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
barb kralis said…
Please let me give you, if I may the following analogy. It is something I formed in my own mind sometime ago when I have sorrowfully thought of the differences of the reverence in the words, prayers, demeanor and actions between the Novus Ordo Mass and the Tridentine Mass. This is my simple analogy:

Picture this scene, if you will.

A husband, John, comes downstairs in the morning to have breakfast with his wife. He sits down in the chair and immediately grabs the morning newspaper while his wife is over the stove. Silence. She asks him if he slept well, he replies, "Yeah," out from behind the newspaper where his face is buried.

She serves him his lovely breakfast and sits down with him to eat. Silence from behind the newspaper. John puts forkfuls of food into his mouth without moving the newspaper from his face. His wife, after years of this rudeness, quietly asks:

"John, do you love me?"

John replies low from inside the newspaper,
"Yeah, yeah."

She asks again, "John, do you really love me anymore?"

And John says again, like a robot, "Yeah, yeah, sure I do."

Next Scenario.

I think, next, of this scenario when I think of the Tridentine Mass:

John comes downstairs in the morning to have breakfast with his wife. He walks over to the stove where his wife is cooking and plants a big kiss on her neck.

"Good morning, my love," he says to her. "Did you sleep well last night?"

She turns, smiling, and tells him of her latest silly dream and together they laugh and hug.

He sits down at the table, she serves him his lovely breakfast,and together they say grace before commencing to eat. They have wonderful conversation about both of their plans for the day, they laugh and kid each other about the day's events.

She asks him: "John, do you love me?"

John looks at her with amazement, gets up from his chair and goes over to her, he kneels down at her side, takes her lovely face into his hands and kisses her on the forehead, on the tip of her nose, on her two cheeks and tells her:

"You know I love you with all my entire being."

There is no need for her to ask him again, she is filled with confidence and security and she expresses her love for him as well.

That is the difference for me between the two Masses, the Novus Ordo and the Tridentine. This represents for me the difference in the the quality of the prayers from each Mass, being sent up to God the Father.
barb kralis said…
Here below
I give you a comparison of what the priest prays in the Tridentine Mass [this comparison is given to you in English but the priest prays in Latin] and what the priest prays in the Novus Ordo. However, the prayers of the laity in the Tridentine Missal are in English and laymen silently read along with the priest from their English/Latin Missals.

This is what the Church has always asked the faithful to do, to "Pray the Mass" along with the priest. We were taught by the nuns and our parents in the l940's to use our English/Latin missals to pray the Mass. Anyone who says those in the pews did not follow the Tridentine Mass but said their rosary instead is not quite accurate.

But, language is not the only beauty of a Holy Mass, but it is the words of the prayers, music, actions, demeanor. Praying the N.O. Mass in Latin does not increase the meaning of its much watered-down prayers.

It's important to also remember that the Tridentine does not allow disruptions such as the laity hand-shake/kissy face/hugging fiesta, nor does it have the holding hands Protestant innovation during the Our Father, no musical instruments other than the Organ, there is only sacred music or Gregorian chant and polyphony; no women on the altar, there is kneeling reverently to receive Blessed Sacrament only on the tongue, no talking in Church, only reverent dress,no slacks for women, etc. This Mass encourages and inspires many authentic Priestly vocations.

Which Mass do you think is more pleasing to God? For those younger folks who did not receive their Catholic formation in the Tridentine Mass, you do not need to understand and speak Latin to follow the Mass in your English missal. Eventually, through the grace of God and the Holy Spirit, you will pick up parts of the Latin as you pray.

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