Skip to comments.Mixed reviews: Implementation of Tridentine ruling frustrates some [Catholic Caucus]
Posted on 09/19/2008 1:57:49 PM PDT by NYer
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- A year after Pope Benedict XVI opened the way to wider use of the Tridentine Mass, implementation of the papal directive is drawing mixed reviews from its target audience.
Catholic traditionalists remain grateful for the pope's document and say it has given them a certain legitimacy in local church communities, as well as greater practical access to the old rite.
But some -- backed by a Vatican official -- have complained that bishops and pastors continue to place obstacles in the way of groups seeking the Tridentine liturgy.
On a long-term issue, traditionalists are pleased at new efforts to instruct priests in celebrating Mass in the older rite. Meanwhile, those who envisioned Tridentine Masses popping up in every parish are somewhat frustrated.
"We're only looking at one calendar year, and we know that in the church these things take time. But the problem -- dare anyone say this? -- the problem is the bishops. Because you have bishops who aren't on board," said John Paul Sonnen, an American Catholic who lives in Rome.
Sonnen and about 150 others attended a small but significant conference in Rome in mid-September on the theme: "'Summorum Pontificum': One Year After."
"Summorum Pontificum" was the title of the pope's 2007 apostolic letter that said Mass celebrated according to the 1962 Roman Missal, commonly known as the Tridentine rite, should be made available in every parish where groups of the faithful desire it. In his letter, the pope said the Mass from the Roman Missal in use since 1970 remains the ordinary form of the Mass, while celebration of the Tridentine Mass is the extraordinary form.
The response to the papal letter varied around the world. In the United States, many bishops -- even those not enthusiastic about the new policy -- took steps to explain it to their faithful and put it into practice.
But in Europe and Latin America, conference participants said, there's been less favorable reaction.
"In Italy, with just a few admirable exceptions, the bishops have put obstacles in the way of applying ('Summorum Pontificum')," Msgr. Camille Perl told the Rome conference.
"I would have to say the same thing about the major superiors of religious orders who forbid their priests from celebrating Mass in the old rite," Msgr. Perl said.
Msgr. Perl is vice president of the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei," which oversees implementation of the papal document, so his words carried weight. Italian newspapers reported his comments under the headline "The bishops are boycotting the pope."
Two Brazilian priests attending the conference complained that they're facing a similar situation in their country.
"I think there's a great desire on the part of young priests to learn the older rite. But we don't study it in seminaries, and the bishops don't cooperate on that," said Father Giuseppe Olivera of Sao Paolo.
Msgr. Perl said letters received by his commission indicate considerable interest in setting up local Tridentine Masses in France, Great Britain, Canada, the United States and Australia. He said there have been fewer requests for the older Mass in Latin America, Africa and Asia.
Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, who heads the "Ecclesia Dei" commission, said recently that Pope Benedict would eventually like to see the Tridentine rite offered in every parish. But for now, in the pope's own Diocese of Rome, a single church, Santissima Trinita dei Pellegrini, has been designated as a "personal parish" for traditionalists.
That's a solution that appeals to some dioceses, especially those that include large cities, but it tends to separate traditionalists from other local parishes. It also seems to put bishops in charge of the decision of where and when a Tridentine Mass is offered, instead of the local pastor, as indicated by "Summorum Pontificum."
Father Joseph Kramer, pastor at Rome's Santissima Trinita church, said that so far his parish is attracting a lot of younger people and those over 50, but not many in between and few young families.
In general, he said, it's important for traditionalist Catholics to make it clear that they accept the changes of the Second Vatican Council, in order not to frighten off "normal" Catholics who might be attracted to the older rite.
U.S. Father John Zuhlsdorf runs a blog -- "What Does the Prayer Really Say?" -- that's become a sounding board for reaction to "Summorum Pontificum" among traditionalist Catholics.
One recent comment on the blog began: "Frankly, I'm sick and tired. Tired of waiting. 'Summorum Pontificum' has been in force for one year now and, in spite of the fact that I live in a huge metropolitan area, there is no TLM (traditional Latin Mass) to which I can go" without driving at least an hour.
Father Zuhlsdorf, who attended the Rome conference, said he understands some of these frustrations but takes a generally positive view of the first year of "Summorum Pontificum."
One good thing, he said, is that the papal directive has deeply affected priests, especially younger priests, and their perception of "who they are at the altar." As time goes on and older priests and bishops retire, this interest will have a ripple effect on parish life, he said.
Another plus is that resources for the older rite, including beautifully bound missals, are being produced and published. These could appeal to Catholics and "help change the culture of participating at Mass," Father Zuhlsdorf said.
In addition, he said, some U.S. seminaries are beginning to introduce courses in celebrating the Tridentine rite. Private training programs for priests, workshops and Web sites also have been established.
He compared it to the Ford Motor Co. putting a new model into production.
"It takes a long time to construct the assembly plant, but once you get the thing built you can get the product out more quickly," he said.
In the more-to-be-done category, Father Zuhlsdorf said there are still some priests and bishops who have "a bit of a stingy attitude" about the legitimate requests of traditionalists.
He said Latin proficiency is an example of where a double standard seems to be used to create an obstacle to the wider offering of the older Mass. While it's true that a priest celebrating in Latin has to know what he's saying at the altar, he said, one could also ask about proficiency in English among priests coming from a foreign country to serve in the United States.
In any case, he said, the Code of Canon Law requires that all seminarians be well-trained in Latin. If that isn't being done today, seminary officials should be addressing the problem, he said.
He is also a beekeeper (I discovered that purely by happenstance). It's interesting that you cannot be a bad person and be a beekeeper . . . bees KNOW! If you are nervous, angry, or wicked, they will run you right off. Keeps you honest when you pick up that smoker and hive tool.
I think this statement actually says a lot. There are a number of people who are turned off by the attitudes that some who attend the traditional rite have. There's an impression that you have to be overly serious about absolutely everything and that anything less than self-righteous piety is just not good enough. Well, phooey.
Just because people like to have fun and find different ways of serving God doesn't make them any less Catholic or deserving of Christ's Kingdom.
I attend Novus Ordo, but NO done very well with incense and good music. Gradually, some of the traditional elements are being reintroduced - bells, parts of the Missa di Angeles, chant, chausibles with the Trinity pattern, a veiled chalice, etc. Just as tradition was gradually undone, it's being redone. Part of this is a comfort zone, yes. As it is gradually coming back, tradition will become more important.
One of the things I see from the traditionalists is a tremendous amount of impatience. Well, people, the faith is what you make of it. It is now and always has been a deeply personal relationship with God. If you want to be traditional - great. But, not everyone is going to go that route RIGHT NOW. Give it time and let things happen.
There was so much shock and dislocation when the "spirit of Vatican II" was rushed in without so much as a by-your-leave. I fight a little shy of the local Latin Mass parish because they do have a bit of attitude about everyone else . . . and I feel a little like somebody at a fancy dinner party who's afraid of using the wrong fork and getting glared at.
We don't need to do that while going back to tradition.
As Father Z says, "brick by brick".
As it is gradually coming back, tradition will become more important.
Yes ... changes made in haste are often accompanied by negative reverberations. Those that began implementing the changes post VCII also learned this lesson. I recall the weekly 'surprise' of finding the Mass had changed radically from the previous week. Slow but sure is the best approach.
That's true in the Archdiocese of Denver - Chaput.
Tridentine Masses at the cathedral to commemorate anniversaries
By Roxanne King
Two anniversaries related to the Tridentine Mass, the Latin-language liturgy that was used before Vatican II, will be observed with special liturgies at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception on Sept. 14 and Nov. 9.
Everyone is invited to the Masses, which are to be said in Latin.
Last year, Pope Benedict XVI released the apostolic letter Summorum Pontificum, which expanded use of the Tridentine liturgy. The first anniversary of that directive will be Sept. 14, the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross. The anniversary will be observed at 3 p.m. that day with a solemn high Mass said by Father James Jackson, a cleric of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter.
Pope John Paul II established the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter in 1988 to provide the Tridentine Mass to those who are attached to it. This year will mark the fraternitys 20th anniversary. That milestone also will be commemorated at the September Mass.
The second Mass is in thanksgiving to Archbishop (Charles) Chaput, the chancery, and the faithful of the Archdiocese of Denver, said Father Jackson, expressing gratitude for the archdioceses hospitality to the Tridentine Mass community.
That Mass, set for 2:15 p.m. Nov. 9, will be a solemn high pontifical Mass, which can only be said by a bishop. Denver Auxiliary Bishop James Conley will be the main celebrant of the Mass, assisted by clergy of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter.
Were a (clerical) society of apostolic life, explained Father Jackson, speaking about the fraternity.
A society of apostolic life is similar to a religious order in that the priests live in community; unlike an order, they do not make religious vows. Outlining the hierarchy of religious orders, Father Jackson said, At the top you have orders, then congregations, then societies of apostolic life.
Founded in Switzerland, today the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter boasts 200 priests and 100 seminarians across the world. Two FSSP priests minister in the Denver Archdiocese at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Latin Mass Community in Littleton. Father Jackson is chaplain of the church, which offers the Tridentine Mass daily.
In addition to offering the Tridentine liturgy, FSSP priests can also provide other sacraments according to the liturgical books of 1962.
There are actually four books at work, Father Jackson said. The Roman Missal for the Mass; the Roman Breviary, also called the Divine Office or the Liturgy of the Hours; the Roman Ritual, its called the Book of Blessings; and the fourth book is called the Roman Pontifical, thats got all the stuff a bishop does, like confirmation and ordinations to the priesthood.
The two Tridentine liturgies to be celebrated at the cathedral will be historic, the priest said.
The one in September will be the first solemn high Mass said in the cathedral in 40 years, he said. The solemn high pontifical Mass in November is also historic in that it has been many years (here) since a bishop has said that rite.
Those who have never participated in a Tridentine liturgy should be aware of some differences. First, the celebrant, like the congregation, faces the altar. In addition, the entire Mass is said in Latin. (The congregation follows along with a missal; missals will be provided for the cathedral celebrations.) Finally, Communion is not received while standing, nor is it placed in ones hand. Rather, the recipient kneels and receives on the tongue.
Father Jackson emphasized what Pope Benedict XVI made clear when he expanded use of the Tridentine liturgy.
The pope made the distinction that there is one Roman rite and it has two forms, he said. One is the ordinary formcalled the Novus Ordo or New Order Massthat is the rite according to the 1970 Roman Missal; then theres the extraordinary formcalled the Tridentine Masswhich uses the 1962 Roman Missal.
The priest stressed that the two Tridentine Masses are being celebrated at the cathedral to honor the two anniversaries and to accommodate more people than his parish church can hold, and in no way point to the addition of the Tridentine liturgy to the cathedrals standard Mass schedule.(emphasis added)
We do not envision any regular celebration of the extraordinary form at the cathedral, Father Jackson said. But we would hope that perhaps on the 10th anniversary to come back and do it again.(emphasis added)
Anniversary Tridentine Masses
When: 3 p.m. Sept. 14 and 2:15 p.m. Nov. 9
Where: Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, Colfax Avenue and Logan Street
Information: call 303-703-8538 or visit www.olmcfssp.org online
Thanks for that post! I can only pray that in 5 years, Pope Benedict XVI will still be around and will replace Hubbard with a Catholic bishop ;-)
I wasn't around in 1970 but I imagine that workmen arrived at parishes on Monday morning, ripped out the altar rail, and turned the altar around. When people arrived on the following Sunday they were met by a wreck-o-vated Church and guitars playing Schutte, Hagen, and Haas.
Why is it that we are always told to be patient and tolerant? Hey, here is a suggestion: how about the spirit of VII crowd find a little tolerance for the traditional.
There are at least two protestant churches by my house that proudly display on their signage times for both traditional and contemporary services.
The Mass is supposed to be holier than that one day per year when the high priest went into the Holy of Holies in the temple and whispered the name of God. I doubt he was accompanied by guitars, Eucharettes, and exhortations to “build the city of God”.
Yup, I am one of the bitter traditionalists who waited so long for the MP and now, one year later, nothing has changed.
Also true in the Greensburg Diocese (Pa) - Bishop Brandt.
In our diocese, it’s as if Summorum Pontificam never happened. Of course, we’re losing priests left and right.
I wish he’d bring in the FSSP.