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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