A reform instead of an indult?

A reform instead of an indult?

Much attention is being paid to rumors that Pope Benedict is preparing to issue a universal indult for the celebration of the Tridentine Mass, (i.e. the Missal of 1962, i.e. the Missal of Pius V). I wonder though if that would really address the liturgical problems that he wrote about as Cardinal Ratzinger. What I mean is that once of the main complaints that Ratzinger (and many Traditionalists) had about the Novus Ordo (i.e. Missal of Paul VI) is that it was not an organic development of the liturgy, which was the case throughout history, but a rebuilding by committee.

So what if Benedict isn’t really interested in either going back to the Tridentine Mass, but is really more interested in returning to 1962, in a sense, and bringing forth a reform of the liturgy that is an organic development? After all, it’s not like the NO Mass can’t be celebrated with any reverence.

Many bloggers are agog today over the photos that Fr. John Zuhlsdorf posted of Mass at St. Agnes in St. Paul, Minn. It’s a Novus Ordo Mass, but it was celebrated in Latin, celebrated ad orientem (priests and people facing the same direction), with incense and beautiful vestments, accompanied by lots of altar boys, with Communion at the altar rail with nary an Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist in sight.

This isn’t a unique occurrence. I’ve been to Latin Novus Ordo Masses, once at a daily Mass with Fr. Fessio, a couple times in Steubenville, and once at an Opus Dei retreat. All of them were beautiful and well done and if we had a good Latin Novus Ordo Mass, I think a lot of the demand for Tridentine Masses would decline.

So much is like Tridentine Mass, but on the other hand, the prayers are said audibly, the readings are in the vernacular, and so on and so forth. Frankly, these are the reasons I have little desire to go to the Tridentine Mass.

And maybe this is what Benedict has up his sleeve.

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  • I found the text of the Ordinary of the Mass
    (1962 edition of the Tridentine Ordo) the other day.  Did I find the link here…too many blogs!

    Anyways, I was amazed at how little response was done by the people in the pews. I would love attend the Mass as it is done at St. Agnes!

    Text of Latin Mass

    (love the new tag thingies, Dom!)

  • The Traditionalists, at least the ones I read on the internet, seem to have a visceral antipathy towards the Novus Ordo, even in Latin.  I’m not sure the speculated change in the works would help resolve the Lefebvrite schism.

  • I attend the Tridentine Mass and I love it, I love the reverence, with that said, if all Novus Ordo Masses were celebrated like this or at Assumption Grotto in Detroit (if you haven’t seen the pictures of the Holy Triduum liturgies of Assumption Grotto at the Catholic Answers forums, seek it out, absolutely beautiful!) then I would attend the Novus Ordo in a heartbeat.

    Having said that, I think giving an Universal Indult to the Tridentine Mass will help bring the Novus Ordo closer to what the Vatican II had in mind.

    I am waiting for the Papal document that is to conclude the Eucharistic Synod, I am eager about what the Pope will have to say!

    Also, what Bishop Slattery is doing in the Diocese of Tulsa is very positive!

  • The Traditionalists, at least the ones I read on the internet, seem to have a visceral antipathy towards the Novus Ordo, even in Latin.  I’m not sure the speculated change in the works would help resolve the Lefebvrite schism.

    I’m not sure any change to the liturgy, even if the Pope were to decree the Novus Ordo outlawed and order a return to Tridentine for everyone, would resolve the schism. The issues there go much deeper than the liturgy.

    The Novus Ordo itself is inorganic development, no matter how reverential. We must not have this liturgy as our starting point for organic development.

    Which is why I speculated that Benedict is interested in going back to the 1962 Missal and doing the reform right in an organic manner.

    Daniel: Sorry, but I’ve heard those arguments before, but I don’t buy it.

  • What is often called “Novus Ordo done right” is made possible by…the presence of the living tradition of the Tridentine Rite and praxis. 

    The Anglo-Catholic and other High Church Protestant and liturgical movements of the 19th Century were also made possible by…the presence of the living tradition of the Tridentine Rite and praxis. 

    Designing the Anglican Use liturgy was only made possible by…the presence of the living tradition of the Tridentine Rite and praxis.

    The Tridentine Rite is legally speaking the Roman Rite as it evolved from Apostolic times through 1962 AD, when it was most recently codified.  Salvifically speaking, the Tridentine Rite, along with the traditional Eastern Rites, “contain within themselves so many elements of Apostolic origin that it is impossible to separate these from the elements added by post-Apostolic ecclesiastical tradition”.  (Guéranger)

    The Tridentine Rite was replaced in 1965 by the 1965 Missal, which was itself replaced in 1970 by the Novus Ordo Missae, or Modern Latin Rite.  The 1965 Missal has some partisans calling for its return.  However, I think it’s fair to say that the 1965 Missal could not have been put into place originally, nor could it be resuscitated today, without…the presence of the living tradition of the Traditional Roman Rite and praxis.

    The Pope has acknowledged that the 1970 Novus Ordo Missae was not an organic outgrowth of the 1962 Missal.  Thus, we can say without much hesitation that the actual law and praxis in the Modern Roman Rite does not entirely preserve the liturgical Tradition of the Tridentine Rite, ecclesiastical or Apostolic, for Sacrosanctum Concilium itself established “that sound tradition may be retained….care must be taken that any new forms adopted should in some way grow organically from forms already existing.”  Evidence for the insufficiency of Novus Ordo alone as a source for liturgical growth can be found in the apparent fact that improvements in the actual praxis of the Modern Roman Rite began to occur only after the promulgation of the broader Indults of 1984 and 1988, or in the high concentration of liturgical abuses in dioceses where the Indult has been persecuted.  Where the Novus Ordo is doing best, it has been enriched by borrowing from the Tridentine Rite and praxis.

    The living tradition of the Tridentine Rite and praxis—and at this time only the living Tridentine Rite—has the stability, breadth and authority to serve as a liturgical wellspring from which any future “Reform of the Reform” can be sourced.  As such, the Tridentine Rite must be celebrated widely and in its fullness everywhere in the world.  By no means does every Latin Catholic need to be comfortable with the Tridentine Liturgy, but every Latin Catholic ought to at least have the opportunity to experience it.  Out of the Classic Rite can flow the restoration of the Latin Church’s sacred music, art and architecture, knowledge of Latin, global unity, devotions, and so forth, to the levels of her pre-Vatican II glory, so that her children might one day hope to surpass that high standard, rather than forever pine for it wistfully. 

    Indult Subito!

  • One rite, please. If this is what il Papa has in mind, GREAT! I have always been able to attend a decent Mass, and feel no need to take such a step back. You want schism? Thats the next step.

    I think Rocco Palmo nails it with the term “Tridentine Protestants”.

  • Benedict’s Christmas midnight Mass was beautiful and reminiscent of the Tridentine I grew up with.  It would go a long way toward satisfying people who grew up with the Tridentine, I would think.

    Still, some of the arguments presented by the Traditionalists have merit.  The Tridentine prayers are poetic.  Novus Ordo prayers are not.  So long as we have a vernacular translation, we will know what we are praying.

    The readings need to be in the vernacular if we are to take home something of the Mass to think about.  The expanded lectionary needs to be preserved.

    Lastly, our problem here in the U.S. seems to be the sexual orientation of the priesthood, if Stephen Brady and Fr. James McLucas can be believed.  Neither the Novus Ordo in Latin nor the Tridentine will solve that problem.  It is hard to banish the thought that ceremony, “dresses”, and lace might have an appeal we would not like to entertain.

  • “The Novus Ordo is made for feminists and feminism.” !!!

    umm, err…no.

    Flat-out hilarious comment of the day? Are we that lost in faith? I need to pray for some people.

  • I think that Dom is right that Benedict doesn’t think it’s possible to go back to the the Tridentine rite wholesale.  But in God and the World, he makes it clear that he think it’s absolutely necessary to allow for and foster what he calls “the Rite continuously in use up until 1970” freely.  Nothing like the “proscription” on its celebration has ever been done in history before and it amounts to a complete renunciation of the Church’s past.  Very strong words.

    If you look at God and the World, pages 415-417 he lays out his whole liturgical agenda.  It consists of two steps and a third “step” to be taken in tandem with the other two.

    First, educate people about a true liturgical spirit, one of “receiving” what we already have in the liturgy anew instead of “fabricating” and “manipulating.”  Relearn that the liturgy doesn’t come from us and isn’t made by us.  It comes from Above and pulls into a cosmic action of Dialogue with the Divine.  This is an process mostly of education, Ratzinger says.

    The second step is trying to retrieve and reincorporate some elements of the old Roman liturgy.  “Too much was pruned away”, says Ratzinger, and we must get it back into the liturgy “so that the connection with the whole history may become clearer and more alive again.”

    But in order to achieve one and two, we have to permit the free celebration of the old form of the liturgy to run in tandem with these efforts, “[f]or fostering a true consciousness in liturgical matters.”

    So, we have to expect both an “indult” of some kind AND the two-step project of “reform of the reform” to run together simultaneously.  They are related but independent projects.  It’s all there in God and the World, pages 415-417.  Read it.

  • Let’s say there’s a universal indult tomorrow.  How do you think that will go?

    In many cases, it will be like serving a $40 steak on a cheap paper plate.  Like having a wine festival at a trailer park.  Or like wearing a tuxedo to work in the yard.

    Give these “modern” parishes something as beautiful as a Latin Mass will no doubt lead to a dumbing-down of this Mass also, not a “raising up” of the people (or the priest).

    Now, granted, in some cases, I think it would be like a Catholic “rebirth” in some parishes.  People would embrace the Catholicism they’d never known was even theirs to claim. 

    An indult would be nice, but the practical application of it would be troublesome, not to mention the number of Bishops that wouldn’t allow it to begin with, depsite what Rome says.

  • Just to supplement the remarks above, it’s very important to understand that Ratzinger thinks the organic development of the liturgy is something analagous to the inspiration of the Holy Spirit that occurs in Scripture.  Tradition, too, is inspired by the Holy Spirit and the liturgy in its organic—not constructivist—form, is the most perfect and concentrated form of Tradition, very much like the Apostle’s and Nicene Creeds.  Read the quote from Ratzinger’s “The Spirit of the Liturgy” I append below and then try to imagine how serious a mistake breaking up the organic, Spirit-guided development of the Liturgy must be in Ratzinger’s eyes:

    “Because of the historical character of God’s action, the “Divine Liturgy” (as they call it in the East) has been fashioned, in a way similar to Scripture, by human beings and their capacities. But it contains an essential exposition of the biblical legacy that goes beyond the limits of the individual rites, and thus it shares in the authority of the Church’s faith in its fundamental form. The authority of the liturgy can certainly be compared to that of the great confessions of faith of the early Church. Like these, it developed under the guidance of the Holy Spirit (cf. Jn 16:13).”

    How can the Church “ban” something that was developed under the guidance of the Holy Spirit in favor of an artifically constructed successor, though it “was constructed admittedly with material of which the old structure had been made and using also the preceding models”?  (quote from “Milestones”, J. Ratzinger.)

    There WILL be a freeing of the old Mass and it won’t wait for a consensus.  That’s because this is what Ratzinger thinks of the ban on the old liturgy:  “There has NEVER BEEN ANYTHING LIKE THIS IN HISTORY; IN DOING THIS WE ARE DESPISING AND PROSCRIBING THE CHURCH’S WHOLE PAST.  HOW CAN ONE TRUST HER PRESENT IF THINGS ARE LIKE THAT?”  God and the World, p. 216. 

    “Nothing like this in history”?  “Despising” the Church’s “whole past”?  Can’t trust the Church today at all if She acts like this?  Can you imagine stronger words?

    No, THIS—substantially freeing the old Mass in some manner—Benedict will do as a matter of conscience and stewardship and he will do it soon.

  • Considering the crapola that surrounded the Holy Mass back in the day (nasty polychrome statues and stations? horrible sentimental hymns that laid the groundwork for Haugen-Haas—Mother, At Your Feet Is Kneeling? Hello?—electric lights on stands in lieu of candles for prayers? electric instead of pipe organs? and much much more), and considering that the nasty churches of the ‘50’s and the early ‘60’s were actually erected to house the most holy Mass of Pius V (aka “The Tridentine”), I’m not too worried about a universal indult. The Holy Mass is not a museum piece (though as has been observed, do we just magically go back to 1962? I know some people will say, yes).

    You definitely had steak on a melamine plate then. But, considering all the horrible liturgical and para-liturgical stuff there is around me, I’d happily take the $40 steak on a melamine plate, and definitely a paper plate as well. Unfortunately, in my diocese, we don’t even have the paper plate at the moment, although OTOH there is no serious liturgical abuse, and we DO have a Ukrainian eparchy based in this city, with lots of parishes, thus providing “competition” to the Latin parishes to help keep them honest – there is a good deal of back-and-forth migration. Also, to be fair (somewhat) to the archbishop, there is no indult Mass b/c no priest in the diocese will commit to say it at his parish – there was one until about nine months ago but he was a missionary and he was transferred by his order, and no one else has stepped up.

    “A great deal of Catholic liturgists seem to have come to the conclusion that Luther, rather than Trent, was substantially right in the 16th century debates . . .” Ah, one of my fave quotes.

    P.S. and don’t get me wrong on polychrome statues. The parish I went to as an adult in Dallas has be-yooo-tiful polychrome statues imported from northern Italy. But 90% of the polychrome you used to see in the U.S. is just nasty. I was going to say 90% of the polychrome you see, but you don’t see THAT much anymore. A lot of it got thrown out in the ‘70’s and ‘80’s, for the wrong reasons but I sure ain’t gonna cry over it.

  • do we just magically go back to 1962? I know some people will say, yes).

    Hmm, my personal Missal was printed in 1931, but for good measure I say we return to 1745 just to be safe. wink

  • It amuses me that when people fearful of a freeing of the Mass discuss that eventuality they pretend to believe the Mass will be suddenly imposed upon them. Would that we would be so lucky. It seems not to bother the same people that the N.O. was imposed, forcefully, and in some cases brutally. I’m sure everyone has heard the stories of statues, relics and precious chalices in dumpsters and other traditional ornamentation sacrilegiously destroyed. One priest I know returned from vacation to see a bonfire in the Church parking lot. His traditional vestments had been set on fire by the associate pastor.

    No one is forced to attend any Mass anywhere. And if your parish is one of the lucky ones to have the Indult and you don’t like it, there is always Rentapriest or a VOTF service you can attend.

    Why is the issue of “freedom for the N.O.” raised at all. It’s all too free. Clearly the opposition to the Tridentine Mass is from the liberals and modernists. Why else would the Fraternity of St. Peter and the Institute of Christ the King be banned from coming to Boston, Providence, Fall River, Worcester and Springfield? Why else would they be prohibited from purchasing any of the 80 parishes that are closing?

    If you give people the choice between a cream puff and a hostess cupcake I think they will pick the cream puff. Even if initially the taste is foreign to them.

    It is an appreciate for beauty, reverence and the emphasis on sacrifice that attracts the soul and mind to the Tridentine Mass. And there is nothing protestant about that.

  • Thomas – smile Actually, *my* personal missal and prayer book – the one that I really really use – is the beautiful 1961 Maryknoll (I have a pretty white leather-bound “ladies’” version which was given to me, but before that I had a boring basic-hardcover edition, but with the same lovely insides, that I just wore out, which a family member had the insight to acquire in the mid-60’s and then keep around until 1991). I would not at all mind using that for everyday and Sunday Mass. Well I remember when I was active in the TLM “community” in Dallas, and I was one of the few who had a post-mid-‘50’s missal, I had soooooooo many offers to buy it off of me. Everyone wanted to have the right stuff for Tenebrae!

  • Again this is precisely why I said the following:

    So what if Benedict isn’t really interested in either going back to the Tridentine Mass, but is really more interested in returning to 1962, in a sense, and bringing forth a reform of the liturgy that is an organic development?

    I wasn’t usggesting tweaking the current Novus Ordo, but of going back to the drawing board and bringing forth a Novus Ordo that should have been.

  • Except that’s not what Benedict SAYS should be done.  He says we should add things that have been lost from the Old back into the NewRite.  And, really, it’s impossible to “Go Back.”  People wouldn’t put up with it.

  • We are in a place the Church has been before.  During the Middle Ages, many bishops were corrupt.  Laypeople have to INSIST that they get what they need from the bishops…
    It’s pretty much that simple. 

    The responsibility for holiness and devotion is on our shoulders, each one of us.  And if the bishops can’t help, then they need to be prevented from hindering.

    SO, bishops need to be told in cold hard terms that if they aren’t going to strive for the things of God, then they at least need to stay in visible union with Rome, keep their pants up, accommodate us with our silly piety and be nice boys—or they don’t eat, travel, pontificate, whatever, fill in the blank.