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00Monday, August 6, 2007 2:32 PM
In view of the amount of important material about the Mass that has been generated with the Pope's Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum, this thread will contain all textual material and documents related to it in English.

All relevant reference material previously posted in REFLECTIONS ABOUT OUR FAITH will also be transferred here for easier reference.

P.S. Inasmuch as certain teachings of the Church become topical at different times, I think it is more practical to make this thread into a quick reference for controversial points of the Magisterium, not only about liturgical reform, but literal issues of life and death as they affect the bioethical implications of scientific progress, and the question of priestly celibacy and whether women should be priests.

Because every Church document always recapitulates precedents in Church tradition and teaching, usually the latest 'official formulation' of the Magisterium on a given topic is sufficient reference. Appropriate links will be provided as necessary.

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This portrait of the Pope is from the dedication page
of an exquisitely designed website just opened by the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius, in Chicago, Illinois, called SANCTA MISSA
an online tutorial on the Latin mass according to the 1962 Missale Romanum, a one-stop resource on the traditional Mass.

The basic reference on the liturgy as decreed by Vatican-II is on


It is a 26-page document, with 17 pages of substantive text. Excerpts will be cited here as needed.



My dear Brother Bishops,

With great trust and hope, I am consigning to you as Pastors the text of a new Apostolic Letter "Motu Proprio data" on the use of the Roman liturgy prior to the reform of 1970. The document is the fruit of much reflection, numerous consultations and prayer.

News reports and judgments made without sufficient information have created no little confusion. There have been very divergent reactions ranging from joyful acceptance to harsh opposition, about a plan whose contents were in reality unknown.

This document was most directly opposed on account of two fears, which I would like to address somewhat more closely in this letter.

In the first place, there is the fear that the document detracts from the authority of the Second Vatican Council, one of whose essential decisions - the liturgical reform - is being called into question. This fear is unfounded.

In this regard, it must first be said that the Missal published by Paul VI and then republished in two subsequent editions by John Paul II, obviously is and continues to be the normal Form - the Forma ordinaria - of the Eucharistic Liturgy. The last version of the Missale Romanum prior to the Council, which was published with the authority of Pope John XXIII in 1962 and used during the Council, will now be able to be used as a Forma extraordinaria of the liturgical celebration.

It is not appropriate to speak of these two versions of the Roman Missal as if they were "two Rites". Rather, it is a matter of a twofold use of one and the same rite.

As for the use of the 1962 Missal as a Forma extraordinaria of the liturgy of the Mass, I would like to draw attention to the fact that this Missal was never juridically abrogated and, consequently, in principle, was always permitted.

At the time of the introduction of the new Missal, it did not seem necessary to issue specific norms for the possible use of the earlier Missal. Probably it was thought that it would be a matter of a few individual cases which would be resolved, case by case, on the local level.

Afterwards, however, it soon became apparent that a good number of people remained strongly attached to this usage of the Roman Rite, which had been familiar to them from childhood. This was especially the case in countries where the liturgical movement had provided many people with a notable liturgical formation and a deep, personal familiarity with the earlier Form of the liturgical celebration.

We all know that, in the movement led by Archbishop Lefebvre, fidelity to the old Missal became an external mark of identity; the reasons for the break which arose over this, however, were at a deeper level.

Many people who clearly accepted the binding character of the Second Vatican Council, and were faithful to the Pope and the Bishops, nonetheless also desired to recover the form of the sacred liturgy that was dear to them.

This occurred above all because in many places celebrations were not faithful to the prescriptions of the new Missal, but the latter actually was understood as authorizing or even requiring creativity, which frequently led to deformations of the liturgy which were hard to bear.

I am speaking from experience, since I too lived through that period with all its hopes and its confusion. And I have seen how arbitrary deformations of the liturgy caused deep pain to individuals totally rooted in the faith of the Church.

Pope John Paul II thus felt obliged to provide, in his Motu Proprio Ecclesia Dei (2 July 1988), guidelines for the use of the 1962 Missal; that document, however, did not contain detailed prescriptions but appealed in a general way to the generous response of Bishops towards the "legitimate aspirations" of those members of the faithful who requested this usage of the Roman Rite.

At the time, the Pope primarily wanted to assist the Society of Saint Pius X to recover full unity with the Successor of Peter, and sought to heal a wound experienced ever more painfully. Unfortunately this reconciliation has not yet come about. Nonetheless, a number of communities have gratefully made use of the possibilities provided by the Motu Proprio.

On the other hand, difficulties remain concerning the use of the 1962 Missal outside of these groups, because of the lack of precise juridical norms, particularly because Bishops, in such cases, frequently feared that the authority of the Council would be called into question.

Immediately after the Second Vatican Council it was presumed that requests for the use of the 1962 Missal would be limited to the older generation which had grown up with it, but in the meantime it has clearly been demonstrated that young persons too have discovered this liturgical form, felt its attraction and found in it a form of encounter with the Mystery of the Most Holy Eucharist, particularly suited to them. Thus the need has arisen for a clearer juridical regulation which had not been foreseen at the time of the 1988 Motu Proprio.

The present Norms are also meant to free Bishops from constantly having to evaluate anew how they are to respond to various situations.

In the second place, the fear was expressed in discussions about the awaited Motu Proprio, that the possibility of a wider use of the 1962 Missal would lead to disarray or even divisions within parish communities. This fear also strikes me as quite unfounded.

The use of the old Missal presupposes a certain degree of liturgical formation and some knowledge of the Latin language; neither of these is found very often. Already from these concrete presuppositions, it is clearly seen that the new Missal will certainly remain the ordinary Form of the Roman Rite, not only on account of the juridical norms, but also because of the actual situation of the communities of the faithful.

It is true that there have been exaggerations and at times social aspects unduly linked to the attitude of the faithful attached to the ancient Latin liturgical tradition. Your charity and pastoral prudence will be an incentive and guide for improving these.

For that matter, the two Forms of the usage of the Roman Rite can be mutually enriching: new Saints and some of the new Prefaces can and should be inserted in the old Missal. The "Ecclesia Dei" Commission, in contact with various bodies devoted to the usus antiquior, will study the practical possibilities in this regard.

The celebration of the Mass according to the Missal of Paul VI will be able to demonstrate, more powerfully than has been the case hitherto, the sacrality which attracts many people to the former usage.

The most sure guarantee that the Missal of Paul VI can unite parish communities and be loved by them consists in its being celebrated with great reverence in harmony with the liturgical directives. This will bring out the spiritual richness and the theological depth of this Missal.

I now come to the positive reason which motivated my decision to issue this Motu Proprio updating that of 1988. It is a matter of coming to an interior reconciliation in the heart of the Church.

Looking back over the past, to the divisions which in the course of the centuries have rent the Body of Christ, one continually has the impression that, at critical moments when divisions were coming about, not enough was done by the Church's leaders to maintain or regain reconciliation and unity. One has the impression that omissions on the part of the Church have had their share of blame for the fact that these divisions were able to harden.

This glance at the past imposes an obligation on us today: to make every effort to unable for all those who truly desire unity to remain in that unity or to attain it anew.

I think of a sentence in the Second Letter to the Corinthians, where Paul writes: "Our mouth is open to you, Corinthians; our heart is wide. You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted in your own affections. In return ... widen your hearts also!" (2 Cor 6:11-13). Paul was certainly speaking in another context, but his exhortation can and must touch us too, precisely on this subject. Let us generously open our hearts and make room for everything that the faith itself allows.

There is no contradiction between the two editions of the Roman Missal. In the history of the liturgy there is growth and progress, but no rupture.

What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful. It behooves all of us to preserve the riches which have developed in the Church's faith and prayer, and to give them their proper place.

Needless to say, in order to experience full communion, the priests of the communities adhering to the former usage cannot, as a matter of principle, exclude celebrating according to the new books. The total exclusion of the new rite would not in fact be consistent with the recognition of its value and holiness.

In conclusion, dear Brothers, I very much wish to stress that these new norms do not in any way lessen your own authority and responsibility, either for the liturgy or for the pastoral care of your faithful.
Each Bishop, in fact, is the moderator of the liturgy in his own Diocese (cf. Sacrosanctum Concilium, 22: "Sacrae Liturgiae moderatio ab Ecclesiae auctoritate unice pendet quae quidem est apud Apostolicam Sedem et, ad normam iuris, apud Episcopum").

Nothing is taken away, then, from the authority of the Bishop, whose role remains that of being watchful that all is done in peace and serenity. Should some problem arise which the parish priest cannot resolve, the local Ordinary will always be able to intervene, in full harmony, however, with all that has been laid down by the new norms of the Motu Proprio.

Furthermore, I invite you, dear Brothers, to send to the Holy See an account of your experiences, three years after this Motu Proprio has taken effect. If truly serious difficulties come to light, ways to remedy them can be sought.

Dear Brothers, with gratitude and trust, I entrust to your hearts as Pastors these pages and the norms of the Motu Proprio. Let us always be mindful of the words of the Apostle Paul addressed to the presbyters of Ephesus: "Take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the Church of God which he obtained with the blood of his own Son" (Acts 20:28).

I entrust these norms to the powerful intercession of Mary, Mother of the Church, and I cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing to you, dear Brothers, to the parish priests of your dioceses, and to all the priests, your co-workers, as well as to all your faithful.

Given at Saint Peter's, 7 July 2007



The text of the Motu Proprio follows. I am posting the Latin original, for the historical rord, to be followed by the vailable working translations in English:


Summorum Pontificum cura ad hoc tempus usque semper fuit, ut Christi Ecclesia Divinae Maiestati cultum dignum offerret, «ad laudem et gloriam nominis Sui» et «ad utilitatem totius Ecclesiae Suae sanctae».

Ab immemorabili tempore sicut etiam in futurum, principium servandum est «iuxta quod unaquaeque Ecclesia particularis concordare debet cum universali Ecclesia non solum quoad fidei doctrinam et signa sacramentalia, sed etiam quoad usus universaliter acceptos ab apostolica et continua traditione, qui servandi sunt non solum ut errores vitentur, verum etiam ad fidei integritatem tradendam, quia Ecclesiae lex orandi eius legi credendi respondet»1.

Inter Pontífices qui talem debitam curam adhibuerunt, nomen excellit sancti Gregorii Magni, qui tam fidem catholicam quam thesauros cultus ac culturae a Romanis in saeculis praecedentibus cumulatos novis Europae populis transmittendos curavit. Sacrae Liturgiae tam Missae Sacrificii quam Officii Divini formam, uti in Urbe celebrabatur, definiri conservarique iussit. Monachos quoque et moniales maxime fovit, qui sub Regula sancti Benedicti militantes, ubique simul cum Evangelii annuntiatione illam quoque saluberrimam Regulae sententiam vita sua illustrarunt, «ut operi Dei nihil praeponatur» (cap. 43). Tali modo sacra liturgia secundum morem Romanum non solum fidem et pietatem sed et culturam multarum gentium fecundavit. Constat utique liturgiam latinam variis suis formis Ecclesiae in omnibus aetatis christianae saeculis permultos Sanctos in vita spirituali stimulasse atque tot populos in religionis virtute roborasse ac eorundem pietatem fecundasse.

Ut autem Sacra Liturgia hoc munus efficacius expleret, plures alii Romani Pontifices decursu saeculorum peculiarem sollicitudinem impenderunt, inter quos eminet Sanctus Pius V, qui magno cum studio pastorali, Concilio Tridentino exhortante, totum Ecclesiae cultum innovavit, librorum liturgicorum emendatorum et «ad normam Patrum instauratorum» editionem curavit eosque Ecclesiae latinae usui dedit.

Inter Ritus romani libros liturgicos patet eminere Missale Romanum, quod in romana urbe succrevit, atque succedentibus saeculis gradatim formas assumpsit, quae cum illa in generationibus recentioribus vigente magnam habent similitudinem.

«Quod idem omnino propositum tempore progrediente Pontifices Romani sunt persecuti, cum novas ad aetates accommodaverunt aut ritus librosque liturgicos determinaverunt, ac deinde cum ineunte hoc nostro saeculo ampliorem iam complexi sunt redintegrationem»2. Sic vero egerunt Decessores nostri Clemens VIII, Urbanus VIII, sanctus Pius X3, Benedictus XV, Pius XII et beatus Ioannes XXIII.

Recentioribus autem temporibus, Concilium Vaticanum II desiderium expressit, ut debita observantia et reverentia erga cultum divinum denuo instauraretur ac necessitatibus nostrae aetatis aptaretur. Quo desiderio motus, Decessor noster Summus Pontifex Paulus VI libros liturgicos instauratos et partim innovatos anno 1970 Ecclesiae latinae approbavit; qui ubique terrarum permultas in linguas vulgares conversi, ab Episcopis atque a sacerdotibus et fidelibus libenter recepti sunt. Ioannes Paulus II, tertiam editionem typicam Missalis Romani recognovit. Sic Romani Pontifices operati sunt ut «hoc quasi aedificium liturgicum [...] rursus, dignitate splendidum et concinnitate» appareret4.

Aliquibus autem in regionibus haud pauci fideles antecedentibus formis liturgicis, quae eorum culturam et spiritum tam profunde imbuerant, tanto amore et affectu adhaeserunt et adhaerere pergunt, ut Summus Pontifex Ioannes Paulus II, horum fidelium pastorali cura motus, anno 1984 speciali Indulto "Quattuor abhinc annos", a Congregatione pro Cultu Divino exarato, facultatem concessit utendi Missali Romano a Ioanne XXIII anno 1962 edito; anno autem 1988 Ioannes Paulus II iterum, litteris Apostolicis "Ecclesia Dei" Motu proprio datis, Episcopos exhortatus est ut talem facultatem late et generose in favorem omnium fidelium id petentium adhiberent.

Instantibus precibus horum fidelium iam a Praedecessore Nostro Ioanne Paulo II diu perpensis, auditis etiam a Nobis Patribus Cardinalibus in Concistorio die XXIII mensis martii anni 2006 habito, omnibus mature perpensis, invocato Spiritu Sancto et Dei freti auxilio, praesentibus Litteris Apostolicis DECERNIMUS quae sequuntur:

Art. 1. Missale Romanum a Paulo VI promulgatum ordinaria expressio "Legis orandi" Ecclesiae catholicae ritus latini est. Missale autem Romanum a S. Pio V promulgatum et a B. Ioanne XXIII denuo editum habeatur uti extraordinaria expressio eiusdem "Legis orandi" Ecclesiae et ob venerabilem et antiquum eius usum debito gaudeat honore. Hae duae expressiones "legis orandi" Ecclesiae, minime vero inducent in divisionem "legis credendi" Ecclesiae; sunt enim duo usus unici ritus romani.

Proinde Missae Sacrificium, iuxta editionem typicam Missalis Romani a B. Ioanne XXIII anno 1962 promulgatam et numquam abrogatam, uti formam extraordinariam Liturgiae Ecclesiae, celebrare licet. Conditiones vero a documentis antecedentibus "Quattuor abhinc annos" et "Ecclesia Dei" pro usu huius Missalis statutae, substituuntur ut sequitur:

Art. 2. In Missis sine populo celebratis, quilibet sacerdos catholicus ritus latini, sive saecularis sive religiosus, uti potest aut Missali Romano a beato Papa Ioanne XXIII anno 1962 edito, aut Missali Romano a Summo Pontifice Paulo VI anno 1970 promulgato, et quidem qualibet die, excepto Triduo Sacro. Ad talem celebrationem secundum unum alterumve Missale, sacerdos nulla eget licentia, nec Sedis Apostolicae nec Ordinarii sui.

Art. 3. Si communitates Institutorum vitae consecratae atque Societatum vitae apostolicae iuris sive pontificii sive dioecesani quae in celebratione conventuali seu "communitatis" in oratoriis propriis celebrationem sanctae Missae iuxta editionem Missalis Romani anno 1962 promulgatam habere cupiunt, id eis licet. Si singula communitas aut totum Institutum vel Societas tales celebrationes saepe vel plerumque vel permanenter perficere vult, res a Superioribus maioribus ad normam iuris et secundum leges et statuta particularia decernatur.

Art. 4. Ad celebrationes sanctae Missae de quibus supra in art. 2 admitti possunt, servatis de iure servandis, etiam christifideles qui sua sponte id petunt.

Art. 5, § 1. In paroeciis, ubi coetus fidelium traditioni liturgicae antecedenti adhaerentium continenter exsistit, parochus eorum petitiones ad celebrandam sanctam Missam iuxta ritum Missalis Romani anno 1962 editi, libenter suscipiat. Ipse videat ut harmonice concordetur bonum horum fidelium cum ordinaria paroeciae pastorali cura, sub Episcopi regimine ad normam canonis 392, discordiam vitando et totius Ecclesiae unitatem fovendo.

§ 2. Celebratio secundum Missale B. Ioannis XXIII locum habere potest diebus ferialibus; dominicis autem et festis una etiam celebratio huiusmodi fieri potest.

§ 3. Fidelibus seu sacerdotibus id petentibus, parochus celebrationes, hac in forma extraordinaria, permittat etiam in adiunctis peculiaribus, uti sunt matrimonia, exsequiae aut celebrationes occasionales, verbi gratia peregrinationes.

§ 4. Sacerdotes Missali B. Ioannis XXIII utentes, idonei esse debent ac iure non impediti.

§ 5. In ecclesiis, quae non sunt nec paroeciales nec conventuales, Rectoris ecclesiae est concedere licentiam de qua supra.

Art. 6. In Missis iuxta Missale B. Ioannis XXIII celebratis cum populo, Lectiones proclamari possunt etiam lingua vernacula, utendo editionibus ab Apostolica Sede recognitis.

Art. 7. Ubi aliquis coetus fidelium laicorum, de quo in art. 5 § 1 petita a parocho non obtinuerit, de re certiorem faciat Episcopum dioecesanum. Episcopus enixe rogatur ut eorum optatum exaudiat. Si ille ad huiusmodi celebrationem providere non potest res ad Pontificiam Commissionem "Ecclesia Dei" referatur.

Art. 8. Episcopus, qui vult providere huiusmodi petitionibus christifidelium laicorum, sed ob varias causas impeditur, rem Pontificiae Commissioni "Ecclesia Dei" committere potest, quae ei consilium et auxilium dabit.

Art. 9, § 1. Parochus item, omnibus bene perpensis, licentiam concedere potest utendi rituali antiquiore in administrandis sacramentis Baptismatis, Matrimonii, Poenitentiae et Unctionis Infirmorum, bono animarum id suadente.

§ 2. Ordinariis autem facultas conceditur celebrandi Confirmationis sacramentum utendo Pontificali Romano antiquo, bono animarum id suadente.

§ 3. Fas est clericis in sacris constitutis uti etiam Breviario Romano a B. Ioanne XXIII anno 1962 promulgato.

Art 10. Fas est Ordinario loci, si opportunum iudicaverit, paroeciam personalem ad normam canonis 518 pro celebrationibus iuxta formam antiquiorem ritus romani erigere aut rectorem vel cappellanum nominare, servatis de iure servandis.

Art. 11. Pontificia Commissio "Ecclesia Dei" a Ioanne Paulo II anno 1988 erecta5, munus suum adimplere pergit.

Quae Commissio formam, officia et normas agendi habeat, quae Romanus Pontifex ipsi attribuere voluerit.

Art. 12. Eadem Commissio, ultra facultates quibus iam gaudet, auctoritatem Sanctae Sedis exercebit, vigilando de observantia et applicatione harum dispositionum.

Quaecumque vero a Nobis hisce Litteris Apostolicis Motu proprio datis decreta sunt, ea omnia firma ac rata esse et a die decima quarta Septembris huius anni, in festo Exaltationis Sanctae Crucis, servari iubemus, contrariis quibuslibet rebus non obstantibus.

Datum Romae, apud Sanctum Petrum, die septima mensis Iulii, anno Domini MMVII, Pontificatus Nostri tertio.



1 Institutio generalis Missalis Romani, Editio tertia, 2002, 397
2 Ioannes Paulus Pp. II, Litt. ap. Vicesimus quintus annus (4 Decembris 1988), 3: AAS 81 (1989), 899.
3 Ibid.
4 Pius Pp. X, Litt. Ap. Motu proprio datae Abhinc duos annos (23 Octobris 1913): AAS 5 (1913), 449-450; cfr Ioannes Paulus II, Litt. ap. Vicesimus quintus annus (4 Decembris 1988), 3: AAS 81 (1989), 899.
5 Cfr Ioannes Paulus Pp. II, Litt. ap. Motu proprio datae Ecclesia Dei (2 iulii 1988), 6: AAS 80 (1988), 1498.


Two full translations in English, both unofficial, were almost immediately available - from Vatican Information Services and from the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. As of today, 8/6/07, the Vatican has not yet issued an official translation in any language. It remains posted on the Vatican site only in Latin. I am posting here the translation from VIS.

Apostolic Letter of Benedict XVI
In the form of 'Motu Proprio'

VATICAN CITY, JUL 7, 2007 (VIS) - Given below is a non-official English- language translation of the Apostolic Letter "Motu Proprio data" of Pope Benedict XVI, "Summorum Pontificum," concerning the use of the Roman liturgy prior to the reform of 1970. The original text is written in Latin.


"Up to our own times, it has been the constant concern of supreme pontiffs to ensure that the Church of Christ offers a worthy ritual to the Divine Majesty, 'to the praise and glory of His name,' and 'to the benefit of all His Holy Church.'

"Since time immemorial it has been necessary - as it is also for the future - to maintain the principle according to which 'each particular Church must concur with the universal Church, not only as regards the doctrine of the faith and the sacramental signs, but also as regards the usages universally accepted by uninterrupted apostolic tradition, which must be observed not only to avoid errors but also to transmit the integrity of the faith, because the Church's law of prayer corresponds to her law of faith.' (1)

"Among the pontiffs who showed that requisite concern, particularly outstanding is the name of St. Gregory the Great, who made every effort to ensure that the new peoples of Europe received both the Catholic faith and the treasures of worship and culture that had been accumulated by the Romans in preceding centuries. He commanded that the form of the sacred liturgy as celebrated in Rome (concerning both the Sacrifice of Mass and the Divine Office) be conserved. He took great concern to ensure the dissemination of monks and nuns who, following the Rule of St. Benedict, together with the announcement of the Gospel illustrated with their lives the wise provision of their Rule that 'nothing should be placed before the work of God.' In this way the sacred liturgy, celebrated according to the Roman use, enriched not only the faith and piety but also the culture of many peoples. It is known, in fact, that the Latin liturgy of the Church in its various forms, in each century of the Christian era, has been a spur to the spiritual life of many saints, has reinforced many peoples in the virtue of religion and fecundated their piety.

"Many other Roman pontiffs, in the course of the centuries, showed particular solicitude in ensuring that the sacred liturgy accomplished this task more effectively. Outstanding among them is St. Pius V who, sustained by great pastoral zeal and following the exhortations of the Council of Trent, renewed the entire liturgy of the Church, oversaw the publication of liturgical books amended and 'renewed in accordance with the norms of the Fathers,' and provided them for the use of the Latin Church.

"One of the liturgical books of the Roman rite is the Roman Missal, which developed in the city of Rome and, with the passing of the centuries, little by little took forms very similar to that it has had in recent times.

"'It was towards this same goal that succeeding Roman Pontiffs directed their energies during the subsequent centuries in order to ensure that the rites and liturgical books were brought up to date and when necessary clarified. From the beginning of this century they undertook a more general reform.' (2) Thus our predecessors Clement VIII, Urban VIII, St. Pius X (3), Benedict XV, Pius XII and Blessed John XXIII all played a part.

"In more recent times, Vatican Council II expressed a desire that the respectful reverence due to divine worship should be renewed and adapted to the needs of our time. Moved by this desire our predecessor, the Supreme Pontiff Paul VI, approved, in 1970, reformed and partly renewed liturgical books for the Latin Church. These, translated into the various languages of the world, were willingly accepted by bishops, priests and faithful. John Paul II amended the third typical edition of the Roman Missal. Thus Roman pontiffs have operated to ensure that 'this kind of liturgical edifice ... should again appear resplendent for its dignity and harmony.' (4)

"But in some regions, no small numbers of faithful adhered and continue to adhere with great love and affection to the earlier liturgical forms. These had so deeply marked their culture and their spirit that in 1984 the Supreme Pontiff John Paul II, moved by a concern for the pastoral care of these faithful, with the special indult 'Quattuor abhinc anno," issued by the Congregation for Divine Worship, granted permission to use the Roman Missal published by Blessed John XXIII in the year 1962. Later, in the year 1988, John Paul II with the Apostolic Letter given as Motu Proprio, 'Ecclesia Dei,' exhorted bishops to make generous use of this power in favor of all the faithful who so desired.

"Following the insistent prayers of these faithful, long deliberated upon by our predecessor John Paul II, and after having listened to the views of the Cardinal Fathers of the Consistory of 22 March 2006, having reflected deeply upon all aspects of the question, invoked the Holy Spirit and trusting in the help of God, with these Apostolic Letters we establish the following:

"Art 1. The Roman Missal promulgated by Paul VI is the ordinary expression of the 'Lex orandi' (Law of prayer) of the Catholic Church of the Latin rite. Nonetheless, the Roman Missal promulgated by St. Pius V and reissued by Bl. John XXIII is to be considered as an extraordinary expression of that same 'Lex orandi,' and must be given due honour for its venerable and ancient usage. These two expressions of the Church's Lex orandi will in no any way lead to a division in the Church's 'Lex credendi' (Law of belief). They are, in fact two usages of the one Roman rite.

"It is, therefore, permissible to celebrate the Sacrifice of the Mass following the typical edition of the Roman Missal promulgated by Bl. John XXIII in 1962 and never abrogated, as an extraordinary form of the Liturgy of the Church. The conditions for the use of this Missal as laid down by earlier documents 'Quattuor abhinc annis' and 'Ecclesia Dei,' are substituted as follows:

"Art. 2. In Masses celebrated without the people, each Catholic priest of the Latin rite, whether secular or regular, may use the Roman Missal published by Bl. Pope John XXIII in 1962, or the Roman Missal promulgated by Pope Paul VI in 1970, and may do so on any day with the exception of the Easter Triduum. For such celebrations, with either one Missal or the other, the priest has no need for permission from the Apostolic See or from his Ordinary.

"Art. 3. Communities of Institutes of consecrated life and of Societies of apostolic life, of either pontifical or diocesan right, wishing to celebrate Mass in accordance with the edition of the Roman Missal promulgated in 1962, for conventual or "community" celebration in their oratories, may do so. If an individual community or an entire Institute or Society wishes to undertake such celebrations often, habitually or permanently, the decision must be taken by the Superiors Major, in accordance with the law and following their own specific decrees and statues.

"Art. 4. Celebrations of Mass as mentioned above in art. 2 may - observing all the norms of law - also be attended by faithful who, of their own free will, ask to be admitted.

"Art. 5. õ 1 In parishes, where there is a stable group of faithful who adhere to the earlier liturgical tradition, the pastor should willingly accept their requests to celebrate the Mass according to the rite of the Roman Missal published in 1962, and ensure that the welfare of these faithful harmonises with the ordinary pastoral care of the parish, under the guidance of the bishop in accordance with canon 392, avoiding discord and favouring the unity of the whole Church. õ 2 Celebration in accordance with the Missal of Bl. John XXIII may take place on working days; while on Sundays and feast days one such celebration may also be held. õ 3 For faithful and priests who request it, the pastor should also allow celebrations in this extraordinary form for special circumstances such as marriages, funerals or occasional celebrations, e.g. pilgrimages. õ 4 Priests who use the Missal of Bl. John XXIII must be qualified to do so and not juridically impeded. õ 5 In churches that are not parish or conventual churches, it is the duty of the Rector of the church to grant the above permission.

Art. 6. In Masses celebrated in the presence of the people in accordance with the Missal of Bl. John XXIII, the readings may be given in the vernacular, using editions recognised by the Apostolic See.

"Art. 7. If a group of lay faithful, as mentioned in art. 5 õ 1, has not obtained satisfaction to their requests from the pastor, they should inform the diocesan bishop. The bishop is strongly requested to satisfy their wishes. If he cannot arrange for such celebration to take place, the matter should be referred to the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei".

"Art. 8. A bishop who, desirous of satisfying such requests, but who for various reasons is unable to do so, may refer the problem to the Commission "Ecclesia Dei" to obtain counsel and assistance.

"Art. 9. õ 1 The pastor, having attentively examined all aspects, may also grant permission to use the earlier ritual for the administration of the Sacraments of Baptism, Marriage, Penance, and the Anointing of the Sick, if the good of souls would seem to require it. õ 2 Ordinaries are given the right to celebrate the Sacrament of Confirmation using the earlier Roman Pontifical, if the good of souls would seem to require it. õ 2 Clerics ordained "in sacris constitutis" may use the Roman Breviary promulgated by Bl. John XXIII in 1962.

"Art. 10. The ordinary of a particular place, if he feels it appropriate, may erect a personal parish in accordance with can. 518 for celebrations following the ancient form of the Roman rite, or appoint a chaplain, while observing all the norms of law.

"Art. 11. The Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei", erected by John Paul II in 1988 (5), continues to exercise its function. Said Commission will have the form, duties and norms that the Roman Pontiff wishes to assign it.

"Art. 12. This Commission, apart from the powers it enjoys, will exercise the authority of the Holy See, supervising the observance and application of these dispositions.

"We order that everything We have established with these Apostolic Letters issued as Motu Proprio be considered as "established and decreed", and to be observed from 14 September of this year, Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, whatever there may be to the contrary.

" From Rome, at St. Peter's, 7 July 2007, third year of Our Pontificate."


(1) General Instruction of the Roman Missal, 3rd ed., 2002, no. 397.
(2) John Paul II, Apostolic Letter "Vicesimus quintus annus," 4 December 1988, 3: AAS 81 (1989), 899.
(3) Ibid.
(4) St. Pius X, Apostolic Letter Motu propio data, "Abhinc duos annos," 23 October 1913: AAS 5 (1913), 449-450; cf John Paul II, Apostolic Letter "Vicesimus quintus annus," no. 3: AAS 81 (1989), 899.
(5) Cf John Paul II, Apostolic Letter Motu proprio data "Ecclesia Dei," 2 July 1988, 6: AAS 80 (1988), 1498.

00Monday, August 6, 2007 2:46 PM

This is a review of what there is to know about the Roman rite Mass - the traditional (in general use from 1570-1969) as well as the 'new' one (from 11/30/69 to the present).

The most helpful one-stop resource for this is the MOTU PROPRIO TIP SHEET which Amy Welborn launched in March this year
It will also link you to the main sites which have kept the traditional Mass 'alive' and disseminated information about it.

This is the basic document in the tip sheet

Deep Background
by Amy Welborn

In reporting this story, it is important to have a grasp of some basics and the history of the Mass, especially its recent history.

The liturgical history of the Roman Catholic Church is more complicated than many realize. It is simply not the case that "up until Vatican II, the Mass was the same, everywhere, and it was in Latin."

First, please remember that there are 22 "rites" within the Roman Catholic Church. A "rite" is a specific type of worship and theological sensibility rooted in geographical or ethnic identity. Here is a list of rites within the Roman Catholic Church. These diverse rites all exist under the authority of the Pope.

" Roman - The overwhelming majority of Latin Catholics and of Catholics in general. Head of this and the other Roman Rites is the Bishop of Rome. The current Roman Rite is that of the 1969 Missale Romanum, published in a third edition in 2002. The vernacular editions of the Missal used for Holy Mass are translated from this Latin "editio typica tertia" or "third typical edition."
- Missal of 1962 (Tridentine Mass) - Some institutes within the Roman Rite, such as the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, have the faculty to celebrate the sacramental rites according to the forms in use prior to the Second Vatican Council. This faculty can also be obtained by individual priests from their bishop or from the Pontifical Council Ecclesia Dei.
- Anglican Use - Since the 1980s the Holy See has granted some former Anglican and Episcopal clergy converting with their parishes the faculty of celebrating the sacramental rites according to Anglican forms, doctrinally corrected.
- Mozarabic - The Rite of the Iberian peninsula (Spain and Portugal) known from at least the 6th century, but probably with roots to the original evangelization. Beginning in the 11th century it was generally replaced by the Roman Rite, although it has remained the Rite of the Cathedral of the Archdiocese of Toledo, Spain, and six parishes which sought permission to adhere to it. Its celebration today is generally semi-private.
- Ambrosian - The Rite of the Archdiocese of Milan, Italy, thought to be of early origin and probably consolidated, but not originated, by St. Ambrose. Pope Paul VI was from this Roman Rite. It continues to be celebrated in Milan, though not by all parishes.
- Bragan - Rite of the Archdiocese of Braga, the Primatial See of Portugal, it derives from the 12th century or earlier. It continues to be of occasional use.
- Dominican - Rite of the Order of Friars-Preacher (OP), founded by St. Dominic in 1215.
- Carmelite - Rite of the Order of Carmel, whose modern foundation was by St. Berthold c.1154.
- Carthusian - Rite of the Carthusian Order founded by St. Bruno in 1084.

Eastern Rites and Churches
They have their own hierarchy distinct from the Latin Rite, system of governance (synods) and general law, the Code of Canons for the Eastern Churches. The Supreme Pontiff exercises his primacy over them through the Congregation for the Oriental Churches.

- Antiochian - The Church of Antioch in Syria (the ancient Roman Province of Syria) is considered an apostolic See by virtue of having been founded by St. Peter. It was one of the ancient centers of the Church, as the New Testament attests, and is the source of a family of similar Rites using the ancient Syriac language (the Semitic dialect used in Jesus' time and better known as Aramaic). Its Liturgy is attributed to St. James and the Church of Jerusalem.

West Syriac:
- Maronite - Never separated from Rome. Maronite Patriarch of Antioch. The liturgical language is Aramaic. The 3 million Maronites are found in Lebanon (origin), Cyprus, Egypt, Syria, Israel, Canada, US, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina and Australia.
- Syriac - Syriac Catholics who returned to Rome in 1781 from the monophysite heresy. Syriac Patriarch of Antioch. The 110,000 Syriac Catholics are found in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Egypt, Canada and the US.
- Malankarese - Catholics from the South of India evangelized by St. Thomas, uses the West Syriac liturgy. Reunited with Rome in 1930. Liturgical languages today are West Syriac and Malayalam. The 350,000 Malankarese Catholics are found in India and North America.

East Syriac
- Chaldean - Babylonian Catholics returned to Rome in 1692 from the Nestorian heresy. Patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans. Liturgical languages are Syriac and Arabic. The 310,000 Chaldean Catholics are found in Iraq, Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Turkey and the US.
- Syro-Malabarese - Catholics from Southern India using the East Syriac liturgy. Returned to Rome in the 16th century from the Nestorian heresy. Liturgical languages are Syriac and Malayalam. Over 3 million Syro-Malabarese Catholics can be found in the state of Kerela, in SW India.

The particular issue here is with the "Latin Rite" - the largest rite, of course, with its root in Rome, Western Europe and the Latin language.

The Mass in the Latin Rite developed over the centuries, always retaining the same essential structure, a core of prayers dating from the 6th-10th centuries, the Latin language and the celebrant facing east.

There were always variations and, as noted, developments. For two examples among many, the Agnus Dei (Lamb of God) and the Creed found their ways into the Mass between the 6th and 11th centuries.

In the 16th century, the Protestant Reformation rocked Europe and challenged the Roman Catholic Church. In response, the Church embarked upon an ambitious and serious program of reform (called the "Counter-Reformation" or "Catholic Reformation."). The training of priests was enhanced, religious orders reformed, education was improved and the celebration of the sacraments was reformed.

Central to this was the reform of the Mass. This reform was needed, it was felt, in order to clarify what authentic Catholic worship was, the truth of the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, to eliminate abuses and more dramatic discrepancies, and all of this in response to the Protestant Reformers.
[Teresa's note: So how paradoxical that the effect of the post-Vatican-II reforms - and their unregulated abuse was to 'protestantize' the Mass!]

The result was the Missal of Pius V, promulgated in 1570. It is what is most commonly referred to today as the "Tridentine Mass," "Traditional Mass" or "Classical Roman Rite."

This Mass was not a new rite at all. It was a regularization and standardization of the rite that had been most commonly used for centuries. Many of the prayers, for example, in the Missal of Pius V were already almost a thousand years old by 1570.

There were other rites used in the Latin rite - local rites (such as the Ambrosian, used in Milan, Italy) and those used by religious orders (the Domincans, for example). The Council of Trent permitted the retention of rites that were more than two hundred years old. [Under this rule, the Paul VI Mass would hardly qualify at this point in time!]

The Missal of Pius V was, then, for the most part, the Missal that was used in the Latin Rite through 1965 in most places, although it is essential to note that changes and reforms were made to this missal through the centuries, even in the years directly after its original promulgation (1604, 1634) and then, skipping forward, preceding the Second Vatican Council.

For example, in 1951, Pope Pius XII reformed the celebrations of Easter, and in 1955 issued reforms for the celebration of Holy Week. In 1962, Pope John XXIII issued a slightly revised "typical" edition of the Missal, the last one before the revised rite, issued in 1970.

It is this 1962 Missal which is the subject of the Motu Proprio. [The corresponding Mass is known as the Mass of John XXIII.]

By the time of the Second Vatican Council (1962-65), there was a general sense that the liturgy needed to be reformed, but, as Sacrosanctum Concilium, the Vatican II document stated, there was a clear purpose and limit:

21. In order that the Christian people may more certainly derive an abundance of graces from the sacred liturgy, holy Mother Church desires to undertake with great care a general restoration of the liturgy itself. For the liturgy is made up of immutable elements divinely instituted, and of elements subject to change. These not only may but ought to be changed with the passage of time if they have suffered from the intrusion of anything out of harmony with the inner nature of the liturgy or have become unsuited to it.

In this restoration, both texts and rites should be drawn up so that they express more clearly the holy things which they signify; the Christian people, so far as possible, should be enabled to understand them with ease and to take part in them fully, actively, and as befits a community.

This document called for what it called a "restoration" of the liturgy - a process in which elements of the rituals that had become obstacles, instead of guides to understanding, would be re-examined, with the hope that the restored liturgy would be one in which all Catholics could more deeply experience the Reality and Graces present. There was great concern among many theologicans and pastors in the decades preceding the Second Vatican Council that the laity's understanding of what was happening at Mass be deepened.

The subsequent process went very quickly. It is important to note that every liturgical rite of the Church ended up being reformed. Every sacrament, plus the Liturgy of the Hours (the prayers, centered on the psalms, that priests and religion pray throughout the day, every day). All within a span of about 15 years.

The Mass of Paul VI, which is the Mass most commonly used in Catholic parishes today, usually in a vernacular translation, was published in 1970.

It is not as if the reform "started" in 1962. The Liturgical Movement - scholars who studied liturgy and advocated for various reforms - had been around since the 19th century.

Serious efforts to revive and encourage the use of Gregorian Chant began in the Benedictine monastery of Solesmes in the 19th century and spread throughout the world in subsequent decades.

Throughout the 20th century, various experiments - Mass in the vernacular, for example - were carried out in many places. A commission advising the Pope on liturgical reform was active from 1948-1960. No one was starting from scratch.

But in three respects, this was a quick process:

1) From the standpoint of reforming the entire 2,000 year liturgical life of the Church in a couple of decades.

2) From the pastoral standpoint - Could adequate preparation and education for the people in the pew really take place this fast?

3) Finally - and this is important - never before had the liturgies and rites of the Church been so deeply reformed from the top down before. This was unprecedented, and those who operate with the misconception that Roman Catholic practice is all about leadership imposing practices on the laity need to understand this.

The rosary, for example, was not invented by bishops and then systematically taught to the laity. It was a devotion that developed over hundreds of years, took many forms and was ultimately formalized, in a way that seemed to encapsulate the most powerful and popular aspects of the devotion, in the 16th century.

The sacraments and rites of Roman Catholicism had certainly developed and, in their externals, changed over the centuries, but this change was almost always "organic,' bubbling up from the level of ordinary useage, up to official acceptance (or rejection) in Rome or by bishops' councils and synods.

Many, in retrospect, have viewed the rapid, top-down reform of the liturgy after Vatican II as a serious deviation from the normal process of liturgical development in the Church. Joseph Ratzinger has been one of these.

The responses to these changes varied, as did their implementation and the understanding of what exactly these changes required.

Some resisted the changes in dramatic ways. There is a contigent within Roman Catholicism that views the liturgical (and other) changes brought on by the Second Vatican Council as destructive to faith and a clear break with the broader tradition of Catholicism.

Members of the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) fall into this category. They are a group that uses the 1962 Missal for all sacraments. The founder of this group, Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, was excommunicated in 1988 for consecrating four bishops. The present canonical status of the SSPX as a group and of those individuals who attend Mass at its chapels is unclear. Whatever that precise definition is, it is not really accurate to say that all members of this group or the group in general is "in schism."

There are other breakaway groups, as well - for example, the Society of Pius V, which broke away from the SSPX because they believed the 1962 MIssal, with Pius XII's reforms of Holy Week, should not be used.

So, in short:

1570: Pope Pius V reform and regularization of the Roman Missal: the "Tridentine Mass."

1962: Pope John XXIII issues last typical edition of the Pius V Missal

1965-8: Portions of the Pius V Missal are translated into the vernacular and used around the world in a patchwork manner.

1970: A totally reformed Missal is promulgated by Pope Paul VI. This (with some subsequent revisions) is the root liturgical book used today in the Roman Catholic Church. It is the "ordinary rite" of the Mass in the Latin Rite. The text is in Latin, but most Catholics experience a vernacular translation.

Here is a more detailed timeline to show how the post-Conciliar 'reformers' took just a few years to 'invalidate' much of the accreted tradition of centuries with their radical reforms that were fabricated by committee work. The timeline was prepared by Amy:

Council of Trent (Sessions 13, 21 & 22 deal with the Holy Eucharist)
Missal of Pius V (Tridentine Mass)

Commission on Liturgical Reform scholars report to Pope Pius XII

Easter Vigil restored to Saturday Evening (Decree Dominicae Resurrectionis)

Holy Week reforms (Decree Maxima redemptionis nostrae mysteria)

Cardinal Amleto Gaetano Cicognani (Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, former prefect of the Sacred Congregation of Rites) and Rev. Annibale Bugnini, C.M. (Professor of Sacred Liturgy at the Lateran University and a Consultor to the Sacred Congregation of Rites), head preparatory Committee on the Liturgy as President and Secretary respectively.

October 1963
Meeting of bishops representing 10 English-speaking bishops' conferences, under the chairmanship of Archbishop Francis Grimshaw of England, form the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL)

Sacrosanctum Concilium, Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy (CSL) approved, Second Vatican Council, issued by Pope Paul VI

Consilium (Council) established by Pope Paul VI for the implementation of the Constitution on the Liturgy - Cardinal Giacomo Lercaro, president; Rev. Annibale Bugnini, C.M., secretary.

Inter Oecumenici, Instruction on the orderly carrying out of the Constitution on the Liturgy, issued by the Concilium by mandate of Pope Paul VI

'Comme le Prévoit: On the Translation of Liturgical Texts for Celebrations with a Congregation' promulgated by the Consilium and the Congregation for Divine Worship

Apostolic Constitution, Missale Romanum, promulgating the reform Order of Mass and its general norms. Implementation, First Sunday of Advent 11-30-69.

(Holy Thursday) First typical edition (i.e., the text to be used for translation) of the Missale Romanum/Roman Missal (RM) and Institutio Generalis Missalis Romani (IGMR)/ General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM), published

Second typical edition of the RM and GIRM promulgated

Revisions to RM and GIRM to reflect revised Code of Canon Law

Vicesimus Quintus Annus, Apostolic Letter of Pope John Paul II (on the 25th anniversary of the CSL) urges Bishops' Conferences to evaluate the translations of liturgical books and the commissions established to facilitate the translations of the texts.

1993 - 1996
ICEL submits to Bishops' Conferences the translation of the second typical edition of the RM in eight segments for consultation and vote

USA Catholic Bishops approve final segment of RM translation at its June Conference meeting. The entire approved text is sent to the Holy See for confirmation.

Pope John Paul promulgates a revised GIRM, becomes effective with publication of new Missal

Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments (CDWDS, formerly CDW) publishes 'Liturgiam Authenticam: On the Use of Vernacular Languages in the Publication of the Books of the Roman Liturgy.'

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) approves adaptations to the GIRM for the dioceses of USA (CDWDS confirms 4-17-02)

CDWDS letter to United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) formally rejecting the English translation of the 1995 RM (submitted to the Holy See for confirmation in 1997)

Missale Romanum, editio typica tertia published in Rome, contains slightly revised IGMR

USA Adaptations to GIRM become particular law for USA

Latin Rite members of USCCB approve English translation of GIRM

USA translation of GIRM confirmed by CDWDS

Panel discussion on proposed ICEL translation (Green Book)

Amendments to the ICEL translation submitted by bishops of the USA through the USCCB Committee on the Liturgy (BCL)

Latin Rite bishops of USCCB amend/approve ICEL translation of the Order of Mass and adaptations to the Order of Mass. Both await confirmation by the Holy See.

The latter part of tie timeline concerns work within the United States churches to arrive at a definitive translation of the liturgical texts in English.

00Monday, August 6, 2007 6:53 PM

From the news agency FIDES of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, here is a background dossier prepared by two theologians, Fathers Bux and Vitiello, which they posted on 8/1/07, to establish, through documentary evidence, that the traditional Mass rite was never abrogated in any way by Vatican-II or after it, and that, in fact, a specific request made by the Archbishop Bugnini, main architect of the Novus Ordo, to get a de-jure abrogation, was turned down by the Vatican Secretary of State, as Bugnini himself reports in his book on The Reform of the Liturgy.

Summorum Pontificum cura


Sacrosanctum Concilium

There is a paragraph in the Second Vatican Council’s Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy that would seem to have a bearing on the question of the canonical status of the Missal of St Pius V (henceforth also referred to as “Old Mass” or “Old Rite”).

Before specifying the ways in which the rite of Mass is to be revised, Sacrosanctum Concilium states in paragraph 49:

For this reason the sacred Council, having in mind those Masses which are celebrated with the assistance of the faithful, especially on Sundays and feasts of obligation, has made the following decrees in order that the sacrifice of the Mass, even in the ritual forms of its celebration, may become pastorally efficacious to the fullest degree.

Quapropter, ut Sacrificium Missae, etiam rituum forma, plenam pastoralem efficacitatem assequatur, Sacrosanctum Concilium, ratione habita Missarum, quae concurrente populo celebrantur, praesertim diebus dominicis et festis de praecepto, ea quae sequuntur decernit.

This passage presumes that there are two forms of the rite of Mass, one with the assistance of the faithful, especially on Sundays and feasts of obligation (cum populo), and one without the assistance of the faithful (sine populo).

It would seem to be the Council’s intention that the revisions, which are introduced in the subsequent paragraphs of Sacrosanctum Concilium, concern only the rite of Mass cum populo. The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy obviously envisages that the Old Mass continues to exist as the priest’s form of celebrating the Eucharistic sacrifice sine populo; this would also mean that priest have a right to celebrate the Old Rite as a private Mass.

The Constitution Missale Romanum
of Pope Paul VI (1969)

Pope Paul VI’s Constitution Missale Romanum of 1969 is, as the subtitle makes clear, “a promulgation of the Roman Missal revised by the decree of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council”.

The Constitution merely proposes a new form of the Mass, but it does not contain any clauses that would indicate the abrogation, that is, the abolition by total substitution of the Missal of Pope St Pius V.

The Bull Quo Primum, issued by Pius V in 1570, codified and consolidated the immemorial and universal custom that had regulated the Roman liturgy through the centuries from the time of Gregory the Great at the end of the sixth century.

Two points are worth noting here:
First, to Quo Primum we can, in any case, apply can. 21 CIC: “In dubio revocatio legis praexistentis non praesumitur, sed leges posteriores ad priores trahendae sunt et his, quantum fieri potest, conciliandae”. For all practical purposes this means that if the Old Mass has lost its privileged position, it nevertheless continues to exist and the faithful have a right to it.

Secondly, the Constitution Missale Romanum did not explicitly abolish (as the law required) the immemorial and universal custom on which, before Quo Primum (and later together with it), rested the Old Mass. Therefore it continues to exist although it is perhaps no longer protected by a written law. This was noted by scholars, but even then no supplementary law was passed to abolish that custom.

Archbishop Annibale Bugnini, whom Paul VI put in charge of the post-conciliar liturgical reform, wanted to obtain an explicit ruling to the effect that the Novus Ordo Missae of 1970 abrogates the Old Mass, so that the latter would be suppressed de jure.

To apply for such a ruling to the Pontifical Commission for the Interpretation of Conciliar Documents, he needed permission from the Cardinal Secretary of State.

On 10 June 1974 the Secretary of State refused to give the requested permission on the grounds that such an attempt would be seen as “casting odium on the liturgical tradition” (A. Bugnini, The Reform of the Liturgy 1948-1975, Collegeville, Minnesota: The Liturgical Press, 1990, p. 300-301).

The Indult Quattuor Abhinc Annos
of Pope John Paul II (1984)

On 3 October 1984, Pope John Paul II promulgated the Indult Quattuor abhinc annos in which he allowed bishops to grant the Old Mass to those faithful who would request it.
An indult is a measure by which somebody invested with authority in the Church can grant, in order to favour the salvation of souls (which is the purpose of canon law, before which all laws must bow), an exception to the law (derogation); it is akin to dispensation, but with a wider scope.

An indult, therefore, presupposes the existence of a law which has to be relaxed, in our case a law which had forbidden or abolished the Old Mass. As we have seen, such a law does not exist, and therefore in this case, strictly speaking, “indult” is a misnomer, since the faithful even today have a right to the Old Mass on the basis of the non-abolished immemorial custom.

The Commissio Cardinalitia of 1986

In 1986 Pope John Paul II appointed a commission of nine cardinals to examine the legal status of the Old Mass.

The commission consisted of Agostino Cardinal Casaroli, Bernard Cardinal Gantin, Paul Augustin Cardinal Mayer, Antonio Cardinal Innocenti, Silvio Cardinal Oddi, Petro Cardinal Palazzini, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Alfons Cardinal Stickler and Jozef Cardinal Tomko and it was instructed to examine whether the New Rite of Mass promulgated by Pope Paul VI abrogated the Old Rite, and whether a bishop can prohibit his priests from celebrating the Old Mass.

The commission met in December 1986. Eight of nine cardinals answered that the New Mass had not abrogated the Old Mass. The nine cardinals unanimously determined that Pope Paul VI never gave the bishops the authority to forbid priest from celebrating Mass according to the Missal of St Pius V.

The commission judged the conditions for the 1984 indult too restrictive and proposed their relaxation. These conclusions served as functional guidelines for the Commission Ecclesia Dei, but they were never promulgated.

In this context, it should be noted that the Holy See does recognize the right of the priest to celebrate the traditional Mass; this is borne out by the fact that whenever priests are unjustly suspended for celebrating the Old Mass against the will of their bishops, the Roman Curia always nullifies the penalty whenever the cases are appealed.

It is the present jurisprudence of the Church that, upon appeal, any suspension that an Ordinary attempts to inflict on a priest for celebrating the Old Mass against the will of the bishop is automatically nullified.

The Motu Proprio Ecclesia Dei Adflicta
of Pope John Paul II (1988)

On 2 July 1988 Pope John Paul II promulgated his Motu Proprio Ecclesia Dei in which he expressed his will to guarantee respect for the rightful aspirations of those attached to the Latin liturgical tradition, and in order to achieve this aim he established the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei.

In a letter to the Ecclesia Dei Society of Australia dated 11 May 1990 Cardinal Mayer gives an authoritative interpretation of the Motu Proprio. The President of the Ecclesia Dei Commission criticizes the Congregation for Divine Worship for sabotaging the Pope’s intentions, and then proceeds to explain the privilege granted by Ecclesia Dei while at the same time suggesting that the old Mass was never really abolished:

It should be noted that the somewhat pejorative language of Quattuor abhinc annos with regard to “the problem of priests and faithful holding to the so-called Tridentine Mass” was completely avoided in the Apostolic Letter Ecclesia Dei.

In the latter document issued by the Supreme Pontiff himself reference is simply made to “those Catholic faithful who feel attached to some previous liturgical and disciplinary forms of the Latin tradition” (5, c) and “those who are attached to the Latin liturgical tradition” (6, c).

It would seem unduly prejudicial to continue referring to allusions in the earlier document of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments which have been superseded by a papal Motu Proprio.

Cardinal Medina on the Third Editio Typica
of the Missal of Paul VI (2002)

Cardinal Medina Estévez, Prefect Emeritus of the Congregation for Divine Worship writes in a letter of 21 May 2004:

I reaffirm my personal opinion that the abrogation of the Missal of St Pius V is not proven and I can add that the decree that I signed promulgating the third typical edition of the Roman Missal does not contain any clause that abrogates the ancient form of the Roman Rite. (…) And I can also add that the absence of any abrogation clause whatsoever did not happen by chance, nor as it caused by inadvertence, but was intentional.

An English version of this letter is published in Mass of Ages, November 2005, p. 28.

The present Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, was himself involved in the Commission; I should like to end with a quotation from his book God and the World (published originally in German in the year 2000):

For fostering a true consciousness in liturgical matters, it is also important that the proscription against the form of liturgy in valid use up to 1970 should be lifted.

Anyone who nowadays advocates the continuing existence of this liturgy or takes part in it is treated like a leper; all tolerance ends here. There has never been anything like this in history; in doing this we are despising and proscribing the Church’s whole past.

How can one trust her present if things are that way? I must say, quite openly, that I don’t understand why so any of my episcopal brethren have to a great extent submitted to this rule of intolerance, which for no apparent reason is opposed to making the necessary inner reconciliations within the Church.

J. Ratzinger, God and the World: A Conversation with Peter Seewald, San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2002, 416.

Bibliography by Uwe Michael Lang:
– Neri Capponi, “Bishops against the Pope: The Motu Proprio ‘Ecclesia Dei’ and the Extension of the Indult”, in The Latin Mass, Winter 1996 (available on
– Georg May, Die alte und die neue Messe. Die Rechtslage hinsichtlich des Ordo Missae, 4. durchgesehene und durch ein Register ergänzte Auflage, Sankt Augustin: Richarz, 1991


[NB: I will try to obtain proper translations of untranslated Latin citations here.]

1.The Ordo Missae and the Institutio generalis Missalis Romani promulgated with the Apostolic Constitution Missale Romanum of Paul VI, constitute – as the said document itself states - a “renovatio” of the Roman Missal promulgated by St. Pius V by decree of the Council of Trent in 1570, and in fact the Constitution praises the Missal for the fruits of evangelisation and holiness gained in four centuries by both priests and faithful.

Pope Pius XII – the Constitution recalls – noted the need for revision and enrichment, calling for a revision of the Ordo of Holy Week; thence “huiusmodi Missalis Romani renovatio nequaquam ex improvviso inducta putanda est”. Even the Roman Missal of 1570 was the result of comparison and revision of ancients manuscripts and liturgical fonts, including eastern fonts, brought again into the light.

With regard to the rites of the Ordo Missae the Constitution states: “probe servata eorum substantia, simpliciores facti sunt”. Furthermore it says the Missal was revised introducing, in addtion to the venerable patrimony of the Roman Liturgy, new norms for celebration.

2. Despite some perplexity provoked by certain modern language versions, the “renovatio” of the other parts of the Missal is part of the physiological process of formation of liturgical books beginning with the ancient Roman Sacramentaries and eastern Euchologies of which, as we know, there were various editions, although one never abrogated the other.

If the Gregorian Sacramentary and the Missal of St Pius V, for example, had been abrogated, how could one have drawn from them for the “renovatio”? Novus simply means the latest, ulterior development, not something different. Precisely because of coherent progress, the Missal is the tool of a degree of liturgical unity, in which there exist “legitimas varietates et aptationes”(cfr Sacrosanctum Concilium, n 38-40).

Now, everyone knows that the new Ordo contains no few variants; indeed in the Editio Typica of 2000 they are even more numerous and are indicated, for example, with terms such as “vel” and “ pro opportunitate”. So it happens that on the one hand, some use these variants to distort, defer or even omit certain parts; on the other, there are those who prefer to use always the same eucharistic prayer and formulas. So, why should we wonder that some ask to use only the Roman Canon, certain prefaces and the ritual structures of the Roman Missal in the 1962 Edition issued by Pope John XXIII, and erroneously referred to as the “Tridentine rite”?

Therefore Vatican II operated in the context of tradition and in tradition is set the legitimacy of the Ordo of Paul VI which is not in opposition to that of his predecessor, it never has been.

So, no liturgical book or part of it has been abrogated, unless it contained errors: which happened precisely for the Institutio generalis Missalis Romani in 1969 when it had just been published and which Paul VI suspended for certain doctrinal ‘inaccuracies' and then had published again in May 1970 with amendments made at paragraph 7.

3. Everyone is called to acknowledge the Missal as an eloquent expression of Church Tradition: it is senseless to de-legitimate anything of the old rite - it would be like severing the roots - from which the new comes, revealing the fecundity of the old.

John Paul II recalled that “in the Roman Missal of St Pius V, as in many Easter Liturgies, there are beautiful prayers with which the priest expresses a most profound sense of humility and reverence before the holy mysteries: those prayers reveal the very substance of the Liturgy”( 21 September 2001).

Not to mention the criteria of reciprocal generosity and mercy which should exist in the Church, following the Lord's example. Precisely this was the sense of an Indult issued by John Paul II on 3 October 1984 to celebrate Mass according to the Roman Missal of 1962 and now the Motu Proprio of Benedict XVI; this does not discredit the Liturgical Renewal as such but concern for the unity of the Church prevails .

Because rather any hardening of positions, for the Liturgy must be valid the principle of Ecclesia semper reformanda, with the wise balance of nova et vetera taught by the Gospel.

We can conclude with an important text of the then Cardinal Ratzinger, who gave a conference on 24 October 1998 for pilgrims who had come to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Motu Proprio Ecclesia Dei issued by John Paul II:

“The Council did not reform (in the sense of re-invent) the liturgical books, it ordered their revision and issued certain basic norms for that revision.

In the first place the Council gave a definition of the Liturgy, and this definition is the term of comparison for every liturgical celebration. Whoever overlooks these norms or puts aside the normae generales found at paragraphs 34 - 36 of the Constitutio De Sacra Liturgia (SC), is certainly guilty of disobedience towards the Council!

It is in the light of these criteria that liturgical celebrations must be assessed, whether they follow the old books or the new ones.

It is good to recall here that Cardinal Newman observed that throughout her history the Church never abolished or banned orthodox forms of liturgy, something which would have been quite alien to the ecclesial spirit.

An orthodox liturgy, that is, one which reveals the true faith, is never a compilation of various ceremonies, performed according to pragmatic criteria, constructed in a positivistic and arbitrary manner, today in such a way, tomorrow in another.

Orthodox forms of a rite are a living reality, born of a dialogue of love between the Church and her Spouse. They are the expression of the Church's life and have nourished faith, prayer and true life of generations and in specific forms they incarnate both God's initiative and man's response.

These rites can come to an end if those who used them in a particular epoch die, or if the living conditions of those people should change. The Church authority has the power to define and limit the use of such rites in the different historical situations, but she can never simply ban them! So the Council ordered the reform of the Liturgical Books but it did not ban the previous ones.”

(Notiziario 126-127 di UNA VOCE).

Rigidity and uniformity requested by certain well known liturgists, has never been part of the Church's liturgical practice. The Indult (of John Paul II)was a call for tolerance, the Motu Proprio (of Benedict XVI) amplified and, hopefully, implemented it more fully.

00Monday, September 17, 2007 3:45 PM

The polemics - much of it necessary because unfounded - over Good Friday prayers in the pre-1970 Missal for 'conversion' of the Jews [there are similar prayers for the conversion of Muslims, pagans and heretics - and it is surprising no Muslim has picked a fight on it] has dominated not a few stories in the wake of Summorum Pontificum.

I have decided to add the background information here because it is something that anti-Church elements and the media will keep coming back to.

I will pick up what has been posted previously in previous threads about it, so I will reserve this space for that, while I go to the next post with new material on the 'analogous' prayers for Christians that Jews have been saying!

00Monday, September 17, 2007 5:49 PM

In two separate interviews shortly after the release of Summorum Pontificum, Rabbi Jacob Neusner was asked about the disputed prayers.

In one interview, he said:

"I've pointed out that the synagogue liturgy has an equivalent prayer which we say three times a day, not just once a year."

In the second interview, he describes that prayer:

"We should continue to say our prayer, the Aleinu, that thanks God for not having made us like the nations of the world and that has not assigned us their portion, and that asks God to bring the end of days and transform all humanity into worshippers of the one true God we know in the Torah. The Catholics used to pray that we would give up our (from their perspective) unfaith* and would see the light. It's a fair exchange, and God will resolve the matter in the end of days, as the Aleinu says."

*Rabbi Neusner is one of the few who has used the correct sense of the Latin word 'perfidia' as 'lack of faith' or 'unfaith' - which every other commentator has translated erroneously to English to mean 'treason', the meaning of the English cognate word 'perfidy'.

Now, here is even more detailed information about those Jewish prayers, which comes in a book review by Andrea Tornielli of Il Giornale, of a book written by an Italian Jew and which came out in Italy last week. I didn't have time to translate the article earlier because it came in the middle of the Austria visit.

Those prayers of discord
Sept. 8, 2007

The chief rabbis of Jerusalem, leaders respectively of the Sephardic and Ashkenazic communities in Israel, have written Pope Benedict XVI to modify the Good Friday prayers referring to the Jews in the 1962 Missal that may be used freely throughout the Church starting September 14.

[As noted in the post above, Pope John XXIII already toned down the previous prayers in 1962, and subsequently, Paul VI replaced these Good Friday prayers for the Jews with the form it has had since then. Summorum Pontificum specifies that an exception to the overall authorization for use of the 1962 Missal is the Paschal Triduum (rites of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and the Saturday before Easter), during which only the 1970 liturgy may be used.

Complicating the situation somewhat was a statement made by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone at a news conference in July saying that he saw no problem in further modifying John XXIII's version of the prayers.

Now, a book is about to come out which will reopen the question and which argues that some 'retouching' may be necessary even in the traditional texts of Judaism. The book is called Erbe Amare (Bitter herbs) by Ariel Levi di Gualdo (Bonanno, 324 pp).

Levi di Gualdo is a journalist and author who lives in Sicily and comes from a Jewish family that has converted to Catholicism. But for the past 10 years, he has studied Judaism closely, attending synagogue, studying the Sacred Scriptures, and "learning from within the tone of rabbinical lessons and teaching," which are quite different from those they say in public and 'their official positions on topical issues."

In the book, Levi di Gualdo is often harsh, sometimes more ironic, in protesting what he defines as the political drift of contemporary Judaism, whose positions appear to coincide with those of the State of Israel in an improper amalgam "which has transformed political Zionism into a religion."

Some pages are dedicated to the questioned Good Friday prayers, from which John XXIII took out the word 'perfidia' but left the invocation for the conversion - or more exactly, the final arrival to the Christian faith - of the Jews.

The author notes that "the Hebrew liturgy includes the Praise of the Eighteen Blessings, which dates back to the fourth century before Christ" which, in the first century of the Christian era, was modified to include this statement within the prayer: "For apostates, there is no hope, and the insolent Kingdom [meaning the Roman empire] will be exterminated in our day. May the Nazarenes [meaning the Judeo-Christians] and the heretics perish and be erased from the Book of Life, nor should they be inscribed among the just."

Levi di Gualdo says the prayer was softened towards the end of the fourth century and which is supposed to remain to this day as: "May the apostates not have any hope and all fall into perdition, may they be destroyed soon and may all your enemies in our day be subjugated."

But the author cites Israel Shabak who wrote the book Storia ebraica e giudaismo(Jewish history and Judaism), which "has never been belied by rabbinical authorities", that after the 1967 War, several Orthodox synagogues in Israel and the United States "returned to the first-century text of the prayer."

Levi di Gualdo also points out that in the Talmud, which is the collection of traditional rabbinical teachings, "Mary is blasphemed without any thought to the fact that for Christians, she is the Mother of God."

This reportedly comes in Babylonian texts of the first century, according to which Jesus was the illegitimate child of a woman of ill repute and a Roman soldier called Pantherus. Levi di Gualdo says these texts were in the Talmud long before any anti-Jewish persecutions were carried out by Christians.

There are some Catholics who think that the Good Friday prayers do not need any more changes. Theologians Nicola Bux and Salvatore Vietiello wrote in an article for Fides, the news agency of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples: "The Church prays for the conversion of all men. Today, not a few Catholics have a fear of conversion, and so do those Jews who would want the Catholic Church to deny its own mission, at least in their regard. But conversion is the essence of the Gospel, which Jesus designated as the path of nations and peoples towards him."


Am I wrong, but haven't all the great religions of the world gone on - at least for the past two millennia - pretty much minding their own business, at least in the matter of what they teach their believers and what they do and say in their respective rites?

Respect for religious freedom and for other religions includes not meddling in their convictions and internal practices. None of it is the business of others unless they are taken out of internal context and used publicly against rival faiths.

Even Christian outrage at the Islamist extremists' invocation of Allah to justify their violence and killing is not directed to Islam as a religion and its ensemble of beliefs and practices, but to the public use of God's name to seek to justify acts of violence against the general public.

In the matter of seeking to convert others to Christianity, evangelization is really a one-on-one proposition. One seeks to convince and persuade someone from another faith that Christ is the answer, and in doing so, corrects any prejudices and wrong ideas that may have been inculcated in the prospective convert.

00Friday, October 5, 2007 1:02 AM

Thanks to Rorate caeli for this tip:

Missale Romanum 1962 (Complete PDF version)

Congratulations to the Church Music Association of America and Mr. Jeffrey Tucker for another inestimable contribution to the web:
the Missale Romanum (1962),

or, as the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum calls it, "the Missale Romanum promulgated by St. Pius V and reissued by Bl. John XXIII", has been made available at the Musica Sacra website.


All 1088 pages of it!

00Monday, October 8, 2007 11:18 PM
Latest update on Motu Proprio
In England things seem to be getting off to a good start. There are many masses in the extraordinary [Tridentine] rite being advertised in the London area. It's unfortunate they are only there and not in my town, where things are trundling along as usual! [SM=g27829]
The Latin Mass Society instigates most of the work that's being done now and that has been done over the years - so we have them to thank. But now they don't have to ask the bishop's permission.
Mary x
00Monday, October 8, 2007 11:24 PM
Here's a beautiful site!!!!

This is a beautiful site, which I found when it was first set up and which is being added to daily. There is now NO REASON why every priest should not be familiar with the extraordinary rite of Pius V.
The only drawback could be if they really don't know any Latin - well, they will just have to learn!
00Tuesday, November 20, 2007 9:11 PM

Argent by the Tiber reminds us that the SANCTA MISSA site has been updated since we first cited it to open this thread last August. exquisitely designed website just opened by the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius, in Chicago, Illinois, called SANCTA MISSA
an online tutorial on the Latin mass according to the 1962 Missale Romanum, a one-stop resource on the traditional Mass.

00Monday, June 9, 2008 4:06 PM
Thanks to Amy Welborn who unearthed this from EWTN's archives. It's a useful reference for Paul VI's mindset at the time he approved the liturgial reform of 1969.

Address to a General Audience
November 26, 1969


Our Dear Sons and Daughters:

1. We ask you to turn your minds once more to the liturgical innovation of the new rite of the Mass. This new rite will be introduced into our celebration of the holy Sacrifice starting from Sunday next which is the first of Advent, November 30 [in Italy].

2. A new rite of the Mass: a change in a venerable tradition that has gone on for centuries. This is something that affects our hereditary religious patrimony, which seemed to enjoy the privilege of being untouchable and settled. It seemed to bring the prayer of our forefathers and our saints to our lips and to give us the comfort of feeling faithful to our spiritual past, which we kept alive to pass it on to the generations ahead.

3. It is at such a moment as this that we get a better understanding of the value of historical tradition and the communion of the saints. This change will affect the ceremonies of the Mass. We shall become aware, perhaps with some feeling of annoyance, that the ceremonies at the altar are no longer being carried out with the same words and gestures to which we were accustomed—perhaps so much accustomed that we no longer took any notice of them. This change also touches the faithful. It is intended to interest each one of those present, to draw them out of their customary personal devotions or their usual torpor.

4. We must prepare for this many-sided inconvenience. It is the kind of upset caused by every novelty that breaks in on our habits. We shall notice that pious persons are disturbed most, because they have their own respectable way of hearing Mass, and they will feel shaken out of their usual thoughts and obliged to follow those of others. Even priests may feel some annoyance in this respect.

5. So what is to be done on this special and historical occasion? First of all, we must prepare ourselves. This novelty is no small thing. We should not let ourselves be surprised by the nature, or even the nuisance, of its exterior forms. As intelligent persons and conscientious faithful we should find out as much as we can about this innovation. It will not be hard to do so, because of the many fine efforts being made by the Church and by publishers. As We said on another occasion, we shall do well to take into account the motives for this grave change. The first is obedience to the Council. That obedience now implies obedience to the Bishops, who interpret the Council's prescription and put them into practice.

6. This first reason is not simply canonical—relating to an external precept. It is connected with the charism of the liturgical act. In other words, it is linked with the power and efficacy of the Church's prayer, the most authoritative utterance of which comes from the Bishop. This is also true of priests, who help the Bishop in his ministry, and like him act in persona Christi (cf. St. Ign., ad Eph. I, V). It is Christ's will, it is the breath of the Holy Spirit which calls the Church to make this change. A prophetic moment is occurring in the mystical body of Christ, which is the Church. This moment is shaking the Church, arousing it, obliging it to renew the mysterious art of its prayer.

7. The other reason for the reform is this renewal of prayer. It is aimed at associating the assembly of the faithful more closely and more effectively with the official rite, that of the Word and that of the Eucharistic Sacrifice, that constitutes the Mass. For the faithful are also invested with the "royal priesthood"; that is, they are qualified to have supernatural conversation with God.

8. It is here that the greatest newness is going to be noticed, the newness of language. No longer Latin, but the spoken language will be the principal language of the Mass. The introduction of the vernacular will certainly be a great sacrifice for those who know the beauty, the power and the expressive sacrality of Latin. We are parting with the speech of the Christian centuries; we are becoming like profane intruders in the literary preserve of sacred utterance. We will lose a great part of that stupendous and incomparable artistic and spiritual thing, the Gregorian chant.

9. We have reason indeed for regret, reason almost for bewilderment. What can we put in the place of that language of the angels? We are giving up something of priceless worth. But why? What is more precious than these loftiest of our Church's values?

10. The answer will seem banal, prosaic. Yet it is a good answer, because it is human, because it is apostolic.

11. Understanding of prayer is worth more than the silken garments in which it is royally dressed. Participation by the people is worth more—particularly participation by modern people, so fond of plain language which is easily understood and converted into everyday speech.

12. If the divine Latin language kept us apart from the children, from youth, from the world of labor and of affairs, if it were a dark screen, not a clear window, would it be right for us fishers of souls to maintain it as the exclusive language of prayer and religious intercourse? What did St. Paul have to say about that? Read chapter 14 of the first letter to the Corinthians: "In Church I would rather speak five words with my mind, in order to instruct others, than ten thousand words in a tongue" (I Corinthians 14:19).

13. St. Augustine seems to be commenting on this when he says, "Have no fear of teachers, so long as all are instructed" (P.L. 38, 228, Serm. 37; cf. also Serm. 229, p. 1371). But, in any case, the new rite of the Mass provides that the faithful "should be able to sing together, in Latin, at least the parts of the Ordinary of the Mass, especially the Creed and the Lord's Prayer, the Our Father" (Sacrosanctum Concilium n. 19).

14. But, let us bear this well in mind, for our counsel and our comfort: the Latin language will not thereby disappear. It will continue to be the noble language of the Holy See's official acts; it will remain as the means of teaching in ecclesiastical studies and as the key to the patrimony of our religious, historical and human culture. If possible, it will reflourish in splendor.

15. Finally, if we look at the matter properly we shall see that the fundamental outline of the Mass is still the traditional one, not only theologically but also spiritually. Indeed, if the rite is carried out as it ought to be, the spiritual aspect will be found to have greater richness. The greater simplicity of the ceremonies, the variety and abundance of scriptural texts, the joint acts of the ministers, the silences which will mark various deeper moments in the rite, will all help to bring this out.

16. But two indispensable requirements above all will make that richness clear: a profound participation by every single one present, and an outpouring of spirit in community charity. These requirements will help to make the Mass more than ever a school of spiritual depth and a peaceful but demanding school of Christian sociology. The soul's relationship with Christ and with the brethren thus attains new and vital intensity. Christ, the victim and the priest, renews and offers up his redeeming sacrifice through the ministry of the Church in the symbolic rite of his last supper. He leaves us his body and blood under the appearances of bread and wine, for our personal and spiritual nourishment, for our fusion in the unity of his redeeming love and his immortal life.

17. But there is still a practical difficulty, which the excellence of the sacred renders not a little important. How can we celebrate this new rite when we have not yet got a complete missal, and there are still so many uncertainties about what to do?

18. To conclude, it will be helpful to read to you some directions from the competent office, namely the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship. Here they are: "As regards the obligation of the rite:

1) For the Latin text: Priests who celebrate in Latin, in private or also in public, in cases provided for by the legislation, may use either the Roman Missal or the new rite until November 28, 1971. If they use the Roman Missal, they may nevertheless make use of the three new anaphoras and the Roman Canon, having regard to the provisions respecting the last text (omission of some saints, conclusions, etc.). They may moreover recite the readings and the prayer of the faithful in the vernacular. If they use the new rite, they must follow the official text, with the concessions as regards the vernacular indicated above.

2) For the vernacular text. In Italy, all those who celebrate in the presence of the people from November 30 next, must use the Rito delta Messa published by the Italian Episcopal Conference or by another National Conference. On feast days readings shall be taken: either from the Lectionary published by the Italian Center for Liturgical Action, or from the Roman Missal for feast days, as in use heretofore. On ferial days the ferial Lectionary published three years ago shall continue to be used. No problem arises for those who celebrate in private, because they must celebrate in Latin. If a priest celebrates in the vernacular by special indult, as regards the texts, he shall follow what was said above for the Mass with the people; but for the rite he shall follow the Ordo published by the Italian Episcopal Conference.

19. In every case, and at all times, let us remember that "the Mass is a Mystery to be lived in a death of Love. Its divine reality surpasses all words. . . It is the Action par excellence, the very act of our Redemption, in the Memorial which makes it present" (Zundel).

With Our Apostolic Benediction.

Taken from:
L'Osservatore Romano
Weekly Edition in English
4 December 1969
00Wednesday, September 3, 2008 7:02 PM

Respect for unborn human life:
The Church’s constant teaching

Fact sheet by the USCCB Committee on Pro-Life Activities

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states: “Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law” (No. 2271).

In response to those who say this teaching has changed or is of recent origin, here are the facts:

From earliest times, Christians sharply distinguished themselves from surrounding pagan cultures by rejecting abortion and infanticide. The earliest widely used documents of Christian teaching and practice after the New Testament in the 1st and 2nd centuries, the Didache (Teaching of the Twelve Apostles) and Letter of Barnabas, condemned both practices, as did early regional and particular Church councils.

To be sure, knowledge of human embryology was very limited until recent times. Many Christian thinkers accepted the biological theories of their time, based on the writings of Aristotle (4th century BC) and other philosophers. Aristotle assumed a process was needed over time to turn the matter from a woman’s womb into a being that could receive a specifically human form or soul. The active formative power for this process was thought to come entirely from the man – the existence of the human ovum (egg), like so much of basic biology, was unknown.

However, such mistaken biological theories never changed the Church’s common conviction that abortion is gravely wrong at every stage. At the very least, early abortion was seen as attacking a being with a human destiny, being prepared by God to receive an immortal soul (cf. Jeremiah 1:5: “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you”).

In the 5th century AD this rejection of abortion at every stage was affirmed by the great bishop-theologian St. Augustine. He knew of theories about the human soul not being present until some weeks into pregnancy.

Because he used the Greek Septuagint translation of the Old Testament, he also thought the ancient Israelites had imposed a more severe penalty for accidentally causing a miscarriage if the fetus was “fully formed” (Exodus 21: 22-23), language not found in any known Hebrew version of this passage.

But he also held that human knowledge of biology was very limited, and he wisely warned against misusing such theories to risk committing homicide. He added that God has the power to make up all human deficiencies or lack of development in the Resurrection, so we cannot assume that the earliest aborted children will be excluded from enjoying eternal life with God.

In the 13th century, St. Thomas Aquinas made extensive use of Aristotle’s thought, including his theory that the rational human soul is not present in the first few weeks of pregnancy. But he also rejected abortion as gravely wrong at every stage, observing that it is a sin “against nature” to reject God’s gift of a new life.

During these centuries, theories derived from Aristotle and others influenced the grading of penalties for abortion in Church law. Some canonical penalties were more severe for a direct abortion after the stage when the human soul was thought to be present. However, abortion at all stages continued to be seen as a grave moral evil.

From the 13th to 19th centuries, some theologians speculated about rare and difficult cases where they thought an abortion before “formation” or “ensoulment” might be morally justified.

But these theories were discussed and then always rejected, as the Church refined and reaffirmed its understanding of abortion as an intrinsically evil act that can never be morally right.

In 1827, with the discovery of the human ovum, the mistaken biology of Aristotle was discredited. Scientists increasingly understood that the union of sperm and egg at conception produces a new living being that is distinct from both mother and father.

Modern genetics demonstrated that this individual is, at the outset, distinctively human, with the inherent and active potential to mature into a human fetus, infant, child and adult. From 1869 onward the obsolete distinction between the “ensouled” and “unensouled” fetus was permanently removed from canon law on abortion.

Secular laws against abortion were being reformed at the same time and in the same way, based on secular medical experts’ realization that “no other doctrine appears to be consonant with reason or physiology but that which admits the embryo to possess vitality from the very moment of conception” (American Medical Association, Report on Criminal Abortion, 1871).

Thus modern science has not changed the Church’s constant teaching against abortion, but has underscored how important and reasonable it is, by confirming that the life of each individual of the human species begins with the earliest embryo.

Given the scientific fact that a human life begins at conception, the only moral norm needed to understand the Church’s opposition to abortion is the principle that each and every human life has inherent dignity, and thus must be treated with the respect due to a human person. This is the foundation for the Church’s social doctrine, including its teachings on war, the use of capital punishment, euthanasia, health care, poverty and immigration.

Conversely, to claim that some live human beings do not deserve respect or should not be treated as “persons” (based on changeable factors such as age, condition, location, or lack of mental or physical abilities) is to deny the very idea of inherent human rights. Such a claim undermines respect for the lives of many vulnerable people before and after birth.

For more information: Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Declaration on Procured Abortion (1974), nos. 6-7; John R. Connery, S.J., Abortion: The Development of the Roman Catholic Perspective (1977); Germain Grisez, Abortion: The Myths, the Realities, and the Arguments (1970), Chapter IV; U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, On Embryonic Stem Cell Research (2008); Pope John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae (1995), nos. 61-2.

00Saturday, November 22, 2008 10:02 PM
Bear with me - I am trying to do some catch-up tasks today... I think this particular directive is most informative and instructive...

Guidelines for the Use of Psychology
in the Admission and Formation
of Candidates for the Priesthood

From the
Vatican Congregation for Catholic Education
October 30, 2008

I. The Church and the Discernment of a Vocation

1. “Each Christian vocation comes from God and is God's gift. However, it is never bestowed outside of or independently of the Church. Instead it always comes about in the Church and through the Church [...], a luminous and living reflection of the mystery of the Blessed Trinity.”[1]

The Church, “begetter and formator of vocations”,[2] has the duty of discerning a vocation and the suitability of candidates for the priestly ministry. In fact, “the interior call of the Spirit needs to be recognized as the authentic call of the bishop.”[3]

In furthering this discernment, and throughout the entire process of formation for ministry, the Church is moved by two concerns: to safeguard the good of her own mission and, at the same time, the good of the candidates. In fact, like every Christian vocation, the vocation to the priesthood, along with a Christological dimension, has an essentially ecclesial dimension: “Not only does it derive `from' the Church and her mediation, not only does it come to be known and find fulfilment `in' the Church, but it also necessarily appears – in fundamental service to God – as a service `to' the Church. Christian vocation, whatever shape it takes, is a gift whose purpose is to build up the Church and to increase the kingdom of God in the world.”[4]

Therefore, the good of the Church and that of the candidate are not in opposition, but rather converge. Those responsible for formation work at harmonizing these two goods, by always considering both simultaneously in their interdependent dynamic. This is an essential aspect of the great responsibility they bear in their service to the Church and to individuals.[5]

2. The priestly ministry, understood and lived as a conformation to Christ, Bridegroom and Good Shepherd, requires certain abilities as well as moral and theological virtues, which are supported by a human and psychic – and particularly affective – equilibrium, so as to allow the subject to be adequately predisposed for giving of himself in the celibate life, in a way that is truly free in his relations with the faithful.[6]

The Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Pastores dabo vobis treats of the various dimensions of priestly formation: human, spiritual, intellectual and pastoral. Before the text deals with the spiritual dimension – “an extremely important element of a priest's education”[7] – it underlines that the human dimension is the foundation of all formation. The document lists a series of human virtues and relational abilities that are required of the priest, so that his personality * may be “a bridge and not an obstacle for others in their meeting with Jesus Christ the Redeemer of humanity.”[8] These virtues and qualities range from the personality's general equilibrium to the ability to bear the weight of pastoral responsibilities, from a deep knowledge of the human spirit to a sense of justice and loyalty.[9]

* The specific understanding of “personality” in this document refers to affective maturity and absence of mental disorder.

Some of these qualities merit particular attention: the positive and stable sense of one's masculine identity, and the capacity to form relations in a mature way with individuals and groups of people; a solid sense of belonging, which is the basis of future communion with the presbyterium and of a responsible collaboration in the ministry of the bishop;[10] the freedom to be enthused by great ideals and a coherence in realizing them in everyday action; the courage to take decisions and to stay faithful to them; a knowledge of oneself, of one's talents and limitations, so as to integrate them within a self-esteem before God; the capacity to correct oneself; the appreciation for beauty in the sense of “splendour of the truth” as well as the art of recognizing it; the trust that is born from an esteem of the other person and that leads to acceptance; the capacity of the candidate to integrate his sexuality in accordance with the Christian vision, including in consideration of the obligation of celibacy.[11]

Such interior dispositions must be moulded during the future priest's path of formation because, as a man of God and of the Church, he is called to build up the ecclesial community. Being in love with Him who is Eternal, the priest develops an authentic and integral appreciation of humanity. He also increasingly lives the richness of his own affectivity in the gift of himself to God, One and Three, and to his brethren, particularly those who are suffering.

Clearly, these are objectives that can only be reached by the candidate co-operating daily with the work of grace within him. They are objectives that are acquired with a gradual and lengthy path of formation, which is not always linear.[12]

A priestly vocation involves an extraordinary and demanding synergy of human and spiritual dynamics. The candidate, knowing this, can only draw advantage from an attentive and responsible vocational discernment, aimed at differentiating formation paths according to each individual's needs, as well as gradually overcoming his deficiencies on the spiritual and human levels. The Church has the duty of furnishing candidates with an effective integration of the human dimension, in light of the spiritual dimension into which it flows and in which it finds its completion.[13]

II. Preparation of Formators

3. Every formator should have a good knowledge of the human person: his rhythms of growth; his potentials and weaknesses; and his way of living his relationship with God. Thus, it is desirable that bishops – by making use of various experiences, programs and institutions of good reputation – provide a suitable preparation in vocational pedagogy for formators, according to the indications already published by the Congregation for Catholic Education.[14]

Formators need to be adequately prepared to carry out a discernment that, fully respecting the Church's doctrine on the priestly vocation, allows for a reasonably sure decision as to whether the candidate should be admitted to the seminary or house of formation of the religious clergy, or whether he should be dismissed from the seminary or house of formation for reasons of unsuitability. The discernment also must allow for the candidate to be accompanied on his path to acquiring those moral and theological virtues, which are necessary for living, in coherence and interior freedom, the total gift of his life, so as to be a “servant of the Church as communion”.[15]

4. The document of this Congregation for Catholic Education, A Guide to Formation in Priestly Celibacy, recognizes that “errors in discerning vocations are not rare, and in all too many cases psychological defects, sometimes of a pathological kind, reveal themselves only after ordination to the priesthood. Detecting defects earlier would help avoid many tragic experiences.”[16]

Hence, the need for every formator to possess, in due measure, the sensitivity and psychological preparation [17] that will allow him, insofar as possible, to perceive the candidate's true motivations, to discern the barriers that stop him integrating human and Christian maturity, and to pick up on any psychopathic disturbances present in the candidate. The formator must accurately and very prudently evaluate the candidate's history. Nevertheless, this history alone cannot constitute the decisive criterion which would be sufficient for judging whether to admit the candidate or dismiss him from formation. The formator must know how to evaluate the person in his totality, not forgetting the gradual nature of development. He must see the candidate's strong and weak points, as well as the level of awareness that the candidate has of his own problems. Lastly, the formator must discern the candidate's capacity for controlling his own behaviour in responsibility and freedom.

Thus, every formator must be prepared, including by means of specific courses, to understand profoundly the human person as well as the demands of his formation to the ordained ministry. To that end, much advantage can be derived from meeting experts in the psychological sciences, to compare notes and obtain clarification on some specific issues.

III. Contribution of Psychology
to Vocational Discernment and Formation

5. Inasmuch as it is the fruit of a particular gift of God, the vocation to the priesthood and its discernment lie outside the strict competence of psychology. Nevertheless, in some cases, recourse to experts in the psychological sciences can be useful. It can allow a more sure evaluation of the candidate's psychic state; it can help evaluate his human dispositions for responding to the divine call; and it can provide some extra assistance for the candidate's human growth. These experts can offer formators an opinion regarding the diagnosis of – and, perhaps, therapy for – psychic disturbances. Moreover, by suggesting ways for favouring a vocational response that is more free, they can help support the development of the human (especially relational) qualities, which are required for the exercise of the ministry.[18]

Even formation for the priesthood must face up to the manifold symptoms of the imbalance rooted in the heart of man,[19] which is symptomized, in a particular way, in the contradictions between the ideal of self-giving to which the candidate consciously aspires, and the life he actually leads. Formation must also deal with the difficulties inherent in the gradual development of the moral virtues. The help of the spiritual director and confessor is fundamental and absolutely necessary for overcoming these difficulties with the grace of God. In some cases, however, the development of these moral qualities can be blocked by certain psychological wounds of the past that have not yet been resolved.

In fact, those who today ask admittance to the seminary reflect, in a more or less accentuated way, the unease of an emerging mentality characterized by consumerism, instability in family and social relationships, moral relativism, erroneous visions of sexuality, the precariousness of choices, and a systematic negation of values especially by the media.

Among the candidates can be found some who come from particular experiences – human, family, professional, intellectual or affective – which, in various ways, have left psychological wounds that are not yet healed and that cause disturbances. These wounds, unknown to the candidate in their real effects, are often erroneously attributed by him to causes outside himself, thus depriving him of the possibility of facing them adequately.[20]

It is clear that the above-mentioned issues can limit the candidate's capacity for making progress on the path of formation towards the priesthood.

“Si casus ferat” [21] – that is, in exceptional cases that present particular difficulties – recourse to experts in the psychological sciences, both before admission to the seminary and during the path of formation, can help the candidate overcome those psychological wounds, and interiorize, in an ever more stable and profound way, the type of life shown by Jesus the Good Shepherd, Head and Bridegroom of the Church.[22]

To arrive at a correct evaluation of the candidate's personality, the expert can have recourse to both interviews and tests. These must always be carried out with the previous, explicit, informed and free consent of the candidate.[23]

In consideration of their particularly sensitive nature, the use of specialist psychological or psychotherapeutic techniques must be avoided by the formators.

6. It is useful for the rector and other formators to be able to count on the co-operation of experts in the psychological sciences. Such experts, who cannot be part of the formation team, will have to have specific competence in the field of vocations, and unite the wisdom of the Spirit to their professional expertise.

In choosing which experts to approach for the psychological consultation, it is necessary to guarantee, as much as possible, an intervention that is coherent with the candidate's moral and spiritual formation. This is to avoid any harmful confusion or opposition.

Therefore, it must be borne in mind that these experts, as well as being distinguished for their sound human and spiritual maturity, must be inspired by an anthropology that openly shares the Christian vision about the human person, sexuality, as well as vocation to the priesthood and to celibacy. In this way, their interventions may take into account the mystery of man in his personal dialogue with God, according to the vision of the Church.

Wherever such experts are not available, let steps be taken to specifically preparing them.[24]

The assistance offered by the psychological sciences must be integrated within the context of the candidate's entire formation. It must not obstruct, but rather ensure, in a particular way, that the irreplaceable value of spiritual accompaniment is guaranteed; for spiritual accompaniment has the duty of keeping the candidate facing the truth of the ordained ministry, according to the vision of the Church.

The atmosphere of faith, prayer, meditation on the Word of God, the study of theology and community life – an atmosphere that is essential so that a generous response to the vocation received from God can mature – will allow the candidate to have a correct understanding of what the recourse to psychology means within his vocational journey, and will allow him to integrate it within that same journey.

7. In faithfulness and coherence to the principles and directives of this document, different countries will have to regulate the recourse to experts in the psychological sciences in their respective Rationes institutionis sacerdotalis. The competent Ordinaries or major superiors will have to do the same in the individual seminaries.

a) Initial Discernment

8. Right from the moment when the candidate presents himself for admission to the seminary, the formator needs to be able accurately to comprehend his personality; potentialities; dispositions; and the types of any psychological wounds, evaluating their nature and intensity.

Nor must it be forgotten that there is a possible tendency of some candidates to minimize or deny their own weaknesses. Such candidates do not speak to the formators about some of their serious difficulties, as they fear they will not be understood or accepted. Thus, they nurture barely realistic expectations with respect to their own future. On the other hand, there are candidates who tend to emphasize their own difficulties, considering them insurmountable obstacles on their vocational journey.

The timely discernment of possible problems that block the vocational journey can only be of great benefit for the person, for the vocational institutions and for the Church. Such problems include excessive affective dependency; disproportionate aggression; insufficient capacity for being faithful to obligations taken on; insufficient capacity for establishing serene relations of openness, trust and fraternal collaboration, as well as collaboration with authority; a sexuality identity that is confused or not yet well defined.

In the phase of initial discernment, the help of experts in the psychological sciences can be necessary principally on the specifically diagnostic level, whenever there is a suspicion that psychic disturbances may be present. If it should be ascertained that the candidate needs therapy, this therapy should be carried out before he is admitted to the seminary or house of formation.

The assistance of experts can be useful for formators, including when they are marking out a path of formation tailored to the candidate's specific needs.

When evaluating whether it is possible for the candidate to live the charism of celibacy in faithfulness and joy, as a total gift of his life in the image of Christ the Head and Shepherd of the Church, let it be remembered that it is not enough to be sure that he is capable of abstaining from genital activity. It is also necessary to evaluate his sexual orientation, according to the indications published by this Congregation.[25] Chastity for the Kingdom, in fact, is much more than the simple lack of sexual relationships.

In light of the objectives indicated above, a psychological consultation can, in some cases, be useful.

b) Subsequent Formation

9. During the period of formation, recourse to experts in the psychological sciences can respond to the needs born of any crises; but it can also be useful in supporting the candidate on his journey towards a more sure possession of the moral virtues. It can furnish the candidate with a deeper knowledge of his personality, and can contribute to overcoming, or rendering less rigid, his psychic resistances to what his formation is proposing.

The candidates can give themselves to God with due awareness and freedom, in responsibility towards themselves and the Church, when they have better mastered not only their weaknesses, but also their human and spiritual forces.[26]

A certain Christian and vocational maturity can be reached, including with the help of psychology, illumined and completed by the contribution of the anthropology of the Christian vocation and, therefore, of grace. Nevertheless, one cannot overlook the fact that such maturity will never be completely free of difficulties and tensions, which require interior discipline, a spirit of sacrifice, acceptance of struggle and of the Cross,[27] and the entrusting of oneself to the irreplaceable assistance of grace.[28]

10. It is possible that the candidate – notwithstanding his own commitment and the support of the psychologist, or psychotherapy – could continue to show himself unable to face realistically his areas of grave immaturity – even given the gradual nature of all human growth.

Such areas of immaturity would include strong affective dependencies; notable lack of freedom in relations; excessive rigidity of character; lack of loyalty; uncertain sexual identity; deep-seated homosexual tendencies; etc. If this should be the case, the path of formation will have to be interrupted.

The same is also true if it becomes evident that the candidate has difficulty living chastity in celibacy: that is, if celibacy, for him, is lived as a burden so heavy that it compromises his affective and relational equilibrium.

IV. Request for Specialist Evaluations
and Respect for the Candidate's Privacy

11. It belongs to the Church to choose persons whom she believes suitable for the pastoral ministry, and it is her right and duty to verify the presence of the qualities required in those whom she admits to the sacred ministry.[29]

Canon 1051, 1º of the Code of Canon Law foresees that, for the scrutiny of the qualities required in view of ordination, one should provide, inter al., for an evaluation of the state of the candidate's physical and psychic health.[30]

Canon 1052 establishes that the bishop, in order to be able to proceed to ordaining the candidate, must have moral certainty that “positive arguments have proved” his suitability (§ 1) and that, in the case of motivated doubt, he must not proceed with the ordination (§ 3).

Hence, the Church has the right to verify the suitability of future priests, including by means of recourse to medical and psychological science. In fact, it belongs to the bishop or competent superior not only to examine the suitability of the candidate, but also to establish that he is suitable.

A candidate for the priesthood cannot impose his own personal conditions, but must accept with humility and gratitude the norms and the conditions that the Church herself places, on the part of her responsibility.[31]

Therefore, in cases of doubt concerning the candidate's suitability, admission to the seminary or house of formation will sometimes only be possible after a psychological evaluation of the candidate's personality.

12. The formational institution has the right and the duty to acquire the knowledge necessary for a prudentially certain judgement regarding the candidate's suitability.

But this must not harm the candidate's right to a good reputation, which any person enjoys, nor the right to defend his own privacy, as prescribed in canon 220 of the Code of Canon Law. This means that the candidate's psychological consultation can only proceed with his previous, explicit, informed and free consent.

Let the formators guarantee an atmosphere of trust, so that the candidate can open up and participate with conviction in the work of discernment and accompaniment, offering “his own convinced and heartfelt co-operation”.[32]

The candidate is asked to be sincerely and trustingly open with his formators. Only by sincerely allowing them to know him can he be helped on that spiritual journey that he himself is seeking by entering the seminary.

Important, and often determinant in overcoming possible misunderstandings, will be both the educational atmosphere between students and formators – marked by openness and transparency – and the motivations and ways with which the formators will present their suggestion to the candidate that he should have a psychological consultation.

Let them avoid the impression that such a suggestion is the prelude to the candidate's inevitable dismissal from the seminary or house of formation.

The candidate will be able freely to approach an expert who is either chosen from among those indicated by the formators, or chosen by the candidate himself and accepted by the formators.

According to the possibilities, the candidates should be guaranteed a free choice from among various experts who possess the requisites indicated.[33]

If the candidate, faced with a motivated request by the formators, should refuse to undergo a psychological consultation, the formators will not force his will in any way. Instead, they will prudently proceed in the work of discernment with the knowledge they already have, bearing in mind the aforementioned canon 1052 § 1.

V. The Relationship between those Responsible for Formation and the Expert

a) Those Responsible in the External Forum

13. In a spirit of reciprocal trust and in co-operation with his own formation, the candidate can be invited freely to give his written consent so that the expert in the psychological sciences, who is bound by confidentiality, can communicate the results of the consultation to the formators indicated by the candidate himself.

The formators will make use of any information thus acquired to sketch out a general picture of the candidate's personality, and to infer the appropriate indications for the candidate's further path of formation or for his admission to ordination.

In order to protect, in both the present and the future, the candidate's privacy and good reputation, let particular care be taken so that the professional opinions expressed by the expert be exclusively accessible to those responsible for formation, with the precise and binding proscription against using it in any way other than for the discernment of a vocation and for the candidate's formation.

b) Specific Character of Spiritual Direction

14. The spiritual director's task is not easy, neither in discerning the vocation nor in the area of conscience.

It is a firm principle that spiritual direction cannot, in any way, be interchanged with or substituted by forms of analysis or of psychological assistance. Moreover, the spiritual life, by itself, favours a growth in the human virtues, if there are no barriers of a psychological nature.[34]

Bearing these two principles in mind, the spiritual director can find that, in order to clear up any doubts that are otherwise irresolvable and to proceed with greater certainty in the discernment and in spiritual accompaniment, he needs to suggest to the candidate that he undergo a psychological consultation – without, however, ever demanding it.[35]

Should the spiritual director request that the candidate undergo a psychological consultation, it is desirable that the candidate, as well as informing the spiritual director himself about the results of the consultation, will likewise inform the external-forum formator, especially if the spiritual director himself will have invited him to do this.

If the spiritual director should believe it useful that he himself directly acquire information from the consultant, let him proceed according to what has been indicated in n. 13 for the external-forum formators.

The spiritual director will infer from the results of the psychological consultation the appropriate indications for the discernment that is of his competence, as well as the advice he must give the candidate, including as to whether to proceed on the path of formation.

c) Help of the Expert to the Candidate and Formators

15. The expert – insofar as it is asked of him – will help the candidate reach a greater knowledge of himself, of his potentialities and vulnerabilities. He will also help him to compare the declared ideals of the vocation with his own personality, thus encouraging the candidate to develop a personal, free and conscious attachment to his own formation.

It will be the task of the expert to furnish the candidate with the appropriate indications concerning the difficulties that he is experiencing, and their possible consequences for his life and future priestly ministry.

The expert, having carried out his evaluation, and also taking into account the indications offered him by the formators, will present them – but only with the candidate's previous written consent – with his contribution to understanding the subject's personality and the problems he is facing or must face.

In accordance with his evaluation and competence, he will also indicate the foreseeable possibilities as regards the growth of the candidate's personality. Moreover, he will suggest, if necessary, forms or pathways of psychological support.

VI. Persons Dismissed From, or Who Have Freely Left,
Seminaries or Houses of Formation

16. It is contrary to the norms of the Church to admit to the seminary or to the house of formation persons who have already left or, a fortiori, have been dismissed from other seminaries or houses of formation, without first collecting the due information from their respective bishops or major superiors, especially concerning the causes of the dismissal or departure.[36]

The previous formators have the explicit duty of furnishing exact information to the new formators.

Let particular attention be paid to the fact that often candidates leave the educational institution spontaneously so as to avoid an enforced dismissal.

In the case of a transfer to another seminary or house of formation, the candidate must inform the new formators about any psychological consultation previously carried out. Only with the candidate's free, written consent can the new formators have access to the communication of the expert who carried out the consultation.

In the case of a candidate who, after a previous dismissal, has undergone psychological treatment, if it is held that he can be accepted into the seminary, let first his psychic condition be accurately verified, insofar as possible. This includes collecting the necessary information from the expert who treated him, after having obtained the candidate's free, written consent.

In the case where a candidate, after having had recourse to an expert in psychology, asks to transfer to another seminary or house of formation and does not want to agree to the results being available to the new formators, let it be remembered that the suitability of the candidate must be proved with positive arguments, according to the norm of the aforementioned canon 1052, and, therefore, that all reasonable doubt must be excluded.


17. Let all those who, according to their different responsibilities, are involved in formation offer their convinced co-operation, in respecting the specific competencies of each, so that the discernment and vocational accompaniment of the candidates may be sufficient, thus “bringing to the priesthood only those who have been called, and to bring them adequately trained, namely, with a conscious and free response of adherence and involvement of their whole person with Jesus Christ, who calls them to intimacy of life with him and to share in his mission of salvation.”[37]

The Supreme Pontiff Benedict XVI, during the Audience granted to the undersigned Cardinal Prefect on 13 June 2008, approved the present document and authorized its publication.

Rome, 29 June 2008
Solemnity of the Apostles SS. Peter and Paul.

Zenon Card. Grocholewski

+ Jean-Louis Bruguès, o.p.
Archbishop-Bishop emeritus of Anger

[1] John Paul II, Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Pastores dabo vobis (25 March 1992), n. 35b-c: AAS 84 (1992), 714.
[2] Ibid., n. 35d: AAS 84 (1992), 715.

[3] Ibid., n. 65d: AAS 84 (1992), 771.
[4] Ibid., n. 35e: AAS 84 (1992), 715.
[5] Cf. ibid., nn. 66-67: AAS 84 (1992), 772-775.

[6] A very full description of these conditions is given in Pastores dabo vobis, nn. 43-44: AAS 84 (1992), 731-736; cf. C.I.C., canons 1029 and 1041, 1º.
[7] Inasmuch as “for every priest his spiritual formation is the core which unifies and gives life to his being a priest and his acting as a priest”: Pastores dabo vobis, n. 45c: AAS 84 (1992), 737.

[8] Pastores dabo vobis, n. 43: AAS 84 (1992), 731-733.
[9] Cf. ibid.; cf. also Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Decree of Priestly Formation Optatam totius (28 October 1965), n. 11: AAS 58 (1966), 720-721; Decree on the Ministry and Life of Priests Presbyterorum ordinis (7 December 1965), n. 3: AAS 58 (1966), 993-995; Congregation for Catholic Education, Ratio fundamentalis institutionis sacerdotalis (19 March 1985), n. 51.

[10] Cf. Pastores dabo vobis, n. 17: AAS 84 (1992), 682-684.
[11] Paul VI, in his Encyclical Letter Sacerdotalis cælibatus, deals explicitly of this necessary capacity of the candidate for the priesthood, in nn. 63-63: AAS 59 (1967), 682-683. In n. 64, he concludes: “The life of the celibate priest, which engages the whole man so totally and so delicately, excludes in fact those of insufficient physical, psychic and moral qualifications. Nor should anyone pretend that grace supplies for the defects of nature in such a man.” Cf. also Pastores dabo vobis, n. 44: AAS 84 (1992), 733-736.

[12] In the developing formation process, affective maturity takes on a particular importance; this is an area of development that requires, today more than ever, particular attention. “In reality, we grow in affective maturity when our hearts adhere to God. Christ needs priests who are mature, virile, capable of cultivating an authentic spiritual paternity. For this to happen, priests need to be honest with themselves, open with their spiritual director and trusting in divine mercy” (Benedict XVI, Speech to priests and religious in the Cathedral of Warsaw [25 May 2006], in L'Osservatore Romano [26-27 May 2006], p. 7). Cf. Pontifical Work for Ecclesiastical Vocations, New Vocations for a New Europe, Final Document of the Congress on Vocations to the Priesthood and to the Consecrated Life in Europe, Rome, 5-10 May 1997, published by the Congregations for Catholic Education, for the Oriental Churches, for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life (6 January 1998), n. 37.

[13] Cf. Pastores dabo vobis, n. 45a: AAS 84 (1992), 736.
[14] Cf. Congregation for Catholic Education, Directives concerning the Preparation of Seminary Formators (4 November 1993), nn. 36 and 57-59; cf. especially Optatam totius, n. 5: AAS 58 (1966), 716-717.

[15] Pastores dabo vobis, n. 16e: AAS 84 (1992), 682.
[16] Sacred Congregation for Catholic Education, A Guide to Formation in Priestly Celibacy (11 April 1974), n. 38.

[17] Cf. Pastores dabo vobis, n. 66c: AAS 84 (1992), 773; Directives concerning the Preparation of Seminary Formators, nn. 57-59.
[18] Cf. Optatam totius, n. 11: AAS 58 (1966), 720-721.

[19] Cf. Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World Gaudium et spes (7 December 1965), n. 10: AAS 58 (1966), 1032-1033.

[20] To understand these assertions better, it is opportune to refer to the following assertions of Pope John Paul II: “Humans, therefore, carry within themselves the seed of eternal life and the vocation to make transcendent values their own. They, however, remain internally vulnerable and dramatically exposed to the risk of failing in their own vocation. This is due to the resistance and difficulties which they encounter in their earthly existence. These may be found on the conscious level, where moral responsibility is involved, or on the subconscious level, and this may be either in ordinary psychic life or in that which is marked by slight or moderate psychic illnesses that do not impinge substantially on one's freedom to strive after transcendent ideals which have been responsibly chosen” (Address to the Roman Rota [25 January 1988]: AAS 80 [1988], 1181).

[21] Cf. Ratio fundamentalis institutionis sacerdotalis, n. 39; Congregation for bishops, Directory for the Pastoral Ministry of bishops Apostolorum Successores (22 February 2004), n. 88.

[22] Cf. Pastores dabo vobis, n. 29d: AAS 84 (1992), 704.
[23] Cf. Sacred Congregation for Religious and Secular Institutes, Instruction on the Renewal of Formation for Religious Life (6 January 1969), n. 11 § III: AAS 61 (1969), 113.

[24] Cf. John Paul II: “It will therefore be right to pay attention to the formation of expert psychologists, who, with good scientific qualifications, will also have a sound understanding of the Christian vision of life and of the vocation to the priesthood, so as to provide effective support for the necessary integration of the human and supernatural dimensions” (Speech to the participants at the Plenary Session of the Congregation for Catholic Education [4 February 2002]: AAS 94 [2002], 465).

[25] Cf. Congregation for Catholic Education, Instruction concerning the Criteria for the Discernment of Vocations with regard to Persons with Homosexual Tendencies in View of their Admission to the Seminary and to Holy Orders (4 November 2005): AAS 97 (2005), 1007-1013.
[26] Cf. A Guide to Formation in Priestly Celibacy, n. 38.

[27] Cf. Pastores dabo vobis, n. 48d: AAS 84 (1992), 744.
[28] Cf. 2 Cor 12, 7-10.
[29] Cf. C.I.C., canons 1025, 1051 and 1052; Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Circular Letter to the Most Reverend Diocesan bishops and other Ordinaries with Canonical Faculties to Admit to Sacred Orders concerning: Scrutinies regarding the Suitability of Candidates for Orders” (10 November 1997): Notitiæ 33 (1997), pp. 507-518.

[30] Cf. C.I.C., canons 1029, 1031 § 1 and 1041, 1º; Ratio fundamentalis institutionis sacerdotalis, n. 39.
[31] Cf. Pastores dabo vobis, n. 35g: AAS 84 (1992), 715.
[32] Ibid., n. 69b: AAS 84 (1992), 778.

[33] Cf. n. 6 of this document.
[34] Cf. note n. 20.
[35] Cf. Pastores dabo vobis, n. 40c: AAS 84 (1992), 725.

[36] Cf. C.I.C., can. 241 § 3; Congregation for Catholic Education, Instruction to the Episcopal Conferences on the Admission to Seminary of Candidates Coming from Other Seminaries or Religious Families (8 March 1996).
[37] Pastores dabo vobis, n. 42c: AAS 84 (1992), 730.
00Wednesday, December 31, 2008 5:33 PM

The 29-page text can be found on

00Saturday, January 10, 2009 3:59 AM
in the Catechism of the Catholic Church
Articles 2302-2317

2302 By recalling the commandment, "You shall not kill," [Mt. 5:21] our Lord asked for peace of heart and denounced murderous anger and hatred as immoral.

Anger is a desire for revenge. "To desire vengeance in order to do evil to someone who should be punished is illicit," but it is praiseworthy to impose restitution "to correct vices and maintain justice." [St. Thomas Aquinas, ST II-II q158, a1 ad3] If anger reaches the point of a deliberate desire to kill or seriously wound a neighbor, it is gravely against charity; it is a mortal sin. The Lord says, "Everyone who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment." [Mt. 5:22]

2303 Deliberate hatred is contrary to charity. Hatred of the neighbor is a sin when one deliberately wishes him evil. Hatred of the neighbor is a grave sin when one deliberately desires him grave harm. "But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven." [Mt. 5:44-45]

2304 Respect for and development of human life require peace. Peace is not merely the absence of war, and it is not limited to maintaining a balance of powers between adversaries. Peace cannot be attained on earth without safeguarding the goods of persons, free communication among men, respect for the dignity of persons and peoples, and the assiduous practice of fraternity. Peace is "the tranquility of order." [St. Augustine, City of God 19, 13,1] Peace is the work of justice and the effect of charity. [Cf. Is. 32:17; cf. Vatican II, Gaudium et spes #78, 1-2]

2305 Earthly peace is the image and fruit of the peace of Christ, the messianic "Prince of Peace." [Is. 9:5] By the blood of his Cross, "in his own person he killed the hostility," [Eph. 2:16; cf. Col. 1:20-22] he reconciled men with God and made his Church the sacrament of the unity of the human race and of its union with God. "He is our peace." [Eph. 2:14] He has declared: "Blessed are the peacemakers." [Mt. 5:9]

2306 Those who renounce violence and bloodshed and, in order to safeguard human rights, make use of those means of defense available to the weakest, bear witness to evangelical charity, provided they do so without harming the rights and obligations of other men and societies. They bear legitimate witness to the gravity of the physical and moral risks of recourse to violence, with all its destruction and death. [Cf. Vatican II, Gaudium et spes 78, 5]

Avoiding war

2307 The fifth commandment forbids the intentional destruction of human life. Because of the evils and injustices that accompany all war, the Church insistently urges everyone to prayer and to action so that the divine Goodness may free us from the ancient bondage of war. [Cf. Vatican II, Gaudium et spes 81, 4] All citizens and all governments are obliged to work for the avoidance of war.

However, "as long as the danger of war persists and there is no international authority with the necessary competence and power, governments cannot be denied the right of lawful self-defense, once all peace efforts have failed." [Cf. Vatican II, Gaudium et spes 79, 4]

2309 The strict conditions for legitimate defense by military force require rigorous consideration. The gravity of such a decision makes it subject to rigorous conditions of moral legitimacy. At one and the same time:
- the damage inflicted by the aggressor on the nation or community of nations must be lasting, grave, and certain;
- all other means of putting an end to it must have been shown to be impractical or ineffective;
- there must be serious prospects of success;
- the use of arms must not produce evils and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated. The power of modern means of destruction weighs very heavily in evaluating this condition.

These are the traditional elements enumerated in what is called the "just war" doctrine. The evaluation of these conditions for moral legitimacy belongs to the prudential judgment of those who have responsibility for the common good.

2310 Public authorities, in this case, have the right and duty to impose on citizens the obligations necessary for national defense.

Those who are sworn to serve their country in the armed forces are servants of the security and freedom of nations. If they carry out their duty honorably, they truly contribute to the common good of the nation and the maintenance of peace.[Cf. Vatican II, Gaudium et spes 79, 5]

2311 Public authorities should make equitable provision for those who for reasons of conscience refuse to bear arms; these are nonetheless obliged to serve the human community in some other way. [Cf. Vatican II, Gaudium et spes 79, 3]

2312 The Church and human reason both assert the permanent validity of the moral law during armed conflict. "The mere fact that war has regrettably broken out does not mean that everything becomes licit between the warring parties." [Cf. Vatican II, Gaudium et spes 79, 4]

2313 Non-combatants, wounded soldiers, and prisoners must be respected and treated humanely.

Actions deliberately contrary to the law of nations and to its universal principles are crimes, as are the orders that command such actions. Blind obedience does not suffice to excuse those who carry them out. Thus the extermination of a people, nation, or ethnic minority must be condemned as a mortal sin. One is morally bound to resist orders that command genocide.

2314 "Every act of war directed to the indiscriminate destruction of whole cities or vast areas with their inhabitants is a crime against God and man, which merits firm and unequivocal condemnation." [Cf. Vatican II, Gaudium et spes 80, 3]

A danger of modern warfare is that it provides the opportunity to those who possess modern scientific weapons - especially atomic, biological, or chemical weapons - to commit such crimes.

2315 The accumulation of arms strikes many as a paradoxically suitable way of deterring potential adversaries from war. They see it as the most effective means of ensuring peace among nations. This method of deterrence gives rise to strong moral reservations.

The arms race does not ensure peace. Far from eliminating the causes of war, it risks aggravating them. Spending enormous sums to produce ever new types of weapons impedes efforts to aid needy populations; [Pope Paul VI, Populorum Progressio 53] it thwarts the development of peoples. Over-armament multiplies reasons for conflict and increases the danger of escalation.

2316 The production and the sale of arms affect the common good of nations and of the international community. Hence public authorities have the right and duty to regulate them. The short-term pursuit of private or collective interests cannot legitimate undertakings that promote violence and conflict among nations and compromise the international juridical order.

2317 Injustice, excessive economic or social inequalities, envy, distrust, and pride raging among men and nations constantly threaten peace and cause wars. Everything done to overcome these disorders contributes to building up peace and avoiding war:

Insofar as men are sinners, the threat of war hangs over them and will so continue until Christ comes again; but insofar as they can vanquish sin by coming together in charity, violence itself will be vanquished and these words will be fulfilled: "they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more." [Cf. Vatican II, Gaudium et spes 78, 6; cf. Is. 2:4]

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