I am guessing that this might freak out a few people, but here goes. I received this from a regular reader via e-mail.
A priest who regularly celebrates both forms of the Roman rite — and while celebrating the newer form sometimes finds himself through force of habit inserting gestures from the older form — forwarded to me the following question (regarding the particular GIRM 2002 norms appended below…):
"Given that Paul VI presumably did not foresee the regular celebration by priests of both the newer order of Mass and the traditional order, and given that Pope Benedict XVI sometimes appears to follow the older rubrics in ways not clearly consistent with the new rubrics — e.g., in regard to the gestures specified in No. 148 for the dialog before the Preface — how ought a ‘bi-formal’ priest interpret No. 42 of the IGMR 2002 as he attempts to celebrate faithfully both forms of the Roman rite, given a natural tendency for one form of celebration to influence the other over time?"
He has also mentioned Pope Benedict’s insertion of extra signs of the cross, e.g., before the priest’s communion. More generally, how is "the traditional practice of the Roman rite" to be interpreted, now that the Roman rite juridically has two equally valid forms?
I myself wonder whether Pope Benedict might actual hope that some such "mutual enrichment" will occur.
Movements and Posture
42. The gestures and posture of the priest, the deacon, and the ministers, as well as those of the people, ought to contribute to making the entire celebration resplendent with beauty and noble simplicity, so that the true and full meaning of the different parts of the celebration is evident and that the participation of all is fostered. Therefore, attention should be paid to what is determined by this General Instruction and the traditional practice of the Roman Rite and to what serves the common spiritual good of the People of God, rather than private inclination or arbitrary choice.
"Bi-formal"…. what a term!
This raises good questions.
My own opinion is that Pope Benedict foresees that this "mutual enrichment" will take place over time. It must. I use the image of "gravitational pull", because I think that the newer form will be drawn more closely to the older form, and not the other way around. I suspect that is what the Pope had in mind as well, namely, that the older should influence the newer, more than the newer would influence the older.
Eventually, over who knows how long, perhaps there might be a kind of tertium quid which emerges organically from the dynamic of the the two forms in one Roman Rite.
However it may go, as the ’60-’80’s crowd of priests goes to dust, the younger men – lacking the baggage of that previous generation – will carry the project forward.
But the priest who wrote the notes above puts his finger on something: in celebration of the Novus Ordo, a man accustomed to the older form, will very naturally tend to adjust the Novus Ordo in the direction of the traditional form. But in his style, or ars celebrandi, and in certain gestures, he will "trad" the Novus Ordo. Last night, for example, in a parish Mass – Novus Ordo/English/versus populum – I quite automatically kissed the altar at "we pray that your angel may take this sacrifice from this altar…", and I quite automatically genuflected before receiving from the chalice. An "oops" ran through my head, but… I admit not with very much regret. Those things were not exactly "doing the red", after all. They were mistakes. But are they perhaps mistakes – I don’t know – in the direction things are supposed to go? They were mistakes … but… from the Roman Rite!
The 2002MR has the return of the oratio super populum for Masses during Lent. It has, for example, a Vigil of Ascension (Thursday, of course). So, in the formularies and calendar, there have been adjustments back toward Roman elements even before Papa Ratzinger was elected.
Benedict XVI, Papa Ratzinger, did not implement Summorum Pontificum so that he could create discontinuity between two separate forms of the Roman Rite. Think about it.
Based on what I remember of my conversations with him about this very topic years ago, he foresees that this will jump start the organic process of a living liturgical develop which was so brutally interrupted by the artificial/academic pasting together and then imposition of the Novus Ordo in Advent 1969.
The question remains: Is living, organic development in the Church’s liturgical life possible without violations of the codified rubrics?