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Monday, June 20, 2005

The Tablet and Trent

The Tablet has an article (and cover illustration) on Juventutem and general traddiness. (Log-in requirement - sometimes; it seems to be undecided on when to ask for this.) Interesting. It's not hostile, but it's not wildly sympathetic either. E.g.:
- the impression is given throughout that Novus Ordo sprang just about fully formed from Vatican II (so if you didn't know otherwise, you still wouldn't);
- there is some magnificent glossing-over of the reform's departures from the Council ('Even though the Council called for the retention of Latin as the principal language of the liturgy, the call for the introduction of the vernacular was so strong – even among the majority of the bishops – that the ancient tongue of the Church was gradually judged to be a relic of the past.');
- and it repeats notions about the two Roman rites that are at best incomplete:
'The old Mass mirrored a vertical hierarchy of truths, a strict discipline, legalism, conformism, and marked separation of clerics from the laity; the New Mass highlighted a dialogical dimension between priest and people, the active participation of the laity, and the possibility of adaptation (although this was often exaggerated early on). The argument was that the Tridentine Rite was not just a different way of celebrating the Mass, but that it was undergirded with a theology and understanding of the Church that was inconsistent with the Second Vatican Council.'
I don't know if those opposing the reforms in the '60s were unhappy with the Council as a whole, but as far as I know it would not be widely argued now - among non-schismatics - that Vatican II is inimical to the Tridentine Rite, or vice-versa. (Not that I know very far, in these matters.)

In fact, on re-reading, it strikes me that the article basically concludes that John Paul and Benedict's openness to the Tridentine Rite has been largely for the purposes of avoiding schism. Oddly, the author makes no attempt to find out why young people might be interested in this liturgy (he might, for a start, have asked some of them... too obvious?). I don't know if I'm being a bit paranoid, but if someone read it who vaguely thought that people who love the Trid Mass were a bit odd and probably hated Vatican II, I suspect that this article would not prompt them to re-examine their opinions.

The bit on Brazil is very interesting, though.

Incidentally, what makes one a 'traditionalist'? I ask out of honest ignorance; does a (pretty recent) predilection for the old rite (with derivative opinions as to why) make me a subscriber to an -ism by default? It doesn't feel a very -ism-y thing to do, going to Mass; but -isms are horribly prevalent nowadays...