Quattuor Abhinc Annos

    October 3, 1984
    Sent to the Presidents of the Conferences of Bishops
    On the Use of the Roman Missal
    According to the Typical Edition of the Year 1962
    Most Rev. Excellency:
    Four years ago, by order of the Supreme Pontiff John Paul II, the 
    Bishops of the whole Church were invited to present a report: 
    - concerning the way in which the priests and faithful of their 
    dioceses had received the Missal promulgated in 1970 by the authority of 
    Pope Paul VI in accordance with the decisions of the Second Vatican 
    - concerning the difficulties arising in the implementation of 
    the liturgical reform;
    - concerning possible resistance that may have arisen.
     The results of the consultation were sent to all the bishops 
    (Notitiae, n. 185, December 1981).  On the basis of their replies, it 
    appeared that the problem of priests and faithful holding to the so-
    called "Tridentine" rite was almost completely solved.
     Since, however, the same problem continues, the Supreme Pontiff, 
    in a desire to meet the wishes of these groups, grants to diocesan 
    bishops the possibility of using an indult whereby priests and faithful, 
    who shall be expressly indicated in the letter of request to be 
    presented to their own bishop, may be able to celebrate Mass by using 
    the Roman Missal according to the 1962 edition, but under the following 
     a) That it be made publicly clear beyond all ambiguity that such 
    priests and their respective faithful in no way share the positions of 
    those who call into question the legitimacy and doctrine exactitude of 
    the Roman Missal promulgated by Pope Paul VI in 1970.
     b) Such celebration must be made only for the benefit of those 
    groups that request it; in church and oratories indicated by the bishop 
    (not, however, in parish churches, unless the bishop permits it in 
    extraordinary cases); and on the days and under the conditions fixed by 
    the bishop either habitually, or in individual cases.
     c) These celebrations must be according to the 1962 Missal and in 
     d) There must be no interchanging of texts and rites of the two 
     e) Each bishop must inform this Congregation of the concessions 
    granted to him, and at the end of the year from the granting of this 
    indult, he must report the result of its application.
     This concession, indicative of the Holy Father's solicitude for 
    his children, must be used in such a way as not to prejudice the 
    faithful observance of the liturgical reform in the life of the 
    respective ecclesial communities.
     I am pleased to avail myself of this occasion to express to Your 
    Excellency my sentiments of deep esteem.
     From the Office of the Congregation for Divine Worship,
     October 3, 1984
     + A. Mayer, O.S.B., Archbishop of Satriano, Pro-Prefect
      + Virgilio Noe, Titular Archbishop of Voncaria, Secretary
    [Acta Apostolicae Sedis - Commentarium Officiale (LXXVI, 12) 12/01/84]

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