|Archbishop Pozzo, Secretary of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, with members|
of the Una Voce Federation (FIUV) in 2013.
Today a decree has been promulgated dissolving the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, which has responsibility for issues concerning the Traditional Mass and the reconciliation of groups using that Mass who have been operating outside the structures of the Church, and givings its functions and powers to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
Up until now, for a good few years the Prefect of the Congregation for the Faith has been ex officio the President of the Pontifical Commission, which has had its own Secretary (Archbishop Pozzo) and small staff, with offices in the CDF's building. When I write to the PCED (not a daily occurrence), I usually address the letter to the Prefect/President, knowing it would be passed on to appropriate person.
This looks like a bit of house-keeping, a tidying-up, rather than anything with implications for policy or official attitudes towards the Traditional Mass. I was surprised to read that the PCED up until now has had its own budget: well, it won't in the future, the staff will be paid by the CDF.
If there is a change of staff that may, in itself, be significant, but we don't know about that yet.
I have always been sceptical of the view that Pope Francis is planning to crack down on the Traditional Mass. Rumours about the planning for this decree may well have been the source for some of the chatter about that. Now we see the decree, I am confirmed in my opinion. I may live to eat my words: who knows? But if I were asked which department of the Roman Curia in the medium and long term I would most like to see exercise the functions of the PCED, I would not hesitate to nominate the CDF. And if they exercise those functions with the existing staff of the PCED, it is reasonable to assume that normal service will continue.
It is interesting to see the emphasis in reports on discussions with the SSPX. These makes the choice of the CDF the obvious one: they were the reason the PCED was bundled in with the CDF in the first place. And the more straightforward liturgical issues the PCED has been handling can't conveniently be handled by a completely separate department from the department handling the talks.
Here are some links to other discussions:
Update: It seems that although the 'staff' of the PCED are being kept on by the CDF, their erstwhile boss, Archbishop Pozzo, is moving on. He has today been appointed to a new role looking after the finances of the Sistine Chapel Choir (Italian). Perhaps he'll be give other responsibilities as well.
This might be a good moment to express the gratitude of the Latin Mass Society and the Traditional Catholic movement in general for Archbishop Pozzo's dedication to the cause, particularly in conferring holy orders to members of the Traditional Institutes. He very much saw it is as part of his job to travel the world doing this, and was also always ready to celebrate Mass for the FIUV in Rome at its biennial General Assemblies, and was a regular guest at our official dinners.
That's not to say his move to new roles is necessarily going to be a problem in any way. We'll have to see exactly how the former functions of the PCED are dealt with under the new arrangements. As for ordinations, Archbishop Pozzo may well continue to be asked to perform liturgical functions in the Extraordinary Form, since he knows how to do it.
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