"Summorum Pontificum" One Year Later (Part 1)
Father John Zuhlsdorf Analyzes Its Effects
Q: The Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei is reportedly preparing a document to clarify some ambiguities related to implementing "Summorum Pontificum." What have been the main difficulties thus far that such a document should address?
Father Zuhlsdorf: The document will probably clarify some terms in the letter issued "motu proprio" that have been used by some diocesan bishops and priests to block what the Holy Father is trying to accomplish.
For example, "Summorum Pontificum" says priests must be idoneus, "capable, competent" to say Mass with the older book. Idoneus, a technical term, refers to the minimum requirements for competence, not to expertise.
Cardinal Edward Egan of New York, a distinguished canonist in his day, correctly stated that idoneus, as far as the Latin language is concerned, means that the priest must be able to pronounce the words properly. That is the minimum.
Of course we hope for far more than that. But some bishops are subjecting priests to exams in Latin before they determine whether he can exercise his right to say Mass using the 1962 Missale Romanum, or even in Latin with the Novus Ordo, that is to say, Mass in his own rite, as a priest of the Latin Church.
Another issue is how large a group, a coetus, making a request for the older Mass must be before the parish priest is required to act in their favor. Those and other questions pertain to the interpretation of the "motu proprio."