Over at Rorate Caeli there is an entry about the rumored papal document freeing up the use of the older Missale, the so-called "Tridentine" Mass. Rorate provided a translation of part of an article in Il Giornale about this, which provides some interesting info I had not read elsewhere. Here is my own translation of the whole thing. Rorate did a pretty good job but it might have been a little too fast. Also, the section he did not include is also of interest. Here we go. My emphasis and comments in […] added:
The Mass in Latin returns – The Pope’s decree is ready
by Andrea Tornielli
Rome – The text is ready, and it lacks only the Pope’s signature. Benedict XVI could publish a "Motu proprio", even before the end of 2006, with which the use of the pre-Conciliar Missal would be freed up, thus allowing groups of faithful to request the celebration of the old Mass without encountering negative responses, often unjustified, from individual bishops. The document will "rehabilitate" the Mass, sometimes called that "of Saint Pius V", celebrated in the Latin Catholic Church until 1969, and never declared abrogated, defining it as an "extraordinary" universal rite, alongside the ordinary Roman Rite, which is the post-Conciliar one. In this way, the old Mass would return to full citizenship, just as other Catholic rites enjoy, such as the Byzantine, Mozarabic or Syro-Antiochian. And bishops would not be able to refuse its concession, as often happens today.
The thought of Pope Ratzinger about this matter has been known for a long time now: in the liturgical sphere a real break with the past has been substantiated and the reform following Vatican II not only went far beyond the letter of the same Council, but also was and still is badly implemented in many countries, where many liturgical abuses take place which wind up reducing Mass to a show. Thus, just about anything is being tolerated at the altar, but the doors are slammed on those faithful who, also because of these abuses, have remained attached to or have rediscovered the old Rite. "Unfortunately for us", Cardinal Ratzinger had asserted some years ago in the book length interview Salt of the Earth, "there is a nearly limitless tolerance for spectacular and adventurous alterations, while effectively there is none at all for the older liturgy. We are in this way surely on the wrong path". The future Benedict XVI also added, "Personally, I maintain that there is needed a more generous attitude in granting the old Rite to those who desire it. You just can’t see what could be so dangerous or unacceptable in that. A community calls itself into question when it suddenly considers forbidden what until just a little before seemed sacred and when it makes the very desire for it seem reprehensible. Why must these things still be believed? Isn’t it possible that what is being enjoined today will be forbidden tomorrow?"
After having consulted the cardinals of the Roman Curia and having posed the question also to the Consistory of last February, clearly stating that the theology of the Tridentine Mass cannot be defined as "reductive" [this means "characterized by too narrow", more on this below], Benedict XVI charged DarÃƒÂo Cardinal CastrillÃƒÂ³n Hoyos, Prefect of [the Congregation for] Clergy and President of the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei" with moving forward. Subsequently, a first draft of the text was composed, which the Pope then forwarded to the Congregation for Divine Worship [and Discipline of the Sacraments]. Here the progress of the decree was made more difficult, due to various internal obstructions at the dicastery: it was initially thought to fix a minimum number for faithful making the request at 100, which was then lowered to 30, and references to liturgical abuses were removed from the draft. The text was thus returned to the Pontiff and to "Ecclesia Dei". In addition to CastrillÃƒÂ³n, JuliÃƒÂ¡n Cardinal Herranz, President of the Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legislative Texts, was also engaged in drafting the text.
The "Motu proprio" for the liberalization ["freeing up"] of the new [sic] Missal, an initiative encountering considerable resistance inside and outside the Roman Curia, ought to facilitate also the achieving of full communion with the Lefebvrites of the Society of Saint Pius X, who have always fought for it [that is, "freeing up" of the use of the older Missal]. Obviously, if the Pope signs the document, as he seems disposed to do, it will not mean that the average faithful will in his parish find Mass celebrated in the old way overnight. It will be necessary to balance the needs of the traditionalist faithful with those of other parishioners.
I must add a comment expanding on Pope Benedict’s affirmation that the theology of older form of Mass, is not "reductive".
Consider that the rite of Mass, with its texts and rubrics, both reflects the Church’s Faith and undergirds the Church’s Faith. Lex orandi – lex credendi … the way the Church prays has a reciprocal relationship with what she believes. If we believe certain things, we will pray in a certain way. If we pray a certain way, we will more strongly hold to certain things. So, when someone makes the accusation that the so-called "Tridentine" edition of the Roman Missal was "reductive", that levels a serious accusation of narrowness, or lack of enlightenment, against the Church herself for, literally, centuries. Benedict XVI had been trying to dismantle that false accusation for decades. Thus, he says that the theology of the older form of Mass is not, in fact, "reductive". What does this mean?
This "reductive" in Italian, is a hard word to translate. The impact of saying that the theology of the pre-Conciliar Missale is not "reductive" ("la teologia della Messa tridentina non può essere definita «riduttiva»)" means that many of the old chestnuts progressivists or modernists, or whatever you want to call them, toss around about the old Mass are simply not true. You will often hear that the older form of Mass is "too vertical", while the newer form is more "horizontal", that the older form places too much emphasis on the sacrificial dimension and not enough on the "meal" aspect, that the older form does not take into account a true necessity for "active participation" as a constituent element of liturgical action, that the older Mass reduces people to "passive spectators" (that makes me CRAZY!), while the newer Mass "allows" people to "participate actively". To say that the theology of the older Missale is not "reductive" is to say that these things are no more true about the "Tridentine" Missale than they are about the Novus Ordo. Both editions of the Roman Missal, old and new, must be given a fair shake. This is the beauty of the Pope’s argument for years now, nay decades. Setting the two editions, Tridentine and Novus Ordo, on a much more equal footing will reveal that much of the progressivist criticism has no foundation while showing at the same time that the Novus Ordo clearly opens up for us some advantages, from which even those attached to the older form can benefit.