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Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Ecclesia Dei reshuffle

Today, Pope Benedict has issued a Motu Proprio Ecclesiae unitatem, restructuring the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei.

In this Motu Proprio, the Holy Father observes that although he has freed up the use of the older form of the Roman rite and remitted the excommunications of the four Bishops ordained by Archbishop Lefevbre,
The doctrinal questions, however, obviously remain, and, until they are not clarified, the Fraternity does not have a canonical status within the Church, and its ministers cannot exercise any ministry legitimately.
Therefore, since the remaining questions are doctrinal, he has placed Ecclesia Dei under the Congregration for the Doctrine of the Faith, something he indicated his intention to do when the excommunications were lifted. The President of Ecclesia Dei is now the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of hte Faith, Cardinal Levada and a new secretary has been appointed, Mgr Guido Pozzi.

Fr Z has some comment on the restructuring, pointing out that this is the next logical step. John Allen sees it as payback time: Pope removes officials seen as responsible for Holocaust-denying bishop row. I'm not sure about that - certainly Cardinal Hoyos is due for his well-earned retirement and the appointment of Pozzi is a recognition of the doctrinal priority that now remains. (By the way, note, as Fr Z points out, that Mgr Perl is from Luxembourg - not Belguim or Italy.)

Cathcon reports that the German press is portraying the changes as the Pope putting more pressure on the SSPX. In Germany, headlines are now appearing such as "Pope loses patience" and "Pope strengthens control over SSPX".

Fr Z suspects that the liturgical questions continuing to arise after Summorum Pontificum may be gently pushed in the way of the Congregation for Divine Worship. Given that the Holy Father is evidently keen to foster unity with the SSPX, I think it is unlikely that there will be any drawing back on the liturgical question.

For the doctrinal matters, Pope Benedict has repeatedly insisted on the need to interpret Vatican II in accord with the tradition of the Church, thus making the path as smooth as possible for discussions with the SSPX as well as providing a much-needed antidote to the false dichotomy between the "pre-conciliar Church" and the "post-conciliar Church" which has dogged theological discussion so much over recent decades.

This video produced by the SSPX provides some light relief:

src="http://www.gloria.tv/?media=28871&embed" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="400" height="252" quality="high" scale="noborder" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true"

Notes:
The SSPX is known in German as the Piusbruderschaft
Unverwechselbar = "unmistakeable"

H/T Catholic Church Conservation
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