Before the 60's, was the Tridentine Mass celebrated perfectly perfect in every way?

Many people are very strongly opinionated when it comes to their preference for the Church’s liturgy pre-Second Vatican Council, the Tridentine Mass.

My question is this: was the Tridentine Mass that was the norm for the Church before the early 60’s always celebrated perfectly in every way?

Did priests ever alter the Mass – i.e. skip parts, change the words, add or subtract anything, add their own personalities to it’s form, etc. in the same way that many have a field day with the NO Mass?

Or are those who remember the Tridentine Mass and strongly prefer it to anything they see today guilty of remembering through rose-colored glasses?

Was it truly unalterable, free from all abuse, and presented perfectly at each Mass?

we had an older priest who said daily Mass, we loved him because we were guaranteed to get out in 17 minutes flat, which gave us time to hit the bakery on the corner before school started.

I bet I am not the only kid whose dad chose the shortest available Mass on Sunday, and would have to be dragged kicking and screaming to the High Mass (choir, sung gloria, at least 15-20 minutes longer than a Low Mass).

Of course not. Priests are human too and each had his own special way of cutting corners.

The difference is that with the NO, innovation can be the main part. (please know that I do not attend a TLM) What made the TLM special is that one knew what to expect. It may be longer or shorter, the priest may be making up words that we didn’t understand, but all in all, MOST of them time, people got what they expected.

In the 1950s and 60s I went to Mass every Sunday, weekday and most Saturdays (to sing funerals or weddings). I still have the Latin words in my head and have to think about the English…then I’m remembering the English from the 1960s. I have to read the creed because I just can’t memorize it with the few little tweaks. If there were any abuses, I sure didn’t notice them. I was in grade school, and whatever the priest did was right as far as I knew. And I longed to be a server. Lots of boys were servers, but only a couple girls got to be sacristans. I wasn’t one of them.

In the 1980s I lived in Bensonhurst Brooklyn, and our church had Italian Mass at 9am on weekdays. I could drop the kids at school and be there in plenty of time for the Mass…Father Carmello, the old ladies and me.

Now I’m the old lady, and I’m mostly happy with our Mass except for the occassional song that sounds like it’s from *Mass the Musical. *

The Latin Mass is lovely, and I would like to attend one sometimes. As a Catholic school student, I studied the Mass and knew what was happening, but not everyone had the resources to understand what was going on up there.

Well the Tridentine Mass was in its nature not very open to error. All the prayers HAD to be said in order for the next prayer to make sense. Skipping any prayers or changing any prayers would create a domino effect and destroy the Mass.

For instance, the confiteor of the priest automatically led to the confiteor of the servers, then the Indulgentium Absolutionem, followed by the Kyrie which naturally preceded the Gloria. The Epistle had to be given in order for the Gospel to follow, directly after the Gospel the priest would give the homily which had to end with the Credo back at the Altar. Only after the Credo could the Canon start because of the symbolic transfer from the Word to the Eucharistic Liturgy, the Canon is like one huge long prayer book and if you skip anything the next lines seem random and out of place. After the consecration everything the priest says is a “que” for the people to get up, kneel, get communion, etc. Then the Ite Missa Est and final Gospel are neccesary because they teach the faithful in a deep and beauitufl way to…get their belongings and kids together its time to hit the road.

So no I dont think any Priests back then dropped prayers from the Mass, they could have mumbled them, they could have sped through it like a presider at an auction, they could have…well you get the picture.

But in reality the TLM was much more parishoner friendly than the N.O…because wherever you go, when the parish your visting serves the TLM you know exactly who you are. You know your a Catholic, and you know the man by the Altar is a Catholic. But most important of all you know that everything thats coming up (mumbled or not) is 100% organic certified Roman Catholicism, and you are not expected to have to step out of your religious beliefs for the sake of a ecumenical service, a happy clappy Mass, or a hippy priest.

And none of that Halloween mass stuff…

I was too young to participate in the Tridentine liturgy so I have no memory of it as a child.

I have participated in several as an adult, both in private with just the priest and one other participant, and on Sunday with a general congregation.

I really did find the Tridentine liturgy beautiful, but I did notice ALOT of repetition in the prayers. In fact, my first impression was that the N.O. Mass consolidated alot of the repetition while retaining the original meaning.

Again, I have limited experience so I could be way off.

I’ve also been to N.O. Masses that have been celebrated with devout reverance, orthodoxy and very traditionally. I’ve felt a definite connection with the heavenly liturgy during these Masses. (Although I have to say that in my maturity as a Catholic, I can’t understand what the Bishops were thinking by turning the priest to face the people in the N.O. Mass)

Could most people’s distaste for the N.O. liturgy actually not be with the liturgy itself, but in the fact that priests and bishops have allowed (put up with) the Mass to be distorted so many times since the reforms?

You better believe it!!

I believe that there is a purpose for everything. And, there is a purpose for the NO Mass… People have mentioned that things could have been done wrong, but, they might not have noticed with the TM… It is important that we, the people of God’s Church, the Body of Christ, know how the Mass should be done. We need to protect the Body, and not just blindly follow it. I think we have grown in different ways since the NO, good and bad… We have to do that to become an even stronger Church.

Well have we become a stronger church since the introduction of the NO?

Define stronger.

The Church has ALWAYS had to deal with turmoil, within and without, from the Apostolic times until now. The NO has benefited the Church in that people (in most places) can now hear and understand the words of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. I’ll always defend that as a benefit.

Was this your experience growing up and attending the Tridentine Mass?

I believe more Catholics can answer the “whys?” with answer s better than “because the Church says so”. Don’t you think so?

Actually, no.
I did the time in the Catholic schools taught by nuns who knew what they were talking about. Now the excuse for CCD is very poor.
I have an Uncle with two PhDs and is a Bishop Emeritus. Even he states that parents should be taking the ball on finding out what they missed in the 70’s and 80’s because the DREs today are more about “feel good” than teaching the Catechism. He says to homeschool and get the kids a better education than the parents had.

Not everyone is on CAF. Most “Pete in the Pews” have no clue and are easily snowed on things like the Orans Position for the Laity in the Holy Mass.

No, the information is not getting to us now either. We have to find it ourselves just like our Grandparents.

In a word: No.
But there was little leeway for innovation.

Whether on likes it or not that is the Answer when talking about the teachigs of the Church

In my family, my nun taught pre-VII relatives are more critical and lacking in the knowledge of the “whys” than my peers. I find that many youth are realizing they’re not being answered the “whys” in any subject matter and actually ARE seeking the truth and the whys on their own. They don’t want blind faith which imo is a great thing.

Which is why the rubrics need to be tightened up.

It isn’t the detailed answer. Just look at this site alone, no one responds with a simple “because the Church says so.” They respond with great detail.

“Because the Church says so” is an adequate response, but it leads to other questions that we need to be prepared to answer.

You may be exceptional.
Most average Catholics are still clueless. Most are not hanging out on CAF.

AND we had an entire generation lost to bad CCD. They are not young either but are raising lukewarm “feel good” children.

Look at the numbers. Hopefully what you are saying is fact (or at least moving that way) and we do end up with B16s dream of a smaller, stronger church.

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