Pope Benedict XVI Is Ambivalent About the Second Vatican Council

January 2008

Richard R. Gaillardetz is making a stink about Pope Benedict's motu proprio freeing the Tridentine Mass. In an article in Commonweal (Oct. 12, 2007) titled "Between Reform & Rupture," he cites Sacrosanctum Concilium (#50), saying that at the Second Vatican Council the bishops' intentions were that "The rite of the Mass is to be revised in such a way that...active participation by the faithful may be more easily achieved. To this end, the rites are to be simplified, due care being taken to preserve their substance. Duplications made with the passage of time are to be omitted, as are less useful additions."

Gaillardetz says, "Insofar as the Paul VI missal is widely regarded as the fruit of Vatican II's most far-reaching reform initiative, Benedict's championing of the Tridentine rite suggests something about his ambivalent attitude toward the council." Says Gaillardetz, at Vatican II, "the Tridentine rite was judged as insufficient to the needs of the church." The NOR counters that the New Mass is insufficient. With the Tridentine Mass, weekly attendance in 1958 was at 74 percent; with the New Mass, weekly attendance in 2005 was at 34 percent. The New Mass has brought with it a great decline in the health of the Church.

Gaillardetz says, "Yet Benedict is now raising up the unrevised 1962 [Tridentine] missal as an alternative to the 1969 [Paul VI] missal. His motu proprio also allows the other sacraments, reforms of which were equally central to the council's vision, to be celebrated according to their pre-conciliar form.... It may be tempting to attribute to Benedict a form of neo-integrism...."

Says Gaillardetz, "Vatican II clearly did not represent a macro-rupture, but the council did effect specific micro-ruptures, especially with regard to religious freedom, the church stance toward Judaism, the need for fundamental reform of the liturgy, and our understanding of the relationship among the hierarchy, clergy, and laity."

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New Oxford Notes: January 2008

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Could you imagine, the Second Ecumenical Council of Trent? We could only pray and hope for such a wonderful event! If only it could be so, whether the name was Trent or any other place so long as they were of like essence.

Sancrosanctum Concilium says, as quoted in the article, that the intent of the New Mass is that "active participation by the faithful may be more easily achieved." As a worshiper at the New Mass for many years, I have to say I can more actively participate in the traditional Latin Mass than I could at the New Mass. In the New Mass, my mind is constantly focused on the priest and on the people around me. With all of the responses, I can be distracted by the words I have to speak. However I truly believe I am more of an active participant now as a worshiper at the traditional Latin Mass. In the silence, the chant, the prayers, my heart is joined to the priest and to the other Faithful gathered. I find internally I participate more which leads to greater prayerfulness, a greater spiritual participation, and a greater unity with all those worshiping together with me. That, to me, is full participation.

Pax Christi tecum.
Posted by: StBasil777
January 07, 2008 04:17 PM EST
Someone should develop a web site to count Catholics who want to have Tridentine Mass in their neighborhood parish. This would include the person's name and the names and locations of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd choices of parishes where they would like to have the Tridentine Mass celebrated. Some provision would have to be made to keep confidential the names and addresses of the requestors as this information seems to be required for a petition. It seems a device such as this would speed up the movement toward effecting Benedict XVI's Summorum Pontificum. I really do not know much about setting up web sites, just thought this would be a successful idea. Posted by: joreill
January 10, 2008 12:16 PM EST
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