The CISP especially wishes also to express their gratitude to His Eminence for coming to say Mass, especially since the 26th of October is the sixty-first anniversary of his ordination to the Priesthood, which he received in the Basilica of the Holy Apostles in Rome on 26 October 1952.
This Pontifical High Mass of thanksgiving at St Peter’s will be one of the central points of the Pilgrimage, during which the eternal youth of the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite will be seen by all, and by means of which the people of Summorum Pontificum will contribute to the missionary zeal of the New Evangelization.
This is the fifth pontifical in the extraordinary rite to be celebrated in St Peter’s Basilica since the promulgation of the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum in 2007, and the second one personally celebrated by His Eminence Dario Castrillón Hoyos, after his first celebration on November 5th, 2011, on the occasion of the General Assembly of Una Voce-FIUV in Rome. In his homily the Cardinal forcefully decried “the widespread practice of liturgical abuses in the aftermath of the Council” as having produced “deep wounds in the Church” and blamed what he termed the so-called “spirit of the Council” for being exploited as “a tool to uphold spurious claims often aimed at imposing disturbing ways of thinking and acting” (Cf. Vatican Insider, 5 November 2011).
This senior prelate is also on record for having been probably the staunchest supporter of Benedict XVI in his efforts to reinstate the old rite, which the Cardinal aptly said should be more correctly called the Gregorian rite. All the more so if we consider that he did not limit himself only to preach but also practiced what he was preaching, and his forthcoming celebration in St. Peter’s will be only the latest among many occasions on which he celebrated the Gregorian rite.
“It was a real nightmare putting the Summorum Pontificum into practice”, Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos painfully recalled during a book presentation on the opposition to Summorum Pontificum in late 2011 (cf. Vatican Insider, October 2011). This gives us an idea of what he had to endure and how daunting the task was, especially because opposition to the Motu Proprio is rooted in ignorance, he claimed, “of what we have lost and theologically should be viewed in light of the Holy Ghost’s action through the successor of Peter. And the Holy Father wanted to give back to the world such great treasure, the enormous spiritual richness of the ancient liturgy, a powerful tool of sanctification”.
A treasure which is a gift of God and therefore should be made available not only to traditional minded church-goers or the groups who were asking for it, but to all the faithful, and here again we should be grateful to the great courage of the Cardinal, who on 14 June 2008 forcefully told a press conference in London that Pope Benedict would not like to see only “many ordinary parishes” celebrating the Gregorian Rite, but “all the parishes”, which demands that all seminarians be taught how to celebrate it.
This has to be seen against the backdrop of Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos, that very same day, celebrating a solemn pontifical in the Gregorian rite in the Cathedral of Westminster for the first time in three decades. To give an idea of the above “nightmare”, neither the archbishop of Westminster Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor nor any other incumbent bishops were in attendance. The cathedral itself, however, was bursting at the seams, with over 1,500 faithful including so many young families in attendance. At that time, over sixty young priests from around the country had joined a summer course offered by Merton College in Oxford to learn how to celebrate the Gregorian rite.
On another occasion, His Eminence is on record for having described as a “time of grace” the period “that we are living since the enforcement of the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum of the Holy Father Benedict XVI” (cf. Vatican Insider, 4 November 2012).
All of this is precisely the spirit in which we are called to live the second pilgrimage of the people of Summorum Pontificum to Rome, due in 24-37 October 2013, to cap the Year of Faith.