October 11, 2006

Indult Rumors

She's a comin'. Winter. Whopping 35 degrees Fahrenheit in St. Paul today. They are talking snow flurries later. It's raining now.

Is greater latitude to offer the Indult Mass (1962 Missal) coming too? Rumors have been flying through the Catholic blogosphere for a few days.

If more priests are allowed to offer the Indult Mass without having to get the permission of their local Bishop, I still don't see thousands of priests throwing their VII Missals away. I think it's likely that some of the larger, more conservative, parishes may offer one Mass as an Indult but keep the current order of the Mass in the vernacular on their schedule too.

Could the latitude for the Indult give more parishes the sense that they can offer the current Mass in the vernacular but with Latin prayers (i.e. the EWTN Daily Mass)?

The "liberal" parishes will ignore the Indult, like they pretty much ignore the current order of the Mass anyway. But, not without much wailing and crying out: "This is the end." "This will drive more people out of the church." Whine, Whine.

It seems to me that I'm really going to have to learn more Latin. That's the main concern I have. We can't even find enough Catholics to teach good, faithful, RCIA programs. Where are we going to find Catholics to teach Latin basics? I don't think we need to be fluent in Latin but we should at least understand enough "Church" Latin. Do we have enough Priests with the time and the capability to teach Latin? I really don't want to read the Latin out of the Missalette with no understanding of what I'm saying. I think some education will be in order but how that will come about, I don't know.

This rumored Indult latitude proclamation could have an impact on Church architecture. How many parishes still have high altars that survived the Blast (er, the 1970's)? Is Dick Vosko out of business? Hee-hee. Technically, I suppose, you can do a 1962 Mass ad orientem with a freestanding altar but it's just not the "same". Will high altars make a comeback from the marble crushers of Hell? Will some parishes elect not to do the Indult Mass because they don't have a high altar anymore?

Music. Will the classic Catholic Masses of history and Chant become more prevalent? How many parishes still have an organ? Will the folk guitar meet a sad end (Please, God) Will we have a generation of modern Mozarts, Bachs and Handels? Is anyone up to the challenge of composing music and voice for a Mass?

Of course, this is all speculative until, or if, we get confirmation from Rome. Just some of my thoughts. Yours?


Blogger Unknown said...

Good post, Cathy.

I couldn't imagine that there would be more than 10 or 20 parishes out of the 220 parishes in the Archdiocese that would have a regularly scheduled Latin Tridentine Mass.

There are only a few that use the Novus Ordo Latin Mass, and that is authorized for all now.

First of all, Priests would have to be fluent in Latin before the Bishop would authorize them to have a Tridentine Mass. Few priests have studied much Latin, I would bet since 1975.

With respect to the congregation, unless a person is super-scrupulous, it is not necessary to know Latin to get value out of the old Mass. You would need a traditional missal, though, with Latin and the rubrics on one page and English (or Spanish) and the rubrics on the facing page. (Rubrics are the instructions for the priest, the servers and the congregation).

I was an altar boy for four years. We were only tought how to pronounce the words and then required to memorize the responses to the priests prayers. I suppose there were maybe 20 or so, some quite short, some, like the Confiteor (I Confess) fairly long.

There was a "cheat sheet" card on the floor by the altar boys but I don't think I ever saw people use them very often. I might have once or twice myself, I suppose.

We didn't "understand" what the priest was saying, but we knew the order of the Mass and what the words sounded like that required a response. Sometimes the priest had a signal, like placing his hand on the altar, to let us know that it was time to do a certain thing.

I have not seen a reference as to whether or not women could be servers. But training dependable servers might be as big a chore as getting well trained priests versed in Latin.

I suppose a priest could say the Tridentine Mass without a server as in those days it was required that he say Mass every day. And he wouldn't always be in his school parish with available servers.

Much of the Tridentine Mass has the priests say the prayers of the Offertory and Communion quietly so that even the servers couldn't hear or understand him. So that would be true for the congregation. But dedicated parishioners would quickly learn the order of the Mass and be easily able to follow it in their Missal.

The price of those missals, now over $50 would surely drop down to less than $20 with the greatly increased demand for them.

I have grown to like the Novus Ordo Mass when it is done well. I was often bored, even with my missal, when I was in the pews as a boy. But my spiritual life then rated about a 3 on the 100 point scale.

It is higher today, so if the indult comes, and a Latin Mass becomes easily available for me, I surely will have to give it a try, but only with a missal. It will be interesting to see if I will be able to pay attention.

But then, during the initial "server crisis", maybe we seniors will be drafted back into service as altar boys.

Let's see. . . .

How does it go?

Ad Deum qui laetificat juventutem meam
Qui fecit caelum et terram
Et cum Spiritu tuo.

Well, I've still got some of it.

Confiteor Deo, pater omnipotenti, beatae Mariae semper Virginae . . . . (That one's gonna take some work).

October 11, 2006 12:39 PM  
Blogger Geometricus said...

My experience is that the most vociferous opposition to the pre-VII mass comes from the over-60 crowd. This was counter-intutive to me at first, but I would say that the majority of that age who attend mass would be disturbed by the major changes they would have to make in the way they celebrate mass. They grew up with the old mass, made the major switch to vernacular in the 60's and 70's and they don't want to "change back" so-to-speak.

The young families I know are either ambivalent or enthusiastic about experiencing a Tridentine mass at least once. But I doubt that even my conservative parish would have one, as my pastor does not want to "rock the boat" with his main constituency, the over-60 crowd.

I am a convert, and the first Tridentine mass I attended ended up being SSPX, and I didn't know it until I got there. I was in Washington D.C. and saw a Latin mass advertised in the yellow pages (it even said priest in good standing with the local diocese), so I took the train way out to WolfTrap to attend, being currently in love with chant and all things Latin. But when I got there the church actually had Archbishop LeFebrve and rouge bishop Castro-Meyer enshrined in stained glass. I decided to stay just to observe, but headed to a real Catholic church for a licit mass later that day. Needless to say I did not receive communion at the SSPX mass after hearing rogue "Bishop" Williamson from Winona MN tell me that I belonged to the "Mickey Mouse catholic church" in his "homily" which was really just one big screed.

But I have to say I also didn't realize the extent to which participation on the part of the congregation was strictly internal. I don't even think I uttered so much as an "Pater Noster" during the mass. Not that I have to speak, but I am so used to it in the Novus Ordo. But even when people went up to communion, the "Amen" after the "Corpus Christi" was said for them! Now maybe I need to attend a real licit indult mass to compare, but I have heard that it is not much different. Apparently in the old days a good Catholic would not make a single peep during mass. Not that this wouldn't be refreshing in this age of external "participation."

October 11, 2006 4:03 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Good post, Geometricus. Welcome Home to Rome and to St Blog's Parish, as we call the world of Catholic bloggers. Make sure that you register at the parish to get more visitors to your blog.

I've got you on my Blogroll (list of blogs) per Cathy's recommendation.

I guess, being 64, I agree with you but I am more interested than most in giving it a try as long as I have a missal. I wasn't going to church between 1960 and 81 and so I wasn't caught up in the change, or in the fantasy hopes that most geezers had then for the Church. So I'm not disappointed, on the contrary, to see the conservative movement in the Church today.

But I can't see more than 5 of 10%, if that, of Catholics going back to the Tridentine Mass in Latin on a regular basis.

I just caught a comment on the New Advent blog from an Austrian Catholic:

"The rumor(s) have always been that B-XVI would issue a universal indult: Any Roman Rite priest would be free to celebrate the older Rite whenever he wanted."

"What's interesting about this possibility is this: The Tridentine Rite, like the newer one, was always subject to local norms. So, in German-speaking countries, the long-standing manner of celebration with the people was to have German-language hymns for the people, to substitute for the Kyrie, Gloria, Sanctus, and certain other parts, and to use the Apostle's Creed for the Nicene. The priest and servers, of course, would say the standard parts in Latin. This is still done here in Austria where the older Rite is celebrated. The problem is, would the old local norms still be in force, and what are they? Who would regulate it? And what's to stop liturgical innovation--in other words, say a liberal priest learns Latin and exercises his right to use the 1962 Missal, precisely to make the same kind of "improvements" as he does currently. What's to stop him? It would do a world of harm to the Tridentine Rite to have it badly celebrated, and it would be a savvy strategy for a nefarious priest or bishop."

"I hope the rumors are true, and I hope they come true in an adequate fashion."

Posted by: Mario | October 12, 2006 at 01:10 AM


For some reason, it had slipped my mind that all the readings of the Mass of the Catechumens which is what the Ordinary of the Mass was called, will be in Latin. That creates a problem for the celebrant who is supposed to give a homily related to the Mass readings for the day. I wonder if it would be possible to give the readings in English and still adhere to the Tridentine rite?

Well, if they make that change, what other changes might enterprising celebrants make. The commenter "Mario" is correct in worrying about the possibility of great harm being done to the Tridentine Mass.

October 12, 2006 5:53 AM  
Blogger RAnn said...

Much ado about nothing. The Pope could promulgate a decree allowing priests to say mass buck naked if they said it in Swahili, but I doubt it would affect the vestment business. IMO if there was a strong demand for the TLM, there would be more indult masses. Today's average overworked priest who is saying four masses every weekend isn't going to want to write another homily to use at a mass that has different readings, nor is he likely to want to tick off his congregation by taking away "thier" mass for the TLM.

October 14, 2006 6:20 PM  

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