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Vatican confirms briefing on motu proprio; publication near June 28, 2007

The Vatican press office has confirmed that Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone yesterday briefed a group of bishops on the forthcoming motu proprio expanding the use of the 1962 Roman Missal.

The Vatican Secretary of State spoke to "representatives from various episcopal conferences" about "the content and spirit" of the motu proprio, the Vatican announcement indicated. Pope Benedict XVI joined the meeting to speak with the bishops for about an hour.

The publication of the document, along with "an extensive personal letter from the Holy Father," will take place "within a few days," the Vatican said. The statement did not confirm the July 7 publication date reported yesterday by the Kath.net news service.

The Vatican statement did indicate that the text of the motu proprio and the Pope's explanatory letter will now be sent to all of the world's bishops before the document is formally released. That mailing will also indicate when the Pope's new policies will take effect.

Among the prelates who took part in the June 27 meeting at the apostolic palace were Cardinal Camillo Ruini of Rome; Archbishop Angelo Bagnasco of Genoa, the president of the Italian bishops' conference; Cardinal Karl Lehmann of Mainz, the president of the German bishops' conference; Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor of Westminster, England; Cardinal Jean-Pierre Ricard of Bordeaux, the president of the French bishops' conference; Bishop Kurt Koch of Basel, Switzerland; Cardinal Sean O'Malley of Boston; and Archbishop Raymond Burke of St. Louis.

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