New instruction on old rite comes with a twist

by Thomas C. Fox

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Yesterday the Vatican Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei" published the Instruction on the application of Benedict XVI's Apostolic Letter Motu Proprio "Summorum Pontificum."

The new instruction calls on local bishops and pastors to respond generously to Catholics who seek celebration of the Mass according to the 1962 Roman Missal, commonly known as the Tridentine rite.

This new instruction will please some conservative Catholics, most significantly those who have not been comfortable with Catholic liturgies and instructions after 1962, the year the Second Vatican Council began its church renewal efforts.

But the instruction comes with a catch that some of these Catholics might find difficult to accept. Article #19 in the instruction reads: "The faithful who ask for the celebration of the forma extraordinaria must not in any way support or belong to groups which show themselves to be against the validity or legitimacy of the Holy Mass or the Sacraments celebrated in the forma ordinaria or against the Roman Pontiff as Supreme Pastor of the Universal Church."

This might limit the numbers of Catholics knocking on the parish door asking Father Joe to celebrate the Tridentine rite.

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