Even though he really didn’t have to, then-Pope Bendict XVI liberated the Traditional Latin Mass (TLM) aka Tridentine Mass aka Mass of All Times, to be freely celebrated by any Latin Rite priest anywhere, any time, without reservation and NO need for any approval of the local ordinary.
The TLM was made free to be celebrated and could not be taken away in perpetuity by Pope St Pius V with the Bull Quo Primum in 1570.
Pope John Paul II reaffirmed that with Ecclessia Dei in 1984, further expanding a request (not a demand) for generous application of allowing the Holy Mass under the Latin rubrics in 1988. Even then, stingy, crusty, intolerant liberal bishops refused to make the Rite available or accessible for both clergy and faithful genuinely attached to it. The post-Vatican II liberal bishops though they could snuff the Rite out over time, hoping older people dying would do it by attrition.
They were wrong. God will not be mocked. The Rite is stronger than ever, even if Rome under Pope Francis persists in not reconciling itself with the reasonable demands of the likes of the Society of St Pius X. Young people are swarming to the Mass of All Times, they would were not even born when the Novus Ordo and its many de-Catholicized defects took hold in 1970 under Pope Paul VI.
Seven years ago this week, Pope Benedict would deliver the relief of my life. He declared that what we did in those days was legal. He affirmed what we told ourselves as we were chased out of that parish, that this form of worship had never been abolished and never ought to be.
On the very portentious date of July 7, 2007, he issued the document Summorum Pontificum, which liberated that Traditional Mass. By doing so he established his legacy as a brave pope. He also did a great service for culture and the arts, for the whole world — even for nonbelievers, those whom the TLM had converted by the thousands over a millenia of use, with the core of the canon of the TLM going back to the 6th century under Pope St Leo the Great.
While he too had many negatives, for Pope Benedict XVI this was one of the crown jewel moments for the German professor and intellectual during his 8 year pontificate.
May this light on a hill continue to shine forever.