Saturday, June 21, 2008

The "Gregorian Rite"

nIt may not have escaped your notice either. Cardinal Dario Castrillón Hoyos, in his announcement of June 14th before celebrating Mass in the Extraordinary Form at Westminster Cathedral in London, said that this ancient form of the liturgy "will be known as the 'Gregorian Rite'" ("And then the other shoe dropped ...", Musings, June 18, 2008).

David Palm takes an interesting look at the issue in "All Rite! -- They Really Are Two Rites" (The Reluctant Traditionalist, June 18, 2008), where he offers a hermeneutic for working out the prima facie inconsistency between (1) this statement of Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos and (2) Pope Benedict's statement in Summorum Pontificum that the Missal of John XXIII (1962) and the Missal of Paul VI (1970) represent, in fact, "two usages of the one Roman rite." He also refers us to Father Zuhlsdorf's blog entry on this, the upshot of which is, as he puts it, that if the Cardinal put in charge of the implementation of Summorum Pontificum by the Holy Father can speak of the Gregorian Rite, I guess that I can too. Palm writes:
Ultimately (you read it here first?), I think that Article 1 [which refers to "two usages of the one Roman rite"] of Summorum Pontificum will come to be seen as some romanita designed to prevent undue alarm in liberal circles at the promulgation of the document. But I think that, in time and as the divergence of the two rites is made more obvious by the wider celebration of the Gregorian Rite, this way of thinking will give way to the common sense acknowledgment that we really are faced with separate rites. (Well, more than two really, because the Novus Ordo is very far from being one unified rite.)
Having said that, Rorate Caeli's Note (June 19, 2008) stating that the term "Gregorian" is really not new, suggests that one should perhaps not read too much into the expression:
The expressions "Gregorian Mass" (Messe Grégorienne) and "Gregorian Rite" (Rite Grégorien) have been extensively used as alternative names for the Traditional Latin Mass and Traditional Roman Rite in France for several years. Cardinal Castrillón's use of the second expression in English should not be construed as something extraordinary or filled with any mysterious meaning; he just chose to use it then.

In any event, "Gregorian Mass" should not be confused with the ancient and beautiful practice of the Gregorian Masses.
Nevertheless, I do like the term "Gregorian" for the simple reason that it underscores the hoary antiquity of the traditional Mass, resisting the contrarian effort to marginalize it historically as, for example, something idiosyncratically "Baroque."

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