Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Tridentine Mass

(Old blog I wrote Jun 5, 2007- updated)

The new Pope, Benedict XVI is rumored to have written a document concerning the use of the old latin mass.  He will apparently widen the use of it throughout the Church universally.  Supposedly the youth are requesting it by their interest in it and of course older Catholics; however, I have mixed feelings about this.  

The Tridentine Mass was never the original Mass.  The first Mass was at the Last Supper and was in Aramaic, not Latin, so to push the use of this Mass on the grounds that it is the "sole and original" form of Mass is erroneous.  This Rite only came into existence by 1570 and was in response to the reformation when the council of Trent convened to discuss the challenge of this new schism.  This "Tridentine" Mass was set as the sole rite for Mass since at the time each region had its own rite of Mass and there was no set universal rubric or code on how to say Mass.  The argument that this Mass was the "Mass of the Saints" is also incorrect since St. Augustine, St. Benedict, and other saints prior to the 10th century did not have such a Mass.  

As for youth showing an interest in this Mass, I question this because this Mass when it was the ordinary form, prevented female youth from exercising any role in it.  The priest did everything and the people just sat there praying the Rosary because they did not understand the Latin- a habit which I still see among older Catholics even today.  So if the adults could not understand, imagine the youth who are often distracted at Mass which is in the vernacular now.

If that was not bad enough, the Tridentine Rite had anti-Semitic prayers.  The infamous calling for the conversion of "the perfidious Jews" on Good Friday is an example which stated:

 'Jews live in blindness and darkness... the Lord our God may take the veil from their hearts and that they also may acknowledge our Lord Jesus Christ.'

It also included prayers that offended other religions.  That is not prayer, but baiting in a sense.   This was of course removed in 1969.

Granted, the Rite is very ornate and looks "organized and beautiful," but I doubt Christ wanted such fanfare and pomp.  His Last Supper was a simple meal and that is how it should be in my opinion.  Moreover, I feel the real reason why this Rite is being brought up again is to appease the anger of pre-vatican II schimatics who split against Rome over the reforms of Vatican II.  

It is nothing new that the Church has an extreme shortage of vocations to the priesthood, so bringing the so-called "conservative" self-proclaimed "traditionalists" back to Rome will bring back a good amount of rigid priests and religious who left their institutions out of protest and will recruit new ones.  However, will that help the shortage, or will it cause controversy and schism within?  Will it scare away the well educated flock that we have now who will refuse to be dominated by overly zealous, aloof and rigid priests and religious?  

According to older priests and religious who I know personally, a good number of priests and nuns who were a part of the pre-Vatican II era were uneducated by today's standard holding only a high school diploma and/or some college credits.  They were formed in a rigid sexually tabooed system.  While these claims seem exaggerated, I have met priests who will not make eye contact with women or even ride in a car with them.  Is this due to their strict and unhealthy formation?   I have also met my share of rigid misandry nuns who are very angry about pretty much everything and in particular a male dominated Church.  

We have already suffered with the sex scandals; not to mention the financial ones. Is the Church about to open up another pandora's box? 

 I truly hope Pope Benedict XVI knows what he is doing and is not giving his arm to be twisted.  He is a brilliant man and I am a fan of his writings so I trust him.  The Rite is beautiful and should be used for the right reasons, not for political ones.  I for one want to be taught how to say this Rite and will use it alongside with the ordinary one.  



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