TC Letter 2: John Paul II’s Motives

Pope Francis reminds the bishops with a brief history of his second predecessor’s directives on the 1962 Missal. First, an indult was granted through the CDWDS. Second, a generous use of the Missal was hopeful of avoiding schism and disunity.

Most people understand the motives that prompted St. John Paul II and Benedict XVI to allow the use of the Roman Missal, promulgated by St. Pius V and edited by St. John XXIII in 1962, for the Eucharistic Sacrifice. The faculty — granted by the indult of the Congregation for Divine Worship in 1984 [Cfr. Congregation for Divine Worship, Letter to the Presidents of the Conferences of Bishops “Quattuor abhinc annos”, 3 october 1984: AAS 76 (1984) 1088-1089] and confirmed by St. John Paul II in the Motu Proprio Ecclesia Dei in 1988 — was above all motivated by the desire to foster the healing of the schism with the movement of Mons. Lefebvre. With the ecclesial intention of restoring the unity of the Church, the Bishops were thus asked to accept with generosity the “just aspirations” of the faithful who requested the use of that Missal.

As we know, many people associated with Archbishop LeFebvre did not remain in the Roman fold. The “just aspirations” of some led to a certain unity, and perhaps a larger exodus was avoided. To be clear: these aspirations were always voiced by a very small minority of Catholics. Certainly, some believers were dissatisfied with liturgy in their parishes. It seems we cannot escape that, be they desirous of traditional elements as they perceive or define them, or progressive aspects like women and girls in liturgy or lay preaching.

For some Catholics, this is very much a local phenomenon: a new pastor arrives and things change. For others, it may be less about liturgy and more about ecclesiology and a rejection of things Vatican II. In between, I think, are many people who found fruitfulness in traditional expressions of the 1962 Missal.

I would assert the first group is the largest by far. I suspect that the second group is the smallest, and some of those are perhaps waylaid not by the teachings of Vatican II as much as the negative and possible false interpretation of Vatican II as presented by dissidents.

Here are the important links:

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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1 Response to TC Letter 2: John Paul II’s Motives

  1. martincbarry says:

    I’m sceptical about the idea that there are fruits unique to the 1962 Missal that couldn’t be found in the reformed rite, when celebrated in a traditional style. Or rather, if there are, they are precisely the things that the reform of the liturgy aimed to steer away from: the downplaying of the priestly role of the people of God in favour of that of the ordained priest; the limiting of individual participation to a reverent but solipsistic encounter with the Blessed Sacrament. If the 1962 Missal had not been in compelling need of reform, it would have been wrong to reform it. The fact that it was means that it’s wrong to go back to it.

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