A number of good souls cleaving to Catholic Tradition are not happy with Pope Benedict XVI’s Motu Proprio of four weeks ago, despite its being apparently benevolent in words and deeds towards the old and true Mass of the Catholic Church.
As for the words, they say the Motu Proprio and the letter to the Bishops accompanying it are full of contradictions nullifying the benevolence. As for the deeds, they say that the supposed liberation of the Tridentine Mass is still so hedged about with restrictions that it is hardly a liberation at all. In brief, the Motu Proprio would be one more modernist manoeuvre to deceive the SSPX in particular, and to break down its so far stubborn resistance to the new-fangled Conciliar religion.
For myself, I readily grant that the double document is full of contradictions and restrictions, and, as far as Rome is concerned, it was most likely designed – even sincerely! – to help bring the SSPX and its fellow-travellers “back into the fold.” So be it. Yet objectively, the fact remains that the Pope has declared that the old Mass was never abrogated, which is a tremendous admission on Rome’s part. Also, objectively, individual priests all over the world can now pick up the old Missal and practise the true Mass, at least in private, without fear of being “disobedient,” which opens the way to a flow of true grace, as incalculable as it may also remain – private.
So, as for fear of the Motu Proprio being a trap, here is a comparison. The SSPX (and companions) occupy a fortress on top of an impregnable mountain (the unchanging Catholic doctrine and liturgy). Below in the plain all around the fortress, the modernist enemy are suddenly observed to be making a gesture as though they do not want to destroy the fortress after all. Should there be rejoicing inside the fortress?
Certainly, say I, on two conditions! Firstly, the gate of the fortress should absolutely not yet be opened (except to genuine “deserters” from modernism). Secondly, nobody inside the fortress should rejoice or behave as though the war is over. It has, unless God intervenes, a long way to go. But on those two conditions . . . .