Update: The big fears concerning the SP instruction are not materializing in the rumor mill.
So far, the two negatives presented by Rorati Coeli are rather minor, and if everyone would stop and think about it, to be expected.
An apparent limitation of the application of Summorum Pontificum to Western liturgical Rites such as the Ambrosian Rite and Dominican Rite, which is said to be contained in the instruction, and limiting the ability of diocesan seminarians to be ordained according to the 1962 liturgies have more to do with protecting the equally legitimate liturgical rights of local bishops and religious superiors. In both cases, the rights of local bishops and religious superiors may be contrary to the rights of the faithful concerning the forms of the liturgy to be used. We should not expect anything other than the rights of the local bishop and religious superiors taking precedence.
Secondly, there is a new rumor circulating that these leaks are coming from those translating the document, which raises some pointed questions:
Why aren't the positives being leaked?
Are those leaking this information interested in weakening the instruction in general by undermining support for it in traditional circles?
Given the importance of Summorum Pontificum in the efforts to reach a canonical solution for the SSPX, is this an attack on those efforts?
If this is the case, is Rorate Coeli and the rest of us only furthering these nefarious designs?
I think it best to bring back some measure of calm here. We need to wait for the document to be released before passing judgment, otherwise we may be unwittingly playing into the hands of a few who are trying to undermine the present course regarding Tradition and traditionalists.
Rorati Coeli has been posting about a possible disaster pending with the release of the "clarification" document concerning Summorum Pontificum. There are rumors claiming this document will water down the prerogatives set forth in the Holy Father's motu propio that liberated the Traditional Latin Mass according to the liturgical books of 1962.
Back at the beginning of the year I made a prediction that this clarification document would be released this year, but would be a disappointment for traditional Catholics. This was not a wild guess on my part. Late last year I had gotten wind that a substantial number of bishops and their offices had written up negative reviews for the three year analysis that they were asked to draw up. The main criticism, I was told, was divisiveness on the part of the members of traditional Catholic groups and communities, and their lack of involvement in the greater diocesan communities. Accusations were being made regarding "strong-arm" tactics on the part of traditional Catholics, insularism, and slow growth.
This, of course, is all hear-say, but given the recent rumors, I believe that this information is relevant at this time. Allow me to point out, I rather think these rumors about the clarification document are exaggerations. While it may be disappointing, I don't think it will be the disaster that it is already being lamented as being. We need to wait for the document to come out, and then judge it on it's own merits.
But lets grant that the rumors are true, and this document will be every bit as terrifying as it is being made out to be...
If these rumors are true, then we can expect from the clarification document a movement away from the Extraordinary Form being a "right", and back to being a "privilege". There is essentially no difference between a privilege, something that is allowed, and an "indult". I seriously doubt we are headed back to those bad-old-indult days, wherein local bishops had the freedom to crush traditional Catholics and their legitimate aspirations. On the other hand, I think we are going to start hearing the word "universal indult" again. Granted, back in 2006 the term "universal indult" was the substance of our dreams, but that was before we got something much better, a right.
What will this mean for traditional Catholics? Honestly, it's not all doom and gloom. Sure we can expect some negatives from this. The re-introduction of an "indult mentality" to the episcopate will mean that traditional Catholics will once again get treated as second class citizens by many bishops, and our aspirations will be treated as aberrations in the life of the Church that needs to be segregated and ignored as much as possible. However, that's true of many bishops, regardless of what this clarification document will say. If a modernist bishop doesn't like traditional Catholics, the Traditional Latin Mass or Tradition, then there's nothing in a Vatican document that will make it better or worse for traditional Catholics in that man's diocese. It may even have the advantage of silencing all these calls for the novus ordo, as ludicrous as it may be, to "enrich" the Traditional Latin Mass. If traditional Catholics and the Traditional Latin Mass are once again "second class", then I for one will not lament mainstream Catholics forgetting "mutual enrichment."
Speaking of "mutual enrichment", I heard a theory (not a rumor) that one aspect of the clarification document may be a call to force traditional Catholics into hearing the novus ordo by willfully limiting our access to the Traditional Latin Mass. Exclusivity and insularism on the part of traditional Catholics is, after all, one of the main concerns of many bishops. Mutual enrichment isn't served by traditional Catholics attending only the Extraordinary Form, or so the logic goes. Pressure could be brought to bear on traditional Catholic fraternities and orders to start offering the novus ordo, and to start concelebrating at the novus ordo, at least once a year at the bishop's chrism Mass. This latter theory isn't so far fetched. It has actually happened in the case of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, and that controversy contributed to the resignation of the Fraternity's original superior.
If this is the case, then once again, I'm not so sure this is all doom and gloom. It isn't as though traditional Catholics haven't had to tread the same ground in the not so distant past. The Modernists will never understand our devotion for the Traditional Latin Mass, or our willingness to make extraordinary sacrifices for it, because the disaster that they have made of the Church has obscured and caused them to forget any semblance of true devotion. While they are drooling over the witchery and fraud at Medjugorje or congratulating themselves for their Pentecostalism at Franciscan U, neither of which will stand the test of time, we will simply go about business as usual. Whether it be swelling the pews at the local SSPX chapel, driving sixty or a hundred miles on Sunday, or just pestering the daylights out of our bishops, we've been there and we've done that. We had nearly fifty years of training. The Traditional Latin Mass and Tradition didn't go away then, and they won't go away now.
I agree with New Catholic over at Rorate Coeli that we should all start writing letters to the Holy Father, the CDF and our local bishops. But allow me to add this: if you are expecting our current leaders to make the necessary reforms that will turn the tables on the Modernists, you are going to be disappointed. The fox is guarding the hen house. Write to them, pray for them, ask God to soften their hardened hearts, but we have to put even more energy into making ourselves holy and faithful traditional Catholics. The primary manner in which we promote the Traditional Latin Mass and Catholic Tradition is by making ourselves more receptive to the beauty and spiritual fecundity that is the exclusive property of the Immortal Mass. We are the ones entrusted with this precious Icon, and it is up to each one of us to muster up the courage to rise to the occasion, come the realization of these rumors, or even worse.