I don’t often share Rock’s effusiveness when it comes to the prelates of the Church. I can think of one pastor for whom I worked that I would put a head above the rest. I’ve not known many bishops; perhaps one of mine is also a head above the others. Rock seems to have accurately charactierized this motu proprio as a highly skilled and sensitive compromise. It’s an admirable document on that score, thanks probably to the pope. My reading of it finds little to which to object and a few notable sections.
It’s interesting to have a document so broadly backed up with a letter, then with an ample introduction text nearly as long as the twelve articles themselves. From the introductory letter, wisdom we rarely see from a Catholic prelate:
Looking back over the past, to the divisions which in the course of the centuries have rent the Body of Christ, one continually has the impression that, at critical moments when divisions were coming about, not enough was done by the Church’s leaders to maintain or regain reconciliation and unity. One has the impression that omissions on the part of the Church have had their share of blame for the fact that these divisions were able to harden.
Reconciliation has far too few proponents, advocates, and examples in the Church. We need all the ones we can get, especially if there is a prayer for the sacramental form of it to take root, as some suggest we need.
More in the introductory letter:
… the two Forms of the usage of the Roman Rite can be mutually enriching: new Saints and some of the new Prefaces can and should be inserted in the old Missal. The “Ecclesia Dei” Commission, in contact with various bodies devoted to the usus antiquior, will study the practical possibilities in this regard.
So the Ecclesia Dei commission will be responsible for the “organic growth” of the 1962 Missal. Saints missing since then to be added, plus some new prefaces, too. That seems reasonable.
Furthermore, I invite you, dear Brothers, to send to the Holy See an account of your experiences, three years after this Motu Proprio has taken effect. If truly serious difficulties come to light, ways to remedy them can be sought.
This was clearly what the “leakers” considered a three-year clause. Given the prescriptions of the twelve articles, it seems reasonable to assume that if problems arise, three years is enough time to work them out on a local level before submitting them to Rome as part of the evaluation. I’d hope that the implementation of the vernacular translations of the Roman Missal have similar clauses.
Article 6 in the mp surprised me, but I think it’s a healthy development:
In Masses celebrated in the presence of the people in accordance with the Missal of Bl. John XXIII, the readings may be given in the vernacular, using editions recognised by the Apostolic See.
Liam was all over the posting of Summorum Pontificum on a few web pages. I know he’ll likely comment on it. Others are free to comment as well. It would be rather poor form to have such long comment threads on speculation only to collectively yawn now that we have the real goods.
In case you missed it, it goes into effect on 14 September, this year.