Sunday, May 15, 2011

Univérsæ Ecclésiæ: The Clarification on Summórum Pontíficum

Tridentine Community News (May 15, 2011):
Ever since Pope Benedict XVI published his Motu Proprio, Summórum Pontíficum, on July 7, 2007, freeing any priest to celebrate the Tridentine Mass without requiring the permission of his bishop, there has been expectation of a follow-up document clarifying some issues raised by the Motu Proprio. In the intervening time, it had been reported that the former President of the Pontifical Commission Ecclésia Dei, Dario Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos, had prepared a Clarification and was waiting for the Holy Father’s approval. After Cardinal Hoyos’ retirement, it was reported that Msgr. Guido Pozzo, the new Secretary and effective leader of the PCED, had worked on a document. There was widespread concern a few months ago that the new document was too restrictive; an on-line petition to the Holy Father to intervene was available to be signed by those concerned. Subsequent reports stated that the message had gotten across to the Holy Father, who modified the Clarification before permitting its publication. How much of this actually transpired is beyond our knowledge.

On Friday, May 13, 2011, the mystery was put to rest with the publication of the Clarification, officially called the “Instruction on the application of the Apostolic Letter Summórum Pontíficum of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI given Motu Proprio”, and to be known by the Latin title Univérsæ Ecclésiæ, “to the whole Church.” Below we comment on some highlights of the document, which will take its place beside Ecclésiæ Dei Adflícta and Summórum Pontíficum as a landmark step in the further renewal of the Tridentine Mass in the life of the Church.

Article 15 supports the notion of cross-diocesan Tridentine Mass groups. The Windsor Tridentine Mass Association which administers the Extraordinary Form Masses at Assumption Church has been a living example of this from the day of its founding in 1991 by a joint group of Canadians and Americans. It is interesting that Rome recognizes the viability of this operational model.

Article 16 seems to make it almost obligatory for a pastor to permit a Tridentine Mass at his parish when the essential resources are available and a request has been made.

Article 17.2 seems to support the use of appropriately outfitted churches when they are available. It is a shame to see certain Tridentine Masses celebrated in humble or excessively modern facilities when a more fitting church or chapel is available nearby.

Article 21 is perhaps the most significant in the document:
“Ordinaries are asked to offer their clergy the possibility of acquiring adequate preparation for celebrations in the forma extraordinaria. This applies also to Seminaries, where future priests should be given proper formation, including study of Latin and, where pastoral needs suggest it, the opportunity to learn the forma extraordinaria of the Roman Rite.”
Such a strongly-worded exhortation has far-reaching implications for the future of the Tridentine Mass. With the longest and most far-reaching experience in this region in every aspect of organizing and celebrating the Extraordinary Form dating back to 1991, our joint group of volunteers and priests from Assumption-Windsor and St. Josaphat will heed this call by offering training services to the Diocese of London, the Archdiocese of Detroit, the Diocese of Lansing, and the three regional seminaries.

Article 25 makes it clear that Saints and Prefaces will be added to the 1962 Missal, and that the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei will administer the process. With a uniquely accurate and growing set of Microsoft Word®-based Propers and Chant Sheets that will facilitate the creation of a master Missal which can be extended over time, we will offer our work to the PCED.

Article 28 clarifies the ban female altar servers and Communion in the hand in the Extraordinary Form.

Article 31 is the one part of the document likely to be unpopular, in that it restricts use of the traditional rites of Ordination to the orders devoted to the Extraordinary Form, such as the Fraternity of St. Peter. This may be intended to prevent the perception of there being two classes of priests within a diocese.

Article 32 says that those obliged to pray the Breviary may use the 1961 books, but may not pray the vernacular version. An important point for those affected, and an important clarification as Baronius Press is about to publish a Latin/English edition of the traditional Divine Office.

Article 33 confirms our ability to hold the Sacred Triduum at a church (or cluster) that also offers it in the Ordinary Form. Universal Church Law trumps diocesan norms.

Article 34 allows orders with their own historic liturgies, such as the Norbertines and Dominicans, to use them.

Article 35 clarifies that we are to use the 1961 Rituále Románum and Colléctio Rítuum for blessings and certain Sacraments, and not the 1964 editions.

The Introductory Notes may be found at:

The Instruction itself is at:

Click on “Inglese” on the above pages to get the English versions.

We request your prayers for Pope Benedict XVI, under whose reign the Extraordinary Form continues to gain ground.

Tridentine Masses This Coming Week

Mon. 05/16 7:00 PM: Low Mass at St. Josaphat (St. Ubaldus, Bishop & Confessor, and St. Simon Stock, Confessor)

Tue. 05/17 7:00 PM: Low Mass at Assumption-Windsor (St. Paschal Baylon, Confessor)
[Comments? Please e-mail Previous columns are available at This edition of Tridentine Community News, with minor editions, is from the St. Josaphat bulletin insert for April 26, 2011. Hat tip to A.B.]


Angelo said...

I am very much perturbed about the Instruction saying that a priest unless he belongs to a Fratertinity of Priests like the FSSP cannot be ordained according to the Extraordinary Form. What happened to both Rites being equal?Does this also mean that an FSSP member is banned from being ordained in the Ordinary form. Liberals hijacked the reforms of Vatican ll. Are they now going to hijack the Extraordinary form of Mass. I would'nt doubt it.

Dan said...

What bothers me is the catch 22 that the Instruction suggested but did not require that seminarians learn enough Latin to celebrate the Extraordinary form. How many of our bishops are likely to make Latin a requirement for ordination? The Extraordinary rite will hardly have widespread influence on liturgical reform if it is not celebrated and it won't be celebrated unless the priests can deal with the Latin.

Pertinacious Papist said...

Good point, Dan. I'm happy to say that at our seminary Latin is required; beginning next year, also Greek. The official guidelines for seminary formation actually mandate Latin.