Rome launches investigation into application of motu proprio “Summorum pontificum”

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) launched in early March a survey of all episcopal conferences to assess the application of the motu Summorum pontificum published in 2007 by Benedict XVI and allowing, in the Latin Church, the use of the liturgy according to the Missal in force before the Council.

The survey includes questions about “The positive or negative aspects of using the extraordinary form” of the Roman rite, its “Influence on the life of the seminars” or about whether she responds ” to a real pastoral need ” Where is ” promoted by a single priest

The CDF, which recently added new prefaces to the extraordinary form and allowed the celebration of the canonized saints after the council, also asks if “The ordinary form has adopted elements of the extraordinary form”.

“Slow and continuous progress”

“The idea is to see where we really are, to make the most complete inventory possible”, do we explain to the CDF, which absorbed in early 2019 the old Commission Ecclesia dei. “But there is absolutely no question either of removing the motu proprio or of going back on the liturgical reform”, we specify.

We realize that if Summorum pontificum did not cause a tidal wave, there is nevertheless a slow and continuous progression which means that the motu proprio corresponds to a need “Adds the CDF where it is estimated that around 500 bishops around the world have already celebrated in extraordinary form.

It’s this evolution ” peaceful but constant “Which the CDF would like to assess today, thirteen years after the publication of Summorum pontificum but also nine years after an initial investigation that Benedict XVI himself had requested in his letter to the bishops accompanying the motu proprio.

“The motu proprio bears fruit”

In France, where the bishops have not yet received the questionnaire from the CDF, “Things are going pretty well”, confirms Mgr Dominique Lebrun, Archbishop of Rouen (Seine-Maritime), who recognizes that “The motu proprio has made it possible for the faithful to pray in a different way, while realizing that it is not ultimately so different”.

“There are devotees of the extraordinary form who experience the ordinary form and vice versa and this is very good for communion”, recognizes the archbishop, specialist in liturgical matters, who, while recognizing that “The extraordinary form has accents that the other does not have”, thinks “Convinced that the ordinary form corresponds to the mission of the Church in the contemporary world”.

For him, Summorum pontificum therefore corresponds to a pastoral need. “The motu proprio bears fruit”, he says, while recognizing some “Disadvantages”.

The risk of “ideologizing” a liturgical form

“In particular the fact that certain faithful voluntarily deprive themselves of the enormous riches of the ordinary form, such as the number of readings or everything related to the Christian initiation of adults, he develops. This voluntary deprivation questions me. “

Archbishop Lebrun is also concerned about the cases where Summorum pontificum East “Misapplied”. “For example when some decide not to celebrate in the ordinary form, what Benedict XVI asked to avoid”, he explains, warning of the risk of“Ideologize” a liturgical form.

The bishops have until the end of July to respond to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, even if it knows that, “Due to health circumstances” and the slowing down of diocese life that they bring about, answers may come later.


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