Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, Use of the 1962 liturgical books, 2006, Private.

A cardinal and a diocesan bishop, both from the United States, asked for clarification regarding the 1984 letter of the then Congregation for Divine Worship and the 1988 letter of the Pontifical Commission, "Ecclesia Dei." The following is the one letter from the cardinal to the Pontifical Commission and the two letters from the same Dicastery to the same cardinal and the diocesan bishop who wrote for clarification.

His Eminence

Dario Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos

Pontificia Commissione "Ecclesia Dei"

Piazza del S. Uffizio

00193 Rome


Your Eminence:

The Rev. Msgr. _____, Superior for the Institute of _____, has asked permission to establish an oratory in the Archdiocese of which would celebrate all liturgical functions according to the rites in effect in 1962.

I do not believe I can give this permission on my own authority. The letter of the then Congregation for Divine Worship, issued October 3,1984, and the Apostolic Letter, "Ecclesia Dei," issued July 2, 1988, refer only to the use of the 1962 Missale Romanum. Other liturgical books, such as the Rituale Romanum and the Pontificale Romanum are not mentioned.

Canon 846 ยง1 suggests that, since certain liturgical books are approved and mandated for use in the United States, nothing may be altered with regard to their use. However, since c. 838 reserves to the Holy See the right to direct and order sacred liturgy, I am writing to ask permission of the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei" to allow the members of the Institute of _____ use of all ritual books in effect in 1962 for the celebration of their liturgies in the Archdiocese of _____.

The Institute has been of great help to me in preserving a church in the Archdiocese, since the parish to which the church was attached was suppressed. I have given my approval for the Institute to exercise ministry in the Archdiocese and wish to comply with their request to celebrate liturgies according to their charism.

I would very much appreciate your favorable response to my request. In this season when we celebrate Our Savior's Birth, may you be filled with the Father's blessings of joy and hope.

Prot. N. _____

Your Eminence:

I wish to acknowledge receipt of your kind letter of _____, regarding Msgr. _____'s request to establish an oratory of the Institute which would celebrate all of the liturgical functions according to the liturgical books in use in 1962. This, in fact, is the practice of the Institute wherever its priests serve and this Pontifical Commission is in complete agreement with this arrangement.

Thus, if your Eminence is disposed to grant the permission for the establishment of this oratory, the priests who celebrate liturgical functions there may use the 1962 liturgical books with no further special permission.

With sentiments of fraternal esteem, I remain

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Pontificia Commissio "Ecclesia Dei"

Prot. N. _____

Your Excellency:

I wish to acknowledge receipt of your letter of _____, which, I regret, has only reached this office on _____.

It is most assuredly appropriate that you should register your concern for what you rightly call "grave confusion" regarding the use of the liturgical books in force in 1962. From the first days of this Pontifical Commission the use of the four liturgical books in force in 1962 conceded to the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter upon it erection as a Society of Apostolic Life of Pontifical Right (cf. AAS 82 [1990] 533-534). The use of these liturgical books could certainly not have been granted if the Holy See had considered that the conferral of the sacraments according to these books was invalid.

In the course of my presidency of this Pontifical Commission, I have consistently made it clear to any Bishops who have inquired that they may confer the Sacrament of Confirmation according to the Pontifical in force in 1962 and allow the other sacraments to be celebrated according to the liturgical books in force in 1962 if they judged that there were appropriate pastoral motives for so doing. You are free to share this letter with the administration of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and any other Bishops who may be interested.

I wish to take this opportunity, Your Excellency, to thank you for your pastoral sensitivity to and provision for "those who are attached to the Latin liturgical tradition" (Ecclesia Dei, 6 c) both in the Diocese of _____ and in the Archdiocese of _____ as well as for the generous assistance which you have provided to the Institute _____ in the course of the last ten years.

With sentiments of fraternal esteem, I am

/s/ Signature

Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, Use of the 1962 liturgical books, 2006, Private, CLSA, Roman Replies and Advisory Opinions, 2006, 20-22.