In his Questions & Answers column titled "More Tridentine Trouble: Confusion Continues to Surround Pope's Approval for Wider Use of This Mass in Latin" (Our Sunday Visitor, Oct. 7, 2007), Msgr. M. Francis Mannion gives an answer to this question: "What is your take on the Tridentine Mass...?" Msgr. Mannion answers: "'Traditionalists' who are attached to the Tridentine Mass and do not like the Mass of Pope Paul VI, or the Novus Ordo, are generally opposed to the Second Vatican Council in a number of important areas -- particularly its teaching on ecumenism, religious freedom and the modern world." Ecumenism and religious freedom are not doctrines, but policies. He continues: "The liturgy [the new vernacular Mass] cannot be separated from a whole worldview...." The modern world, a whole worldview? This is the Spirit of the Age. Ah, but this spirit changes. Pope Benedict says in his letter to bishops that accompanied Summorum Pontificum (July 7, 2007), his motu proprio liberating the Tridentine Mass, "There is no contradiction between the two editions of the Roman Missal [Tridentine Mass and New Mass]. In the history of the liturgy there is growth and progress, but no rupture" (italics added).
As for Msgr. Mannion's subtitle, "Confusion Continues to Surround Pope's Approval...," Benedict also says in his letter to the bishops, "the new missal...frequently led to deformations of the liturgy which were hard to bear. I am speaking from experience, since I too lived through that period with all its hopes and its confusion" (italics added). We hope Benedict will eliminate the confusion engendered by Vatican II. It will be a Herculean task.
Msgr. Mannion says, "It is also said that the so-called old Mass is attractive to youth. This may not be a blessing.... This phenomenon should be examined carefully so that ritualism (a love of ritual and not much else) is not encouraged." Benedict also says in his letter to the bishops, "it has clearly been demonstrated that young persons too have discovered this liturgical form [the Tridentine Mass], felt its attraction and found in it a form of encounter with the mystery of the most holy Eucharist particularly suited to them." Benedict does not mention "ritualism"; he implies that the Tridentine Mass is a blessing for young persons.
In a New Oxford Note (May 2007, pp. 14-16), we said, "Msgr. Mannion is not fond of the indult Tridentine Latin Mass, and he expected it to go away. In the book Beyond the Prosaic (1998), edited by Stratford Caldecott, Msgr. Mannion says that the indult Tridentine Mass is 'only...a temporary measure.'... In his Questions and Answers column in Our Sunday Visitor (March 18 ), Msgr. Mannion gives an answer to this question: 'I have read in various Catholic publications that Pope Benedict XVI is going to reintroduce [free up] the Tridentine Mass.... Why do some people oppose these plans?'... Msgr. Mannion answers: 'Those who are unenthusiastic about a further reintroduction of the Tridentine Mass, including myself, generally operate on the principle that the Church should be united around one liturgy and that no liturgy should be used in the Church that does not reflect the reform of the Second Vatican Council.'"
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