Some Thoughts on Motu Proprio Mania
When I reply that I have been exposed to the Tridentine Rite and that my chief impression from the experience was, “Ah! Now I see why they wanted to reform the liturgy!” I elicit frowns of disdain. Mind: I don’t mean that I think the Tridentine rite “inferior” any more than I think the Paul VI rite inferior. I think my proper response to the Mass is gratitude, not a critical spirit. But, speaking only for me, I find the Paul VI Mass more spiritually nourishing (though any liturgy promulgated by the Church is good enough for me and I wish all good to those who attend the Holy Liturgy in any of its approved forms).I'm very glad to learn that "Benedict" is interested in it. I'm also happy Mr. Shea sees "rites" whereas the motu proprio recognized "forms." Oh well...
For this sin of believing and professing that any approved liturgy of the Church is good enough for me and that it’s not my job to find fault but to gratefully receive, I’m told that what I’m really saying is “it is all about me and what the liturgy does or doesn't do for me.” In that marvelous "heads we win, tails you lose" arrangement, I am supposed to feel the superiority of the Tridentine rite and if don't feel it, it's because I'm selfishly putting my feelings ahead of the TRVTH, which is fully expressed by the feelings of Tridentine rite fans.
I don't think those who prefer the Tridentine Rite are either better or worse Catholics than those who are at home in the Paul VI rite. Nor do I regard the Mass as something we are commissioned by Christ to weigh in the balance and find wanting. To be sure, I dislike liturgical abuses, whether they be the apocryphal clown Mass or the five minute Tridentine Hunting Masses of European nobility (in which the Mass was sped along at light speed so m'lord could get on with his fox hunting expedition). But I don't throw the babe out with the bath and say that because the Paul VI liturgy is often abused, it is therefore an abuse itself. I go to a parish where the Mass is reverently celebrated and we find it every bit as nourishing to our souls and as full of praise to God as the Tridentine rite is for others. I have this weird notion that my business is to listen and receive, not to compare and contrast.
Consequently, I lack a lot of interest in the motu proprio. I'm glad Benedict is interested in it. That's his job. I simply don't see why it's my job. My parish is reverently celebrating the Paul VI rite. My job is to receive that gift, not to look it in the mouth. Nor is my job to suggest that if you like the Tridentine rite instead you are a second-class Catholic and a narcissist. It would be nice if many enthusiasts for the Tridentine liturgy could return the favor.