Clarification of the 2007 letter of Pope Benedict XVI to bishops on the liturgy?
The two Liturgical Rites within the Roman Rite can be mutually beneficial if taken in the right atmosphere of growing in reverence if properly addressed on both sides.
The way we perceive the other Roman Rite than the one we normally attend is often looked down on by both side as being inferior than to the one we generally attend. In the Roman Rite we have two valid and permitted forms of the mass. Both should be reverently said. It nevertheless should be stated that for many Catholics, myself included, the Extraordinary Form of the Mass is more conducive to my spirituality. For those of the Ordinary Form of the Mass, the opposite is true.
If we look deep into the many issues at hand we can see that there are many thing both sides can learn from one another, especially if we look into historical changes once contained in the Tridentine Mass.
The new prefaces of the Mass of Pope St. Paul VI are just the tip of the iceberg.
The Decree Quo magis "approved “seven Eucharistic Prefaces for the forma extraordinaria of the Roman Rite" (Englisch press release).
It is now permissible for a priest to say a Mass in the Extraordinary Form for new saints (canonized after 1962) while employing the prayers or the orations (of the Opening Prayer or Collect, Prayer over the Offerings and the Prayer after Communion) taken from the Mass of Paul VI.
Permission was given by Ecclesia Dei in 1993.
The “Common” in #4 is the ones as taken from the Mass of Pope Pius V. This has been the practice of the Benedictine monasteries of Fontgombault, Randol, Triors, Gaussian, Clear Creek (USA) and Saint-Paul de Wisques. Both Cardinal Paul Augustin Mayer and Mgr. Pearl have visited the Abbey of Fontgombault in the 1990s.
Further more Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger visited the Abbey of Fontgombault in July 2001 and said the following while there:
For the future, we ought to think—it seems to me - in terms of enriching the Missal of 1962 by introducing some new saints; there are now some important figures among the saints - I am thinking, for example, of Maximilian Kolbe, Edith Stein, the martyrs of Spain, the martyrs of the Ukraine, and so many others—but I am also thinking of that little Bakhita in the Sudan, who came from slavery and came to freedom in her faith in the Lord; there are many really lovely figures whom we all need. Thus, opening up the calendar of the old Missal to new saints, making a well thought-out choice of these, that seems to me something that would be appropriate at present and would not have any destructive effect on the fabric of the liturgy. We might also think about the Prefaces, which also come from the storehouse of wealth in the Church Fathers, for Advent, for example, and then others; why not insert those Prefaces into the old Missal?
Thus, with great sensitivity and by showing a great deal of understanding for people's fears and preoccupations, maintaining contact with their leaders, we should be able to understand that this Missal is also a Missal of the Church and under the authority of the Church, that it is not an object preserved from the past, but a living reality within the Church, very much respected in its particular identity and for its historical stature, but also considered as something that is living and not as a dead thing, a relic of the past. The whole liturgy of the Church is always a living thing, a reality that is found above us and is not subject to our decisions and our arbitrary intentions. - Looking Again at the Question of the Liturgy with Cardinal Ratzinger: Proceedings of the July 2001 Fontgombault Liturgical Conference
The “Common” as taken from the Mass of Pope Pius V. This has been the practice of the Benedictine monasteries of Fontgombault, Randol, Triors, Gaussian, Clear Creek (USA) and Saint-Paul de Wisques. Both Cardinal Paul Augustin Mayer and Mgr. Pearl have visited the Abbey of Fontgombault, in the 1990s.
Vatican II seems to have tried to revise some ancient traditions of the Tridentine Mass within the New Mass. As evident, this is a work in progress and some mistakes and misinterpretations have occurred.
Things like Concelebration and the Sign of Peace!
Concelebration exist in the Early Church. Yet those of the Tridentine Rite refuse to employ this once ancient custom within the Church.
Concelebration is the rite by which several priests say Mass together, all consecrating the same bread and wine. It was once common in both East and West. As late as the ninth century priests stood around their bishop and "consented to his sacrifice" (Corp. Jur. Can., Decr. Grat., Pars III, dist. I, cap. 59). The rite of Concelebration was modified at Rome (perhaps in the time of Pope Zephyrinus, 202-218) so that each priest should consecrate a separate host (the deacons holding these in patens or corporals); but they all consecrated the same chalice ("Ordo Rom. I", 48; see also Duchesne, "Liber Pont.", I, 139 and 246). In the sixth century this rite was observed on all station days; by the eighth century it remained only for the greatest feasts, Easter, Christmas, Whitsunday, and St. Peter ("Ordo Rom. I", 48; Duchesne, "Origines", 167). On other days the priests assisted but did not concelebrate. Innocent III (1198-1216) says that in his time the cardinals concelebrate with the pope on certain feasts (De Saer. Altar. Myst. in Migne, P.L., CCXVII, IV, 25). Durandus, who denied the possibility of such a rite (Rationale Div. Off., IV, d. xiii, q. 3) is refuted by Cardinal Bona (Rer. Liturg., I, xviii, 9). St. Thomas defends its theological correctness (Summa Theol., III:82:2). Concelebration is still common in all the Eastern Churches both Catholic and schismatic. In these, on any greater feast day, the bishop says the holy liturgy surrounded by his priests, who consecrate with him and receive Holy Communion from him, of course under both kinds. So also, at any time, if several priests wish to celebrate on the same day, they may do so together.
To say the Vatican II brought in a new Liturgical Custom would be false to say the least.
While it is true that concelebration in the Old Rite is rare. It is not unheard of either. The monks of Fontgombault and there daughter houses concelebrate mass at Christmas and Easter due to the availability of time with a great number of priests present. They also concelebrate mass on special occasions if need be. In other words they are not afraid to employ the ancient usages of the Church when the need exists.
Another example could be the sign of peace.
This gesture is found throughout the liturgical history of the Church and from the time of St. Gregory the Great was seen as a pre-requisite for the reception of Communion.
The kiss of peace was typically given only to those standing next to each other and it was later developed that the kiss of peace descended from the sanctuary and was passed on to the people, symbolizing that peace comes from Christ. This was even further cemented when the priest would first kiss the altar and then pass on that kiss to his attendants.
In other rites of the Church the kiss of peace took on different forms. Joseph Jungmann explains in The Mass of the Roman Rite how, “Among the East Syrians it is customary for each one to clasp the hands of his neighbor and kiss them. Among the Maronites the faithful clasp the neighbor’s fingers with their own, then kiss the latter. Even more reserved are the Copts, who merely bow to their neighbor and then touch his hand.”
By the 17th century the kiss of peace was restricted in the Roman Rite to only those present in the sanctuary and was not passed on to the faithful in their pews. It was sometimes customary for the clergy to use a “pax (peace) board,” a wooden paddle that each minister would kiss and pass to the next.
Then after the Second Vatican Council the Church took a new look at the ancient custom and decided to restore the original action of the faithful, entrusting each conference of bishops with task of determining the cultural sign most appropriate.
The sign of peace is a highly symbolic act that is meant to point towards the disposition of heart required for receiving the Holy Eucharist. It reminds the faithful that in order to be in full communion with Christ, one must first “love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength,” and not forget to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:30-31).
The sign of peace: The ancient roots of the greeting we make at Mass
Cardinal Ratzinger was not against the sign of peace in the Mass of Pope Paul VI, but admitted that something had to be done to make it more spiritual and reverent at the same time, as it often becomes something all to noisy and inappropriate at times, in the manner it is employed.
Some years ago, my wife and I visited St. Sharbel Maronite Catholic Church. If the sign of peace was done throughout both Roman Rites as was done in this Maronite Rite Church, there would be neither confusion or unruly displays with this custom.
They follow the ancient prescription of the Latin Rite: ”The kiss of peace was typically given only to those standing next to each other and it was later developed that the kiss of peace descended from the sanctuary and was passed on to the people, symbolizing that peace comes from Christ. This was even further cemented when the priest would first kiss the altar and then pass on that kiss to his attendants.”
This sign on of peace was executed in perfect silence even as the acolytes passed the sign of peace to the faithful! The reverence was awe inspiring.