Rorate Caeli

Summorum Pontificum "interpreted" (read "curtailed")
by Polish Bishops

The German Bishops were the first to collectively issue guidelines for the "interpretation" of the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum. The Swiss Bishops published their own version of the guidelines and the Polish Episcopal Conference published its guidelines on October 3, 2007 (Translation by Kronika Novus Ordo):

The Bishops gathered for the 341st Assembly of the Polish Episcopal Conference in Warsaw (2-3 October 2007) have issued instructions on the celebration of Mass according to the Apostolic Letter Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum, announced by Pope Benedict XVI on 7 July 2007. The Motu Proprio and the Accompanying Letter to Bishops lay down the outline conditions for the celebration of Mass according to the Missale Romanum promulgated by Blessed Pope John XXIII as the extraordinary form of the Church’s liturgy.

1. The Parish Liturgy is to be celebrated in the ordinary form. Where a need arises, on Sundays and holy days of obligation, one additional Mass in the extraordinary form can be celebrated, however it can't replace the Mass in the ordinary form (cf. Summorum Pontificum, Art. 5 § 2).

2. The possibility for the celebration of Mass in the extraordinary form in parish communities must take account of the spiritual well-being of the whole community of the Faithful making the request. The introduction of the form of Mass must not give rise to tension or cause division (cf. Summorum Pontificum, Art. 5 § 1). Desire of a certain group of the Faithful to have a Mass celebrated according to Missale Romanum of Blessed John XXIII must not create dificulties to other Faithful taking part in Mass celebrated in the ordinary form of the rite.

3. The ordinary form of the Mass should be celebrated using the Missale Romanum 1970 (Editio typica tertia 2002), and in the Polish language — according to Missale Romanum for Polish Dioceses, Poznań 1986. For the extraordinary form of Mass, Missale Romanum 1962 — Proprium Poloniae 1962 is to be used (cf. Summorum Pontificum, Art. 1).

4. Applications for permission to celebrate Mass in the extraordinary form can be raised by groups of laymen active in a given Parish (cf. Summorum Pontificum, Art. 5 § 1 and Art. 7) and directed to the Parish Priest/Rector. If groups includes members of different Parishes, the application should be addressed to the Diocesan bishop.

5. Diocesan bishops have the right to determine kind and size of the group, who has the right to make request to have the Mass in the extraordinary form.

6. Priests who are to celebrate Mass in the extraordinary form of the rite (cf. Summorum Pontificum, Art. 5 § 4) should meet the following requirements:
  • - Accept the whole liturgy of the Church in their ordinary and extraordinary forms (cf. accompanying letter of Pope Benedict XVI);
  • - Know well the extraordinary form of the rite;
  • - Understand Latin;
  • - Have altar servers well trained for the extraordinary rite celebration
The foregoing requirements should be subject to formal verification by Diocesan Liturgical Committees.

7. The Calendar and order of readings of the Missale Romanum 1962 should be used for the celebration of Mass in the extraordinary form 1962. Attention should be given to the already announced extensions after a period of time of the Calendar through the Ecclesia Dei Commission. For the reading of the readings in the vernacular (cf. Summorum Pontificum, Art. 6) the Perikopes must be extracted from the recognised lectionary of the Missal for the Dioceses, i.e. Pallotinum Poznań of 1972-2004. Alternatively, the Missale Romanum by the Benedictines of Tyniec Abbey, (Pallotinum Poznań, 1963), can be used.

Preaching during Mass in the extraordinary form of the rite should be in line with the teaching of the Second Vatican Council.

8. Polish Bishops for now see no use of the right to establish personal parishes (cf. Summorum Pontificum, Art. 10) for the celebration of the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite.

9. Parish Priests and Rectors of churches, where the celebration of Mass in the extraordinary form has been allowed, should let their bishop know about it to help him prepare the the motu proprio implementation report, to be sent to Pope in three years period (cf. Accompanying Letter of Pope Benedict XVI.).

10. Referring to the instructions of Motu Proprio, it should be pondered whether or not one Sunday Eucharist should be celebrated in the Latin language pursuant to Missale Romanum of Pope Paul VI. There are people who wish to take part in such a Mass. In some churches, such liturgy in the Latin language is celebrated and generally accessible to the Faithful.

These guidelines become effective as of 15 October 2007.

+ Archbishop Józef Michalik
Chairman of the Polish Episcopal Conference

+ Bishop Stefan Cichy
Chairman of the Polish Episcopal Liturgical Committee

Warsaw, 3 October 2007
341st Plenary Assembly of the Polish Episcopal Conference