If the frequency of celebrations of solemn pontificals in the extraordinary or Gregorian rite in St. Peter’s basilica is anything to go by to assess any progress of the motu proprio “Summorum Pontificum” implementation, then the situation would appear somewhat rosy. In fact, on Saturday 5 November 2011 a third pontifical in the extraordinary rite was celebrated by Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos since 2009, in the Eucharistic Adoration (or Blessed Sacrament) Chapel in St. Peter’s basilica to usher in the two-day proceedings of the 20th Bi-Annual General Assembly of FIUV in Rome.
FIUV stands for Federatio Internationalis Una Voce (International Una Voce Federation), or more simply Una Voce, a world federation of lay associations of pontifical right in defence and propagation of the pre-Vatican II liturgy based on the 1962 books.
Although the fight on liturgical abuses could be seen as an indirectly related aspect of their apostolate, needless to say the Cardinal’s reference in his homily to the serious damage caused by such abuses could not have been more welcome to their ears.
“The widespread practice of liturgical abuses in the aftermath of the Council has produced deep wounds in the Church, undermining the primacy of the spirit of obedience to the Magisterium of the Church which should invariably characterize the expression of faith”, the senior prelate said. “The ars celebrandi is a result of faithful compliance with liturgical norms in their entirety, since it is precisely this way of celebrating to have sustained the life of faith of all believers for two thousand years (Benedict XVI, Apostolic Exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis, n. 38)”.
The Cardinal had also something to say about what he called the “spirit of the Council”. In his opinion, “it constitutes for some a tool to uphold spurious claims often aimed at imposing disturbing ways of thinking and acting”. Those who are doing so, he went on, “are responsible of dangerous theological and pastoral deviations, which are a concrete damage to the life of faith of the people of God”.
“The Sacred Liturgy in particular”, he pointed out, “is often subject to arbitrary interpretations that distort its nature and purpose, causing pain and disorientation in Christifideles who become astonished spectators of practices marked by bizarre forms of exasperated creativity”.
Among the distinguished guests were Sister Margherita Marchione, a nun famous for the many books she has written in defence of Pope Pius XII against his critics, Princess Gloria von Thurn und Taxis of one of the most noble households in Germany and Europe, Msgr. Pablo Colino, Kapellmeister emeritus of Cappella Giulia in St. Peter’s Basilica, and many others.
As aptly recalled in Fr. John Zuhlsdor's Blog, a popular website among traditional minded faithful, for the second time this year, and for the third time since Summorum Pontificum came into effect, Pontifical Mass according to the 1962 Missal were publicly celebrated in St. Peter’s Basilica.
The first celebration on October 18, 2009, was occasioned by the Second Symposium commemorating the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum and offered by Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke, Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, in the Eucharistic Adoration Chapel for the first time after 40 years: in fact the last celebration of such solemn pontifical took place in 1969.
The second celebration on May 15th, 2011, capped the third international symposium again on the motu proprio “Summorum Pontificum”, but this time it was celebrated “al Faldistorio” or at the Faldstool, viz. in the Altar of the Chair, which is the main altar of the Basilica together with that of Bernini’s Baldachin, and not a side chapel, however grandiose and imposing. Again, a solemn pontifical was being celebrated for the first time in at least four decades at this altar of St. Peter’s basilica. Cardinal Walter Brandmüller, Prefect emeritus of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences, was the celebrant, with the Gregorian Choir of the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music and that of the Fondazione Domenico Bartolucci, masterfully directed by Mons. Renzo Cilia and Cardinal Domenico Bertolucci himself respectively. Cardinal Bertolucci is also director emeritus of the Sistine Chapel Choir and the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia.