RORATE CÆLI: The Radical Claim and Fatal Flaw of TC’s Article 1 — Article by a French Priest

Rorate is pleased to bring to its readers an English translation of a critique of Traditionis Custodes written by a priest of the Institute of Christ the King, published initially behind a paywall in Revue Catholica on November 10, 2021, but now available online for free. Fr. Jestin addresses the theological radicalness of the motu proprio and exposes its fatal weakness by concentrating on the infamous Article 1, with Francis’s accompanying letter and articles by Andrea Grillo dated July 16, July 19, July 21, and July 24. Since Grillo is the doyen of the liturgical progressives currently in power, the attention paid to his work is both right and revealing (see also this related article). My thanks to Zachary Thomas and John Pepino for assistance with the translation.—PAK

RORATE CÆLI: The Radical Claim and Fatal Flaw of TC’s Article 1 — Article by a French Priest

Rorate is pleased to bring to its readers an English translation of a critique of Traditionis Custodes written by a priest of the Institute of Christ the Kingpublished initially behind a paywall in Revue Catholica on November 10, 2021, but now available online for free. Fr. Jestin addresses the theological radicalness of the motu proprio and exposes its fatal weakness by concentrating on the infamous Article 1, with Francis’s accompanying letter and articles by Andrea Grillo dated July 16, July 19, July 21, and July 24. Since Grillo is the doyen of the liturgical progressives currently in power, the attention paid to his work is both right and revealing (see also this related article). My thanks to Zachary Thomas and John Pepino for assistance with the translation.—PAK
The End of Conciliation EffortsFr. Laurent Jestin, ICKSP, La RochelleNovember 10, 2021[English translation: January 10, 2022]
Traditionis Custodes [TC], Pope Francis’ apostolic letter in the form of a motu proprio “on the use of the Roman liturgy prior to the reform of 1970,” is striking for the drastic practical restrictions it contains. The accompanying letter to the bishops reveals the desired outcome: the extinction of the Mass celebrated according to the usus antiquior, which, more than the abrupt tone that everyone has noted, makes these restrictions a radical change of course.
But what is the basis for this decision? Many commenters, often in order to complain about TC or to declare that it does not apply to them, focus on the accusation of a collusion between using the older missal and rejecting the Second Vatican Council and the magisterium following it. This is to misunderstand the importance of the motive as stated. It is quite secondary and, in order to understand it well according to the logic of the motu proprio, it is necessary to note a first and more fundamental opposition at the source of the reasoning of TC. This opposition, which appears only in passing in the accompanying letter to the bishops, is thoroughly developed by the one who is rightly considered to be one of the inspirers of the papal document and its most authoritative interpreter, namely Andrea Grillo.[1]
We propose to undertake a commentary on three levels—using the motu proprio itself, the letter that accompanies it, and Andrea Grillo’s explanation—with article 1 of the motu proprio at the center, under the assumption of a substantial agreement between the first two levels and the third.
***
The simple and lapidary statement of this initial article (viz., that the liturgical books resulting from Vatican II are “the sole expression of the lex orandi of the Roman rite”) could appear as a counterpoint, without any particular significance, to that which was stated in a previous motu proprioSummorum Pontificum [SP], published in 2007 by Benedict XVI. The latter, in fact, posited two expressions or forms of the Roman Rite, one ordinary, the other extraordinary. We could stop here… except that a question arises: what does it mean for the missal promulgated by St. Pius V—the older one, or Vetus Ordo—that one of the two expressions—the second one, the extraordinary one—has disappeared from the lex orandi? For it is an obvious fact, and we make it our point of departure: the Vetus Ordo no longer receives any qualification in TC.
A rather rapid analysis will show that, far from being the product of a clumsy, faulty, or even deliberately brutal drafting, this omission has a precise meaning. In fact, it has a double meaning, which we would like to bring to light, in order—let us say it up front—to contest its accuracy.
Firstly, the old missal would no longer have an autonomous existence; it would be in total dependence on the new missal, which calls for its disappearance. Secondly, this dependence would be coupled with an opposition to the principle that presided over the reform desired by the Second Vatican Council. The disappearance of the old missal would also be made positively necessary by the affirmation of the assembly’s participation as the central reality of the liturgy.
The letter of Pope Francis accompanying his motu proprio denounces a broad interpretation of SP (one that is claimed to be lacking in conformity with the intention of Benedict XVI, which is questionable), namely, that of a “parallel use” of the two missals, of a kind of equivalence authorizing a free choice of priests or assemblies for the one or the other. This anarchic situation, the letter continues, has occasioned or indeed given rise to attacks on communion in the Church, through criticism or refusal of the Second Vatican Council. After fourteen years of application of SP, it concludes, communion in the Church requires the clearest reaffirmation that the Novus Ordo alone is the ordinary expression of the liturgy.
A detour is necessary here in order to understand this last adjective properly. SP was not very conceptually clear precisely because of the ambiguity of the meaning to be given to this adjective “ordinary” and its corresponding adjective “extraordinary” to characterize the two forms of the Roman Rite. Should the first be understood as a synonym for “common”? From then on, the distinction between the two forms would have referred to a more or less widespread use of one or the other missal. Or, closer to the Latin etymology, did “ordinary” refer to the ordo, to what is in conformity with it? The form “extraordinary” would thus have been what was on the edges, on the margin of the ordo. But then the formula of the first article of SP: “extraordinary expression of the lex orandi,” would sound almost like an oxymoron by associating “extraordinary” with “lex.” Moreover, in practice, the reception of Benedict XVI’s motu proprio oscillated, depending on the place and the bishops, between, at the broadest level, a quasi-“ritual parallelism” (Grillo, July 21, 2021), and, at the strictest level, a concession as ungenerous as that of the preceding indult period.
TC, in rejecting the idea that there are two forms, states that the Pauline missal is ordinary in both senses of the word, and in an exclusive manner, without any room for another expression of the lex orandi. Let us put it another way: the recent motu proprio exactly superimposes three realities, without any distinction among them: the lex orandi, the Roman Rite, the Novus Ordo. It is true that the existence of other rites is recognized, including in the Latin Church; however, within the framework of the Roman Rite, the overlapping of the three realities does not allow for any deviation.
This is the case, it esssentially says, because the Second Vatican Council, exercising the magisterial function in its highest degree, has received and transmitted Tradition (here, liturgical). The principles of renewal and reform of the liturgy set forth in the constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium led, some years later, through the work of the commissions appointed by Paul VI, to the promulgation of new liturgical books. The motu proprio, according to the accompanying letter, intends to “re-establish this unity of the whole Church of the Roman Rite,” giving the Novus Ordo the power to exercise its “unifying function in the Church.” The restrictions placed on the use of the ancient missal remove the obstacles to this exercise and prepare for effective unity in the celebration of a single missal.
The elaborations of this papal description furnished by Andrea Grillo make it possible to reveal the double opposition, mentioned above, between the two missals. In the first place, the Vetus Ordo (asserts the professor of Sant’Anselmo) is not only an earlier form of the Roman Rite, of which the missal of Paul VI is the current expression; it is “that form of the Roman Rite which the Second Vatican Council decided to reform” (Grillo, July 21, 2021), from which it follows that it “no longer has an autonomous existence” (Grillo, July 16, 2021)—that it exists, therefore, in dependence on the new one, as a temporary survival explained by the benevolence of the pastors in the face of a certain reticence on the part of the faithful and of priests, but which cannot endure in view of the history of the liturgy. Therefore, not to accept this movement from old to new is to oppose the Council and the Church. It is the misfortune of SP to have been the occasion and, in certain respects, the matrix of this refusal. Thus, the fundamental problem, in this view, is not that people attached to the old missal are opposed to the Second Vatican Council; it is that the very attachment—or, more precisely, the unwavering attachment—to the old missal itself carries with it a rejection of the Council. Other reservations and criticisms have attached themselves to the missal, according to a certain connivance (birds of a feather flock together, as the saying goes), of which, perhaps,[2] neither SP nor even those who today profess total adherence to the Second Vatican Council were aware.
At this point, two passages from the letter accompanying TC ring out with particular clarity. On the one hand, the bishops are given the mission to “provide for the good of those who are rooted in the previous form of celebration and need time to return to the Roman Rite promulgated by Saints Paul VI and John Paul II.” On the other hand, the faithful and priests attached to the old missal must recognize that “whoever wishes to celebrate devoutly according to the previous liturgical form will have no difficulty in finding in the Roman Missal, reformed in the spirit of the Second Vatican Council, all the elements of the Roman Rite, especially the Roman canon, which constitutes one of its most characteristic elements.”[3]
The extent of the rupture between 2007 and today is not, therefore, due to a single disciplinary tightening taking precedence over a real liberality. The gap between the two legal systems is more profound. Practical measures follow from this. The first of these is, for priests, the degradation of a universally recognized right into a concession (art. 5), with the tone of the text indicating that it will be granted sparingly. Moreover, for priests ordained after the entry into force of TC, that is, after July 16, 2021, the concession of the bishop will not suffice and an opinion will be requested from the Roman See (art. 4).[4] The prohibition of the creation of new groups (art. 3 §6) implies, moreover, that there will be no need for many priests. How could it be otherwise, since this ancient missal is destined to disappear, being the form that the Council reformed?

Obsolescence is the first meaning of the omission of the old missal in article 1 of TC. We need to proceed to the second meaning of the lapidary formulation of a “single expression of the lex orandi of the Roman Rite.” The conceptual framework of TC does not simply state that it is (or should be) self-evident that old forms of a rite give way to new ones. If this were all it said, we would theoretically be in agreement: the concurrent presence of two states that ought to have followed each other in time is a unique case in the history of the Roman liturgy.
However, there is more to it than that: not an incongruous coexistence, but what must be called, even in a minor way, an opposition—the second opposition that has been announced.
In fact, we read that the fundamental principle of the reform requested by the Council Fathers was “that of the full, conscious, and active participation of the whole People of God in the liturgy” (letter accompanying the motu proprio).[5] It is also, Andrea Grillo continues, regarding this participation that the two states of the Roman missal contradict each other. The old one, he says, was centered on the priest, in particular through the prescriptions of a ritus servandus that sought to avoid errors and abuses that would taint the Mass with invalidity, sacrilege, or faulty negligence. The new one, on the other hand, is structured by a ritus celebrandi of the assembly, which is not reduced to rubrics:

The NO [Novus Ordo] introduces “more complex uses” of the Roman Rite, which call for the action, responsibility, and word not only of the “priest” but of the whole assembly. Hence, structurally, the non-comparability between VO [Vetus Ordo] and NO. These are two phases of development of the Roman Rite, which cannot occur simultaneously, except in exceptional cases, and which are doomed to extinction. (Grillo, July 24, 2021)

The council invited, and the new liturgical books implement, a

wisdom of celebration [which] cannot be fully taken into account if a clerical, separate, and formalistic reading of the liturgy is allowed to remain. The rejection of the VO is an imperative of the Second Vatican Council, so that a new ars celebrandi, which concerns not only the priests but also the assembly, may shape prayer and the Church in a new way. (Ibid.)

In this last quotation, something like the influence of the way priests celebrate in the Vetus Ordo on the way they celebrate in the Novus becomes apparent, whether in those who use both missals or in those who fill in the blanks of the ritus servandus of the priest in the new missal with the norms and practices of the old, in the name of custom. This double exemplarity is not acceptable, Grillo asserts, because it contradicts the opposition between two understandings of the Mass—one centered on the redemptive Sacrifice offered by the priest, the other as a celebrating assembly under the presidency of a priest.
Can one, however, concede something to the Vetus Ordo, from which the Novus could benefit? Yes, answers the theologian. The implementation of Paul VI’s missal, because of the generalization of the vernacular, neglected the non-verbal in worship, which impoverished its symbolic and ritual dimension. Celebrations according to the usus antiquior accorded de facto greater importance to gestures and silence, to bodily attitudes, to colors and scents, etc., since the Latin language was no longer understood by the common people. However, let us be careful: there is no need to look for any “mutual enrichment” between the two missals; it is a matter rather of recognizing that the Roman Rite in its sole expression would be fully deployed—from the point of view of its symbolic richness as well as from the point of view of the ecclesial and pastoral demand for participation—if it better articulated “verbal form” and “ritual form.” The light of the past coming from the Vetus Ordo can contribute to this as a reminder, less than as an example. In fact, “ecclesial wisdom [will] prepare new theoretical instruments and good common practices” of “the unique form of the Roman Rite, undivided and coherent in itself,” although “neither univocal nor monochordal” (Grillo, July 20, 2021).
This brings us back to the “more complex uses” called for by Paul VI’s missal. These are thus inherently marked by adaptation and creativity. The missal provides the matrix of possibilities by a recurrent plurality in the texts (Lectionary, Prefaces, Eucharistic Prayers, etc.), opening up a fairly free choice and even, for certain monitions, the possibility of improvisation left to the priest—these aspects being guided by pastoral care for the assembly gathered at the time. Another assembly would lead to other choices. And so on.
If the participation and celebration of the assembly is to be of such a sort, in the name of a central and untouchable principle of the reform willed by the Second Vatican Council, then it is clear that the old missal simply cannot conform to it. It is difficult to see what “adjustments” could ever be made to it to achieve this. This fundamental opposition is precontained in article 1 of TC, as interpreted by the accompanying letter and the reflections of Andrea Grillo. Article 1 establishes an incompatibility, in the lex orandi, between the old missal and a major principle of liturgy that Vatican II put forward. It reinforces the first of the oppositions noted, namely, the one between two missals, the older and reformed states of the Roman Rite, presuming that the new missal carries the continuity of the Roman Rite insofar as it was requested by the Council.

It can be seen that the motives which are supposed to lead to the disappearance of the old missal, in article 1, and then—the other articles having produced their effects—in the life and prayer of the Church, are considerable in scope. They claim a rigorous theological and liturgical content, in comparison with which certain reactions to the motu proprio seem weak, even inadmissible. Not that they are devoid of all value: they highlight positive elements of the past period, which the recent motu proprio passes over in silence, thus adding to its harshness. However, they remain within the categories of SP, without realizing or taking note of the fact that these categories have been radically changed. Let us cite some of them, of three kinds.
To put forward, as is done, the numerous fruits of the communities attached to the Vetus Ordo and the now calmer situations in the dioceses where they are found, to proclaim that the unity of the Church is already present and not threatened in many places, and then to insinuate or declare that the recent motu proprio is useless and harmful, is a statement that cannot be contested outright, but which, reduced to itself—that is to say, by placing the analysis on a practical and pragmatic level—ignores the conceptual dimension of the document it means to respond to.
At first, of course, it will be good tactics to act in this way, and the temporary pastoral care requested by TC seems itself to pass through this stage. But this is only the first stage. Some believe that, with episcopal good will and the determination of the faithful and priests, local situations will not change for the most part. This is to forget articles 6 and 7, the former of which places institutes of consecrated life and societies of apostolic life attached to the missal under the competence of the Congregation for Consecrated Life, the latter of which institutes the competence of the Congregation for Divine Worship over the Vetus Ordo: what will be the actions of these two dicasteries? For the time being, they are rather feared… Even should one feel reassured on this point, the fundamental principle would still remain, with its force of negation. Finally, it would be forgetting that the motu proprio of Benedict XVI instituted a situation that was also supposed to be intermediate and temporary, namely, that of the coexistence of two missals that should merge into one eventually, if we are to believe certain private texts.[6] With a completely different kind of response, Francis places himself in the same horizon: a single missal for the Roman Rite.
Nor is it enough to refer to the well-known statement in the letter accompanying SP: “What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful.” The Professor of Sant’Anselmo accuses this argument of overturning and destroying the principle of liturgical tradition, because there will always be people nostalgic for an older form, which should then be recognized as untouchable for this reason. And he cites the authorizations that were given to celebrate Holy Week with the ceremonies of the pre-Pius XII reform. In fact, he argues, the principle of a “sacred past” laid down by SP is weak on a theological level and dangerous on an ecclesial level: it is a principle of anarchy, which is not redeemed by the fact that it was enunciated by the supreme authority. It is then, so to speak, an “anarchia dell’alto,” an anarchy from above (Grillo, July 19, 2021).

In some respects, the argument of an untouchable sacred past remains worthy of respect on an affective level, but we agree it cannot be decisive. Moreover, this perspective of a sacred past is reminiscent of the theme of the enrichment of the two missals, to which Benedict XVI invited us. However, such a theme is only conceivable if one grants a certain autonomous existence to each of the two missals, which, according to TC, is not the case, because the ancient books are those that the Council wanted to reform—a reform of which the missal of Paul VI, the other rituals, and the Liturgy of the Hours are the result. Therefore, one cannot avoid analyzing the meaning of Article 1.
Finally, other reactions to TC profess fidelity to the Second Vatican Council and the subsequent magisterium, declaring that they do not recognize themselves in the “many” denounced by the Pope. Here again, however sincere they may be, these approaches overlook the most fundamental level of the relationship between the Roman Rite and the Council promoted by TC: the attachment to the Vetus Ordo can only be temporary, not indefectible. Otherwise, even if one had endorsed the official view, for example, on debated topics such as religious freedom (as regards the Council) or conjugal morality (as regards the later magisterium), the attachment to the ancient missal would in and of itself testify to the double refusal of which we have spoken.
We may conclude that a reception of the motu proprioTC cannot fail to consider the liturgical reform that followed Vatican II, for it is the argument’s cornerstone that inspires and supports it.

Here we are, one might say, faced with a field of reflection and debate, of diverse opinions and opposing arguments, too vast for us to attempt even a summary here. But it does not matter for our purpose: what we intend to contest—in order to consider the second of the oppositions noted, that between the ancient missal and the principle of the reform at Vatican II—is not so much the position on participation adopted by Andrea Grillo[7] as rather his claim to a self-evident truth that imposes a delegitimization of the ancient missal such as the one reached in TC. We can then be content to recall that there is a longstanding and still unresolved debate concerning this participation. And since this motu proprio abolishes another one, let us note that SP—more precisely the letter accompanying it—also relied on a conception of participation, in its mention that the Liturgical Movement had been a breeding ground for attachment to the pre-reform liturgical books: this attachment of many “occurred above all in those countries where the Liturgical Movement had given many people a remarkable liturgical formation, as well as a deep and intimate familiarity with the earlier form of liturgical celebration.” Clearly, the participation to which we are summoned to subscribe in TC is not the one presented by Benedict XVI. Is there a binding argument that would decide between the one and the other? We don’t think so.
In any case, the absolute dichotomy posed by Andrea Grillo between the old missal characterized as a “clerical” ritus servandus and the new missal unfolding in an ars celebrandi of the community appears partial and biased. Especially if one notes that, in many situations, this “community participation” is exhausted in a multiplicity of interventions by persons on a parish liturgy committee whose clerical separatism is open to criticism by the anonymous and passive members of the assembly on whom decisions are imposed not by the rubrics of a missal but by a Saturday morning meeting that “prepares” the next day’s Mass (since apparently we’re engaging in caricatures now…).
Underlying these situations encountered in certain parishes, which extend beyond the liturgical field to the government and life of the parish—with reciprocal accusations of abuse of power that are sometimes made by priests of a later generation and older pastoral agents—are questions about the baptismal and ministerial priesthood,[8] about the hierarchy and the People of God, and, now, about synodality. These questions are all the more difficult to resolve because they are caught up in a problematic tension between doctrine and pastoral ministry, which was inaugurated or at least brought to the forefront by the Second Vatican Council. Subsequent magisterial acts and implementations have swung from a more doctrinal aspect to a more pastoral one. The present pontificate is firmly in line with a logic in which synodality and pastoral care are paramount. TC must be read within this particular dynamic.
The first article can be interpreted only as the manifestation of a consciously explicit rupture not only between the two missals but between two bodies of doctrine on the Church, the priesthood, and the Mass. (Let us recall that the first article of Benedict XVI’s motu proprio affirmed, beyond the differences in ceremonies, a unity in the lex orandi and the lex credendi: “These two expressions of the Church’s lex orandi will in no way lead to a division in the Church’s lex credendi. They are, in fact two usages of the one Roman rite.)
This rupture goes so far as to appear as a prodigious coup de force if one reintroduces into the description of the relationship between the two missals the fact that the old one was never legally abrogated. Andrea Grillo, as we have seen, refuses to accept that the sanctity of the liturgical past and the attachment of some to it would justify its permanence when a later state of the liturgical books has been promulgated. One might agree with him if the previous state were inscribed today vin such an affective, aesthetic nostalgia. But this is simply not the case with the Vetus Ordo: its permanence is based first of all on its juridical validity, which was explicitly mentioned in SP! Certainly, it “should have been” otherwise, in view of the history of the liturgical books.[9] But the fact remains. It is a serious argumentative weakness of TC not to mention it so as to be able to reject it. The implicit rejection it makes runs up against the same obstacle as Paul VI’s failure to explicitly declare the abrogation of the old missal when he promulgated the new one: the implicit does not have the force of law. That Francis decides on a restricted use of the old missal is one thing, but a declaration that it is no longer an expression of the Church’s lex orandi, or that, being obsolete, it is so only in dependence on the new missal, is quite another, and one that is either ill-founded (since the old missal is not abrogated) or gravely insufficient, lacking in substance and scope (it does not declare the abrogation).
Moreover, since they are not abrogated—neither yesterday nor today—the older liturgical books allow for a valid and licit administration of the sacraments within the juridical framework in which they are placed. However, as Cardinal Burke recalled with great clarity in his statement following the motu proprio:

It must be remembered that, from a theological point of view, every valid celebration of a sacrament, by the very fact that it is a sacrament, is also, beyond all ecclesiastical legislation, an act of worship and, consequently, also a profession of faith. In this sense, it is not possible to exclude the Roman Missal, according to the Usus Antiquior, as a valid expression of the lex orandi and, therefore, of the lex credendi of the Church. It is an objective reality of divine grace that cannot be changed by a simple act of the will of even the highest ecclesiastical authority.[10]

The primacy of pastoral care has reached an extreme point here. The emphasis on the new missal, which is the proper object of TC, is symptomatic of it. The absolute repudiation of the old missal, which is unduly carried out, is intended to forbid any alternative—whether of the old missal directly, or of an interpretation and use of the new missal that would not order everything to participation (actuosa participatio), that is, to the primacy of the celebrating community.

NOTES
[1] Andrea Grillo is professor of sacramental theology at the Pontifical University of St. Anselm. Here we quote from texts published on his blog (link) after the publication of the motu proprio. In order not to make the references more cumbersome, we will simply indicate the date of each of the texts quoted.

[2] Andrea Grillo does not credit this “perhaps” to Summorum pontificum.

[3] This affirmation of more or less scattered elements, the whole of which should satisfy the faithful attached to the old missal, even if it is structured according to other principles—those of the new missal—is quite astounding. Is it enough that the Roman canon is present in the reformed missal? The rubrics of this missal have eliminated a significant number of signs of the cross and genuflections; they require that it be said aloud. It’s not the same totality. As for the posture facing the people, even if it is not required, one can recall the strongly negative reactions to Cardinal Sarah’s proposal to celebrate ad orientem to doubt that priests would be allowed to do so exclusively. [The same may be seen more recently with Cardinal Cupich’s illicit prohibition of ad orientem in his diocese.—Ed.]

[4] The Responsa ad Dubia of December 18, 2021, have clarified that this means not a mere consultation but the obtaining of a “license” from the Vatican itself.—Ed.

[5] Reference is made to paragraph 48 of the Constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium: “The Church is therefore concerned that the faithful should not attend this mystery of faith as mute spectators, but that, understanding it well in its rites and prayers, they should participate consciously, devoutly and actively in the sacred action.

[6] “I believe [wrote Ratzinger] that in the future the Roman Church will have to have only one rite again: the existence of two official rites is in practice difficult to ‘manage’ for bishops and priests. The Roman Rite of the future should be a single rite, celebrated in Latin or in the popular language, but entirely founded in the tradition of the ancient rite; it could incorporate some new elements, which have proved their worth, such as new Feasts, some new Prefaces in the Mass, an enlarged Lectionary—a wider choice than before, but not too wide—an Oratio fidelium, i.e., a litany of intercessory prayers after the Oremus of the Offertory, where it once had its place.” (Letter to Professor Heinz-Lothar Barth, June 23, 2003; see the French translation at introibo.fr/Lettre-au-Dr-Barth-2003.)

[7] The following questions could still be asked: Is participation the major principle of the reform desired by the Council? Was Sacrosanctum Concilium intended to lead to the missal of Paul VI or could it have led to another result? Do the prescriptions of the Council and the norms of the reformed missal make it possible to separate the wheat from the chaff in the present implementations?

[8] In sacramental and liturgical matters, this is reflected, among other things, in the recent prevalence of the term “presiding” to designate the action of the priest with regard to both the concelebrants and the assembly. Similarly, the new formulation of the action of the priest who acts “in persona Christi capitis” seems to imply that Christ is essentially considered in his Mystical Body, that is, from the point of view of the Church, and less from the point of view of the instrumental causality in the sacrament that is the priest, as an extension of the instrument that was the Sacred Humanity of the Savior on the Cross (one spoke and speaks of an action in persona Christi). This inflection has its magisterial origin in the decree on the ministry and life of priests Presbyterorum Ordinis of Vatican Council II (cf. n. 2).

[9] That is, had the new missal followed the predictable pattern, it would have been promulgated in such a way as to completely and totally replace the former edition, which would have been abrogated. The committee of cardinals that studied this question under John Paul II, including Joseph Ratzinger, reached the conclusion that Paul VI had not, in fact, done this.—Ed.

[10] Cardinal Burke, “Statement on the motu proprio Traditionis Custodes,” July 22, 2021, where the original English version can be found, as well as the translation in six languages.


Photos by Allison Girone and others.

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