After many false reports of an imminent publication of Pope Benedict XVI’s Motu Proprio on the pre-Conciliar rite of Mass, at last it appeared on July 7, under the title of Summorum Pontificum.
Amongst Catholics holding to Catholic Tradition, it has in the last week met with a mixed reception. On the one hand throughout the Society of St. Pius X, for instance, a Te Deum was sung out of gratitude for everything in the document which favors and to some extent sets free the old rite of Mass. On the other hand Catholics who distrust anything and everything coming out of Conciliar Rome, some to the extent of disbelieving that Benedict XVI is even Pope, have little difficulty in discovering in the Motu Proprio the numerous contradictions which reflect Pope Benedict XVI’s vain attempt to reconcile Catholicism with the intrinsically anti-Catholic modern world.
Now the contradictions are certainly there, because while the Pope cleaves in his heart to the old liturgy of his pre-war Bavarian childhood, he believes with his Conciliar mind in the reconciliation of irreconcilables, such as Catholicism and the revolutionary world all around us. However, as the proverb says, Rome was not built in a day, and Catholic Rome will not be rebuilt in one day. In fact will it take anything less than a flood of the wrath of God to wash the modernism out of this Rome’s Augean stables? One may wonder.
Nevertheless, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.” Given the terrible official persecution of the true rite of Mass ever since 1969 when the Novus Ordo was introduced, surely two things at least in the Motu Proprio were worth a Te Deum. Firstly, the official, Papal, public recognition that the old Mass was never truly suppressed. We always knew it, but now every Catholic knows it in the Universal Church. What a change of perception that must entail! And secondly, a certain definite freedom for Latin rite priests to celebrate the old Mass, at least in private and to a greater extent than before also in public.
Let us pray as much as ever for the Pope, if not more, that his Bavarian heart continue to push his Conciliar head in a Catholic direction!