Thursday, February 28, 2013

Sede vacante begins

Benedict XVI is now in Castel Gandolfo. Notwithstanding his resignation he will still be addressed as “Your Holiness Benedict XVI.”   Benedict XVI will now be referred to as “Pontiff emeritus” or “Pope emeritus” Originally, it was being suggested that his title would / should be Bishop emeritus of Rome. He will dress in a simple white cassock without the mozzetta (elbow-length cape).

Blessed John Paul II's Apostolic Constitution Universi Dominici Gregis which is the governing Church document, provides:

37. Praecipimus etiam, ut post Pontificis mortem Cardinales electores praesentes exspectare debeant absentes per quindecim solidos dies, facta tamen Sacro Cardinalium Collegio potestate ingressus in Conclave per aliquot dies proferendi; ea tamen lege, ut, viginti diebus ad summum elapsis, Cardinales electores, quotquot praesentes adsint, in Conclave ingredi debeant et ad electionis negotium procedere.

The Conclave must therefore start between 15 and 20 days after today.

One of Benedict XVI's last acts was the publication of the Apostolic Letter given motu proprio Normas Nonnullas that slightly modified Universi Dominici Gregis to take into account the current situation. Following is the text in English and Latin.






on some modifications of the norms

concerning the election of the Roman Pontiff

With the Apostolic Letter De aliquibus mutationibus in normis de electione Romani Pontificis given Motu Proprio in Rome on 11 June 2007 in the third year of my pontificate, I established some norms that, rescinding those prescribed in n. 75 of the Apostolic Constitution Universi Dominici Gregis promulgated by my predecessor Blessed John Paul II, having re-established the regulation, sanctioned by tradition, according to which a two thirds majority of the votes of the Cardinal electors present is always required for the valid election of the Roman Pontiff.

Considering the importance of ensuring the best implementation of what is concerned, albeit with a different significance, regarding the election of the Roman Pontiff, in particular a more certain interpretation and execution of some provisions, I establish and prescribe that some norms of the Apostolic Constitution Universi Dominici Gregis, as well as what I myself set forth in the above-mentioned Apostolic Letter, be replaced with the following norms:

35. No Cardinal elector can be excluded from active or passive voice in the election of the Supreme Pontiff, for any reason or pretext, with due regard for the provisions of n. 40 and n. 75 of this Constitution.

37. I furthermore decree that, from the moment when the Apostolic See is lawfully vacant, the Cardinal electors who are present must wait fifteen full days for those who are absent before beginning the Conclave; however, the College of Cardinals is also granted the faculty to anticipate the beginning of the Conclave if all the Cardinal electors are present as well as the faculty to defer, for serious reasons, the beginning of the election for a few additional days. But when a maximum twenty days have elapsed from the beginning of the vacancy of the See, all the Cardinal electors present are obliged to proceed to the election.

43. From the beginning of the electoral process until the public announcement that the election of the Supreme Pontiff has taken place, or in any case until the new Pope so disposes, the rooms of the Domus Sanctae Marthae, and, in particular, the Sistine Chapel and the areas reserved for liturgical celebrations are to be closed to unauthorized persons, by the authority of the Cardinal Camerlengo and with the outside assistance of the Vice Camerlengo and the Substitute of the Secretariat of State, in accordance with the provisions set forth in the following Numbers.

During this period, the entire territory of Vatican City and the ordinary activity of the offices located therein shall be regulated, for the period mentioned, in a way that ensures the confidentiality and the free development of all the undertakings connected with the election of the Supreme Pontiff. In particular, provision shall be made, with the help of the Cleric Prelates of the Chamber to ensure that no one approaches the Cardinal electors while they are being transported from the Domus Sanctae Marthae to the Apostolic Vatican Palace.

46, § 1°. In order to meet the personal and official needs connected with the election process, the following individuals must be available and therefore properly lodged in suitable areas within the confines mentioned in n. 43 of this Constitution: the Secretary of the College of Cardinals, who acts as Secretary of the electoral assembly; the Master of Papal Liturgical Celebrations with eight Masters of Ceremonies and two Religious attached to the Papal Sacristy; and an ecclesiastic chosen by the Cardinal Dean or by the Cardinal taking his place, in order to assist him in his duties.

47. All persons listed in n. 46 and n. 55, § 2° of this Constitution who in any way or at any time should come to learn anything from any source, directly or indirectly, regarding the election process, and in particular regarding the voting which took place in the election itself, are obliged to maintain strict secrecy with all persons extraneous to the College of Cardinal electors: accordingly, before the election begins, they shall take an oath in the form and using the formula indicated in n. 48.

48. The persons listed in n. 46 and n. 55, § 2° of this Constitution, having been duly warned about the meaning and extent of the oath that they are to take, before the start of the election process, shall, in the presence of the Cardinal Camerlengo or another Cardinal delegated by him, and in the presence of two numerary participant Apostolic Protonotaries, in due course swear and sign the oath according to the following formula:

“I, N.N., promise and swear that, unless I should receive a special faculty given expressly by the newly-elected Pontiff or by his successors, I will observe absolute and perpetual secrecy with all who are not part of the College of Cardinal electors concerning all matters directly or indirectly related to the ballots cast and their scrutiny for the election of the Supreme Pontiff.”

“I likewise promise and swear to refrain from using any audio or video equipment capable of recording anything which takes place during the period of the election within Vatican City, and in particular anything which in any way, directly or indirectly, is related to the process of the election itself.”

“I declare that I take this oath fully aware that an infraction thereof will make me subject to the penalty of excommunication latae sententiae, which is reserved to the Apostolic See."

“So help me God and these Holy Gospels, which I touch with my hand.”

49. When the funeral rites for the deceased Pope have been celebrated according to the prescribed ritual, and everything necessary for the regular functioning of the election has been prepared, on the appointed day of the beginning of the Conclave established in conformity with the provisions of n. 37 of the present Constitution, the Cardinal electors shall meet in the Basilica of Saint Peter's in the Vatican, or elsewhere, should circumstances warrant it, in order to take part in a solemn Eucharistic celebration with the Votive Mass Pro Eligendo Papa. This celebration should preferably take place at a suitable hour in the morning, so that in the afternoon the prescriptions of the following Numbers of this Constitution can be carried out.

50. From the Pauline Chapel of the Apostolic Palace, where they will assemble at a suitable hour in the afternoon, the Cardinal electors, in choir dress and invoking the assistance of the Holy Spirit with the chant of the 'Veni Creator', will solemnly proceed to the Sistine Chapel of the Apostolic Palace, where the election will be held. The Vice Camerlengo, the General Auditor of the Apostolic Camera, and two members of each of the colleges of numerary participant Apostolic Protonotaries, Prelate Auditors of the Roman Rota, and Cleric Prelates of the Chamber will participate in the procession.

51, § 2°. It will therefore be the responsibility of the College of Cardinals, operating under the authority and responsibility of the Camerlengo, assisted by the Particular Congregation mentioned in n. 7 of the present Constitution, and with the outside assistance of the Vice Camerlengo and the Substitute of the Secretariat of State, to make all prior arrangements for the interior of the Sistine Chapel and adjacent areas to be prepared, so that an orderly election and its privacy will be ensured.

55, § 3°. Should any infraction whatsoever of this norm occur, those responsible should know that they will be subject to the penalty of excommunication latae sententiae, which is reserved to the Apostolic See.

62. Since the forms of election known as per acclamationem seu inspirationem and per compromissum are abolished, the form of electing the Roman Pontiff shall henceforth be per scrutinium alone.

I therefore decree that, for the valid election of the Roman Pontiff, at least two thirds of the votes are required, calculated on the basis of the total number of electors present and voting.

64. The voting process is carried out in three phases. The first phase, which can be called the pre-scrutiny, comprises: 1) the preparation and distribution of the ballot papers by the Masters of Ceremonies—called meanwhile into the Hall together with the Secretary of the College of Cardinals and with the Master of Papal Liturgical Celebrations—who give at least two or three to each Cardinal elector; 2) the drawing by lot, from among all the Cardinal electors, of three Scrutineers, of three persons charged with collecting the votes of the sick, called for the sake of brevity 'Infirmarii', and of three Revisers; this drawing is carried out in public by the junior Cardinal Deacon, who draws out nine names, one after another, of those who shall carry out these tasks; 3) if, in the drawing of lots for the Scrutineers, 'Infirmarii' and Revisers, there should come out the names of Cardinal electors who because of infirmity or other reasons are unable to carry out these tasks, the names of others who are not impeded are to be drawn in their place. The first three drawn will act as Scrutineers, the second three as 'Infirmarii', and the last three as Revisers.

70, § 2°. The Scrutineers add up all the votes that each individual has received, and if no one has obtained at least two thirds of the votes on that ballot, the Pope has not been elected; if however it turns out that someone has obtained at least two thirds of the votes, the canonically valid election of the Roman Pontiff has taken place.

75. If the votes referred to in n. 72, 73, and 74 of the above-mentioned Constitution do not result in an election, a day will be dedicated to prayer, reflection, and discussion. In subsequent votes, in accordance with the procedure established in n. 74 of this same Constitution, only the two whose names have received the greatest number of votes in the immediately preceding ballot will have the passive electoral right. There can be no waiving of the requirement that a valid election takes place only by a qualified majority of at least two thirds of the votes of the cardinals who are present and voting. Moreover, in these ballots, the two persons who enjoy the passive electoral right lose their active electoral right.

When the election has canonically taken place, the junior Cardinal Deacon summons into the Hall of election the Secretary of the College of Cardinals, the Master of Papal Liturgical Celebrations, and two Masters of Ceremonies. The Cardinal Dean, or the Cardinal who is first in order and seniority, in the name of the whole College of electors, then asks the consent of the one elected in the following words: 'Do you accept your canonical election as Supreme Pontiff?' And, as soon as he has received the consent, he asks him: 'By what name do you wish to be called?' Then the Master of Papal Liturgical Celebrations, acting as notary and having as witnesses the two Masters of Ceremonies, draws up a document certifying acceptance by the new Pope and the name taken by him.

This document will enter into force immediately upon its publication in the Osservatore Romano.

This I do decree and establish, notwithstanding any instruction to the contrary.

Given in Rome, at Saint Peter’s, on February 22, 2013, the eighth of my Pontificate.


Latin Text







Normas nonnullas per Apostolicas Litteras De aliquibus mutationibus in normis de electione Romani Pontificis Motu Proprio die XI mensis Iunii anno MMVII, tertio Nostri Pontificatus, datas, statuimus, quae, cum eas abrogarent normas quae in numero 75 continentur Constitutionis Apostolicae Universi Dominici gregis quam die XX mensis Februarii anno MCMXCVI Decessor Noster beatus Ioannes Paulus II promulgavit, normam statuerunt, traditione sancitam, ad quam, ut valida Summi Pontificis habeatur electio, duae ex tribus partes suffragiorum omnium Cardinalium electorum praesentium semper requiruntur.

Gravitate quidem considerata quo aptiore modo id evolvatur quod, quamvis vario pondere, ad electionem attinet Romani Pontificis, potissimum ad certam interpretationem et exsecutionem nonnullorum praeceptorum, statuimus et decernimus ut quaedam normae Consitutionis Apostolicae Universi Dominici gregis necnon ea quae in supra memoratis Apostolicis Litteris Nos Ipsi statuimus, substituantur normis quae sequuntur:

35. Cardinalis elector nulla ratione vel causa a Summi Pontificis electione activa et passiva excludi potest, vigentibus tamen iis omnibus quae sub n. 40 et 75 huius Constitutionis statuuntur.

37. Praecipimus praeterea ut, ex quo Apostolica Sedes legitime vacat, antequam Conclave incohetur, mora sit interponenda quindecim solidorum dierum, facta tamen Cardinalium Collegio potestate Conclavis initium anticipandi, si constat omnes Cardinales electores adesse, vel etiam proferendi per aliquot dies, si graves obstant causae; tamen viginti diebus ad summum elapsis ab initio Sedis vacantis, cuncti Cardinales electores praesentes ad electionis negotium procedant.

43. Ex quo initium negotiorum electionis statutum est ad peractae usque Summi Pontificis electionis publicum nuntium vel, utcumque, hoc iusserit novus Pontifex, aedesDomus Sanctae Marthae, pariterque Sacellum Sixtinum atque loci designati liturgicis celebrationibus obserari debebunt, sub auctoritate Cardinalis Camerarii externaque cooperatione Vicecamerarii et Substituti Secretariae Status, omnibus licentia carentibus, prout statuitur in sequentibus numeris.

Integra regio Civitatis Vaticanae, atque etiam ordinaria industria Ministeriorum quorum sedes stat intra eius fines, ita moderandae erunt, hoc tempore, ut circumspectio in tuto collocetur nec non expedita explicatio actionum ad Summi Pontificis electionem pertinentium. Provideatur peculiariter, Praelatis Clericis de Camera etiam opem ferentibus, ut Cardinales electores a nullo conveniantur iter facientes ab aedibus Domus Sanctae Marthae ad Palatium Apostolicum Vaticanum.

46. § 1° Ut personarum necessitatibus et officii, quae cum electionis cursu nectuntur, occurratur, praesto esse debent ideoque convenientibus locis recepti intra fines quorum in huius Constitutionis n. 43 fit mentio, Secretarius Cardinalium Collegii, qui conventus electivi Secretarii fungitur munere, Magister Pontificiarum Celebrationum Liturgicarum cum octo Caeremoniariis et duobus Religiosis qui Sacrarium Pontificium curant; atque ecclesiasticus vir a Cardinale Decano electus vel a Cardinale vicem gerente, ut in munere explendo eum iuvet.

47. Omnes personae quae n. 46 et n. 55, § 2° significantur huius Constitutionis Apostolicae, quae quavis ratione ac quovis tempore a quocumque resciscunt ea quae ad recte obliquove proprios electionis actus attinent, potissimum quae peracta ipsius electionis scrutinia contingunt, arto secreto tenentur cum qualibet persona ad Collegium Cardinalium electorum non pertinente; hac de causa, antequam incipiat electio, ius iurandum nuncupare debent, secundum modum et formulam, ut subsequens numerus indicabit.

48. Illi omnes, de quibus dicitur n. 46 et n. 55, § 2° huius Constitutionis, rite certiores facti circa significationem amplitudinemque iuris iurandi faciendi ante negotiorum electionis initium coram Cardinale Camerario vel alio Cardinale ab eo delegato et coram duobus Protonotariis Apostolicis de Numero Participantium, tempore opportuno pronuntiabunt et subscribent ius iurandum secundum hanc formulam:

Ego N. N. promitto et iuro me inviolate servaturum esse secretum absolutum cum omnibus quotquot participes non sunt Collegii Cardinalium electorum, hoc quidem in perpetuum, nisi mihi datur expresse peculiaris facultas a novo Pontifice electo eiusve Successoribus, in omnibus quae directe vel indirecte respiciunt suffragia et scrutinia ad novum Pontificem eligendum.

Itemque promitto et iuro me nullo modo in Conclavi usurum esse instrumentis quibuslibet ad vocem transmittendam vel recipiendam aut ad imagines exprimendas quovis modo aptis de iis quae tempore electionis fiunt intra fines Civitatis Vaticanae, atque praecipue de iis quae quolibet modo directe vel indirecte attinent ad negotia coniuncta cum ipsa electione.

Declaro me editurum esse ius iurandum utpote qui plane noverim quamlibet eius violationem adducturam esse excommunicationis mihi poenam latae sententiaeSedi Apostolicae reservatae.

Sic me Deus adiuvet et haec sancta Dei Evangelia, quae manu mea tango.

49. Exsequiis defuncti Pontificis rite persolutis et apparatis iis quae requiruntur ad legitimam electionem exsequendam, die constituto - decimo quinto id est a Pontificis morte aut non ultra vicesimum diem, prout n. 37 huius Constitutionis decernitur - Cardinales omnes convenient in Basilicam Vaticanam Sancti Petri, vel alium in locum pro temporis et loci opportunitate, ad participandam sollemnem Eucharisticam celebrationem cum Missa votiva pro eligendo Papa. Hoc congruenti tempore matutino persolvendum est, ita ut horis postmeridianis impleri possit quod praescribitur sequentibus numeris huius Constitutionis.

50. A Sacello Paulino Palatii Apostolici, ubi congruo pomeridiano tempore Cardinales electores adstiterint, chorali vestimento induti sollemni processione, cantu invocantes Veni, creator Spiritus Sancti assistentiam, se conferent in Cappellam Sixtinam Palatii Apostolici, locum et sedem electionis peragendae. Processionem participabunt Vicecamerarius, Auditor Generalis Camerae Apostolicae et duo membra cuiusque Collegii Protonotariorum Apostolicorum de Numero Participantium, Praelatorum Auditorum Rotae Romanae et Praelatorum Clericorum de Camera.

51, § 2° Quapropter Collegium Cardinalium, agens de auctoritate et officio Camerarii, quem adiuvabit Congregatio particularis de qua in numero 7 huius Constitutionis, curabit ut, intra praefatum Sacellum et in locis contiguis, omnia prius disponantur adiuvantibus quoque foris Vicecamerario et Substituto Secretariae Status, ita ut regularis electio eiusdemque secreta indoles in tuto ponantur.

55, § 3° Si quid tale contra hanc normam admissum fuerit, sciant auctores se innodari excommunicationis poena latae sententiae Sedi Apostolicae reservatae.

62. Modis abrogatis electionis qui per acclamationem seu inspirationem et per compromissum dicuntur, electionis forma Romani Pontificis futuro de tempore erit tantum per scrutinium.

Decernimus igitur ut Summi Pontificis ad validam electionem saltem duae ex tribus partes suffragiorum requirantur omnium electorum praesentium et suffragia ferentium.

64. Tribus gradibus explicatur scrutinium, quorum primus, qui antescrutinium vocari potest, complectitur: 1) schedularum praeparationem et partitionem per Caeremoniarios - qui interea in aulam revocantur una cum Secretario Collegii Cardinalium simulque cum Magistro Pontificiarum celebrationum Liturgicarum – quique earum saltem duas vel tres cuique Cardinali electori dabunt; 2) ex omnibus Cardinalibus electoribus sortitionem trium Scrutatorum, trium ad infirmorum excipienda suffragia qui destinantur, qui brevitatis gratia Infirmarii appellantur, et trium Recognitorum; sortes has publice iacit novissimus Cardinalis Diaconus, qui subinde novem nomina depromit illorum qui munia haec sustinere debent; 3) si in extractione Scrutatorum, Infirmariorum et Recognitorum ducta nomina exierint Cardinalium electorum qui, ob infirmitatem vel aliam ob causam impedientur quominus officia haec gerant, eorum loco alia nomina non impeditorum depromantur. Primi tres sorte educti erunt Scrutatores, alteri tres Infirmarii, ceteri vero tres Recognitores.

70, § 2° Scrutatores in unam summam redigunt suffragia, quae quilibet obtinuit, et si nemo saltem ad duas partes ex tribus suffragiorum pervenit, non est electus Papa in illo scrutinio; si quis vero duas partes ex tribus saltem accepit, habetur electio Romani Pontificis et quidem canonice valida.

75. Si scrutinia de quibus in numeris septuagesimo secundo, tertio et quarto memoratae Constitutionis incassum reciderint, habeatur unus dies orationi, reflexioni et dialogo dicatus; in subsequentibus vero suffragationibus, servato ordine in numero septuagesimo quarto eiusdem Constitutionis statuto, vocem passivam habebunt tantummodo duo nomina quae in superiore scrutinio maiorem numerum suffragiorum obtinuerunt, nec recedatur a ratione ut etiam in his suffragationibus minimum maioritas qualificata duarum ex tribus partium suffragiorum Cardinalium praesentium et vocem activam habentium ad validitatem electionis requiratur. In his autem suffragationibus, duo nomina quae vocem passivam habent, voce activa carent.

87. Post electionem canonice factam, ultimus Cardinalis Diaconus vocat in aulam electionis Secretarium Collegii Cardinalium et Magistrum Pontificiarum Celebrationum Liturgicarum et duos Caeremoniarios; atque consensus electi per Cardinalem Decanum aut per Cardinalium primum ordine et aetate, nomine totius Collegii electorum, his verbis requiratur: Acceptasne electionem de te canonice factam in Summum Pontificem? Statimque, post consensum declaratum, electus interrogetur: Quo nomine vis vocari? Tunc per Magistrum Pontificiarum Celebrationum Liturgicarum, munere notarii fungentem, testibus adhibitis duobus Viris a caeremoniis, instrumentum de acceptatione novi Pontificis et de nomine ab eo assumpto conficitur.

Omnia quae in his Litteris Apostolicis in forma Motu Proprio deliberavimus, ordinamus ut in omnibus earum partibus serventur, contrariis rebus minime quibuslibet officientibus.

Hoc documentum cum in actis diurnis L’Osservatore Romano evulgabitur, statim vigere incipiet.

Datum Romae, apud Sanctum Petrum, die XXII mensis Februarii, anno MMXIII, Pontificatus Nostri octavo.


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Roman Pontiff is the Supreme Teacher

The New Testament passages we have seen several times in the preceding catecheses show that Jesus revealed his intention to give Peter the keys to the kingdom in response to a profession of faith. In it Peter spoke in the name of the Twelve and by virtue of a revelation coming from the Father. He expressed his faith in Jesus as "the Messiah, the Son of the living God." This assent of faith in the person of Jesus was not a simple attitude of trust, but clearly included the affirmation of a Christological doctrine. 

The role of foundation stone conferred on Peter by Jesus thus has a doctrinal aspect (cf. Mt 16:18-19). The mission of "strengthening his brothers" in faith, also entrusted to him by Jesus (cf. Lk 22:32), has the same meaning. Peter is the beneficiary of the Master's special prayer in carrying out this role and helping his brothers to believe. The words "Feed my lambs.... Tend my sheep" (Jn 21:15-17) do not express a doctrinal mission explicitly, but rather imply it. Tending the flock means providing it with the solid food of the spiritual life, and this food imparts revealed doctrine to nourish the faith.

The Gospel texts demonstrate that the universal pastoral mission of the Roman Pontiff, the Successor of Peter, entails a doctrinal mission. As universal pastor, the Pope has the mission to proclaim revealed doctrine and to promote true faith in Christ throughout the Church. This is the integral meaning of the Petrine ministry.

The value of the doctrinal mission entrusted to Peter stems from the fact that, according to the Gospel sources, he shares in Christ's pastoral mission. Peter is the first of those apostles to whom Jesus said: "As the Father has sent me, so I send you" (Jn 20:21; cf. 17:18). As universal pastor, Peter must act in Christ's name and in harmony with him throughout the broad human area in which Jesus wants his Gospel preached and the saving truth brought: the entire world. The Successor of Peter in the mission of universal pastor is thus the heir of a doctrinal munus in which he is closely related, with Peter, to Jesus' mission.

This relationship in no way detracts from the pastoral mission of the bishops, who have among their principal duties that of preaching the Gospel. According to the Second Vatican Council, they are "preachers of the faith...who preach to the people committed to them the faith they must believe and put into practice" (LG 25).

Nevertheless, the Bishop of Rome, as head of the episcopal college by the will of Christ, is the first herald of the faith. It is his task to teach revealed truth and to show how it should be applied in human conduct. He has primary responsibility for spreading the faith in the world. The Second Council of Lyons (1274) asserted this about the Bishop of Rome's primacy and fullness of power, when it stressed: "He has the duty to defend the truth of the faith, and it is his responsibility to resolve all disputed matters in the area of faith" (DS 861). Along the same lines the Council of Florence (1439) acknowledged the Roman Pontiff as the "father and teacher of all Christians" (DS 1307).

The Successor of Peter fulfills this doctrinal mission in a continual series of oral and written interventions that represent the ordinary exercise of the Magisterium as the teaching of truths to be believed and put into practice (fidem et mores). The acts expressing this Magisterium can be more or less frequent and take various forms according to the needs of the time, the requirements of concrete situations, the opportunities and means available, and the methods and systems of communication. However, given that they derive from an explicit or implicit intention to make pronouncements on matters of faith and morals, they are linked to the mandate received by Peter and enjoy the authority conferred on him by Christ.

The exercise of this Magisterium can also take place in an extraordinary way when the Successor of Peter (alone, or with the college of bishops as successors of the apostles) makes an ex cathedra pronouncement on a particular point of doctrine or Christian morals. However, we shall speak of this in future catecheses. Now we must concentrate on the usual, ordinary form of the papal Magisterium, which has a broader extent and an essential importance for the thought and life of the Christian community.

In this regard the first point to be stressed is the positive value of this mission to proclaim and spread the Christian message, to make the authentic teaching of the Gospel known, to respond to old and new human questions about the basic problems of life with the eternal words of revelation. To think that the papal Magisterium consists merely in condemning errors against the faith would be reductive and erroneous. This somewhat negative aspect is doubtless part of his responsibility for spreading the faith, since it is also necessary to defend it against error and deviation. However, the essential task of the papal Magisterium is to explain the doctrine of the faith, and to promote knowledge of the mystery of God and the work of salvation, bringing out all the aspects of the divine plan as it unfolds in human history under the action of the Holy Spirit.

This is the service to the truth that has been primarily entrusted to Peter's Successor, who in the ordinary exercise of his Magisterium is already acting not as a private person, but as the supreme teacher of the universal Church, according to the precise statement of Vatican II regarding definitions ex cathedra (cf. LG 25).

In carrying out this task, the Successor of Peter expresses in a personal way, but with institutional authority, the "rule of faith" which the members of the universal Church (the ordinary faithful, catechists, religion teachers, theologians) must adhere to in investigating the meaning of the permanent content of the Christian faith. This is true also in relation to the discussions arising within and outside the ecclesial community on various points or on the whole of doctrine. Everyone in the Church, especially the theologians, are called to perform this task of continually making it clear and explicit. However, the mission of Peter and his successors is to establish and authoritatively confirm what the Church has received and believed from the beginning, what the apostles taught, what Sacred Scripture and Christian Tradition have determined as the object of faith and the Christian norm of life. The Church's other pastors, the bishops as successors of the apostles, are "strengthened" by the Successor of Peter in their communion of faith with Christ and in properly fulfilling their mission. In this way the Bishop of Rome's Magisterium indicates to everyone the way of clarity and unity, which seems indispensable especially in times of great communication and discussion such as ours.

The mission of Peter's Successor is exercised in three basic ways: first of all, by word. As universal pastor, the Bishop of Rome addresses all Christians and the whole world, carrying out in a full and supreme way the mission Christ conferred on the apostles: "Make disciples of all nations" (Mt 28:19). Since today the communications media allow his words to reach all nations, he fulfills that divine mandate in a way never before possible. Because the means of transportation allow him personally to visit the most distant regions, he can bring Christ's message to the people of every country, thus carrying out the divine command to "go" in a new and previously unimagined way: "Go...and make disciples of all nations...."

The Successor of Peter also fulfills his mission by writing: beginning with his addresses that are published so that his teaching is known and documented, up to all the documents issued directly--and here the encyclicals, which formally have the value of universal teaching, should be mentioned first--or those issued indirectly by the departments of the Roman Curia which operate under his mandate.

Lastly, the Pope carries out his task as pastor with authoritative initiatives and institutions of a scholarly and pastoral nature: for example, by initiating or fostering activities of study, sanctification, evangelization, charity and assistance, etc., throughout the Church; by promoting authorized and accredited institutes for teaching the faith (seminaries, faculties of theology and religious studies, theological associations, academies, etc.). This is a broad range of initiatives for formation and action under the auspices of Peter's successor.

In conclusion, we can say that the teaching of Peter's successor (as that of the other bishops) contains, in its essence, a witness to Christ, to the event of the Incarnation and the redemption, to the Holy Spirit's presence and action in the Church and in history. In its form of expression it can vary according to the person who exercises it, his interpretation of the needs of the time, his style of thought and communication. However, its relationship to the living truth, Christ, has been, is and will always be its vital force.

This relationship to Christ definitively explains the difficulties and opposition that the Church's Magisterium has always encountered from Peter's day to our own. For all the bishops and pastors of the Church, and especially for the Successor of Peter, Jesus' words are valid: "No disciple is above his teacher" (Mt 10:24; Lk 6:40). Jesus himself exercised his Magisterium amid the struggle between darkness and light, which was the context for the Incarnation of the Word (cf. Jn 1:1-14). That struggle was intense during the apostolic period, as the Master had warned: "If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you" (Jn 15:20).

Unfortunately, it took place too in some Christian communities, so much so that St. Paul felt it necessary to urge Timothy, his disciple: "Proclaim the Word; be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient; convince, reprimand, encourage through all patience and teaching...[even] when people will not tolerate sound doctrine" (2 Tim 4:2-3).

What Paul recommended to Timothy also applies to bishops today, and especially to the Roman Pontiff, who has the mission of protecting the Christian people from errors in faith and morals, and the duty of guarding the deposit of faith (cf. 2 Tim 4:7). Woe to him if he should be frightened by criticism and misunderstanding. His charge is to give witness to Christ, to his word, his law, his love. However, in addition to being aware of his responsibility for doctrine and morals, the Roman Pontiff must, like Jesus, be committed to being "meek and humble of heart" (Mt 11:29). Pray that he may be so and will become ever more so.

John Paul II, General Audience, 10 March, 1993

Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Orthodox Church and Summorum Pontificum

Similarly, it must not be forgotten that from the beginning the Churches of the East have had a treasury from which the Western Church has drawn extensively in liturgical practice, spiritual tradition, and law. - Unitatis Redintegratio

A number of critics have argued that Benedict XVI's motu proprio Summorum Pontificum has created obstacles, as far as ecumenism is concerned. Is this true? Is the Tridentine Mass such a stumbling block? 

In the opinion of Cardinal Burke:  

"I wouldn't think that the Holy Father would be doing this simply as a strategy, but I do think it will be an effect of a restoration or in the 'reform of the reform' of the liturgy. It seems to me for the Eastern rites, and for those of the Orthodox Churches, the reform of the liturgy after the council and the concrete expression is so stripped of the transcendent, of the sacral elements, it is difficult for them to recognize its relationship with their Eucharistic Liturgies. It would be easier for them to see the unity, the oneness in the Eucharistic Sacrifice, by a rite of the Mass, just limiting ourselves now to talking about the Holy Mass, that it was richer in those dimensions — the elements of the transcendent — the symbols of the transcendent element of Christ — Christ in action in the Mass — the unbloody renewal of the Sacrifice of Calvary". 

A few months before the promulgation of Summorum Pontificum, Eastern Orthodoxy's Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople quoted the phrase lex orandi, lex credendi. This was on the occasion of Benedict XVI's visit to Istanbul in 2006. Bartholomew I argued that "in liturgy we are reminded of the need to reach unity in faith as well as in prayer".

An interesting episode occurred in the same period, when the French episcopate (with an open letter to Benedict XVI) urged the Pope not to issue Summorum Pontificum. Hearing this Bartholomew I of Constantinople supported the Pope, denounced the decay of Catholic liturgy and stressed that the Novus Ordo Missae had in fact hampered relations between the Western and the Eastern branches of Christianity.

The Orthodox in fact were disturbed not only by abuses in the post-Vatican II liturgy, but also by approved practices such as female altar servers, Mass 'facing the people' and Communion in the hand. The Tridentine liturgy therefore bodes well ecumenically, because these problematic practices are simply not standard features of the Classical Roman rite. 

Bartholomew I later on declared that with Summorum Pontificum ​​a huge step forward in reconciliation had been made.

It appears therefore that the Pope's intention to make it easier for the laity to have Mass in the Extraordinary Form was also intended to help prepare the reunion of the two great divided branches of Christianity: Catholicism and Orthodoxy. The Orthodox interpreted Summorum Pontificum as evidence of a renewed seriousness in the Roman Catholic Church of lex orandi, lex credendi.

During the pontificate that is in its final days, Pope Benedict XVI tried ceaselessly to teach that the Catholic tradition has not been lost, that it remains to be discovered and lived. How this will all work out, under the soon-to-be-elected Pope, is yet to be seen.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

New Blog about Pope Benedict XVI

Photo: PA
Benedict XVI soon after announcing his resignation
In the beginning of this month, a new blog Apologia pro Benedetto XVI was launched. Following the announcement of Benedict XVI's resignation last week, it was decided to include various quotes and extracts from Benedict XVI on a wide variety of topics. A way to thank His Holiness for all that he has done - and will continue doing - for the Church.

This new blog is not directly connected with Pro Tridentina (Malta) and it is still subject to layout and other changes. It is manned by the interim President of Pro Tridentina (Malta).

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Gueranger sulla Santa Messa

Dom Prosper Gueranger - La Santa Messa

Immenso può essere il bene che viene a tutta la Chiesa da una corretta e vera concezione della Santa Messa; la conoscenza della Verità è l’inizio ed il fondamento di ogni bene... Si può così facilmente capire quanto sia delicato e carico di conseguenze toccare il Rito della Messa e di tutta la Divina Liturgia, e quanto sia stolto e distruttivo celebrare senza il dovuto rispetto alle sapienti regole liturgiche.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Fr Colin Apap dwar il-Quddiesa Tridentina

F'artiklu illum Ir-riżenja tal-Papa mil-lenti ta' Fr Colin  fuq L-Orizzont, Fr Colin Apap tkellem dwar il-Quddiesa Tridentina. Huwa qal hekk:

Fr Colin Apap
"Problema oħra li kellu Benedittu XVI kien meta fl-2007 reġa’ ta importanza lill-quddisa bil-Latin. Niftakar li meta kont żgħir, il-qassis kien iqaddes daru lejn in-nies, jitkellem bil-Latin u ħadd ma kien jifhmu. Kellu ċertu faxxinu dak ix-xenarju reliġjuż. Bil-Konċilju Vatikan II dan tbiddel totalment. Is-sagrifiċċju tal-quddiesa beda jiġi meqjus bħala ikla u allura la għandek ċelebrazzjoni bdiet issir bil-lingwa tal-post.

Kien hemm diversi isqfijiet li ħaduha kontra dawn ir-ri­formi imma l-Konċilju Vatikan II baqa’ jinsisti li l-quddiesa ssir bil-lingwa tal-post. U dan il-Papa reġa’ daħ­ħal ir-rit bil-Latin f’diversi okkażjonijiet. Jien għandi BA fil-Latin u allura l-Latin għandu ċertu faxxinu għalija.

Nifhem l-valur tal-Latin matul is-sekli għax kien utli għall-Knisja li jkollok lingwa waħda mitkellma minn kulħadd. Imma l-lingwa Latina hija marbuta wkoll ma’ ċertu konservattiviżmu li ma jiċċaqlaqx u li ma jridx l-af­farijiet jitbiddlu. U allura min iħobb il-Latin faċli jiġi akkużat li huwa konservattiv. Li ġralu meta qajjem ir-rit tal-quddiesa bil-Latin kien li fil-quddiesa ta’ Ħamis ix-Xirka hemm it-talba għal ħafna intenzjonijiet u fosthom hemm waħda li ssemmi lill-Lhud.

Fil-verżjoni Latina jingħad “nitolbuk Mulej għall-pervi­di Lhud”. Essenzalment li qatlu lil Kristu. F’ċertu mentali­tà Kattolika, għalkemm mhux Evanġelika, kienu jqisu lill-poplu kollu Lhudi ħati ta’ dejċidju. Jiġifieri li qatel lil Alla.

Imma l-Knisja kontra dan it-tagħlim għax waqt li tammetti li parti mil-Lhud qalu “demmu fuqna u fuq ulie­da”, ma tistax tiġġeneralizza poplu sħiħ għax inqatlet persu­na waħda. Tinsix ma kinux jaċċettawh bħala Alla. Allura l-Knisja Kattolika reġgħet ingħatat timbru li hi anti-Semi­tika u anti-Lhud proprju minħabba l-quddies bil-Latin."

Pro Tridentina (Malta) tixtieq tiċċara żewġ punti :

a) Hawn Malta, il-Quddiesa Tridentina sabet appoġġ minn xi żgħażagħ li politikament mhumiex konservattivi. Wieħed ta' min ifakkar ukoll f'episodju interessanti: Deputat Laburista, xi snin ilu fuq TVM, kien qal li kiteb lill-Vatikan sabiex il-Quddiesa bir-Rit Tridentin tiġi ċċelebrata, tal-anqas dakinhar tal-festa tal-parroċċa tiegħu. Hija xi ħaġa pożittiva - tal-anqas f'Malta - li l-Quddiesa Tridentina m'għandhiex timbru politiku.

b) Tajjeb wieħed igħid ukoll illi Fr Colin Apap mhux korrett għal kollox f'dak li għandu x'jaqsam mat-talba lill-Lhud. Infatti:

1. Sa qabel l-1955 (riforma ta' Piju XII), it-talba kienet:

Oremus et pro perfidis Judæis: ut Deus et Dominus noster auferat velamen de cordibus eorum; ut et ipsi agnoscant Jesum Christum, Dominum nostrum. (Non respondetur 'Amen', nec dicitur 'Oremus', aut 'Flectamus genua', aut 'Levate', sed statim dicitur:) Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui etiam judaicam perfidiam a tua misericordia non repellis: exaudi preces nostras, quas pro illius populi obcæcatione deferimus; ut, agnita veritatis tuæ luce, quæ Christus est, a suis tenebris eruantur. Per eundem Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium tuum, qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti, Deus: per omnia sæcula sæculorum. Amen

2. Id-differenza wara r-riforma ta' Piju XII kienet li n-nies kienu jinżlu għarkubbtejhom:

Oremus et pro perfidis Iudæis: ut Deus et Dominus noster auferat velamen de cordibus eorum; ut et ipsi agnoscant Iesum Christum, Dominum nostrum. (Oremus. Flectamus genua. Levate) Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui etiam iudaicam perfidiam a tua misericordia non repellis: exaudi preces nostras, quas pro illius populi obcæcatione deferimus; ut, agnita veritatis tuæ luce, quæ Christus est, a suis tenebris eruantur. Per eumdem Dominum nostrum Iesum Christum Filium tuum, qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus: per omnia sæcula sæculorum. Amen

3. Fl-1960 il-Beatu Ġwanni XXIII neħħa l-kelma perfidis:

Oremus et pro Iudæis: ut Deus et Dominus noster auferat velamen de cordibus eorum; ut et ipsi agnoscant Iesum Christum Dominum nostrum. (Oremus. Flectamus genua. Levate) Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui Iudæos etiam a tua misericordia non repellis: exaudi preces nostras, quas pro illius populi obcæcatione deferimus; ut, agnita veritatis tuæ luce, quæ Christus est, a suis tenebris eruantur. Per eumdem Dominum nostrum Iesum Christum filium tuum, qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus: per omnia sæcula sæculorum. Amen.

4. Fil-Missal Ruman tal-1970 (Novus Ordo Missae) taħt il-Pontifikat ta' Pawlu VI saret reviżjoni sħiħa tat-talba:

Oremus et pro Iudæis, ut, ad quos prius locutus est Dominus Deus noster, eis tribuat in sui nominis amore et in sui fœderis fidelitate proficere. (Oratio in silentio. Deinde sacerdos:) Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui promissiones tuas Abrahæ eiusque semini contulisti, Ecclesiæ tuæ preces clementer exaudi, ut populus acquisitionis prioris ad redemptionis mereatur plenitudinem pervenire. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.

5. Għalkemm fil-bidu kien hemm tħassib mill-Lhud wara l-pubblikazzjoni tal-motu proprio Summorum Pontificum, it-talba fil-Missal Ruman tal-1962 inbidlet minn Papa Benedittu XVI fl-2008 u issa taqra hekk: 

Oremus et pro Iudaeis: Ut Deus et Dominus noster illuminet corda eorum, ut agnoscant Iesum Christum salvatorem omnium hominum. (Oremus. Flectamus genua. Levate.) Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui vis ut omnes homines salvi fiant et ad agnitionem veritatis veniant, concede propitius, ut plenitudine gentium in Ecclesiam Tuam intrante omnis Israel salvus fiat. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Il Concilio Vaticano II - quello vero - secondo Benedetto XVI
Benedetto XVI durante il discorso. Si nota, tra l'altro, Mons. Alfred Xuereb, secondo segretario del Papa 

Durante il discorso d'addio ai preti di Roma (14 febbraio 2013), Benedetto XVI ha spiegato quale sia il vero Concilio:

"Vorrei adesso aggiungere ancora un punto: c’era il Concilio dei Padri – il vero Concilio –, ma c’era anche il Concilio dei media. Era quasi un Concilio a sé, e il mondo ha percepito il Concilio tramite questi, tramite i media.

"Quindi il Concilio immediatamente efficiente arrivato al popolo è stato quello dei media, non quello dei Padri. E mentre il Concilio dei Padri si realizzava all’interno della fede, ed era un Concilio della fede che cerca l’intellectus, che cerca di comprendersi e cerca di comprendere i segni di Dio in quel momento, che cerca di rispondere alla sfida di Dio in quel momento e di trovare nella Parola di Dio la parola per oggi e domani, mentre tutto il Concilio – come ho detto – si muoveva all’interno della fede, come fides quaerens intellectum, il Concilio dei giornalisti non si è realizzato, naturalmente, all’interno della fede, ma all’interno delle categorie dei media di oggi, cioè fuori dalla fede, con un’ermeneutica diversa.

"Era un’ermeneutica politica. Per i media, il Concilio era una lotta politica, una lotta di potere tra diverse correnti nella Chiesa. Era ovvio che i media prendessero posizione per quella parte che a loro appariva quella più confacente con il loro mondo. C’erano quelli che cercavano la decentralizzazione della Chiesa, il potere per i vescovi e poi, tramite la parola "popolo di Dio", il potere del popolo, dei laici. C’era questa triplice questione: il potere del papa, poi trasferito al potere dei vescovi e al potere di tutti, sovranità popolare. Naturalmente, per loro era questa la parte da approvare, da promulgare, da favorire.

"E così anche per la liturgia: non interessava la liturgia come atto della fede, ma come una cosa dove si fanno cose comprensibili, una cosa di attività della comunità, una cosa profana. E sappiamo che c’era una tendenza, che si fondava anche storicamente, a dire: la sacralità è una cosa pagana, eventualmente anche dell’Antico Testamento, ma nel Nuovo vale solo che Cristo è morto fuori: cioè fuori dalle porte, cioè nel mondo profano. Sacralità quindi da terminare, profanità anche del culto: il culto non è culto, ma un atto dell’insieme, della partecipazione comune, e così anche partecipazione come attività.

"Queste traduzioni, banalizzazioni dell’idea del Concilio, sono state virulente nella prassi dell’applicazione della riforma liturgica; esse erano nate in una visione del Concilio al di fuori della sua propria chiave, della fede. E così, anche nella questione della Scrittura: la Scrittura è un libro, storico, da trattare storicamente e nient’altro, e così via.

"Sappiamo come questo Concilio dei media fosse accessibile a tutti. Quindi, questo era quello dominante, più efficiente, ed ha creato tante calamità, tanti problemi, realmente tante miserie: seminari chiusi, conventi chiusi, liturgia banalizzata… E il vero Concilio ha avuto difficoltà a concretizzarsi, a realizzarsi; il Concilio virtuale era più forte del Concilio reale.

"Ma la forza reale del Concilio era presente e, man mano, si realizza sempre più e diventa la vera forza che poi è anche vera riforma, vero rinnovamento della Chiesa. Mi sembra che, cinquant'anni dopo il Concilio, vediamo come questo Concilio virtuale si rompa, si perda, e appare il vero Concilio con tutta la sua forza spirituale. Ed è nostro compito, proprio in questo Anno della fede, cominciando da questo Anno della fede, lavorare perché il vero Concilio, con la sua forza dello Spirito Santo, si realizzi e sia realmente rinnovata la Chiesa. Speriamo che il Signore ci aiuti. Io, ritirato con la mia preghiera, sarò sempre con voi, e insieme andiamo avanti con il Signore. Nella certezza: vince il Signore!".

Friday, February 15, 2013

A great priest who interpreted correctly Vatican II

In this historical week, Pope Benedict XVI argued that, after the Second Vatican Council, the liturgy was trivialised and sacredness was understood as a purely pagan thing and these outlooks became fixed ideas. “The translation and trivialisation of the idea of the Council – he went on to explain – led to the event being read outside the context of faith.” (meeting with parish priests in Rome, 14 February 2013).
Fifty years after the Council, this false vision is now melting away, letting the “real Council” shine through. The Pope therefore urged clerics to ensure that the Council finds full expression in today’s world as well.

Unlike what some people might think, Pro Tridentina (Malta), albeit in favour of the Tridentine Mass, is not against the Novus Ordo Missae. It is against the abuses that a number of priests indulge into during its celebration (be it lack of reverence, hastily celebrated Mass, etc.).

The following extracts are from an article on the Sunday Times about the late Fr Alberto Borg OSA on the first anniversary of his death. May others follow the example of this generous priest, (who I remember in his last years at St. Augustine's Church, Valletta). This article clearly shows that Fr Borg interpreted correctly the spirit of the Second Vatican Council, by not neglecting Latin as well as enhancing the Novus Ordo Missae in Maltese.


Musicians have an important and necessary function in the liturgy. Whether fully trained professionals or enthusiastic amateurs, all must remember that the purpose of the music is to implement the liturgy, and not to entertain the faithful or glorify themselves. The motto of all ought to be: Non nobis Domine, sed nomini tuo da gloriam! (Not to us, Lord, but to your name be all glory!).

... With his death a year ago, on February 11, 2012, at the age of 92, Malta lost a true example of a great priest and a dedicated musician.

... In January 1945, after obtaining his A.Mus.LCM diploma, Archbishop Michael Gonzi nominated Fr Borg maestro di cappella of both the Mdina and Valletta Cathedrals and as music teacher at the Archbishop’s Seminary (a post he held until 1992).

In 1946, Fr Borg was sent to Rome to complete his musical studies at the Pontificio Istituto di Musica Sacra, founded by Pope Pius X, graduating as Master in Gregorian chant and in composition in 1949. He always considered himself lucky to have had teachers such as Licinio Refice, Ferruccio Vignanelli, Luigi Ronga, Hubert Descrocquettes, Joseph Gajard and Igino Angles, all well known in the musical world.

... In 1979, Fr Borg was appointed part-time lecturer at the University of Malta, and in 1985, at the Augustinian Institute, Valletta. He also directed the Sacred School of Music. As teacher, composer and director, reviving old music from the Maltese music archives was a matter very close to his heart.

... Fr Borg was deeply convinced that Gregorian chant was the music that most befitted the Roman Catholic Church, and thus went all out to teach it to seminarians and religious. In this he had the enthusiastic support of the late Mgr Albert Pantalleresco, who served as rector of the Major Seminary between 1951 and 1963. In fact, in the 1950s and 1960s, when many were taking up the vocation to the priesthood, the Seminary choir was renowned for its interpretation of Gregorian music.

Apart from his love for Gregorian chant, Fr Borg also taught and conducted music by 20th- century composers like Refice and Lorenzo Perosi. His main contribution, however, was his ability to instil in seminarians and religious a love for sacred music. In fact, after their ordination, many of these went on to set up reputable choirs in their parishes. The most noteworthy choirs were those of Żurrieq, St Julian’s, and Ħamrun (St Cajetan), led by Fr Michael Damato, Fr Guido Calleja and Fr Joseph Cachia, respectively.

As maestro di cappella he was greatly admired and esteemed by both Archbishop Gonzi and Archbishop Joseph Mercieca. Besides, in 2006, Pope Benedict XVI awarded him the cross Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice for promoting sacred music in Malta.

Fr Borg also composed different Masses in Latin and Maltese, including Quddiesa tal-Mejtin and Quddiesa tal-Poplu t’Alla.

A member of the Metropolitan Commission for Music for several years, Fr Borg composed all the liturgical hymns of the missal, including the Exultet. In response to the liturgical reform designed by Vatican Council II, he joined up with Oliver Friggieri, a student of his, to produce hymns in Maltese, such as Ħenn Għalina and B’Qalbna Safja, which soon became staples in Maltese churches.

He also composed antiphons, introits, graduals, motets, psalms and polyphonic compositions for Holy Week and the Easter triduum such as the Turba dei Giudei, Amicus Meus and Velum Templi. Most of these were presented in an evening of Polyphonic Chant for Holy Week at St John’s Co-Cathedral on March 12, 1986, directed by Mro Borg himself.

It is due to Mro Alberto Borg, OSA, that to this day we can benefit from the sacred music which adorns the whole liturgical year with popular hymns which Maltese and Gozitans alike still sing and know from memory.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

The qualities of a new Pope - according to Benedict XVI

Pope Benedict XVI in his last public Mass during Ash Wednesday ceremony yesterday (Getty Images)

In this hectic week since Benedict XVI announced his resignation, Pope Benedict XVI has indicated what qualities the new Pontiff should have.
Pope Benedict XVI made his first public appearance since Monday's resignation announcement to a packed audience hall in Vatican City on Tuesday.
Benedict XVI  during this week's Audience
They are:
a)  both strength of mind and body are necessary (text of Benedict XVI's resignation);

b) a unifying figure - “I am thinking in particular of the sins against the unity of the church, of the divisions in the body of the church.” (Ash Wednesday Mass);

c) has to overcome “individualism” and “rivalry,” saying they were only for those “who have distanced themselves from the faith.” (Ash Wednesday Mass).

V: Oremus pro Pontifice nostro Benedicto.

R: Dominus conservet eum, et vivificet eum, et beatum faciat eum in terra, et non tradat eum in animam inimicorum eius.

V: Fiat manus tua super virum dexterae tuae

R: Et super filium hominis quem confirmasti tibi

Oremus. Deus, ómnium fidélium pastor et rector, fámulum tuum Benedíctum, quem pastórem Ecclésiæ tuæ præésse voluísti, propítius réspice: da ei, quæesumus, verbo et exémplo, quibus præest, profícere: ut ad vitam, una cum grege sibi crédito, pervéniat sempitérnam. Per Christum, Dóminum nostrum. Amen.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Tridentine Mass in Valletta - with restrictions

The Church of Saint Catherine of Italy, Valletta

A friend involved with the S.M.O.M. in Malta informed Pro Tridentina (Malta) that a Tridentine Mass was held at the Church of Saint Catherine of Italy in Valletta by a group of Knights of Malta who were on their way to Rome for their 900th anniversary celebrations. Part of the celebrations in Rome included an audience with Pope Benedict XVI.

Apparently, concession for this Mass (celebrated on 3 February 2013) was "granted subject to a number of restrictions". 

Between November and December 2012, the President of Pro Tridentina (Malta) was contacted by some Knights of Malta from the USA who asked for information about the possibility of celebrating Tridentine Mass in Malta. However, contacts stopped abruptly. Could be that both events are somewhat related.

Monday, February 11, 2013

The SSPX on Benedict XVI's resignation


The Society of St. Pius X has learned of the sudden announcement about the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, which will be effective on the evening of February 28, 2013.
Despite the doctrinal differences that were still evident on the occasion of the theological talks held between 2009 and 2011, the Society of St. Pius X does not forget that the Holy Father had the courage to recall the fact that the Traditional Mass had never been abrogated, and to do away with the canonical sanctions that had been imposed on its bishops following their consecration in 1988. It is not unaware of the opposition that these decisions have stirred up, obliging the pope to justify himself to the bishops of the whole world.

The Society expresses its gratitude to him for the strength and the constancy that he has shown toward it in such difficult circumstances, and assures him of its prayers for the time that he wishes to devote from now on to recollection.
Following its founder, Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, the Society of St. Pius X reaffirms its attachment to eternal Rome, Mother and Instructress [Mater et Magistra] of Truth, and to the See of Peter. It reiterates its desire to make its contribution, according to its abilities, to resolving the grave crisis that is shaking the Church. It prays that, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the cardinals of the next conclave may elect the pope who, according to the will of God, will work for the restoration of all things in Christ (Eph 1:10). 

Menzingen, February 11, 2013,
on the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes

Text of Benedict XVI's resignation in English and Latin

Dear Brothers,

I have convoked you to this Consistory, not only for the three canonizations, but also to communicate to you a decision of great importance for the life of the Church. After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry. I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suffering. However, in today’s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the bark of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me. For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter, entrusted to me by the Cardinals on 19 April 2005, in such a way, that as from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours, the See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant and a Conclave to elect the new Supreme Pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose competence it is.

Dear Brothers, I thank you most sincerely for all the love and work with which you have supported me in my ministry and I ask pardon for all my defects. And now, let us entrust the Holy Church to the care of Our Supreme Pastor, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and implore his holy Mother Mary, so that she may assist the Cardinal Fathers with her maternal solicitude, in electing a new Supreme Pontiff. With regard to myself, I wish to also devotedly serve the Holy Church of God in the future through a life dedicated to prayer.

From the Vatican, 10 February 2013



Fratres carissimi

Non solum propter tres canonizationes ad hoc Consistorium vos convocavi, sed etiam ut vobis decisionem magni momenti pro Ecclesiae vitae communicem. Conscientia mea iterum atque iterum coram Deo explorata ad cognitionem certam perveni vires meas ingravescente aetate non iam aptas esse ad munus Petrinum aeque administrandum. Bene conscius sum hoc munus secundum suam essentiam spiritualem non solum agendo et loquendo exsequi debere, sed non minus patiendo et orando. Attamen in mundo nostri temporis rapidis mutationibus subiecto et quaestionibus magni ponderis pro vita fidei perturbato ad navem Sancti Petri gubernandam et ad annuntiandum Evangelium etiam vigor quidam corporis et animae necessarius est, qui ultimis mensibus in me modo tali minuitur, ut incapacitatem meam ad ministerium mihi commissum bene administrandum agnoscere debeam. Quapropter bene conscius ponderis huius actus plena libertate declaro me ministerio Episcopi Romae, Successoris Sancti Petri, mihi per manus Cardinalium die 19 aprilis MMV commissum renuntiare ita ut a die 28 februarii MMXIII, hora 20, sedes Romae, sedes Sancti Petri vacet et Conclave ad eligendum novum Summum Pontificem ab his quibus competit convocandum esse.

Fratres carissimi, ex toto corde gratias ago vobis pro omni amore et labore, quo mecum pondus ministerii mei portastis et veniam peto pro omnibus defectibus meis. Nunc autem Sanctam Dei Ecclesiam curae Summi eius Pastoris, Domini nostri Iesu Christi confidimus sanctamque eius Matrem Mariam imploramus, ut patribus Cardinalibus in eligendo novo Summo Pontifice materna sua bonitate assistat. Quod ad me attinet etiam in futuro vita orationi dedicata Sanctae Ecclesiae Dei toto ex corde servire velim.

Ex Aedibus Vaticanis, die 10 mensis februarii MMXIII


Concistoro Ordinario Pubblico - Declaratio del Santo Padre


 Benedetto XVI sulla Sua rinuncia al Ministero di Vescovo di Roma, Successore di San Pietro

Carissimi Fratelli,

vi ho convocati a questo Concistoro non solo per le tre canonizzazioni, ma anche per comunicarvi una decisione di grande importanza per la vita della Chiesa. Dopo aver ripetutamente esaminato la mia coscienza davanti a Dio, sono pervenuto alla certezza che le mie forze, per l’età avanzata, non sono più adatte per esercitare in modo adeguato il ministero petrino. Sono ben consapevole che questo ministero, per la sua essenza spirituale, deve essere compiuto non solo con le opere e con le parole, ma non meno soffrendo e pregando. Tuttavia, nel mondo di oggi, soggetto a rapidi mutamenti e agitato da questioni di grande rilevanza per la vita della fede, per governare la barca di san Pietro e annunciare il Vangelo, è necessario anche il vigore sia del corpo, sia dell’animo, vigore che, negli ultimi mesi, in me è diminuito in modo tale da dover riconoscere la mia incapacità di amministrare bene il ministero a me affidato. 

Per questo, ben consapevole della gravità di questo atto, con piena libertà, dichiaro di rinunciare al ministero di Vescovo di Roma, Successore di San Pietro, a me affidato per mano dei Cardinali il 19 aprile 2005, in modo che, dal 28 febbraio 2013, alle ore 20,00, la sede di Roma, la sede di San Pietro, sarà vacante e dovrà essere convocato, da coloro a cui compete, il Conclave per l’elezione del nuovo Sommo Pontefice.

Carissimi Fratelli, vi ringrazio di vero cuore per tutto l’amore e il lavoro con cui avete portato con me il peso del mio ministero, e chiedo perdono per tutti i miei difetti. Ora, affidiamo la Santa Chiesa alla cura del suo Sommo Pastore, Nostro Signore Gesù Cristo, e imploriamo la sua santa Madre Maria, affinché assista con la sua bontà materna i Padri Cardinali nell’eleggere il nuovo Sommo Pontefice. Per quanto mi riguarda, anche in futuro, vorrò servire di tutto cuore, con una vita dedicata alla preghiera, la Santa Chiesa di Dio.

Benedetto XVI

FLASH NEWS: Benedict XVI resigns!

A visibly tired Benedict XVI

Benedict XVI's announcement that he will resign on 28 February has surprised Catholics and the wider world. This is an entirely unexpected development, the Vatican has confirmed. The 85-year-old became Pope Benedict XVI in April 2005 following the death of John Paul II.

The reasons behind the head of the Catholic Church's surprise resignation have yet to emerge, although it is known that Vatileaks and the child sex abuse by many clerics have taken a heavy toll on the Pope's already frail health.

Resignations from the papacy are not unknown, but the last (similar) one was by Celestine V in 1294. The last Pope de facto to resign was Gregory XII on 4 July 1415, but his resignation was pronounced during the Council of Constance amid the Western Schism and was accepted by the Cardinals.

At 78, the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was one of the oldest new popes in history when elected.

He will be remembered by traditional Catholics for Summorum Pontificum and for his tireless efforts for an agreement with the SSPX.

It is expected that Ratzinger will go to the Papal summer residence at Castel Gandolfo after resigning, and will then move to a cloistered residence in the Vatican, after the election of the new Pontiff.