Msgr. Pozzo NDF interview quotes
Msgr. Guido Pozzo is the secretary for the Ecclesia Dei Commission and granted an interview to the French news outlet, Nouvelles de France on June 8, 2011.
The lengthy interview is available on NDF’s website in French, but only portions have been translated into English at this time. Here we provide a few of the most pertinent sections related to our commentary on his interview.
NFD: Do you know if the pope is happy with the application of the motu proprio [Summorum Pontificum]?
Msgr. Pozzo: The Ecclesia Dei Pontifical Commission keeps the Holy Father constantly informed about the evolution of the application of the motu proprio and about the increase of its reception, besides the difficulties of application that can be found here or there.
NFD: It seems that the instruction Universae Ecclesiae is promoting the celebration of the extraordinary form even further. Is it the case?
Msgr. Pozzo: The goal of the instruction is to help continue a more efficaciously and proper application of the directives of the motu proprio. It has given some normative precisions and clarification on important aspects in order to apply it more concretely.
NFD: It seems that especially in France the reactions are the very sensitive on the subject. Why?
Msgr. Pozzo: It might be too early to give a complete evaluation of the reactions to the Instruction and this is not only true for France. It seems to me when I think of the situation of the Church in France, that the fact has to be taken in account that there is a tendency to polarize and radicalize the judgments and convictions on the matter. This does not promote a good understanding or an authentic reception of the document. A mainly emotive and sensitive vision has to be overcome.
It is necessary, and a duty, to recuperate the principle of unity of the Liturgy, which precisely justifies the existence of two forms, both legitimate, which can never be placed in opposition or alternative. The extraordinary form is not a return to the past, and must not be understood as a critique of the liturgical reform wanted by Vatican II. Likewise, the ordinary form is not a rupture with the past, but its development at least under certain aspects.
NFD: “Solicitude of the Sovereign Pontiffs and Universal Church” is the title of the motu proprio and the instruction. Does that mean that the goal is a reconciliation with the "traditionalists"?
Msgr. Pozzo: The instruction, as I said in the beginning, wants to promote the unity and the reconciliation inside the Church. The word "traditionalist" is often a generic term used to define very different things. If, by "traditionalist" you understand Catholics who propose again and with strength the integrity of the doctrinal, liturgical and cultural heritage of the Faith, it is clear that they will find comfort and support in the Instruction.
The word "traditionalist" might be understood on a different way to designate he who ideologically uses Tradition in order to oppose the pre-Vatican II Church to the post-Vatican II Church which supposedly would have distanced herself from Tradition. This opinion is a deformed way in understanding fidelity to Tradition because the Second Vatican Council is also part of Tradition.
The doctrinal deviations and liturgical deformations which took place after the close of the Second Vatican Council have no objective foundation in the conciliar documents taken in the whole of Catholic doctrine. The sentences or expressions of the conciliar texts cannot and must not be isolated nor extracted, as a way of speaking, from the global context of the Catholic doctrine. Unfortunately these doctrinal deviations and these abuses in the practical application of the liturgical reform constitute the pretext of this "ideological traditionalism" which leads to a refusal of the Council. Such a pretext is based on an unfounded basis.
Today it is clear that it is not enough to repeat what the Council gave, but simultaneously to necessarily refute and to deny the deviations and wrong interpretations which are pretended to be founded on conciliar teaching. This has to be applied also for the liturgy. It is the difficulty we are dealing with today.
NFD: "The faithful who ask for the celebration of the forma extraordinaria must not in any way support or belong to groups which show themselves to be against the validity or legitimacy of the Holy Mass or the sacraments celebrated in the forma ordinaria or against the Roman Pontiff as Supreme Pastor of the Universal Church." (Instruction Universae Ecclesiae, n. 19). Is this remark directed at the Society of St. Pius X?
Msgr. Pozzo: The article of the Instruction to which you refer is related to certain groups of faithful who consider or propose an antithesis between the Missal of 1962 and that of Paul VI, and who believe that the rite promulgated by Paul VI for the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is detrimental to the faithful.
I wish to make clear that it is clearly necessary to distinguish the rite and the missal in themselves, celebrated according to the norms, and a certain understanding and application of the liturgical reform, characterized by ambiguity, doctrinal deformations, abuses and banalizations, events that are unfortunately so common that they led Cardinal J. Ratzinger to speak, without hesitation, in one of his publications of a "collapse of the liturgy". It would be unfair and false to consider the reformed missal the cause of such a collapse.
At the same time, it is necessary to receive the doctrine and the discipline that Pope Benedict XVI gave us in his motu proprio, Summorum Pontificum for the restoration of the extraordinary form of the ancient Roman Rite and to follow the exemplary manner in which the Holy Father celebrates Holy Mass in the ordinary form at St. Peter's, in his pastoral visits, and in his apostolic journeys.
NFD: Do you think that today still, the teaching of the Council has not been properly applied?
Msgr. Pozzo: On the whole, unfortunately I think it is so. (...)
There are complex situations in which we find out that the teaching of the Council is not yet understood. Some still practice a hermeneutic of the discontinuity with Tradition.
NFD: Does the Society of St. Pius X recognize this missal [of Paul VI] as valid and licit?
Msgr. Pozzo: It is the Society of St. Pius X that should be asked that.
NFD: Does the Holy Father wish the Society of St. Pius X to reconcile with Rome?
Msgr. Pozzo: Certainly. The letter of removal of excommunications of the four bishops illegitimately consecrated by Archbishop Lefebvre is the expression of the desire of the Holy Father to favor the reconciliation of the Society of St. Pius X with the Holy See.
NFD: The content of the discussions that take place between Rome and the Society of St. Pius X is secret, but what points do they touch and in what manner do they progress?
Msgr. Pozzo: The essential point is of a doctrinal nature. In order to reach a true reconciliation, it is necessary to pass over certain doctrinal problems that are at the basis of the current fracture. In the ongoing talks, there is a confrontation of arguments between the experts chosen by the Society of St. Pius X and the experts chosen by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. In the end, conclusive summaries of the positions of both parties are written.
The themes under discussion are known: primacy and episcopal collegiality; relations between the Catholic Church and non-Catholic Christian confessions; religious liberty; the Missal of Paul VI. At the end of the talks, the results of the discussions will be submitted to the respective authorized levels for an overall evaluation.
NFD: It does not seem conceivable that a call into question of the Second Vatican Council may happen. Therefore, where do these discussions might lead? To a better understanding of this?
Msgr. Pozzo: They concern a clarification of points that detail the exact meaning of the teaching of the Council. It is what the Holy Father started to do on December 22, 2005, by interpreting the Council within a hermeneutic of renewal in continuity. Nevertheless, there are certain SSPX objections that do make sense, because there has been an interpretation of rupture.
The objective is to show that we must interpret the Council in the continuity of the Tradition of the Church.
NFD: Cardinal Ratzinger was in charge of these discussions for nearly 20 years. Does he still follow the progress now as pope?
Msgr. Pozzo: First, there is the role of the secretary, which is that of organizing and taking care of the good development of the discussions. The evaluation of these is the responsibility of the Holy Father, who follows the discussions, with Cardinal Levada, is informed of them, and gives his opinion. The same goes regarding all points with which the Congregation deals.