What is the purpose of Pope Benedict XVI’s Apostolic Letter, Summorum Pontificum?
By this Apostolic Letter, promulgated motu proprio, the Holy Father seeks an “interior reconciliation in the heart of the Church” with those who have demonstrated an attachment to preconciliar liturgical forms, making “it possible for all those who truly desire unity to remain in that unity or to attain it anew.” Thus does he exhort the whole Church to “generously open our hearts and make room for everything that the faith itself allows.”
The Holy Father begins by defining two forms of the rule of prayer (Lex orandi) of the Latin church of Roman Rite: an ordinary form, as contained in the Missale Romanum of Pope Paul VI, and an extraordinary form, as contained in the Missale Romanum of Pope Saint Pius V. He notes that the extraordinary form was never abrograted and the two forms make up the Liturgy of the one Roman Rite.
In parishes where a group of the faithful are attached to the extraordinary form of the Mass, they may approach the pastor, who is to support their petition willingly. No permissions are required.
Read an explanatory letter on Summorum Pontificum here.