Rorate Caeli

Motu Proprio "Quaerit semper", transferring competences
on the discipline of the Sacraments from the CDW to the Rota. / Reform of the Reform: CDW now dedicated essentially to Sacred Liturgy



Quibus Constitutio apostolica Pastor bonus immutatur atque quaedam competentiae aCongregatione de Cultu Divino et Disciplina Sacramentorum ad novum Officium de processibus dispensationis super matrimonio rato et non consummato ac causis nullitatis sacrae Ordinationis, apud Tribunal Rotae Romanae constitutum, transferuntur

Quaerit semper Apostolica Sedes sua moderaminis instituta pastoralibus necessitatibus accommodare, quae annorum decursu in Ecclesiae vita identidem exstiterunt, structuram ideo immutans et competentias Dicasteriorum Curiae Romanae. [Full Latin text.] [Update: English translation at the end of this post.]


Explaining this motu proprio: as we had reported in February 2011, and as the Supreme Authority himself explains in his text, when Pope John Paul II reunified the competences of the Congregation for the Sacraments and of the Congregation for Divine Worship in the general reorganization of the Roman Curia (Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus, of 1988 - it was the second unification of the Congregation in less than two decades), matters related to the discipline of certain aspects of the sacraments of marriage and orders remained with the Congregation. They were those points mentioned in articles 67 and 68 of the Constitution "Pastor Bonus", now abrogated by the motu proprio Quaerit Semper, of August 30, 2011, which enters into force on Saturday, October 1, 2011.

The matters removed from the competence of the Congregation, including those related to the "non-consummation in a marriage and the existence of a just cause for granting a dispensation", as well as to "cases concerning the nullity of sacred ordination" are to be examined by a new office established within the greater structure of the Apostolic Tribunal of the Roman Rota.

The main purpose for this, according to Quaerit Semper, is the following:

"In these circumstances, it appeared adequate that the work of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments be dedicated essentially [potissimum] to a resumption of the Sacred Liturgy in the Church, according to the renewal that the Second Vatican Council desired, beginning with the Constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium."

So, then: is the "Reform of the Reform", in law, about to get started, as it seems, with this new impulse planned by the Holy Father?


[English translation provided by Vatican Information Service - it is apparently a translation of the Italian version.]

"The Holy See has always sought [always seeks] to adapt its structures of government to the pastoral requirements of the various historical periods that have succeeded one another in the life of the Church, modifying the organisation and functions of the dicasteries of the Roman Curia".

"In the current circumstances it seemed fitting that the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments should dedicate itself chiefly to giving fresh impetus to promoting sacred liturgy in the Church, in keeping with the renewal promoted by Vatican Council II through the Constitution 'Sacrosanctum Concilium'.

"Therefore, I believe it is appropriate to transfer the function of dealing with the procedures for dispensation from unconsummated marriage and causes for the nullity of priestly ordination to a new office to be created within the Tribunal of the Roman Rota".

Article 1

"Articles 67 and 68 of the Apostolic Constitution 'Pastor Bonus' are abolished".

Article 2

"Article 126 of the Apostolic Constitution 'Pastor Bonus' is modified to read as follows:

"1. The Tribunal of the Roman Rota is a court of higher instance at the Apostolic See, usually at the appellate stage, with the purpose of safeguarding rights within the Church; it fosters unity of jurisprudence,
and, by virtue of its own decisions, provides assistance to lower tribunals.

"2. An office shall be established in this Tribunal with the task of examining the fact of non-consummation in a marriage and the existence of a just cause for granting a dispensation. It receives all the acts together with the 'votum' of the bishop and the remarks of the defender of the bond, weighs them according to its own special procedure, and, if the case warrants it, submits a petition to the Supreme Pontiff requesting the

"3. The same office is also competent to examine cases concerning the nullity of sacred ordination, in accordance with universal and specific law, 'congrua congruis referendo'".

Article 3

"The office dealing with the procedures for dispensation from unconsummated marriage and causes for the nullity of sacred ordination shall be moderated by the dean of the Roman Rota, with the assistance of officials, commissioners and consultors".


  1. Here comes the hybrid missal...

  2. Pope Benedict, a great pope! Thank God for such a man.

  3. Anonymous6:47 PM

    The only real "Reform of the Reform" will be to condemn the errors of Vatican II, and then to root out the heresies and heretics that have flowed from them.

  4. It appears, that B16 is getting serious about implementation of Sacramentum Caritatis, I suppose. If this is the case, that's not bad. :)

  5. Anonymous7:33 PM

    This motu proprio talks about transferring the cases dealing with annulments and invalid ordinations to the tribunal of the Roman Rota, rather than have these processed by the CDW first, which makes perfect organizational sense.

  6. Anonymous8:01 PM

    So, was the personnel of the CDW so distracted by Milingo's shennanigans and hippies marrying for the third time that they had no time to reconsider girl altar boys, grandma lady lectors, and Communion in the hand?

    I hope so. Now let's get on with it.

  7. Anonymous8:10 PM

    So much for the abdication rumours.


  8. Ferraiuolo8:16 PM

    What does this mean?

  9. Anonymous9:33 PM

    "according to the renewal that the Second Vatican Council desired, beginning with the Constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium."

    This is not a very good thing at all. Still bringing up Vatican II and its "renewal" are buzzwords for the liturgical circus we've endured since 1965.

    Nothing will change.
    If things do, for the better with regards to Catholic Tradition, no one will be more surprised than me!

  10. M. A.9:57 PM

    "I hope so. Now let's get on with it."
    I hope so, too. It will mean a quicker death to many a NO parish, such as those that are so feminized that they cannot get altar boys anymore even if they wanted to. And who really believes that it will be so simple to eradicate the abuse of communion in the hand? They'd show their true colors. Then we would see who is and who isn't in communion with Rome.

    So, yes, I'd like to see actual legislation redirecting worship ad orientem, forbidding women in the sanctuary, CITH, etc. But, I'll believe it when I see it. Our Holy Father is too mild. I remember JPII's dying regrets that he did not disciple. I pray that may not be the case with Benedict XVI.

  11. "according to the renewal that the Second Vatican Council desired, beginning with the Constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium."

    Ugh. Why must THAT always be our reference point!? Can't we get over it and stop making it our touchstone??

  12. Spero meliora10:30 PM

    Up to now it is a taboo not to refer to Vatican II in Roman document.

  13. Joaquín10:54 PM

    Reform of the Reform: Apparently NOT put on hold...

  14. Anonymous11:24 PM

    "according to the renewal that the Second Vatican Council desired, beginning with the Constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium."

    Ugh. Why must THAT always be our reference point!? Can't we get over it and stop making it our touchstone??"

    Yes, and it won't take much longer.
    As soon as the generation that participated in Vatican II are dead (unfortunatly that also means our good Pope), and the first generation of Vatican II entusiasts (now in their mid 70's to early 80's)there will be a slow return to Catholic tradition.

    Piero Marini- and people like him in thousands of parishes are in their 70's. They were the army of habitless nuns and radical priests who really embraced Vatican II. They had their 40+ years of fun destroying their own religious Orders and their parishes, but what they don't realize is that they are rapidly dying off, and never were able to generate much enthusiasm for their liturgical creations. They have no army of young disiples to carry on their circus. The young instead are turning back to Catholic tradtion....and it infuriates their elders. They see their Catholic Church of "aggiornamento" dying, and being replaced with the days of the great Pope Pius XII again...the Pope and tradition which they hate.

    There might be 15 more years to have to deal with the junk that came from Vatican II, and perhaps a short, quick liberal pontificate by one of these old dinosaurs who will say and do nothing of any value over the span of 3-4 years.

    But then will come a traditionalist Pope perhaps in the age range of what John Paul II was when he came in, a man who might see 20+ years as Pope. Before he is done, Catholic tradition will be back in total....and it will be as if Vatican II never even happened.

  15. Anonymous1:49 AM

    And let's not forget the lead in to Vat II, the Apostolic Constituion Veterum Sapientia, promulgated by the Pope who opened the Council. So there is a plan for Seminary formation already outlined for Priests and also a plan for the laity in Vat II's SC in regards to Latin and its' importance. From both these of these documents it should be clear to everyone the desires of the Popes, and a Council of Bishops on the essential need for Latin in our Church and Rite. If this move within the Curia helps to bring that about as well as a strong focus on the Liturgy I am confident in what has been written and where the Rite will go.

  16. Anonymous4:58 AM

    But, anon 23:24, I fear that after the nuclear bomb of Vatican II, the traditional faith can never be fully restored. This is part of the reason why Vatican II and its fruit is so poisonous. This poison goes to the very root. It's wiped clean many memories, and will continue to do so....

    May Christ return soon.

  17. Anonymous5:03 AM

    See this is why I love Rorate Caeli. I can surf by here with my boundless ignorance and all too liberal arts degree and learn all sorts of new things about my Church, the Church of my fathers. Often I have no clue what I'm reading (this article for example) but reading it over a few times I start to get the picture. Thank you Holy Spirit for guiding me here.

  18. Anonymous5:06 AM

    Nothing will be fixed or rooted out until the great tribulation ahead, 3 days of darkness, Great French Monarch, and Holy Pontiff arrive to sweep away this mess of heresy and modernism. There, I said it. I feel better now.

  19. Gratias6:48 AM

    Deo gratias for this Holy and wise Pope. B16 is full of surprises. Marxist V2 priests must be really worried.

    Long live our Benedict XVI.

  20. Nothing will be fixed or rooted out until the great tribulation ahead, 3 days of darkness, Great French Monarch, and Holy Pontiff arrive to sweep away this mess of heresy and modernism

    For those unfamiliar with what Anon was writing about, the prophecy he describes (and much, much, more) can be found in Desmond A. Birch's great book, "Trial, Tribulation & Triumph Before, During and After Antichrist."

  21. Anonymous2:35 PM

    I don't see anything in this minute decision implying that, at last, the so-awaited reform of the litnik revolution is on its way.

    These are purely canonical technicalities and I bet they were not filling the working days of CDW so far.

    In a couple of months, the new English vastly improved translation of N.O.M. will finally be used in the parishes. It will be the ONLY real legislative decision taken by the Benedict Curia in ... 5 years regarding this crucial topic.

    "Liturgiam authenticam" goes back to ... 2001 and is not yet implemented in the other languages ! 10 years for one improved translation.
    So we are EXTREMELY FAR from the "hybrid missal" - alas - that Shane is talking about. The Novus Ordo is still the Novus Ordo without any change. Maybe in the XXIInd century at that pace.

    As for Barona's comment, it is utterly ridiculous. If pope Benedict XVI is ever to be considered a "great pope", this document "Quaerit semper" won't certainly be the reason. It will not even be mentioned in any Church history book.
    Barona we're Catholic not Popist : there is no reason to scream hurray, or sing a Te Deum when His Holiness is having a hick-up. Benedict XVI is by the way absolutely not condoning this popism, you should read his - remarkable - homily at the Lateran cathedral in 2005.


  22. I am not so sure, Alsaticus, because the justification mentioned by us is part of the Pope's words themselves. That is, it was planned not as a technicality, but as a specific reorientation of the CDW and as a new impulse for liturgical matters (Pope's words, not ours).

    The English translation is mostly irrelevant - the 'pro multis' decision (also implemented in the new English translation) appears more doctrinally relevant to us.


  23. Alsaticus,

    The bigger the boat, the longer it takes to turn. You can't expect an ocean liner to make as sharp a turn as a speed boat, and even if you tried, you'd more than likely sink the ocean liner.

    A "boat" of over a billion people is no small vessel.

    But have faith. Once a large boat like an ocean liner does start to turn, it's virtually impossible to stop. Anyone in the way will either need to get out of the way, or be run over.

  24. Anonymous7:22 PM

    St. john's vision of the barque of St. Peter does not agree with your assessment.


  25. Anonymous7:23 PM

    That should read St. john Bosco's vision...


  26. Jerry, St. Bosco's vision doesn't specify how much a turn is needed to go between the two columns. It also doesn't specify how long it takes to stear the ship, or and the reference to the Roman Pontiff might be a reference to the office of Pope rather than any one Pope (in much the same way ever Pope is referred to as Peter), so it may take more than one Pope to do the steering.

    If the vision applies here, I see that I think that it might very well refer to many Popes. The 1960s brought five bombshells, a rejection of Humanae Vitae, downplaying Mary to be more "ecumenical", a rejection of the Liturgy, the trust of "theologians" to "reinterprete" Church teachings to mean things other than what they clearly state, and the inability of Bishops and Priests to enforce discipline or preach anything that would go against the grain of the world. These bombshells took the Barque off course.

    Pope John Paul II addressed the rebellion on Humanae Vitae and Mary and provided a Universal Catechism that reduced the "need" for "theologians" and made it harder for liberals to deny that contraception and IVF were sins, Pope Benedict XVI is addressing the liturgy and Mary and trust of self-appointed "theologians" (though not as strongly as he could). I predict the next Pope will enforce discipline and "neither hot nor cold" priests and bishops.

  27. Another New Catholic9:53 PM

    I have only been Catholic for 2 years - (I am/was a former non-liberal protestant). There were times I knew that the "really happy about Vatican II RCIA Director" would love for all of us seeking the TRUTH of the Church to basically quit.

    But never forget that it is GOD who calls us to the TRUTH even if man is trying to thwart it.

    All of us former protestants persevered and are now Catholic.
    We didn't look for the truth with a small "t"...that wobbles. We found the real truth in the ancient faith. We do not want the wishy washy PC homily or answers that "American" Catholics from a certain generaton passed off as the real faith.

    We want a return to Latin in the Mass, kneeling and receiving on the tongue, and an end to the theologians/bishops/priests who will not speak the truth of The True Church. We didn't go looking for another form of "do it yourself, make it up as you go" protestant religion. There are over 33,000 of them to choose from.

    We came for the Truth and we will go against the grain and kneel for our LORD in the Holy Eucharist and receive on the tongue even if the eyes we look into are angry.

    We are Catholic first, and citizens of the U.S. second. I don't want to have an "Americanized version of the faith". We who are be called to the faith are with you who want the U.S. Church's leaders to lead like shepherds, not follow the crowd.

  28. Anonymous10:42 PM

    Why, oh why must Vatican II always be mentioned as if it had been something good; as if all the troubles which followed V II were not directly related to what V II tried to be in the first place.

    V II has no clothes.


  29. Anonymous11:37 PM

    One of those bombshells is the NO and it's malpractice imposed rather quickly on the Mother ship. It could as quickly be turned over and re-directed to the faith of our Fathers.
    Let the liberals leave the Church if they protest too much.


  30. Anonymous11:58 PM

    I am Not Spartacus, yes, that was the first book that I read and was referring to though Catholic Prophecy by Yves DuPont is good even though it does have some prophecy by non saints/blessed. Also Saint Anne Catherine Emmerich is wonderful reading and if you can find a copy of the prophecies of Mary Julie Jahenny;s "prophecy of La Fraudais" this book details just about every moment of the coming trials in France and elsewhere. Troubled times just ahead, the more people that know what to expect, the better. Deo Gratias.

  31. Smart-alecky comments are often deleted solely for their existence.

  32. Relax everyone.

    Many commentators have always said what went wrong with the liturgical reform was that Sacrosanctum Concilium, (the first of the Vatican II documents) was NOT the benchmark for the liturgical reform.

    Now that this business of annulments etc has been transferred to another Roman congregation, it allows the CDW to devote all its energies, to liturgical problems.

    We should thank God for this, and hope and pray the reforms which we desire so much, will start to take place.

    I was delighted to hear that today Cardinal Arinze, who for so many years headed this very congregation, said a Low Mass in the Extraordinary Form in Providence, Rhode Island.

    And yet I hear his name so often criticized, as being somebody who was not so keen on the traditional Mass, well my friends here he is, saying it.

    Little by little things are coming our way, and it is good for all of us in this acquire the Christian grace of patience.

  33. Sacrosanctum concillium like all of V2's documents contain 90% of text that is completely unobjectionable to orthodox Catholics. The other 10% is the squishy, imprecise and ambiguous language like this from part 14:

    "In the restoration and promotion of the sacred liturgy, this full and active participation by all the people is the aim to be considered BEFORE ALL ELSE; for it is the primary and indispensable source from which the faithful are to derive the true Christian spirit..."

    This is easily exploitable by Modernists who see in this imperative the anthropocentricism (man-centeredness) that Pope John Paul II championed (Schillebeeckx's 'mystery of man' concept) and the existentialist's requirement for 'experience' (condemned in Pascendi) in order to render worship to the Holy Trinity. This passage alone is a blank check to modify any and everything in the liturgy in any way because of those three regrettable words: before all else.

  34. Anonymous9:47 PM

    Johnny and Andy,
    The 'active' participation called for at V2 was to pray the mass and say a few responses - similar to what the FSSP and FSSPX do. By the way it is ok to pray the rosary during the Mass.

    IMHO, the revolution came because our leadership got stupid. They did not shepherd properly. We are paying for the sins of our fathers in this current mess. Thank God we don't have to go through WW1 or WW2. I pray we are spared the coming chastisement.



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