5th anniversary of “Summorum Pontificum” celebrated in Saint Peter’s Basilica

Rome. The international traditional pilgrimage “Una cum papa nostro” (“together with our Pope”), organized in Rome by Coetus Internationalis Pro Summorum Pontificum (CISP) to support the Pope in the fifth anniversary of his motu proprio Summorum Pontificum liberalising the liturgy according to the 1962 Missal, concluded with a pontifical Mass at the chair of Saint Peter’s Basilica on the afternoon of Saturday, November 3rd, 2012. The celebrant was the Prefect of Divine Worship, Cardinal Antonio Cañizares Llovera.

Most of the pilgrims entered the Basilica through its main entrance in a procession amid traditional prayers and hymns. The pontifical Mass was preceded by a message in French and Italian sent by the Pope through his secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone.

On the occasion of the international pilgrimage to Rome for the fifth anniversary of the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI conveys his cordial greetings to all the participants assuring them of his fervent prayer.

Therefore, through this motu proprio, the Holy Father wanted to respond to the expectations of the faithful who are attached to the previous liturgical forms. In fact, as he wrote in his letter to present the motu proprio, it is good to preserve the riches which have developed in the Church’s faith and prayer, and to give their rightful place, while fully recognizing the value and sanctity of the ordinary form of the Roman rite. In this year of faith promulgated at a time when the Church celebrates the 50th anniversary of the opening of the second Vatican Council, the Holy Father invites all the faithful to manifest in a special way their unity in faith. Thus they will be effective creators of the new evangelization. Entrusting all participants of the pilgrimage to Rome to the maternal intercession of the Virgin Mary, the Holy Father wholeheartedly imparts them the Apostolic Blessing.

Signed by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone
Secretary of State of His Holiness
November 3, 2012

The devotion to the Pope of the pilgrims gathered in the Basilica was fully reflected by Cardinal Canizares in his homily. “We desire with all the participants in this Holy Mass, in this sacrifice of praise and communion of the whole Church, for it to truly be a thanksgiving to God for all the work that the Holy Father Benedict XVI is accomplishing, in particular for his motu proprio Summorum Pontificum, which is a gift for the whole Church”, he was quoted as saying. “We also want it to be a sign of and witness to a filial and affectionate backing and support to the Holy Father, under today’s difficult circumstances, on the part of the pilgrims gathered here, as well as a desire to participate in the movement and evangelizing impulse that the Pope, supreme pastor of the Church, wants to give to the whole Church, offering Her again the youth of the traditional liturgy. A liturgy that accompanied the council fathers throughout the course of the Second Vatican Council and today more than ever produces many priestly and religious vocations in the world willing to evangelize”.

In conclusion, “this holy Mass in the extraordinary form must be a sign of obedience and communion with the Pope”, he pointed out, since “we are Catholic thanks to this affective and effective communion with the Supreme Pontiff and the bishops united with him.”

The Mass was attended by various thousand faithful, as estimated in the Italian Bishops Conference mouthpiece Avvenire (November 4th, 2012) in a half page report headlined “Pre-conciliar Latin resonates in Saint Peter”. The paper also noted there were many young people, seen as a sign that the traditional liturgy is cherished by both older and newer generations.

A number of senior prelates took also part in the pontifical, including Archbishop Augustine Di Noia, vice-president of the Ecclesia Dei Commission, the Vatican department responsible for liaising with the church groups linked to the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite; Msgr. Guido Pozzo, the Commission’s secretary whom the Pope has just promoted archbishop almoner; Msgr. Marco Agostini, papal master of ceremonies; Monsignor Camille Perl, former vice-president of the Ecclesia Dei, and Msgr. Juan Miguel Ferrer Grenesche, under-secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship.

Father Almiro de Andrade, an officer of the Ecclesia Dei, acted as Master of Ceremonies. There were also representatives of those traditional congregations under the aegis of the Ecclesia Dei in full communion with Rome, such as the founder and superior of the Institute Christ the King Sovereign Priest, Msgr. Gilles Wach, and Father Joseph Kramer of the Faternity of St. Peter, who is the rector of the church of Santissima TrinitÀ dei Pellegrini, the personal parish erected by Benedict XVI to cater for the spiritual needs of the traditional community in Rome.

But the traditional pilgrimage was capped not only by a “religious” ceremony, but also a more “secular” event: a conference organized by Centro Culturale Lepanto (CCL) led by Fabio Bernabei at the Centro Russia Ecumenica in Borgo Pio: “They lived in expectation of Summorum Pontificum: Cardinal Alfons Stickler (1910-2007) – Dr. Michael Davies (1936-2004).”

The aim was to commemorate two late personalities—a cardinal and a self-taught layman—whose work laid the foundations for the subsequent promulgation of the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum. “The two personalities forming the object for reflection of qualified speakers, with their tireless efforts have certainly represented the authentic precursors of that time of grace that we are living since the enforcement of the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum of the Holy Father Benedict XVI”, said His Eminence Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, who was unable to attend, in the message he sent to the participants.

After a brief introduction by CCL president Bernabei, the floor was taken by Leo Darroch, the president of the International Una Voce Federation (FIUV) and a close friend of Michael Davies, who recalled Davies’ personal and intellectual qualities, and especially his extensive work as an apologetic writer in defense and promotion of the traditional liturgy, which perhaps made him “the most influential author on the liturgy and traditions of the Church in the last 50 years.”

In particular, Darroch highlighted the deep bonds of esteem and friendship which bound him to the then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who at the news of the death of Davies in his message of condolence remembered him as “a man of deep faith … (that) put all his energy into the service of the Faith and left us important publications especially on the Sacred Liturgy… he always truly remained a man of the Church…  So we can be very confident that the Lord opened wide for him the gates of heaven.”

The Salesian Cardinal Raffaele Farina came next and recalled the figure of his confrere Cardinal Alfonso Stickler, also a Salesian, as “a faithful servant of the Church and science.” Although he soon asserted himself as a leading expert in canon law, the late Cardinal was always a simple and joyful person.

Previous CWR articles on this topic:

Commemorating Summorum Pontificum in the Eternal City (October 17, 2012)
“Traditional Latin liturgy, a perfect instrument of the New Evangelization” (August 30, 2012)

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About Alberto Carosa 42 Articles
Alberto Carosa is a Catholic journalist who writes from Rome, especially for US Catholic newspapers and periodicals.