( A Rough Draft of something I intend to expand on and complete, as you can see it is in its begining stages)
The resurgence of interest in the Catholic liturgy since the Second Vatican Council may be seen as one of the few true developments and implementations of the council documents within the 40 year time span since the close of the council itself. It seems as if the true ‘spirit’ of the council is only now starting to emerge, in the sense that, the ‘organic’ evolution and development of the Latin rite liturgy is now receiving greater focus and consequential to this is seen in the revision or ‘reform’ the current state of the liturgy within the church under the current reign of the supreme Pontiff, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI.
The purpose of this paper therfore, is intended, as a means of high-lighting the latest developments from Rome, as well as a means by which those unaware of such developments may align the liturgy within their own parochial contexts closer to that of Rome herself. Firstly, the case and cause of the Tridentine Mass shall be attended to and commented upon with reference to our own specific situation here in Southern Africa as well as across the globe. Secondly, the situation currently termed the ‘Reform of the Reform’ of the Latin rite liturgy according to the missal of Pope Paul VI as well as providing basic guidelines for the implementation of the “reform of the reform”
1. A General Overview
“The Constitution Missale Romanum – neither orders the use of the new Missal nor forbids the use of the old one ”, such a view held almost three decades ago was termed definitively as schismatic, today however in the wake of the Moto Proprio of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, entitled “Summorum Pontificum”, such a view is now the solemn magesterium of Holy Mother Church. The real counter-action to the slander laid against faithful and religious alike, attached to this venerable Missal, was seen within the declaration made by the Holy Father himself, that “This liturgy has never been abrogated”.
Following the introduction of the New Order of Mass- Novus Ordo Missae- in 1969, the entire Catholic world was torn into two camps, those who welcomed the new revision of the Catholic liturgy and breathed a sigh of relief at the thought that the new dispensation allowed for a “greater freedom” within the church and her liturgy, and those who felt that their faith had been betrayed by the very people who were supposed to ensure its survival. This second group of people, who could not, out of good conscience accept the reforms imposed upon them by the agents of Vatican II, gathered themselves together to form what would become the worldwide traditionalist movement that we see today.
It goes without question that the Church as it exists today 2000 years since its foundation by Christ himself, again finds herself in a state of crisis. Those who deny the existence of such a situation need not look further than the Pope himself for a validation of this point, “Ratzinger has summed up the experience of the council by saying that while “a leap forward” had been expected, there soon came a “process of decline” . This “process of decline” as identified by the then Cardinal Ratzinger, has become self evident in all spheres of the Church most especially in her liturgy. The Liturgy is the life of the Church, the centre point around which everything draws its nourishment.
Thus, one can after a short time of observation, conclude that there exists a vast divide between the pre-concilliar church and the post-concilliar church, the crisis itself is made evident in the statistics which themselves tell of a decline in the church in a manner not seen before. The term Apostasy, seems befitting as a means of identifying the current crisis. Obviously, such a comment is not in any sense a generalisation; however the fact remains that a vast majority of the Catholic world has lost the faith. It seems as if, were it not for the second group of Catholics mentioned previously, the Church would have found herself today in an unconceivable condition.
Thus, with the restoration of the Tridentine Mass, to its full rights within the Church, it is hoped that the current crisis might in some way begin to be counteracted. As, certain high ranking members of the traditionalist movement have pointed out, that the crisis of faith within the church will not be solved “over night”, so to speak. Rather, it will take a few generations from here until we see the restoration of the faith. The Tridentine mass itself, cannot exist without sound catholic doctrine, this is a fact and understandably so in that the Mass itself is an expression of that same doctrine. The Purpose of the Mass since the time of its codification at the Council of Trent by Pope St. Pius V was to defend and ossify catholic doctrine from the errors of Protestantism.
Thus the same holds true for the errors which are abound today within the bride of Christ. The errors condemned time and time again by the Holy Pontiffs up to and including the last prince of God, Venerable Pope Pius XII. Doctrinal errors of the faith have to be corrected before any advancement is made toward the eventual triumph of the Immaculate heart.
2. The Tridentine Latin Mass The Missal of Bl. Pope John XXIII 1962
Taking the above into account, it goes without question to understand why the Mass according to the Missal of Bl. Pope John XXIII (St. Pius V), was deemed “the most beautiful thing this side of heaven”. This Mass, the eternal Mass, has a certain ‘staying power’; by this one intends to insinuate that the Mass of Pius V would have been soon forgotten as a distant memory if its benefits and the graces it provides were absent, however this is obviously not the case. Even today almost forty years since the introduction of the Novus Ordo Missae, the Tridentine Latin Mass still is able to have a far reaching effect on those who, like myself, were not privileged enough to have been raised with this Mass and the Sacraments. It has sustained the church for over five centuries, nourished the souls of all the faithful and raised up numerous amounts of sainted individuals.
Those who after the reforms of 1969, chose rather to adhere to this venerable liturgy, have grown from strength to strength with regard to maintaining the Catholic faith as it was and ever shall be. The reinstating of the Tridentine Latin Mass to its full rights therfore is the first step in the battle to the re-establishing the doctrinal integrity of the Holy Roman Catholic Church, for undoubtedly a necessary prerequisite for the Tridentine Latin Mass is true Catholic doctrine .
One thus begins to question, what then is the doctrine of Holy Mother Church which the Mass so requires?
Firstly, the Missal of 1962 and the Missal of 1969 are vastly different in comparison, in terms of the doctrinal discrepancies which abound in the latter. Cardinals Ottiavani and Bacci, in their capacity as Princes of the Church, submitted a document to Pope Paul VI concerning this particular subject, in which they detailed how the New Mass was a “departure from the traditional doctrine of the Catholic Church”
( to be continued - I invite any readers to make a comment on the above)