Indult for Latin Mass

A Radio Vatican commentary from Father Eberhard von Gemmingen SJ, Director of German Speaking Programmes. The aristocratic Jesuit is often on German TV and was granted an early exclusive interview with the new Pope, who he studied under at the University of Tübingen.

Weekly Commentary

In all probability Pope Benedict will give the permission to celebrate again the traditional or Tridentine Rite. It would however be completely wrong if Catholics started to quarrel over this, some of them full of joy about this reversal, the others full of anger. It is to be noted that the Pope will not on any account reintroduce the old liturgy or even make it compulsory. He is only of the opinion that the prohibition of the classical Rite after the Council is in contradiction to Church tradition, because according to his conviction, Rites can be further developed but cannot be abrogated.

The whole thing is not about Latin and the celebration with the back to the people. The new Rite allows both. The exact differences between the old and the new Rite are minimal and are hardly recognizable if the new Rite, as permitted and when sought, is celebrated in Latin and with the back to the people.

In my opinion, our actual problem in Europe is that the Faithful find today’s Masses often banal with little mystery and at times also with arbitrary additions to the Rite. Christians with a sense of aesthetics wish for a more classical form and mystery. Behind this is probably also a longing for European language which links all together in a common culture. At that stage, one knew that a Catholic Mass in Lisbon was the same as the one celebrated in St Petersburg. One was spared any surprises. But let’s admit it, at that time millions took part in the Mass diligently and faithfully but have not understood anything and only prayed the Rosary. The German hand Missal, Schott was only known to German intellectuals because in other countries it did not exist (untrue!). The desire to assist at the Mass, actively and with understanding is good and very important. It is my opinion therefore that in todays world we priests should learn again to celebrate the mystery so that Faith, heart and reason are in used to equal measure. If we look at the growing Churches in Africa and Asia, the celebration of the correct Rite is a mere trifle. I can hardly imagine that anyone in these young Churches will want the old Rite.

See also comments on Rorate Caeli and Angel Queen.


Anonymous said…
" The exact differences between the old and the new Rite are minimal and are hardly recognizable if the new Rite"

This statement is simply untrue. I am not speaking merely about the difference in the odd rubric here and there but in some of the underlying theology. Consider for example the difference between the "offertory rite" (if I may use a shorthand) in the pre-and post-conciliar liturgies. This is more than a minimal difference as any comparison of the Latin texts shows. In numerous places the theological understanding of a particular part of the Mass is different. I speak as pastor of a Novus Ordo parish that has a weekly celebration of Mass in the Classical Rite

Rev Fr Steven Fisher
Ss Ethelbert & Gertrude
Ramsgate, Kent, UK
Anonymous said…
The first time I read the direct translation of the "old" mass I noticed the big difference in tone, orientation and just depth of text. The old mass is much, much, more penitent in tone, completely focused on God, and the text continually touches the catechism.

I the Church should have stuck with the 1965 mass which was basically the "old" mass with more interaction with the congregation, and added the additional New testament and Old testament readings things would have gone better after VII. It would have been organic growth of the traditional rite, maintaining the traditional element, but engaging the congregation more, allowing vernacular practice, and allowed for the addition of more biblical text while not changing the focus of the Mass on "us." It would have also not enraged the more traditional Catholic, and it would have given the openness that should have satisfied most of the "progressive" Catholics. At least it wouldn't of allowed them cover to remain in the Church continuing to cause trouble as they did.
I don't understand why it should be a concern of Rome that progressive and liberal so-called "Catholics" are satisfied. The point is that these modernists are in error. If Rome satisfied the progressives' illicit desires, it would be an act against the Faith on Rome's part. The real goal should have been to change the heretics' hearts. Any compromise is tantamount to the permission of evil.

Regarding the proper rubrics, I think the endgame for traditionalists should be to reverse Bugnini's 1954 reforms: change the one Collect back to nine, restore the other prayers at the foot of the altar, etc. Oh, and obviously the phrase "perfidious Jews" is a must, although it was removed in 1964, if I recall correctly. But the guiding principle should be thus: Every novelty ought to be buried.

We can be assured of the health of the Church once it starts having heresy trials again.

Charles LeJeune