I hope no one minds my starting a new thread based on the question of whether Quo Primum Tempore is binding forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=43907, but I’d like to focus on a particular point that came up.
Most of you know that Quo Primum Tempore includes the following:
…in virtue of Our Apostolic authority, We grant and concede in perpetuity that, for the chanting or reading of the Mass in any church whatsoever, this Missal is hereafter to be followed absolutely, without any scruple of conscience or fear of incurring any penalty, judgment, or censure, and may freely and lawfully be used. Nor are superiors, administrators, canons, chaplains, and other secular priests, or religious, of whatever title designated, obliged to celebrate the Mass otherwise than as enjoined by Us. We likewise declare and ordain that no one whosoever is forced or coerced to alter this Missal, and that this present document cannot be revoked or modified, but remain always valid and retain its full force …
Suggesting very strongly that Pope Pius V intended to do just what the bull says: establish the mass of the Roman Rite in perpetuity. But, it is claimed that this is a disciplinary law and therefore can be changed.
One poster offered commentary attributed to Rev. Anthony Cekada, which includes the following:
it was a disciplinary Bull (establishing a church law), yes, another pope could change it.
The language was simply a standard formula in church legislation that referred to one of the qualities a law is supposed to have: stability…
No pope who used “perpetuity” in his disciplinary decrees understood the term to mean that no future pope could ever amend or replace his legislation.
I’ve mulled this over for a few days now, and I’m finding it more and more difficult to believe. One of the things I admire about older Church documents that I’m familiar with (Contemporary writings are more infected with political correctness. Feelings must not be hurt, you know.) is how direct and concise they are. Writers say what they mean and mean what they say. If all Pope Pius meant, or had the right to do, was to remind authorities of their obligation to exercise due caution when altering the liturgy, and I would say VII failed to do that, but that’s another problem, why not just say that?
Can people point me to anything that indicates that this sort of wording is merely a “standard formula”, or to some other documents that can’t possibly mean what they say? Is anyone else puzzled by or uncomfortable with this idea of papal bulls being peppered with horribly misleading phrasing? Perhaps it’s just me.
I don’t mean to rehash the question of whether Quo Primum is binding. I think the other thread covers that. I’m just wondering about this notion of misleading standard formulas, and if anyone has more to offer on that.