Saturday, July 07, 2007

Living in the New Liturgical Era

Fr. Martin Fox writes a blog called Bonfire of the Vanities. You can read in his latest posting how one parish priest is responding to Benedict's newest motu proprio freeing the traditional Latin mass. I find in his attitude the true spirit of Vatican II.

In the comments a few practical issues arose:

Do we have to learn Latin?

You will not need to learn much Latin. It was common practice to follow the old mass by using a missal with Latin on one side and English on the other. The Liturgical Movement and Vatican II wanted to emphasize the high or sung mass and reduce the importance of low or said mass. Thus the congregation would again sing its parts of the mass (in Latin.) The Council gave pride of place to Gregorian chant, the music of the people, to accomplish this. You do not need to be a Latin scholar nor do you need to be a great singer to chant the people's parts of the old mass. This is what the Council meant by "full and active participation" in the mass.
We presume that most communication is verbal. Yet the experts tell us that 60-90% of communication is nonverbal. You will find that the non verbal communication of the older form of the Latin rite conveys both an atmosphere and specific messages that will change your understanding of the mass.

What is Benedict trying to accomplish?

The very heart of Benedict's program is allowing the older form of the Roman rite and the newer form cross pollinate. The older use stopped developing in 1962. The motu proprio will allow normal organic change to resume in the traditional Latin mass. As individual priests learn the older mass and Catholics experience the it, the ordinary use of the Latin rite will relearn the reverence, the solemnity, and the trancendance of the traditional Latin mass. This will lead to the ordinary use moving more in line with what the Council fathers approved.

Thus the TLM will lead by example but it will no longer be stuck in 1962.

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