Pope Benedict XVI celebrates mass ad orientem

THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT:  With all of the negative news going on in the world today, it is a refreshing pleasure to report something positive for a change, and for a change, good things are happening in the Catholic Church.  Nearly four years ago the Holy Father reintroduced the Catholic Church to her sacred liturgical tradition by releasing the motu proprio document entitledSummorum Pontificum which liberalized the celebration of of the Traditional Latin Mass and effectively renamed it the “Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite” and relegating the commonly observed Novus Ordo mass to the “Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite.”  After that the Holy Father spent the following three years teaching by example in his own pontifical celebrations of the “Ordinary Form,” giving us a foretaste of what is soon to come, namely kneeling for holy communion, Gregorian chant, traditional altar arrangements, mass celebrated both ad populum and ad orientem, etc.

Then in late 2009 the Holy Father released an apostolic constitution entitled Anglicanorum Coetibus which created a provision within the Roman Rite of the Church to allow former Anglicans to come into full-communion with Rome, retain their historic Anglican liturgy and customs, and govern themselves under the norms of canon law and the Catechism of the Catholic Church.  This apostolic constitution is now in the process of being implemented in England, while it is expected the United States, Canada and Australia will soon follow.  Since these Anglicans use a highly traditional form of Catholic liturgy, they will actively assist in the next step of the Holy Father’s liturgical reform.

With both the Anglican ordinariates and the Extraordinary Form of the mass squared away, the Holy Father will now turn his attention to the Novus Ordo mass, commonly known as the “Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite.”  Another motu proprio is on the way in the very near future…

(NLM) – In the coming weeks a document of Benedict XVI will be released which reorganizes the competences of the Congregation for Divine Worship, entrusting it with the task of promoting a liturgy more faithful to the original intentions of Vatican II, with less room for arbitrary changes, and for the recovery of a dimension greater sacredness.

The document, which will take the form of a motu proprio, is the fruit of a long maturation – it has been reviewed by the Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legislative Texts and the offices of the Secretariat of State -, and is motivated mainly by the transfer of jurisdiction over matrimonial cases to the Roman Rota. These are the so-called “ratum sed non consummatum” causes, i.e. regarding the marriages which took place in church but have not been consummated because of the lacking carnal union of the spouses. There are about five hundred cases a year, and they mainly affect some Asian countries where there are still arranged marriages with girls of a very young age, but also Western countries for those cases of psychological impotence to perform the conjugal act.

Losing this section, which will go to the Rota, the Congregation of Divine Worship will de facto not be concerned anymore with the sacraments and retain only jurisdiction in matters liturgical. According to some authoritative leaks, a passage of the motu proprio of Benedict XVI might explicitly mention that “new liturgical movement” of which has spoken in recent days Cardinal Antonio Cañizares Llovera, speaking during the consistory of last November…

read full story here

This is not the final product of the liturgical reform.  It is just the beginning, which will give the pope the instrument he needs to effect the coming “Reform of the Reform” in the months and years ahead.  Initial reforms are likely to be small, each progressively getting bigger and bigger.  This pope has demonstrated that he prefers the method of “relentless incrementalism” to effect the changes he wants.  The days of the Novus Ordo folk liturgy are gradually coming to a close.

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  1. Michael says:

    The article is great, Father, but the story you gave a link to is dated 2011. Was that intentional?

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