Rorate Caeli

New confirmation of old news

In the current issue of Italian news weekly Panorama, Ignazio Ingrao confirms some news we had already reported here:

-(1) a document is being prepared by the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei" explaining some points of the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum, including what criteria may be used to identify a stably existing group (no specific minimum number) and clarifications regarding the differences between the calendars of both forms of the Roman Rite - the document may be published, according to Ingrao, "in the next few days";

-(2) the possibility of a traditional Mass celebrated by the Pope in December (according to Ingrao, not in Saint Peter's, but maybe in Saint Paul Outside the Walls);

-(3) the probability that the excommunications of the Bishops involved in the consecrations of June 30, 1988, in Ecône, Switzerland may soon be lifted.

Tip and transcript: Papa Ratzinger


  1. Anonymous7:40 PM

    All three points here seem like welcome developments. I wonder if the possibility and timing for the lifting the excommunications is in some way linked to the Papal celebration of the TLM that would soon follow? Perhaps is would open the way for official participation from the SSPX? It would be an interesting possibility.


  2. Pater, Ave Maria, Gloria

  3. Anonymous9:42 PM

    The outrage of the bishops over the Motu Proprio would be nothing over their outrage over the lifting of the excommunications.
    Not only would it be a supposed affront to the memory of John Paul II who leveled the unjust decree, but also another body blow to Vatican II.
    Everyone is praying for Pope Benedict XVI to come thru with another courageous and heroic gesture. Hooray for Pope Benedict XVI to do this soon!!!

  4. Is it time to repeat my very first post here (from November 2006, when it seemed like mere fantasy?)


    Said Vingt-Trois, "What a night I did pass!
    Such a blood-chilling nightmare, alas,
    How can mere words depict?
    I saw Pope Benedict
    Say a Christmas Day Solemn High Mass!

    "They were all facing eastward to pray,
    And the worst part you'll hear when I say--
    How my stomach did weaken!--
    Ranjith was the deacon,
    And subdeacon Bishop Fellay!"

  5. Anonymous10:45 PM

    If the excommunications were lifted before the Mass, it would be fantastic to have Msgr. Fellay and some of the others there to receive communion from the Holy Father.

  6. Anonymous10:56 PM

    Indeed, receiving communion from the Holy Father would have strong symbolic implications and could very well open the way for the granting of a kind of "interim status" and jurisdiction while the doctrinal questions are delt with. I think Bishop Fellay had mentioned this kind of "interim" stage in one of his former talks.


  7. Anonymous11:01 PM

    "I think Bishop Fellay had mentioned this kind of "interim" stage in one of his former talks."


    I should say that Bishop Fellay had indicated some sort of "interim" stage or status that included being "in the Church...without really being there" or something to that effect. I forget the exact interview.


  8. Anonymous11:13 PM

    Please let me emphasize, I am NOT trying to create problems here, but I do see a potential issue surrounding reconciling the SSPX.

    I believe Rome could well remove the excommunications and then restate suspensio ad divinis....

  9. Anonymous11:18 PM

    Here is an extract of the article (October 2006) I was referring to...and this may not be too far off the mark after all -- especially in light of this recent news:


    Fellay envisages the SSPX would be an independent group within the Church, free of control by local bishops, while it continued to advocate rolling back other Vatican II reforms.

    "We would be a bit like the Chinese Patriotic Church, in the Church without really being there," he explained. "There could be a relationship between Rome and us, but it would not yet be a juridical relationship."

    [...]Fellay said the SSPX sought an "intermediate state" in the Church so it could continue to oppose what Lefebvre called "neo-Modernist and neo-Protestant tendencies ... in the Second Vatican Council and in all the reforms which issued from it."

    "We don't want a practical solution before these doctrinal questions are resolved," he said. "The focus should be on these discussions."

  10. Anonymous11:25 PM

    "I believe Rome could well remove the excommunications and then restate suspensio ad divinis...."


    Technically they could do this...but I doubt they would remove the excommunications only to restate their suspension. It would make sense for the Holy See to grant some sort of limited and interim "solution" in order to allow the SSPX to continue its apostolates while the doctrinal questions are being addressed. It could happen along these lines.

  11. WThe TLM evangelized the world; the NO mass has been directly or indirectly leading souls away from the Church. SSPX could very easily turn the tide, and begin to revitalize the Church.

    Michael Davies said BXVI has his heart on the side of tradition. BXVI lifted the 'excommunication' against the Hawaii six. I think it is only a matter of time before he lifts the 'excommunication' of his predecessor. Already, our Pope has show that he is not afraid to lift the unjust suppression of the TLM imposed by Paul VI.

  12. Anonymous2:40 AM

    Anonymous said:
    "Please let me emphasize, I am NOT trying to create problems here, but I do see a potential issue surrounding reconciling the SSPX.

    I believe Rome could well remove the excommunications and then restate suspensio ad divinis....

    29 October, 2007 23:13"

    Not very likely. The excomms include Archbishop Lefebvre and Bishop De Castro Mayer. And these cannot be downgraded to "suspension".

    Just today, in Lourdes (France), during the SSPX pilgrimage, one of their priests, Fr. Brunet, was asked by the rector of the basilica to say Holy Mass for "motu proprio" traditionalists since the usual celebrant had to be replaced.>

    So you see, after all the contempt,ridicule,persecutions, condemnations, etc., the time has come for "Realpolitik" even for those who felt very differently just a few years ago. The facts are forcing them to accept a new situation.

  13. Anonymous4:46 AM

    why not st peter?

  14. Anonymous1:43 PM

    The Pope might think a Solemn Mass in St. Peter's would be too powerful a symbol. Many bishops would be furious.

    It would also be impossible to do it the way it always was done, since Cardinal Noe jackhammered Bernini's altar of the chair out of the wall and replaced it with an ugly but permanent table, which sits right in front of where the Papal throne once was. I don't know if the Pope plans to bring back the red velvet cnaopy and tapestries that used to hang above the papal throne, but he could only do that in one of the other basilicas. There might be extra ceremonial attached to Mass in St. Peter's that he doesn't care to revive but doesn't want to abolish by altering the liturgical books. St. John Lateran's would seem like a better choice. It's the Pope's cathedral but still out of the way enough that it won't cause a schism.

    In my opinion, I really don't see how this is going to happen. Can anyone really imagine Benedict following the old ritual? It would mean being carried in the Sedia Gestatoria down the aisle wearing a tiara, fanon, falda, gloves and that enormous silk and gold cope and then sitting down in a red throne with a dozen steps in front of it. And he's going to come out with this all at once? We haven't even seen him wear a Roman chasuble! Either he's going to drastically revise the rites so that they're stripped of much of their power and beauty, or it just isn't going to happen. I think I'd rather see the latter than see the rites revised.

  15. Anonymous3:07 PM

    Could the SSPX get a status like Opus Dei? By that I mean, they "run their own show" without being under the local bishops. And if Opus Dei can have a cardinal, then why not...

  16. I see a fundamental challenge with any attempts at "clarification" on the part of Rome. Such a document will be issued in Latin as the definitive text. That's why we're in this mess to begin with. The people reading it and interpreting it for their dioceses are not sufficiently competent in Latin.

    The Vatican website publishes in several vernacular languages. They should also issue "definitive but non-juridical" translations of the original Latin, and not rely on the bishps or their conferences or assorted paper shufflers to do it for them.

    To put it another way, The Holy See needs a "Father Zuhlsdorf" for German, English, Spanish, French, Italian, and Portuguese.

  17. Anonymous4:50 PM

    I think this is all good news and I hope nothing happens to deter the Pope from following through on all three points. One would think, however, that if the excommunications were rescinded, the Society would have to have a proper juridical framework such as an Apostolic Administration from which to function.


  18. Anonymous4:59 PM

    To put it another way, The Holy See needs a "Father Zuhlsdorf" for German, English, Spanish, French, Italian, and Portuguese.

    There are plenty of translators in the Vatican.

  19. Anonymous6:12 PM

    "There are plenty of translators in the Vatican."

    As the "pro multis" issue proved, the Vatican's translators are of a very low quality. I wouldn't trust anything to them.

  20. Anonymous6:26 PM

    As the "pro multis" issue proved, the Vatican's translators are of a very low quality. I wouldn't trust anything to them.

    Do you mean "pro multis" becoming "for all" in the New Mass? That wasn't the fault of Vatican translators AFAIK. I think the translations are prepared by the national episcopal conferences or those whom they designate.

  21. I think I'd rather see the latter than see the rites revised.

    Making the best the enemy of the good, don't you think?

  22. Anonymous9:00 PM

    Regarding the apse of St. Peter's, the old altar of the chair did not figure into the ceremony (the papal throne, with its dias, canopy, and tapestries, was set up somewhat in front of it). As for the new altar in the apse, it appears to sit atop a wooden predella, and not be afixed to the sanctuary floor, so it may be portable and, hence, could be moved out of the way for the ceremony (or longer...). A Papal Mass in St. Peter's is possible, and certainly desirable - but, watching the Coronation of Bl. John XXIII (available on you-tube), it would be logistically improbable (for example, a throne would need to be set up in the narthex for the veneration by the Chapter, a faldstool in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel for the visit, and a secretarium with throne and benches set up in the Chapel of St. Gregory for Terce and the vesting, as well as the throne, dias, and benches in the apse for the Holy Father, College of Cardinals, and attending prelates). The Holy Father could follow the much simpler ceremonial involved in a Papal Mass in the Sistine Chapel - which itself would involve taking up the false flooring they put in to cover the dias for the Papal throne on the Gospel side. If the Holy Father was going to celebrate in another basilica, I would imagine he would make use of Santa Maria Maggiore; the Liberian Chapter seems the most tradition-friendly, and, if memory serves, a Solemn Pontifical High Mass was celebrated there in recent memory, so it wouldn't necessarily involve "starting from scratch." For what it's worth.

  23. Anonymous12:34 PM

    I wonder if one reason that he would prefer not to celebrate at St. Peter's is that the celebration of a Tridentine Mass by the Pope is a way to introduce "ad orientem" celebration as a matter of course. If masses of people see the pope celebrate at what appears to be "versus populum" in St. Peter's, and if they don't understand that this is because St. Peter's faces West rather than East,then they may believe that the Pope is endorsing versus populum celebration of the Extraordinary Form. By celebrating in different Church, the pope can face the same direction as the people and so achieve the first public celebration of an ad orientem Mass "with the back to the people" (i.e. in the traditional way). This would be a wonderful thing. Now, does anyone know which direction the altar at St. Paul's faces? Would the pope be facing the people or facing with them toward the apse?

  24. Anonymous4:24 PM

    I think the four Papal Basilicas have "versus populum" altars.


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