Excerpted from my weekly offering at One Peter Five:
Priests have the right to say three Masses on Christmas even without the canonical tolerance of them doing so on other days for pastoral reasons. And because the Gospel of the Mass in the Day is the same as the Last Gospel, the Prologue of John, at the end of the third Mass the priest omits a Last Gospel. Once upon a time, a Last Gospel from Matthew 2 was read, but by the time the 1962 Missale Romanum came out, I guess they figured that, after three Masses with three different formularies, Father could give it a rest.
That said, what a tragic loss it has been for so many priests who do not know or celebrate the Traditional Latin Mass, the Vetus Ordo, not to have had the formative experience of saying the awesome Prologue of John at the end of every Mass, day in and day out, year in and year out, decade in and decade out. No one was clamoring for the Last Gospel to be cut from the Mass. The Fathers of the Second Vatican Council mandated that no changes be made unless they were for the good of the Church and that no changes be made that are not in keeping with previous liturgical forms (Sacrosanctum Concilium, 23). How was removal of the Last Gospel for the good of the Church? Both of those mandates were severely violated in what was eventually produced in the name of the Council.
When there is a wound, steps must be taken to heal it. What happened after the Council produced a wound, a wound in the Church’s very heart, her sacred liturgical worship. A wound in every Catholic, because we are our rites. Benedict XVI took steps to heal the wound. What Benedict did in no way marred the post-Conciliar reforms. He placed the two Rites side-by-side in an irenic way to influence each other through “mutual enrichment.” Benedict wanted to “jump start” the natural, organic, patient development of the Church’s sacred liturgical worship that was wounded and interrupted by the forced imposition of an artificially pasted together Rite. What Benedict did was working. That’s why certain people are attempting to kill it, ironically in the name of the Council whose violated mandates gave us our liturgical heart problems to begin with. What they are doing won’t work. I believe that the wounded liturgical heart of the Church that Benedict defibrillated, converted, will now keep beating with an ever clearer and stronger traditional rhythm, countering the arrhythmia introduced in the 1960s, again being forced today so as to disunify the heart’s chambers even more, and to serve a larger agenda. But I digress.