There is quite some buzz afoot about an impending liturgical change. Fr Z outed the issue last night.
UPDATE: See the developments, the ominous here, and the positive here.
It seems that the change will not be to liturgical law but to canon law. In particular, canon 838. Currently it reads:
§1. The direction of the sacred liturgy depends solely on the authority of the Church which resides in the Apostolic See and, according to the norm of law, the diocesan bishop.
§2. It is for the Apostolic See to order the sacred liturgy of the universal Church, publish liturgical books and review their translations in vernacular languages, and exercise vigilance that liturgical regulations are observed faithfully everywhere.
§3. It pertains to the conferences of bishops to prepare and publish, after the prior review of the Holy See, translations of liturgical books in vernacular languages, adapted appropriately within the limits defined in the liturgical books themselves.
§4. Within the limits of his competence, it pertains to the diocesan bishop in the Church entrusted to him to issue liturgical norms which bind everyone.
I have not seen the text of the mooted motu proprio and what changes it will make to this canon, but the word is that bishops’ conferences will be granted the power to choose their own liturgical translations, with Rome only exercising the power to confirm them… or not to confirm them.
Clearly this has the potential to set bishop against bishop within a particular conference. The secular politics of language will be let loose to rampage through the peace of the Church again. Yet more changes will be made to the ever-evolving, never-stable liturgy. The curia will have been emasculated even more. “Power” will be devolved to the ecclesial novelty of bishops’ conferences as part of the theological novelty of collegiality. Parishes, monasteries and religious houses will have to spend even more money on new liturgical books.
The motu proprio will need to be read carefully to see what positive things it might also contain. But it seems set to establish a new great principle in the post-conciliar liturgy. For now, read and farewell canon 838. For soon it shall reflect the triumph of Piero Marini. A red hat for him soon, I should think.
Latin is looking good. The Extraordinary Form is looking even better.
PS An interpretive document from the Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship, Archbishop Roche, is doing the rounds. It does not give the text of the motu proprio but it does give a good idea of what is coming. I feel it indelicate to share the interpretation before the motu proprio is itself released. And I need to study it more carefully. But here is its opening lines: