Tridentine Mass

I personally love the Tridentine Mass, it is the only true Mass in my opinion. The quiet reverence and respect toward God along with the fact that both the parishoners and the priest face the alter to give homage to God makes it the better Mass. My question is why has the Tridentine Mass for the most part gone away and is there any truth to the rumors that there is a resurgence in popularity of this Mass.

Dominus Vobiscum

Wwll, the questions you ask are good one, and there is probably no complete answer. Let me summarize what I discovered in my studies of this issue.

In the latter half of the 19th century the bishops in Europe were troubled by the lack of participation of the people in the Mass. This also troubled several scholars who began what is today known as the “Liturgical Renewal Movement.” The goal was to examine the elements of the Mass that were not touching the average person in the pews. They recommended a number of minor, but interesting changes – which never took place beyond a few experiments.

By the time of the Second Vatican Council nearly all the bishops of the world had experienced the problems that the European bishops had experienced. Thus, the Council Fathers were prepared to address the issue of the Mass, and to seek resolution for the problems that had been encountered.

Numerous suggestions were put forth during over a month of debate on rather minor points. In the end, however, the bishops outlined a set of reforms that they felt would address the issues, and left the actual implementation to the periti or experts.

Pope Paul VI took a personal hand in the revision of the Liturgy since he had seen first-hand the European problem and he had some specific ideas of ways to address, if not resolve, those problems. Patriarch Maximos IV of the Melkite Church made a very strong “intervention” (speech) about the importance of the people actually understanding the Liturgy and how the Eastern Churches addressed this through the use of the vernacular, even though many Eastern Churches had a sacred language (Old Church Slavonic for the Svlaic Churches, Ge’ez for the Ethiopian Churches, and so on).

The basic problems which I saw growing up were so obvious that only a dead person could fail to see them: private devotions (such as the rosary) being prayed instead of the Mass, very few people going to communion (especially at the later Masses), declining attendance, people coming in late and leaving early. Clearly, the Mass of Paul VI did not fix all of these issues, but it did address the issue of replacing the Mass with personal devotions.

Is it getting more popular? Yes and no. In terms of absolute numbers the best estimates are that there are about 1 million people who attend, at least on a part-time basis, the Mass of Pius V (the so-called Tridentine Mass). This number does not seem to change, but it may be artifically constrained since attendance is, in part, dependent upon the availability of the Mass. Supporters claim that if more Tridentine Masses were available more people would go. I’m sure that, initially, more would attend. But those who are both honest and who regularly attend will tell you that there is a reasonably constant influx of “new blood” but that many do not stay the course. After some (usually short) period of time the newness and excitement wears off and they return to what they know. Some, of course, do stay.

I hope this helps.

Deacon Ed

**Vatican II Eastern “Liberal” on the Liturgy **

The late Melkite Patriarch Maximos IV Sayegh, considered a “liberal”, spoke these words at Vatican II. They indeed seem to have served as a warning of the consequences of “playing” with the liturgy and as a foreshadowing of unfortunate things to come. Had this advice been followed, who knows how much of its present troubles the Lord would have spared the Roman Church.

“We must not allow the adaptation of the liturgy to become an obsession. The liturgy, like the inspired writings,has a permanent value apart from the circumstances giving rise to it. Before altering a rite we should make sure thata change is strictly necessary. The liturgy has an impersonal character and also has universality in space and time. Itis, as it were, timeless and thus enables us to see the divine aspect of eternity. These thoughts will enable us tounderstand what at first seem shocking in some of the prayers of the Liturgy - feasts that seem no longerappropriate, antiquated gestures, calls to vengeance which reflect a pre-Christian mentality, anguished cries in thedarkness of the night, and so on. It is good to feel oneself thus linked with all the ages of mankind. We pray notonly with our contemporaries but with men who have lived in all centuries.”

[quote=Deacon Ed]Wwll, the questions you ask are good one, and there is probably no complete answer. Let me summarize what I discovered in my studies of this issue.

In the latter half of the 19th century the bishops in Europe were troubled by the lack of participation of the people in the Mass. This also troubled several scholars who began what is today known as the “Liturgical Renewal Movement.” The goal was to examine the elements of the Mass that were not touching the average person in the pews. They recommended a number of minor, but interesting changes – which never took place beyond a few experiments.

By the time of the Second Vatican Council nearly all the bishops of the world had experienced the problems that the European bishops had experienced. Thus, the Council Fathers were prepared to address the issue of the Mass, and to seek resolution for the problems that had been encountered.

Numerous suggestions were put forth during over a month of debate on rather minor points. In the end, however, the bishops outlined a set of reforms that they felt would address the issues, and left the actual implementation to the periti or experts.

Pope Paul VI took a personal hand in the revision of the Liturgy since he had seen first-hand the European problem and he had some specific ideas of ways to address, if not resolve, those problems. Patriarch Maximos IV of the Melkite Church made a very strong “intervention” (speech) about the importance of the people actually understanding the Liturgy and how the Eastern Churches addressed this through the use of the vernacular, even though many Eastern Churches had a sacred language (Old Church Slavonic for the Svlaic Churches, Ge’ez for the Ethiopian Churches, and so on).

The basic problems which I saw growing up were so obvious that only a dead person could fail to see them: private devotions (such as the rosary) being prayed instead of the Mass, very few people going to communion (especially at the later Masses), declining attendance, people coming in late and leaving early. Clearly, the Mass of Paul VI did not fix all of these issues, but it did address the issue of replacing the Mass with personal devotions.

Is it getting more popular? Yes and no. In terms of absolute numbers the best estimates are that there are about 1 million people who attend, at least on a part-time basis, the Mass of Pius V (the so-called Tridentine Mass). This number does not seem to change, but it may be artifically constrained since attendance is, in part, dependent upon the availability of the Mass. Supporters claim that if more Tridentine Masses were available more people would go. I’m sure that, initially, more would attend. But those who are both honest and who regularly attend will tell you that there is a reasonably constant influx of “new blood” but that many do not stay the course. After some (usually short) period of time the newness and excitement wears off and they return to what they know. Some, of course, do stay.

I hope this helps.

Deacon Ed
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As always, Deacon Ed is a voice of reason on these posts. I concur with a lot of what he said. True, there were instances such as he described. But in honesty, many people did not receive communion because they believed in the concept of Mortal Sin, and would not take a chance of receiving Holy Communion if there was even a chance of being unworthy. Fasting rules were a little more stringent in those days, and a lot of people for whatever reason did not adhere as well as they should have. They also normally would not receive Holy Communion. True many people did have their Rosaries at Mass. Most, not all by any means, but most used them as an aid in the Mass rather than practicing their own private devotions. Remember, in those days, you still had a lot of people who had not attended school very far, and were at best barely literate and could not follow the Mass exactly. It was also reccomended in many Missals of the time, that if unable to read or to follow the Mass during the parts that the Priest alone prayed, it was acceptable to say private prayers and devotions during those times only. Yes, some people did arrive late and leave early, and those same people still do. The Church still suffers from declining Mass attendance.

As far as Traditional Mass attendance, the one thing that I can say is constant, and I have attended them across the country, is that you have a amazing number of young people and young families attending. Often, in fact in most cases they outnumber the older crowd that you would think would be in the majority. I will grant that some come for the novelty, some stay and some don’t, some like it and some hate it. Overall though, there are many more people attending than before, for whatever reason.

it is the only true Mass in my opinion.

Did you really mean this? If so, do you suppose the Mass of St. Justin Martyr to be not a “true Mass”?

I have never heard of the “awe” of the Tridentine Mass wearing off and people going back to the N.O. This is not to say that it doesn’t happen, but I figure people would go to the Tridentine for more than the aesthetic awe. Good liturgy is using all of your senses, but to be there for the hype or the awe is a stupid reason to begin with. The way the good Lord is praised should be the main reason…

I will refrain from going further, because the Tridentine mass debates are no longer attractive to me, simply because the same thing is said just in a different way.

Thank you for sharing your knowledge, Deacon.

Thanks for the reply Deacon Ed, its always nice to have a good clean educated discussion. I guess it all comes down to personal preference when dealing with what Mass people prefer. My personal feeling is that people are very disrespectful in church, i.e. wearing jeans and shirts with logos on them. Especially in my local parish they have begun this kind of rock band that sings in a group up by the priest, complete with guitars, tamborines, morachas, etc. So basically it has the feel of a protestant service. I am Catholic because it is the church that Jesus Christ founded and it is the only Christian church that can be directly traced to Jesus himself. Sorry for the soapbox moment but sometimes it gets frustrating for me, especially since the Tridentine Mass I would like to attend every Sunday is about 2 hours away from me. Anyway keep the ideas coming, they are always welcome.

Dominus Vobiscum

[quote=Latin Catholic]I personally love the Tridentine Mass, it is the only true Mass in my opinion. The quiet reverence and respect toward God along with the fact that both the parishoners and the priest face the alter to give homage to God makes it the better Mass. My question is why has the Tridentine Mass for the most part gone away and is there any truth to the rumors that there is a resurgence in popularity of this Mass.

Dominus Vobiscum
[/quote]

There may well be a grain of truth in what Deacon proposed for the drastic changes.
BUT
The full and necessary reason was that the VATII Church had taken Ecumenism as its center for existing in the world as far as non-catholics were concerned.
The TLM was NOT in any way Ecumenical. Thus it had to go.
The NOM is the Mass of Ecumenism. That is the overarching reason for its creation and continuence.

[quote=TNT]The full and necessary reason was that the VATII Church had taken Ecumenism as its center for existing in the world as far as non-catholics were concerned.
The TLM was NOT in any way Ecumenical. Thus it had to go.
The NOM is the Mass of Ecumenism. That is the overarching reason for its creation and continuence.
[/quote]

Proof please?

[quote=DavidJoseph]Proof please?
[/quote]

I feel a Bugnini statement coming. Please T, try and stick to official Church teaching. I beg you! :gopray2: It must be ecumenical if it’s attracting the protestants you say it is! :wink:

[quote=DavidJoseph]Proof please?
[/quote]

The opening sentence in Vatican II’s Constitution on the Liturgy sure makes it seem like Ecumenism was of primary importance in “reforming” the Liturgy:

This Sacred Council has several aims in view: it desires to impart an ever increasing vigor to the Christian life of the faithful; to adapt more suitably to the needs of our own times those institutions which are subject to change; to foster whatever can promote union among all who believe in Christ; to strengthen whatever can help to call the whole of mankind into the household of the Church. The Council therefore sees particularly cogent reasons for undertaking the reform and promotion of the Liturgy.

Vatican II, Sacrosanctum Concilium (Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy), Article #1 **Emphasis Added

**God bless,
James

[quote=James0235]The opening sentence in Vatican II’s Constitution on the Liturgy sure makes it seem like Ecumenism was of primary importance in “reforming” the Liturgy:

This Sacred Council has several aims in view: it desires to impart an ever increasing vigor to the Christian life of the faithful; to adapt more suitably to the needs of our own times those institutions which are subject to change; to foster whatever can promote union among all who believe in Christ; to strengthen whatever can help to call the whole of mankind into the household of the Church. The Council therefore sees particularly cogent reasons for undertaking the reform and promotion of the Liturgy.

Vatican II, Sacrosanctum Concilium (Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy), Article #1 Emphasis Added

God bless,
James

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 "Ecumenism" (relations/diaglogue between Christian groups) is third on a list of 4 things.  That last bit ("the whole of mankind") is called "evangelism."  Last I checked, we ARE actually supposed to undertake that.  Sounds perfectly valid to me.  The Mass wasn't "protestantized," as alleged by so many radical "traditionalists."  It may have been made easier for Protestants to understand and for unbelievers, too.  The Mass Itself was what "evangelized" me into the Church.  If the only one I had attended was the one I went to offered by the SSPX, I would not today be a Catholic.

Amen. But the problem with people like TNT is that when they think of ecumenism they automatically assume it’s false ecumenism. They seem to forget there’s also true ecumenism, which is something the Church has always promoted.

I’m no radical traditionalist, but I think the mass has become to ecumenical and “protestantized” so to speak.

The sad thing is the Bishops at the Synod are all so ecumenical minded. Yet are house is pretty dirty. I wish we’d tame this ecumenical frenzy, instead of taming our faith.

Amen. But the problem with people like TNT is that when they think of ecumenism they automatically assume it’s false ecumenism. They seem to forget there’s also true ecumenism, which is something the Church has always promoted.

Exactly! Many popes have used the word “ecumenism”. They were very clear to say false ecumenism is wrong - not ecumenism in general. Finding common ground is not evil as long as you don’t give up Truth to do it.

[quote=JKirkLVNV]“Ecumenism” (relations/diaglogue between Christian groups) is third on a list of 4 things. That last bit (“the whole of mankind”) is called “evangelism.” Last I checked, we ARE actually supposed to undertake that. Sounds perfectly valid to me.
[/quote]

Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi.

Imparting an ever increasing vigor to the Christian life of the faithful is an excellend reason to revise the Liturgy.

The desire to adapt the Liturgy so that it is more suitable to the needs of our own times is something that I can understand.

And Evangelism is always a wonderful thing.

But the Church prays as she believes. And changing the way that the Church prays to further the cause of ecumenism does not seem to be a very prudent thing to do. Of course Pope Paul VI had the authority to approve a revision of the Liturgy. But that does not mean that it was a good idea to do so. Or if it was a good idea to revise the Liturgy, that the reasons for doing so are valid.

As DavidJoseph so correctly pointed out there are 2 kinds of ecumenism. While true ecumenism may have been the motive, in practice it seems (in my experience) that false ecumenism is usually the result. (again, my experience. YMMV)

I’m really not sure what it means to say that the Mass was “protestantized”. Everyone probably has their own definition of what it means.

I have a “favorite” quote from Archbishop Bugnini. I can hear the groans now. I don’t usually like to quote Bugnini but since the subject is the “protestantization” of the Mass and Bugnini was basically the man who created the 1970 Roman Missal (often called the Novus Ordo) then I think it is appropriate.

"We must strip from our Catholic prayers and from the Catholic liturgy everything which can be the shadow of a stumbling block for our separated brethren, that is, for the Protestants (L’ Osservatore Romano, March 19, 1965).

If that isn’t the definition of “protestantization” then I certainly don’t know what the word means.

I’m glad that the Mass “evangelized” you into the Church. Having read a good many of your posts on this forum I can see that you are an orthodox Catholic. And we could sure use a lot more like you.

And let me just finish by saying that I do not personally dislike Mass said according to the 1970 Roman Missal. I do however absolutely detest the way it is offered in most of the parishes I have visited. This is largely due to abuses but also partly due to poor music and to the belief that some priest seem to have that Mass must be celebrated in the most “tacky” way possible.

But, I do attend the Mass of Pope Paul VI somewhat often. Sometimes once a month. Sometimes 10 times a month. I do have a preference for the 1962 Roman Missal. I think that there is plenty of room for both (and other variations such as the Anglican Use and the Rites of various religious orders). It makes no sense to me that so many bishops seem so threatened by the TLM.

God bless,

James

If the Mass was so protestantized, how come they are not all in union with Rome now? Obviously, no matter what Bugnini said, some stumbling blocks must remain (probably thanks in part to the Holy Spirit!) We have the Eucharist, they don’t. The Mass will never be protestant.

[quote=Freeway4321]I’m no radical traditionalist, but I think the mass has become to ecumenical and “protestantized” so too speak.

The sad thing is the Bishops at the Synod are all so ecumenical minded. Yet our house is pretty dirty. I wish we’d tame this ecumenical frenzy, instead of taming our faith.
[/quote]

That needed some correction.

Of course it can be protestanized, simply because we have the Eucharist doesnt mean you can’t protestantize the mass. It has happened, i’ve been to enough, and witnessed/participated enough masses\liturgies to make this assestment fairly.

It may have evangelized you but it made the majority of catholics in the west go . . . well if holy mother church is going to change her policies then that means i can too. Even if this isnt true that was the preception given to them by their bishops ect.

I know alot of catholics who are not church going because they grew up victim to the VAT II mentality.

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