Quattuor abhinc annos

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Quattuor abhinc annos (Latin for "four years ago") is the incipit of a letter that the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments sent on 3 October 1984 to presidents of episcopal conferences concerning celebration of Mass in the Tridentine form.

Latin Indo-European language of the Italic family

Latin is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. The Latin alphabet is derived from the Etruscan and Greek alphabets and ultimately from the Phoenician alphabet.

Incipit first few words of the opening line of a poem, song, or book, often used in lieu of a title

The incipit of a text is the first few words of the text, employed as an identifying label. In a musical composition, an incipit is an initial sequence of notes, having the same purpose. The word incipit comes from Latin and means "it begins". Its counterpart taken from the ending of the text is the explicit.

Ecclesiastical letters are publications or announcements of the organs of Roman Catholic ecclesiastical authority, e.g. the synods, but more particularly of pope and bishops, addressed to the faithful in the form of letters.

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History

The letter explained that previously Pope John Paul II had invited comments from the bishops concerning the reception of the Missal promulgated in 1970 by authority of Pope Paul VI in accordance with the decisions of the Second Vatican Council, and any difficulties arising in the implementation of the liturgical reform. The Congregation subsequently granted diocesan bishops an indult to authorize specified priests and groups of the faithful who requested it, celebration of the Tridentine Mass according to the 1962 Roman Missal promulgated by Pope John XXIII. [1] The permitted Tridentine Masses were to be in full accord with the 1962 Missal and in Latin.

Pope John Paul II 264th Pope of the Catholic Church, saint

Pope John Paul II was head of the Catholic Church and sovereign of the Vatican City State from 1978 to 2005.

An indult in Catholic canon law is a permission, or privilege, granted by the competent church authority – the Holy See or the diocesan bishop, as the case may be – for an exception from a particular norm of church law in an individual case, for example, members of the consecrated life seeking to be dispensed from their religious vows, or of priests and deacons who voluntarily seek to return to the lay state. An apostolic indult is needed from the local ordinary for presbyteral or diaconal ordinations done within a year before the normal date; if the ordination is done more than one year in advance of the normal date then a papal apostolic indult from the Holy See is also needed.

Tridentine Mass Type of mass in the Roman Catholic Church

The Tridentine Mass, also known as Traditional Latin Mass, or Usus Antiquior, is the Roman Rite Mass which appears in typical editions of the Roman Missal published from 1570 to 1962. The most widely used Mass liturgy in the world from its issuance in 1570 until the introduction of the Mass of Paul VI in 1969, it is celebrated in ecclesiastical Latin.

This was not the first time that such an indult had been granted. Directly after the promulgation of the Ordo Missae of 1970, Pope Paul VI issued the Agatha Christie indult, which gave permission to a large segment of priests in the United Kingdom to retain the usage of the Classical Roman Rite. [2]

Pope Paul VI Pope of the Roman Catholic Church from 1963 to 1978

Pope Paul VI was head of the Catholic Church and sovereign of the Vatican City State from 21 June 1963 to his death in 1978. Succeeding John XXIII, he continued the Second Vatican Council which he closed in 1965, implementing its numerous reforms, and fostered improved ecumenical relations with Eastern Orthodox and Protestant churches, which resulted in many historic meetings and agreements. Montini served in the Holy See's Secretariat of State from 1922 to 1954. While in the Secretariat of State, Montini and Domenico Tardini were considered as the closest and most influential advisors of Pius XII, who in 1954 named him Archbishop of Milan, the largest Italian diocese. Montini later became the Secretary of the Italian Bishops' Conference. John XXIII elevated him to the College of Cardinals in 1958, and after the death of John XXIII, Montini was considered one of his most likely successors.

The Agatha Christie indult is a nickname applied to the permission granted in 1971 by Pope Paul VI for the use of the Tridentine Mass in England and Wales. Indult is a term from Catholic canon law referring to a permission to do something that would otherwise be forbidden.

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Tridentine Low Mass of a priest wearing a maniple in an old church in Szydlowiec Obraz 021.jpg
Tridentine Low Mass of a priest wearing a maniple in an old church in Szydlowiec

An important condition for granting the requests was "that it be made publicly 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." [3]

Diocesan bishops refused many requests by people whom they considered not to have met this condition. But authorization was in fact granted either by diocesan bishops or directly by the Holy See to many priests, parishes and priestly societies, who could then use the older forms of the Roman Rite either exclusively or only on occasion. The priestly societies included the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, and the Personal Apostolic Administration of Saint John Mary Vianney. These used the "Tridentine" liturgical books exclusively, not only for celebrating Mass but also for the other sacraments and rituals and for the Divine Office. Individual priests and communities belonging to religious institutes also received the same authorization. There were such cases among the Fraternity of Saint Vincent Ferrer, the Institute of Saint Philip Neri, the Canons Regular of the New Jerusalem, the Canons Regular of Saint John Cantius, the monasteries of Sainte Madeleine du Barroux and Sainte Marie de la Garde. Various diocesan clergy also availed of the document's provision. See Communities using the Tridentine Mass for a list of priestly societies and religious institutes which celebrate the Tridentine Mass.

Holy See Episcopal jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in Rome, Italy

The Holy See, also called the See of Rome, refers to the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Rome, known as the pope, which includes the apostolic episcopal see of the Diocese of Rome with universal ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the worldwide Catholic Church, as well as a sovereign entity of international law.

Roman Rite Most widespread liturgical rite in the Latin Church

The Roman Rite is the main liturgical rite of the Latin Church, the main particular church sui iuris of the Catholic Church. It is the most widespread liturgical rite in Christianity as a whole. The Roman Rite gradually became the predominant rite used by the Western Church, developed out of many local variants from Early Christianity on, not amounting to distinctive rites, that existed in the medieval manuscripts, but have been progressively reduced since the invention of printing, most notably since the reform of liturgical law in the 16th century at the behest of the Council of Trent (1545–63) and more recently following the Second Vatican Council (1962–65).

Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest Roman Catholic society of apostolic life of pontifical right in communion with the Holy See, using the traditional Latin liturgy of 1962 for Mass and the other sacraments

The Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest is a Roman Catholic society of apostolic life of pontifical right in communion with the Holy See of the Catholic Church. The institute has the stated goal of honoring God and the sanctification of priests in the service of the Catholic Church and souls. An integral part of the institute’s charism is the use of the traditional Latin liturgy of 1962 for Mass and the other sacraments. It has undertaken the restoration of a number of historic church buildings.

The Pope further expanded upon this with the motu proprio Ecclesia Dei of 1988, in which he exhorted the bishops to be generous in granting such a faculty for all the faithful who requested it. [1] Ecclesia Dei supersedes Quattuor abhinc annos regarding the extent of the privilege. [2]

In law, motu proprio describes an official act taken without a formal request from another party. Some jurisdictions use the term sua sponte for the same concept.

Ecclesia Dei is the document Pope John Paul II issued on 2 July 1988 in reaction to the consecration of four bishops despite an express prohibition by the Holy See. It said that the two consecrating bishops and the four priests they consecrated were excommunicated. John Paul called for unity and established the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei to foster a dialog with those associated with the consecrations who hoped to maintain both loyalty to the papacy and their attachment to traditional liturgical forms.

Groups such as the Society of St. Pius X, who maintained that they needed no permission to celebrate the Tridentine Mass decried the document and referred rather derisively to Masses celebrated with the Quattuor abhinc annos authorization as "Indult Masses". Several of these groups, such as the Society of St. Pius V, preferred to celebrate Mass according to pre-1962 editions of the Roman Missal.

The view that use of the earlier form of the Roman liturgy had never been formally abrogated [4] was authoritatively confirmed by Pope Benedict XVI, who declared that permission to use it (which can be granted by the priest in charge of the church) is required only for public celebration. [5]

Pope Benedict XVI revoked the directives on 7 July 2007, replacing them with the norms enunciated in his motu proprio Summorum Pontificum . [6]

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The Mass of Saint Paul VI is the most commonly used form of the Mass in use today within the Catholic Church, first promulgated, after the Second Vatican Council (1962–65), by Pope Paul VI in 1969 and published in the 1970 edition of the Roman Missal. It "is and continues to be the normal Form – the Forma ordinaria" of the Roman Rite Mass, as intended for use in most contexts.

Traditionalist Catholicism movement of Catholics in favour of restoring many or all of the teaching of the Catholic Church before the Second Vatican Council

Traditionalist Catholicism is a set of religious beliefs made up of the customs, traditions, liturgical forms, public, private and group devotions, and presentations of the teaching of the Catholic Church before the Second Vatican Council (1962–65). It is associated with an attachment to the pre-1970 Roman Rite Mass, referred to as the Traditional Latin Mass.

Maniple (vestment) embroidered band of silk or similar fabric worn hanging from the left arm as part of liturgical dress

The maniple is a liturgical vestment used primarily within the Catholic Church, and occasionally used by some Anglo-Catholic and Lutheran clergy. It is an embroidered band of silk or similar fabric that is hung over the left arm. It is only used within the context of the Mass, and it is of the same liturgical colour as the other Mass vestments.

Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter society of apostolic life

The Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter is a traditionalist Catholic society of apostolic life for priests and seminarians which is in communion with the Holy See.

Indult Catholic was a traditionalist Catholic loaded term used from the early 21st century until 2007 as a pejorative label applied to Catholics who attended only the licit celebrations of the Tridentine Mass in Latin according to the 1962 edition of the Roman Missal and regulated by the local bishop through an indult that conformed to the 1984 Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments norms in the ecclesiastical letter Quattuor abhinc annos.

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The General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM)—in the Latin original, Institutio Generalis Missalis Romani (IGMR)—is the detailed document governing the celebration of Mass of the Roman Rite in what since 1969 is its normal form. Originally published in 1969 as a separate document, it is printed at the start of editions of the Roman Missal since 1970.

Universal indult is a term that was used primarily by traditionalist Catholics in a very specific sense. Since an indult signifies a favour granted to an individual or limited group, a similar measure applied to every member of a particular class of persons would in reality be a change of the law, not an indult. However, in spite of its self-contradictory character, traditionalist Catholics used the term "universal indult" to refer to a general permission that they hoped the Pope would grant to all Catholic priests who celebrate Mass in the Roman Rite to do so in its Tridentine Mass form even publicly without first obtaining a specific indult or permission. Groups such as the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter have standing specific indults to say the Tridentine Mass.

Summorum Pontificum is an apostolic letter of Pope Benedict XVI, issued in July 2007, which specified the circumstances in which priests of the Latin Church may celebrate Mass according to what he called the "Missal promulgated by Blessed John XXIII in 1962", and administer most of the sacraments in the form used before the liturgical reforms that followed the Second Vatican Council.

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The Code of Rubrics is a three-part liturgical document promulgated in 1960 under Pope John XXIII, which in the form of a legal code indicated the liturgical and sacramental law governing the celebration of the Roman Rite Mass and Divine Office.

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