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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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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"We as Catholics have not properly combated (the culture) because we have not been taught our Catholic Faith, especially in the depth needed to address these grave evils of our time. This is a failure of catechesis both of children and young people that has been going on for fifty years. It is being addressed, but it needs much more radical attention... What has also contributed greatly to the situation is an exaltation of the virtue of tolerance which is falsely seen as the virtue which governs all other virtues. In other words, we should tolerate other people in their immoral actions to the extent that we seem also to accept the moral wrong. Tolerance is a virtue, but it is certainly not the principal virtue; the principal virtue is charity... Charity means speaking the truth. I have encountered it (not speaking the truth) many times myself as a priest and bishop. It is something we simply need to address. There is far too much silence — people do not want to talk about it because the topic is not 'politically correct.' But we cannot be silent any longer."
Raymond Card. Burke
The Catholic Church is the exponent of Reality. It is true. Its doctrines in matters large and small are statements of what is. . . .My conclusion – and that of all men who have ever once seen it – is the faith. Corporate, organized, a personality, teaching. A thing, not a theory. It.”
Hilaire Belloc to G.K. Chesterton
"In assessing Our duty and the situation now prevailing, We have been weighed upon by the thought that a matter of this kind [i.e. error in respect of the Faith] is so grave and so dangerous that the Roman Pontiff, who is the representative upon earth of God and our God and Lord Jesus Christ, who holds the fullness of power over peoples and kingdoms, who may judge all and be judged by none in this world, may nonetheless be contradicted if he be found to have deviated from the Faith.
Cum ex Apostolatus Officio (On Error in Respect of the Faith) Apostolic Constitution of Pope Paul IV, 15 Feb 1559 (Roman Bullarium IV, I, 354-357)
Some current reading…
Must read for priests, seminarians, anyone interested in beauty in our sacred liturgical worship of God... Signs of the Holy One: Liturgy, Ritual, and Expression of the Sacred by Uwe Michael Lang [UK link HERE]
God or Nothing: A Conversation on Faith by Robert Card. Sarah
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Grant unto thy Church, we beseech Thee, O merciful God, that She, being gathered together by the Holy Ghost, may be in no wise troubled by attack from her foes. O God, who by sin art offended and by penance pacified, mercifully regard the prayers of Thy people making supplication unto Thee,and turn away the scourges of Thine anger which we deserve for our sins. Almighty and Everlasting God, in whose Hand are the power and the government of every realm: look down upon and help the Christian people that the heathen nations who trust in the fierceness of their own might may be crushed by the power of thine Arm. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. R. Amen.
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Food For Thought
“The legalization of the termination of pregnancy is none other than the authorization given to an adult, with the approval of an established law, to take the lives of children yet unborn and thus incapable of defending themselves. It is difficult to imagine a more unjust situation, and it is very difficult to speak of obsession in a matter such as this, where we are dealing with a fundamental imperative of every good conscience — the defense of the right to life of an innocent and defenseless human being.”
- St. John Paul II
A bit more food for thought…
“Only one sin is nowadays severely punished: the attentive observance of the traditions of our Fathers. For that reason the good ones are thrown out of their places and brought to the desert.”
- Basil of Caesarea - ep. 243
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"If your work is strong enough for someone to hate you, it's strong enough for someone to love you. The middle is what you should fear."
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For your consideration…
"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.”
Francis Card. George
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More food for thought…
"All laws which are repugnant to the Constitution are null and void."
- Marbury v. Madison, 5 U.S. 137, 176
Even More Food For Thought
"Men by their constitutions are naturally divided into two parties: 1. Those who fear and distrust the people, and wish to draw all powers from them into the hands of the higher classes. 2. Those who identify themselves with the people, have confidence in them, cherish and consider them as the most honest and safe, although not the most wise depositary of the public interests."
- Thomas Jefferson to Henry Lee, 1824. ME 16:73
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