Reactions and comments of bishops around  the world

Source: FSSPX News


At the Vatican, according to a dispatch of the AFP on July 7, Father Federico Lombardi declared: “Benedict XVI does not intend to accomplish any revolution concerning today’s liturgy as renewed by the Second Vatican Council, which will continue to be followed by the vast majority of the faithful.” “He is not imposing a turning back, he does not want any weakening of the Council’s authority nor of the bishops’ authority and responsibility,” assured the spokesman of the Vatican. However he underlined that the pope’s decision holds “an important message” for those who feel at ease with the present way of celebrating Mass: “the liturgy must be celebrated carefully and with respect because through it we communicate with God’s mystery.” Indeed, in the letter that accompanied the Motu Proprio, Benedict XVI deplored “deformations of the liturgy which were hard to bear” to which modern liturgy gave rise to the detriment of the “sacred” character of the Mass.

 In France, in an interview with La Croix, on July 7, Cardinal Jean-Pierre Ricard also sought to reassure the priests and faithful of the Novus Ordo Mass. To Michel Kubler, who asked whether there was now a danger of bi-ritualism, he declared: “Benedict XVI answered that these two forms are not competing against each another (even if, ideologically, this sometimes takes on the appearance of a manifesto). According to him, it only pertains to a minority, and he does not foresee that the use of the old Missal will become widespread.

“I think so too. I feel like telling Catholics, and especially priests: do not worry! Nothing has been changed in your manner of celebrating. The Missal of 1970, born from the Council, remains the norm. Let us simply accept that some may also practice according to another form which was in force for centuries.

“There could nevertheless be a danger if in the parishes which accept the principle, the request to celebrate according to the old Missal was accompanied by a whole special mode of life in the Church, apart from the whole community for catechesis, youth groups, Christian formation, and so on. Then I would fear that we would be again creating chapels which would run the risk of closing upon themselves.” – The archbishop of Bordeaux thus points out that the authorization of the traditional Mass must not go as far as the organization of a parish life with its catechism classes, its youth groups…, under pain of dividing the faithful. The archbishop of Paris speaks in like manner.

 Indeed, Bishop André Vingt-Trois, in a letter dated July 6 to the priests of the archdiocese of Paris, denied the possibility of personal parishes, which were nevertheless foreseen by the Motu Proprio, and thus summed up the Roman document: “There is not a general measure taken to question the “ordinary form” of the parish liturgy. – We are invited to still improve the liturgical quality of our celebrations including, when it is pastorally possible, Latin parts from the Ordinary of the Mass. – The priests who adhere to the old usage must acknowledge “the value and holiness” of the Mass according to the Paul VI Missal in order to be allowed to celebrate according to the 1962 Missal. (…) I will not open personal parishes in the diocese of Paris, because I think that the faithful who ask for the celebration according to the Missal of 1962 are not parishioners ‘apart’.”

 Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, archbishop of Lyons, declared to the daily Le Monde of July 7 that “the dangers of tension between the faithful were real.” “If difficulties arise, it is to be feared that priests leave their functions,” Bishop Jean Louis Papin, of Metz, affirmed to the ecumenical press agency ENI.

 In Austria, Archbishop Christoph Schönborn, of Vienna, president of the Bishops’ Conference, Archbishop Alois Kothgasser, of Salzburg, as well as the bishop of Graz, Egon Kapellari, pointed out – in a declaration to Kathpress agency, on July 7 – that the Motu Proprio constituted “a contribution to overcome the cleavage in the Church and draw more deeply from the sources of Christ’s mystery.” The document is also “an invitation to a wider use of Latin as the mother tongue of the Roman liturgy,” the declaration added.

 In Canada, in Le Droit of July 8, the Archbishop of Ottawa, Terrence Prendergast, welcomed the letter of Pope Benedict XVI: “The pope’s gesture confirms both the teachings of the Second Vatican Council on the liturgy, and at the same time it tries to foster the return to an active life in the Church of persons drawn to the Mass as it was celebrated before 1970, or in Latin. Among these persons are found older Catholics who have been feeling alienated from the Church ever since the changes in the manner of celebrating Mass, as well as young Catholics looking for a worship which bears witness to God’s transcendence.”