mcb wrote:Do you still maintain that SP was meant to apply to more than a small number, Tom?
did not simply grant a handful of traditional priests and “splinter groups” (as Southern Comfort
put it) permission to celebrate the traditional Mass; it opened up the Church’s rich liturgical heritage to anyone who wanted it. It went a long way to removing the stigma attached to the traditional Catholic liturgy, and also allowed any priest to say the traditional Mass without first having to seek permission from his bishop. Clearly the Holy Father gave Summorum Pontificum
to the whole Church, not just to a “small number”.
However, if you want to talk numbers in relation to Summorum Pontificum
, here goes. In 2007, there were regular Masses in the Extraordinary Form being celebrated in 26 locations across England and Wales; by 2012, there were 157 (that's an increase of 131 churches in just five years). In 2007, there were 10 Masses in the Extraordinary Form celebrated on Holy Days of Obligation; in 2012 there were 60. (Source: The Latin Mass Society.)
That said, I think we're missing the point here. To talk about the size of this supposed 'target group' (as mbc
and Southern Comfort
have done, albeit in different terms) is to misunderstand the Holy Father's words. In the interview cited above, Pope Benedict said (my emphases):
Pope Benedict XVI wrote:“It’s a small group because this presupposes a formation in Latin, a formation in a certain culture.” (C’est un petit groupe parce que cela suppose une formation en latin, une formation dans une culture certaine.)
The Holy Father was clearly saying the 'target group' was "small" simply because so few people had experienced a traditional culture and formation. When Pope Benedict spoke these words, Summorum Pontificum
had only just come into effect; the vast majority of people, then, were still effectively living in the pre-SP
era, when the traditional Mass was very much on the counter-cultural fringes of the Church. Very few people had had the formation that the Holy Father spoke of.
In the minds of some, both Ecclesia Dei
(1988) and Summorum Pontificum
(2007) were intended to cater only for those who had known the Mass as adults before 1970, as a concession to the difficulty they had in adjusting to the new Mass. But none of the documents even give the impression that this was intended to be the case. In a response to a query on this matter, Msgr Perl wrote (my emphasis):
Msgr. Perl, Secretary to the commission Ecclesia Dei, in a letter dated 5th September 1995 wrote:The Motu Proprio [Ecclesia Dei, 1988] does not speak of any restrictions, including age limits, on those who aspire to worship according to the liturgical books of 1962. Neither does it state that only those who had previous experience of the Latin liturgical tradition could have such an aspiration.
Indeed, Summorum Pontificum
not only gave "pastoral provision" to the surviving pre-conciliar Catholics; it also opened up the riches of the traditional liturgy to a whole new generation. The Holy Father himself commented on this in his Apostolic Letter introducing the Moto Proprio
Pope Benedict XVI wrote:“Immediately after the Second Vatican Council it was presumed that requests for the use of the 1962 Missal would be limited to the older generation which had grown up with it, but in the meantime it has clearly been demonstrated that young persons too have discovered this liturgical form, felt its attraction and found in it a form of encounter with the Mystery of the Most Holy Eucharist, particularly suited to them. Thus the need has arisen for a clearer juridical regulation which had not been foreseen at the time of the 1988 Motu Proprio.”
What the Holy Father said in the Zenit interview, then, makes absolute sense. Of course the initial attraction to the traditional Mass was going to be small, because (as the Holy Father said) it requires a “certain formation” which has not been provided by the Church since the new Mass was introduced. There may not have been a break in doctrine, but there was a break in culture and formation, meaning that only those who had been brought up in the ‘old’ liturgy could really understand and appreciate the traditional Mass for what it is.
My point is this: my generation are ‘children’ of Summorum Pontificum
. (I am 24 years old.) We have been brought up in a Church in which the traditional liturgy is widely available, and a culture in which it is perfectly normal and ‘socially acceptable’ to attend either or both the OF and EF. The Motu Proprio
was never going to seriously affect the older generation, who for most (or even all) of their lives have known only the new Mass. It was always unlikely that many of that older generation––-the ‘children’ of Vatican II, if you will––-would embrace the traditional Mass.
Despite the encouraging statistics I cited above, it is still too early to judge the success or failure of Summorum Pontificum
, because it’s only eight years since the decree was issued. But even in that short space of time, we have seen the traditional Mass gain in popularity beyond all expectations; vocations to the traditional priestly societies (the FSSP and ICKSP) are constantly on the rise (as IncenseTom
pointed out above); newly-ordained priests coming out of diocesan seminaries are much more traditional than their predecessors (and some of them even say the traditional Mass); and we’re witnessing the rise of a young, zealous, and well-formed generation of Catholics. I’m not saying Summorum Pontificum
achieved this alone, but it was certainly the main factor.
To return to mcb
's point: further evidence that the Holy Father wanted Summorum Pontificum
to “apply to more than a small number” (mcb
’s words) is the principle of “mutual enrichment” between the two forms of the Roman Rite. The Ordinary Form and Extraordinary Form are meant to be “one alongside the other” (Universae Ecclesiae
6) and it is natural, therefore that they will influence each other. Again from the Apostolic Letter which introduced the Moto Proprio
Pope Benedict XVI wrote:... the two Forms of the usage of the Roman Rite can be mutually enriching: new Saints and some of the new Prefaces can and should be inserted in the old Missal. The “Ecclesia Dei” Commission, in contact with various bodies devoted to the usus antiquior, will study the practical possibilities in this regard. The celebration of the Mass according to the Missal of Paul VI will be able to demonstrate, more powerfully than has been the case hitherto, the sacrality which attracts many people to the former usage. The most sure guarantee that the Missal of Paul VI can unite parish communities and be loved by them consists in its being celebrated with great reverence in harmony with the liturgical directives. This will bring out the spiritual richness and the theological depth of this Missal.
This is a topic which the Holy Father returned to on many occasions, and which we all saw starting to be put into practice in the Papal liturgies over which he presided. I’m sure you’re all aware of these issues and know of specific examples, so I shan’t go into them here. But the Holy Father’s point was that a wider celebration and knowledge of the traditional Mass would be central to the “reform of the reform”:
Pope Benedict XVI, The Spirit of the Liturgy (2000) wrote:“For fostering a true consciousness in liturgical matters, it is also important that the proscription against the form of liturgy in valid use up to 1970 [i.e. the 1962 Missal] should be lifted.”
Finally, I'd like to restate a point made by Pope Benedict in the aforementioned Apostolic Letter of 2007. Writing of the benefits to the new Mass of mutual enrichment, the Holy Father said that celebration of the new liturgy "with great reverence in harmony with the liturgical directives" is "the most sure guarantee that the Missal of Paul VI [i.e. the new Mass] can unite parish communities". In other words, rather than being the cause of division, as some have claimed, the more widespread understanding and appreciation for the traditional Mass could impact the new Mass in a positive
way, and actually unite parishes. Provided that both liturgical forms (the lex orandi
) are in accordance with the faith (the lex credendi
), there is no reason that the use of multiple liturgical uses should cause disunity.