I attended a Catholic grammer school square in the middle of an ethnic area in the city of Buffalo, NY., largely populated by first and second generation emmigrants from eastern Europe who left the old country around the turn of the century. The Latin Rite Mass, known as the Trinitine Rite, suited them. The Mass was full of candles, bells, chants, incense and mystical-Latin phrases that created a special kind of awe and a sense of the presense of God.

From a comment in Amy Welborn’s blog

The classical Roman Rite of Mass, known to many as “Tridentine”, is a VASTLY DIFFERENT LITURGICAL EXPERIENCE than the New Rite. It isn’t the silence or the Latin alone – though these things are important. It isn’t the posture of the priest or the orientation alone – though these are vital. It is the tapestry of prayers, scriptures, gestures, rituals, language, music, silence, contemplation, supplication – a mix of elements culled from the wisdom and tradition of the Church over the centuries to create what can only be described as the paradigmatic prayer of the Catholic Church, as witnessed through her primary rite, and as celebrated (formerly) by her only Pontiff. To say that the old Mass is the paradigm is not to say that it is perfect in se, only that it is the most perfect form of prayer that the Church, in her frail humanity, has yet conceived.

I wouldn’t go quite that far. The New Rite, for all the complains about it’s lack of liturgical merit, artistic merit and bad music (ahem!) is, after all, a wonderful way to instruct and engage the congregation (not an altogether bad idea).

There has been some discussion about the status of the Trinitine Rite: Is it prohibited? Is it only discouraged? – Permitted in special circumstanced? Pope Benedict has recently hinted broadly that it’s status will be more clearly defined. It’s more than speculation that the Rite will soon not be prohibited or discourged by Bishops by default, only to be allowed with the Bishop’s permission. Instead, it will be permitted by default.

As much as I would enjoy finding again that feeling of inspired wonder evoked by the old rite (at 6:30 am in the mind of a a 7 year old), I don’t see how this can be done, really. Are we to have all churchs build since 1964 retro-fitted with alters that fact both ways? Are young priests fluent in Latin anymore? Are the server’s responses, which used to be done by alterboys, to be done by adults fluent in Latin? Well see.

What I imagine is some parishes offering one or two Latin Masses a week, approximating the old rite as the church can accomidate. In other words, I would expect the priest to be still facing the congregation and I doubt that many will run out an purchase a set of bells. I really doubt that only boys will be allowed on the alter. But some old forgotten phrases will, spoken in Latin, will return. Ultimately, I could see a merging of both the old and new rites into something that meets in the middle.

Explore posts in the same categories: Catholism

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