A model for those who find the OF problematic

I came across this passage in a journal article written in 2002 by then Cardinal Ratzinger. liturgysociety.org/JOURNAL/Volume11/Ratzinger_Gy.pdf

It is true that Paul VI approved the missal published in 1970
in forma specifica, and I hold to it with an inner conviction, even if I
regret certain deficiencies and do not consider each of the decisions
made the best possible. I should prefer, on this point, not to get into
the question how far, in the preparation of the missal, the wishes of
the pope were truly sought out and maintained in detail. That is a
matter for future historians to resolve, once all the material is avail-
able.

I noticed how he both expressed his acceptance for the OF and also wrote of its deficiencies. He clearly has misgivings and questions about it at the same time that he is a loyal Catholic. The context of this quote is basically a defence of himself in response to an article questioning whether he accepts Church teaching. There is an interesting paragraph at the end in which he reacts to the charge of associating with traditionalists.:smiley:

I read the Holy Father’s book *Spirit of the Liturgy *and others on the subject, and I think the Holy Father has shown how criticism of the OF Mass by competent authorities is in no way unfaithful to the Church, granted that they don’t dispute that it is legally promulgated and valid in principle.

Still, I think that as laymen its best for us to refrain from objective criticism that goes beyond acknowledging the criticisms of those competent authorities (the Holy Father, his bishops, the Ottaviani Intervention, etc) and in any case I wouldn’t do it here.

Recently there has been more and more theologians, even from Rome, who are writing about problems they see with the New Mass - even when they generally support the Novus Ordo Mass. I guess it is grounds for us who attend the Latin Mass for theological reasons to discuss these problems more openly. Even a few years ago, criticism of the new Mass in any aspect was frowned upon and we “traditionalists” were told that we liked the old Mass becuase of the incense and sentimentality it brought, or the ritualist feel. Now when more and more respected theologians are asking questions about the new rite, we have the opertunity to be better understood.

The link I gave in the OP is a good example of this. I should have explained when I posted it that it contains two articles. The first is by a theologian reacting to Cardinal Ratzinger’s Spirit of the Liturgy and the second is the Cardinal’s defence of himself. (So people need to scroll down to see what he said.)

It was being done in scholarly language, but this theologian was practically calling the Cardinal a heretic for saying things like ad orientem is better. The reaction to criticism of the Mass was to question the Cardinal’s acceptance of Vatican II with an implication that he might not be a Catholic in good standing. It was also interesting that the word traditionalist was almost being used as a synonym for schismatic.

It really makes me appreciate how much pressure there has been on bishops and clergy to go along with the status quo even when they might have had misgivings. It seems like more and more are speaking up now that the attitude has changed. I attribute this change to the leadership of the Pope.

Yes, I think it will be necessary for a long time to accompany any criticism of the OF with an affirmation of its validity and reassurance that one is faithful to the Church.

This is a good point. We really need to be cautious with this topic. Basing one’s comments on the work of competent authorities is a good way to demonstrate that one is faithful to the Magisterium. It is also likely to keep us from running off into extreme or unsound positions.

Iotaunum remarked in his post on the increasing numbers of respected theologians expressing criticisms. I think this corresponds to increasing numbers among the hierarchy taking such positions. So finding competent authorities becomes easier and easier.

Another consideration about being cautious with this topic is being aware of one’s audience. There will be situations in which criticisms, even correct criticisms, will be inappropriate. For example, my children overheard my husband and I discussing this topic and it became a source of confusion for them. Now I am trying to be more conscious of when they can hear me. (I just assumed they would tune out theology talk like normal people do. :smiley: )

This is a really good point I had taken for granted, probably because I only discovered the traditional rite last spring. Although I try to adhere to Summorum Pontificum’s statement that the two forms should be regarded as equal and mutually-enriching, I’ve read statements from the hierarchy all the way to the Holy Father himself that suggest there is more of a difference than mere preference between the two.

But for the most part, I’ve seen real ground gained even just espousing a preference for the old rite, coupled with taking actions to have it re-introduced in new places (please pray for one that’s coming together right now). To paraphrase Pope Benedict: when people meet the True, Good, and Beautiful it touches their hearts.

What I trust that I may claim all through what I have written is this – an honest intention, an absence of private ends, a temper of obedience, a willingness to be corrected, a dread of error, a desire to serve Holy Church" - Bl. John Henry Cardinal Newman
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