force immediately as soon as it published in the L'Osservatore Romano (which, of course, circulates daily, at least in Italy)--which is exactly what he did with the motu proprio on the papal electoral norms (issued just a month before Summorum); (b) have them go into effect sooner than that three-month-after-published-in-the-AAS thingie; or (c) let things run their usual course and let them go in force after three months in the AAS. With Summorum, he did neither. He said: It will go in force on September 14--or at least this is what the Internet-"published" document says. Well, that is irrelevant, actually, cause it is not published in the by default official organ, the AAS. So, officially, Summorum is in limbo until it is published in the AAS--seing that no organ is mentioned by name. Of course, by then 14 September will have long passed.

  4. "So, officially, Summorum is in limbo until it is published in the AAS--seing that no organ is mentioned by name. Of course, by then 14 September will have long passed."

    That is mostly correct; Summorum is not in "limbo", but in full force from September 14, even though its official text has not been set in the AAS (unusual for Canon Law, but not at all unusual for Vatican texts in general) - it must be assumed that the text in force is the one made public. While the motu proprio on papal elections mentioned OR by name, it also mentioned that it would go into effect immediately. Summorum will have its official text set in the AAS, but it is in force irrespective of it (in the text which was sent to all Bishops and Episcopal Conferences and was made public through all other means available to the Holy See).

  5. Anonymous5:13 AM

    What I am saying is that a text may well be made public, but that does not make it officially promulgated. The canon says: "universal ecclesiastical laws are promulgated by publication in the 'Acta Apostolicae Sedis.'" Note the only exception it mentions is: "unless in particular cases another manner of promulgation has been prescribed," e.g., through the OR, as in the case of the motu proprio on the papal electoral process. I might be totally wrong on this, however. I am not a canon lawyer.

  6. Yes, this has not been denied. But it has no bearing on the fact that the text (the only one made known to all the Church) is already in force, because a "shorter or a longer interval has been specifically and expressly prescribed in the law itself", irrespective of its future official publication.

  7. David is incorrect in his interpretation, due to the fact that he has parsed the text of the canon incorrectly and linked to separate sentences which are logically independent of each other. The first sentence of the canon does not rule the second, but prescribes the form of "promulgation". The second sentence prescribes how the law comes into force, which is an act logically and really distinct from promulgation.

    A law can come into force, dependent upon promulgatin in the AAS, but this need not be. In the present case, the Latin text of "Summorum Pontificum" was promulgated "de facto" through its publication in "L'Osservatore Romano", which is an official periodical of the Holy See. Regardless of the form of promulgation, however, the act was signed into law by the Supreme Pontiff and given a specific date on which the new law would come into force. It is now in force, and the effort to pin its legal effectiveness to the AAS is both tendentious and "mala fide".

    As an historical note, it has been shown quite clearly that Paul VI never properly promulgated the Novus Ordo Missal. The original Apostolic Constitution lacked any enabling clause at all. One was supplied in the AAS, but it cannot be shown to have given force of law to the Novus Ordo Missae.

    An argument could be made, then, that use of the Novus Ordo is at least illicit, due to a "vacatio legis". On the other hand, Fr. Georg May, one of the greatest living German canonists, and himself a Traditionalist, states that Paul VI made his legislative will adequately clear, even if by the unconventional means of public addresses to the people in St. Peter's Square.

    When there is a doubt, one must have recourse to reflex principles of canonical tradition. The claim that "Summorum Pontificum" is not yet in force is nothing but a chimera: the paranoid, psychotic ravings of those who have departed from the True Catholic Faith.

  8. Anonymous8:39 PM

    In recent times there has indeed been an increasing trend to promulgate the law independent of its publication in the AAS. The ordinary rule of promulgation, however, remains, according to canon law, publication in the AAS. I take that "shorter or a longer interval has been specifically and expressly prescribed in the law itself" as meaning earlier or later than those three months post-publication in the AAS. I will grant, however, that only a shameless bureaucrat can say with a straight face that this law has not been made public, especially after, as you said, it has been sent to the bishops and the episcopal conferences. It has been published de facto if not de jure. It should be interesting, however, if the official text in the AAS should turn out to say something different than the de facto promulgated text. I wonder which one will THEN be held to be the "promulgated" law.

  9. David, they are two separate issues, and one (coming into force) is not necessarily dependent on the other (official publication in the AAS). That is it. Please, do not confuse our readers as this post was written for clarification purposes.

  10. Anonymous5:51 PM

    If the Pope had wanted to make the promulgation of Summorum Pontificum contingent on an eventual and unknown time of publication in the AAS, he wouldn't have said that the law would take effect on Sept. 14.

    The version that eventually appears in the AAS will supersede the version originally published, if there are any differences between them, but unless and until that happens, the version already published is the version that is in force.

    Of course this is all academic, because it's extremely unlikely that any bishop will publicly embarrass himself by refusing to obey Summorum Pontificum based on this gnat-straining technicality.

  11. Precisely, Mr. Potter.

    I do not believe a more succinct presentation of the current state of affairs may be made.