Yes, everyone, there is good news from TT.
“But Father! But Father!”, you may be asking me. “Who is TT?”
Perpend, dear reader. It’s a “where” not a “who”.
My emphasesand comments.
Tridentine Mass returns to TT
Thursday, January 3 2008
MEMBERS of this country’s Roman Catholic community will be able to experience the Tridentine Mass throughout this week at the St Mary’s College Chapel in Port-of-Spain. [Trinidad and Tobago]
Mass is being said daily at 5 pm during the week and will be held at 8 am on Saturday. On the Feast of the Euphony, [I like this feast! Far better than the feast of Cacophony, which is what you hear in many parish churches.] a sung high mass, will be celebrated at the chapel at 9 am. Members from the traditional choir of the Sacred Heart Parish in Port-of-Spain will be singing at that special Latin Mass. [Apparently this is not so far scheduled as a fixed Mass.]
The Tridentine Mass was used in the Roman Catholic Church for almost 1500 years, until the introduction of the Mass of Pope Paul VI following the Second Vatican Council.
The ceremony is known as a Tridentine Mass because it was codified by the Council of Trent in the 16th century. However, the Mass itself is far older than that. The Canon, or central part, of the Mass dates back to the time of St Gregory in the sixth century.
In 1570, Pope St Pius V — in his Papal Bull Quo Primum — said priests could use the Tridentine rite forever, “without scruple of conscience or fear of penalty”. [Someone did their homework, though I suspect the source was on the SSPX or Sede Vacantist side. As a matter of fact, since these celebrations will go on only for about a week, I am wondering if the following scenario doesn’t fit. A priest from some traditionalist group has goone to TT, perhaps to substitute for the priest who needs to get away for a while. He refuses to say the Novus Ordo, so they have to have Mass in older rite if they are going to have Mass at all. Thus, the trad priest is interviewed and gives explanations, the choir is brought in, and some publicity is given. Sound about right?]
Following the Second Vatican Council, its public use was restricted by most Bishops. After the introduction of Pope Paul VI’s new Mass, the only priests given permission to say the Tridentine Mass publicly were priests of England and Wales, thanks to an indult (or permission) granted by the Vatican to Cardinal Heenan of Westminster.
Other priests — such as Padre Pio and Josemaria Escriva, the founder of Opus Dei — continued to use the old Mass privately in preference to the new rite.
One of the strengths of the Tridentine Mass is its uniformity. Wherever Catholics go in the world, the Tridentine Mass is exactly the same. The movements and gestures of the Mass are clearly prescribed, so there’s no room for “personalisation” of the liturgy. The time-honoured Latin of the Mass reverently reflects the sacrificial nature of the celebration.
The Second Vatican Council did not forbid use of the Tridentine Mass. In its Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, the Council said: “The use of the Latin language is to be preserved.” [This is a flaw. The writer is confused about the term “Latin Mass”, I think. We see this all the time and it is more worrisome now that Summorum Pontificum has derestricted the older form of Mass. Folks, we mustn’t let the concept of “Latin” be segregated away from the Novus Ordo and relegated only to the extraordinary form.] The Council merely gave permission for the limited introduction of the vernacular (or local language) into certain parts of the Mass when celebrated in public.
In the balance, not bad.
I have only one thing to add.
If some priest out there in, say, Tahiti, needs a break, I’m available.