Texte original publié sur le site Una Voce
[This statement was read by Msgr. Camille Perl of the Ecclesia Dei
Commission at the Una Voce International meeting held in Rome this past week.
Msgr. Perl read this message and then refused to answer any questions or
receive any comments from the Una Voce delegates. He bluntly left the
forum after being asked to "clarify his clarification".
Msgr. Perl speaks of "questionable information" published on the internet.
This document is authentic and comes from a page distributed at the meeting.
One might say that Msgr. Perl's statement itself is yet another example of
The Una Voce delegates were unanimous in their response to this statement.
Recently the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei" has been the object of
attacks on the part of certain traditionalist circles, due on the one hand
to ignorance of the facts and, on the other, to questionable information
published without authorization on the internet. In order to re-establish
the truth, the Commission judges it opportune to publish the present
1. The Pontifical Commission was instituted in 1988 by the Holy Father
with "the task of collaborating with the bishops, the Departments of the
Roman Curia and with the circles concerned, for the purpose of facilitating
full ecclesial communion of priests, seminarians, etc. ... who wish to
remain united to the Successor of Peter in the Catholic Church, while
preserving their spiritual and liturgical traditions" (Motu Proprio
"Ecclesia Dei", n° 6 a). In order to accomplish this task, the Commission
must collaborate with the bishops, without whom this ecclesial union is
unthinkable. It is then out of the question to criticize the Commission
for this collaboration.
2. The Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter was erected in 1988 by the
Pontifical Commission with special faculties from the Supreme Pontiff. At
no time has the Commission had the intention of changing its
statutes. Unfortunately, there have been some internal disagreements in
recent months within this religious family. Some documents pertaining to
these matters, which should have remained protected by strict
confidentiality, have been published. This the Commission can only
regret. Those responsible for this publication have done great harm to the
Fraternity of Saint Peter. One may ask, moreover, by what right lay
associations have become heavily involved in lobbying with regard to a
matter which pertains solely to a religious institute.
3. Several priests of the Fraternity of Saint Peter addressed a complaint
to the Pontifical Commission. The signatories were making use of their
right to appeal to the Holy See -- a right which every faithful Catholic
possesses. The Commission has the duty to receive such a recourse and to
propose a way to resolve the problems: to this end it took some
conservative measures in order to prepare for a serene discussion of the
problems by all the members of the Fraternity, while protecting the
signatories of the recourse from possible reassignments.
Those who maintain that this is an abuse of power do not understand the
true juridical situation: that the Commission exercises the full authority
of the Holy See over the aforementioned Fraternity. To state that there is
an intention to modify the traditional orientation of the Fraternity is not
only absurd, but it gravely offends against the truth and the members of
the Pontifical Commission.
4. At the heart of this crisis is the problem of the concelebration of
priests who are attached to certain forms of the Latin liturgical tradition
at a Mass celebrated according to the rite presently in force. This
possibility has been requested and occasionally carried out by some priests
in Masses with the diocesan bishop, but categorically refused by the
majority. The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the
Sacraments, after having consulted the Pontifical Council for the
Interpretation of Legislative Texts and requested the advice of the
Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei", has published "Official Responses"
pertaining to this matter in Notitiæ, and has explained its reasons to the
superiors of the institutes concerned. These responses constitute a
statement on the juridical level: those who have the privilege of
celebrating according to the liturgical books in use prior to the reform of
Paul VI do not lose for that reason the right to celebrate according to the
Missal of Paul VI - a right which belongs to every priest of the Roman
rite. It is nowhere stated that these priests are obliged to do this, but
that they have the right, and that no superior can forbid them from doing
what the general law of the Church allows them to do. "An exclusive right"
to celebrate according to the 1962 books does not exist and has never
existed, and no official text makes such a mention. The texts of the
Congregation for Divine Worship are very clear and leave no room for doubt
on this point. It is then utterly false to talk about taking away from the
Fraternity its exclusive right, because such a right never existed. On the
other hand, it should be underscored that there is no intention of taking
away the privileges conceded to the priests and to the institutes attached
to the Latin liturgical tradition.
5. Concelebration is a manifestation of the communion which exists
between the bishop and the priests who have a pastoral mission in his
diocese. This sign of communion, reintroduced in the Church by the Second
Vatican Council, plays an important role today as an expression of
communion between priests - even traditionalists - and the bishops, in the
dioceses in which they work. One cannot refuse this liturgical sign
without giving the impression that one refuses communion itself. This is
why the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei" exhorts these priests to
accept concelebration with their bishop since its task is precisely to
facilitate this ecclesial communion of priests and faithful while
guaranteeing the respect for their spiritual and liturgical traditions.
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