The Original Tridentine Papal Indult
Following is the text of the Circular Letter, or Indult (called
"Quattuor Abhinc Annos"), sent on October 3, 1984, by the Congregation for
Divine Worship, to the Presidents of the world's various Episcopal
Conferences. Our copy is taken from "L'Osservatore Romano", English edition,
of Oct. 22, 1984.
Four years ago, by order of the Supreme Pontiff John Paul
II, the bishops of the whole Church were invited to present a
--concerning the way in which the priests and faithful of their
dioceses had received the Missal promulgated in 1970 by authority of Pope Paul
VI in accordance with the decisions of the Second Vatican
--concerning the difficulties arising in the implementation of
the liturgical reform;
--concerning possible resistance that may have
The result of the consultation was sent to all bishops (cf.
_Notitiae_, n. 185, December 1981). On the basis of their replies it appeared
that the problem of priests and faithful holding to the so-called "Tridentine"
rite was almost completely solved.
Since, however, the same problem
continues, the Supreme Pontiff, in a desire to meet the wishes of these
groups, grants to diocesan bishops the possibility of using an indult whereby
priests and faithful, who shall be expressly indicated in the letter of
request to be presented to their own bishop, may be able to celebrate Mass by
using the Roman Missal according to the 1962 edition, but under the following
a) That it be made publically clear beyond all ambiguity
that such priests and their respective faithful in no way share the positions
of those who call in question the legitimacy and doctrinal exactitude of the
Roman Missal promulgated by Pope Paul VI in 1970.
b) Such celebration
must be made only for the benefit of those groups that request it; in churches
and oratories indicated by the bishop (not, however, in parish churches,
unless the bishop permits it in extraordinary cases); and on the days and
under the conditions fixed by the bishop either habitually or in individual
c) These celebrations must be according to the 1962 Missal and
d) There must be no interchanging of texts and rites of the
e) Each bishop must inform this Congregation of the
concessions granted by him, and at the end of a year from the granting of this
indult, he must report on the result of its application.
concession, indicative of the common Father's solicitude for all his children,
must be used in such a way as not to prejudice the faithful observance of the
liturgical reform in the life of the respective ecclesial
I am pleased to avail myself of this occasion to express
to Your Excellency my sentiments of deep esteem.
Yours devotedly in the
+Augustin Mayer, Pro-Prefect
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