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Bishops Welcome “Summorum Pontificum”

Responses to Instructions on 1962 Missal

WASHINGTON, D.C., JULY 8, 2007 ( Bishops are welcoming the letter of the Pope issued “motu proprio,” on one’s own initiative, concerning the expanded use of the Roman Missal promulgated by Pope John XXIII.

The monthly newsletter for June-July of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on the Liturgy, released Saturday, was dedicated to the Pope’s letter “Summorum Pontificum.”

The newsletter provided a non-official translation of the document concerning the use of the 1962 missal, along with the explanatory letter to the bishops.

The liturgical committee also published an explanation, in the form of 20 questions and answers, on the apostolic letter itself, and an explanation, in the form of 10 questions and answers, on the difference between the ordinary and extraordinary forms of the Roman Missal.

The bishops quoted heavily from the text of Benedict XVI’s letter, and assured support for the document: “The Committee on the Liturgy and its Secretariat are charged by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops with the supervision of the implementation of the provisions of ‘Ecclesia Dei Adflicta,’ and will continue to provide support and advice on this important pastoral initiative.”

Archbishop José Gomez of San Antonio, in a press statement released Saturday, said that he believes the letter “will open up great possibilities for reconciliation and unity with those who have shown great devotion to the Roman liturgy prior to the reform of 1970.”

He added that he believes the document will “provide Catholics with the opportunity to better understand the continuity between” the former and current Roman Missals, and expressed hope that “people will be able to more clearly see the growth and progress we have realized since Vatican II, while at the same time preserving the rich heritage and legacy of the Church.”

England and Wales

The episcopal conference of England and Wales welcomed the apostolic letter in a statement released Saturday.

The bishops said the document “focused on the importance of unity within the Church in celebrating the Eucharist,” and that the papal letter “should not detract from the reform of the liturgy begun at the Second Vatican Council.”

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, archbishop of Westminster, said in accompanying comments: “On behalf of the bishops of England and Wales, I welcome the Holy Father’s call for unity within the Church and especially toward those who are very attached to celebrating the Mass according to the Missal of 1962.

“We are confident that the provisions already made throughout England and Wales under the indult granted back in 1971 go a significant way toward meeting the requirements of the new norms.”

The 74-year-old cardinal added that he foresees “little difficulty in receiving and carrying out the Pope’s teaching about the two forms of the celebration of the Eucharist.”


The episcopal conference of Scotland said in a statement released Saturday that the letter “reflects the pastoral concern” of Benedict XVI “for those who find themselves drawn to that form of the Eucharistic celebration — a pastoral concern which the bishops of Scotland share.”

The bishops say that they also share the Pope’s “concern about the unity of the Church.”

The statement adds that the “Holy Father’s decision to issue this document is motivated above all by his desire to mend divisions where they have occurred and to prevent future divisions by helping to bring about ‘an interior reconciliation in the heart of the Church.'”

The bishops of Scotland said they “intend to study the Holy Father’s document thoroughly to ensure that that its provisions are fully available to those Catholics” who prefer the Mass said according to the 1962 missal.

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