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Pope’s ‘reform of the reform’ in liturgy to continue

By on Monday, 16 May 2011

Pope’s ‘reform of the reform’ in liturgy to continue

Pope Benedict XVI’s easing of restrictions on use of the 1962 Roman Missal, known as the Tridentine rite, is just the first step in a “reform of the reform” in liturgy, the Vatican’s top ecumenist said.

The Pope’s long-term aim is not simply to allow the old and new rites to coexist, but to move toward a “common rite” that is shaped by the mutual enrichment of the two Mass forms, Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, said May 14.

In effect, the Pope is launching a new liturgical reform movement, the cardinal said. Those who resist it, including “rigid” progressives, mistakenly view the Second Vatican Council as a rupture with the church’s liturgical tradition, he said.

Cardinal Koch made the remarks at a Rome conference on “Summorum Pontificum,” Pope Benedict’s 2007 apostolic letter that offered wider latitude for use of the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. The cardinal’s text was published the same day by L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper.

Cardinal Koch said Pope Benedict thinks the post-Vatican II liturgical changes have brought “many positive fruits” but also problems, including a focus on purely practical matters and a neglect of the paschal mystery in the Eucharistic celebration. The cardinal said it was legitimate to ask whether liturgical innovators had intentionally gone beyond the council’s stated intentions.

He said this explains why Pope Benedict has introduced a new reform movement, beginning with “Summorum Pontificum.” The aim, he said, is to revisit Vatican II’s teachings in liturgy and strengthen certain elements, including the Christological and sacrificial dimensions of the Mass.

Cardinal Koch said “Summorum Pontificum” is “only the beginning of this new liturgical movement.”

“In fact, Pope Benedict knows well that, in the long term, we cannot stop at a coexistence between the ordinary form and the extraordinary form of the Roman rite, but that in the future the church naturally will once again need a common rite,” he said.

“However, because a new liturgical reform cannot be decided theoretically, but requires a process of growth and purification, the Pope for the moment is underlining above all that the two forms of the Roman rite can and should enrich each other,” he said.

Cardinal Koch said those who oppose this new reform movement and see it as a step back from Vatican II lack a proper understanding of the post-Vatican II liturgical changes. As the Pope has emphasized, Vatican II was not a break or rupture with tradition but part of an organic process of growth, he said.

On the final day of the conference, participants attended a Mass celebrated according to the 1962 Missal at the Altar of the Chair in St. Peter’s Basilica. Cardinal Walter Brandmuller presided over the liturgy. It was the first time in several decades that the old rite was celebrated at the altar.


  • Anonymous

    This is preposterous.  We had one form of the Rite and there was nothing wrong with it.  The modernists butchered it (exhibit #1 of why change is not always “progress”) and now we’re continuing on towards some new version of the Roman Rite which will, in effect, be a melding of the Tridentine Mass and and this awful Novus Ordo, which Benedict XVI himself has described as a “banal, on the spot product?”

    When will it all end?  This is not “organic growth” of the liturgy.  This is a state of perpetual mutation.  In short, it is modernism. 

    We will most assuredly end up once again with one form of the Roman Rite and it will be Tridentine.  Allow a couple of feast days of more modern Saints to be inserted into the calendar, label that as the Novus Ordo “enriching” the old Rite so the modernists can save face, then throw the rest of it in the garbage can where it belongs.

  • Mstl

    I think H.E. Cardinal Ottoviani had the right view of the council.

    “…the New Order has no intention of standing for the Faith as taught by the
    Council of Trent to which the Catholic conscience is bound.”
     I rest my case.

  • ecc-uk

    Does an Ecumenical Council have no authority anymore ? If we can disregard the will of the Council Fathers at Vat II surely we can do the same for Vat I,  Trent and whilst we’re at it all the other Councils . . . . lets have a complete ‘Hernea’ of Discontinuity.  Sounds to me like Babies throwing their rattles out of the pram. The whole nonsense beggars belief.  Whilst you’re spitting out fury about whose ‘rite’ is it anyway  people are leaving the church in droves and you’ll either say shame or riddance to bad rubbish . . . good approach for gospel people . . . last person out blow out the candles . . .

  • Helen Pendrous

     This is all so sad.  Am tempted to become an anglican.  What did Jesus say about Pharisees and rules?  Why can’t my beloved Catholic church stop fussing around twiddling knobs and listen to the Spirit?

  • ecc-uk

    hear hear ! 

  • Tom Canning

    What Rome has forgotten – or perhaps never knew the difference – is that the Mass of Pius Vth is a sacrifice of Christ to His Father in Heaven on an Altar - whereas the Novus Ordo thingi is a Protestant Last Supper on a dining table – two different things – so how can they be joined ..?
    The constant sniping at the SSPX and others as being rigid on the rupture should be noted that the Mass is but ONE concern – the others are – quite rightly Doctrinal and Philsophical - Rome has failed on the Doctrinal so when will they throw out the modern philosophy of Kant – Hegel – Husserl – Hiedigger et al and restore that of   Scholastic Philosophy of St.Thomas Aquinas…. or even discuss it …?

  • ecc-uk

     How explicit do you want the Mass as sacrifice to be ?

    Pray bretheren that our sacrifice . . .
    May the Lord accept the sacrifice . . . .
    E.P 1 These gifts we offer you in sacrifice . . .
    We offer you this sacrifice of Praise . . .
    This holy and perfect sacrifice . . .
    We pray that your angel may take this sacrifice .. .
    I don’t even need to touch the other 3 EPs or the other prayers.

  • Mod bish

    Will women priests be able to say the Tridentine mass as well as the Novus? 

  • AgingPapist

    Pope Benedict XVI’s easing of restrictions on use of the 1962 Roman
    Missal, known as the Tridentine rite, is just the first step in a
    “reform of the reform” in liturgy, the Vatican’s top ecumenist said.
    The pope and cardinal Koch may have more on their plate than they ever bargained for. “Summorum Pontificum” and this latest decree will do more than start a new liturgical movement.  We’re see experimentation on a scale never envisioned since the 16th century. This is now the pope’s parting shot at the SSPX and their ilk.

    Pope Benedict has created an environment and a long needed opportunity for professional liturgists and creative amateurs , clerical and lay, to tinker with not just the 1962 rite, but the Pauline rite  and all rites.  All of this is to the good. Despite the fears of ultra traditionalists and others that liturgical anarchy is going to reign as a result of it.

    We need to correct the failings of Vatican II, and it’s excesses, but we also need to look towards it’s perfection and beautification, and not our dependence upon an archaic rite, the Tridentine, as our only recourse. Let the mixing and matching of liturgies ,east and west, begin.

    It’s time to bury Pius V and his heirloom liturgy imposed upon a desperate Church wishing to be freed at last from clown masses.  Returning to decorous floor shows conducted by mumbling old cross dressers vesting themselves in mother’s silk gowns of silk and brocade before wedding cake altars is, perhaps, visually beautiful, but it is no way to reform the liturgy  and it never was.

  • Seangough

    Has Tom ever been to an ordinary form mass, a ‘protestant last supper on a dining table’ is a bold statement, but completely baseless. In fact it is heretical, it is a mass promulgated by the bishop of Rome, with the backing of a church council. SSPX nutters claim to be more orthodox than the pope, and yet they denie the lawful teaching of the church, and are in open schism with the church, and show grave hostility and disobedience to the Holy Father.

    Pope Benedict is right in pointing out that the new form has brought with it many benefits, and this is undoubtable. As someone who has been to both, i was as shocked at the lack of reverence and dignity given to the word of God in the tridentine form as i often am when i see the lack of reverence given to the eucherist during the ordinary form.

    The awful ‘spirit of the council’ attitudes which have taken place after the council are insignificant when drawn against the evil at work in the some traditionalist circles such as the SSPX. Pope Benedict seems to be the only person with his head screwed on since the council: the only reason why people like Tom do not see the ordinary form of the mass as sacrificial is because they like the ‘progressives’ do not see, understand, and interprete the teachings of the second Vatican Council in line with tradition, rather than a break with it.

    They have more in common than they realise!!!

  • aisake

    I believe that the changes is goodenough. I would like the ecumenical movement to introduce the past missal like the Latin Liturgy as to be taught again ankd celebrated in all churches once more as it will drew as close to each other. ONE BODY, ONE FAMILY ONE IDENTITY and ONE LAGUAGE. GOD BLESS US ALL  

  • Catholic365

     Uh, “EP 1″ is the Roman canon.

  • ecc-uk

    Not part of the N.O then ? wake up . . .

  • Dio

    So long as they don´t pretend to do it as CATHOLIC priestesses, the Wiccans can do whatever they like, imho. 

  • Dio

    Why stop at being Anglican? Obviously, pentecostal tongue-speaking is more your line…  

  • Seangough

    An Anglican!!! 

  • Nick

    Please, do not try to out-Catholic the Holy See.

    The Novus Ordo Mass is valid and good, otherwise the Church wouldn’t have instituted it.

    These insulting allegations against the Novus Ordo Mass, plus the conspiracy mindset of the SSPX, only serves to tar the name of people who want the TLM for legitimate reasons.

    By the way, I don’t support the TLM at the moment. I support Summorum Pontificum (so that people who want it can get it), but I don’t want it myself.

  • Marchomsey

     …and cynical name calling belongs to which religious denomination?

    1 John 4:20

  • RJ

    Don’t worry. It’s not “the Catholic Church” fussing. It’s some not very well informed people. 

  • AgingPapist

    No liturgy is organic. They’re all man-made, on the spot products. Some just take more time to unfold. No rite was more “inorganic” than Trent.  It destroyed centuries of established forms of spirituality and piety overnight.

  • AgingPapist

    Nick, You’re not alonge. Benedict XVI, the sitting Pontifex, doesn’t want the TLM either.  If he did, the Church would have had it by now as the ONLY option.

  • AgingPapist

    Benedict permitted these SSPX adders to get out his basket and now he has to live with them. It’s just a matter time before the pope will have no choice but to excommunicate the lot of them.  After which they become another disenchanted, disaffected bunch of heretics and schismatics like the Polish National Catholics and other similar groups.

  • AgingPapist

    Cardinal Ottaviani came to reject those views before his death under penalty of excommunication.  Get with the truth and stop spreading lies.

  • AgingPapist

    Will women priests be able to say the Tridentine mass as well as the Novus?
    Not under this pope, but later? Yes.

  • AgingPapist

     Tongue-speaking isn’t necessarily  pentecostal. Pentecostals are into fraud , pure charlatanry.  Catholics also practice speaking in tongues and have since the 2nd century. Yet, I’d say most of those who claim they do speak in tongues, Catholics or otherwise, are deranged.

  • Edgar G Fernandez

    Here you go again Pontificating AgingPapist and contradicting the pope (see The Spirit of the Liturgy) and spreading lies, the origin of the usus antiquior can be traced all the way to Pope St. Gregory the Great in the IV century as the rite celebrated in Rome which was codified as a result of the council of Trent by Pope Pious V but the other traditional rites (with more than 200 years of existance) such as the ambrosian, mozarabic and many religious rites (dominican, carmelite) were allowed to continue. Still not coming to the NLM to share this wisdom of yours?

  • Edgar G Fernandez

    Not even the most hard core traditionalist would ever imagine (beyond as a wild fantasy they know can´t come true) the pope banning completely the Novus Ordo as reinstating solely the TLM in one day. Our beloved Pope is no fool and knows if he did that it would either create a schism or would be ignored damaging his own authority in the process. No mister, he knows the slow but steady way is much better specially as the old guard of VII liberal hippies such as yourself are dying (biological solution) and you are leaving no heirs to continue your work of self destruction of the Church. There is a new type of priests coming from the seminaries and climbing up through the hierarchical latter and they are the ones that will make this counter reformation reach its final destination. He (Benedict XVI) will not see the fruits of his work but he has change the course of our Church for good and there is no turning back on the course he is setting with his works.

  • Edgar G Fernandez

    Let me get this straight, you are saying that whilst he was dying somebody forced him to retract of his honest freely expressed opinion or he would be excommunicated forever from the Catholic Church he loved and thus access to heaven would be denied. Please talk about twisting a man’s arm or in this case this man’s soul. Come on AgingPapist, you can do better, Ottaviani rejected his intervention out of obedience to the Pope as he was commanded, he never intended his intervention to be made public and as a loyal son of the church he put his faith in it trusting God’s providence and the legal authority of the pope in such matters BUT nevertheless his analysis was written in conscience trying to correct the errors that he saw in the NOM.

    Remember half truths are also lies.

  • Edgar G Fernandez

    Have you seen a flying pig lately? as you might have a better chance to do so than a katholic woman priest as more than 1950 years have passed by and no such thing has occur so don’t hold your breath as the Church has already explained that it cannot ordain women now or in the future as it has no authority to do so. 

    The case is closed (Roma Locuta, causa finita) but if it´s women priests what you want please join the anglicans or lutherans (if you haven´t already) as there was talk to help them create an ordinariate to help many “spirit of VII” on their “faith” journey. 

  • polycarped

    Pope Benedict’s ‘strategy’ regarding the liturgy seems very inspired to me – and I don’t agree with the other comment that this is somehow deaf to the Spirit. Quite the opposite I’d say (and how very arrogant to make such a claim!). Although I seek it out wherever I can, because it is sublime, I think it’s realistic to say that the TLM is just not going to become the norm again – but at the same time the Novus Ordo is undoubtedly being celebrated in an ‘abusive’ way in many, many parishes around the world. But is it abusive liturgical form, in essence? I don’t think we can possibly say it is. As others have pointed out since hi visit to the UK, I say look at the Mass that BVI celebrated in Westminster Cathedral as a potential blueprint for Nov Ord Masses in the future – obviously minus some of the dramatic music! – including a preference for use of Latin in key parts of the Mass (i.e. Eucharistic Rite at least), reception of communion kneeling, sound Catholic music suitable for the liturgy (incl. no musicians sitting ‘on the stage’), a general atmosphere of deep prayer and solemnity in recognition of the stupendous thing that is happening, including silence before, during and after the Mass (with the confines of the Church being regained as a silent place of prayer at all times outside of the Mass – go and talk outside!). Integrate into that formula the new liturgical text and (I hope) a shift back to Ad Orientam to reduce the prevalent temptation for priests to behave like game-show hosts, then I think this may be where BVI is heading. And if he is, I for one couldn’t be happier. I don’t believe that the N.O is a right-off at all – it just needs seriously putting back on the rails, a bit like a wayward teenager! I do believe that the fundamental issue is reverent celebration and participation/assistance at the sacrifice of the Mass – this is woefully missing and I would suggest that dwindling faith in the real presence is at the heart of our current crisis. There is a huge trend among priests to focus on the gathering and the meal without any reference to the sacrifice. As a result, many people have completely lost sight of what is at the heart of the Mass – i.e. why we gather. Regaining the understanding of the reality and power of the Eucharistic sacrifice, and its necessity for the salvation of the world, among the faithful is critical – because due reverence will follow if that is understood and also reflected in the way the liturgy is celebrated. Priests have a huge responsibility to visibly demonstrate the reverence due to Our Lord in the sanctuary. If they are sauntering around, hands dangling by their sides, like they do at home, surrounded by altar servers in trainers who don’t even acknowledge the altar or the tabernacle as they skip by, is it any wonder that the faithful drift into lukewarmness? We should also remember that there are also ways for those who want to worship in other more flamboyant ways to do so (alongside the Mass – not in place of) such as praise and worship services etc. It needs to be made clear to those who feel offended that objections to that kind of style do not necessarily reflect a dislike for that kind of music/prayer – it’s just not suitable for the Mass – that’s all. In summary I think we have to begin to move on from an entrenched and polarised battle between EF vs N.O (with no in-between). We have both, thanks be to God for BVI. The TLM is now safe and I hope will become more and more available so that people can re-discover its enduring wonder and awe in a new ‘cultural’ age. We now need to take our Holy Father’s lead (look at his example, in lieu of formal instructions!) so that the N.O. can achieve its potential splendour. Well, that’s my two-pence worth… Let’s pray for the Pope and for all our Priests.

  • Ken Purdie

    Slowly, slowly catchy monkey 

  • Ken Purdie

    you just make it up as you go along. So funny, yet sad. 

  • Diffal

    Nurse!, Nurse! I think its time for AgingPaists medication again, the words are coming out but they don’t make any sense!

  • Mod bish

    I love women priests, they’re so girlie - saw one on TV at Easter and her sermon went along the lines of “… I was in the shower this morning wondering whether it will still be dark when we do our first service of Easter … its so important to us that its dark … ”

    It was almost like being around the table with the family for Sunday lunch having a bit of a chat. So looking forward to when we’ll give them the keys to the Catholic Church.

  • Chris Lee

     I agree. The modern Rite is a complete disgrace that gives no appropriate dignity or respect to the very Holy presence of the Lord.

  • Chris Lee

     I agree. The modern Rite is a complete disgrace that gives no appropriate dignity or respect to the very Holy presence of the Lord.

  • Lee

    Vat II was not dogmatic. If anything, the council was an entirely new brand of council, a ‘pastoral’ council with no precedent in History ! Also the ‘Roman’ Canon in the NO is mutilated in certain areas. Just compare it with the Roman Canon in The Holy Mass.

  • Nat_ons

    If those who want to honour the ‘Roman’ basis of the Roman Missal stick to the awesome Benedict XVI’s outline there will be no hybridised or sanitised New-New Re-ordered Order to supplant either the reforms approved by Pius XII (1956)/ John XXIII (1962) or the Paul VI Order (1969′s structure of the 1967 revision of the 1965 approval).

    The Paul VI Order (Novus Ordo) was a banal, on the spot product – this was in the 1960s when reform had to be accomplished NOW if not sooner, and any hint of remaining ‘traditional’ was dismissed or disregarded by the ‘In Crowd’ e.g. Humanae Vitae, Sacrosanctum Concilium etc.

    However, so far as I am aware, being banal or on the spot is not ‘sin’ – failing to offer the valid rites of the church catholic, with the intention of the church, and in communion with His Holiness is wrongdoing .. whatever the Rite chosen for use. The rites instituted by Paul for the Corinthians must have seemed banal and rather on the spot constructions compared to the free-wheeling alternatives that his letter seems to hint at; his rites, like his namesake’s, had the benefit of authorised validity. What matters in Divine Liturgy is not any richness of words, expressions or actions but the object, its power, and fidelity to the intent of serving God - in this the holy sacrifice of the Mass is every bit as valid at a Pius V Palestrina lovingly accompanying a Pontifical High Mass in Saint Peter’s as at a snatched Sarum Rite Low Mass in a recusant’s room or peasant’s field, or, in fact at a Folksy Paul VI Mass in a 1975 time-loop (a Do-Your-Own-Thing ‘Mass’ or a Sedevante Mass must be doubtful in terms of legitimacy if not validity).

  • Nat_ons

    This relates to a woeful lack of devout spirit at work in the offerers of this Holy Mass, not of the Holy Mass being offered – the former is man’s work toward God, the latter Christ at work in man. 

  • Nat_ons

    The problem is not that the Council Fathers are being disregarded by those promoting the usus antiquior, rather that most who implement the Paul VI (Novus Ordo) Mass obdurately refuse to  adhere to the actual instructions of these Council Fathers and dismiss all that went before them (which the Fathers did not).

    Blowing out a Last Candle is not to assault Christ, his body, or Rome’s expression of orthodox faith; the Tenebrae have shadowed man’s devotion in Christian liturgy for centuries – without destroying it. Refusing to snuff out what is validly required to be snuffed out, or seeking to snuff out what has never been legitimately ordered to be snuffed out, is the destructive spirit of rebellion – not devout adherence to Christian communion. The Fathers at Vatican II, pastorally, at Vatican I and Trent, dogmatically, and at Florence, Lateran III/ V, and even Carthage, Hippo and Orange etc, doctrinally, reaffirmed what had previously been accepted .. amending only what had become obsolete or superceded .. and supressing that alone which was deemed invalid, illicit or unconducive to the living faith: this is the meaning of an ‘organic’ continuity.

  • ecc-uk

     Didn’t they ordain women in the Czech republic during the 60s-70s communist era ?

  • Edgar G Fernandez

    Well, I was not aware of somebody attempting to but it would be the same case as the “mock ordination” of women on the Danube river or other parts recently (mostly ex-nuns). They may think they are ordained but it would be the same as if I (a layman) vest myself for mass and recite the prayers of the roman canon, what happens? does the bread in my hand and the wine on the chalice become the flesh and blood of our saviour or not?  So the problem is not of legal form but of validity. All the ordinations of women beside having been ilicit (Excomunicated latae sententiae) but also is of zero value. There is no sacrament ocurring other than a make believe one.

  • Dio

    Eh… is being called pentecostal a case of namecalling? My, my… you´re not in touch with the dire need to respect our separated brethren, are you?

  • Marko Ivančičević

    Reffering to honor given to Sacred Scripture in Tridentine from.
    I think it gives it as much honor as it deserves. There is difference between the High Mass and a Low Mass..

  • Mitch

    Having grown up with the NO and stumbling upon the Tridentine Mass later in life and now prefer the Tridentine. No polemics, I had nothing against the NO but always found it lacking. Catholic, as having been seen a certain way for centuries means all the externals as well as internals. The NO, when compared, just does not match the externals. ANd both are important. I hope the Holy Father takes a few good things from the NO and applies them to the Tridentine Mass, like allowing it to be said in an audible voice so we can follow the Latin with a bit more ease, updates the Saints and Preface prayers and then finally gives us back one Rite. With all the externals and trappings of what it means to be Catholic on the outside. That has been sorely lacking.