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Seattle Catholic
A Journal of Catholic News and Views
26 Mar 2004

Una Voce International President Gives Report of His Visit to Rome

Dear friends,

On March 13th, I was in Rome where I had the opportunity to make a tour through the Vatican Dicasteries. You surely will be interested in learning what I heard there. So, here is my report:

At first, I visited Msgr Perl in the ED Commission. He told me - and Card. Castrillon Hoyos afterwards repeated it - that the Holy See authorities have dropped any plan to create a proper jurisdiction for faithful who prefer the Ancient Rite (i.e. Apostolic Administration or something similar). According to Msgr Perl, these Officials are afraid of protests from the local bishops and bishops' conferences. He also said that the Holy See was quite annoyed by Bishop Fellay's press conference on February 2nd and the document published on ecumenism at that occasion by the FSPX.

Afterwards I made a short visit in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. His Eminence the Cardinal Prefect was not allowed to see me. My purpose there had to do with a local Austrian problem that the UV Austria had asekd me to bring to the Congregation of the Faith and which has no significance for the FIUV. I succeeded to present it to a person of the Cardinal's personal staff.

Then, I met His Eminence the Cardinal President of the ED Commission in the Congregation for the Clergy. In my retinue were Dr. Riccardo Turrini Vita, President of UV Itala, Prof. Fabio Marino, President of the Coordinamento UV delle Venezie, Prof. Maurilio Cavedini, Chairman of UV Verona and the Right Honourable Federico Bricolo, Member of the Italian Parliament and of UV Verona. The three latter had a special problem of the Indult community at Verona which they brought the Cardinal to know in the last part of the audience. The Cardinal received us quite friendly and gave us a whole hour of his time. He made an emphasis that he loves the Ancient Rite which he had celebrated himself between his ordination in 1952 and 1965.

The Cardinal repeated that they dropped any idea to give us a proper jurisdiction. He mentioned that such a proper jurisdiction had only been granted to the Fraternity of St John Vianney at Campos, as the founder of that Fraternity, Bishop de Castro Mayer, had gone much farther than Archbishop Lefebvre. The Cardinal underlined that Archbishop Lefebvre had never founded a proper structure of his fraternity that could be considered as a concrete act of schism. In contrary, Bishop de Castro Mayer had founded a counter-diocese which had been a clear schism. In order to solve this schism, the proper jurisdiction had been granted to the Fraternity and to ist faithful at Campos. The Cardinal rejected the opinion to regard the Ancient Rite to be a rite for its own like f. e. the Byzantinian or the Armenian Rite. "There is only one Roman Rite", underlined the Cardinal verbally, "and this Roman Rite has different forms." So, according to him, the Ancient Rite is not a rite in its own right, but the Ancient Rite and the Novus Ordo are two forms of one and the same rite. In the same time, the Cardinal said that The Holy See is still looking for a solution for the easier application of the indult without granting us a proper jurisdiction, keeping in mind the above-mentioned opinion.

With regard to our Irish friends: I mentioned what had happened at St Peter's Basilica to Fr Nevin and announced the Cardinal that he would get a letter from Fr Nevin on this issue.

The Cardinal took this as an occasion to tell the reason why there are such enormous restrictions for the celebration of the Ancient Rite at St Peter's Basilica: St Peter's basilica is the very heart of the Church, he explained to us, and for that, there shall only one rite be celebrated in this basilica, and this is the rite that is celebrated everywhere in the Universal Church. And that is the Novus Ordo. (These words seem to be somehow a self-contradiction to the Cardinal's own words according to which both, the Nous Ordo and the Ancient Rite, were not two different rites, but one and the same rite. And besides, it is possible to remind that in 1992, the Holy Father has himself celebrated a Mass at St Peter's at the Feast of the Ascension of Our Lord in the Mozarabian Rite.)

When I asked the Cardinal that every priest celebrating in Latin should have the free choice between the Missal of 1962 and the Missal of 1970, the Cardinal just spoke something about the authority of the local bishops.

As the audience had started at 11 AM, it was high noon at the end of our meeting. The Cardinal invited the UV delegation to pray the Angelus together with him and the whole staff of the Congregation for the Clergy. The Angelus was prayed in Latin.

Yours in Domino,
Ralf Siebenbürger
President of Una Voce International

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