Having apparently gone on a silent retreat during Lent, Pope Benedict’s long-rumored motu proprio on the Latin mass looks as though it may put on its new biretta and stroll out for the Easter Parade. It’s completely ready! says Le Figaro .
Anyway, at some point soon, all Catholic priests will likely have papal permission to perform the mass according to the Tridentine rite. "Both [for reasons of] not losing the great liturgical heritage left by Saint Pius V and for granting the wish of those faithful who desire to attend Masses according to this rite," Cardinal Bertone explains to Le Figaro , "there is no valid reason not to grant to every priest in the world the right to celebrate according to this form."
Always willing to rain on a parade, Notre Dame’s Cathy Kaveny comes up with a good line: The restoration of the Latin Mass is " mystery on the cheap ." You know what she means, and yet, couldn’t this story have been spun the other way? Why isn’t it a liberal feel-good event: an escape from top-down prescriptions about the liturgy, a chance to let local priests and parishioners themselves decide what will help them fulfill their spiritual needs? You know, power to the people, We Are Church, the rise of the laity¯all that stuff?
A note for those who need the executive summary: Motu proprio is "the name given to certain papal rescripts on account of the clause motu proprio used in the document . . . . The document has generally the form of a decree: In style it resembles a Brief rather than a Bull, but differs from both, especially in not being sealed or countersigned." Clear, now?