LOTS OF GOOD NEWS FROM THE VATICAN ON PAPAL LITURGIES AND THE EXTRAORDINARY FORM OF THE MASS
Picture above posted at Vatican News website
Editorial: Ecclesia Dei, exceptional nature ends
The Editorial Director of the Dicastery for Communication comments on the significance of Pope Francis’ decision to assign the duties of the Ecclesia Dei Commission to a special section of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
By Andrea Tornielli
The Apostolic Letter motu proprio with which Pope Francis suppressed the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei and transferred its competence to a special section of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has a two-fold meaning.
Exceptional nature ends
In the first place, the Pope notes that the exceptional character for which Pope St. John Paul II had instituted it in 1988 – following the break with Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre and the subsequent episcopal ordinations that took place without pontifical mandate – has disappeared.
The Commission was meant to encourage the recovery of full ecclesial communion with the priests, seminarians, and men and women religious linked to the pre-conciliar Roman Rite, allowing them to maintain their own spiritual and liturgical traditions.
The emergency no longer exists, thanks also to the decision of Benedict XVI to permit the use of the 1962 Roman Missal (promulgated by Pope St. John XXIII before the beginning of the Second Vatican Council).
For this reason, Pope Francis said in the motu proprio that “the Institutes and Religious communities which habitually celebrate in the extraordinary form have today found their own stability of number and life”. Their existence is therefore consolidated, and all the functions are transferred to the new section which, among other things, will consist of the same staff previously employed by the Commission.
Doctrinal discussions continue
The second meaning of the decision is related to the specific competence of the Doctrinal Dicastery.
Pope Francis’ decision is part of a process already begun by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, who in 2009 decreed that the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith should preside over the Ecclesia Dei Commission.
This most recent change is motivated by the fact that the aims and questions dealt with by the Commission “are of a primarily doctrinal order”.
This is a reference to the dialogue between the Holy See and the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X, or FSSPX, founded by Archbishop Lefebvre.
As is well known, with the revocation of the excommunications of the bishops ordained illegitimately in 1988, the free use of the Roman Missal of 1962, and the faculties granted to the priests of the FSSPX by Pope Francis, the doctrinal issue remains the only issue still open, though it is also the most important – especially since the FSSPX has changed its superiors.
In fact , its new leaders have announced their desire for further discussions with the Holy See regarding the texts of the Second Vatican Council: a delicate issue which will be addressed by the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Luis Ladaria.
CDF assumes duties of Ecclesia Dei Commission
With a new Apostolic Letter issued "motu proprio", Pope Francis has suppressed the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, which was established thirty years ago by Pope St. John Paul II.
By Christopher Wells
The Holy See has published the text of an Apostolic Letter, issued motu proprio on 17 January 2019, by which Pope Francis suppresses the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei.
Established by St John Paul II
The Commission was established by Pope St John Paul II on 2 July 1988, with the “task of collaborating with the bishops, with the Departments of the Roman Curia and with the circles concerned, for the purpose of facilitating full ecclesial communion of priests, seminarians, religious communities or individuals until now linked in various ways to the Fraternity founded by Archbishop Lefebvre [the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X, or FSSPX], who may wish to remain united to the Successor of Peter in the Catholic Church.”
Dialogue with FSSPX
In the Letter, Pope Francis notes the “sincere solicitude and praiseworthy care” with which the Commission undertook its work. He explained, however, that “the conditions that led the holy Pontiff John Paul II to the institution” of the Ecclesia Dei Commission have changed since its foundation. Notably, the dialogue with the FSSPX is now focused primarily on questions of a doctrinal nature. For this reason, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith requested, in November of 2017, that the dialogue with the priestly fraternity be conducted directly by the CDF.
The new motu proprio effects that change through the suppression of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei.
Care for traditional communities and faithful
In addition to the dialogue with the FSSPX, the Pontifical Commission had also exercised the authority of the Holy See “over various institutes and religious communities which it has erected which have as their ‘proper Rite’ the ‘extraordinary form’ of the Roman Rite and observe the previous traditions of the religious life.” It was also tasked with looking after and promoting “the pastoral care of the faithful attached to the antecedent Latin liturgical tradition, present in various parts of the world.”
In the motu proprio suppressing the Ecclesia Dei Commission, Pope Francis notes that “the Institutes and Religious Communities which habitually celebrate in the extraordinary form have today found their own stability of number and life.”
New Section of CDF
With the Apostolic Letter, the Holy Father assigns the duties of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei in their entirety to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, “within which a specific Section will be set up in order to continue the work of vigilance, promotion, and protection” of the suppressed Commission.
Finally, Pope Francis disposes that the budget of the Ecclesia Dei Commission fall within the ordinary accounting of the CDF.
Sistine Chapel Choir now part of Liturgical Celebrations
Pope Francis releases a motu proprio making the Sistine Chapel Choir part of the Office for Liturgical Celebrations.
By Devin Watkins
With an Apostolic Letter issued motu proprio on Saturday, Pope Francis decreed that “the Pontifical Musical Chorus of the Sistine Chapel should be inserted into the Office for the Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff”.
He said the Office for Liturgical Celebrations holds “a specific place of service to papal liturgical functions and, at the same time, is a guardian and promoter of the prestigious artistic and musical heritage produced over the centuries by the Choir itself for the solemn liturgies of the Popes.”
The Pope writes that the Sistine Chapel Choir has always had “a direct connection with the major celebrations of the Popes”.
Pope Francis said the decision was taken “bearing in mind the dictates of the Council concerning the Sacred Liturgy”, in particular nn.28-29 of the Sacrosanctum Concilium.
Msgr. Guido Marini
In the motu proprio, Pope Francis also appointed the Master of Papal Ceremonies, Msgr. Guido Marini, as the Head of the Sistine Chapel Choir, “entrusting him with the task of guiding all activities, including the liturgical, pastoral, spiritual, artistic, and educational areas, of the Choir”.
He tasked Msgr. Marini with “making ever more perceptible, in it and its individual components, the primary purpose of sacred music, which ‘is the glory of God and the sanctification of the faithful’ (SC 112).”
Archbishop Guido Pozzo
Finally, Pope Francis appointed Archbishop Guido Pozzo as the Superintendent of the Economy (or Treasurer) of the Pontifical Musical Chorus of the Sistine Chapel.
The Pope entrusted him “only with the task of caring for the economic administration of the Choir itself, to be carried out under the guidance of the Master of Ceremonies and Head of the Pontifical Musical Chorus.”