As we near the very significant implementation of the first major change in decades of the way we we celebrate the Mass I feel both a hope that we have an opportunity to genuinely renew and purify our celebration of the Eucharist; and a sense of concern that a mentality and the change in the very words that we all have grown used to are going to challenged and, in some cases, ignored or resisted.
I’ve written before about the individualistic style and assumptions that characterize the common approach to liturgical texts and practices in our era.
The remarks linked to below go to this point.
As many of you know, the Holy Father Benedict XVI, building on the initiatives of the Blessed John Paul II ,has reopened and expanded the celebration of what is officially called “The Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite” a/k/a “The Tridentine Mass”.or..”the old Latin Mass.”
Make no mistake, this is an issue that goes to the heart in my opinion of an extremely destructive mentality in our Church since the close of the Second Vatican Council II: namely, the assumption that “Vatican 2” marked a break with hundreds, if not thousands, years of Catholic worship and doctrine. I twas so often assumed that my vestige of the “old Church” from a priest’s cassock to a single word of Latin marked a resistance to “the changes” that needed to be either persuaded away or repressed. Vestments, sacred images, sacred vessels, liturgical and devotional books that aided and nourished the spiritual life of whole generations were figuratively ( if not literally) consigned to the flames or the scissors in a spiritual and physical holocaust eerily reminiscent of Reformation England and Ireland in the Penal Days. There was also significant ( if not always recognized) psychological harm done to whole communities, families, and individuals as a result of what was in fact a revolution rather than a gradual and traditional Catholic reform. The results are all around us.
Now we see the beginnings of what I hope will be a genuine reform and reevaluation of the Church’s Liturgy and life. I offer the article as part of that; and as food for thought.
May 17, 2011.
Feast of Saint Paschal Baylon