I remember Benedict XVI’s ascension to the papacy because it was April 24, my birthday. It’s been a year since he became pope, and I think he has been a lot quieter than a lot of people (including me!) would have predicted.
Is this the fire-breathing God’s Rottweiler some of us expected?
On the main, no. Benedict is uncompromising on matters of the faith, but he has a gentle hand.
Look for some things to be shaken up soon, though. It’s been strongly rumored for weeks that document stating that the universal usage of the Tridentine mass is permissible has already been signed, and is going to be released in the near future. It’s also looking likely that Benedict is going to be pushing for an overhaul of how the Novus Ordo mass is celebrated.
I’m not Catholic; I am a devout Believer, however. And I’ve been very impressed with Benedict. He is a man who believes (as do I) that faith and devotion to God are to be uncompromisingly advocated. He’s had to fill some mighty big shoes, (JPII’s death was the first death to ever make me sob uncontrollably in public) and he’s done as well as could be expected.
I just read an article making the case that Benedict could begin to make significant moves very soon. The argument was based on the fact that, apparently, Benedict likes to take his time to assess the situation before making significant decisions, and in particular on his behavior when he became archibishop, and announced that he would wait one year before beginning to proceed with new nominations or to make major decisions.
I’m not a Catholic, but I’m following the discussion with interest and I’m interested in these changes. However, I’m unfamiliar with these terms. Could you explain further for the layman? What’s the Tridentine mass? How does it differ from a “regular” mass? Why isn’t it already in widespread use? What’s the Novus Ordo mass? How is it celebrated now and how will it change?
The Tridentine mass is the traditional Latin mass, which is still an important part of the liturgy but is not widely celebrated. Most bishops restrict its use. It is rumored that Pope Benedict wants to make this more traditional mass much more widely available.
The Novus Ordo mass is the current mass, celebrated in the vernacular. It is not a translation of the Tridentine mass, but a considerable rewrite that took into account many of the Vatican II changes. There are indications that another rewrite may be necessary, to produce a vernacular mass that more closely reflects chuch traditions and mirrors better the Tridentine.
Thanks, Mr. Moto. Do you have an idea about how these changes will affect Vatican II? In other words, is he trying to roll back some or any of Vatican II’s reforms? As you can probably tell, I know just enough about Catholicism to be dangerous, and it seems to me that the goal of Vatican II was to make the Church more accessable, more immediate, to the average churchgoer. Do you think these new reforms seek to reverse that? Or is it more of a “getting back to tradition” sort of thing (which seems less damaging to me)?
Well, I know just enough about Catholicism to be dangerous as well. And I am a Catholic.
Keep in mind, Vatican II didn’t in any way contradict any of the liturgy of the Tridentine Mass, and the mass is still around and still celebrated.
I know there are many advantages to a mass celebrated in the vernacular, but there are many advantages, too, to a Latin mass. A shared Church language, even just for one simple ceremony, could be very unifying for a worldwide Church.
It could even be a unifying force within individual parishes. I used to attend Mass at a parish in Arlington, VA that had two English language masses and one Spanish mass every Sunday. The English speakers and Spanish speakers didn’t mix much - they essentially attended separate churches in the same building. A unifying Latin mass could have remedied this to an extent.
It’s also important, though, not to confuse the Tridentine Mass with the Latin Mass, because they’re not the same thing, even though a lot of people who are upset about the Novus Ordo Mass are also upset with masses in the vernacular.
Nevertheless, both the Tridentine and Novus Ordo masses can be celebrated in any language, including Latin.
I have to wonder about this. First of all, are the priests schooled enough in Latin these days that they could conduct a mass in that language? (Though I suppose they could do it by rote.) But also, none of the congregants under the age of 65 would understand it. I can’t see people making the effort to relearn the mass in Latin, with all the responses, etc. Plus, you’re not very well going to get a sermon, so the whole thing will last half an hour. I don’t really see the point. Where would Benedict be going with this, except to alienate the dwindling number of American Catholics?
Probably this differs from country to country, but our Catholic priests need five years of latin in school or equivalent university courses (in addition to Greek and Hebrew.) That’s more than enough for mass, but of course it is also used for reading during the studies.
I still wonder what the point is. Surely the number of workshippers looking for a mass in Latin is small, and the priests are stretched thin as it is. I guess there’s no huge harm in having the Tridentine masses, but I don’t see the huge advantage, either.
This is not correct. The Novus Ordo (i.e. the post Vatican II liturgy) may be celebrated in any language. This includes Latin and, in fact, the Vatican II liturgy documents clearly envisage that Latin should remain the normative language for the mass - even though that obviously hasn’t been the case.
The Tridentine mass (i.e. the Pius V missal as represented by the 1962 missal) cannot be celebrated in the vernacular. It **must ** be celebrated in Latin.
There are many priests who can offer the Tridentine Mass. Older ones still remember how to say it. And younger ones are showing an increasing interest in learning how to say it. There are also the newer, more orthodox and traditional religious orders whose priests are trained to offer only the Tridentine mass. My parish in Sydney is staffed by these priests.
This isn’t true. Most of our congregation is made up of young families and children fleeing the liturgical chaos of their local parish. They have Latin/English missals and have no trouble following the Latin or making the responses.
As others have already pointed out, the sermon is given in the vernacular.
I imagine the Pope is trying to counteract the “dumbing down” and desacralising of the liturgy. It’s a phenomenon that’s rampant throughout the first world, especially in English speaking countries and particularly in the US. And about time too. The reason that I’ve pretty much given up on the Novus Ordo is that most of the time the mass degenerates into a feel-good, “worship each other” session. In the Tridentine mass that’s never the case. It’s always clear that we’re there to worship God.