Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum and What It Means for the Anglican Use

Today is the day in which the “delayed parousia” of the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum finally arrived. The document expands the use of the 1962 Missal of John XXIII, as the document names it, i.e. the form of Holy Mass used prior to the New Order or Novus Ordo of Holy Mass issued by His Holiness Paul VI after the Second Vatican Council.

Father William Stetson and has met with Cardinal Ratzinger on a number of occasions, called me yesterday and drew my attention to the way the document uses the word “rite” and “use.”

I hope in the next few days to prepare a podcast or some notes on the “liturgical vocabulary” of the recent Motu Proprio.

It seems clear that the Holy See desires to retain the term “rite” as a singular term for the liturgical patrimony of the West. In short, there cannot be Roman “Rites”.

The Holy See has always refused to acknowledge a group of reunited Anglicans as an “Anglican Rite” in the sense that the Eastern Churches possesses the distinction. Rather, priests and faithful coming from Anglicanism into the Catholic Church, have been granted a liturgical “Usage of the Roman Rite” that expresses the patrimony of Anglicanism.

Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger accomplished this “Anglican Use” solution during his tenure as Prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Now as Holy Father, he is using the same vocabulary to solve the “Old Rite vs. New Rite” debate. Just as Pope St. Leo the Great declared that Christ possessed two natures while being yet one person, so Pope Benedict XVI has declared that there are “two usages while yet one rite.”

What does this mean for Anglicans? It means that the Anglican Use is somewhat like the Use of the Missal of John XXIII (1962). There is the ordinary use of the current missal, which is surrounded by other extraordinary “uses” (e.g. Anglican Use expressed in the Book of Divine Worship or the 1962 Missal of Blessed John XXIII).

More later.

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