Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Traditional Mass Never Went Away

Genoa, Nov. 28 [Source] Responding to rumors that Pope Benedict XVI will soon issue a motu proprio encouraging broader use of the pre-conciliar liturgy, the Archdiocese of Genoa, Italy, has posted a detailed notice assuring the faithful that the traditional liturgy was not abolished by the Second Vatican Council.

The notice, published on the web site of the Genoa archdiocese on November 27, does not specifically confirm the widespread reports that a motu proprio is imminent. However, after saying that "misleading comments that are in circulation" call for a response, the statement emphasizes that the Pope has the authority to issue new liturgical norms. In order to preserve full communion within the Church, all Catholics should follow those norms, the statement adds.

Regarding the traditional liturgy, the Genoa archdiocese states: "The Second Vatican Council did not abolish or ask for the abolition of the Mass of Pius V." Rather, the Council sought a reform of that liturgy.

The statement goes on to say that the traditional liturgy (the Mass of St. Pius V) and the post-conciliar "Mass of Paul VI" are "two valid expressions of the same Catholic faith." It is seriously wrong, the archdiocese says, to suggest that these two liturgical approaches are somehow in opposition to each other.

Echoing a theme that Pope Benedict XVI raised in his pre-Christmas speech to the Roman Curia, the Genoa archdiocese emphasizes the development of the liturgy should be seen as organic, with the decisions of one Roman Pontiff always interpreted in light of previous papal statements. Similarly, the statement continues, the actions of different Popes "and those of the Council of Trent and the Second Vatican Council, must not be presented as if they were in conflict."

The statement from the Genoa archdiocese seems to be an effort to prepare the faithful for the appearance of the motu proprio, deflecting the criticism that Pope Benedict intends a repudiation of the liturgy of Vatican II.

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