Rorate Caeli

Implementing Summorum Pontificum in St. Peter's Basilica (Expanded Article)

According to Messa in Latino, Angelo Cardinal Comastri (in the picture at left), the Cardinal Archpriest of St. Peter's Basilica, has ordered that four copies of the 1962 Missal be kept in the Basilica sacristy.

His action was in response to reports that priests who had wanted to offer the Traditional Latin Mass in that Basilica had to find a Missal on their own, because the sacristy was supposedly without a single copy of the 1962 Missal, despite the fact that the Cardinal had indicated the presence of three such Missals in the sacristy. In particular, Fr. Stefano Caruso of the Institute of the Good Shepherd had written to Cardinal Comastri about this "absence", which prevented some priests from celebrating Mass. Of course, the Missals were there in the sacristy... but these were not being provided to those who needed them!

There is no denying that the situation for the TLM in St. Peter's Basilica has improved since the times of the previous Archpriests, Virgilio Cardinal Noe (who forbade it outright) and Francesco Cardinal Marchisano (who allowed the TLM under the terms of the indult, but only in the "Hungarian Chapel".) At present, celebrations of the TLM are not unknown in the side altars of the Basilica (I've heard of one priest who managed to celebrate the TLM in the Basilica for most Saturdays mornings for nearly a year), and there was the great Pontifical Mass of Archbishop Raymond Burke on October 18, 2009.

Nevertheless, some difficulties have remained, as this piece of news indicates. In his letter to Cardinal Comastri (which can be found in the Messa in Latino article), Fr. Caruso mentions that, when he confronted a priest-sacristan in the Basilica regarding the "absence" of the Missals, said sacristan defended himself by stating that it was the Secretariat of State that had indicated its desire that only the Novus Ordo be celebrated in the Basilica.

One cannot help but wonder as well about the fate of the library of liturgical books that surely existed in pre-Conciliar times in the Vatican Basilica.

(H/t for picture to Orbis Catholicus)


  1. sekman4:50 AM

    This is still unacceptable. There needs to be the proper 1962 ordo available along with altar cards and preferable servers trained in the ways of the old rite.

  2. I knew a retired/independent priest who said dozens of Low Masses early in the morning in the basilica for many years until he died relatively recently. The sacristans never minded provided the celebrant kept quiet. The priest would be delighted at the progress made there!

  3. Sacerdos3:12 PM

    I am an American priest who studies in Rome and I am grateful for this. In fact, they probably will need more than four copies of the 62' Missale. It is not unusual to walk through St. Peter's in the morning and see a number of Masses taking place in the E.F. I hope that this is the first step and that asap they will also have altar cards, maniples, burses, etc. readily available. The times that I have said the EF at St. Peter's in the morning I have always found that the sacristans are fine with it and that some of the altar boys are even trained to serve. However, it has also been necessary to "take the show on the road" and have with me my own missal, altar cards, etc.

    But again, things are improved. I can recall other times when visiting Rome on pilgrimage, having to show my celebret and explain that I was not an SSPX priest because I had showed up (both at St. Peter's and Mary Major) wearing my cassock and when asked what language I wished to celebrate in I responded "Latin". Those were pre-Motu Proprio days.

    Things in Rome are sometimes moving a bit slow but they are moving decisively.

  4. Anonymous1:16 PM

    Better late than never....

    It is wonderful that the TLM is back in Rome. I also know that the FSSPX is allowed to celebrate mass in Roman churches, including St. Peter's.

    We, Catholics of Tradition, just need to have a little more patience and things will improve even more. It must be a small sacrifice for a priest to carry his own missal when he's allowed back to the major altars of Christendom.

    It helps to put things into perspective. Remember the 70's? His Grace Archbishop Lefebvre had to say Mass outdoors in Rome in 1975, although no "invalid sanction" whatsoever had then been cast upon his saintly person.

    I hope that His Holiness will one day celebrate the TLM. Are the Roman MC perhaps in training for such an event?

    /Thankful traditionalist

  5. Anonymous1:57 PM

    "I also know that the FSSPX is allowed to celebrate mass in Roman churches, including St. Peter's"

    They were officially allowed to celebrate in Rome on occasion of their visit to Ecclesia Dei in October. Were there any other approved celebrations? Fr Jasny's celebration in St. Peter's happened to be approved only by sacristan.

  6. Anonymous12:28 AM

    "Were there any other approved celebrations?"

    Yes, there are. On a regular basis whenever need be. They bring their own missal to be sure.

  7. Anonymous5:57 PM

    The Priestly Fraternity of St Peter has its own parish now, SS. Trinita dei Pellegrini, where only the TLM is said. A group of us from St. Stephen's in Sacramento, CA (FSSP) made pilgrimage in 2006 and indeed had to hear Mass in the Hungarian Chapel at St. Peter's. In 2008, on occasion of the 20th Anniversary of the FSSP, we were overjoyed to have our own parish, with Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos in attendance at the Anniversary Solemn High Mass.

  8. Anonymous9:34 PM

    ""Were there any other approved celebrations?"

    Yes, there are. On a regular basis whenever need be. They bring their own missal to be sure."

    Lefebrists? In St. Peter's? I can't believe my eyes.


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