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Debate: Is Summorum Pontificum a failure?

Join the first of our weekly debates

By on Wednesday, 7 July 2010

A traditional Latin Mass at St Patrick's church, New Orleans (CNS photo)

A traditional Latin Mass at St Patrick's church, New Orleans (CNS photo)

On July 7 2007, Pope Benedict XVI published a Motu Proprio, Summorum Pontificum, which swept away restrictions on the Extraordinary Form of the Mass.

At the time, commentators predicted that it would bring the pre-Vatican II Mass back into the mainstream, and transform the liturgical culture of the Church. But three years on, only a tiny minority of Catholics have access to the traditional Latin Mass.

So was Pope Benedict’s initiative a failure, or is it still too early to tell?

Let us know what you think.

  • Martha Bux

    Three years in not a very long time–especially not in terms of the Church–and I would argue that there has been a sea-change (in the United Kingdom at least) since His Holiness published the Motu Proprio: Summorum Pontificum. Even if the Faithful are still not able to attend an EF Mass on a Sunday at a normal time, or the numbers haven't turned up as expected, or the Bishops are still reluctant in some places, the fact that the Mass is available and slowly becoming part of the norm, is pretty tremendous. I also believe–and the evidence is unfortunately only anectdotal–that Summorum Pontificum has vastly improved the Novus Ordo. Priests across the country, especially younger ones, are increasingly finding the courage to include some Latin in the Mass (the Canon for example) and are introducing more reverence into their liturgical celebrations. On the other hand, SP has also been improved by the younger priests who celebrate the EF Mass but keep the readings in the vernacular. The two forms seem to have begun to mutually enrich each other as the Holy Father wished. It is supposed to be organic development, not the abrupt break from the last forty years, but a return to the hermeneutic of continuity and reform.

  • Bernard

    I am not a regular old-Mass-goer. But, I think, yes – Summorum Pontificum has been a success, if you think it's a good thing that many more Catholic faithful than before are able to hear Mass as it used to be celebrated by all Catholics, everywhere, for hundreds of years. There was clearly a demand for the old form of the Mass. That is why you find it celebrated regularly in many London churches especially.

    Second point relates to the basic unfairness of the Mass being prohibited. There was nothing wrong with it or heretical. It is generally considered beautiful and holy. So how was it just to say to priests “you are not allowed to celebrate this Mass” and to people “you are not allowed to hear it”? That was unjust, surely.

  • UncleVanya

    The more I read about Pope Benedict the more I am convinced that he is not seeking to make an instant, revolutionary impact on the Church, but to lay foundations that will be built on by his successors for generations to come. Like Rome itself, he thinks in centuries. That's the best way to understand Summorum Pontificum. Three years on the Motu Proprio has not revolutionised worship around the world. But Benedict XVI never suggested it would. But in a century's time worship around the world will be deeply marked by his reforms.

  • Mics413

    It is way to early to tell but I can see that the powers at be do not want it to return. For example, in New York City and the areas around the city the only place to go to mass is in a cemetery chapel that only holds 30 people. The other place is in the middle of downtown Brooklyn where you can not find a parking spot at all. Another is in a very VERY bad area where people are intimidated to go. I was talking to my mother about this a few weeks ago and she said that the same thing happened in the early 70's. She had told me that churches only held masses on Sunday mornings at 5 or 6am and then churches said since no one is coming they should just stop having them.

  • UncleVanya

    The more I read about Pope Benedict the more I am convinced that he is not seeking to make an instant, revolutionary impact on the Church, but to lay foundations that will be built on by his successors for generations to come. Like Rome itself, he thinks in centuries. That's the best way to understand Summorum Pontificum. Three years on the Motu Proprio has not revolutionised worship around the world. But Benedict XVI never suggested it would. But in a century's time worship around the world will be deeply marked by his reforms.

  • pak152

    it is a long process and considering the various roadblocks that the bishops put in place to prevent the saying of the EF I would say it is well on its way to being a success. Here in the States more and more parishes are saying the EF. For far too long the bishops prevented the saying of the EF and when the SP was published they misinterpreted it publishing all sorts of rules

  • UncleVanya

    The more I read about Pope Benedict the more I am convinced that he is not seeking to make an instant, revolutionary impact on the Church, but to lay foundations that will be built on by his successors for generations to come. Like Rome itself, he thinks in centuries. That's the best way to understand Summorum Pontificum. Three years on the Motu Proprio has not revolutionised worship around the world. But Benedict XVI never suggested it would. But in a century's time worship around the world will be deeply marked by his reforms.

  • Peter

    Perhaps at the local level the majority of people are still waiting to see a Church moulded by the transparency and compassion of the Gospel (central to Vatican II) and haven't the time to waste on secondary issues such as which side of the altar one stands of which version of the Latin text is best to use at Mass.

  • Peter


    Perhaps at the local level the majority of people are still waiting to see a Church moulded by the transparency and compassion of the Gospel (central to Vatican II) and haven't the time to waste on secondary issues such as which side of the altar one stands or which version of the Latin text is best to use at Mass.

  • Mary

    Somehow I don't think the Pope brought it back to make it mainstream. Seems to me what he did was make it more accessible and less stigmatized for those who wanted it. To judge it as a success or failure seems stupid.

  • GFvonB

    It's definitely a success, at least here in the U.S. all of the truly well-meaning Bishops and plenty of the savvy politician Bishops have quietly changed their attitude towards the Traditional Mass. The Trad orders are inundated with requests from Bishops to set up shop in their dioceses. Sure, it will take a long time for it to be “mainstream”, but that's not all bad – we don't want to replicate the senseless rupture and upheaval of 1969.

  • Pedant

    Three years on – from 2005? Has the Extraordinary Form diminished our ability to count?

  • The Catholic Herald

    Pedant, thank you, and well spotted. Instead of 2005, it should now read 2007.

  • Gboos788

    I believe that it is too early to tell…I do not believe that Summorum Pontificum is a failure, but ,perhaps, sufficient directives encouraging initiation of the Holy Mass in the extraordinary form have not been emphasized. G. Boos

  • Thegrassysageknoll

    Summorum Pontificem should not be judged on numerical success but on what it set out to do: heal a rift in the church (unfortunately created by some members of the curia) and banish all stigmatization associated with the traditional mass. I think it has achieved this in terms of the second objective – the first is still on the cards.

    If SP was not significant, then the liberal bishops or lobby groups (Catholic and non-Catholic) would not be creating such a fuss and putting all their energy into trying to downplay/obstruct it. They realise (perhaps more than traditional Catholics themselves) that this document has the power to change the church, more than anything else that has come out from the Holy See since Vatican II. And that is what frightens them…

  • crouchback

    Mary……..what does mainstream mean…???? All around diocese are falling apart, not enough young priests coming through. Parishes closing, buildings falling into disrepair. There is no stream left to “be main” in….. we are in a dried up dead zone. We all know what brought the drought on, don't we…???

    We are of to Lourdes in two weeks, the usual suspects will be there running the show, with their guitars and ghastly so called masses liturgical dancing and the like. Even though they can see the decay all around there is not the will to do anything about it. Because they know full well what the remedy is….The Real Mass……but these “Spiritual Giants” turned their face against the Traditional Mass years ago……they'd rather see the church sink, than come down from the clouds.

  • Benedict Carter

    In Portugal, if you mention “Summorum Pontificum” the suit-clad priests, who have long ago given up control of their parishes to the lay mafia (all thosen Eucharistic Monsters, lay readers, professional Sanctuary busyibodies) will look at you as if you are from anothr world. In the meantime their congregations shrink and shrink and everybody is bored out of their skulls with the mediocrity of the Novus Ordo, which is only loved now by a coterie of fanatical hippy-style “Spirit of Vatican II” lunatics.

    In other words, the Old Mass is barely known. Certianly not be the young, very few of whom go to Mass. In Fatima, there are now three priests saying the Old Mass (one of them an SSPX priest) and there are sometimes Masses in Lisbon and Braga.

    And that's your lot. The useless Bishops have done nothing to inform the laity that the possibility exists and anyway, they are known to be such Modernsists that they are terrified that the Portuguese would desert the Novus Ordo in droves.

  • Benedict Carter

    The Church hasn't been “moulded by the transparency and compassion of the Gospel” for the last 2,000 years? Buffoon.

  • Benedict Carter

    Please God Uncle Vanya in 100 years' time the Catholics then will look back on the situation we have now and laugh at the stupidity and naivety of the clerics who have nearly destroyed the Church. In 100 years' time mwe will have the Traditional Mass and the Novus Ordo will be an embarrassed memory.

  • Findlayson

    To say it was 'a failure', is to assume its purpose was to, 'bring the pre-Vatican II Mass back into the mainstream, and transform the liturgical culture of the Church', isn't it?

  • Fr Timothy Finigan

    I would say that SP has been a success. It trumped the reluctance of Bishops to allow the usus antiquior and has encouraged many priests to learn how to say it. I have met dozens of priests who have only begun to say the old Mass since SP and I am sure that there are many more in the pipeline. In terms of negotiations with the SSPX, it has removed an important stumbling block.

    I agree too that it has helped priests to say the new Mass more reverently and to understand some elements of that form of the Mass better, with more awareness of our liturgical tradition.

  • Liberal Traditionalist

    Summorum Pontifcum hasn't failed but the priests, bishops and laity that are responsible for the current malaise need a wake-up call.

    1. The endless quest to make worship “relevant” to the youth is laughable. It was pathetic in the 70s and it's even worse now. Examine parish demographics and ask why a lost generation aged- 30-60 has been alenated.

    2. There are intransigent priests who refuse to place the crucufix on their forward-facing altars. Why can't they adjust? What liturgical objections can they have to the crucifix?

    3. There's a “noisy minority” in most parishes that runs things their way – 30 years of this and the Catholic Faith in most towns and cities flounders as a result.

    I for one quite like the Latin Novus Ordo rather than the 1962 Traditional Rite – I wouldn't force either on an unwilling congretation; however Bishops, Priests and the Noisy Minority need to adjust quickly or else we'll face a similar traditional v. modernist split. My problem is that the modernists treat us all as if we're “a bunch of nutters.”

    Who exactly thinks that “Lord of the Dance,” “Our God Reigns” and “Yahweh” are better forms of worship than what they replaced?

    Only Rome can sort this out – the Roman Catholic establishment within these shores treats tradition as if it had been invented by the Devli – and we all knoiw that they don't believe that Satan exists anyway.

    It'll take longer than three years to reverse the mistakes of the last thirty.

  • Many Atime

    A heavenly success.

  • crouchback

    As Herman Goering was wont to say…”Whenever I hear the word culture, I reach for my pistol”…..

    You are not seriously using the word “Culture” for the antics that go on in the average parish in this country are you..??

    Shurely shome mishtake..??? the Catholic Culture withered and died in every diocese in this country years ago. Oh sure the corpse still twitches every now and again, and Fr Tim…..just below…..and Fr Ray Blake, of Brighton, Fr Dunn in Glasgow, Fr Mark Morris, Glasgow…..and others……are trying to do their bit……..but the overall picture is one of decay….Parishes closing…..vocations just about non existent……and morons dancing in the sanctuaries… stead of giving us the Real Mass.

  • Tim

    Here in Belgium the Catholic Church is moribund — declining congregations, few vocations, liturgical abuse the norm for Mass, and now immersed in scandal. The only sign of religious vitality in Belgium is amongst the Muslims. Yet SP has enabled a twice-monthly EF Mass in the centre of Brussels and regular celebrations in the Basilica of the Holy Blood in Bruges. I pray that the rediscovery of beauty and dignity in worship may revitalise the Church in this once Catholic country.

  • athelstane

    Summorum Pontificum was promulgated in 2007, not 2005. Which is to say – exactly three years ago today.

  • athelstane

    “Too early to tell?” If so, it's almost by design.

    Fr. John Zuhlsdorf has repeatedly made the observation that Summorum Pontificum was above all a gift to *priests* – priests who now have the right to celebrate the traditional Roman Rite, and in turn to be transformed by it.

    In this respect it may be many years – long after Pope Benedict XVI has gone to join the heavenly choirs – before the full fruits of SP can be truly felt. Only now is a new generation of seminarians and young priests being exposed in large numbers (at least in some U.S. seminaries) to the traditional rite, or at least able to avail themselves of the same. And once they do, it will re-orient not only their approach to liturgy, but also their view of the priesthood. Once these men take up leadership positions in the Church ten or twenty years from now, we may see the full impact of the motu proprio – all across every facet of the life of the Church, not merely in an increased number of traditional personal parishes or early Sunday low masses.

    The numbers suggest there has already been considerable progress in many countries. (See here:… ) Even so the overall percentage of masses in the traditional rite remains small. But I cannot help but feel that these are the first pebbles of a building avalanche.

  • Hoops

    What about a Mass in Aramaic?

  • athelstane

    As a matter of fact, the Syriac Catholic Church (an eastern rite sui juris particular church in full communion with Rome) celebrates in Aramaic.

  • Frmacstevenson

    I As a priest, it pains me to say this, but: I think SP it is a failure. Here is why….many young priests I know don't want to take the time to learn it. And the few that would like to learn and say it, have been told (unofficial of course) by the powers that be, if you want to get your own parish someday, You better not rock the boat. There were two Latin Masses started in my diocese right after SP. Sadly, the numbers fell off, and the new priests, who were made pastors of the parishes, told me that they will not be keeping the Latin Mass on the parishes Mass schedule when the retiring priests who are now saying these masses retire and move away. Lastly, the people have voted and they prefer the Novus Ordo (McEucharist) to the Latin Mass with its complex symbolism (they have to think too much) and transcendent theology. Sad but true.

  • Donald Ripple

    SP has definitely been a success. The TLM is no longer on the fringe, it has made notable gains within the Church, but entrenched VCII types in chanceries will have to be replaced before Tradition returns as mainstream Catholicism.

  • Fr.Thomas Regan OSB

    Type your comment here.Fr.Thomas Regan OSB:
    Thank God for Pope Benedict and Summorum Pontificum ! At Abergavenny we have a weekly Traditional Rite Mass, a quarterly Missa Cantata, an occasional Solemn High Mass (when deacon & subdeacon are available!) and a LowMass on Easter Day and Christmas morn: parishioners welcome this opportunity to pray the Mass with devotion. Others travel great distances to avail themselves of the opportunity here. Some poor priests are against the Old Mass from ignorance; indeed some have trouble saying the New Rite in English ! Some feel there is ' no need'…. but they have not catechized their people nor presented trhe faithful with an opportunity to learn about our rich liturgical heritage. The Latin Mass Society's training weeks for clergy have proved to be life-changing for many priests. I urge younger clergy to take advantage of them, or to invite those Priests who do celebrate the 'Mass of the Ages' to help them. The Pope is the Vicar of Christ upon earth, he has given us Summorum Pontificum. Peter has spoken. Celebrating the Old Mass is clearly 'according to the mind of the Church'—-and Vocations abound for the Orders which celebrate it. Deo gratias!

  • Gillineau

    Any debate as to the efficacy of SP has to begin by asking what it intend to achieve? Simply, its intention was to do away with a somewhat peculiar power previously granted to Bishops, to be the arbiter within their diocese of the form of Mass celebrated, a power I presume granted to stop liturgical abuse. In this respect SP has been an absolute success: B16 did away with this authority granted the Bishops. Are there lots of EF masses available? Not yet, but wait and see.

  • Purdie_ken

    It has had a very slow start. Thanks mostly to local Bishops who are afraid of the Old Mass. I struggle to understand why. But slowly things are changing, at the behest of laity mostly.
    Looks like a case of “one word from The Holy Father and the Bishops do what they like”!
    Ours here (Paisley) has consistantly refused to allow the ER, and as we would have to “import” a Priest. We do need his permission.

  • Albertcooper

    I live in the parish of the Cathedral Church of St.John the Baptist in Norwich,and with the current Bishop and Clergy there is no chance at all of having the Tridentine Mass celebrated on a fulfill the Sunday obligation…let alone on a weekday
    The sanctuary is bare..the alter rail gone.. the High Alter gone…in its place some “spirit of Vactican Two” ornamentation,and decoration….Where we used to have full choral masses sung at High Mass….well this liturgical choral music is now promoted in concert performances now and then !

  • Fammarshall

    My family and I base our whole spiritual life around the Usus Antiquior. Our daughter has just made her First Holy Communion in Cambridge according to this rite and our son will be confirmed in the traditional rite in November. So, for us the Motu Proprio Summorum Pointificum has been a tremendous success. However, it must be said that the largest obstacle remains the opposition to it by most priests and bishops who put their own views above those of the Holy Father. I look forward to the time when the Tridentine Mass will be available in ALL parishes, not only in this country but throughout the world.

    In Christ, Kevin Marshall.

  • Ed

    It surely is a failure and when history looks back on the Papacy of Benedict XVI it will see this as a failure also. Many people I speak to inside and outside the Church do not warm to him in any way and see 'Summorum Pontificum' as yet another attempt to dispel with the fruitful conclusions of Vatican II. Pope John Paul II said that his wish for the new millennium was the full and proper implementation of the Second Vatican Council – his successor seems hell bent on reversing that. The change in the translation in the Missal is also a bad mistake and many more will leave the church – thanks to Benedict XVI.

  • Sr Sandals

    As a writer who has only recently started attending Tridentine Mass, but has for 40 years attended just the 'normal mass' I see that there is a big problem with the Novus Ordo, which, like many seemingly abrupt or discontinuous changes, hastily carried out, in order to be properly understood or even to be effective, assumes a complete prior knowledge of what went before on behalf of the priest and people. Its so obvious to me that it hurts.

    The 'action' of all masses should be Devoted Worship, spiritual, mental and physical. This intense and true participation is ultimately expressed in, for want of a better word, 'directionailty' – even a very small child without developed language skills intimately understands this and can instantly participate too. The 'directionality' (i.e. priest and people facing and worshipping God, utterly expressing and reinforcing their Faith in doing so – literally witnessing with everything that they've got, to God's Presence) is totally and utterly essential to 'Worship God', since without it, God's presence in a specific location becomes watered down, and it takes a great and hugely difficult effort of imagination to make up for this 'loss'. If God is 'wherever you want Him to be', and there is no privileged locus for his True Presence then the Devil has won. Hence many New Masses are spiritually empty, or worse, are filled with ghastly pale reflections of secular culture.

    Priests and people (and we are all priests in a true sense which is why each and every 'priest' must be given the fullest foundation in the Faith) when faced with having to make 'extra' creative and imaginative leaps, leaving aside having to constantly 'ignore' weak, insensitive or even erroneous practises at Novus Ordo masses will eventually become, apart from a few exceptional moments, true 'empty vessels', not necessarily praying or worshipping, or even participating in any meaningful sense other than ticking off a lot of ritualistic boxes where the key 'presence' is in fact the priest, and the chief reason for participating in the call and response type dialogue is that it is with him and not with God. Too much hard and unsupported work is assumed by the Novus Ordo to 'make it work' as an act of worship. The further we get from the time that it was changed the worse the situation will become. If left without the Pope's intervention the mass could be reduced to a prayerless and worshipless meeting, a sort of uninspiring club.

    By the way, this is not a sin of what has been added but what has been omitted, and is very simply remedied by some extra rubrics explaining what really must be attempted by priest and people in order for the presence of God and the worship of God to be obscured through a very dark glass indeed. The Novus Ordo, when carried out by prayerful priests who understand intimately this 'directionality', and do all they can to develop it and reinforce it for their congregations, are truly worthy leaders of their Faith. The Bishops and all of us really who have presided over this scandal (true stumbling block) of emptying the mass of its devoted humble worship, which is not a 'meeting' but a matter of life or death every time it is said, are now, after 40 years in the desert having to listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit, happily and wonderfully broadcast through the Holy Fathers Motu Proprio, which skillfully steers the flock in a new direction.

    Novus Ordo, carried out by priests who understand and who also regularly perform the Old Rite, can be prayerful, worshipful, and holy, but without it, and without the 'directionality' of worshipful prayer, it can be used by the Devil to make us stumble on our own lack of faith, our own emptiness. The empty gestures, the liturgical atrocities, the banalities, the diabolical music, the misunderstanding of participation, are only the weak cultural inserts that have accumulated because of the lack of understanding of what it means to be in the Presence of God, an emptiness which has been fostered by our lack of belief that God's Presence has a locus, a position in the church, in the mass, in the tabernacle, from which all unworthy controllable thoughts, music, behaviour should be banished as a form of denial of this Presence. The direction we face, the prayerful intent that comes from this simple understanding of where to 'send' your worship (a totally natural part of the Old Mass regardless of the 'qualities' of the priest as a charismatic man or not – its should have nothing to do with his character,he's just leading and uniting the prayers that are already there, facing the same direction – 'at the helm' as it were).

    The Old Mass contains the hidden rubrics for the New Mass. Those rubrics should be hidden no more, and no New Mass missel should be published without both forms – curiousity in the young will be aroused, and their curiousity will be rewarded.

    40 years in the desert – we have gone so far past simple thirst that its a miracle we're alive at all. don't our leaders know this?

  • Findlayson

    I'm for the Mass, whatever form it takes, and have had the pleasure of participating at an NO Mass celebrated by Fr Bernard Barrett in his little church in Wolverton, where, I think, the Mass was beautiful because he understood what he was doing: he has a love of the Mass (and our Lord), and it shines.

    It is love for the Mass through understanding it that matters, isn't it? Isn't there a danger in becoming, a) obsessed with form rather than substance (especially how it 'moves' me), or b) a superstitious reliance on the validity of the sacrament or the visible 'sanctity' of the priest, otherwise?

    I'd rather participate at an NO Mass where the priest is prayerful, devoted to the Lord, faithful to the Magisterium, and is a true pastor to the faithful under his care, than a Mass – in either form – celebrated by a crypto-sedevacantist clericalist, harking back to 'the old days', who celebrates the NO Mass with bitterness and resentment, and an EF Mass with a sense of vindication…

    For me, the homily is the testing ground. It's at this point the priest exposes his heart.

    The real 'success' is in the powerful evangelisation which results from priests endeavouring to be holy and faithful through devotion to our Lord, and not only form, surely?

  • Delia

    No, definitely not a failure. But it may take a long, long time to make any widespread impact; that may be disappointing, but any other expectations were surely unrealistic.

  • Andyclarag

    The success of 'Summorum Pontificium' can only be fully measured in the future. A few decades will have to elapse until abalanced judgement can be made. The Holy Father realises the malaise at the heart of the Catholic Church here in the West is due to a belief that the Second Vatican Council was a rupture with what went before. The 'reform' of the Mass seemed to suggest that what had gone before was to be replaced by the new, modern and man-centred liturgy that eschewed all sense of the God-centred. The clergy who experienced the change in worship in the late 1960s will probably be the most reluctant to offer the 1962 Missal to their people. Some of these clerics are now in the Hierarchy as Bishops. Archbishops and even Cardinals and so a reluctance to re-sacralise the Church's worship of the Blessed Trinity will be their default position. The reasons for much optimism is from the newly ordained clergy who read Joseph Ratzinger's works in seminary,usually with some discretion, as the 'formation' team would be scandalised that such 'reaction' was being imported into the seminary. These young men are now ordained, hopefully, and their favourite author is now the Supreme Pontiff. They are open and appreciative of the 2007 motu proprio as they and their successors will be offering the liturgical treasures of the Church to their people in the decades to come.
    In Britain we will probably continue to have a degree of reluctance to uptake the Pope's generous offer. A hierachy in Scotland and England that seems to be unwilling to be as generous as the present Pope eschews the 1962 Mass as being abrogated by the 1969 Missal will be replaced over time. For that a Papal Nuncio who seems to be aware of the crisis in the Catholic Church can be cured by the application of Papal teaching on the Sacred Liturgy as a 'hermenutic of continuity' between the two forms of the Roman Rite.
    Then success will be measured in terms of revived Church that will be enjoying a second spring leading these islands to communion with the Catholic Church and the rupture of the 16th century revolt will be overcome at last.

  • Ibrahim

    It is possible this point has been made elsewhere but surely after three years the Holy father might give a pointed lead/sign by offering the Gregorian Rite aka EF in public, at some high profile event and show the doubters, sceptics and hostiles that he means business. He believes in the concept of liturgical pluralism, within defined limits, so now let us experience the reality. As Supreme Pontiff he has the authority in matters liturgical so let the stiff necks feel the weight of it.

  • MaxKolbe

    SP has made the UA Mass much, much more available and less “freaky” and “on-the-fringe” in Ireland. In Cork City alone there have been (or will have been after next Saturday) two Pontifical High Masses in the UA celebrated by cardinals (Cardinal Pell in 2009 and Cardinal Burke in 2010). This was unheard of and could barely be imagined for 40 years or so.

    I'm happy to say that the UA Mass is available weekly (at an appropriate time – Sunday 12 noon) and all holydays in Cork City. Check out the for an idea of how far we've come.

    Of course there's a long way to go – the new English translation of the NO is another help towards dignity for the liturgy.

    It's not about forcing anyone or going back in time. It's about providing due respect and witness to the greatest thing on earth (the Eucharist) and being proud of the cultural, historical and faith increasing power of the Mass.

    It's a breath of fresh air in what has/had become a rather stale and anaemic church (hard to say but who would argue it wasn't?).

  • Et Expecto

    This comment requires a response. Ed says that SP is “an attempt to dispell the fruitful conclusions of Vatican II”. Perhaps ED has not read the documents of Vatican II. Sacrasanctum Concilium states that Latin is to be retained and Gregorian Chant is to be given pride of place. Summorun Pontificum is surely helpful in these respects.

    The phrase “fruitful conclusions of Vatican II” could also do with some examination. Is Ed referring to plumitting church attendance and the collapse in vocations to the religious life?

  • Sussex Catholic

    The achievement of SP will be felt when priests realise that it is primarily aimed at them. It is intended to assist their spiritural development as priests, to improve their ars celebrandi and to help them to educate the laity about what the Mass really is. It is ridiculous to expect an ever more deliturgised laity to request the EF in large numbers. People will not ask for what they do not think they need. It is for priests to take it upon themselves to spread interest in the EF and in particular sponsoring it as a Sunday morning Mass in their parishes. Once they have it established the laity will soon come to appreciate it.

  • Et Expecto

    Summorum Pontificum has been successful so far. What is needed now in England and Wales is for the Bishops to take it further by ensuring that al seminarians have the opportunity to learn to celebrate Mass in the usur antiquior.

  • Ferde Rombola

    Ed, may I suggest the Anglican sect to you? That's where you belong.

  • Arianna Capuani

    You' ll be surprised, but even after Summum Pontificum we still don't have many traditional masses here in Rome. By the way, I could notice a slight increase in the use of finer vestments and, thank God, organ music during Mass. Just to mention something more specific, in my First Communion we just sung modern hymns; last year, my nephew could enjoy Ave Verum Corpus. Baby steps, yet significant for the restoration of beauty and mystery to liturgy.

  • Jeffrey


    Pope Benedict's papacy, so far, has been completely dedicated to the fruitful implementation of Vatican II. Unfortunately for those whom you seem to travel with, that is a very different thing from the “Spirit of Vatican II”, which is founded not in the actual writings and teachings of that council, but in the political and social agenda of those who used the malaise following the council to promote their own vision of “Church”. I challenge anyone to find an issue being promoted by Pope Benedict that is not FIRMLY rooted in the teachings of the Second Vatican Council. And I'm referring to the ACTUAL teachings as expressed in the writings…

  • Jeffrey

    Fr. Mac…

    This is so sad to hear. But what happens 10, 20, 30, 50 years from now? Sure, I would have liked to have seen EF Masses in every parish by November of 2007, but I realize that if that's ever going to happen, it's going to be a Mass at one parish this year, maybe another the next year…and so on.

    In May of 2007, we had ONE EF Mass in our Diocese each week. We now have 5 regularly scheduled at 5 different parishes throughout the Diocese as well as a dedicated FSSP Parish with a full schedule (and full pews I'll add…) that was established in 2009. NONE of that would have happened without SP.

    Resistance dies with the deaths of those who resist.