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Philippine bishops support pope’s letter on traditional liturgies

July 22, 2021 Catholic News Agency 1
Cardinal Jose Advincula of Manila (right) is led to his cathedra inside the
Manila Cathedral by Archbishop Charles Brown, papal nuncio to the
Philippines, during the cardinal’s installation as new prelate of the
Archdiocese of Manila on June 24, 2021. / Jose Torres Jr. / LiCAS News

Manila, Philippines, Jul 22, 2021 / 16:00 pm (CNA).

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines issued a statement on Thursday supporting Pope Francis’ motu proprio Traditionis custodes, which restricted the use of traditional liturgies.

“We express our obedience to and communion with the Supreme Pontiff as he leads us in the realization of the unity of the Church by means of the proclamation of the Gospel and in a particular manner in the celebration of the Eucharist,” said the Philippine bishops in a July 22 statement.

On July 16, Pope Francis issued an apostolic letter “motu proprio” regarding “the use of the Roman liturgy prior to the reform of 1970.” In his letter Traditionis custodes, Pope Francis said that it is now each bishop’s “exclusive competence” to authorize the use of the Latin Mass according to the 1962 Roman Missal in his diocese. 

A motu proprio, literally “of his own accord,” refers to a document issued by the pope on his own initiative and personally signed by him.

The letter made changes to Pope Benedict XVI’s 2007 apostolic letter Summorum Pontificum. That 2007 letter had acknowledged the right of all priests to say the Traditional Latin Mass, and stated they did not need permission of their local ordinary to do so.

Mass according to the 1962 Roman Missal is also referred to as the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite, the Tridentine Mass, and the Traditional Latin Mass.

In their July 22 statement, the Filipino bishops said, “We reiterate the appeal of Pope Francis that ‘every liturgy be celebrated with decorum and fidelity to the liturgical books promulgated after Vatican Council II, without the eccentricities.’” 

They added that as “guardians of the tradition,” according to the title of the papal document, each bishop as “moderator, promoter, and guardian of the whole liturgical life of the particular Church” must “implement the provisions of the motu proprio with utmost care, patience, justice and pastoral charity.”

The pope’s motu proprio establishes that “the liturgical books promulgated by Saint Paul VI and Saint John Paul II, in conformity with the decrees of Vatican Council II, are the unique expression of the lex orandi [the law of prayer] of the Roman Rite.”

Quoting from the pope’s letter, the Filipino bishops said that seminarians and new priests should “be formed in the faithful observance of the prescriptions of the Missal and liturgical books, in which is reflected the liturgical reform willed by Vatican Council II.”

The bishops said the motu proprio “gives us the guidelines on the modified use of the 1962 Roman Missal.”

Since the promulgation of Traditionis custodes, some bishops from other parts of the world have said that priests may continue to offer the Traditional Latin Mass in their dioceses, while others have restricted it in some parishes or banned it outright, as in Costa Rica.

Last year, the Vatican’s doctrinal congregation asked the world’s bishops to report on how Summorum Pontificum was being applied in their dioceses, through a nine-point survey. 

“The apostolic letter is a fruit of the consultation with the Conferences of Bishops in 2020 and the recommendations made accordingly by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith,” the Filipino bishops stated on Thursday. 


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The increasing influence of the liturgical school Sant’Anselmo in the Vatican

July 22, 2021 Catholic News Agency 0
Pontificio Sant’Anselmo, Rome / ElijahOwens via Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Vatican City, Jul 22, 2021 / 11:10 am (CNA).

The new secretary and undersecretary of the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship both have studied at the Pontificio Ateneo Sant’Anselmo, an institute in Rome whose school of liturgy has had increasing influence in liturgical norms coming from the Vatican.

Created in 1637, disbanded in 1837 and restored by Pope Leo XIII in 1887, the Ateneum’s headquarters have been on the historic Aventino Hill in Rome since 1896. The Pontifical Liturgical Institute of the Pontificio Ateneo Sant’Anselmo was established in 1961 by Pope John XXIII and was entrusted to the Benedictine monks. 

The Apostolic See established it as the faculty of Sacred Liturgy of the Pontificio Ateneo Sant’Anselmo; it is located just a few feet away from the Roman Church of Santa Sabina where pontiffs, including Pope Francis, traditionally celebrate Ash Wednesday Mass every year.

Archbishop Piero Marini, the pope’s master of ceremonies for his trips in Italy and a former master of ceremonies for Pope John Paul II, is also a proud alumnus of the institute. Piero Marini is regarded as responsible for the extravagant liturgical vestments that John Paul II was forced to wear during his final years. Upon entering his office, Pope Benedict XVI immediately transferred Marini to the office for Eucharistic Congresses.  

Fr. Corrado Maggioni, who has been serving at the Congregation for the Divine Worship and the Discipline of Sacraments since 1990 and is now an undersecretary at the congregation, also studied at Sant’Anselmo.

During the discussions related to the liturgical reform of the Second Vatican Council and its ensuing implementation, the Pontifical Institute became a reference point for every liturgical debate – frequently taking the “progressive” side.

One of the most prominent teachers at the Sant’Anselmo is the theologian Andrea Grillo, a vigorous defender of the recent motu proprio Traditionis custodes which abrogated the liberalization of accessibility to the Ancient Rite Mass made by Benedict XVI. 

Among other things, Grillo has campaigned in favor of imposing an institutional silence on the pope emeritus, and attacked repeatedly the four cardinals who presented the dubia about Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia.

Maggioni and Archbishop Marini were both members of the commission that drafted the motu proprio Magnum Principium of Sep. 3, 2017, where Pope Francis shifted the translations of liturgical texts to the local bishops’ conferences; this ended the Vatican’s policy of producing uniform translations. 

Cardinal Robert Sarah, then-prefect of the congregation, was marginalized from those discussions.

When the Vatican officially announced that Pope Francis appointed Bishop Vittorio Viola as secretary of the Congregation for the Divine Worship, and Msgr. Aurelio Garcia Macias as undersecretary, it became evident to insiders that the more liberal Sant’Anselmo Institute had taken control of most liturgical issues.

Observers claim that the Sant’Anselmo alumni and professors are now everywhere. Msgr. Maurizio Barba, an official of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, teaches there. And so does the Carmelite Friar Giuseppe Midili, who is currently the director of the Rome vicariate’s liturgical office.

Midili is a candidate to succeed Msgr. Guido Marini as the pope’s master of ceremonies. Another candidate for the position is Fr. Pietro Muroni, dean of the Pontifical Urban University’s faculty of theology, and consultant of the Office for the Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff. He studied at the Sant’Anselmo too. 

There are exceptions to the views of the institute’s alumni; Msgr. Guido Marini, also an alumnus of the institute, has made a great effort to balance tradition and innovation as Pope Francis’ master of ceremonies.

But the increasing influence of Sant’Anselmo’s positions on liturgical issues has not passed unnoticed among the curia ranks. And some insiders are saying that the institute’s cohort is behind Pope Francis’ motu proprio Traditionis Custodes, which abrogated the liberation of the celebration of Masses according to Pope John XXIII’s 1962 missal.


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