Rumours abounding

Sector Católico has apparently learned that Pope Benedict is preparing a great liturgical surprise for Maundy Thursday. Two suggestions are the abolition of the "universal indult" for communion in the hand, and the celebration of the Mass in Coena Domini by the Holy Father in the extraordinary form.

I'm sorry to be a killjoy but first of all there is no "universal indult" for communion in the hand. It is an indult given to particular bishops' conferences - relatively recently in Poland. To abolish the permission universally would not be the Holy Father's style and would probably be massively counter-productive in terms of provoking open disobedience. As Mgr Marini pointed out in an interview recently, The Holy Father proposes rather than imposes. Papal EF Mass on Maundy Thursday? That would be great but we would probably have heard of that by now - the rumour has the date of the announcement as Maundy Thursday itself.

On the other hand, the rumour in the Italian magazine Panorama as reported on Rinascimento Sacra has a rather stronger whiff of probability. The suggestion is that the clarification of Ecclesia Dei regarding Summorum Pontificum is nearly ready. Sensibly, no date is given - Italian commentators know that "nearly" in Vatican terms is an elastic concept.

Nevertheless the recent letter from Mgr Pozzo settling certain doubts is itself an indication that certain lines of interpretation are already settled. Notably, a priest may schedule Mass in the usus antiquior of his own accord, and without a request from a group. This confirms what I said in September 2007 in my post If ... but not "only if". Further, a Mass in the usus antiquior may replace a regularly scheduled Mass in the Ordinary Form.

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