PCED Issue Clarification on Bishop’s Missa Cantata

Posted July 25, 2017 1:02 am by Gregory DiPippo

PCED Issue Clarification on Bishop’s Missa Cantata
In response to a query from the Cappella Gregoriana Sanctae Cæciliae, a traditional rite choir based in the Philippines, the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei has issued a clarification on the subject of the so-called Pontifical Sung Mass. The historical custom of the Church has been that a bishop may celebrate either a Low Mass of the type known as a missa praelatitia, or a full solemn High Pontifical Mass, attended by an assistant priest, deacon, subdeacon, the requisite minor ministers, and of course a choir; there was no provision for a bishop to sing Mass without the major ministers, analogous to the priest’s Missa cantata.

The first permission for a bishop’s sung Mass was given by the decree Inter oecumenici, which was issued on September 26, 1964, and became legally active on March 7 of the following year. This decree states simply that “It is allowed, when necessary, for bishops to celebrate a sung Mass following the form used by priests.” Wholly in keeping with that era’s nascent liturgical chaos, it says nothing about which, if any, ceremonies of the Pontifical Mass are to be retained, or whether the bishop is to simply pretend to not be a bishop when exercising the fullness of the priesthood vested in him as a successor of the Apostles.

The PCED has now formally clarified that, since this provision was not in force in 1962, according to the terms of the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum and the instruction Universae Ecclesiae, is not licit to celebrate a Pontifical Sung Mass. (Click image to enlarge. Thanks to the Capella Gregoriana Sanctae Caeciliae for making this available to us.)

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