Taking the opportunity provided by the projected program that the organizers have published, this week we are going to dwell on the forthcoming pilgrimage of the people of Summorum Pontificum in Rome. We are also giving the floor to Giuseppe Capoccia, the managing director of the Cœtus Internationalis Summorum Pontificum, which is organizing the event. Please find herebelow the translation of these two items, along with our commentary.
Picture from a recent Brasilian pilgrimage led by priests of the Apostolic Administration Saint Jean-Marie Vianney in anticipation of the WYD. (courtesy of Missa Tridentina no Rio de Janeiro)
I - Projected program of the people of Summorum Pontificum pilgrimage, October 2013, Rome.
This year’s high points, besides the procession and Mass at Saint Peter’s, will be the Via Crucis (Way of the Cross) in the streets of Rome on Friday and the closing Mass on Christ the King Sunday. This Mass will be celebrated by Bishop Rifan, the bishop of the Apostolic Administration Saint Jean-Marie Vianney in Campos, Brasil.
> Thursday, October 24 in the evening:
Solemn Vespers of Saint Raphael and welcome of the pilgrims at Trinità dei Pellegrini Church.
> Friday, October 25, 8am:
Rosary at Santa Maria Maggiore, followed by cultural and spiritual visits divided up among the language groups.
> Friday October 25, 5pm:
Via Crucis in the streets of Rome, led by members of Don Riccardo Petroni’s Opera Familia Christi, the organization in charge of the Sunday Mass at the Altemps Palace chapel.
> Friday October 25, 7pm:
Pontifical Mass at Trinità dei Pellegrini Church.
> Saturday October 26, from 8am on:
Eucharistic adoration at San Salvatore in Lauro, followed by the procession to Saint Peter’s Basilica where the pontifical Mass will be celebrated at 11am.
> Sunday October 27, in the morning:
Pontifical Mass for the Solemnity of Christ the King, celebrated by Bishop Rifan, Apostolic Administrator of the Saint Jean-Marie Vianney community of Campos (Brasil).
The organizers are also announcing other activities, such as a concert in Trinità dei Pellegrini Church and perhaps also encounters between clergy and laity Saturday afternoon. The complete program of the pilgrimage will be made public during the press conference on Wednesday June 26 in Rome. Thanks to support from the Opera Romana Pellegrinaggi, more precise information will be given out at a later date to facilitate the organization of the pilgrims’ trip and lodging.
II – An interview with Giuseppe Capoccia, managing director of Coetus internationalis Summorum Pontificum [*]
Here is the unabridged English translation of the interview granted to Alessandro Speciale of the Vatican Insider by the managing director of Cœtus Internationalis Summorum Pontificum, which is organizing the Rome pilgrimage.
1. What is the perspective of the People of Summorum Pontificum on Pope Francis and the first few months of his pontificate?
Like so many Catholics, we were disconcerted by our beloved Benedict XVI’s resignation. For us the election of Francis, who was largely unknown until then, was also a surprise. We have therefore been very attentive since then to all of his gestures and all of his words.
And I have to say that his words reassured us immediately: he has spoken of the devil who strains against us but can do nothing against Divine Mercy; he has invited us not to lose trust in God’s love; he has summoned us to “break out” of our routine and to go to the margins of existence; and he has warned us against the risk of “becoming collectors of antiques or novelties, instead of being shepherds living with ‘the odour of the sheep’,” and “fishers of men.”
Each of Pope Francis’s sermons calls us to live out our Christian life more intensely and coherently. The People of Summorum Pontificum can only appreciate and receive this call with joy. Indeed, it is precisely a desire to renew and support our spiritual life that has led many of us to live out our own faith in keeping with the traditional liturgy. As Benedict XVI had well understood, there are many of us seeking Christ through a more dignified liturgy that is steeped in a greater sense of the sacred.
2. What do you think of his liturgical style? Is his pontificate taking an opposite direction to that of Benedict XVI?
It would be hypocritical to deny that while on the one hand Francis’s words strengthen our courage, on the other hand some of his gestures have disconcerted us. We can understand that some express a certain unease, but as faithful of a traditional sensibility and therefore interested in long-term considerations, we wish to avoid falling into the right-here-right-now trap. The current pope comes from a liturgical and pastoral culture that is different to what is practiced in Rome; he needs time to appropriate the papal liturgical tradition.
Furthermore, one should not reduce the liturgy to a question of style, for the primary consideration is the rite’s own theological solidity and value. Lastly, every pontificate obviously has its specificities. While Benedict XVI considered the liturgical crisis to be a cause and a symptom of the crisis of Faith, still it does not seem to us that Francis has manifested the contrary. Think only of the great publicity given with the pope’s permission to his daily Mass at Saint Martha’s, which echoes like a clear summons to all Catholics, priest and lay, to be aware that the Eucharist alone is source of evangelization.
2bis. Other manifestations of the traditional world are highly critical of the Pope, starting with the SSPX. What do you say to that?
Rather than actual criticisms, in the sense of doctrinal criticism, we’ve been reading and hearing misunderstandings and concerns. Often, in fact, these are reactions based on false information, such as that announcing the dismissal of the current pontifical master of ceremonies or the nomination of his predecessor as head of the Congregation for Divine Worship! Unfortunately the internet favors such reactions in the heat of the moment, fed by exhilaration at the idea of being able to be heard by the whole world.
Concerning the Society of Saint Pius X, its official declarations seem to us to have been rather measured and prudent. Yet we are not surprised that some individuals have allowed themselves to express harsher comments. But their motivations owe perhaps more to internal rivalries within the Society than to a true defiance against the Holy Father.
3. What was the reception given to the last pilgrimage and why are you putting it on again this year?
Last year we wished to give a witness of our communion in Faith and our closeness to Benedict XVI, the Sovereign Pontiff who gave back to the traditional liturgy its full rights. We also meant to affirm the existence of a People of Summorum Pontificum within the great Catholic flock, a people that expresses its joy at fully belonging to the Catholic, Apostolic, and Roman Church. Our initiative was also an earnest participation in the New Evangelization desired by John Paul II and Benedict XVI. Lastly, we also hoped to assist in the return of the SPPX into the bosom of Rome.
As often happens to new initiatives, some of our friends looked at us with suspicion, while Cardinal Cañizares, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, and the Holy Father showed us their goodwill. The former, before celebrating at Saint Peter’s, declared that he was doing so simply because it was “normal”; the latter addressed a message of welcome to us through the Cardinal Secretary of State.
This year we wish once again to affirm our complete availability for the challenge of the New Evangelization. Under many aspects, the People of Summorum Pontificum resembles the new movements that were born after the Vatican II Council, fruits of a greater awareness of the role of the laity in the life of the Church: it draws to itself many, often large, families; it is characterized by a great deal of pastoral zeal; and it is a leaven of many religious and priestly vocations. We therefore think it essential that this resource be put to good use, both at the diocesan and at the parochial level.
4. How many people do you expect?
We hope to have 3000 people on Saturday, day of the procession and Mass at Saint Peter’s, and are betting on at least 500 pilgrims from outside Italy for the three days of the pilgrimage. We’ll have a more precise idea of the numbers at the end of June when we present the official program.
5. What do you want to show the Catholic world at large through your initiative?
For years the faithful and priests attached to the Church’s liturgical tradition have been marginalized and treated with disdain, if not hatred; they have been kept on the outskirts of the Church--no one was supposed to come near them. We wish to contribute to the final healing of the wounds inflicted during these years of persecution and injustice, and we think it more opportune to do so by joining in the new dynamic that Pope Francis and the Church propose than by making demands. We wish to bear witness to the unity of the Church, joyfully and in a spirit of service.
In the specific context of the new pontificate, we should also like to illustrate the extent to which the extraordinary form of the Roman rite is a tool fit for the rediscovery of the poverty to which Pope Francis is calling us: kneeling, supplicating, keeping quiet, confessing one’s sins are four attitudes that are characteristic both of the traditional liturgy and of spiritual poverty. The rediscovery of what Saint Francis said about the liturgy--let us not forget that it was he who introduced the Roman Missal outside of the pontifical court--might aid in an even better understanding of what Christian poverty is, the poverty in spirit that makes us, as it were, beggars of the Christ who comes to meet us in the liturgy and offers us His splendor, opening up to us the doors of Heaven where true riches are to be found. It is no happenstance that the last saint to have celebrated the traditional liturgy his entire life was Padre Pio, the faithful reflection of Saint Francis.
In dioceses and parishes many of the faithful are seeking a spiritual nourishment that the extraordinary form could offer them, but they do not know this form and, quite often, do not even have an opportunity to know it because some think that it is not adapted to our time, that it is not “popular” or even that it is elitist and snobbish. On the other hand, the perennial newness of the traditional liturgy still has much to offer to the Church: in this sense, our pilgrimage is an important sign not only for the People of Summorum Pontificum but also for all, especially in these times of New Evangelization.
III – The thoughts of Paix liturgique
1) After the Mass that Cardinal Brandmuller said at the close of the Motu Proprio conference led by Father Nuara in May 2011 and the Mass Cardinal Cañizares said last November 3 during the first Una cum Papa nostro pilgrimage, the news of a third pontifical Mass in three years at the altar of the Chair of the Vatican Basilica signals an emerging Roman tradition. If one adds to this that every morning several Masses according to the Missal of Blessed John XXIII are celebrated at Saint Peter’s of Rome, both by priests in the Curia and by priests on pilgrimage ad Petri Sedem, it is no exaggeration to write that the extraordinary form of the Roman rite is anything but extraordinary at the Vatican!
2) Although this year’s organizers told us they wished to emphasize personal parishes for the extraordinary form of the Roman rite, we greatly appreciate the fact that this pilgrimage is a pilgrimage for everybody, in the spirit of the Chartres pilgrimage, in the sense that it is addressed to every faithful, priest, or seminarian, whatever his community or status.
3) The desire to put personal parishes forward corresponds to the organizers’ desire to show that, in the spirit as in the letter of Summorum Pontificum and of the Universæ Ecclesiæ instruction, the traditional liturgy has a fully legitimate place in the normal pastoral context. It is for this reason that, in this Year of Faith, they invited Dom Rifan, bishop of what is so far the only “personal diocese” established for the extraordinary form of the Roman rite. Little known outside of Brazil, the Saint Jean-Marie Vianney Apostolic Administration was born of the diocese of Campos, whose courageous bishop from 1949 to 1981 was Bishop de Castro Mayer, co-consecrator along with Archbishop Lefebvre of the four SSPX bishops in 1988. The traditional community of Campos was regularized by the Holy See in 2002 through the erection of an Apostolic Administration that numbers about thirty priests, a hundred Mass venues, 24 schools and close to 30,000 faithful. Bishop Rifan succeeded to the first Apostolic Administrator of Campos, Bishop Rangel, who passed away soon after the agreements with Rome.
4) Without making any assumptions regarding either the content of the lectures on Saturday afternoon or a possible concert, we notice that the program that the organizers have shared with us this year is richer, notably with the visits by language groups on Friday morning and the Way of the Cross which, according to our information, is to take place on the Palatine Hill. Furthermore, and this is good news for all the foreigners, the pilgrimage should enjoy the support of the Opera Romana Pellegrinaggi, the organization specialized in welcoming pilgrims on the banks of the Tiber.
[*] Giuseppe Capoccia, a magistrate in Lecce, Puglia, succeeded to Riccardo Turrini Vita, a high-ranking Italian civil servant who was named by Benedict XVI as judge of the Vatican Appeals court. Giuseppe Capoccia is one of the organizers of the Scuola Ecclesia Mater.