Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Mass again

Over at Amy Welborn's blog in a comment on the renovation of Pell's Cathedral in Australia, someone posted a comment on the Mass. It was only slightly relevant to the piece itself, but naturally elicited lots of comments.
I had to go to a meeting before I could post my thoughts and comments were close before I could get back. I'll hold my comments for posting tomorrow, but thought I would write my thoughts here also.
The original comments were:

The fussing about abolition is a smokescreen for the reality of the situation:

1. There are not two Roman Rites, but one.

2. The Missal of 1970 was a reform of the previous Missal.

3. The use of the 1570/1962 Missal, unreformed by the directives of Vatican II, remains a curiosity at best, and a distraction or a banner for schism at worst.

4. The continued emphasis on the 1570/1962 Missal draws energy and effort from the real task of the Catholic liturgy: making it as humanly effective as possible by means of great music, great preaching, great art and architecture, etc..

If lovers of high church ritual, smells, bells, and the like want to continue, there's nothing stopping them from having a Latin-language Mass celebrated with appropriate pomp and spirituality--except perhaps that the traditionalist clergy are fixated on an unreformed and outdated Missal.

The wishful thinking about a "liberation" of an old Missal, given the repeatedly dashed hopes of every "leaked" promulgation date, is a little embarassing.

Todd's a little confrontational in his delivery. I must agree with many of his conclusions. Lets look at the source, Sacrosanctum Concilium, the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, was one of the most significant measures enacted by the Second Vatican Council. According to Wikipedia, (which I have no reason to doubt in this case) it was approved by the assembled bishops by a vote of 2,147 to 4.

"25. The liturgical books are to be revised as soon as possible; experts are to be employed on the task, and bishops are to be consulted, from various parts of the world.
"Wherefore, in the revision of the liturgy, the following general norms should be observed:
34. The rites should be distinguished by a noble simplicity; they should be short, clear, and unencumbered by useless repetitions; they should be within the people's powers of comprehension, and normally should not require much explanation."--Sacrosanctum Concilium

Reading the document, it is quite clear, to me at least, that it was their intention that the 1970 revision was to be a revision of the 1962 revision of 1570 Trent Missal.

As for the 1962 Missal, and its use...There is only one Roman Rite, and it is the Novus Ordo. Why else would an indult be require to say a Mass using the 1962 Missal?

Quoting the Catholic Encyclopedia "Indults are general faculties (q.v.), granted by the Holy See to bishops and others, of doing something not permitted by the common law."

If the Tridentine were indeed a separate rite or licit version of the Roman Missal an Indult would not be required for its use.

Now was the revision done and promulgated as well as it should have been? Should the use of Latin have been more specifically spelled out in the documents? Does the 1970 revision have too many available options for the various parts? These are all valid questions and should be answered, perhaps by another revision of the 30-year old N.O. But this is a separate question and does not speak to the issue of the Tridentine rite, which was replaced by the 1970 revision, except where its use was allowed by Indult.

As a matter of fact, if there are problems with the N.O. Tod is also right that the fixation on the Tridentine Mass by those most likely to push for meaningful reforms of the N.O. is preventing any real progress in getting the excesses properly addressed.

The Tridentine Mass has become a schismatic symbol to groups like SSPX and France's bishops.

And I also agree that some seem to me to see a return to the Latin Mass as a cure all for the problems that the Church has experienced since the 1960's, problems caused by a changing culture. These changes were not caused by the change in the Mass or the Church. I have my own opinions about that, which I will write about another day.

No comments: