Pope Benedict XVI published his Motu Proprio, Summorum Pontificum twelve years ago. This very important document gave priests the right to choose to offer Mass in the Extraordinary Form. It also gave the faithful the right to request their Parish Priest to offer Mass in the Extraordinary Form. These provisions, set out below are enshrined in Canon Law.
Art 1. The Roman Missal promulgated by Pope Paul VI
is the ordinary expression of the lex orandi
(rule of prayer) of the Catholic Church of the Latin rite. The Roman Missal promulgated by Saint Pius V and revised by Blessed John XXIII
is nonetheless to be considered an extraordinary expression of the same lex orandi
of the Church and duly honoured for its venerable and ancient usage. These two expressions of the Church’s lex orandi
will in no way lead to a division in the Church’s lex credendi
(rule of faith); for they are two usages of the one Roman rite.
It is therefore permitted to celebrate the Sacrifice of the Mass following the typical edition of the Roman Missal, which was promulgated by Blessed John XXIII
in 1962 and never abrogated, as an extraordinary form of the Church’s Liturgy. The conditions for the use of this Missal laid down by the previous documents Quattuor Abhinc Annos
and Ecclesia Dei
are now replaced as follows:
Art. 2. In Masses celebrated without a congregation, any Catholic priest of the Latin rite, whether secular or regular, may use either the Roman Missal published in 1962 by Blessed Pope John XXIII
or the Roman Missal promulgated in 1970 by Pope Paul VI
, and may do so on any day, with the exception of the Easter Triduum. For such a celebration with either Missal, the priest needs no permission from the Apostolic See or from his own Ordinary.
Art. 3. If communities of Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life
, whether of pontifical or diocesan right, wish to celebrate the conventual or community Mass in their own oratories according to the 1962 edition of the Roman Missal, they are permitted to do so. If an individual community or an entire Institute or Society wishes to have such celebrations frequently, habitually or permanently, the matter is to be decided by the Major Superiors according to the norm of law and their particular laws and statutes.
Art. 4. The celebrations of Holy Mass mentioned above in Art. 2 may be attended also by members of the lay faithful who spontaneously request to do so, with respect for the requirements of law.
Art. 5, §1 In parishes where a group of the faithful attached to the previous liturgical tradition stably exists, the parish priest should willingly accede to their requests to celebrate Holy Mass according to the rite of the 1962 Roman Missal. He should ensure that the good of these members of the faithful is harmonized with the ordinary pastoral care of the parish, under the governance of the bishop in accordance with Canon 392, avoiding discord and favouring the unity of the whole Church.
§2 Celebration according to the Missal of Blessed John XXIII
can take place on weekdays; on Sundays and feast days, however, such a celebration may also take place.
§3 For those faithful or priests who request it, the pastor should allow celebrations in this extraordinary form also in special circumstances such as marriages, funerals or occasional celebrations, e.g. pilgrimages.
§4 Priests using the Missal of Blessed John XXIII
must be qualified (idonei
) and not prevented by law.
§5 In churches other than parish or conventual churches, it is for the rector of the church to grant the above permission.
Art. 6. In Masses with a congregation celebrated according to the Missal of Blessed John XXIII
, the readings may be proclaimed also in the vernacular, using editions approved by the Apostolic See.
Art. 7. If a group of the lay faithful, as mentioned in Art. 5, §1, has not been granted its requests by the parish priest, it should inform the diocesan bishop. The bishop is earnestly requested to satisfy their desire. If he does not wish to provide for such celebration, the matter should be referred to the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei
Art. 8. A bishop who wishes to provide for such requests of the lay faithful, but is prevented by various reasons from doing so, can refer the matter to the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei
, which will offer him counsel and assistance.
Art. 9, §1 The parish priest, after careful consideration, can also grant permission to use the older ritual in the administration of the sacraments of Baptism, Marriage, Penance and Anointing of the Sick, if advantageous for the good of souls.
§2 Ordinaries are granted the faculty of celebrating the sacrament of Confirmation using the old Roman Pontifical, if advantageous for the good of souls.
§3 Ordained clerics may also use the Roman Breviary promulgated in 1962 by Blessed John XXIII
Art. 10. The local Ordinary, should he judge it opportune, may erect a personal parish in accordance with the norm of Canon 518 for celebrations according to the older form of the Roman rite, or appoint a rector or chaplain, with respect for the requirements of law.
Art. 12. The same Commission, in addition to the faculties which it presently enjoys, will exercise the authority of the Holy See in ensuring the observance and application of these norms.
We order that all that we have decreed in this Apostolic Letter given Motu Proprio take effect and be observed from the fourteenth day of September, the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, in the present year, all things to the contrary notwithstanding.
Given in Rome, at Saint Peter’s, on the seventh day of July in the year of the Lord 2007, the third of our Pontificate.
BENEDICTUS PP. XVI