Friday, December 15, 2006

Is the Universal Indult Imminent?

It has been rumored for some time that His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, has had in the works a motu proprio granting a universal indult which would allow priests to celebrate mass in Latin according to the missal of 1962. Depending on who you listen to, this papal fiat is either expected any time soon, or will never be granted. On the side of any time soon, Wednesday, 12 December, Cardinal Medina Estevez, who serves on the Eccelsia Dei commission, which is charged with healing the schism between the Church and the so-called Lefebvrists, known more formally as the Priestly Society of St. Pius X (SSPX), was quoted on the Italian News agency ANSA discussing when the indult can be expected. I owe this translation to a certain "tired Parish Priest of Adur Valley in Sussex," England:

"Vatican City, 12 December. 'The publication of the Pope's Motu Proprio which will liberalize the celebration of Mass in Latin according to the Missal of Saint Pius V is near.' Thus affirmed Cardinal Jorge Arturo Medina Estevez, member of the Commission Ecclesia Dei which met this morning to discuss the liberalization of the Latin Mass. 'We calmly studied the document', the Cardinal said,. 'We discussed it for more than 4 hours, and made certain corrections to the text of the Motu Proprio' The next move is up to Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos (president of the Commission), who will present the text to Benedict XVI. Perhaps, added Medina, there will be another meeting of the Commission Ecclesia Dei. Another member of the body, Cardinal Jean Pierre Ricard of Lyons [sic; he's from Bordeaux and has strong opinions re the old rite], did not want to make any comment, underlining that he 'was bound by the pontifical secret'."

According to this same tired Parish Priest and his source, "Fr Zuhlsdorf", the story was withdrawn by ANSA not long after it was posted. So, it seems that there is some hesitation, given the expressed opposition of the world's bishops, especially the French bishops in whose country SSPX primarily exists, who now must give their permission for the Latin Rite to be celebrated according the missal of 1962 within their dioceses, to a universal indult. Another explanation is that, given the Holy Father's mode of governance, he wants no prelude to the announcement of what he does of his own accord, which is what motu proprio means. The granting of the universal indult would be part two of my proposed three part Benedictine reform of the reform. The first reform was accomplished by ordering that all future translations of the Missale Romanae will correctly translate pro multis as for many, instead of the current and incorrect for all. The final reform would be to turn the priest back away from the congregation.

It is a sign about how strongly Pope Benedict XVI feels about the need to reform the liturgy by aligning it more closely with the ancient ritus Romanus that he is seriously considering granting a universal indult over the opposition of so many bishops, given that he wants to govern the Church in a more collegial manner.


  1. Deacon Dodge,

    Jim Snow told me about your blog so I thought I would stop by.

    If such an indult came about (and I pray for it daily) do you think a Latin Mass a possibility at the Cathedral? Perhaps with the help of our new bishop?

    We are lucky to have the best liturgy in the diocese but I do think the priest is facing the wrong way. It makes me sad everytime I look at all spaces where altars once stood and are now long gone.

  2. The big issue with the ritus Romanus is finding priests with enough ability in Latin as well as familiarity with the 1962 Missal and its rubrics. I do think celebrating Mass according to the missal of Pius V would be a possibility at the Cathedral.

    I suppose it would be easy enough to use to the existing altar, but a better solution would be to use either the Blessed Mary or St. Joseph altars, located in the front of the East and West transcepts. The problem with the main altar is that the priest would be facing the screen and the chairs, including the cathedra.

    I imagine if the indult is granted, we would have priests in the diocese able and willing to celebrate Mass according to the 1962 missal, whether such masses would take place in our lovely Madeleine would depend, to a very large degree, on who our next bishop is and what his attitude is toward doing this. I have to say, most bishops vehemently oppose the universal indult. That is why the motu proprio, in my opinion, has not been issued.

    So, if and when it is granted, we'll see.

  3. I know there are groups that have educational packets with dvds on how to say the 1962 Mass.

    Also, take a closer look, Our Lady's and St. Joseph's altars are gone too. They removed five altars in the changes. (none of this authorized or encouraged by Vatican II, no matter what anybody says)

    Like you say, we'll just have to wait and see.

  4. The altars are still there in the chapels and in the transcepts. The old altars are very narrow and face the wall. With the exception of the two altars in the transcepts(i.e., Guadalupé and Good Shepherd) all the altars are marble. Also, the main altar still exists against the front of the apse.