Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Gazing into the Crystal Ball with the Motu Proprio

Well, how's that for a schizophrenic title? Well, the Holy Father issued his Motu Proprio liberalizing the use of the pre-conciliar missal last week, and all rejoiced. I have very little to add that has not already been said about the immediate impact and the meaning of the Motu Proprio.

Nevertheless, I thought I'd speculate about what this might auger for the life of the Church. Pope Benedict emphasizes two intertwining purposes for the Motu Proprio: to increase unity within the Church, and to deepen and improve liturgical praxis and understanding. With the first, the hope is for reconciliation with the Society of Saint Pius X, a large traditionalist group in irregular communion with the Petrine See. I do expect that we shall see some manner of reconciliation in a year or so- I expect the SSPX will endeavour to have the Vatican issue some sort of statement detailing the orthodoxy of some traditionalist views before regularizing their position. This may pave the way for other ecclesial bodies, including, perhaps, the Traditional Anglican Communion.

I also expect that this will eventually lead to a reform of the reform- a reordering of the Novus Ordo to bring it into a more organic relation with the Tridentine form of the rite.


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