There is a strikingly defensive tone to many of our bishops' responses to the Motu Proprio freeing the traditional Mass. Instead of welcoming the Holy Father's initiative as a gift to the Church, they appear to see it primarily as a threat to their own authority.
Benedict XVI anticipated this reaction in his letter accompanying the Motu Proprio, in which he stressed that the norms did not in any way lessen bishops' authority. The restrictive interpretations of Summorum Pontificum currently being circulated imply a lack of trust in the Pope's assurances.
It would be a pity if Pope Benedict's actions were construed in terms of power politics when they are in fact rooted in a visionary conviction that Catholics can only be reconciled once the old "hermeneutic of discontinuity", which exaggerates the differences between the preand post-conciliar Church, is replaced by a "hermeneutic of continuity" which recognises the fundamental unity of the Church before and after Vatican IL Through the Motu Proprio the Holy Father is indicating how a true "interior reconciliation in the heart of the Church" might be achieved. If our Shepherds approach this farsighted reform with suspicion, it's likely that Catholics will continue to waste precious energy fighting internal battles instead of devoting themselves to the urgent task of evangelising an increasingly hostile society.
Luke Coppen, Editor