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Catholic Culture Dedication
Catholic Culture Dedication

the universal-indult watch

By Phil Lawler ( bio - articles - email ) | Apr 11, 2006

The silence from Rome is getting downright noisy.

The rumor mills have provided dozens of reports that Pope Benedict will soon issue a document regarding the Latin Mass. But the stories are invariably laced with words like "could" and "perhaps." There has been no confirmation from the Vatican, nor any denial.

Vatican officials who might ordinarily provide useful insights are ducking questions. They are not saying that the reports are wrong. They are simply... not saying.

In his own blog Father John Zuhlsdorf has neatly summarized the circumstantial evidence pointing to the likelihood that the Holy Father will soon confirm the right of every priest to use the 1962 Missal. To his impressive collection of evidence, let me add this: the Congregation for Clergy is still leaving open the possibility that Pope Benedict will issue a statement on Holy Thursday-- which is now less than 36 hours away!

Taken all together, the evidence suggests that Church leaders know there is a statement ready for release, but the exact nature of that statement, and its timing, is known only to Pope Benedict and his closest associates, who (as we already know) don't leak stories to the media.

My own prediction-- based on hints and inferences and hunches, nothing more-- is that the document will be at least as strong as a universal indult, but will not resolve the canonical status of the Society of St. Pius X. Again that is a prediction, not a report.

When will this document appear: on Holy Thursday? Easter Sunday? the anniversary of the Pope's election (April 19)? I don't know. Anyone who does know isn't telling.

If and when CWN receives enough solid information about the document-- its existence, its content, or its timing-- we'll post the news promptly. Until that time we're bowing out of the speculation.

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at CatholicCulture.org. See full bio.

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