This just in from Steve Skojec and Inside Catholic! The painful abuses may be on their way out — Praise God!
I discovered late last night that Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, head of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesiae Dei – which is responsible for the implementation of the papal motu proprio Summorum Pontificum – has made a statement I never thought I would hear :
The Pope upset the liberals last year when he issued a decree removing their power to block the celebration of the old Mass. Yesterday’s move demonstrates that the Vatican intends to go much further in promoting the ancient liturgy.
Asked whether the Latin Mass would be celebrated in many ordinary parishes in future, Cardinal Castrillon said: “Not many parishes – all parishes. The Holy Father is offering this not only for the few groups who demand it, but so that everybody knows this way of celebrating the Eucharist.”
Cardinal Castrillon said that the reverent silence of the traditional rite was one of the “treasures” that Catholics would rediscover, and young worshippers would encounter for the first time.
Pope Benedict will reintroduce the old rite – which will be known as the “Gregorian Rite” – even where the congregation has not asked for it. “People don’t know about it, and therefore they don’t ask for it,” the Cardinal explained.
The revised Mass, adopted in 1970 after the Second Vatican Council, had given rise to “many, many, many abuses”, the Cardinal said. He added: “The experience of the last 40 years has not always been so good. Many people have lost their sense of adoration for God, and these abuses mean that many children do not know how to be in the presence of God.”
To say that I am delighted would be an understatement. This is truly great news for the Church, as Roman Catholics the world will have – if this is implemented properly – a chance to experience and understand their patrimony.
When a Catholic is accustomed to the Novus Ordo Missae, the traditional Mass (I like the sound of “the Gregorian rite”) seems at first inaccessible. Without the aid of a missal, or any sort of instruction on why things are done differently, it can feel very alien. I know that I wasn’t sold on my first, second, or even third experiences of the TLM.
But given the opportunity to experience it in a familiar setting – one’s own parish – and with the aid of the proper materials (hand missals or the Ecclesia Dei “red booklets”) and guided by a priest who is not suspect as a “closet schismatic” (as so many priests who choose the TLM are painted) – Catholics will finally have the opportunity to know the Mass which is responsible for nourishing many, if not most, of their favorite saints.
Historical arguments abound, but there is a general consensus that much of what we now know as the “Extraordinary Form” of the Roman Rite, which was codified in 1570 by Pope St. Pius V and was most recently refined in the Missal of 1962, existed in very similar fashion back to the days of Pope St. Gregory the Great in the 7th century. Beginning with the Carolingian reforms in the 8th century, efforts were underway to standardize the Missal throughout Europe (the Franks had adopted the Roman Rite in an attempt at universality) though a certain amount of hybridization took place and local variations crept in. The Council of Trent then led to the codification of the Mass by Pius V in the papal bull Quo Primum.
What all this history signifies for us is that the older form of Mass is a richly textured liturgy comprising nearly the totality of Catholic worship for most of the life of the Church and embodies the Church’s own attempt to be truly “Catholic” in the original sense of the word – universality of belief and practice. To recognize this in the modern context and therefore propagate it as an antidote to modern liturgical abuse, disunity, and theological dissent will help to anchor us to salvation history. A move like this is an extremely important (and not merely symbolic) gesture in the Church’s war against modernism, which takes such a toll on souls. Our roots are far deeper than we know. Now, we have a chance to experience our heritage.
In the comments thread on the story at WDTPRS, the journalist who wrote the above-cited piece, Damian Thompson, weighed in on the discussion:
There were four journalists at the press conference – Anna Arco of the Herald, a Catholic guy from Reuters, Elena Curti from the Tablet and me from the Telegraph. I was sceptical that the Cardinal really envisaged the arrival of the Gregorian Rite (his term) in “many ordinary Catholic parishes” and my jaw dropped – and heart leapt – when he said: “Not many – all.” Twice. Elena bristled and started talking about going backwards and said something along the lines of “but we [the laity] are now priests, kings and prophets”. At which point I told the Cardinal that I wanted to dissociate myself from her comments, that young people were increasingly delighted by the opportunity to experience the TLM and were very grateful for his efforts.”
There has been and will be tension between those who are overjoyed by announcements like this, and those who think that this development is a step in the wrong direction.
By God’s grace, if we are docile to the Holy Father and those he has appointed to carry out these tasks, I believe that we will find great benefit and spiritual sustenance in the reforms our beloved Church is undergoing.
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