Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos’ declarations concerning the Motu Proprio

Source: FSSPX News


On May 16, during an address before the South American Bishops – gathered for their 5th General Assembly in Aparecida (Brazil) - Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos, president of the Ecclesia Dei Commission, declared that the Pope wished the Commission to become “an organ of the Holy See with the proper and distinct end of preserving and maintaining the worth of the Traditional Latin Liturgy.” Concerning the Motu Proprio which would liberalize the Tridentine Mass, the Columbian cardinal did not give any precision about its contents, nor about the date of its release. “The publication of the Motu Proprio specifying this authorization (of the celebration of the Traditional Mass – Ed.) will take place,” stated Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Secretary of State of the Holy See to the Figaro Magazine, on March 31, and he emphasized that the pope himself would explain “his motives and the framework for his decision.”

According to information collected by I.Media, and taken up by CIPA, Benedict XVI will still have a round of consultations before the release of the document.

We give here the most significant excerpts of Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos’ declaration:

“The Holy Father, who was for some years a member of this Commission, wishes it to become an organ of the Holy See with the proper and distinct end of preserving and maintaining the worth of the Traditional Latin Liturgy. Yet it must be said with all clarity that it is not a turning back, a return to the time before the 1970 reform. It is, instead, a generous offer of the Vicar of Christ who, as an expression of his pastoral will, wishes to put at the disposal of the whole Church all the treasures of the Latin Liturgy which for centuries has nourished the spiritual life of so many generations of Catholic faithful. The Holy Father wishes to preserve the immense spiritual, cultural, and esthetic treasures linked to the Ancient Liturgy. The retrieval of this wealth is linked to the no less precious one of the current Liturgy of the Church.

For these reasons, the Holy Father has the intention of extending to the entire Latin Church the possibility of celebrating Holy Mass and the Sacraments according to the liturgical books promulgated by Blessed John XXIII in 1962. There is today a new and renewed interest for this liturgy, which has never been abolished and which, as we have said, is considered a treasure, and also for this reason the Holy Father believes that the time has come to ease, as the first commission of cardinals in 1986 had wished to do, the access to this liturgy, making it an extraordinary form of the one Roman Rite. (…) The interest of the young (for the traditional liturgy – Ed.) curiously increases in France, the United States, Brazil, Italy, Scandinavia, Australia, and China.


Press Review

In the French daily Présent of May 24, Jean Madiran commented on the declaration of the Colombian cardinal, who admitted that a commission of cardinals had acknowledged as long ago as 1986, that the Tridentine Mass had not been abolished:

“Very casually, as if the fact was obvious, Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos spoke about easing access to the Traditional Mass ‘as the first cardinals’ commission has requested in 1986’. (…)

“Let us read carefully. There was then a ‘first’ commission, said the Cardinal, the current president of the ‘Ecclesia Dei Commission’. Consequently, the present one is the second Commission assigned to the Traditional Mass.

“‘As was requested’ by the first Commission in 1986. But we heard nothing. We did not even know the existence of such a Pontifical Commission. It had been instituted by John Paul II; it had worked and reached its conclusion in the utmost secrecy. The secret remained absolutely inviolate for nine years. The first disclosure of its existence was made discreetly by Cardinal Stickler, during a private conference in Fort Lee, New Jersey.* For five years, this conference remained unknown in Europe. Even today, twelve years after it was given, very little is known about it. Another source, not much better known, is a letter from Eric de Saventhen published by La Nef (French magazine of the Ecclesia Dei movement – Ed.) in 1998.

“In 1986, the pope instituted a Commission made up of 8 (Saventhen) or 9 (Stickler) Cardinals, to clarify the situation of the Traditional Mass and its followers. The answer was that it had never been [validly] forbidden (and furthermore, it could not have been) and that its celebration could be eased by a certain number of adequate measures. So this is what we knew, up to this month of May 2007 but which almost all of the parishes continued to ignore or did not want to know. For the first time, an official voice, and what a voice, that of the very Cardinal who is presiding over the present Commission, publicly confirms the existence of the ‘first’ Commission, that of 1986, and states its conclusions.”


* This is what Cardinal Stickler said during the conference: “Pope John Paul asked a Commission of nine Cardinals in 1986, these two questions. Firstly, did Pope Paul VI or any other competent authority legally forbid the widespread celebration of the Tridentine Mass (…)?” and “Can any bishop forbid any priest from celebrating a Tridentine Mass again?” Cardinal Stickler revealed that the answer given, in 1986, by eight out of nine cardinals was “No, the Mass of St. Pius V has never been suppressed.” And the cardinal added the following comment: “That answer the Pope accepted, I think; but again, when some bishops’ conferences became aware of the danger of this permission, they came to the Pope and said: “This absolutely should not be allowed because it will be the occasion, even the cause, of controversy among the faithful.” And informed of this argument, I think, the Pope abstained from signing the permission.”

Concerning the second question, the nine cardinals unanimously agreed that no bishop may forbid a Catholic priest from saying the Tridentine Mass, because there is no official prohibition. (Ed.)


On May 25, Le Figaro, in an article about the “Pentecost pilgrims,” from the pen of Sophie de Ravinel, gave the following statement, as yet to be confirmed: “The text of several pages, with an explanatory letter attached for the bishops, would be released before the end of May. Benedict XVI would give to the parish priests the sole responsibility of accepting or not, the Tridentine Mass in their parishes, and it would make no reference to the Lefebvrites.”


Associated Press, on May 26, referred to the resistance the pope was meeting with, both inside and outside of the Church:

“Is this a step backwards? Even though the celebration of Mass in the vernacular, and not in Latin, was one of the most radical reforms of Vatican II, Pope Benedict XVI now seems ready to authorize a return to the Mass in the Tridentine rite which dates back to the 16th century.

“If he does so, he will be disregarding the objections of some cardinals, bishops and members of the Jewish community, whose complaints in particular, concern the words used in the Tridentine rite, and also the rejection it would constitute regarding the progress of Vatican II, which took place between 1962 and 1965 and symbolized the opening of the Church to the modern world. (…)

“During the last few decades, priests could celebrate Mass in the Tridentine rite, only with their bishop’s permission. The officials in the Church now anxiously await Benedict XVI’s decision to see the extent to which this rule will be relaxed. (…)

“Benedict XVI wishes to reconcile the Catholic Church with this movement (the Society of Saint Pius X – Ed.), which requested that the conditions for the celebration of the Traditional Mass be eased as a precondition to a possible normalization of relations.

“But the bishops in France, where the followers of Archbishop Lefebvre remain numerous, publicly opposed any liberalization of this rite, stating that its wider use might cause divisions within the Church, and open the door to the rejection of other teachings of the Second Vatican Council.

“‘Such a decision may jeopardize the unity among the priests and faithful,’ stressed a communiqué released at the end of last year by the bishops of Strasbourg, Metz and Besançon.

“And there was still more criticism: by Rabbi David Rosen, in charge of interreligious relations in the American Jewish Committee. In March, he wrote to several cardinals to express his concern about a prayer for the ‘infidels’ during the Mass of the Tridentine rite, as well as about a prayer used during Holy Week which contained references to the ‘perfidious’ or the infidels, namely, the Jews.

“Cardinal Walter Kasper, in charge of the relations between the Vatican and the Jews, nevertheless assured him that the Tridentine Missal used nowadays did not contain any reference to the ‘perfidious’ Jews.” (Sources CIPA/I.Media/rorate-caeli blogspot/Présent/Figaro/AP)