Announcement of a Motu Proprio concerning the Congregation for Divine Worship

Source: FSSPX News

On February 9, while the daily Italian press was announcing a Motu Proprio that would apply a “turn of the screw” to liturgical abuses, Fr. Federico Lombardi, spokesman for the Holy See, informed the public that the purpose of this document would be to transfer certain competencies of the Congregation for Divine Worship to the Tribunal of the Rota, and not to promote a restrictive quality control.

As the Roman news agency I.Media had indicated in May 2010, the Motu Proprio now being prepared aims to transfer responsibilities concerning marriage dispensations—in the case of unions that have been celebrated but not consummated—from one dicastery of the Roman Curia to another.  For now, it is the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments which, through a special commission of about sixty members, is in charge of granting these dispensations which are reserved to the pope.  Although these dispensations are not judicial in nature, they will soon be within the province of the Tribunal of the Roman Rota.

Fr. Lombardi furthermore explained that there were “no grounds or reasons” to see in this Motu Proprio “an intention to promote a ‘restrictive’ control by the congregation over promoting the liturgical renewal desired by the Second Vatican Council.”  “This does not mean that the police are on the way,” nor that this manifests the choice of a “new policy” in the matter, he added, thus contradicting remarks by Vaticanist Adrea Tornielli in Il Giornale, who says that this Motu Proprio would “promote a liturgy that is more faithful to the original intentions of the Second Vatican Council,” “with less room for arbitrary changes, so as to foster the return of a greater sacredness”.

Last December, Cardinal Antonio Cañizarez Llovera, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, had stated that Benedict XVI wishes “to give rise to a new, clear and vigorous liturgical movement throughout the Church,” to make up for the “haste” with which the liturgical reform was implemented after Vatican II.  He did not hesitate to speak then about the crisis in liturgical matters, deploring in particular “the loss of the sense of the sacred”.  This is perhaps what made some Vatican-watchers think that the Motu Proprio now being prepared would be about a return to stricter discipline.  But they thought wrong, according to comments by members of the Congregation for Divine Worship, who see in the future papal document only a refocusing of their competencies on exclusively liturgical questions.  (Sources : Imedia/VIS/Apic/Il Giornale/La Stampa – DICI no. 230 dated February 19, 2011)