Akron (Ohio) Beacon Journal: article on the TLM – a good read!

Here is some good news from Ohio via the Akron Beacon Journal.

My emphases and comments.

 Tridentine Mass is no longer rare in select parishes
Church resumes regular Masses in Latin

Gregorian chant also back in favor by Akron choir

By Colette M. Jenkins Beacon Journal religion writer

Published on Saturday, Nov 24, 2007

arry [sic] Rehman has always held a special place in his heart for the Tridentine Mass, which has a Latin liturgy.

”As a Roman Catholic, I believe that our personal relationship with Jesus Christ is the most important thing,” said Rehman, a Rootstown Township resident. ”This Mass mystically unites us with Christ and makes us one with him, and that’s the personal relationship to its highest.”

Rehman coordinates the Tridentine Mass at St. Mary Catholic Church in Akron, and he’s elated that Pope Benedict XVI has approved its wider use.

Since 1989, St. Mary has celebrated the Tridentine Mass twice a month. It was the only Latin-language liturgy offered in Akron [So, nothing was being done for the Novus Ordo in Latin.]  that had been approved by the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland since the end of the Second Vatican Council in 1965. [?]

Beginning on Dec. 2, the Mass will be celebrated in Latin at St. Mary every Sunday at 1 p.m.

The Tridentine rite was codified in 1570 as an outgrowth of the Council of Trent. It was modified several times until the last version was set by Pope John XXIII in 1962. The rite was the standard Roman Catholic liturgy for nearly four centuries.

After the Second Vatican Council (1963-1965), the Tridentine liturgy was replaced by what is now generally referred to as the Mass of the Missal of Pope Paul VI. This Novus Ordo, as it is called, was formalized in 1969 and used English or the vernacular language of various countries rather than Latin. It also expanded use of Scripture and roles for lay people. And it called for the ”full, conscious, active participation of the laity in the Mass.”  [One of many calls for active participation in the Church’s history.]

Reverence and mystery

The Rev. Thomas J. Scirghi, a liturgical theology professor at the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley, Calif., said some believe
that the Tridentine Mass, or Extraordinary Rite, contains a reverence and mystery that the newer, Ordinary Rite of Vatican II does not.  [Doesn’t this sound like part of the entry I started over here?]

Scirghi said for those who prefer to worship with the Extraordinary Rite, the pope’s directive is an affirmation of what they’ve been doing all along — keeping the mystery and reverence in the liturgy.  [It’s all about the mystery!]

For some of those who prefer the Ordinary Rite, however, the directive stirred fear that the Catholic Church was going back to the days before the Second Vatican Council, Scirghi said.

”Some suggested that, in a way, we are setting up two churches,” he said. ”But the pope addressed that, saying we now have to work out how to unify. With this directive, he is sending the message that church unity is important and that we must make all of the people feel included in the church.  [Not just "feel".  Papa Ratzinger wants this go to beyond feelings.  Remember, he is steeped in the Fathers, who had clear ideas about unity and a horror, well-founded theological horror, of schism.]

”What I think we have to recognize is, we’re not the same church or the same people since the Second Vatican Council [HUH?  There are some people who truly believe that both Church and people have evolved, matured.  Their needs have evolved.  We are no longer like the little medieval children.   Talk about a hermeneutic of discontinuity!] and we’re not going to change people to go back into that world that was created in the Middle Ages. . . .

”If the Tridentine Mass helps people pray and helps people recognize God in their midst and helps people develop a concern for those in need and for social justice, then I’m all for it.”  [Behold: Rule 4]

Ordinary Rite standard

Scirghi said he expects the Ordinary Rite to remain the standard in most dioceses.  [We must dissect this.  First, if he means "more prevalent", we can agree.  It will.  However, the newer form of Mass can never be considered the "standard" for the Roman Rite in the sense of benchmark, model, point of reference.  The "standard" for the Roman Rite is clearly the older form of Mass in its most solemn celebration, sung, with the bishop.  Or am I wrong?]

In 1984, Pope John Paul II allowed the Tridentine Mass of 1962 to go back into limited use, and he encouraged local bishops to make its celebration available to people in their dioceses.  [Right.  He did not encourage them to drag their feet!  That game has been played before.]

Pope Benedict’s directive, released July 7 in a four-page apostolic letter titled ”Summorum Pontificum,” states that the Tridentine Mass of 1962 is to be made available in parishes where ”a group of faithful attached to the previous liturgical tradition exists stably.”  [WOW WOW WOW!   This reporter did some homework!  Notice that this doesn’t say "stable group"?  Well done!]

In the Tridentine Rite, the priest prays in Latin, facing the altar with his back to the congregation, and a sermon is optional. It also has only one version of the Eucharistic Prayer — the moment when Catholics believe the bread and wine become the body and blood of Christ.

The newer rite, the Novus Ordo, offers at least nine additional versions of the Eucharistic Prayer. It has three readings from Scripture, instead of two, and some may be done by lay people. The priest usually faces the congregation and must give a homily each Sunday.

Rehman said the expansion of the use of the Tridentine Mass is an opportunity ”to recover a sense of the sacred and the transcendent through a God-centered worship.”

Bringing back the chant

In addition to celebrating the Tridentine Mass every Sunday, all the sacraments are offered at St. Mary according to the same 1962 missal of Pope John XXIII. A new a cappella choir is being trained in Gregorian Chant by Christopher McCloskey of Pittsburgh. The choir rehearses at 7 p.m. Wednesdays.  [I like this.  It tells people who might want to participation when to show up.]

The Novus Ordo Mass of Vatican II allowed for the use of varying styles, vernacular hymns and musical selections other than Gregorian Chant.  [I think the older form does as well.  Still, this is a major point that emerged from Vatican II, far more freedom for sacred music in the liturgy.  This is something that needs greater consideration.  The Holy Father is putting this issue into the spot light and giving direction.  Watch for a change in the Maestro of the Cappella Sistina!]

”All of the documents, of Vatican II and later, strongly state that ‘chant must retain pride of place’ regardless of if it is a Tridentine or vernacular Mass,” McCloskey said. ”Unfortunately, chant had been done so poorly in this country that when we were able to do something else, everyone took that option. As a choir, we are trying to give back to the congregation the lost heritage of chant, and we are doing it as well as our talents allow.”  [That is all anyone can ask!]

Churches with Latin [Novus Ordo?  I bet not.]

In addition to St. Mary in Akron, one other church in the eight-county Cleveland diocese — Immaculate Conception in Cleveland — regularly celebrates the Tridentine Mass. The Cleveland diocese includes Summit, Medina and Wayne counties.

One church in the six-county Catholic Diocese of Youngstown, which includes Stark and Portage counties, offers the Tridentine Mass — Queen of the Holy Rosary in Vienna.

The Rev. Edward T. Estok, administrative assistant to Cleveland Bishop Richard G. Lennon and rector at St. John’s Cathedral in Cleveland, said the Novus Ordo Mass can be celebrated in any language, including Latin.  [ESPECIALLY Latin!]

”The use of the language is not the crux of the matter,” [But it is important.] Estok said. ”The essence of the difference in the two rites has much less to do with the use of Latin and much more to do with the structure of the rite — the options in the prayers, the manner of participation by the assembly [I dispute this.  The more imporant manner of participation is exactly the same: interior active receptivity.  The new form allows people to carry stuff around a little more, etc.  But is that really being more "active"?  It is easy to read aloud, or carry stuff, and have your mind be a thousand miles away.] and the variety of ministers within the Mass.”

Colette Jenkins [well done!] can be reached at 330-996-3731 or cjenkins@thebeaconjournal.com. 


This is a pretty good article.  There was some research.  Some clarification of concepts.  Some concrete pieces of useful information.    

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  1. WFW says:

    The Washington Post today published an article about a solemn requiem at St. Rita Catholic Church in Alexandria, VA. Here is the link http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/11/23/AR2007112301549.html?sid=ST2007112400613

    Ordinary Setting was Missa pro Defunctus by TL de Victoria

  2. I have an interview with the local religion editor on Wednesday about the Summorum Pontificum and the new addition of Mass in the extraordinary form at my parish. Aside from the obvious points, what would you say to a reporter covering this story?

  3. Sacerdos: You MUST talk about the Holy Father’s broader vision, his plan for the Church.

    And you can tell him to call me.

  4. Henry Edwards says:

    Father Z: The “standard” for the Roman Rite is clearly the older form of Mass in its most solemn celebration, sung, with the bishop. Or am I wrong?

    You are right. In addition to the liturgical meaning of “standard” that I think you intend, I’d suggest that the “standard form” of the Roman rite must be the one that has the established structure and stability needed to survive for the long haul. The older form has exhibited this stability for over a thousand years, whereas the newer form has not yet attained it, and indeed appears to be going in the opposite direction.

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