You may recall that last year, at the same time as the April lock-down, there was an enquiry addressed to us in regard to the celebration of the extra-ordinary form of the Roman Rite. This Motu Propio concludes that survey.
Pope Francis has issued an urgent call to work for the unity of the Church in this motu propio. Hence in Art. 1. he states that the liturgical books promulgated by Paul VI and John Paul II, in conformity with the decrees of Vatican II, are the unique expression of the lex orandi of the Roman Rite.
(In other places this is also referred to as the novus ordo and the ordinary form of the liturgy.)
The bishop in his diocese is the minister of this unity and hence the Pope states in Art. 2 that bishops in the exercise of this ministry regulate the liturgical celebrations within the diocese under their care.
In the introductory paragraphs, Pope Francis notes that the permissions that John Paul II and Benedict XVI had granted in regard to the extra-ordinary form of the Roman liturgy was done with a view to the unity of the church – ‘in this way they intended “to facilitate the ecclesial communion of those Catholics who feel attached to some earlier liturgical forms” and not to others.’ (paragraph 2)
However, the evaluation of what has been happening in the Church in the light of the permissions to celebrate Mass and the sacraments in extra-ordinary form has been used by some in ways that are subversive of the unity of the Church. Hence Pope Francis gives the bishops the following directives in the exercise of their ministry in the promotion of ecclesial unity (Art. 3):
- Determine that those groups (using the extra-ordinary form)uphold the teachings of the Second Vatican Council
- Designate one or more places where the extra-ordinary form is celebrated, where there is the need – BUT A PARISH OUGHT NOT TO BE DESIGNATED FOR THIS
- The liturgical books to be used in the extra-ordinary form are those revised under the authority of CDW – noting the 7 new prefaces and insertion of the saints (footnote 7)
- Where parishes have been erected and where priests have been designated for this purpose, evaluation vis-à-vis spiritual growth and this should lead to a decision as to whether the arrangements will continue
- The future appointments of priests for this dedicated task or the future formation of new groups is discouraged and hence the necessity of going to the Holy See for seeking permission to do so with new arrangements.
Bishop Edward Risi is the Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Keimoes-Upington.