Rome: What is the point of "Ecclesia Dei" commission?

Source: FSSPX News


“On March 13th, I was in Rome where I had the opportunity to make a tour through the Vatican Dicasteries. You surely will be interested in learning what I heard there. So, here is my report:

At first, I visited Msgr Perl in the Ecclesia Dei Commission. He told me - and cardinal Castrillon Hoyos afterwards repeated it - that the Holy See authorities have dropped any plan to create a proper jurisdiction for faithful who prefer the Ancient Rite (i.e. Apostolic Administration or something similar). According to Msgr Perl, these Officials are afraid of protests from the local bishops and bishops’ conferences. He also said that the Holy See was quite annoyed by Bishop Fellay’s press conference on February 2nd and the document published on ecumenism at that occasion by the SSPX. (…)

“Then, I met His Eminence the Cardinal President of the Ecclesia Dei Commission in the Congregation for the Clergy. (…) Dr. Siebenbürger was accompanied by a delegation of three Italian members of Una Voce (editor’s note). The Cardinal received us quite friendly and gave us a whole hour of his time. He made an emphasis that he loves the Ancient Rite which he had celebrated himself between his ordination in 1952 and 1965.

The Cardinal repeated that they dropped any idea to give us a proper jurisdiction. He mentioned that such a proper jurisdiction had only been granted to the Fraternity of St John Vianney at Campos, as the founder of that Fraternity, Bishop de Castro Mayer, had gone much farer than Archbishop Lefebvre. The Cardinal underlined that Archbishop Lefebvre had never founded a proper structure of his fraternity that could be considered as a concrete act of schism. In contrary, Bishop de Castro Mayer had founded a counter-diocese which had been a clear schism. In order to solve this schism, the proper jurisdiction had been granted to the Fraternity and to his faithful at Campos.

The Cardinal rejected the opinion to regard the Ancient Rite to be a rite for its own like f. e. the Byzantinian or the Armenian Rite. “There is only one Roman Rite”, underlined the Cardinal verbally, “and this Roman Rite has different forms”. So, according to him, the Ancient Rite is not a rite in its own right, but the Ancient Rite and the Novus Ordo are two forms of one and the same rite. In the same time, the Cardinal said that the Holy See is still looking for a solution for the easier application of the indult without granting us a proper jurisdiction, keeping in mind the above mentioned opinion.

“With regard to our Irish friends: I mentioned what had happened at St Peter’s Basilica to Fr Nevin and announced the Cardinal that he would get a letter from Fr Nevin on this issue. (This priest, duly mandated by his bishop to celebrate the Traditional Mass in his diocese, saw himself refused authorization to celebrate it in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, editor’s note).

“The Cardinal took this as an occasion to tell the reason why there are such enormous restrictions for the celebration of the Ancient Rite at St Peter’s Basilica: St Peter’s Basilica is the very heart of the Church, he explained to us, and for that, there shall only one rite be celebrated in this Basilica, and this is the rite that is celebrated everywhere in the Universal Church. And that is the Novus Ordo. (These words seem to be somehow a self-contradiction to the Cardinal’s own words according to which both, the Novus Ordo and the Ancient Rite, were not two different rites, but one and the same rite. And besides, it is possible to remind that in 1992, the Holy Father has himself celebrated a Mass at St Peter’s at the Feast of the Ascension of Our Lord in the Mozarabian Rite.)

When I asked the Cardinal that every priest celebrating in Latin should have the free choice between the Missal of 1962 and the Missal of 1970, the Cardinal just spoke something about the authority of the local bishops.

Our comment: As Dr. Siebenbürger pertinently noted, Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos does not appear very coherent when he affirms that the old rite and the new rite are two forms of one single rite, and then immediately declares that only one rite may be celebrated in St. Peter’s Basilica “and that is the Novus Ordo”. So then, the two rites are different and as such, they are treated differently: the one is “established” in Rome, and the other is not.

When the president of Una Voce specifically asks the Cardinal for the freedom for all priests to celebrate the Mass of their choice, the reply is an embarrassed one: it is a matter for the local bishop. And this is a foregone conclusion, since even Mgr. Perl admitted that the Roman authorities “are afraid of protests from local bishops and the bishops conferences”. The ultimate question is this: How does the Ecclesia Dei commission envisage a practical solution “for an easier application of the indult, without, however, granting a proper jurisdiction”? That is where the tragedy lies, with absolutely no measures taken. To the real evils of the Church, all they propose are words, an empty rhetoric.

Furthermore, the members of the Society of Saint Jean-Marie Vianney in Campos will learn with interest, that a proper jurisdiction has been granted to them, solely because they were schismatic. This status, paradoxically advantageous, has been refused to the Society of Saint Pius X – with good reason, since the superior general, Bishop Fellay, reminded the Roman journalists on February 2: “We do not constitute a parallel hierarchy, we are only auxiliary bishops”. We are grateful however, to Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos for clearly refuting the accusation of schism made against the Society of Saint Pius X . This fact deserves to be made known.

In France, it is well known, that when the government does not want to tackle a too thorny problem, it creates a commission. Such appears to be the curious vocation of the Ecclesia Dei commission.