The Universal Tridentine

The blogosphere is somewhat abuzz over this statement that the pope wants the Tridentine Mass in every parish. Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos (in the miter, right) said the pope is asking seminaries to train new priests in both rites. That would be a most interesting exercise.

But this was a money quote:

The cardinal said parishes could use catechism classes to prepare Catholics to celebrate such Masses every Sunday so they could “appreciate the power of the silence, the power of the sacred way in front of God, the deep theology, to discover how and why the priest represents the person of Christ and to pray with the priest.”

Silence? Good liturgy already includes that, unless he means the silent spectators of the old rite. Deep theology? What could possibly be deeper than God making himself present to his people?

I’d like to be fair to the cardinal on these clips of quotes taken out of context, but what about this notion that the experience of good liturgy can be prepared in the classroom? The smoke of rationalism seems to have permeated into the traditionalist camp.

I have few doubts the pope would really want this, I guess. I’d really want choirs at every parish liturgy, plus full music at daily morning and evening prayer, too. I don’t think I’m going to get what I want in liturgy, but I can still work for the day it could happen.

As for the 1962 Mass in every parish, I think there’s a lot of convincing to be done than the cardinal saying it’s “absolute ignorance” to think this is turning the clock back.

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Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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16 Responses to The Universal Tridentine

  1. Anne says:

    Well it IS turning back the clock no matter how you look at it. My guess is that most parishes won’t want the Tridentine liturgy anyway. “Absolute ignorance”, IMO, is disregard for the “deep theology” of the reformed rite. It seems so wrong to me to promote nostalgia over the teachings of the Second Vatican Council. All of our efforts of liturgical catechesis should be to promote full, conscious and active participation in the the reformed celebration of the Eucharist.

  2. Tony Neria says:

    Besides the “Traditionalist”, of which there may be a handful in my area (Sacramento), I really doubt anyone in my parish would attend. My priest chanting the mass in Latin? He can’t even chant the doxology in English!

  3. Sean says:

    If I remember correctly, the mass was originally in Greek, but was allowed to be translated into a select group of languages (maybe eight?) spoken by the common folks in the Roman Empire, one of which languages was Latin. The point being, that it was in Latin so as to be understood by the congregation, not to cause oohs and ahhs with the “magic words” from the guy up front.

    It is beautiful to hear a well done Latin mass, but I have only heard one priest who could do it beautifully. Part of the reason it is beautiful, however, is that it is usually in English for me, so I know what is going on.

    A question for the experts (because I don’t know):

    What is the difference between the 1962 and the Novus Ordo? Is there something missing in the Novus Ordo that makes some people want the Tridentine version? Is the 1962 the Tridentine version? What are the distinctive factors involved?

  4. Gavin says:

    I attended the EF this Sunday, since I arrived too early at the Greek Orthodox parish I was going to attend. I must say, you’re not joking about the silent laity at that Mass. I was the only person outside of the choir singing full-voice on the ordinary, which was fun but discouraging. Besides the 2 men in the choir I could hear 4 women weakly singing along. Sorry, but when it’s something so easy as Kyrie XI, that’s not active participation, no matter if you have the interior fervor of 1000 martyrs.

    I agree with Cdl. Hoyos that we SHOULD have the EF in every single parish. And I agree with you that we should have every Mass sung. But I also agree that this isn’t going to happen in any parish ever, and represents more an ideal to move towards than a reality to be enforced.

    My beef with the EF attitude isn’t so much the “nostalgia” of it; it’s the selective nostalgia. Everything MUST be as it was in the Italian pre-baroque, not one stitch of the fiddleback different. We can do better, in either form.

  5. I thought the EF was supposed to be, well, “extraordinary” and that the current Roman missal was to be normative or “ordinary.”

    How can the EF be understood as “extraordinary” if it is mandated for use in every parish?

  6. Gavin says:

    Sean: what I’ve heard is that the Latin used for the Mass was a “high” Latin, not the common Latin. This is supposedly reflected now in the differences between ecclesiastical and classical Latin. From what I’ve heard, the old Latin would have been like KJV-style English to Latin hearers.

    The 1970 Missal introduced many changes, including several options for the Eucharistic Prayer (the Roman Rite traditionally had one), deletions of many prayers, and insertion of others. You can find the full text of the 1962 Mass (Or Extraordinary Form) here: Read both and draw your own conclusions, rather than listening to what some extremist on either side might tell you.

  7. Gavin says:

    Oh, and lest we forget, first it was the Tridentine Mass. then the Traditional Latin Mass. Then the Extraordinary Form of the Latin Rite. Now it’s the Gregorian Missal! Actually I prefer EF; it says the function of the Mass as a helper to the Ordinary Form, rather than a superior to it. Still, I wonder what zany title they’ll come up with for it next: The Holy More Catholic than the Novus Ordo (But Don’t Tell Those Heretics We Make Fun of their Mass) Rite?

  8. Brendan Kelleher SVD says:

    Sadly since Benedict XVI is pope no significant public challenge has been made to his interpretation of Vatican II’s liturgical reforms, and the consequent status of the 1962 Roman Missal. Historical precedent indicates that it was formally abrogated. To call it ‘the extraordinary form’ is a form of specious justification for his promotion, based on the outcry from a loud minority, of an indirect rejection of the whole liturgical movement and its achievement during and since Vatican II.
    With the remarks of Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, and his ostentatious celebration of the Mass according to the 1962 Missal, further confusion is spread. Given his age one wonders why he hasn’t been retired from his role in the “Ecclesia Dei” commission, which has demonstrated a singular inability to fulfil the original role given it, to bring back into communion with the See of Peter a substantial number of those who sympathized with Abp Lefevre.
    While Cardinal Ratzinger took the name of Benedict on his election to the see of Peter, he seems increasingly more like the intellectual and spiritual heir of Pio Nono. As one indirectly involved in priestly formation, and as one involved in pastoral work with a cross-cultural community, I have no intention of being part of an attempt, imposed from above, to further the use of the, formally abrogated, 1962 Roman Missal.
    I note with thanks, as holder of a UK passport that no member of the English or Welsh hierarchy was present for the recent celebration of Mass according to the 1962 Roman Missal.
    Once more may I draw your readers attention to the closing chapters of Nicholas Lash’s most recent book, “Theology for Pilgrims”. Any who welcome and applaud the “pastorally” irresponsible pronouncements and behaviour of Cardinal Dario C. Hoyos need to ponder carefully and respond to what is written there.

  9. Anne says:

    ConcordPastor Says:
    16 June 2008 at 10:13 pm

    I thought the EF was supposed to be, well, “extraordinary” and that the current Roman missal was to be normative or “ordinary.”

    How can the EF be understood as “extraordinary” if it is mandated for use in every parish?

    Excellent point!

  10. Dale Price says:

    While Cardinal Ratzinger took the name of Benedict on his election to the see of Peter, he seems increasingly more like the intellectual and spiritual heir of Pio Nono.

    The funniest thing I’ve seen a Catholic say all year. That it was unintentional in no way detracts from the comic value.

    For all the kvetching about autocratic diktat, it seems that you have no problem with it in principle–so long as your favored bishops are doing the dictating.

  11. MCNS says:

    Why not call the 1962 the Mass of Good Pope John XXIII? That was his missal ~ That was the way he said Mass. How much more “Spirit of Vatican II” can you get?

    I can also say — from my own personal perspective — that I find the silence and ritual and mystery of the Old Mass actually more engaging than the standard parish liturgy in the vernacular. It is possible to be more active a participant in the old rite than in the new. Your mileage, of course, may vary.

    I do find it remarkable that there should be any question that the Old Mass — the inspiration for the great cathedrals and Mozart and countless saints — is “good” liturgy. That today’s liturgists “can do better in either form” is not clear; indeed, 40-plus years of experience suggest otherwise.

  12. Neil says:

    The question of future demand for the Tridentine Mass is a very interesting one.

    Even if one doesn’t find the Tridentine Mass to be more spiritually or theologically compelling than Mass celebrated according to the 1970 Missal, it is possible to believe that the supply and at least the clerical demand for the Tridentine Mass will increase. (I am not suggesting that the Tridentine Mass is or is not more spiritually and theologically compelling; I avoid the issue here.)

    The increased supply and demand will occur, I think, in part because:

    1. There is a high level of fascination with the Pope and papal authority that encourages extraordinary levels of loyalty and “working towards” the Pope. This means that many bishops, priests, and seminarians will embrace the extraordinary form in imitation of the Pope, and, to a lesser extent, certain Roman cardinals. (We won’t dwell on “careerism,” a somewhat different issue, but this may also be a contributing factor.)

    2. There is obviously a small (and probably unrepresentative) group of clergy and laypeople who will enthusiastically promote the Tridentine Mass.

    3. There is presently an attractive way of thinking about the liturgy with binary oppositions: the Tridentine Mass is ancient, universal, timeless, and organic; the New Mass is marked by novelty, particularity, and its “artificial” creation at the hands of experts. (We leave aside the question about whether this way of thinking is historically accurate). The Tridentine Mass is fascinating because it is apparently sublime – timeless, placeless, unlimited by human agency since it has no identifiable author.

    4. The real strength of the Missal of 1970 hasn’t been actualized because of a lack of a surrounding culture to nourish the spiritual experience of “hearing the Word.” Catholics haven’t developed the biblical literacy that would lead to appreciation of the revised lectionary. Sermons are still poor. In many places, hymnody hasn’t improved or at least hasn’t been digested by most Catholics. Are the audible words of the Eucharistic Prayers in the Missal of 1970 an important part of the spiritual experience of most Catholics?

    5. There is an intense anxiety about the liturgy that has seemingly led – among some – to an endless scrutiny of abuses, the desire for relative uniformity, and a distaste for inculturation or other forms of creativity. The Tridentine Mass would seem to assuage these concerns.

    Might the EF be seen in many more parishes than one would have thought when the motu proprio was released? I think so. For better or worse.


  13. Brendan Kelleher SVD says:

    The pairing of Pio Nono and Benedict XVI was intentional. I had just finished reading the relevant chapters on Pio Nono and Vatican I in Owen Cummings “Prophets, Guardians and Saints”, and the comments of Nicholas Lash, from his latest book were also fresh in my mind, so some of the echoes were uncanny. History will show whether the Cardinals made the right choice in electing Benedict XVI, I personally had no high hopes, and so far don’t feel he has made as helpful and significant a contribution as some like to claim. His vision of the Church is still too Eurocentric for a Church that is definitely becoming more a Church of the South, of Africa, and to a lesser degree, of Asia.
    Joseph Ratzinger, as he was at the time of Vatican II was not always as active a participant in the discussions among periti as some like to claim. I can instance, among other examples his notable absence from the commission preparing the decree on the missions. The co-ordinating secretary was the then Superior General of my own community,the SVD, John Schutte, and his records note that Professor Ratzinger was more often a “corresponding member”.
    The Missal that began its history at Trent was the result of a project not even half done, possible reforms held back since they might be read as concessions to the Protestant Reformers. The groundswell for reform that produced the Vatican II missal was the product of some 100 years of liturgical scholarship and based on a far more comprehensive history of the liturgy than had been available at time of Trent. Also as the history of the reform, in fidelity to Vatican II, shows, it had the full understanding and support of Paul VI. Neils comments on this whole topic, which appear as a separate post deserve thoughtful reading.

  14. Dale Price says:

    Dear Mr. Kelleher:

    It’s one thing to criticize the then-Fr. Ratzinger’s work as a peritus. That’s fair game. It’s another to state that he’s reappropriated the governing and theological aims of Bl. Pius IX (who’s admittedly not one of my favorites). The former certainly does not support the latter, definitely not as stated.

    The second item is also subject to debate, namely whether the Mass as organized and celebrated from 1970 to present truly reflects the intentions of the liturgical movement as a whole. Especially given that that movement was a diverse one. I’m not convinced that, say, Msgr. Martin Hellreigel would agree with your assessment.

    Finally, the heated, even angry reaction of many to the wider availability of the 1962 Missal is the triumph of fear over hope, and the abandonment of a healthy sense of self-criticism.

  15. Brendan Kelleher SVD says:

    I didn’t write that Benedict XVI suppported Pio Nono, I talked of uncanny echoes. Also given that the language used to introduce the Vatican II missal has, until the present Pope, been interpreted as indicating the Tridentine Missal, up to and including its 1962 form is now abrogated, more substantial reasons for the norms permitting its wider use have yet to be given.
    As a little background information, I was an altar-server during the 1950’s, so have personal experiences and memories of the pre-Vatican II liturgy. My almost fourty years in religious life, including over 30 years as a priest has admittedly seen me work for most of that time here in the Far East, in Japan. Discussions over the yerars with confreres from across Asia, and some limited experience with the liturgy as now celebrated in various countries in Asia, I hope I have some feel for what it means for the Catholics in Asia to have a vernacular and inculturated liturgy.
    Finally, following the motu proprio on the “Extraordinary Form”, I have heard more than one senior member of the hierarchy here in Japan, question what role it could have in the liturgical life of the Catholic community here. The suggestion by Cardinal Hoyos that the present Pope wishes to see the Mass in the “Extraordinary Form” available in every parish makes one wonder do we have a Vatican administration capable of helping the Church in Asia become the Church of Asia.
    As I look at the photograph that accompanied the initial post, I just wonder what message it sends to the people of India and Indonesia,China and Japan. They want and need to hear the Gospel message, to see a community that witnesses to the Crucified and Risen One. The added burden of trying to also accomodate the push, with the support of Benedict XVI, for wider use of the “Extraordinary Form”, is not helpful, and I would presume to say unnecessary in the 21st century.

  16. Mitchell says:

    I think there is alot of confusion on part of lay people..It is the people that should follow the instructions from Rome, not Rome and the Pope following the trends of the world..I think he is better qualified to speak on behalf of Christ and our souls…If he says things have gone horribly wrong for the past 40 years, we should take notice..If he feels the 1962 can correct many of these things we should listen. Outright denial to participate and open your heart to the 1962 Missal is in direct conflict with the Pope himself. Do you feel OK with that? In fact that Pope has been more fair than Paul VI ever was with people in regards to the liturgy. Pope Benedict has given people a choice. Even if there were to be 1 Mass in every parish on a given Sunday, the rest of the schedule would remain varied. Totally different from what we were told by Paul VI..” I want this Mass said”…..I think Pope Benedict is a fair and respectable Pope as well as human being who seems to understand all sides of the arguement..

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