Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Tridentine Mass - Taking a Step Backward?

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


Fran said...

Thank you for this post. I am left a bit speechless by it all - which I suppose makes sense, as someone essentially voiceless in the church. (I'm sorry if I sound bitter and angry; I just got to offer a reflection about the one lost sheep, but I still feel like one myself.)


As a theologian friend reminded me today, things will get better, but they may have to get worse first.

GenoV said...

Very, very sad to see this in our diocesan newspaper when we're less than a month after suffering a hurricane worse than Katrina, and while 5 parishes in our diocese are still "down for the count." Thank God that Catholic Charities is working to do some real good things to help the suffering people of God of the Diocese of Trenton.

Meredith Gould said...

And the beat(ing) goes on. I wish I could say my mind is once again boggled by this retro move, but it is not.

Every time something like this happens -- like weekly, it seems -- my heart breaks a bit more for those who have loved the Roman Catholic church with an abiding love despite the battering.

Where's the shelter for us to stay in until things "get better."

Aneas said...

What was sacred then is sacred now. The 1570 missal nourished thousands of souls (and hundreds of saints) for centuries. To imply that his Mass is somehow a deficient form of participating and communicating with God is unsound, to say the least. Praying the Tridentine Mass with the priest is one of the most edifying spiritual experiences ever.

The Old Rite does not reduce the laity to "mere spectators." Frankly, this is a boring argument that is typically put forward by someone who is more than 50 years old, has terrible aesthetics and musical taste, and is generally bitter at the Church and hates her beautiful past. The Tridentine Mass is very popular with my generation (under 35). The older priests just have to deal with that.

Cheesy music (e.g. Marty Haugen) and ugly vestments are out, smells and bells are in. Versus populum is out, ad orientem is in. Get with the times.

Paul Gerard said...

It is sad reading these ill informed comments on the Holy Catholic Faith and the Holy Mass. It show how far the attitude captured by Protestant naturalism has gone into the Church of Rome. This naturalism as infiltrated and decimated the faithfuls super-natural understanding of our Holy Apostolic Faith.

Catholicism is not to be bound to the world of man, or the works of charity alone - for if it was, as I think it is now - then it is just a reglgion of man, and not of God.

The Church always prclaimed that it "prima-muneris" was is to procliam the faith and thereby save souls.
How can this be done if the poor afflicted sould is not given the chance to experience the Divine?

How can sinner be saved without the mysticisms of the Old Mass, its beauty, music, solemnity and theology of the Dinvie Majesty of God.

This is how sinners are saved - and showed that God is REAL!

And who of what is God? Is God the happy clappy communal activity undertaken in the name of faith by so many current days Novus Ordo Catholic parishes and communities - No it is not!

God is Mystery - because God is mystical - He is essence - Spirt and the Mind of all that is was and will be.

How can this be understaood, and represented in a all dancing, all yapping Novus Ordo? I can no longer see how such liturgy and mind set is revealingthe Mystery of God to anyone.

All it has done and is doing is revelling in the creation of Man for the entertainment of Man.

The mystery and worship due to God is found in contemplatring the enornmity of God, the Divinity and Majesty and God, and how we are so insignificant to that - yet he created us, loves us nad has waited an eternity to be united with our Anima, when we die! How beautiful , and how noble.

This is captured, meditated on, and taught in the old Mass. How wonderful! - How beautiful!

and the creator of all - the The great silence to pray to meditate on and enter into communion with - Deua Imperator - the mind of God, the God Incarnate, and the God Spirit.

If we truely believe this fact- how do we epxress it? Do we express in jumping around - wanting to see and touch everything as if we're attending a cooking class or holding a revivalist convention in our churchs - again No.

The faith - which flows from the mystery - is found and rooted in the old Mass. If the Mass losses its mystery- its capacity to take ourselves out of a huamn dimension - to partly experience the Divine - then it is failing - and unfortunatley this is what the Novus Ordo hgas done - particularly for the laity who never asked for it.

This is what Paul VI's Mass did - it desotryed the mystery - the sacred and replaced it with banality - a cooking show made by man, for man. God helps us!

But now I thinki He is! He is letting the bead jumping set of Novus Ordo 1970' and 1980' die out, and take their disaster Mass with them.

The next generation is flwoing back to the old Mass, the old Theology - and leaving behind the weak - feminate theology and liturgy of the post Concilliar church.

Those of you weeping about this trend - I am truely sorry for you!

You were sold a 'pup' by the POst Concilliar bishops and Roman Curia from 1960 - 1979, and that era is now coming to an end. Thank God!

Dom Garrigou-Lagrange said so well in 1968 as the disaster of Paul VI unrolled = " Catholicism without mysticism is nothing"