Saturday, July 07, 2007

Motu Proprio

Apostolic Letter
In the form "motu proprio"

Benedict XVI

"Summorum Pontificum"

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, the Second Vatican Council 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 Blessed John XXIII is to be considered as an extraordinary expression of that same "Lex orandi," and must be given due honor 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 Blessed 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 Blessed 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. §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 harmonizes with the ordinary pastoral care of the parish, under the guidance of the bishop in accordance with Canon 392, avoiding discord and favoring the unity of the whole Church.

§2 Celebration in accordance with the Missal of Blessed John XXIII may take place on working days; while on Sundays and feast days one such celebration may also be held.

§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, i.e., pilgrimages.

§4 Priests who use the Missal of Blessed John XXIII must be qualified to do so and not juridically impeded.

§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 Blessed John XXIII, the readings may be given in the vernacular, using editions recognized by the Apostolic See.

Art. 7. If a group of lay faithful, as mentioned in art. 5 §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. §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.

§ 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.

§ 2 Clerics ordained "in sacris constitutis" may use the Roman Breviary promulgated by Blessed 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 Canon 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 Sept. 14 of this year, feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, whatever there may be to the contrary.

From Rome, at St. Peter's, July 7, 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," Dec. 4, 1988, 3: AAS 81 (1989), 899.

[3] Ibid.
[4] St. Pius X, apostolic letter issued "motu propio data," "Abhinc Duos Annos," Oct. 23, 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 issued "motu proprio data," "Ecclesia Dei," July 2, 1988, 6: AAS 80 (1988), 1498.


Explanatory Letter on "Summorum Pontificum"

"Growth and Progress, But no Rupture"

JULY 7, 2007 ( Here is the Vatican translation of the letter Benedict XVI addressed to all the bishops of the world concerning his apostolic letter issued "motu proprio," "Summorum Pontificum," which was published today.

* * *


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 Corinthians 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



Alice C. Linsley said...

A gracious move to heal an old wound.

If only The Episcopal Church had been so gracious to allow parishes to use the Book of Common Prayer instead of imposing the 1979 disaster.

Anonymous said...

Does this mean that the Anglo-Papalist clergy will start using the good old English Missal with the old lessons and propers?

Young fogey emeritus said...

Me on the motu.

At least the Episcopalians backtracked very early on and came up with Rite I and a traditional service in the early or eight o'clock slot.

In 99 per cent of churches the Romans offered no equivalent to that. (To understand why and American RC culture in general read the books of Thomas Day.)

Regarding Anglo-Papalists and the English Missal, I hope so at least with some but I fear that horse ran out of the barn in England a long time ago (that churchmanship is very rare in the US and there they use 1979; most of the English ones use the Novus Ordo).

Warwickensis said...

Very true 'Fogey!

How I wish I were ordained!

Still, as a Reader I make as much use as I can of the Anglican Breviary!

Unknown said...

I am an RC layman, a convert from evangelical Protestantism, and doctrinally orthodox. I would urge those in the Continuing Anglican community (for whom I have esteem and affection) not to see too much of a parallel between the Roman and Anglican situations. Having had a fair amount of interaction with the Tridentine Mass proponents in 3 different US states, and without meaning to sound judgmental, it is largely a community made up of people who are theologically unorthodox (generally Pelagians and Jansenists) and who, in many cases, are not emotionally well or balanced. Radical anti-modernism, theocratic political views akin to those found in radical Islam, fundamentalist views in regard to the arts and sciences, staunchly anti-ecumenical views bordering on hatred of non-RC Christians, and relatively extreme misogyny are all very common among those calling for the wider use of the Tridentine Mass. Such a situation, I can happily say, I have NOT found among the Continuing Anglicans with whom I have visited and conversed.

The Holy Father takes some pains to say that his declaration is not a reversal of the Second Vatican Council. What he does not appear to understand is that, at the parish level, an abrogation of that Council, even a papal declaration that it is not to be viewed as an Ecumenical Council, is EXACTLY what the Tridentine Mass community desires. I have always viewed this acceptance of two different "denominations" of the Roman Rite - an innovation never encountered in all of church history - as the single great disappointment of JPII's pontificate. I can only greet this latest development with sadness.

Alice C. Linsley said...

Young Fogey, Rite I is the same as Rite II, only using traditional language. If you don't believe me, make an outline of both (leaving out what is optional). You'll see that they are the same. Now compare this outline to the pattern of the historic Anglican liturgy in every prayer book from 1549 to 1928. Rite I in the 1979 Prayer Book is not the historic Anglican liturgy. ECUSA didn't backtrack on anything.

Abu Daoud said...

Just as someone who travels a lot it will be nice to visit a major city and know I can attend mass in Latin. This is especially true if the predominant language is not one I know well.

My Latin is not excellent, but it's passible.

Anonymous said...

His Holiness has proven everyone wrong, hasn't he? I recall significant fear on behalf of many that, on the heals of such a unifying and caring Pope as John Paul, Benedict, a known Conservative (although I would choose the term Traditionalist), behaving even moderately would prove a stark contrast to his predecessor.

Instead he has shown only the purest love for the unity of Christ's Church, and, to facilitate further unity, genuine concern for minority groups, within and without his legal jurisdiction--the ultimate goal, of course, always being complete reunification of the whole of Christ's fractured Body with the See of Peter.

Rumors have been circling for some time of his efforts toward reunion with Anglo-Catholics. This Motu Proprio is a variation on the same theme; i.e., reconciliation--the very ministry Christ ordained his Apostles for in the first place (2 Cor 5:18).

The interesting and surprising thing about Benedict's scheme is its potential for the future. Vatican II rewrote the old Liturgy in an effort to renew it. Benedict has made it possible now to retain the old Liturgy yet allow it to be renewed at the same time. He has suggested the Novus Ordo propers be made available for use, as well as prayers for Saints who were not canonized in 1962. He has even permitted vernacular Readings to be used with the Latin Mass.

All this is indicative of his effort to remap Catholic Liturgy so that all will be allowed to express themselves to the fullest. He is not an Archaist; he has not revived the old Liturgy simply to make those that are happy. He has simply fulfilled his primary pastoral responsibility as Holy Father, which is to provide valid, beautiful, and worshipful Liturgy to all, so that it can truly be that which it is supposed to be: Liturgy--the work of the people, but work which can be accomplished faithfully and sincerely by all, universally.

In other words, Benedict has today made the Church more Catholic.

poetreader said...

Thank you, Roberto, for a beautifully worded statement on what I've certainly thought to be the heart of Benedict. A Traditionalist is not the same thing as a fossil. As a matter of fact, a fossil is not a traditionalist at all. Tradition is alive. Yes, its core remains inviolable, but its expression grows in an organic fashion like a living thing (radical surgery not wanted, thank you). I often attended Mass in the old days (50s and early 60s) and have attended indult Masses fairly recently. I was prepared to experience a rather archeological phenomenon, but instead, it was something using the same books and yet thoroughly expressive of a here-and-now liturgical spirituality. The old Missal was at home in the current world and it was NOT the 50s reincarnate. Oddly it is the NO as I find it most places that seems to have become seriously dated and out of touch with the wirld in which it is.


Young fogey emeritus said...

I know that Rite I is not the same as 1928; saying they are is as wrong and annoying as the legion of reporters and other commentators who say the only differences between the Tridentine Mass and the Novus Ordo are LATIN and which direction the priest faces! So I understand your frustration.

I meant the Episcopal Church backtracked as if Rome in 1970 had scheduled one eastward-facing, kneeling-Communion, traditional-style Novus Ordo Mass all in Latin every Sunday (as the early service?) in most of the parishes. Not the same as a Tridentine Mass but very similar.

BTW how many people really want 1928 as printed? Don't most American Anglo-Catholics really want the American Missal, 1928 fitted with Missal propers, peripheral prayers from the Missal and Tridentine ceremonial? (English ACs don't want the Prayer Book, full stop.) I'll always have affection for the BCP as it was my first rite, and I love the orthodoxy and Godwardness of the prayers, but as printed and with the minimum ceremonial it'd be too Protestant.

American Missal is essentially what most Antiochian Western Rite Orthodox (mostly former Anglicans) use - for Mass, straight BCP would be too Protestant for the Orthodox.

poetreader said...

On Sunday my parish uses BCP1928 as printed (except for a few trivial additions), even to using the exhortations and commandments as directed (unless we forget, which does happen). This is, as it stands, a thoroughly Catholic rite.

However, on weekdays things are more to my preference: The Anglican Missal in full, with Preparation (and omission of the later Confession) and Last Gospel. I don't consider it more Catholic, but I find it more satisfying.


ACC Member said...

I love the 1928 BCP AS IS. While the use of the Anglican Missal doesn't cause me to leave my parish, I'd prefer the 1928 to be used as it is without all the additions. (Most of which just make the service longer, and add nothing of considerable value IMHO). I believe in the catholicity of the 1928 BCP or I wouldn't be an Anglo-Catholic.

Brian McKee, nO/C.G.S.

Unknown said...

Roberto mentioned above that "Rumors have been circling for some time of [Pope Benedict's] efforts toward reunion with Anglo-Catholics. This Motu Proprio is a variation on the same theme"

Continuing Anglicans should be aware that the Holy Father is on record as stating publicly that the "invalidity of Anglican orders" is a matter of infallible Catholic teaching.

ACC Member said...

The Pope said more than that! The Pope said that "Orthodox churches were defecive and that other Christian denominations were not true churches." Of course he also reiterated that Anglicans, along with others he called Protestant, did NOT have valid Apostolic Succession.

Personally, I could care less what the Pope thinks. Henry VIII had the right opinion of the Pope and the whole papacy IMHO.

Brian McKee, nO/C.G.S.

ACC Member said...

I read on another site that these two papal annoucements (a) Tridentine Mass, (b) other Christian denominations not true churches, are just the first two of many upcoming announcements by Pope Benedict in coming weeks.

Brian McKee, nO/C.G.S.

Unknown said...

Brian, please understand that I wasn't trying to sound a triumphalistic note of some kind, nor was my post in reference to this recent document. Benedict XVI has for many years made his position on Anglican orders extremely clear. Rather, I was warning my Anglican friends not to have too rosy an understanding of Benedict's attitudes toward them. Roman triumphalism is a source of great sorrow to me.

ACC Member said...

I agree with you, Thomas. Those among the Continuing Anglicans who think that they have the favor and blessing of Rome are kidding themselves.

Rome has NEVER considered Anglican orders to be valid, either the Official Anglican Communion or the Continuum.

I find it rediculous that anyone who calls themselves "Anglican" even wants to be recognized by Rome. The whole point of Anglicanism being formed was to free itself of the Pope, and regain an English Catholic Church free of the Pope's rule.

Brian McKee, nO/C.G.S.

Anonymous said...

"The whole point of Anglicanism being formed was to free itself of the Pope, and regain an English Catholic Church free of the Pope's rule."

To what does "itself" refer in this sentence? It can't be "Anglicanism," since such a thing did not exist in either 1534 or 1559; and if it means "the Church of England," it is simply a flat-out untruth; and if anyone would care to peruse an essay I wrote for Pontifications a couple of years ago, and recently reposed as #s 24, 25, 26, 27, here:

he would see what I mean. It is probably too lengthy for this blog, but I challenge and defy anyone to rebut my "thesis" without falling into mere Protestantism or gross Erastianism.

poetreader said...

Yes, Brian, but so long as we are not in communion with our Christian brethren in the RCC, we are seriously and reprehensibly in disobedience to Our Lord's concern that 'they all may be one'. Yes, the RCC itself is also in disobedience on this matter, but I can't change them from the outside.

I do not find it 'ridiculous' so much as blasphemous for any Christian not to want recognition from Rome. Though it is legitimate to search for ways in which that recognition may be compatible with whar we see as truth.

Perhaps "an English Catholic Church free of the Pope's rule" was a valid objective, but an English Church out of communion with Catholics elsewhere has always been a tragedy. Whether we CAN remedy that or not may be a valid question. Not to desire to remedy it, however, is serious sin.


ACC Member said...

The Church of England was independent of the rule of Rome until 1066 when William The Conqueror forced its rule upon the English Church.

The Roman Catholic Church is NOT the undivided, primitive catholic church of the first 1,000 years.

It is to the faith of the undivided, primitive catholic church founded by Christ and the Apostles to which we should look. It is that primitive, undivided catholic faith to which the Anglican Church returned, without the innovations of Rome.

I find it strange that the Pope should question our legitimacy.

After all the Roman Catholic Church wasn't founded until after 1,000 years of undivided, primitive catholic Christianity.

Brian McKee, nO/C.G.S.

ACC Member said...


To have communion with Rome is a laudable goal, and something that should happen.

To submit to them and be "recognized" by them is rediculous. Rome has no claim to be the only legitimate church. I firmly believe the English catholic church is closer to the true undivided, primitive catholic faith than is the Roman Catholic Church.

Should Rome wish to approach us as equals, which we are, them we should graciously approach them as equals to achieve communion.

But to submit to them, begging for recognition - there is not reason to do so. We are every bit as legitimate as they are. If I did not believe this, I would have joined the Roman Catholic Church.

Brian McKee, nO/C.G.S.

poetreader said...

...but they are every bit as legitimate as we are. It matters what they think of us and what we think of them. It's time to stop the absolutely stupid arguments over who came first and who messed up worse, and whichj is closer to some ultimately unprovable image of what the apostolic church was like. I've been told by a nonchristian friend that we Christians are acting like a bunch of kids brawling in the schoolyard -- and we are. How can we expect him and others to see the glorious truths we have been given.

Are there misunderstandings and perhaps incompatible assumptions? Sure there are. Let's tackle them with all the effort we have in us, and then beg Our Father for more;.

"Should Rome wish to approach us as equals, which we are, them we should graciously approach them as equals to achieve communion," you ask.

Should we approach them as equals and keep on acting that wat, regardless of what they think? Of course we should. Unless we;ve decided to let the gates of Hell prevail after all.


poetreader said...

BTW, Brian, wasn't this thread about the pope's liturgical decision? I thought so. How did we manage to get sidetracked into a diatribe against Rome as such. We have at least one other thread where these issues are being discussed, including by you. I think it would be better to return this to that other place.


ACC Member said...

I agree. We'll continue it over there.

Brian McKee, nO/C.G.S.