RORATE CÆLI: Can a document based on falsehoods have juridical standing? Can a doubtful law bind?

ARTICLE 1 of the motu proprio Traditionis Custodes reads: “The liturgical books promulgated by Saint Paul VI and Saint John Paul II, in conformity with the decrees of Vatican Council II, are the unique expression of the lex orandi of the Roman Rite.” The pope here claims that the Novus Ordo is the only law of prayer for the Roman Rite. It is impossible to see how this is compatible with the history of the Church and with her reverence for the venerable rites of antiquity and the Middle Ages, epitomized in the Missale Romanum of 1570 and its subsequent integral editions. They, too, are the lex orandi and cannot be otherwise. Instead, the motu proprio fumblingly makes “lex orandi” do duty as a juridical, canonical term, able to be applied ad libitum, as if it were an extrinsic label. In reality, the lex orandi is the whole complex of historical prayer texts, ceremonies, and music that make up the Roman Rite.

RORATE CÆLI: Can a document based on falsehoods have juridical standing? Can a doubtful law bind?

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