This will mean very little to non-Catholics, I expect, and quite possibly to *most* Catholics.
On Saturday, Pope Benedict XVI delivered a Motu Proprio re-legitimising the Tridentine (pre-1962) mass, and allowing layfolk thus inclined to request it from their parish priest. No more indults needed from bishops, no more fuss, no sense of it being slightly furtive. It's another form of the mass; if you dislike it (or in my case, dislike the self-righteous, narrow types who tend to populate it), don't go. Hopefully, it will mean that a certain group of Catholic individuals can just get on with it sans beating their breasts about how victimised they are and how they'll be martyrs for the faith because they can't have their own special type of mass. Great. May I be excused, O Pontiff?
End of discussion, right? Shouldn't even cause a ripple, except for rejoicing from those who are attached to that form of the mass. The rest of the world will just shrug and carry on, yes?
I'm sorry, but did you, for a fleeting moment, think this was the real world? Please. It's the Catholic Church. And in said Church, an Italian bishop was heard to respond to said Motu Proprio in the following words...
...wait for it
"This is the worst day of my life as a bishop, priest and as a man."
Over a decision to add the old mass to a long list of already legitimate masses? Oh, sorry, I actually thought the pain or death of those close to you - or of any of those 6 billion for whom Christ died - might be worse for you. Mea culpa.
As if one needed more proof that the Catholic hierarchy is insular, self-absorbed, and out of touch with any kind of reality - physical or spiritual.
Looks like Cardinal Martino should have some company on that plane to Darfur.