Thursday, June 12, 2008

Pope Paul VI discusses the New Mass

Let's look at this address one bit at a time:

We ask you to turn your minds once more to the liturgical innovation of the new rite of the Mass. This new rite will be introduced into our celebration of the holy Sacrifice starting from Sunday next which is the first of Advent, November 30 [in Italy].

Right here from the get-go, we see why the New Mass was probably not going to be the great and marvelous thing everybody was clamoring for. That word "innovation." Generally speaking, innovation in the Church doesn't make for happy times.

A new rite of the Mass: a change in a venerable tradition that has gone on for centuries. This is something that affects our hereditary religious patrimony, which seemed to enjoy the privilege of being untouchable and settled. It seemed to bring the prayer of our forefathers and our saints to our lips and to give us the comfort of feeling faithful to our spiritual past, which we kept alive to pass it on to the generations ahead.

When you hear the words "change in a venerable tradition that has gone on for centuries" with reference to the Church, what is your first reaction? This entire section is about how great the TLM is. Pretty high words of praise from the Holy Father here. If it was so great, why was it sent to the dustbin?

It is at such a moment as this that we get a better understanding of the value of historical tradition and the communion of the saints. This change will affect the ceremonies of the Mass. We shall become aware, perhaps with some feeling of annoyance, that the ceremonies at the altar are no longer being carried out with the same words and gestures to which we were accustomed—perhaps so much accustomed that we no longer took any notice of them. This change also touches the faithful. It is intended to interest each one of those present, to draw them out of their customary personal devotions or their usual torpor.

The moment where we begin to appreciate what we had because it is now gone. As to the feeling of "annoyance," could there be a bigger understatement? I wonder what sorts of "annoyance" there might be if the current or some future pope attempted to suppress or derogate the Pauline Mass.

Finally, Pope Paul seems to have succumbed to the canard that the only way of participating in the Mass is by doing external and visible "stuff." You hear this a lot amongst those sipping the Haterade vs. the TLM. Those poor, ignorant shmoes attending the Mass prior to the Pauline Mass didn't have a clue what was going on. They just sat there like dumb animals. I don't think the modern folks who say this have any inkling of the hubris contained in this statement, as though the faith of older Catholics was somehow inferior because they happened to attend a Mass with Apostolic roots. It's just weird.

More on this later. In the interim, a word on liturgical innovation from Blessed Pius IX, warning the Ruthenian Catholics against such things:

Gregory XVI of blessed memory wrote about these to the Armenian Catholics, "your ancestors, either admired them because they seemed more fitting and beautiful or, introduced them at various periods as a distinctive mark separating themselves from heretics and schismatics." Therefore, as this same Supreme Pontiff declared, "that rule must be absolutely observed which states that, except for the most serious reasons and with the Apostolic See, no innovations are to be introduced into the holy rites of the liturgy, even under the pretext of restoring ceremonies which may seem to be more in conformity with liturgies approved by the same See.

Omnem Sollicitudinem

I firmly believe that Paul VI had no idea what he was getting himself into.

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