Like a lot of folks, I suspect, who have some interest in the Extraordinary Form, I planned some extra time in my morning routine today so that I could read Universae Ecclesiae when it appeared at 'Roman noon.'
The document is supposed to be a clarification of how Summorum pontificum is applied. For me it answered one of my own questions, but left another in an even more mysterious condition.
First, the question I feel is now somewhat clarified. SP 9,3 gives clerics the right to use the older Roman breviary to fulfill the Divine Office, for which the ordinary form is the Liturgy of the Hours. When I first read this, I was a new priest, and somewhat curious. I managed to find a complete 1962 Breviarium Romano-Seraphicum in the Capuchin use for what was--to me at least--a bargain (100 euro.) Using Fr. Hausmann's Learning the New Breviary (which you can download yourself here, note the Capuchin novitiate library stamp in the scanned copy) I started to experiment with the older form of the prayer.
But I wondered about a couple of things. First, was it o.k. to mix and match? Could I just use the older breviary for certain of the hours? It was nice compact volume, and so eminently suited to carrying into the world. Could I just use it for the little hours during the day, i.e. for what would be Daytime Prayer in the LoH? Second, if I were to use the older breviary, did I have to say all the hours, or just the analogues of what appears in the current LoH? In other words, did I have to say Prime and all three of the little hours?
It seems to me that UE answers these questions: 32. Art. 9 § 3 of the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum gives clerics the faculty to use the Breviarium Romanum in effect in 1962, which is to be prayed entirely and in the Latin language.
This language suggests to me that 'mixing and matching' is not the idea, and that one using the older breviary is supposed to pray all of it.
My second question is about the celebration of Mass alone, and about it I'm still confused. According to current law, it is possible to celebrate Mass without even another minister or server, for a just cause. The devotion of the priest or his desire to offer Mass is considered a just cause in this regard. This a relaxation of the former law that would have been in effect in 1962, in which it was far more difficult, and even impossible, to justify offering Mass alone.
Towards this question, UE reitereates SP: 23. The faculty to celebrate sine populo (or with the participation of only one minister) in the forma extraordinaria of the Roman Rite is given by the Motu Proprio to all priests, whether secular or religious (cf. Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum, art. 2). For such celebrations therefore, priests, by provision of the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum, do not require any special permission from their Ordinaries or superiors.
Sine populo, "without the people," does not mean 'by yourself.' It just means off any public schedule, without the assistance of an assembly. It does not mean 'without a server' or 'one other minister' as the missal in the Ordinary Form puts it. Now it seems to me that the relaxation given in current law that enables one to offer Mass alone is sometimes imported into the EF (along with some other convenient modern rubrics, like the right to offer Mass at any time of day, for example.) The excellent FSSP training video for the older form of Mass even has a section on how to make adjustments to the Mass when it is offered alone, without even a server or some other person to make the responses. That would seem to suggest that such a thing was allowed!
I've never been sure about this, and after UE I feel even less so: 28. Furthermore, by virtue of its character of special law, within its own area, the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum derogates from those provisions of law, connected with the sacred Rites, promulgated from 1962 onwards and incompatible with the rubrics of the liturgical books in effect in 1962.
It would seem to me that the relaxation of being able to offer Mass alone, without even a server or someone to make the responses, is such a provision promulgated after 1962 and incompatible with the EF rubrics as they stand on their own. Now I'm neither a liturgist or a canonist, and a dilettante when it comes to the EF for sure, but so it seems to me.