In May, with the approval of Pope Benedict XVI, the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei published Universae Ecclesiae (“To the Universal Church”), “on the application of the Apostolic Letter Summorum Pontificum.” Summorum Pontificum, by Pope Benedict XVI, restored the pre-Vatican II Latin Mass. Clearly, the “extraordinary form” and the “ordinary form” are to live more like siblings (sorry, I mean brothers) within the Latin Rite. Priests must have a sufficient knowledge of Latin and know the rite to be celebrated.

A symposium at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome discussed how this will move forward. Monsignor Guido Pozzo described the two forms as “an example of reciprocal increase and enrichment”. Cardinal Koch similarly, saw them “as mutual enrichment.” The pope speaks of “a reform of the reform of the liturgy.”

What, I think, is particularly noteworthy is Cardinal Koch’s statement, “Benedict XVI knows well that in the long term we cannot remain with a coexistence between the ordinary and extraordinary forms in the Roman rite, but that the Church will again need in the future a common rite.” Within this discussion there has not been mention of two other “forms”, the Book of Divine Worship, which is an adaptation of the American Book of Common Prayer (BCP) by the Roman Catholic Church used primarily by former members of the Episcopal Church within RC “Anglican Use” parishes. There will also be a liturgy used within the Anglican Ordinariates. So, any future “common rite” will need to combine all these traditions in the Latin Rite.

ps. Cardinal Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity (sic), also states that “Summorum Pontificum could be a really solid ecumenical bridge if it is perceived and received as a hope for the whole Church.”

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