This week in the Catholic Herald here in the UK, there’s a debate about the supposed success (or failure) of Summorum Pontificum.
The question goes like this: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?
I would say, in chorus with Fr. Tim Finigan of Blackfen here in England, 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. For the people of God, it has brought a much needed sense of the sacred, and an opportunity to participate at Mass with greater freedom of choice in the manner of participation. In terms of the spiritual life of the Church, it has been a much needed element of Pope Benedict’s reforms.
What is your opinion??