Officially, according to a declaration at a press conference on October 12, given by cardinal Francis Arinze, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, the question of the Mass of St. Pius V was not mentioned during the Synod. However, three days after the conference, cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy and president of the Ecclesia Dei Commission, suggested to the assembly of Fathers, that the final declaration of the Synod contain a gesture of overture in the direction of Catholics attached to the Old Mass, with the hope that the Traditional rite would be recognized as one of the diverse rites approved by the Church. The Colombian cardinal did not speak specifically of liberalization of the Old Missal, but his words could be understood in that sense.
On October 25, cardinal Godfried Daneels, archbishop of Malines-Brussels, in reply to a journalist with La Croix, who asked him if the liturgy which resulted from Vatican II could be questioned, said : “This liturgy is considered as established, and no longer as a novelty. We may amend it, but it is impossible to turn back the clock”.
On October 22, Vatican expert Andrea Tornielli of the Italian daily Il Giornale revealed the existence of a secret document signed by cardinal Arinze and Mgr. Domenico Sorrentino, secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship, which stated that freeing the Tridentine Mass would be impossible, because it had been abolished. But cardinal Castrillon Hoyos, in the September issue of 30 Giorni declared : “The Mass of St. Pius V has never been abolished”. In so doing, he did no more than repeat the conclusion of the nine cardinals convened by John Paul II in 1986, to examine the legal status of the Traditional Mass. In 1995, cardinal Alfons Stickler let it be known that the members of this Commission had acknowleged, by a majority of eight to one, that Paul VI, by the simple act of promulgating the Novus Ordo Missae, had never legally suppressed the Tridentine Mass. And this Commission also unanimously acknowledged, that all priests remain free to use the Ancient Missal. The nine prelates, convened by John Paul II were the cardinals Stickler, Mayer, Oddi, Casaroli, Gantin, Innocenti, Palazzini, Tomko and … Ratzinger.
So, who is right ? Arinze? Castrillon Hoyos? Ratzinger? We are awaiting an answer from Benedict XVI.
On this important question Mgr. Fellay, in a conference given in Brussels on June 13 (see Christendom n° 1 ) had this to say : “Rome knows, - by Rome I mean the Curia, John Paul II, and now Benedict XVI - ; they know that the Tridentine Mass has never been forbidden and cannot be forbidden, that there is no legal or theological argument which could permit the prohibition of this Mass. They know it and therefore one day this injustice to the Church and to the Old Mass, will disappear”. – In a future edition, we will devote a dossier to this question.