Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Correcting Cardinal Maida on Tridintine Rite

Ad Limina Apostolorum reported recently that Detroit Cardinal Adam Maida is reaching back 40 years to revive a traditional form of the Latin mass, hoping its unusual appeal will help save one of Detroit's most famous Catholic churches, St. Josaphat.

"When the pope authorized bishops to allow this mass in 1984, the idea was that this was a pastoral response to older people who still are so attached to this older mass that they need it," Reese said Monday. "The idea was never to create a new desire in people for this mass."

Whether or not that was the idea, that's what's happening. Perhaps in the minds of the many in the presbyterate and episcopate, "the hope is that this mass eventually will fade away," but many of the faithful are weary of experimentation and theatrics.

Actually, while it may have been the hope of the "progressivist" Novus Ordo innovators that the "older Mass" would eventually "fade away," this wasn't the rationale of Sacrosanctum Concilium, which never envisioned the rupture and "replacement" of the traditional Roman Rite by anything resembling the Novus Ordo. It's rationale, rather, was a "reform" of the traditional rite, which would have meant an organic development and refinement of it, such as it had undergone throughout its age-old history, most recently in the Gregorian reforms under Pope St. Pius X. This is clear not only from Ratzinger's own repeated statements, but from such movements as Fr. J. Fessio's Adoremus Society for the Renewal of the Sacred Liturgy. Thus, while the Novus Ordo movement has become a defacto liturgical movement within the Church, the Novus Ordo is far from being an established rite in its own right, as attested by the continual tinkering with it over the last decades. The Novus Ordo is a valid Mass, as it was duly promulgated by Pope Paul VI, but it was never envisioned or mandated by the fathers of Vatican II. Sacrosanctum Concilium, rather, envisions two things: (1) the ongoing existence of the traditional Roman Rite, and (2) the careful reform of that rite, not a replacement of it, such as Ratzinger has called the "rupture" of the Novus Ordo, which has calles "grave damage" to the faithful.

Thus, when bishops such as Detroit's Cardinal Maida describe the tridentine Mass as a rite they hope and expect will die out with the older generation of fuddy-duddies sentimentally attached to it, and will be replaced throughout the universal Church by the Novus Ordo, they're not only missing the point, but engaged in pure fantasy. The traditional Roman Rite is here to stay, along with all the other perfectly licit rites, such as all of the many Eastern rites affiliated with Rome.

Maida story here, kudos to Sanctificarnos. On a similar note, Alan Phipps at Ad Altare Dei records some interesting observations upon attending a Tridentine mass in Sacramento. (Gratias tibi, Jamie.)

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