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Question 10
Can we attend the Masses offered under the provisions of Summorum Pontificum?

The motu proprio, Summorum Pontificum, has changed the juridical situation of the Mass. Until recently, the traditional Mass was presented as being prohibited and allowed only under an indult, that is, a special, exceptional permission joined with special conditions.

The conditions attached to the celebration of the traditional Mass under the Indult were two-fold: the recognition of the orthodoxy and legitimacy of the New Mass and the acceptance of the Second Vatican Council's decisions and reforms.

Canon Missae of traditional Roman Mass

Pope Benedict XVI has changed the juridical situation of the Mass stating that the traditional Mass has never been abrogated. Thanks to this statement, the Mass has been reestablished as a universal law of the Church and can no longer be considered as prohibited or even as an exception. Unfortunately, the expression "extraordinary form" used in the motu propio is misleading.

Nevertheless, the practical situation of the Mass, due to the attitude of the majority of the bishops has hardly changed from the previous state. Practically speaking, the bishops continue to limit the celebration of the traditional Mass by seeking to grant a permission which is no longer necessary, oftentimes in addition to other arbitrary conditions.

In other words, for the time being, there is in general hardly a difference from the previous situation with the Indult Mass, though in certain particular places there might be a better treatment for the Mass, the priests and the faithful. This obliges us to invite the faithful to the same prudence as before about attending the Indult Mass.

We hope that this situation will gradually change and that the reasons which oblige us today to be very restrictive will little by little disappear, in a process of gradually recovering the reality of the sacrifice, the reality of the priesthood and the whole Christian spirit. But for now this is only a wish and a dream, apart from some exceptions.

Here is a summary of the dangers to which the faithful might easily be exposed by imprudently attending the traditional Mass celebrated today under said circumstances:

  • the teaching of the Faith can still be defective,

  • the priest might be ill-prepared for the pre-conciliar liturgy,

  • the risk of a mixing of the new and old rite remains,

  • and there is the danger of a confusion which could be very misleading.

In doubt, the faithful should ask their pastors for advice.

More on this topic

Though the juridical issue of the Indult no longer exists, some items from these articles regarding the Indult are still pertinent to the application of the motu proprio.

Motu proprio articles
about the motu proprios, Summorum Pontificum (July 7, 2007) and Ecclesiae Unitatem (July 2, 2009) both promulgated Pope Benedict XVI and their ongoing consequences

The Indult Mass: Should One Attend it All?
Despite the motu proprio, this article continues to have pertinent points, particularly about fulfilling one's Sunday Obligation vis--vis the existing conciliarist environment

Superior General's Letter #61
The growth and fruits of Catholic Tradition; why does Rome refuse the Tridentine Mass?

Get the full picture
about the SSPX with this select group of informative conferences and articles.

The Legitimacy of Quo Primum Today
Did Pope Paul VI abolish the Tridentine Rite of Mass? An article regarding the legality of Quo Primum. Written in 1997 and vindicated 10 years later!

The Church, the Priesthood and the Tridentine Indult
A conference given by Archbishop Lefebvre in 1984 which despite the motu proprio is still pertinent today 2013                    home                    contact