With the final arrival of the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum on the "Roman liturgy prior to the reform of 1970" I had a little laugh and love the irony of it so far being only available in Latin. Though the explanatory letter is available in multiple languages including English.
I immediately went to Fr. Z site and of course he has a great summary of what Summorum Pontificum does and will later be poting a critique of the English translation of the explanatory letter since he says it softens some of what the Latin text says.
The USCCB does have a translation up in PDF form.
Having pondered at length the pressing requests of these faithful to our Predecessor John Paul II, having also
heard the Fathers of the Consistory of Cardinals held on 23 March 2006, having pondered all things, invoked the
Holy Spirit and placed our confidence in the help of God, by this present Apostolic Letter we DECREE the
Art. 1. The Roman Missal promulgated by Paul VI is to be regarded as the ordinary expression of the law
of prayer (lex orandi) of the Catholic Church of Latin Rite, while the Roman Missal promulgated by St
Pius V and published again by Blessed John XXIII as the extraordinary expression of the law of prayer
(lex orandi) and on account of its venerable and ancient use let it enjoy due honor. These two
expressions of the law of prayer (lex orandi) of the Church in no way lead to a division in the law of
prayer (lex orandi) of the Church, for they are two uses of the one Roman Rite.
It will be nice when we have an accurate translation since as Phil Lawyer points out it should be "Law of belief" not "Law of Prayer." No doubt this isn’t the only error.
Contrary to some rumors in the last couple of days this permission does not expire in three years, but instead that the Holy See will then be requesting an account of their experiences.
One thing that strikes me after reading Summorum Pontificum and the cover letter and of having read the letter he wrote to the people of China last weak that the Holy Father is certainly a wise pastor. One of the things people so often hit him with was his mainly academic experience and lacking experience in parish life or his short time as the Bishop of Munich. For one I always thought it silly to say that someone who was prefect of the CDF for a considerable amount of time would lack pastoral experience. The CDF is quite pastoral and certainly doesn’t hang every dissident theologian by their thumbs for some theological nonsense, but spends considerable time to protect both the Church and the rights of the individual. Everything the Pope has written since his first encyclical onward has shown his pastoral sensitivities and he restores the true meaning of pastoral. Unfortunately a bishop saying he is doing something for pastoral reasons is usually a weasel word for saying he is going to do nothing about it. Pope Benedict XVI though is a true pastor in that he is protecting his flock and this means to actively protect them and to lead the Church.
The implementation of Summorum Pontificum is set for Sep 14th the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.
I can say that I was quite glad to finally take down my Motu Proprio Random Date Generator. The constant drumbeat of dates that the document was to be issued on has made many quite skeptical even as today approached. Since my parish has the both the Indult Mass and the new Mass celebrated prayerfully I have been mainly awaiting the arrival as the Motu Proprio for the good of the Church. What I am really waiting for is the "reform of the reform." We will be seeing much better translations of the Mass within the next year or two and I think that will go far in retrieving some of the dignity of the new Mass. Having a increased celebration of the Roman Missal published by Pope Blessed John XXIII I think will help to lead in this reform. Though so many issues that people have with the Roman Missal promulgated
by Pope Paul VI are side issues not mandated and are in fact largely alien to it. For example not praying the Mass Ad Orientum was never abolished and priest such as Fr. Fessio celebrate the new Mass that way and this requires no permission.
It is quite obvious the Holy Father will not be taking in sharp turns on the new Mass. The Barque of Peter is quite large and making sharp turns is bound to unsettle things and not always for the better. Many tried this exact navigational turn in the aftermath (not the result) of Vatican II to the detriment of the Church. As the Holy Father says in the cover letter.
This occurred above all because in many places celebrations were not faithful to the prescriptions of the
new Missal, but the latter actually was understood as authorizing or even requiring creativity, which frequently
led to deformations of the liturgy which were hard to bear. I am speaking from experience, since I too lived
through that period with all its hopes and its confusion. And I have seen how arbitrary deformations of the liturgy
caused deep pain to individuals totally rooted in the faith of the Church.
Today is a day to rejoice and to give thanks. Once again we should look at Fr. Z’s 5 Rules of Engagement for after the Motu Proprio is released. In addition I think Fr. Powell, OP has some wise advice.
6) Do not expect that every priest in the Church is ready, willing, and able to celebrate the TLM. Most of us have had no training in the mechanics of the TLM. No training in the theology of the TLM. No training in the spirituality of the TLM. In fact, most of us know pretty much nothing about the TLM. We will need time. AND, quite frankly, we will need $$$ to get trained, so if you want the TLM celebrated, get ready to help finance the summer’s worth of work it will take to get us post-VC2 priests up to snuff.
7) Do not assume that b/c a priest says no to celebrating the TLM that he is a heretic or that he is opposed to the TLM or that he is simply holding out on you. I’ve already heard folks gearing up to use the M.P. as a "test" of orthodoxy or loyalty, e.g. "We’ll see if Fr. X will celebrate the TLM like the pope says to." This sentiment is exactly what the "spirit of Vatican Two" liturgical professionals are predicting, by the way.
Fr. Powell also has a humorous and unfortunately probably prophetic take on The Six Stages of Dissenting from the M.P.
Update: Fr. Z has a translation of a statement by papal spokesman, Fr. Federico Lombardi which coincides nicely with my hope.
In any case, the Pope wishes that the coexistence of the two forms of the rite will bring both of them not into opposition or exclusion of each other, but that each will mutually enrich the other, on the one hand with a greater depth concerning the sacred nature of the celebration, and on the other with a greater variety and modes of expression of (the rite’s) elements.
Blog by the Sea also has a nice summary.
Update: The Vatican Information Service has some non-officail English translations.