For a long time I have thought that Joseph Ratzinger’s view was that side-by-side use of the older form of the Roman Rite and the newer Novus Ordo would eventually produce a tertium quid. I wrote about that in the early 90’s. I have written about it in the 10’s. The reason I though this is because I actually had conversations with Card. Ratzinger about this. I think, however, that his thought has shifted over time, though it runs along the same line.
Note: Don’t imagine for a moment that Benedict wants or thinks this will happen quickly. It is going to happen, one way or another and whether we want it to or not. For the good of the Church it has to happen over time. I don’t think I will see it in my lifetime, frankly, and I am fine with that. But I think it is going to happen. And, if such a thing is going to produce something good, it MUST be guided with the strong influence of the Extraordinary Form. More the Extraordinary Form than the Ordinary, in my opinion.
In any event, I saw today a story on CNS by fellow-Minnesotan John Thavis which deals with this question. I mentioned the other day the talk given By. Card. Koch at the conference in Rome. It was the talk I did not translate from the pages of L’Osservatore Romano. My emphases and comments.
Pope’s ‘reform of the reform’ in liturgy to continue, cardinal says
By John Thavis
Catholic News Service
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Benedict XVI’s easing of restrictions on use of the 1962 Roman Missal, known as the Tridentine rite, is just the first step in a “reform of the reform” in liturgy, the Vatican’s top ecumenist said. [A renewal of our identity through a renewal of our worship is also a dimension of ecumenical dialogue with separated Christians, especially the Orthodox. Ecumenism goes in two directions. They have to see that we are getting serious about our worship.]
The pope’s long-term aim is not simply to allow the old and new rites to coexist, but to move toward a “common rite” that is shaped by the mutual enrichment of the two Mass forms, Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, said May 14.
In effect, the pope is launching a new liturgical reform movement, [Something he called for years ago in his Spirit of the Liturgy.] the cardinal said. Those who resist it, including “rigid” progressives, mistakenly view the Second Vatican Council as a rupture with the church’s liturgical tradition, he said.
Cardinal Koch made the remarks at a Rome conference on “Summorum Pontificum,” Pope Benedict’s 2007 apostolic letter that offered wider latitude for use of the Tridentine rite. The cardinal’s text was published the same day by L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper.
Cardinal Koch said Pope Benedict thinks the post-Vatican II liturgical changes have brought “many positive fruits” [It would be good to list those.] but also problems, including a focus on purely practical matters and a neglect of the paschal mystery in the Eucharistic celebration. [I believe that some writer for the SSPX attacked the “paschal mystery” focus that emerged after the Council. If I remember correctly.] The cardinal said it was legitimate to ask whether liturgical innovators had intentionally gone beyond the council’s stated intentions. [The answer is, of course, yes – they did.]
He said this explains why Pope Benedict has introduced a new reform movement, beginning with “Summorum Pontificum.” [I call it part of his “Marshall Plan”.] The aim, he said, is to revisit Vatican II’s teachings in liturgy and strengthen certain elements, including the Christological and sacrificial dimensions of the Mass.
Cardinal Koch said “Summorum Pontificum” is “only the beginning of this new liturgical movement.” [Quite right.]
“In fact, Pope Benedict knows well that, in the long term, we cannot stop at a coexistence between the ordinary form and the extraordinary form of the Roman rite, but that in the future the church naturally will once again need a common rite,” he said. [I think we could stop with that. But I don’t think it will stop with that.]
“However, because a new liturgical reform cannot be decided theoretically, [Exactly what was tried during after the Council. Disaster ensued.] but requires a process of growth and purification, the pope for the moment is underlining above all that the two forms of the Roman rite can and should enrich each other,” he said.
Cardinal Koch said those who oppose this new reform movement and see it as a step back from Vatican II lack a proper understanding of the post-Vatican II liturgical changes. As the pope has emphasized, Vatican II was not a break or rupture with tradition but part of an organic process of growth, he said. [Not all will agree. But Curial cardinals are not going to say something like this without including also the party line.]
On the final day of the conference, participants attended a Mass celebrated according to the Tridentine rite at the Altar of the Chair in St. Peter’s Basilica. Cardinal Walter Brandmuller presided over the liturgy. It was the first time in several decades that the old rite was celebrated at the altar. [And may it happen far more frequently. Perhaps the next time coram Romano Pontifice?]
After the devastation WWII the USA helped to rebuild Europe in order to foster trade and support a bulwark against Communism. In the wake of the devastation caused by a hermeneutic of discontinuity after the Second Vatican Council, Pope Benedict is trying to revitalize our Catholic identity as a bulwark against the dictatorship of relativism.
The renewal of our Catholic identity requires a realigning of the Roman Rite. This realigning requires the Extraordinary Form. There is no way around it. We have to renew our liturgical worship in order to be who we are within Holy Church, so that we can have an impact, as Catholic disciples of the Lord, on the world around us. If we don’t know who we are, no one will pay attention to us or what we might have to offer.