The Church and Holy Mass are not flies in amber. I was strongly reminded of this today when saying Mass with the 1962 Missale Romanum.
In the older calendar, today is the feast of St. Ignatius of Antioch. However, on 17 October I honored St. Ignatius on his feast according to the newer Novus Ordo calendar.
Some people sort of sneer at the Novus Ordo because changes were made to prayers and feasts. However, there were changes made after the very first "Tridentine" Missal. Changes were constant. Sure, most of them were adjustments rather than reconstructions. But they were changes. The Missal is a document reflecting a living Church.
Let’s have a little fun with this.
Here is a detail of a page in the editio princeps, the 1570 Missale Romanum. This is the Tridentine Missal! All the subsequent editions to 1962 we ought to call the "so-called ‘Tridentine’" Missal.
This image shows the collect for St. Ignatius as it was in 1570.
Here now is a detail of the corresponding page in the 1962 editio typica. This is the edition the Holy See says may be used licitly (not any other, mind you).
Notice that the prayer is different?
Here is the corresponding page from the 2002 editio tertia of the so-called Novus Ordo Missal.
Whew… really different. But then again, changes have been made to prayers and feasts all along the way. BTW… this prayer is a new composition for the Novus Ordo based on two prayers in the Sacramentarium Veronense.
I will leave it to an enterprising reader to transcribe the different versions and translate.
We are not flies in amber. We are not stuck in a book like dried flowers waiting through the years to be glimpsed with nostalgia.
We need a derestriction of the older form of Mass for the good of the Church and the correction of her liturgical practice. We need it soon. But we need it for the right reason and in the right way.
The things I showed here point to a couple serious issues which might be causing some of the delay in the Motu Proprio we all long for.
There has always been the issue of the calendar. For example, I say the newer breviary, the Liturgy of the Hours, rather than the Roman Breviary as it was. However, I very often use the pre-Conciliar Missal for Mass. That means that there is virtually never a harmonious connection between the prayers of the office and prayers of the Mass. (Yah… I suppose the sanctimonious out there will tell me I should use only the Roman Breviary, but they can chew my ankles all they want. Been there. Done that. It’s fine. It’s not what I do.)
The disconnect of calendars is a big problem. For example, at the end of the year in the Novus Ordo we have the Solemnity of Christ the King. In the older Mass we use up Sundays left over after Epiphany and Christ the King is at the end of October. Holy Church can sustain many calendars, of course. Maronites and Byzantines have their calendars and we are all Catholic. However, if we are going to say we are Roman Catholics, using the Roman Rite, using the Roman Missal, then there is a serious problem when we are using different calendars. If I were Pope, I would be very tempted to issue an edition of the Roman Missal with the older Ordinary of Mass but with a revised calendar so that we are all at the very least on the same page.
Perfect solution? Probably not. But it is a problem needing consideration.
In any event, I thought you might enjoy this liturgico-archeological moment.
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The more vigorously the primacy was displayed, the more the question came up about the extent and and limits of [papal] authority, which of course, as such, had never been considered. After the Second Vatican Council, the impression arose that the pope really could do anything in liturgical matters, especially if he were acting on the mandate of an ecumenical council. Eventually, the idea of the givenness of the liturgy, the fact that one cannot do with it what one will, faded from the public consciousness of the West. In fact, the First Vatican Council had in no way defined the pope as an absolute monarch. On the contrary, it presented him as the guarantor of obedience to the revealed Word. The pope's authority is bound to the Tradition of faith. … The authority of the pope is not unlimited; it is at the service of Sacred Tradition.
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"One of the most dangerous errors is that civilization is automatically bound to increase and spread. The lesson of history is the opposite; civilization is a rarity, attained with difficulty and easily lost. The normal state of humanity is barbarism, just as the normal surface of the planet is salt water. Land looms large in our imagination and civilization in history books, only because sea and savagery are to us less interesting."
- C.S. Lewis
More food for thought:
“I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square. His successor will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization, as the church has done so often in human history.”
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Charles Pierre Péguy Notre Patrie, 1905"If I ought to write the truth, I am of the mind that I ought to flee all meetings of bishops, because I have never seen any happy or satisfactory outcome to any council, nor one that has deterred evils more than it has occasioned their acceptance and growth."
St. Gregory Nazianzus ep. 131 - AD 382“We will conquer your Rome, break your crosses, and enslave your women. If we do not reach that time, then our children and grandchildren will reach it, and they will sell your sons as slaves at the slave market.”
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