Traditional Anglo-Papist

12 April 2006

Motu Proprio

Just catching up on Vatican speak.

Pope Benedict XVI is said to be issuing a Motu Proprio in which he will speak about the future of the Traditional Mass. In case, like me, you do not know what that means, a Motu Proprio is:
... the certain papal rescripts ... that the provisions of the rescript were decided on by the pope personally, that is, not on the advice of the cardinals or others, but for reasons which he himself deemed sufficient. The document has generally the form of a decree: in style it resembles a Brief rather than a Bull, but differs from both especially in not being sealed or countersigned. ... It begins by stating the reason inducing the sovereign pontiff to act, after which is stated the law or regulation made, or the favour granted, It is signed, personally by the pope, his name and the date being always in Latin.


  • This is good news, if true. A Motu Proprio carries generally more weight than other forms of promulgation (such as a letter or address) might.

    By Blogger Paul Goings, at Wednesday, April 12, 2006 10:20:00 PM  

  • Wasn't it a Mot Proprio which JPII used to create the indult for the Tridentine Mass in the first place - I could be wrong?

    By Blogger Fr Nigel, at Thursday, April 13, 2006 8:07:00 PM  

  • Basically, as I understand it, motu proprio simply means that it is issued through the office of the Holy Father, and not through one of the congregations.

    A motu proprio can be used to grant a concession to the universal law of the Church - what is usually called an indult.

    For another view on the universal indult issue look at:

    Although the National Catholic Reporter is a liberal publication, John Allen is an extremely balanced and fair reporter.

    In particular, note the report that the majority of Cardinals are against a universal indult.

    The difficulty with granting a universal indult is that it takes away the duty of the bishop to regulate the liturgy in his own diocese (Catholicism is after all hierarchical.)

    Suppose a parish priest decided, under a universal indult, to impose the Tridentine Mass on an unwilling congregation.The bishop would have no recourse to try to resolve the matter.

    All of this does not mean that there will nbot be a universal indult. I honestly have no idea. But there are complexities in this situation, and Benedict has shown himself to be careful in the moves taht he makes.

    By Anonymous Tony Bartel, at Saturday, April 15, 2006 7:35:00 AM  

  • People do change their minds. And when a man become Pope ha does have to consider a wider perspective. However this statement by Jospeh Cardinal Ratzinger would seem to rule out a universal indult.

    "If it would foster devotion in many believers and encourage respect for the piety of particular Catholic groups, I would personally support a return to the ancient situation, i.e., to a certain Liturgical pluralism. Provided, of course, that the legitimate character of the reformed rites was emphatically affirmed, and that there was a clear delineation of the extent and nature of such an exception permitting the celebration of the pre-conciliar liturgy."

    --"The Ratzinger Report", pgs. 124-125

    By Anonymous Tony Bartel, at Saturday, April 15, 2006 4:13:00 PM  

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