Desire for Old Mass or not? Why?

TLM published (scroll down to get to it) an interview with the secretary of the pontifical commission Ecclesia Dei. He was asked where the interest was greatest for the so-called old Mass. The secretary replied:

The greatest interest and the most requests are found in Europe, in the United States of America, and also in Australia. Much less in Latin America, Africa, and Asia.

Places with decline of Catholicism and spread of secularism show the greatest interest in the old Mass. Places where Catholicism is strongest, or experiencing the greatest growth, have much less interest . Why is that, do you suppose? Is it because the old Mass is more tied to the culture and history of Catholicism in Europe, the U.S., Australia? Or is it because the old Mass is a response to the rising secularism in those lands? Or both, or something else? Let us know what you think.

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The November 20, 2010 issue of The Tablet ran the article “Bishops deny there is a surge in demand for old-rite Masses” by Sam Adams and Christopher Lamb. Seems that the diocesan offices and the Latin Mass Society disagree about the level of interest in the old Mass. Maybe both sides have a stake in pushing the data in a particular direction?


Dioceses in England and Wales say they have seen no surge in demand for the Mass in the Tridentine Rite since Pope Benedict XVI granted greater freedom for its use in 2007. Research conducted by The Tablet suggests that only a small number of additional churches across the UK have begun to offer regularly the Extraordinary Form of the Mass since Pope Benedict’s motu proprio three years ago allowed its wider celebration.

The responses from the dioceses contradict claims from the Latin Mass Society of England and Wales [LMS] that every diocese in England and Wales has seen a growth of interest and of Masses, with particular demand coming from younger Catholics since the motu proprio, Summorum Pontificum. Both the dioceses and the LMS this year sent their contrasting reports to Rome as part of a review on the effects of the document.

In its detailed report, the LMS complained of ignorance of the motu proprio’s provision and obstruction to requests of those Catholics who ask for Masses in the old rite.

But of the seven dioceses in England and Wales that responded to The Tablet’s request for figures, three reported no additional demand for its regular use while the rest say there have been only minimal increases in the number of churches where it is offered.

Neither Hexham and Newcastle, nor Hallam, have seen any more churches offering the Latin Mass since 2007. The Bishop of Brentwood, Thomas McMahon, said he was “not aware of any increase” in churches using the Extraordinary Form in his diocese.

In the Diocese of Portsmouth, Bishop Crispian Hollis said there has been “no new surge” in demand for the Tridentine Rite – where it is offered in three churches and occasionally in the cathedral. Only two churches in the Diocese of Westminster have offered extra Masses in the Extraordinary Form since 2007, while just “two or three” churches have done so in the Diocese of Lancaster according to the bishop’s secretary, Fr. Robert Billing.

In Wales, five additional churches have been regularly using the old rite in the Diocese of Cardiff since 2007, while in the Diocese of Liverpool only three churches out of around 200 currently offer the pre-conciliar Mass.

The Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle, Seamus Cunningham, said priests in his diocese were not “scared” to use the old Mass if they wanted to, but that he personally would not choose to celebrate it. “I don’t feel that this would help me pray it. I’m happy celebrating the Mass in English,” he added.

John Medlin, spokesman for the LMS, said its claims of a surge of interest in the Tridentine Mass were based on “well-founded and accurate” figures received directly from the priests and congregations involved. “[There is] not a single diocese in England and Wales which has not seen a growth of interest and of Masses,” he said. “In fact, there is likely to be even more use of the Extraordinary Form than has been reported.”


  1. Some wag’s comment about ‘liars, damn liars, and statistics’ comes to mind. Mark Twain being the wag.

    To the folks who are interested and in those places where there is this interest, I’m sure it seems huge, but it looks like the big picture is something else. I also have to wonder how they’re defining ‘growth of interest’. Growth of number of Masses is easy to quantify, but again, statistics can mask things. Going from one to two Masses is an increase of 100%, but the absolute number is still a small one.

    I also wonder how much of this ‘surge of interest’ is driven by a novelty factor. Some folks might try it a time or a few times, then move back to the OF having satisfied their curiosity. For others, it might be exactly what they need for spiritual nourishment. For many, it’s a remnant of a time we’ve moved away from. It’s impressive in some ways, but on the whole hard to engage with and just not where they are now.

  2. Whatever it is, what it’s not is a relic “we’ve” moved away from.

    Yes, it is hard to engage with. As the Holy Father says, it does presuppose a certain degree of liturgical formation (or openness to same). Most worthwhile things are challenging; initial inaccessibility is not a reason to to dismiss them.

    just not where they are now

    But that’s OK, since the liturgy is supposed to move us to someplace else. I really think there’s no point approaching liturgy as a consumer product designed to suit the needs of King Customer. This is a case where the customer doesn’t know what he needs. The cripple begging from Peter thought he wanted a coin. It was Peter who told him to get up and walk.

    1. But isn’t the old Mass being permitted precisely to please King Customer? Isn’t it a new product in our marketplace for a niche market, those who don’t like (as well) the liturgy reformed according to the last council? Arguments based on what the council meant, why it taught what it did, why a reform was necessary – all this falls on deaf eras with some customers, and so to please them we offer a product which, according to the last council, doesn’t fit our understanding of liturgy.


      1. But isn’t the old Mass being permitted precisely to please King Customer?

        Excuse me, don’t you mean the new Mass? As typically encountered, the OF is all about user friendliness and affirming the customer (to persist in the uncharming metaphor I introduced) in his comfort zone.

        Classic Coke never lost its supporters. The older form (not the “old mass”) never lost its advocates among the laity and every level of the hierarchy. It went all but underground, but never went away. In no sense is it a new product. Whether it was abrogated I am not fit to argue, but in any case the question is now moot.

        The EF was not liberated simply to placate throwbacks who couldn’t or wouldn’t get with it. That narrative also must be retired. The EF is for all who’re open to it, or might be, given the opportunity. If the liturgy wars ever subside, it will come unfrozen and reacquire its ancient aptitude for organic development. If mutual enrichment is going to take place, this is how. IMHO it’s better if the Roman rite were to have only one form. I think we’ll both be in our graves by the time that becomes a possibility.

        according to the last council, doesn’t fit our understanding of liturgy.

        Sez you, though I think you’re reaching. But the same can be said of the OF as we received it, as you have noted elsewhere. Rome is not in the habit of admitting publicly to blunders in one direction or the other. The rehabilitation of the EF is actually a giant step in restoring conditions that will enable realizing the Council’s intent.

      2. +JMJ+

        “a product which, according to the last council, doesn’t fit our understanding of liturgy”

        Did the Council say that? Didn’t what Sac. Conc. say prior to its statements on reform apply to the liturgy as it was celebrated in 1962?

        Is it not possible, with adequate catchesis on the older form of the Mass, the people of God can grasp “more clearly the holy things which [the texts and rites] signify” and “understand them with ease and to take part in them fully” so that they are “within the people’s powers of comprehension”?

    2. RBR,

      Please re-read my sentence. I said the Mass is a remnant of a _time_ we’ve moved away from. If you prefer ‘relic’ of that time, fine. Either way, though, I referred to moving away from that time, and I do believe that we have. Some folks have not moved away from that Mass. That doesn’t bother me, unless they wish to force it upon me.

      1. I think the EF is something from a prior time that can still be fresh and relevant today. Many of the people I know who love the EF have moved towards it away from the OF – it’s not an issue of “letting go” of something from a prior time for them, but rather of moving towards something that brings them closer to God. Others (perhaps most) might be better served by the OF, and it’s easily available to them and likely will continue to be for a long time.

        The possibility of having the EF forced on you is pretty remote. It’s far more common to have it be denied to those who want it than to have it pushed on those who don’t.

      2. Jack Wayne,

        I certainly don’t begrudge it to those for whom it’s meaningful. I do object to those who insist that it’s the only proper way to worship, or that it’s objectively ‘better’, or other sorts of in-my-face behavior. Equally, I object to those on the other side who so vehemently object to it. I don’t care for it, myself, and won’t partake of it in any ordinary situation, but hey, if you like it, have at!

        I’m inclined to agree with the notion that permitting it after 1962 was a way to accommodate folks who couldn’t manage the change effectively – like the older priests for whom the effort of mastering the new form was too great a burden – but that time has past. Still, the Powers That Are didn’t ask my opinion on allowing it to continue. So long as it remains only an option, it’s pretty low on my list of issues with the temporal organization of the church.

  3. In my diocese (mentioned in the Tablet reportage but with a lower number of churches than is actually currently providing the EF), we already had a fairly generous provision of EF Masses before SP. Now we have more of them, but it is the same 30 or so people who are simply travelling round to more places to attend (apart from those on the Isle of Wight). There is no discernible increase in numbers. More Masses, same tiny uptake. I wonder how many other diocese mirror this?

  4. RBR – you just flunked my DePaul University history methodology course. But, can I get the “Koolaid” you are drinking?

    Just love it – “The rehabilitation of the EF is actually a giant step in restoring conditions that will enable realizing the Council’s intent.”

    Let’s see:

    – RBR knows the Council’s intent (not sure how but do think Twain was closer to the truth than RBR’s statement)
    – many of us are “reaching” rather than RBR’s comment that is reaching – can someone please contact the over 2,000 bishops who participated, studied, and voted to approve SC…..per this statement above, you reached too far and need to be “restored”
    – in your opinion, it would be better to have only one rite – and we know where you lean? Can you enlighten the other 90% of active catholics on this?
    – we are back to garnering and counting numbers to justify our positions? How is that working for you?

    – who cares if it was abrogated? That is now moot.

    Ah yes – we have the ultimate difference between Vatican II and its transformative aspects and someone’s opinion best described as Restoration. Yes, there were a few who held on tightly and it does feel like you are rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

    1. Bill, either I haven’t made myself clear, or else, you don’t wish it to be clear.

      To begin with, let’s agree that there is exactly one Roman rite, OK? I put it to you that the reform described by SC was not realized for John & Mary Catholic. Instances noted elsewhere by Fr. Ruff. If the reform is to be realized, ad orientem posture is not (to put it mildly) excluded. The lay ability to respond and even chant in Latin is mandated. Changes to the Mass are to be sparing and organic, not sweeping and radical. I am proposing the rehabilitation of the EF be seen as resourcement, with the object of informing the reform intended by the council. It’s a rescue mission, Bill.

      Full disclosure: yes, I do have a preference for the EF — though I attend the OF about as often. It’s not faultless, but liturgically it’s a stable refuge in times when too much seems up for grabs. Mutual enrichment is the looong term goal. Consistent with the expressed intent of SC, I am OK with that, and with eventual convergence. I think you are not.

      someone’s opinion best described as Restoration.

      Seriously — you didn’t read my little post, did you?

      you just flunked my DePaul University history methodology course.

      DePaul, you say? Oh dear. I’ll struggle on the best I can.

  5. The fact of the matter is that there is no huge demand for the EF Mass. For this reason, I must ask why so many here are hysterical about it being offered in some places to a relatively small group of people. What’s the big deal? Are progressives so insecure that Vatican II will be undone by SP and those who attend this Mass?
    I find hostility to this Mass, those who celebrate it, whether clergy or laity a relic of the past in terms of pre-Vatican II narrowness. Let’s get with it. the world will not end because this Mass is now allowed, although once “abrogated.” Vatican II and its ethos won’t be destroyed and the few that might object to some of its tenets will still get to heaven. After all, isn’t that the primary purpose of the Church, to lead people to heaven through the Sacrifice of Christ on the cross and His glorious resurrection? Read the interview with Pope Benedict in Light of the World, you’ll be amazed at his flexibility in many things apart from SP! And in the areas that people fear so much, especially inculturation, please name documents written or mandated by him that indicate the whole Church should retreat on this. What has been mandated by him apart from SP?

  6. Fr. MacDonald – sorry, your comments are at best disingenous. Paul VI made provision for certain limited uses of the MR 2 – you are now pushing that wide open as has B16. Beware the law of unattended consequences.

    Allow me to link to the recent Nostra Aetate talk – Baum speaks about how this pope may actually be changing some of his long held positions; that he is capable of evolving some of his cherised ideas.


    Highlights: “Arnold Toynbee already argued that religious cultures react to this challenge in one of three ways: by rigidly clinging to their inherited practices, by surrendering to the invasion of modernity, or by finding inspiration in their classical text for an original, creative response. No religion can escape this challenge.”

    “Baum noted that after more than a century of rejecting Enlightenment ideas of human rights and democratic pluralism, the Catholic church “was able, at the Second Vatican Council, to say a critical yes to modernity, while continuing to oppose scientific reductionism and utilitarian individualism.”

    “Baum suggested at several points in his talk that Benedict’s thinking on interreligious dialogue has evolved over the years — especially from the instruction Dominus Iesus, which he issued in 2000 as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, prefect of the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, to the present day.

    Sorry, SP falls into the first response category (utilitarian individualism) despite RBR’s belief that it falls into the third response category.

    Wonder if B16’s liturgical beliefs & SP may eventually fall into this same trend. You well know that most bishops opposed SP; begged B16 not to do this. It has created internal church polarization; misuse of church resources, etc. Would also suggest that you know that some of those involved in the 1998 non-curial/papal response are the same who would say that we have nothing to fear about the LTM.

  7. Allan,

    I think the problem is fourfold:

    (1) Those who want EF are asking for more celebrations, even though there are no more people who want EF.
    (2) Those who want EF often say that this is the only valid way of celebrating and decry those who prefer to stick with OF. I accept that you are not one of those.
    (3) Those who want EF do not realize that SP did not give them permission to proselytize. SP said those who had wanted for a long time to have EF could now have it freely. It did not provide for them to attempt to draw in others who had never previously wanted it, and yet this is what they are trying to do.
    (4) Many of those who want EF are not only vocal out of all proportion to their tiny numbers, but they are vicious and vitriolic with it. It is extremely difficult to communicate with people whose language is so extreme.

    In other words, I don’t think there is hostility to EF as a form (except when it becomes play-acting), but rather hostility to the behaviour of some of the proponents of EF. I am certainly not hostile to EF myself. I grew up with it before the Council.

    1. In my experience, the angriness of some traditionalists is a direct result of the resistance and hostility aimed at them and the Latin Mass. I myself have been chewed out by people for simply mentioning it (not desire for it, or anything about it being better, just mentioning it), and know proponents of it who are treated like crap even when they try to be supportive of their local OF parish. I’m not saying traditionalists are perfect little angels, but there needs to be some recognition that they are not completely to blame for the “division” their existence supposedly causes.

      Also, what message does not allowing EF people to “proselytize” send to the Church as a whole? That mentality is dangerous, IMO, in that it naturally causes people to assume there is something wrong with *that mass* and *those people.* Should EF-goers not spread the Gospel? Should they not invite lapsed friends and relatives to Mass with them, or anyone else they feel might benefit? Should we be creating outcast groups within the Church that become bitter? The effort spent discouraging traditionalists (and the counter effort they are forced to expend) would seem better spent in other ways.

      Also, I’ve never been to a “play acting” EF – that seems as valid a charge against traditionalists as clown Masses are to progressives.

    2. Paul,
      I. I have people asking for guitar Masses of which the majority of my parish does not prefer–I say no. To those who ask for more EF masses where there is no need, say no!
      2. Have you not been reading this blog and so many of the comments about the EF and its validity, not in the sacramental sense, but it having been abrogated and those who would like to crush not only SP but also those who want this Mass, thus implying the invalidity of this movement? Come now Paul!
      3. Proselytize is a prejudicial word when referring to fellow Catholics. Are they something else than Catholic? I had charismatic covenant community families in my previous parish “proselytizing” my non community members. I’m not sure the use of the word “proselytize” was appropriate in that context or in the context you use. I think it is human nature for others to want people to experience the benefits they experience in their own religious enthusiasm.
      4. So the sin you decry in the EF community does not exist in the far left of our Church. Do you read comments in the NCR’s blog section. Do you read comments by like minded people on this blog. Come now Paul! I was just called “disingenuous” by Bill Dehaas. That’s not vitriolic and judgmental?

  8. “What’s the big deal? Are progressives so insecure that Vatican II will be undone by SP and those who attend this Mass?”

    Vatican II has already been largely undone. SP is just another distraction (comparable to the Roman events announced so often by John Paul II which interrupted any ongoing implementation of pastoral policy and vision in the line of Vatican II). The young French priests who are adepts of SP are unlikely to lead their flock in the directions opened up by the Council.

    1. Joe,I have no first hand experience of the French Church, except from what I have read which says their churches for the Ordinary Form are quite empty and those who attend Mass aren’t producing any vocations. But when reports on the “movements” which I think one could classify those who desire the older, unreformed Mass could be classified, those “intentional communities” the churches are full and vocations are coming from them.In my own Diocese of Savannah, GA, of which Augusta is a part, we have an intentional charismatic, ecumenical community of about 700 people, the majority Catholic. They are very progressive on the ecumenical level and also in terms of their prayer life and what they would really prefer for Sunday Mass in the charismatic sense, but they are very conservative in religious doctrine and politics.This community has produced huge numbers of vocations for our diocese. In my previous parish of which I had significant number of this community’s families, eight men have already become priests and others are waiting. So, you decry this vibrancy and laud the emptiness of the reformed churches?

  9. Greetings from a cold central England.

    Leaving aside some of the occasional happenings in a college and a hall
    of a famous University City seventy miles to the south of me, I am happy to mirror Paul Inwood’s comments above. (8)

  10. I have heard two broad interpretations of SP. Some say it is a grudging accommodation to traditionalists and the SSPX.

    The other is that it is part of a project to reform the Church by reversing changes made after Vatican II. Debatable, of course, whether or not these were intended by the Council fathers, or whether they were good or bad. In this interpretation SP will lead to big changes in the OF e.g. withdrawal of communion in the hand, or of female altar servers, or of Mass with the priest facing the people.

    Both interpretations seem incorrect to me. Pope Benedict seems to be a liturgical pluralist who wants to see many different rites in use: Ordinary Form, Extraordinary Form, Anglican Use, etc.

    There are practical issues to be addressed. What works in the Vatican, with plenty of priests, altars and servers, may be challenging in many parishes. Not all altars can easily be used for the 1962 Mass. Priests and servers, if available, need to be trained.

    Why can’t the EF be treated like Polish Masses or Marionite liturgies? Make it available to those who want it, not in every parish but accessible on Sundays without unreasonable travel.

    Lots of questions have been asked about whether priests and bishops are sufficiently generous in providing the EF. But are EF adherents being kind and generous with their priests and parishes? Do they raise funds for altar furnishings and vestments? Do they withhold criticism when a priest fumbles a Latin word or makes an incorrect gesture? Do they seek out this Mass because they love it or as part of a campaign? Do they refrain from lecturing people about the right way to worship, or about the best way to worship? Are they willing to travel to the next parish for the EF when their parish has only a few adherents?

    The strident tone of posts and comments in traditionalist blogs isn’t encouraging in this regard, but perhaps the reality on the ground is different. I hope so!

    1. “Lots of questions have been asked about whether priests and bishops are sufficiently generous in providing the EF. But are EF adherents being kind and generous with their priests and parishes?…”

      Perhaps it depends on where one lives, but in my neck of the woods the answer to all those questions is “yes” in my experience. While there is a desire to have the 1962 Mass be more available (rather than once a month), there is a lot of gratitude directed towards the one local parish that has been welcoming to their fellow Christians. I’ve also never heard a bad word directed towards any priest who celebrates it.

    2. Jonathan: In my experience, also, the answer to all your questions is the affirmative, and emphatically so.

      — Within the past five years, my small TLM community has acquired new Roman vestments in all the liturgical colors (including two complete solemn sets), plus birettas and laced albs for our priests, plus all the altar furnishings including not only altar cross and candlesticks but the candles themselves, altar missals and stands, regular and requiem altar cards, etc etc etc. At a total cost of tens of thousands of dollars, all from generosity of community members, not a dime provided from parish or diocesan funds.

      — With all our new EF celebrants still somewhere on the EF learning curve — together with many or most in the pews — you betcha regarding tolerance of fumbles.

      — Don’t know about any campaigns. Our people attend in joy and gratitude out of sheer love for liturgy. (Most of them are fairly new to the EF, and are pretty much oblivious to the battles of the past.)

      — Haven’t any lectures recently about the only right way to do things. Most of our folks go both ways (OF and EF) and appreciate different kinds of beautiful flowers in the liturgical garden.

      — Most of them do indeed travel to the EF Mass from another parish, and are (I believe) uniformly grateful for the privilege of doing so.

      One thing I agree with you about is the strident tone in traditionalists blogs and com boxes. I often wonder whether these types exist only on the internet, whether there are real people underlying them. Whereas they’re ubiquitous on the web, I rarely see them in real life.

  11. Jonathan D> But are EF adherents being kind and generous with their priests and parishes? Do they raise funds for altar furnishings and vestments? Do they withhold criticism when a priest fumbles a Latin word or makes an incorrect gesture? Do they seek out this Mass because they love it or as part of a campaign? Do they refrain from lecturing people about the right way to worship, or about the best way to worship?<

    Dear Jonathan,

    There is a lot of pent up emotion among traditionalists. I know of one who was mad because JPII didn't include 'the cleansing of the Temple' as one of the Mysteries of Light!!

    What is the right way to respond when the person in front of you walks up to Communion while chewing gum? Or when priests brush Particles of the Sacrament from their fingers like they would dried up boogers. Really! I want to know! Would correcting them qualify as 'lecturing them…'? or is it 'informing the ignorant'?

    Are such things a big deal?

    1. I know of one who was mad because JPII didn’t include ‘the cleansing of the Temple’ as one of the Mysteries of Light!!

      In that most traddies have grave objections to altering the Rosary at all, I daresay he was being ironic. Shows a subtle wit, though.

  12. Hmm… It seems striking to me that this article doesn’t mention the possible idea that the Latin Mass is seen by some as a means of forming identity and the purpose is building a smaller community of more faithful believers. This idea would be in line with what Pope Benedict XVI calls a smaller but more faithful church (meaning Church Catholic.) The beginning mentions a bit about how areas which like Latin Mass are seeing an increase in secularism in England, but I don’t think this is necessarily true in the American context. In the American context, I see Latin Mass as something which is on the marketplace which people can attend to nourish their spirituality if it suits their need, which I think is legitimate. Part of being a Catholic Church is that in speaking ritual language all identities should be welcomed and this means including people who like to attend Latin Mass or the Ordinary Form. (Now there are certain ideological ties which tend to be a part of the ethical response by those who go to either form of Mass which need to be abrogated, but that’s part of building an identity of conversion.)
    I guess where I’d want to press the discussion a bit is in thinking about our God language in connection with our ritual language. If the theological tradition of Trinitarian thought has a great respect for not naming God to any particular image (see particularly Thomas’ and Pseudo-Dionysius’ Affirmative and Negative Theology) then shouldn’t our challenge be to do the same and see God’s presence in both forms of the ritual. Of course I’m overlooking some things present in liturgical theology because I haven’t read that much yet, but I think this insight from Trinitarian theology is helpful. Does anyone agree?

  13. One positive move that could be made is an acknowledgement of the revisionist history taking place. Was it truly the understanding of the Council that 2 forms of the same rite would coexist? It’s a shame they were not more specific – one way or the other – as they were with the Liturgy of the Hours, where only those priests of advanced age or something were permitted used of the preconciliar breviary, acknowledging a time when that edition would simply no longer be in use.

  14. I’ve never understood all this hate for the old Mass and all its supposed faults. One would think that these faults would have been pointed out by at least one saint in the whole history of Christendom, yes? Amazing that the old Mass, ritual and devotions that cause so much embarrassment and annoyance for progressives nevertheless managed to nurture countless godly men and women. Ah, but back then we didn’t have trained liturgists of course. I guess that must be it.

    What I am seeing here in the blog is evidence of SP’s critical error. The pretended bifurcation of the Roman Rite into “ordinary” and “extraordinary” forms was a bad idea. I don’t think anyone actually buys it. Better to put our cards on the table. Those devoted to the “reformed” Mass want to crush the old Rite out of all existence and memory; and those devoted to the old Rite want to see the Novus Ordo go away like an episode of fever from which the Church is now recovering. Count me with the latter, thanks. I’d rather stand with 1,500 years’ worth of saints than with an army of trained liturgists determined to save the Church from Herself.

    1. Actually, it is only about 500 years worth of such if you’re referring to the Tridentine Mass. I suspect that the ‘hate’ is not at the old Mass as such, but at a lot of what went with it – “the accretions of centuries”, or something like that, was one way it was put at the time. V2 put down a lot that was determined to be unhelpful [at the very least] or excessively burdensome, and sought to replace those accretions with expectations and practices better suited to the 20th century and forward. At the time, we weren’t THAT far removed from the ‘Syllabus of Errors’, the Index of forbidden books [a friend once defined a censor as “someone who knows more than s/he thinks you ought to”], etc, etc. The Mass was re-done to better fit these people in this time and this place, in order to further the Church’s purpose here on Earth.

      Clearly, there was and is some disagreement over whether that really worked or not, but I learned long ago that “We’ve always done it that way!” is NOT a good answer to “Why did you do….?”

      You’re welcome to the old forms if you really want them, but I’m going forward, thank you. Some of the old is coming along, but by no means all of it.

  15. Actually, it is only about 500 years worth of such if you’re referring to the Tridentine Mass.

    Hi Lynn. Please, let’s not raise this old canard again. The Roman Rite before and after the Tridentine reforms was identifiably the same Rite. No one can honestly dispute this. Unfortunately the same identity cannot be found between the 1962 Missale Romanum and the Pauline Missal. The very existince of the “liturgy wars” and SP itself testify to this. I doubt any progressive would even allow for such a connection anyway, for fear of medieval taint — e.g., the superfluous accretions, ritual actions, prayers and so forth, that are now beneath the People of God.

    While I am happy that you personally have no problem with trads having their old Mass, many if not most progressives still harbor an intense dislike (I won’t say loathing) of anything that predates the conciliar reforms, and they will not tolerate it. Contrast that spirit with Pius V allowing any uses of the Roman Rite at least 200 years old to continue unmolested after the promulgation of the “Tridentine” Missal in 1570.

    1. Strictly speaking it’s not only 500 years, but strictly speaking it’s not 1,500 years either. If you were to attend Roman rite Mass in the year 510 in a church in you might be surprised at how different it is from the Roman rite of 1962 or 1969. No genuflections during canon, no Introit, (no schola cantorum for that matter), no Kyrie, no Gloria, no Credo, probably no Pater noster, no Agnus Dei, Communion under both forms for laity, in language understood by those in attendance, and on and on.

      1. no Introit, (no schola cantorum for that matter), no Kyrie, no Gloria, no Credo, probably no Pater noster, no Agnus Dei,

        The introit acquired its present form before 900.

        The Gloria was mandated for Sundays in the time of Pope Symmachus, about 500.

        The Creed was included shortly after the end of the 1st millennium

        The Pater Noster has always been an element of the Mass. It was probably moved to its present position in the Mass by Pope Gregory.

        The Agnus Dei is the most recent feature you’ve mentioned. It was solidly in place by the high middle ages.

      2. Since we’re talking about the year 510, all your points corroborate or do not contradict what I wrote, with the exception of the Lord’s Prayer. You say it has always been a part of the Mass – what is your documentation for the 2nd, 3rd, 4th 5th century in Rome??

      3. what is your documentation for the 2nd, 3rd, 4th 5th century in Rome??

        Not being a scholar, I can refer you to the Catholic Encyclopedia and its cites:

        St. Jerome asserted (Adv. Pelag., iii, 15) that “our Lord Himself taught His disciples that daily in the Sacrifice of His Body they should make bold to say ‘Our Father’ etc.” St. Gregory gave the Pater its present place in the Roman Mass immediately after the Canon and before the fraction, and it was of old the custom that all the congregation should make answer in the words “Sed libera nos a malo”. In the Greek liturgies a reader recites the Our Father aloud while the priest and the people repeat it silently. Again in the ritual of baptism the recitation of the Our Father has from the earliest times been a conspicuous feature, and in the Divine Office it recurs repeatedly besides being recited both at the beginning and the end.

        If Jerome was convinced that the Pater Noster’s presence in the Mass was of apostolic antiquity, it’s enough to convince me that a century after him it was still there.

      4. No scholar would cite the old Catholic encyclopedia, and no scholar believes that there was daily Mass before the 4th century anywhere in the West.

      5. You are overlooking the point, Father. Three points, actually.

        1. The Catholic Encyclopedia offers a cite from Jerome. Either that cite is authentic or not. Are you saying the cite is fraudulent?

        2. Since you’ve demanded that 510 be the point at which the ancestor of the Roman Rite is to be examined, it matters not at all whether Jerome was mistaken about the centuries before him. It’s enough to ask whether he was aware of Roman liturgical practice in his own day. Are you saying he was not?

        3. Jerome appears to be referring to daily celebration of the Eucharist in his own day, not centuries before.

    2. Hi, Joe!
      Not having done the research, I can’t talk to what the Roman Rite looked like before Trent. I don’t actually care all that much what it looked like; it was at least somewhat different after Trent than before, and in any case that was only a minor point in my post. As for the 200-plus year old forms being allowed to continue after Trent, if I recall correctly, there weren’t very many of them then, and are even fewer now. The only one I know of for certain is the one used by the Carthusian monks, who number a few hundred in the world, including the women. I sort of suspect there’s not going to be much of a fuss over them. Heck, since V2 they may have changed some of their forms, too.

      1. Lynn, one could mention the Ambrosian and Mozarabic rites, the Rite of Braga, and the rites peculiar to the Dominicans, Carmelites, and Norbertines. I believe none of these is defunct to this day, and some continue to be celebrated regularly. This isn’t to argue for or against any of them, but only to point out that with the introduction of the Pian missal they were continued for the sake of their venerable antiquity and left unmolested.

      2. Robert,

        OK; as I said, I’m not fully conversant with them. Still, none of them are in especially wide use.

        An historical question: Was not the Council of Trent convened to address [no doubt in addition to other contemporary issues] a fairly wide variety of practices of ‘recent’ origin, and the inconsistencies and problems with them? If so, the idea of leaving unmolested the older rites, presumably examined and found acceptable, makes a good deal of practical sense. I suppose I should know this, but my study of Church history is informal and not entirely comprehensive [yet].

      1. Rita, in the EF missal, apart from Sundays, all of the first readings in Lent are from the OT, in place of the Epistle.

      2. Robert, while it might be advantageous to have a cycle of readings based on the EF lectionary, in no way can we compare it to the current three year cycle for Sunday and two year cycle for week days. The revised lectionary is far superior in its richness, although I have heard some modern, progressive liturgists suggest that having three readings and the responsorial psalm a bit too much to digest, but most of us have grown accustomed to it. Maybe future reforms would eliminate one reading on Sunday, but give us a forth or fifth cycle to include what is eliminated?
        As far as the Reformed Roman Missal, it is indeed richer in terms of prayers, prefaces, various Masses, blessings, etc. What I think most EF people love is the Order of the EF Mass and its rubrics. You could still have this, but also have all the richness of the Reformed Missal without the reformed order or rubrics.
        If there is a phobia about a small number of Catholics using the 1962 missal, can you imagine the phobia of a combined Liturgy in the vernacular, using the 1962 order and rubrics, but the other aspects of the reformed missal including its lectionary and calendar?

      3. I sometimes wonder if the criticism waged against the new lectionary is a more recent phenomenon – more part of the continuous reaction to the often vitriolic criticism waged against the EF.

        I think the new lectionary is perhaps the greatest thing about the OF (indeed, one of the very few inherent ways in which it is superior as far as I’m concerned), yet I don’t find the old lectionary particularly inferior or “impoverished” either since many Christians still use such lectionaries. I wouldn’t mind the idea of retaining the “untouched” EF for parishes dedicated to it while essentially applying the 1962 ordinary/rubrics to the OF calendar, propers, and lectionary (as an alternate ordo) for parishes in which the OF is the main form used. It would simply be another option in a missal that already has many options for the Mass ordinary. I’m one of those people who loves the ordinary and rubrics of the EF – particularly High Mass – but isn’t closed to the possibility of using the newer propers. I love the beautiful flow of the old Mass ordinary, its simplicity, its music, its prayers, etc.

  16. In the midst of all this, I think it may be worth reminding ourselves that, while it is very easy for us all to speak glibly of the EF, those letters actually stand for the Extraordinary Form — i.e. the not-ordinary form, or even the abnormal form.

    It’s not normal, it’s not normative, it’s the exception not the rule. B16 himself has said that it applies only to a tiny number of people. Why, then, do the proponents of the EF try to pretend that it is anything but an exceptional phenomenon, one that is not normal for the vast majority of the Church?

    A lot of the argument about bifurcation gives the misleading impression that OF and EF have equal weight. They most certainly don’t. They may coexist through what I suspect historians in the future will describe as an aberration, but that doesn’t give them equal status in the Church. Extraordinary always means “not normal” or “exceptional”, not “equally normal” or “normative”.

    Rather than continuing to rehash arguments about what is normative and what is not, we would do better to look at what each form can contribute to the other. B16 clearly thinks that the EF can show the OF something about reverence (although that would open up the whole debate about what reverence actually means), while many think that the OF can show the EF something about the true nature of liturgy as participatory rather than “spectator-y”. These and many other elements would more profitably occupy our discussions, rather than trying to prove that gazillions of people would prefer the EF when it is quite clear that in fact they wouldn’t.

  17. Paul
    I think you are right that B16 is hoping that interaction will raise the standard of both EF and OF masses.
    You are also right on the meaning of the word extraordinary. Of course as extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion seem to be in action at all Sunday Masses I wonder if the EF Mass should have similar frequency.
    As for the numbers seeking the EF Mass two points should be made: until it is as easy to find as an OF Mass (location and timing) we do not have a fair comparison. Many people have no opportunity to go to an EF Mass.
    Second one should note that an informed choice by Mass goers can only be made once they have experience. So it will be several years before a fair test result is possible.

  18. ” . . . the OF – it’s not an issue of “letting go” of something from a prior time for them, but rather of moving towards something that brings them closer to God.” In response to comment #7 – that is why I began attending a Dallas area Trad Latin Mass parish in August – I converted to RCC 13 years ago – the EF is everything I spent the last few years seeking – “perfect” ? No, but as someone once once said, “the Mass is not like heaven – it is a foretaste of heaven!”

  19. In my area, we are fortunate to have an episcopal delegate for the EF; he is from the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest.

    There is an oratory in our diocese which celebrates the EF daily, and several Masses on Sunday, with one High Mass every Sunday; plus all holy days and the like. It’s been a real blessing, and I hear Mass there once a month. I am heavily involved in my parish (which celebrates the OF, obviously). I have found no judgmental feelings from him about the OF parishes of the diocese, nor any from the OF parishes toward the EF. I find it very inspiring, these two forms, getting along. And I see him every year, at the Chrism Mass with all the other priests of the diocese, vested like all the others, concelebrating with all the others. I have not found it to be divisive at all, and I am grateful.

    But with regard to the “desire for the old mass”, I think we’re seeing some of it. The Third Edition of the Roman Missal, from what I have read if it, is mainly a re-translation. I see, in English that is, even the OF coming full circle. Let us not forget that the Spanish Missal has been saying “Y con tu espiritu” all along.

    I welcome it. Very much, in fact. Because in the forty years since V2 (and I myself am only 38 years old), the greatest detriment which I have observed in my work with my parish is a lack of catechesis and education. The EF is so full of ritual, you *have* to ask questions about it. And asking questions gives answers. It is much harder to just “muddle through”, sitting and kneeling and standing when others do. Either you’re really involved in the Mass… or you’re not. A native English speaker can easily go through the motions of an OF mass; and kids (teens) do it all the time.

    I see it as a great opportunity, the new revision of the Missal and the availability of the EF. I think in some cases we threw out the baby with the bath water. And here the Church is, learning. I think it’s a…

    1. Let us not forget that the Spanish Missal has been saying “Y con tu espiritu” all along.

      Nor that the Portugese Missal has been saying
      “The Lord be with you.”
      “He is in our midst.”
      all along.

  20. Now that I have been pilloried (as a result of a post here) by the inestimable Fr Z and the indescribable Dame T, neither of whom allow critical replies on their blogs, perhaps I may be allowed to clarify that I did not say that the same number of EF devotees was being spread more thinly over a greater number of Tridentine Masses, merely that the same small number is now in receipt of a larger number of celebrations than before. So they travel more than they did.

    And DT, if you are reading this, please note that another English diocese on this forum has been happy to say that this is their experience too. The folk in Reading, by the way, are not part of the diocesan provision. They make their own arrangements, God bless them.

  21. Found on a blog:
    Paul Inwood’s observations are nonsense. I regularly attend the Saturday morning Mass at Fareham where the average congregation is 60 of whom 50 are local parishioners. I have never seen any of these at the monthly Sunday Mass at Winchester – although I am rarely able to attend this – few if any of these attend the weekly Masses at St William of York in Reading, where the weekly attendance figure is between 60 and 90.

    Deacon Stephen Morgan
    Financial Secretary, Diocese of Portsmouth
    Trustee FSSP England

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