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Reinforcements Are on the Way

In response to the “rebellion against the Pope” (see our New Oxford Note by that title, Feb.) ricocheting through the upper echelons of the Church hierarchy regarding Summorum Pontificum, Benedict XVI’s motu proprio that liberated the Tridentine Latin Mass, the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei — the Vatican body charged with overseeing the implementation of the Tridentine Mass — is drafting a new document that will “clarify the criteria for the application of the motu proprio,” said Tarcisio Cardinal Bertone, the Vatican’s Secretary of State (Catholic World News, Dec. 31, 2007).

According to Cardinal Bertone, the new document will be an “instruction” on how to implement Summorum Pontificum, and was necessitated by what he called “confused reactions” since its release in July 2007.

While Cardinal Bertone “took a more conciliatory approach to the disputes that have arisen in the aftermath of the Pope’s move to restore the traditional Mass,” Archbishop Albert Malcolm Ranjith, Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, has “energetically criticized bishops who have failed to accept the papal directive.”

Such outbursts, says Archbishop Ranjith, “practically annul or twist the intention of the pope,” and amount to a “crisis of obedience” (The Boston Globe, Jan. 4). And how!

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