John Allen reports in his blog post of last week that Bishop Trautman of Erie, PA and Chairman of the USCCB’s Committee for the Liturgy will be sending a letter to all U.S. bishops letting them know where things stand with some outstanding questions regarding the implementation of the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum. Some open questions according to the Allen piece:
One outstanding question being raised by some bishops and canon lawyers is whether rulings over the years that apply to post-Vatican II liturgies should apply to the ’62 Missal as well. The pope’s motu proprio says the ’62 Missal was never abrogated, but it doesn’t spell out the status of subsequent disciplinary law. For example, can a vigil Mass be celebrated according to the ’62 Missal on Saturday evening? Can communion be administered under both species? (In the old rite, only the consecrated Host is distributed, and only on the tongue.) Can altar girls as well as boys serve Mass?
What about scripture readings in the vernacular? Some communities that celebrate the older Mass have adopted the custom of proclaiming the reading first in Latin toward the altar, then turning around and reading it in the vernacular for the congregation prior to the homily — an option not technically given in the Missal. Will that practice, or something like it, be sanctioned?
Allen goes on to say that his sources indicate that these are not questions to be answered locally and will likely be addressed in the form of a dubia, meaning “doubts,” sent to the Vatican for clarification.
I think I know the likely answers to many of these questions, but it will be interesting to see the formal answer to these inquiries. Of equal interest, at least to me, is whether Bishop Trautman will play it straight or somehow try to spin anything that is not explicitly ruled out or in.
Either way, September 14th rapidly approaches. It is best to have all these ‘open questions’ resolved forthwith.