Here is what the SSPX asked for:

Bishop Fellay said: “[F]irst of all we now insist on the preconditions. First, by granting them Rome will give us a pledge, and it will be a sign that we can trust them. They will have evidenced a certain desire for the good of tradition. We are not asking for half measures, we are asking for complete freedom of the Mass with no condition.”1 Here is another way Bishop Fellay stated the Rosary Crusade intention: “the recognition of the right for any priest to celebrate the traditional Mass”.2

This is what actually happened:

Part A) The motu proprio did not “free the Mass” simply, but was only a broader indult (i.e., permission) with dangerous conditions attached.

Part B) The motu proprio, at a minimum, puts the True Mass on the same level as the evil novus ordo mass; or even puts it on a level below the new mass.

Part A

The motu proprio frees the traditional Mass but only for those priests who do not object to the new mass but are merely nostalgic for the traditional Mass. In other words, the pope’s motu proprio did not free the traditional Mass for any of those who adhere to the traditional Mass as a matter of principle. You can see this for yourself from what the pope said at the time:

There is no contradiction between the two editions of the Roman Missal. In the history of the liturgy there is growth and progress, but no rupture. What earlier generations held as sacred remains sacred and great for us, too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful. It behooves all of us to preserve the riches which have developed in the church's faith and prayer and to give them their proper place. Needless to say, in order to experience full communion, also the priests of the communities adhering to the former usage cannot, as a matter of principle, exclude celebrating according to the new books. The total exclusion of the new rite would not in fact be consistent with the recognition of its value and holiness.3

The following quotes from the motu proprio itself show some of the restrictions placed on the traditional Mass by the 2007 motu proprio:

Art. 2. In Masses celebrated without the people, any priest of Latin rite, whether secular or religious, can use the Roman Missal published by Pope Blessed John XXIII in 1962 or the Roman Missal promulgated by Pope Paul VI in 1970, on any day except in the sacred triduum. For celebration in accordance with one or the other missal, a priest does not require any permission, neither from the Apostolic See nor his own ordinary. [Note: anyone who rejects the new mass as a matter of principle, could not accept the new mass during the sacred Triduum either. Thus, the motu proprio is merely for the nostalgic, not for the principled. This fits with the pope’s statement above, that priests cannot adhere to the traditional Mass as a matter of principle.] …
Art. 5.2. Celebration according to the missal of Blessed John XXIII can take place on weekdays, while on Sundays and on feast days there may be one such celebration.

Quoted from the 7-7-07 motu proprio.

Part B

Furthermore, note that the motu proprio not only did not free the Mass but even emphasized that the traditional Mass was (at best) on par with the new mass or, actually, gave the new mass precedence:

[T]here is the fear that the document detracts from the authority of the Second Vatican Council, one of whose essential decisions -- the liturgical reform -- is being called into question.
This fear is unfounded. In this regard, it must first be said that the missal published by Paul VI and then republished in two subsequent editions by John Paul II obviously is and continues to be the normal form -- the "forma ordinaria" -- of the eucharistic [sic] liturgy. The last version of the "Missale Romanum" prior to the council, which was published with the authority of Pope John XXIII in 1962 and used during the council, will now be able to be used as a "forma extraordinaria" of the liturgical celebration.

Quoted from Pope Benedict XVI’s 7-7-07 letter accompanying the motu proprio.


Although acknowledging, in muted tones, certain “restrictions” placed on the traditional Mass, Bishop Fellay tells us that the 2007 Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificumgives freedom to all Latin-rite priests to choose either missal in offering their daily Mass.”4 By contrast, the motu proprio itself shows that this is not always true and that the motu proprio gives no help to faithful priests who reject the new mass in principle. The motu proprio only helps the nostalgic priest.

One can regard the motu proprio as a “step in the right direction” for conciliar parishes, just as it would be, e.g., for them to abolish altar girls. However, such measures do not affect Catholics who adhere to the full traditional Faith and Sacraments of the Catholic Church.

Lastly, the motu proprio does not fulfill the SSPX request, which was the intention of the rosary crusade: “We are not asking for half measures, we are asking for complete freedom of the Mass with no condition.”5

  1. Bp. Fellay’s 10-14-06 interview, http://web.archive.org/web/20061111010724/http://www.dici.org/dl/fichiers/1Bp_Fellay_Conf_14-10-06.pdf
  2. http://www.dici.org/en/news/special-dossier-the-decree-of-january-21-2009-three-interviews-with-bishop-bernard-fellay/
  3. Quoted from Pope Benedict XVI’s 7-7-07 letter accompanying the motu proprio (bold emphasis added).
  4. http://liveweb.archive.org/http://www.angelusonline.org/index.php?section=articles%20&subsection%20=show_article&article_id=2645
  5. Bp. Fellay’s 10-14-06 interview, http://web.archive.org/web/20061111010724/http://www.dici.org/dl/fichiers/1Bp_Fellay_Conf_14-10-06.pdf