Looking forward to 10 years of Summorum Pontificum

The motu proprio, issued by Pope Benedict XVI July 7, 2007, was meant to help close rift in Church following liturgical changes made after the Second Vatican Council

A Mass said for the Summorum Pontificum pilgrimage in Rome held Oct. 25, 2014. (Credit: Daniel Ibanez/CNA.)

Ten years after Benedict XVI broadened access to the celebration of the Traditional Latin Mass, the document by which he did so is being hailed as a means of closing the rift of division following liturgical changes made after the Second Vatican Council.

“Sometimes there are these polemics, but I think Benedict tried to overcome these polemics, saying that even in the liturgy there is a certain progress … but clearly in full continuity with the tradition of the Church,” Fr. Vincenzo Nuara, OP, told CNA May 31.

Tensions were heightened after the Second Vatican Council’s reforms, and “unfortunately these situations of contrast, of opposition are created” even today, Fr. Nuara said.  

In light of this situation, Benedict XVI’s 2007 motu proprio Summorum Pontificum, which widened access to the pre-Vatican II liturgy, “was not an instrument to divide” or throw further fuel on the flames, he said.

Rather, “it was an instrument to unite. To unite, and to bring again that ecclesial peace that’s needed in this time.”

“I see it as a positive instrument, not negative,” Fr. Nuara said. “It’s not an instrument for going backwards. It’s an instrument to reconnect ourselves in continuity” with different ecclesial styles.

Fr. Nuara is president of the association “Priestly Friends of Summorum Pontificum” and founder and spiritual assistant of the “Youth and Tradition” association.

He is also one of the organizers of an upcoming Sept. 14-17 pilgrimage marking the 10th anniversary of Summorum Pontificum, and spoke to journalists at a working breakfast on the event. 

Titled “Summorum Pontificum: A renewed youth for the Church,” the pilgrimage is being organized by the “Priestly Friends of Summorum Pontificum” and “Youth and Tradition” associations in partnership with the Coetus Internationalis Summorum Pontificum.

Speaking of the title in comments to journalists, Fr. Nuara noted that a “truly surprising” phenomenon is that the “true protagonists” of this new “season of the Church … are the youth.”

In his letter accompanying the motu proprio, Benedict had noted that while “it has clearly been demonstrated that young persons too have discovered this liturgical form, felt its attraction and found in it a form of encounter with the Mystery of the Most Holy Eucharist, particularly suited to them.”

“Benedict XVI already in 2007 was aware that the new recipients of this liturgy, loved, desired and also sought, were the youth,” Fr. Nuara said.

Pope Francis has also commented on the fact that many of the enthusiasts for the Traditional Latin Mass are young people who never knew it growing up, but encountered it later.  

“Youth can’t be nostalgic for something they didn’t know,” Fr. Nuara said, adding that “this is very nice, because by experience I can say that the youth who draw near to the ancient liturgy of the Church love it” for the reverence and silence of the celebration.

In celebrating the ancient form, “you really understand who is at the center, who the protagonist is,” the priest said, noting that “youth understand very well that this liturgy speaks of … the essential truth of the faith.”

Full story at Catholic News Agency.


  1. Steve Seitz says:

    In my view, both forms of the Mass have issues.

    Problems with the OF: Priest faces the wrong direction and there seems to be a general de-emphasis in the sacred, often due to poor music, liturgical innovation, and pride/vanity.

    Problems with the EF: The altar boy replaces the role of the baptized and the Mass is spoken in a foreign language.

    I think it prudent to take the best of both forms and combine them into a single form.

    • Greg the Geologist says:

      Good topics for discussion, but at this point I’m not interested in giving my personal opinion. Just a few corrections. Prior to the more drastic liturgical changes of the 1960s, there was the ‘dialogue Mass’ coming into use, probably locally (I’m not old enough to remember the pre-conciliar liturgy clearly enough to be sure how common this was). The congregation did in fact say or chant the responses in that variant of the EF Mass, and I have seen that done more recently. Second, Latin really isn’t a ‘foreign language’, as it is a dead language not in use in any foreign country. Latin is, however, the official language of the Western Church, and thus not foreign at all, but belongs to us!

      • Greg,
        I agree that Latin isn’t a foreign language to Catholics. I used the term, “foreign language” because most people don’t understand Latin. And it’s important for people to understand what they’re hearing.

    • Anonymous says:

      That is forbidden.

    • St. Christopher says:

      Your comment is foolish, “Steve Seitz.” The language of the Catholic Church, which predates the founding of America, is Latin. It is “foreign” only to non-believers. Your comment on the role of the altar boy is, well, unintelligible.

      The Novus Ordo is the committee-formed mass to appease Protestants. While, through the doctrine of indefectibility, we can rely on its efficacy regarding meeting our base obligation to Christ, it is not equivalent, in any way, to the TLM. Francis and others in the Vatican know this, and hate the TLM, accordingly. Only the Novus Ordo permits the crescendo of error and ambiguity to flourish, as it has since Vatican II’s implementation. Oh yes, Summorum Pontificum demonstrates the perfidy and…

  2. St. Christopher says:

    (Part Duex) ” . . . mendacity of today’s Catholic bishop. Virtually the entire world has disobeyed Pope Benedict in his direction on providing for a generous application of the Mass (and of the Tradition supporting it).

    There was a true revolution in Vatican II, as can be seen by the utter rejection of the Church’s own DNA by the present pontiff. But the Mass of All Time is the best of the Church. It cannot be successfully stopped, even by those many cardinals who sneer at its beauty and vitality. Time to stand up and demand that all parishes have at least one TLM every day, including Sunday.

    • St. Christopher,
      My comment about the altar boy is not unintelligible. The Mass is of and for those who are of the Royal Priesthood of Jesus Christ. The ministerial priesthood is only in service to it in the act of worship. As such, I don’t think it’s appropriate for the altar boy to respond in place of the baptized.

      • Linda Maria says:

        Catholicism is a definite religion, requiring a definite training and ordaining of priests– and the priest is there, to lead the lay people! Just like lawyers, doctors, and engineers have a very definite profession, requiring a definite, long, exact training– with hard exams to pass, for professional licensing– and definite high standards set, for professional practice! With Christianity, we have Christ’s Apostles, specially picked and trained by Christ, and the Apostles to lead, with St. Peter as His successor, after His death. Then, we have all of us little laymen… led by the priest, our “alter Christus,” giving us Christ’s teaching and Sacraments. Many Protestants thought this to be “too elite!!” Sorry!

        • Linda Maria says:

          Latin is a universal (and unifying) language. Before Vatican II, a priest or nun could be sent to any country in the world, and the Mass, Divine Office, breviary, etc., would be exactly the same… in Latin! A Catholic layman with their spouse and children, could travel to any country– and go to Mass, anywhere in the world– and everything would be very familiar–the old Latin Mass was exactly the same!

        • Linda Maria says:

          A priest saying the old Latin Mass needed an altar boy to assist him— usually, more than just one! There were many things to do, besides learning and reciting the Latin responses! The role of the altar boy was very definite, a role to learn– and a possible introduction, to a future vocation to the priesthood! At that time, laymen were not allowed on the altar– except for maybe a Catholic layman to go into the Sacristy, and offer to assist the priest at Mass, if no altar boy was present– and don the cassock and surplice, for his “altar boy” role.

        • Linda Maria says:

          LOVE the old Latin Mass! However, I do sympathize, with the Reformation complaints, that the Church had gotten corrupt, was full of intellectual, educated, social and political “elites” with many abuses– and they didn’t care about Christ! Many were perhaps “snobs,” who ignored the “lowly,’ uneducated laymen, and their spiritual needs. NOT FAIR!! Also, Protestants wanted a less formal, simpler worship style, no “fancy,” mystical Sacraments, simple, unadorned churches, a vernacular Bible they could easily read for themselves, a more Bible-based belief–and to be more included in their religious services. Well, BLESS them!

        • Linda Maria says:

          Some Catholics today, who are very devout, and very smart and practical, too– do not like the old Latin Mass– even those who may be well-educated in their Faith, and who may have been altar boys, years ago, for the old Latin Mass, yet never liked it much– preferring to worship God at Mass in a simpler, plainer manner, with simple, plain religious music and liturgy, in a simple, plain, modest, unadorned church. Many priests also like plainer churches and Masses! With Vatican II, we have two Masses, the new Mass and the old Latin Mass– something for everyone!

        • Linda Maria says:

          The priest really needed the altar boys, for the old Latin Mass, and they had to do a number of things, besides reciting their Latin phrases. If no altar boys were available, a layman (with altar boy training) might offer his services to the priest, to serve Mass, and don cassock and surplice. Churches vary on the Missa Recitata (dialogue Mass), in which laymen in the pews recite the altar boy’s responses. But in most cases, it is just fine! Nice to now have both the New Mass and the old Latin Mass! Something for everyone!

        • Linda Maria says:

          Regarding my June 4 post, at 3:09 p.m– Many Reformation Protestants accused the Catholic clergy of being too “elite” — proud, educated, yet lacking in religious devotion, neglecting the needs of good, humble laymen. The Church also said the laity should not try to read the Bible alone, in a vernacular translation– they must be taught the Bible, by priests! Many devout laymen also wanted a more humble, modest church, and a practical, simpler, plainer liturgy, that included laymen, too! Maybe Vatican II tried to address some of that, to be fair!

      • Ann Malley says:

        “The Mass is of and for those who are of the Royal Priesthood of Jesus Christ. The ministerial priesthood is only in service to it in the act of worship. As such, I don’t think it’s appropriate for the altar boy to respond in place of the baptized.”

        Wonderful of you to express your sentiments on appropriateness. But the Church wasn’t engaging in an inappropriate exercise prior to the dialogue mass, Steve. Goodness sakes. Altar boys speaking on behalf of the people is perfectly acceptable when one understands what is going on and doesn’t use the arrangement to steep misfired upset.

        Are we rancorous when we send a representative to Congress to speak for the people?

        • Ann,
          I don’t know for certain how the altar boy role entered the TLM, but I strongly suspect that it was added as part of the Trenten lock-down which sought to reign in the abuses that the prior Lateran counsels were unable to entirely quell and to counter the attacks of Martin Luther. If this is correct, then the altar boy’s responses are certainly not ideal and shouldn’t be considered normative: Rather, they would reflect a liturgy on probation.

  3. the wise old admiral of the fleet knew that days of rough seas and smaller ships lay ahead. he had heard the younger captains mock the old reports of sea serpents and alluring sirens and other monsters contained in the old mariners’ logs. thinking of the future, he authorized a few of the old ways of seamanship and ship construction to continue, in full knowledge that the current popular comfort skiffs would be lost at sea in coming perilous tides.

  4. What is the best version of the Mass of All Time?

  5. Linda Maria says:

    Many today, have forgotten that the Mass is very, VERY HOLY!!! The priest is our “alter Christus,” who consecrates the bread and wine, which becomes the LIVING CHRIST, on the altar! The altar of God is not for un-ordained laymen, not leading a holy, consecrated life– to carelessly swarm around, like a bunch of barbarians! The Mass is not some sort of 1960s “humanistic pop psychology experience,” nor a “social activist religious encounter group,” in which everyone is falsely “equal” to the priest, and “has the right” to “participate equally!!” The old Latin Mass is very holy and reverent, and many of us just LOVE it!

    • Anonymous says:

      The Ordinary Form of the Mass is very Holy also. Just as the senses cannot perceive Christ in the Eucharist, they cannot perceive the Sacrifice of Calvary in the Mass. You have to have faith.

  6. Linda Maria. Do you love the old Latin Mass or God? Sometimes I ask my Protestant friends a similar question: do you love the Bible or God? It seems people worship the Latin Mass or the Bible instead of God. My brother is a Carthusian priest; the Carthusians celebrate the Mass using the rite of Grenoble from around the 12th century. Pray tell: are the Carthusians using the right form?

  7. Bohemond: the point is there have been many forms of the Mass- even the Latin Mass. My brother Carthusian priest actually prefers the Mass in the vernacular- he says it is simpler and more intimate- like Jesus.

    • Bohemond says:

      Well despite what your brother says, I think the Our Divine Savior deserves anything but simple.

      • Steve Seitz says:

        According to Scholastic philosophy, God is simple. What our savior asks of us is holiness.

COMMENTS POLICY: Comments are limited to 750 characters and will be truncated at 750. Comments should not contain offensive or libelous language. Please strive to be civil. All comments are subject to approval by our moderator and to editing as the moderator deems appropriate. Inclusion of your email address is optional.

Speak Your Mind

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

COMMENTS POLICY: Comments are limited to 750 characters and will be truncated at 750. Comments should not contain offensive or libelous language. Please strive to be civil. All comments are subject to approval by our moderator and to editing as the moderator deems appropriate. Inclusion of your email address is optional.