Most people who have read about the liturgical reform and the revival of the traditional Roman Rite have stumbled across references to the commission of cardinals set up by Pope John Paul II in 1986 to evaluate several questions—among them whether Paul VI had abrogated the preconciliar Missale Romanum in promulgating his own missal in 1969.
Since there is a lot of misinformation circulating nowadays about the old and new missals, some of it sadly disseminated from the Vatican, I consider it important to publish here at NLM a translation of an Italian text by Cardinal Dario Castrillón-Hoyos and retrieved from the “clerus.org” website, that is, the Congregation for the Clergy’s site before it transitioned to “clerus.va.” This Italian text is still there, albeit only discoverable if you have the URL (here), dated to October 2008. Below is a screenshot to show where I found it, in case it is taken down after the appearance of the present article. (I have also copied into a file the complete Italian text for the same reason. We would not want to lose this precious historical evidence.)
His Eminence discusses not only Summorum Pontificum but also the work of the 1986 commission that prepared the way for Summorum Pontificum; he quotes at length from the minutes of this commission. It is truly remarkable just how much of that momentous motu proprio of 2007 was already present in nuce as far back as 1986. As far as I can tell, very few know about this text, which is not only a precious historical document but a witness to principles that will someday be vindicated anew under better leadership.
READ ON BELOW…RORATE CÆLI: Minutes from the Commission of Cardinals That Advised John Paul II to Lift Restrictions on the Old Missal