Blog Published



Over a year ago, Pope Francis issued the apostolic letter Traditionis Custodes (July 16, 2021) on the use of the Latin Missal of St. John XXIII (1962).

But the pope made clear his desire that the Missal promulgated by St. Paul VI (1970) be "the unique expression of the lex orandi of the Roman Rite."

While he also said that it is up to diocesan bishops to regulate the practice of the pre-Vatican II Mass, he gave them guidance in a restrictive sense. That Mass is permitted but should not be promoted. It prescribed, for example, that there should be no new groups for such Masses, that priests should ask permission to celebrate it, and that if newly ordained priests wished to be initiated in the ancient rite, they should ask permission from their bishops, who would consult the Holy See.

Almost a year later, on June 29, 2022, the Holy Father signed a new apostolic letter entitled Desiderio Desideravi, on the liturgical formation of the people of God. It is a kind of meditation very rich in eucharistic spirituality.

In addition to reiterating what was said in the previous "Motu Proprio", he now calls upon priests to cultivate the true "ars celebrandi" (the art of celebrating the Liturgy). That art must not degenerate into an "imaginative — sometimes wild — creativity without rules." (No. 48)

Father Klaus Demmer, a professor of morals at the Gregorian University, said it with a lapidary phrase: "The purpose of the rubrics is to protect the people of God against the subjectivism of the clergy."

Last July 22, the archbishop of Washington, Cardinal Wilton D. Gregory, issued norms limiting celebrations according to the Missal of St. John XXIII. But he said something interesting, namely, that those who attend these Masses are parishioners who, for the most part, are not against the Second Vatican Council or the current Mass. They are mostly people who go to the preconciliar Mass for reasons of devotion.

Therein lies a significant detail. The Latin Mass is celebrated with a lot of reverence and a sense of transcendence, and also with unmistakably sacred music, all of which moves to devotion.

However, not a few priests celebrate the current Mass, according to the Missal of St. Paul VI, in a less than devout manner. It seems that they approach the Mass as if it belonged to the world of show business. They seek to entertain or amuse the people present with witticisms, antics and occurrences. They also manipulate the sacred texts with deletions, additions and changes. They do so with good will, but these alterations distract and scandalize the participants in the liturgical action.

One should proceed with special fidelity when praying the Ordinary of the Mass, which includes prefaces and eucharistic prayers. In ancient times the eucharistic prayer was called "canon," that is, fixed or immutable.

The 2004 Instruction Redemptionis Sacramentum, on what to do and what to avoid in relation to the Most Holy Eucharist, retains its full force. It is an excellent read for both seminarians and those already ordained.

Never forget the conciliar teaching on the presence of Christ in the Liturgy: "Rightly, then, the liturgy is considered as an exercise of the priestly office of Jesus Christ." (SC No. 7)

The ministerial priest has ample room for creativity in the preparation of the homily, liturgical preaching, something that often leaves much to be desired. But in the rest of the Mass, the priest or bishop does not have to do more than lend his voice in a clear and meaningful way, and use his hands to perform the gestures and actions of rigor. The ministerial celebrant lends his hands and voice to the one who is the main celebrant of the Mass.

Let us say it clearly and unambiguously, the main celebrant of the Mass is Jesus Christ, the Eternal and High Priest.

This blog originally appeared as a column in the August 2022 edition of La Voz Católica.

Comments from readers

Charles Howard - 08/26/2022 01:29 PM
Hello Fr. Eduardo, thank you for posting of this article. After reading your comments and publications mentioned, I find that even if many of us could read the publications in regards to the Mass itself and feel inspired by what is said, there is overwhelming evidence though that the leadership of the Church should re-examine the structure of the Roman Rite Mass in the earlier centuries and why it was in Latin in the first place and why the necessity of silence. Even with the above mentioned publications listed, how many would understand such language when there is much abuse and distraction in the Mass? Therefore, I think otherwise, the Latin Mass needs to be not only promoted but restored. If the other rites can have their Masses in their lanagues such as Greek- Ukranian, Indian or Slovic, then us in the Roman Rite should be permitted to pray in Latin and have the priest as our 'mediator' between us and God. Thank you.
Elizabeth Calero - 08/23/2022 09:43 AM
Gracias por tan esclarecedor escrito.
Joaquin Rodriguez - 08/22/2022 10:22 PM
Soy sacerdote desde 1972. Empecé el Seminario en pleno Concilio Vaticano II y participé con compromiso y entusiasmo en la evolución del trabajo de los padres conciliares. Digo esto para animar a todos los fieles, tanto si participan en la liturgia de la Iglesia que es hoy de unidad , como si no entienden las razones del Concilio. Hoy veo un rechazo a la forma ordinaria que más parece producto de prejuicios inducidos por la falta de conocimientos y de una buena catequesis y por la influencia de pastores que adolecen de lo mismo, aunque en ellos no tiene excusa; a menos que estén animados de mala intención, cosa que sería muy triste y lamentable.
Lesley Vaitekunas - 08/22/2022 01:55 PM
Mass is beautiful always, it brings Heaven to earth.But, When a priest celebrates with great reverence it really opens hearts more and is so awesome to see the love and reverence he has for Jesus. It helps the people to celebrate with more love for Jesus themselves. I know the Eucharist is Jesus no matter whether the priest is reverent or not,but, reverent priests really open hearts! Amen!
Rafael María Calvo Forte - 08/22/2022 10:12 AM
Estoy totalmente de acuerdo con ud. viví intensamente el desarrollo del Concioio Vaticano II como algo muy positivo para el Pueblo de Dios. De frente al pueblo, lengua vernácula, comunión de pie, diaconado permanente, ministros extraordinarios de la comunión, tres ciclos de lectura, cantos del pueblo y con el pueblo. De pronto han surgido cual ave fénix emociones por celebración del rito tridentino. Tenemos dos ritos, esto divide y crea tensiones. Gusto por los encajes, almidones, capas, bonetes y el latín que no entienden. Ojalá el Papa Francisco deje establecido un solo rito romano.
VALLI Leone - 08/22/2022 09:24 AM
Thank you, Father Eduardo, for another insightful and very helpful article on the beauty of the holy Mass. The wisdom of Pope Francis, through the power of the Holy Spirit, leads and guides our Church in ways too numerous to count. Yes, I agree that the pre-Vatican II Mass should be permitted occasionally but not promoted. I believe that Jesus Christ, the main Celebrant, desires to receive personal praise and to reach his people in their own language and that liturgy is not an outside job but more of an inside one. The truth spoken in love always wins! Alleluia! 🔆🕊🔆

Powered by Parish Mate | E-system

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply