Pope Benedict XVI issued the Apostolic Letter “Summorum Pontificum” in July 2007. In the letter the following excerpts are taken. (obtained from an unofficial translation of the Vatican information Services)

“It is, therefore, permissible to celebrate the Sacrifice of the Mass following the typical edition of the Roman Missal promulgated by Bl. John XXIII in 1962 and never abrogated, as an extraordinary form of the Liturgy of the Church.”

“In parishes, where there is a stable group of faithful who adhere to the earlier liturgical tradition, the pastor should willingly accept their requests to celebrate the Mass according to the rite of the Roman Missal published in 1962 …”

“If a group of lay faithful, as mentioned in art. 5 õ 1, has not obtained satisfaction to their requests from the pastor, they should inform the diocesan bishop. The bishop is strongly requested to satisfy their wishes. If he cannot arrange for such celebration to take place, the matter should be referred to the Pontifical Commission ‘Ecclesia Dei’. ”

The letter in its entirety can be read on the EWTN site here. The follow-up letter “Universae Ecclesiae” can be read on the Vatican site here.

The practical result of the publication of these two letters was a rise in the number of Traditional Mass centers. While people who carefully studied the matter already knew that the 1962 liturgy was never abrogated, every priest had the right to offer it and every Catholic had the right to request it, “Summorum Pontificum” declared the facts in a clear and public manner. What was legitimate in fact, had become legitimized in the eyes of the general Catholic population.

If the older form of the Roman Rite is still treasured by the Church, then it follows that the artistic expressions that were originally associated with it are held in esteem as well. Because of “Summorum Pontificum”, there has been an increase of interest in restoration projects – even amongst those that do not intend to use the 1962 missal. More and more parishes, universities and monasteries are incorporating traditional elements such as the reredos, baldachin, communion rail and high altar in the sanctuaries of their churches and chapels.

Related Links:
Baldacchino in the Saint Thomas Aquinas College Chapel

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