Recently, Catholic blogs have been reporting various clarifications from the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei in regards to questions pertinent to the Extraordinary Form. It has all been good news, right? In fact, we found out last year that motu proprio Summorum Pontificum was extended to another Western Rite- The Abrosian Rite. But what about the rites and liturgical variations of religious orders and secular orders attached to them prior to the conciliar reforms? In late 2008, we received word that PCED allowed a community of Trappists in Germany to return to their rule of life and liturgical observance of the Cistercian liturgical books before 1965.
Recently, a letter was written to PCED asking if it was possible utilize the liturgical variations that were particular to a certain religious order as it was used before it adopted the liturgical reforms of Vatican II. In the same letter, the question was asked if it would be possible to use the ritual in use up to 1962 for the secular (third) order which is part of that same religious order.
For now, the name of the order will be omitted for reasons which our readers will likely understand.
Here is the text of the letter written to PCED with the necessary editions:
September 20, 2009
William Joseph Card. Levada
President of the Pontifical Commision “Ecclesia Dei”
Palazzo del Sant’Uffizio
00120 Vatican City
I would like to know if it is permissible use the ritual of the Third Order as it existed in 1962.
I would also like to know if priests of the order are permitted to use the Missal and Breviary proper to the Order as they existed in 1962.
Thank you for taking the time to receive my inquiries and I can assure you of my prayers to the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Sorrows as I await Your Eminence’s response.
Here is the letter containing the response from PCED:
The question remains; what happens to those who wish to return to the liturgical traditions of their respective orders in which the superiors are opposed? What was unique about the Trappists in Germany that resulted in them being allowed to return to their own liturgical traditions through the intercession of Ecclesia Dei? According to this letter, members and communities of religious and secular orders that once enjoyed their own liturgical books, rituals and variations find themselves unaided by Summorum Pontificum.
As a reminder, the religious orders in the Western Church that had their own liturgical books before the conciliar reforms are: