Cardinal Joseph Zen, Bishop Emeritus of Hong Kong, called the possible restrictions on the celebration of Mass in the Tridentine rite “disturbing news.”
As a reminder, a source from the Congregation for Divine Worship told the Catholic News Agency (CAN) in early June that the congregation might soon issue a document amending some of the provisions of the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum.
Rumors of this sort spread as early as late May after Pope Francis held a closed-door, question-and-answer meeting with members of the Italian Bishops’ Conference gathered in Rome for their annual plenary assembly.
According to two bishops who attended the conference, when addressing the bishops, Francis hinted at new regulations on celebrating Mass in the “extraordinary form,” but he did not give details.
The sources finally told CNA that the Pope had announced that a third version of the document is currently under review.
What is the harm in making the extraordinary form of the Roman rite accessible to all?
This is the title chosen by Cardinal Zen for the brief he posted on his blog “oldyosef.” A question that indeed seems very relevant, but that some do not even want to hear.
The high prelate begins by defending himself from being a factious and recalls that he had “worked actively, as a priest and as a bishop, for the liturgical reform after Vatican II, also trying to curb the excesses and abuses, which unfortunately have not been lacking in my diocese.”
“But,” he continues, “I cannot deny, in my experience in Hong Kong, the much good that has come from the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum and from the celebration of the Tridentine Mass. There is a faithful group here that for decades has participated in this form that comes to us from the liturgical riches of our Tradition.”
He then praises the fruits of the Tridentine Mass: “In the community that participates in the extraordinary form in Hong Kong, many young people have passed who, through this Mass, have rediscovered the meaning of adoration and reverence we owe to God, our Creator.”
What follows is further proof of the universality of the traditional Mass. It is also a beautiful testimony of its value in generating vocations.
“I have worked for liturgical reform, as I have said, but I cannot forget the Mass of my childhood. I cannot forget when, as a child in Shanghai, my father, a devout Catholic, took me to Mass every day… I felt such reverence, I was so fascinated (and I still am!) by the beauty of Gregorian chant, that I think that experience nourished my vocation to the priesthood, as it did for so many others.”
“I remember the many Chinese faithful (and I don't think all of them knew Latin…) participating in these liturgical ceremonies with great enthusiasm, just as I can now witness in the community that participates in the Tridentine Mass in Hong Kong.”
Finally, the conclusion is very clear: “The Tridentine Mass is not divisive; on the contrary, it unites us to our brothers and sisters of all ages, to the saints and martyrs of every time, to those who fought for their faith and who have found in it inexhaustible spiritual nourishment.”