Cardinal Bertone announces release of motu proprio on the Tridentine Mass without giving any date

Source: FSSPX News



Benedict XVI has just published an Apostolic Exhortation, Sacramentum Caritatis (The Sacrament of Love), devoted to the Eucharist. This text stresses the sacred dimension of Catholic liturgy…

The pope has often explained that the real objective of the reform desired by Vatican II, was the placing of God once again at the center of the liturgy and enabling the Christian people to understand the meaning of the great rites. Vatican II wished to preserve the intrinsic value of the liturgy, while enabling the faithful to take part in the celebration of the holy sacrifice. Consequently, the Holy Father is asking all the bishops, priests and faithful for a true application of the texts of the Council, for instance the use of Latin and of Gregorian chant, which the reform of Paul VI never proscribed, but on the contrary wanted to remain in their rightful and elevated place.


Why did Cardinal Ratzinger, and now Pope Benedict XVI, so often condemn interpretations of the liturgy which were deemed to be abusive?

The application of the great orientations of the Council unfortunately may have met with more or less erroneous translations, leading to notable impoverishments. The fruits of the conciliar liturgical reform nevertheless remain considerable. It is true that we must fight against abuses, because a part of the Christian people may have distanced itself from the Church because of these errors. The errors are not in the texts of the Council, but in the behavior of those who claimed to interpret the liturgical reform of Vatican II according to their own ideas.


Is a decree granting a wider possibility of celebrating the Mass in Latin according to the rite in use prior to Vatican II (the so called Mass of Saint Pius V) still planned?

The value of the conciliar reform is intact. But as much so as not to lose the great liturgical patrimony bequeathed by Saint Pius V, as to grant the wish of the faithful who want to attend Masses according to this rite, such as it is in the missal published in 1962 by Pope John XXIII with its proper calendar, there is no good reason not to give to priests all over the world the right to celebrate in this way. The authorization of the Sovereign pontiff would, of course, leave the rite of Paul VI its full validity. The publication of the motu proprio specifying this authorization will take place, but the pope himself will explain his reasons and the framework of his decision. The sovereign pontiff will give in person his view on the use of the old Missal to the Christian people at large, and more particularly to the bishops.


In Western Europe, the Church is experiencing a severe crisis of priestly and religious vocations. How can this be checked?

Contrary to the commonly received ideas, we must remind you here that there have always been periods of crisis of vocations, and then times of improvement. If the present crisis goes back to 1965 and the subsequent years, its magnitude was very different from one country to the next. Today, we can see obvious signs of a renewal. In Italy, several dioceses are experiencing a definite increase of vocations. Furthermore, I have the feeling that new vocations are stronger and more fully matured than before.


Is not one of the reasons for the decrease in the number of ordinations to be found in the lack of attractiveness, and maybe of soundness, of the intellectual and spiritual formation of the future priests in the diocesan seminaries, especially in France?

Indeed, the formation of future priests is fundamental. The study course for seminarians must include an excellent comprehension of the priestly virtues, especially celibacy, prayer, and unconditional consecration to Christ. Seminary rectors have the obligation to reflect upon the importance of forming them to an authentic prayer life. On the other hand, vocations must be constantly promoted. In this domain, there has been a certain sloppiness which is totally unacceptable, not to say surprising. In my former diocese of Genoa, I remember some young men who renounced brilliant careers in order to enter the seminary with a mind to help the Church and the pope to change the world. These young men are shining examples, and their opening up at the service of the Church must be given as an example.


Why does Benedict XVI give such an important place to the fight against relativism?

To denounce the damage done by relativism is an historical challenge for the Church. For a society, which considers that nothing is really important and that everything is just the same, no longer wants to acknowledge an absolute truth, nor even share universal values. The pope wants to recall the importance of the natural law, upon which the norms of the international community are based. The Nuremberg trial could not have taken place without the foundation of a natural morality recognized by all, and which precedes all other laws. In his Epistle to the Romans, Saint Paul writes that this morality is inscribed in the heart of man. We must combat relativism by trying to explain the true link which exists between faith and reason: faith and reason are not opposed.


Does the introduction of a new religion on European soil, namely Islam, represent another new challenge for the Church?

Multiculturalism is nowadays a fact in a certain number of European countries, and especially in France. The Church notes this down and naturally means to come up to the situation. The Catholic and Christian presence in Europe presupposes a simple affirmation of our identity. Thus we come back to the pressing need for catechesis and education, in particular moral education. The Christian roots of Europe are above all spiritual and moral landmarks. Once we know what we are we can confront and dialogue with other cultures and other visions of man. In his Regensburg address, the Holy Father specified that a wholesome confrontation with Islam is not only a necessity de facto, but a demand in order to form a notion of the principles which can unite us, as well as our differences. Beyond the vain polemics which followed this address, many Islamic thinkers understood the pope’s invitation in a positive way to confront our two systems. (…)


Interview by Nicolas Diat and Jean Sévillia, published in the Figaro Magazine of March 31, 2007 and posted on the on-line edition of April 1, 2007