A friend forwarded a few letters from the Tablet. One read:
Correspondents have expressed differing views as to whether the pre-conciliar rite was abrogated, but surely there can be no disagreement that the pre-conciliar Ordo and Calendar ceased to exist following the promulgation of the new rite by Pope Paul VI.
That whole Heath-Robinson edifice of firstclass doubles with or without privileged octaves, second-class doubles, semi-doubles, simple feasts and ferias was swept away, thank God. In addition the messy business of Sundays after Epiphany (followed by Septuagesima and so on) and Sundays after Pentecost has given way to Sundays in Ordinary Time, with a far more coherent pattern of readings, following a three-year cycle.
It therefore follows that any Mass now celebrated (in whichever rite) must follow the new Ordo and Calendar (since there is no other) both in respect of the prayers and readings appointed and in respect of the priority between the yearly Sunday calendar and that of the saints. Apart from the celebration, primarily on weekdays, of private votive Masses (such as a Requiem Mass), it is surely the case that any celebration, especially on a Sunday or a major feast day, cannot be licit unless the correct prayers and readings (as currently authorised) are used. It will be interesting to see whether the devotees of the former rite comply with this principle after Benedict XVI’s motu proprio comes into force.
I appreciate the writer’s enthusiasm for the current Roman calendar, which is indeed far superior to the “extraordinary” one. The traditionalists will likely do as they please. The pope, by explicitly permitting the new Lectionary to be used, logically presumes that the older, inferior calendar is probably foremost in the minds of those preparing upcoming celebrations.
A realistic priest open to celebrating the 1970 Missal in Latin has his own problems:
Some of the comments on “Summorum Pontificum” may not be pertinent: “back to the people” is not of the essence of the older Mass. Others besides myself celebrated it versus populum (facing the people) in accord with its explicit rubrics in 1962 or earlier. Nor does the Novus Ordo (sic) stipulate only one orientation. Celebration versus populum of itself says to the congregation: come up close, gather round, be involved; the heart of the Church’s call at Vatican II.
It reveals the recalcitrance of those who still look on from afar eschewing “full, conscious, actual participation”. Over the past 30 years, I have several times met those nostalgic for the Latin Mass by celebrating one with them – Novus Ordo of course. The result has always been: “Thank you; we could not really take part in Latin so we shan’t need it again.” There is a tiny elite who could participate in Mass in Latin; it is well beyond the capacity of the vast majority. That is why we have long lost the treasury of Latin music. By the middle of last century, Solemn Mass was unknown to most. It was sung well in a few cathedrals, monasteries and collegiate chapels; its rare use in most parish churches was otherwise.
While unwarranted individual “innovation” has produced some distressing experiences since 1970, slipshod celebration was not unknown before then. My experience is that a truly dignified, engaging and uplifting celebration is far more likely now in the new order than 40 years ago in the old.
(Fr) John Woods
Scone, New South Wales, Australia
An editor’s note here: the term “Novus Ordo” is not and has never been an official term for the Roman Missal. It shouldn’t be italicized.
If you want to tune in to a typical motumania catfight, check out the comments on this thread at NLM. Good news for tradis can turn into a slugfest quicker than an extraordinary rite low Mass. When you live a life of bile and criticism, it’s hard to turn the corner and adopt a sliver of charity.