Thursday, October 12, 2006

Will Pope Benedict expand use of Tridentine Mass? Perhaps - and soon!

I received an email about a week ago with speculation that Benedict is about to, or has signed - a motu proprio (on his own initiative) to expand use of the Tridentine Mass.

CNS Covers this story as does The Times of London. In the latter, we read:

Pope Benedict XVI is understood to have signed a universal indult — or permission — for priests to celebrate again the Mass used throughout the Church for nearly 1,500 years. The indult could be published in the next few weeks, sources told The Times.

While this sounds like it has shifted from speculation to something far stronger, I'll believe it when it is officially announced by the Vatican. It's rumored to take place within the next 3 weeks or so. At that time, I fully expect it would hit mainstream media.

Some may be upset at the thought of more readily available Tridentine liturgies, but it does give some ultra-Traditionalists the opportunity to catch the pre-Vatican II Mass, without having to do so at a schismatic Church. For example, there are some dioceses where, despite appeals by John Paul II, bishops have not made the Tridentine "more generously available". It broadens chances that some of those in schismatic parishes may come back, perhaps even some of the priests. However, as the CNS article points out, for some ultra-traditionalists, there are other issues with Vatican 2 that may be an impediment.

I think it is important to note that some of those most interested in the "old Mass" are younger people and younger priests. As many years as folk music was put before me (including several years playing a guitar myself, and another stringed instrument in one of my former parishes), I have gravitated to traditional sacred polyphony, and now....Gregorian Chant.

As for me, I hope that any expansion would not halt efforts to bring people the Latin Novus Ordo, done in traditional fashion, even if along side a Tridentine at differing times in the same parish.

What are other Catholic bloggers saying (check the comment boxes, as well)? The following are just excerpts, so click on their links for their complete posts.

Domenico Bettinelli Jr.

So is now the time? As I’ve said before, I have a sneaking suspicion that the apostolic exhortation for last year’s Synod on the Eucharist, expected next month, will furnish the occasion for some “reform of the reform” and a universal indult. And I do believe that the two will go together. I don’t Pope Benedict is interested in just returning to the Tridentine, but he wants to return to that organic development of the Liturgy that was promised from Vatican II.

Fr. John Zuhlsdorf (What Does the Prayer Really Say?) - In response to a quote by Archbishop James Weisgerber of Winnipeg, Manitoba (seen below).

Yes, Your Excellency, young people. This is a common experience through the whole world. Young people want the older form of Mass too. It never ceases to amaze me that the form of Mass which nourished countless souls for centuries and had the power to capture the hearts and minds of so many generations of our ancestors, in good times and bad, across hundreds of different cultures, should still have the power to attract young people. Amazing.

But the truly fun part of Mr. Thavis’s article was the comment that the possible future "├»ndult" is just…

"... a sort of concession somebody has made … "

Ya gotta love that!

Catholic Answers Apologist, Jimmy Akin, who voices the same cautious skepticism about the rumor since it is coming from "unnamed sources", then later in his post, discovers that Catholic World Report, among other news sources has picked up the story. In a long post, which includes the "Pre-publication update for CWR, Jimmy says:

Given the number of news sources picking this up from unnamed sources, we are either dealing with one very talkative source of unofficial spreading of the word before the document's release to prepare the field.

Given the sources such as Cardinal Zen and Archbishop Weisgerber (apparently) going on public record about it, I'm guessing that a release may lie in the quite near future.

Fr. Tim Finigan (UK)

Stupid Times Headline:
"Pope set to bring back Latin Mass that divided the Church".

Oh for heaven's sake! You could just as well argue that the introduction of the Novus Ordo divided the Church. I wouldn't personally support that view entirely - I think that the division goes down to basic doctrine first of all. You could also make a cogent argument that the Classical Rite itself united the Church - that I would go along with.

Thomas at American Papist has additional links to blogger reactions.

There you have it. We'll keep tabs on this story as it unfolds.

It's pretty much thought that this will be unveiled when the Holy See finally releases the document on last year's synod on the Eucharist - within the next few weeks. I'm not holding my breath this time.