On the feast of the Immaculate Conception last week, the National Catholic Reporter published an online ‘Viewpoint’ written by Fr. Ron Schmit, pastor of St. Anne Church in Byron, California. Schmit takes a careful look at the “extraordinary form” of liturgy - better known as the pre-Vatican II 1962 Latin Mass (Tridentine Mass), which seems to be gaining popularity in many dioceses, including my own.
Schmit points out that any attempt to resurrect and popularize the 1962 pre-Vatican II Mass has serious ramifications. He reminds the reader that:
“The 1570 missal (the basis of the 1962 missal) was, and continues to be, a liturgy in which the baptized -- once subjects of the liturgy and co-celebrants of the eucharistic sacrifice -- were and are reduced to mere spectators. They are there to watch the priest say "his" Mass. The emphasis is hierarchical and legalistic (who has the power and how are they lawfully exercising that power). Rather than the risen Christ working through the whole people of God (lay and ordained), we have a powerful clergy ministering to a passive people. Instead of church as sacrament, we have church as a juridical hierarchy”
It seems that even Pope Paul VI was adamant in not allowing this form of liturgy to continue post Vatican II. When the French theologian, Jean Guitton asked the Pope why not concede the 1962 missal to Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre and his followers. Pope Paul responded:
“Never. This Mass ... becomes the symbol of the condemnation of the council. I will not accept, under any circumstances, the condemnation of the council through a symbol. Should this exception to the liturgy of Vatican II have its way, the entire council would be shaken. And, as a consequence, the apostolic authority of the council would be shaken.”
It seems the new ground laid 50 years ago by Vatican II is seriously being “shaken” up again and again. One could think that the Church may be forgetting that, “liturgy” by definition means the work of the people…not work thrown upon the people.
Take a read of the full article by clicking here