“… reestablishing a vibrant Catholic identity…”

There is a good piece at NLM.  In a nutshell, a diocesan priests spent time with the FSSP learning about the older form of Mass.  The experience changed him.

I would characterize my experience as frankly stunning, and even life changing. I must admit that the experience has recast my understanding of the priesthood to some degree.

Also, by this intensive introduction to the ancient Roman liturgical tradition, I now more fully understand the paradigm shift and rupture that Ratzinger/Benedict XVI has spoken of. I can’t help but feel that once the adolescent rebellion of liturgical abuse and rejection of our living heritage subsides, they will be there to help all of us reclaim and reinvigorate the Latin Rite in a way that is truly organic and faithful to our roots, strengthening and in some areas reestablishing a vibrant Catholic identity.

This is exactly the point I have been hammering all along. 

Pope Benedict is convinced that the Church has a right to her own language, symbols and identity.

I direct your attention back to what I wrote elsewhere on this blog:

Pope Benedict is working to re-root celebrations of Holy Mass in the tradition whence it emerged.  He has written that it was unreasonable that a rite of Mass so important to the Catholic Church for so long should suddenly be virtually forbidden.  He wrote in the past about how liturgy grows slowly and organically, from rites and cultures enriching each other.  The Novus Ordo, stitched together by experts on table tops, constituted a break in this process.  Derestriction of the older form of Mass will help to heal people hurt by the loss of the older rite.  Widespread celebrations will have an impact on the way the Novus Ordo is celebrated… and vice versa!  It cannot be otherwise.  This has already been happening.  …

…  Above all, the document will make concrete Benedict XVI’s desire for a “hermeneutic of continuity”.  A “hermeneutic” is a principle of interpretation, like a lens through which you examine a question.  In his 2005 Christmas address to the Roman Curia, His Holiness spoke of a “hermeneutic of discontinuity and rupture” used by many after the Council.  This resulted in a terrible break with our tradition.  For many it is as if nothing good or worth preserving happened before Vatican II.   Pope Benedict is working to reestablish continuity with the past, though not uncritically, through a “hermeneutic of reform”.  Derestriction of the older form of Mass must be seen as part of his vision for this reform, this rebuilding of continuity with the Church’s tradition.

The fact is that even now younger priests who have learned about the older Mass change their way of saying the newer Mass.  At the same time, celebrations of the older Mass today are more than likely so much better than they were before the Council precisely because of the experience (good and bad) gained from the last few decades.

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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24 Responses to “… reestablishing a vibrant Catholic identity…”

  1. Brian Day says:

    Father Z – a prophet for our times. :)

  2. paul,south midlands, uk says:

    “At the same time, celebrations of the older Mass today are more than likely so much better than they were before the Council precisely because of the experience (good and bad) gained from the last few decades.”

    The Holy Spirit is not daft – we have spent the last 40 years doing little else than exploring arguing and debating the liturgy, what finally emerges can only be an improvement

  3. Jim says:

    I understand that the Oratory priests in England must learn the Traditional Rite before they are taught the new one, so that they can say the new Mass better.

  4. Redo says:

    I’m a “freshman” seminarian, and would just love to attend that class! Unfortunately, I’m probably in the same boat as many “freshmen” who have non-traditionalist Bishops. I’m almost certain he wouldn’t approve…..kinda sucks really…. I never grew up with the old Mass, but had the opportunity to go to one (celebrated in a Franciscan Friary, no permission needed obviously) and I LOVE IT!

    Paul has a great point: “we have spent the last 40 years doing little else than exploring arguing and debating the liturgy” I just wish some of our Bishops could understand that point. I guess I’ll just have to wait and see!

  5. RBrown says:

    I understand that the Oratory priests in England must learn the Traditional Rite before they are taught the new one, so that they can say the new Mass better.
    Comment by Jim

    I’ll repeat what I wrote some days ago: A good friend who is a Swiss priest says that in order to say the Novus Ordo well, the celebrant has to pretend he’s using the 1962 Missal.

  6. Xavier Landry says:

    Does not the fact that the “sees of change” were bashing the barque of Peter for liturgical novelties even pre-Vatican II go to prove that the bishops were unappreciative of the blessings of the Mass of Ages? I can see Paul VI during this storm praying for answers and receiving one like that received by Samuel:

    “Harken to the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me from being King over them.” -1Samuel8

    Thus, the present chastisement of the Lord allowing us to do as we please, until such time as He hears our humble prayers to come back home.

    Father Z.’s 5 Rules seem self-evident to me from this perspective.

  7. Xavier Landry says:

    I do not know Italian so have often wondered whether the term “the experts” can have the same derogatory meaning that it has in English.

    I find it interesting that Paul VI used the phrase “after listening to the experts” as a preamble to suppressing the Minor Orders. As opposed to (for example), Peter’s words, “It is the decision of the Holy Ghost and my decision…”

  8. RBrown you are right! I celebrate the Latin NO as if I were celebrating the 62 missal.I think whenever you hear or see a NO mass which is reverent ,dignified,and beautiful,it has been celebrated in the spirit of the 62 missal.I observe the canonical fingers,incense in the traditional manner with the words of the 62 missal (Cardinal Arinze celebrated mass in my parish and I noticed he said in Latin the tridentine prayers during incensation).Ibless the water before I pour some into the wine in the chalice,I bow at the times in the Gloria and Credo as the 62 missal instructs,I wear the maniple, etc.I tell priests if they have to celebrate the NO do it prayerfully as if they were celebrating in the ancient Roman rite.Its Tridentine lite-until we get the real thing.

  9. Richard says:

    Hello Fr. Zuhlsdorf,

    At the same time, celebrations of the older Mass today are more than likely so much better than they were before the Council precisely because of the experience (good and bad) gained from the last few decades.

    And once again we see how Christ brings good out of great evil – great suffering, at any rate. (I don’t wish to suggest that the novus ordo per se is evil – it is a conduit of grace, if in some ways a theologically impoverished one).

    One thing has always struck me: It has been hard to find TLMs, but when you do, they are virtually guaranteed to be very reverently and beautifully done, especially if done by the Institute or Fraternity. This is striking in light of all the horror stories (no doubt exaggerated and not so common as some suggest, but nonetheless a very sad and widespread reality) you often hear of mumbled speed low masses in the the pre-conciliar days.

    And having said that, I will repeat what I said over at Shawn’s about this very moving and promising anecdote: This is a most encouraging living out of your “five rules” for our response to the motu proprio and the liberation of the classic rite. Or – even more appropriately – the St. Francis de Sales motto which the ICRSS has taken to its own heart: Veritatem facienties in caritate.

    I hope we hear more of these stories. It will encourage other novus ordo priests by allaying their fears, and allow a speedier reintegration of traditional Catholicism back into the mainstream of the Church – and, of course, in turn helping transform that mainstream as well.

  10. Patrick A. says:

    A vibrant Catholic Identity.

    I got it, we should all get tattoos! Or perhaps on this blog, tattooZ.

  11. michigancatholic says:

    Fr,

    No matter how we bend over backwards, we are still going to be accused of this in print. It’s part of the territory; it will be one of the things that will be said whether true or not simply because it’s rhetorically possible.

    We are going to have to go about our business, changing our mass-going habits if need be, and showing people in person that we are not out to do anything to people.

    There is room, in truth, for the Novus Ordo faithfully said, as well as the classical mass. Anyone who doubts it can refer to the pope’s paper or explain why he thinks the pope is wrong. It really is a diversity, issue, you see.

  12. michigancatholic says:

    Patrick,
    You already have one–on your soul. You were baptised, I trust.

  13. Patrick A. says:

    Michigan
    Point taken. But tattooZ would still be cool.

  14. Beth v. says:

    Well I just read the comments on the JPOST to that horrendous artice. Father Z, i think we will have to pray for more than our bishops.

  15. Richard says:

    Beth V.,
    Those comments on the JPOST article are sick. I’m so tired of people calling the Pope a Nazi. It’s one of the most ignorant, uneducated things a person can say, yet some people really do believe it (or want to believe it), as those comments attest. But the entire article seems like anti-Catholic polemics.

  16. The Guelf says:

    Father Z:

    From Down Under, congratulations on the marvellous work you do, keeping us informed Ad Multos Annos!

    The coverage so far reports that the MP will indicate that the TLM was never abolished.

    Do you think it will go further and say it can never be abolished? That’s a key sticking point with the SSPX as far as I understand it.

    Keep up the fantastic work!

  17. Guelph: I think that is highly unlikely. It seems to me that such a statement would improperly limit the authority of the Pope in a matter of discipline.

  18. JPT says:

    Begrudging, yes, but here is the Jerusalem Post’s correction of the article on the “Anti-Semitic” Tridentine Mass:

    http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1183053079059&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

  19. swmichigancatholic says:

    We don’t tell them how to do their Friday night services. They need to back out of how we do our masses.

    Think about history for once. The first Christians were Jews who recognized the divinity of Christ and we punished for it. Look it up. So it’s no surprise they think we’re wrong.

    We owe it to ourselves to be as honest about what we believe as they are about what they believe. Jews think Christ was an illigitimate human child. Period. We know he was divine, a member of the Trinity. Period. There is a conflict and that’s an honest statement. So anytime we put a fine point on talking about Christ and the theological events surrounding him (which are the foundations for the mass), they’re going to have a problem with it. Why is this a surprise???

  20. BobP says:

    My only comment is this: By having the New Rite said more “reverently,” wouldn’t
    that be just another excuse used by the bishops not to insert more Traditional
    Latin Masses in their dioceses? A unintended consequence of the Motu Proprio, perhaps?

  21. Craigmaddie says:

    My only comment is this: By having the New Rite said more “reverently,” wouldn’t
    that be just another excuse used by the bishops not to insert more Traditional
    Latin Masses in their dioceses? A unintended consequence of the Motu Proprio, perhaps?

    I fear that will be very common.