05/13/2011, 00.00
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Granting the Mass in Latin, to favour reconciliation within the Church

The Ecclesia Dei Commission instruction, which regulates the manner and conditions for the celebration of the liturgy in pre-conciliar form published today. "Generous accommodation" of the faithful who request it, provided they do not deny the value of the Mass and the sacraments celebrated according to the reform and recognize the authority of the Pope

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Its basic purpose is "to favour reconciliation within the Church," the Vatican statement issued today on governing the manner and conditions for the celebration of Mass according to the liturgy before the Vatican II reform. Entitled "Universae Ecclesiae”, the instruction from the juridical viewpoint targets the application of the motu proprio" Summorum Pontificum "of Pope Benedict XVI, in force since 14 September 2007 and takes into account observations that the bishops were invited to make.

The document, published by the "Eclesia Dei" commission, specifies two purposes: t offer all faithful, the Roman Liturgy in its most ancient usage, considered a precious treasure to be preserved and really ensure the use of the forma extraordinaria to those who request, while reaffirming the fundamental principle that these two forms of the Roman Liturgy, defined respectively ordinary and extraordinary  are two usages of the Roman Rite, one alongside the other ".

In essence, the statement affirms the responsibility of bishops to allow the celebration of "extraordinary form" and provides for appeals to the Commission against the orders of bishops. As for the celebration itself, permission should be “granted” with "generous welcome, if " a group of faithful " should so request it, which need not necessarily be from the same parish or the diocese itself. But "must not in any way support or belong to groups that show themselves to be contrary to the validity or legitimacy of forma ordinaria or ordinary form" and / or authority of the Pope as Supreme Pastor of the universal Church”.

In short that main aim is to avoid traditionalist groups who opposed the Council reforms  (such as the Lefebvrists) demanding the "extraordinary" celebration and opening a dispute with the bishop should he deny them it. This concern is also apparent in the provisions about the "suitable priest" to celebrate in this form. "Of course - reads a note by Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican Press Office - he should have no impediments in canonical terms, he must have a sufficient knowledge of Latin and know the rite to be celebrated. Bishops are therefore encouraged to make proper formation for this purpose available in seminaries, and the possibility of recourse, if there are no other suitable priests, to the collaboration of priests from the Institutes set up by the "Ecclesia Dei" Commission (which normally use the forma extraordinaria) is also indicated.".

The Instruction, concludes Father Lombardi, is "a very balanced text, which seeks to promote – as the has Popes intended - the peaceful use of the liturgy that predates the reform by those priests and faithful who feel a sincere desire for their own spiritual good, indeed, which aims to ensure the legitimacy and effectiveness of such use as much as reasonably possible. At the same time the text is animated by faith in the bishops' pastoral wisdom, and insists very strongly on the spirit of ecclesial communion which must be present in everyone - faithful, priests, bishops – so that the purpose of reconciliation, as it is present in the Holy Father's decision, is not impeded or frustrated, but encouraged and achieved".
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