James Martin, S.J.June 16, 2008
For everyone who said, "What’s the big deal?" when the earlier Vatican document about the Tridentine Mass was promulgated, comes a report from Catholic News Service. Remember that even if there is (and this is debatable) not a groundswell of interest on the part of the American Catholic laity, there certainly is on the part of seminarians, which means in a few years it will most likely be standard in parishes. Here’s the story, reprinted in full, by Simon Caldwell of CNS: Pope would like Tridentine Mass in each parish, Vatican official says By Simon Caldwell Catholic News Service LONDON (CNS) -- Pope Benedict XVI would like every Catholic parish in the world to celebrate a regular Tridentine-rite Mass, a Vatican cardinal has said. Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos also told a June 14 press conference in London that the Vatican was writing to all seminaries to ask that candidates to the priesthood are trained to celebrate Mass according to the extraordinary form of the Latin rite, also known as the Tridentine Mass, restricted from the 1970s until July 2007 when Pope Benedict lifted some of those limits. The cardinal, who was visiting London at the invitation of the Latin Mass Society, a British Catholic group committed to promoting Mass in the Tridentine rite of the 1962 Roman Missal, said it was "absolute ignorance" to think that the pope was trying to reverse the reforms of the Second Vatican Council by encouraging use of the rite. "The Holy Father, who is a theologian and who was (involved) in the preparation for the council, is acting exactly in the way of the council, offering with freedom the different kinds of celebration," he said. "The Holy Father is not returning to the past; he is taking a treasure from the past to offer it alongside the rich celebration of the new rite," the cardinal added. When asked by a journalist if the pope wanted to see "many ordinary parishes" making provision for the Tridentine Mass, Cardinal Castrillon, a Colombian, said: "All the parishes. Not many, all the parishes, because this is a gift of God. "He (Pope Benedict) offers these riches, and it is very important for new generations to know the past of the church," said Cardinal Castrillon, president of the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei," which works to help separated traditionalist Catholics return to the church. "This kind of worship is so noble, so beautiful," he said. "The worship, the music, the architecture, the painting, makes a whole that is a treasure. The Holy Father is willing to offer to all the people this possibility, not only for the few groups who demand it but so that everybody knows this way of celebrating the Eucharist in the Catholic Church." He also said his commission, which also is responsible for overseeing the application of "Summorum Pontificum," the 2007 papal decree authorizing the universal use of the Tridentine rite, was in the process of writing to seminaries not only to equip seminarians to celebrate Mass in Latin but to understand the theology, the philosophy and the language of such Masses. The cardinal said parishes could use catechism classes to prepare Catholics to celebrate such Masses every Sunday so they could "appreciate the power of the silence, the power of the sacred way in front of God, the deep theology, to discover how and why the priest represents the person of Christ and to pray with the priest." In "Summorum Pontificum," Pope Benedict indicated that Tridentine Masses should be made available in every parish where groups of the faithful desire it and where a priest has been trained to celebrate it. He also said the Mass from the Roman Missal in use since 1970 remains the ordinary form of the Mass, while the celebration of the Tridentine Mass is the extraordinary form. The document did not require all parishes to automatically establish a Tridentine Mass schedule, but it said that where "a group of faithful attached to the previous liturgical tradition exists stably," the pastor should "willingly accede" to their request to make the Mass available. Cardinal Castrillon told the press conference, however, that a stable group could mean just three or four people who were not necessarily drawn from the same parish. Later in the day, Cardinal Castrillon celebrated the first pontifical high Mass in the Tridentine rite in London’s Westminster Cathedral in 39 years. The event drew a congregation of more than 1,500 people, including young families. None of the English or Welsh bishops attended. James Martin, SJ
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13 years 3 months ago
''The power of the silence''??? I think we've all seen what happens to the Church when the laity is expected to be silent (shut up) and let the priests make all the decisions. Call me ignorant, but music, architecture, and painting are artforms that are passively enjoyed/observed. Mass should be actively CELEBRATED by everyone, the congregation as well as the priest.
13 years 3 months ago
This entire situation is baffling. Where is the ''sensus fidelium''? I am concerned with a papacy that seems more and more centralized and a hierarchy that seems oblivious to collegiality as defined and promulgated by Vatican II. Variety, of course. Imposing a European form of worship throughout the world while holding back on other forms that correspond to other cultures seems out of place.
13 years 3 months ago
I see true desperation on the part of the Church to reach the bottom of the barrel, those who will blindly follow and obey, mesmerized by liturgy. It is irresponsible to lead people in this fashion. While it's true that these are troubled times, it must not lead to a new dark ages.
13 years 3 months ago
I guess I'm taking this with a grain of salt (from the old Baptismal rite). There are pros and cons. There are Latinists and vernacularists. There are Greeks and there are Chaldeans, Slavs and Syrians.All praising God in their native or preferred tongues. Yet are not all Catholic?
13 years 3 months ago
Three or four persons including non-parishioners can be a legitimate group to ask already stretched clergy to celebrate a Tridentine Mass? If clergy or bishops anywhere comply with this insane interpretation to sustain an old man's memories of a glorious past era and further run themselves ragged while neglecting the true pastoral needs of their people and this desperate world, the Church is in far, far worse shape than I ever imagined.
13 years 3 months ago
Fr. Martin: Thank you for this beautiful item. Pope Benedict XVI is showing one of the practical meanings of what he said three years ago--the Church is ancient, and always young. One sees this at practically all celebrations of the 'old' Mass--one rarely encounters any group of Catholics with a lower average age! Thank you!
13 years 3 months ago
I am reminded of the statement: 'The Church is re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic!' Sensus Fidelium - read the most recent PEW Survey results - in countries such as France, Italy, Germany, or even the US - nominal Catholics are 80% and active Catholics who attend church weekly is below 20%. Do you really think bringing this particular rite back will change that pattern? Turning back history - please keep in mind that the Tridentine Rite was only around for 400 years - the Church has been around for 2000 years. It is the difference between history and historicalism: history is the living faith of the dead church; historicalism is the dead faith of a living church. The comment that more seminarians will gravitate this way is significant and worrisome - that is not the church of the future.
13 years 3 months ago
For the first time in living memory, a major institution is reforming itself by turning back to earlier precepts. For 40 years efforts have been made to stamp out the Traditional Latin Mass and yet it has flourished. As Pope Benedict said in his explanatory letter accompanying the motu proprio, Summorum Pontificum, one of his reasons for freeing the Old Rite was the number of young people now flocking to it. “What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too,” the pope writes. Beginning last September 14, 2007, any priest, competent in Latin and in the rite itself, can celebrate the Mass of Pope St. Pius V, in the form published by Blessed John XXIII. No further permission is needed. The motu proprio also lays down that the parish priest may grant the license to use the older ceremony in the administration of the Sacraments: of Baptism, Confession, Matrimony and the Anointing of the Sick. God deserves worship and demands righteousness; now familiar compromises are threatened. Responses to the motu proprio have been mixed. Some bishops have welcomed it in the generous spirit in which it was issued; others have attempted to neutralize its impact by the cynical use of spin; still others are completely silent. In a time when "diversity" appears to be the newest virtue, it is ironic that some of the loudest protests against the pope’s apostolic letter are coming from those who have embraced every other kind of liturgical diversity and anomaly. The Pope is not renouncing the Second Vatican Council, he is authentically implementing it. The task now facing orthodox Catholics is to reclaim back everything that was lost in the 1960s, until the Church is restored to its full integrity. Welcome to the Counter-Reformation!
13 years 3 months ago
One comment says that for the first time in living memory the Church is reforming itself by going back to the past. Isn't that the very thing they said immediately after Vatican II? The Church is returning to her earlier or earliest of practices. Then came rupture. Someone else mentions participation and seems miffed by use of the 1962 missal. There is indeed participation of a different kind, interior not exterior. Allowing the expression of the Gregorian Mass into every parish seems fitting and should not threaten Novus Ordo attendees. May those of us who prefer this type of worship be as free to chose from a variety of Masses, parishes, schedule times as those who attend the Novus Ordo, whether in English, Spanish, German, Polish, etc.? And to all who quote the Second Vatican Council so often should understand what it also says in reference to liturgy and Latin: The faithful should learn Latin for the parts of Mass pertaining to them. Also, Gregorian Chant is to be given pride and place. Ask yourself: have you been faithful in fostering the directives of Vatican II for the Novus Ordo celebrations, or are you simply choosing what befits you?
13 years 3 months ago
What made you think that in the Tridentine Mass people won't participate? Liturgical Abuse happens because many in the Laity don't know what the Mass is. The Mass is not about us but about Jesus Christ death and passion and resurrection. Its not about us but about Jesus. TO say that there is "No participation in Mass" is absurd. Those sitting in the pews should participate in singing the Chants and the prayers. Also I visit France and lived in France for two years and the Traditional Latin Mass was packed with young people with many families. Many of the Vocations in France,Belgium and Germany and the USA are coming from Religious orders that have embraced the Traditional Latin Mass. In Great Britain a The Catholic Herald publish an article on the ''Revival of Traditional Catholicism in France a couple of months ago. Many in the Latin Mass communities are young and have lots of children and many vocations to priesthood and religious life.
13 years 3 months ago
As one who grew up during the bad old daze of the Tridentine Mass, let me pass on a few pointers to the newbies so that they know a bit about what they think they missed: 1. Make sure that all of the altar boys know that their primarily job is to utter the Latin responses as fast as they can. Speed is of the utmost necessity, particularly for a Low Mass. 20 minutes, tops! 2. Be sure to bring your rosary ... 20 decades will be in order for a High Mass and 5 for a low mass. 3. It's a good time to reacquaint yourself with the stations of the cross .... just get up and "do" them. 4. A good priest will make sure that confessions are taking place during the Mass itself. After all, it is attendance that counts, not participation. 5. If all else fails, bring the Sunday paper and you can speed the time up a lot. 6. Women need to wear a babushka knotted right at the chin level. That way the altar boy gets to exercise his skills in figuring how to get the paten close enough to your mouth without garrotting you. 7. Be sure to get there before the consecration so that you will get your ticket punched accordingly.
13 years 1 month ago
As it should be. Side by side in every parish. I wish to actively participate by reading intently the Missal in English as the service is done in Latin. In time I have picked up a few prayers and can follow the Latin better..I think this is what the council Fathers meant. Just my preference but it should be available in any Church I walk into as a Catholic.

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