With Summorum pontificum and the later instruction Universæ ecclesiæ, Pope Benedict XVI has granted broad permission for the celebration of Missale Romanum 1962 as well as the other sacramental rites licit at the eve of the Second Vatican Council liturgical reforms. Summorum pontificum established two forms of the Roman Rite: the post-conciliar “Ordinary Form” (OF) and the pre-conciliar “Extraordinary Form” (EF). The removal of most restrictions on the celebration of the older rite has reinvigorated small but highly devoted communities of Roman Catholics attracted to the EF.
In an letter to bishops which accompanied Summorum pontificum, Pope Benedict advocates for a “mutual enrichment” of the EF and OF. He calls for the inclusion of OF prefaces in the EF, as well as a revision of the 1962 sanctoral calendar to include saints canonized after that date. Pope Benedict’s opinion echoes Summorum pontificum §6, which permits the proclamation of scripture in the vernacular from the altar.
In both personal experience and in an informal survey of the traditional Catholic blogosphere, I have found that Pope Benedict’s proposals for mutual enrichment have been met with a tepid response. While some clergy have opted to proclaim scripture in the vernacular particularly during EF said Mass, others have decided against this reform. As of yet, there has been no revision of Missale Romanum 1962 which includes some or all of the OF prefaces. Pope Benedict’s vision of mutual enrichment has met with logistical and often popular barriers to implementation.
I propose that a revised EF missal for Lent, Holy Week, and Easter octave inclusive might foster greater enichment between the two forms. In this way, parishes which celebrate both forms can share in the mysteries of the summit of the Christian year rather than follow two different paths for the lectionary and presidential prayers. My hope and vision for this missal follows.
As with Missale Romanum 1962, this proposed missal would be a “full missal” as it would contain the lectionary. Perhaps this EF missal could include all three cycles of the reformed lectionary for Sundays, with the option of proclaiming only the Cycle A readings every year. The option to proclaim Cycle A every Lent is consonant with the rubrics of the OF. The option to proclaim Cycle A every Lent also harmonizes well with the EF’s one-year lectionary. The inclusion of the three Sunday cycles in this proposed missal allows parishes who celebrate the full lectionary cycle in the OF extend this custom to the EF. All lections would be printed in Latin and the vernacular. The decision to proclaim scripture in Latin or the vernacular would be left to the ministers at Mass, per Summorum pontificum §6.
Perhaps the vernacular could also be prayed in other liturgies of the season, such as during the Palm Sunday procession and the bidding prayers of Good Friday. This would certainly require an amendment to the documents which regulate the use of the Extraordinary Form. Nevertheless it is not incongruous to hope that vernacularization might expand beyond the proclamation of scripture into other prayers and petitions closely connected to lay participation. In turn, a greater vernacularization of the EF might draw the laity into a greater awareness of their integral role in the Mass through their common priesthood.
Perhaps this EF missal could also include rubrical and textual changes to align 1962 EF Holy Week with the 1970 revisions. I would think it desirable that EF adherents might celebrate the same Holy Week which the Holy Father and the vast majority of Catholics observe. A common Holy Week encourages prayer in union with the entire Roman Rite and its intentions.
I would not foresee any changes to the ordinary of the Extraordinary Form save perhaps for the inclusion of seasonal prefaces from the OF. Many in the traditional Catholic movement grant pride of place to the Roman Canon. For that reason I do not expect many in the traditional Catholic community to welcome the inclusion of newer eucharistic prayers from the Ordinary Form.
I pray that a revised EF missal along these lines, even if fully optional, might join parishioners and parishes more closely together in these holy seasons.