Wowza. We've seen a lot of pontiffs in our time, but never have we seen a bunch of Popes as lazy as this bunch. Come, you bastions of Papistry! Where's your Romish spunk? In our two posts, We have revolutionized Canon Law with the Apostolic Booyah AND excommunicated Sean Hannity kindasorta. Most of you Pontifical Poltroons haven't even been dead two hundred years yet (I and V get a pass...well, not V, mwahaha) and yet here I am picking up all the slack. What, are you waiting until an ACTUAL Pius XIII is elected, so that you won't have to post anymore?!
[We said all that with Our tongue firmly planted in Our Papal cheek. Fear not, dear Successors and Predecessors; you have not actually experienced any of our Papal wrath. +[[[;-) ]
[Note: Credit for the Papal smiley is to be given to...I think Matt of Holy Whapping...it seems like something crazy he would come up with. Although it might have been Emily of the selfsame Holy Whapping. One of those folks.]
At any rate, We would like to pass along a thought on the expected Motu Proprio liberating the Old Latin Mass that our Successor, Benedict XVI, is probably about to issue. Some people wonder how much effect it will have: will there be a large number of new Latin Masses being offered immediately after its publication? Is that an overly idealistic thought?
While we think there might be some new Masses offered in the immediate future, we think it's best to look at the matter from a long-term perspective, using Ecclesia Dei to predict what will happen after this Motu Proprio. Immediately after Ecclesia Dei, it wasn't as if people were lining up to offer Latin Masses. But look at where we are now; clearly, many bishops haven't been quite as generous with the Indult as We would like, but most dioceses now have an Indult Mass, and Tridentine-only parishes are popping up throughout the country. New religious orders are being founded which offer the Old Rite exclusively (Institute of the Good Shepherd, Canons Regular of the New Jerusalem) or in conjunction with the Missa Normativa (Canons Regular of St. John Cantius). The Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter is bursting at the seams with a brand new seminary in the US; the Institute of Christ the King is spreading rapidly through the US, with Churches getting started up in Chicago, St. Louis, Santa Clara CA, and Kansas City. Although people grouse (and not without some reason) about the current state of the Tridentine Rite, the situation is immensely better now than it was in 1988.
With this Motu Proprio, and with a more liturgically-conscious Pope in Benedict, who knows what the next 20 years might have in store? Will the College of Cardinals which elected Benedict (and for which Benedict is picking new members) pick a successor who will depart radically from his program of Reform of the Reform and liberty for the Tridentine Rite? At the very least, it is doubtful that somebody will be elected who will reverse whatever reforms Benedict makes. After 20 years of new bishops and new young priests, is it not likely that general opinion will shift further? From 1988 until today, bishops in America have gone from "What? Tridentine?" to a begrudging acceptance, and it is Our opinion that this will change further to making the Old Rite widespread. If the Tridentine Mass were to continue growing at its current rate, even without an MP, We would be willing to bet that after 25 years the American Bishops would develop, for the most part, a spirit of respect and generosity, giving the Tridentine Rite rather freely in almost all of their Dioceses. Giving permission for every priest to offer the Tridentine Mass will only accelerate this change. For this reason, it's Our contention that we shouldn't start whining if we don't see much happening immediately. Let's face it: the more unfortunate changes that occurred in the Liturgy during the post-Conciliar period (both approved and unapproved changes) took about 20 years to make and will take perhaps a century or so to fix; the problems with loss of Faith, the process of re-evangelizing the declining West, will probably take longer (assuming that European Western culture still exists after then...Europe might just be a Muslim continent by that point). The Church doesn't reform Herself overnight, but the MP will be a good step in helping to fix the problem. The first steps are being taken: the new English translations, the change that will take place in the translations of "pro vobis et pro multis," the continued recommendation of Chant and Latin in Papal documents, and the greater solemnity We are seeing in Papal ceremonies.
However, there's only so much that words will do to help in furthering the cause of liturgy. I recommend that all you readers pray a Decade of your next Rosary for the intention of a wise reform of the Sacred Liturgy. We will do so as well.
+ Pius P. P. VII