Old Mass spin

Page 5 of the Catholic Herald reports the rumours that have been going round the blogs about Pope Benedict signing a permission for the Classical Rite of Mass. Fr Allen Morris is quoted as saying that he had not had even a nod and a wink that anything was afoot. Well I am sure that when it is officially confirmed that no permission is needed to celebrate the old rite, Fr Morris will be given the "nudge nudge" that he can now celebrate the rite with impunity.

Page 9 carries an article by Gerard Noel which is firmly in the "hermeneutic of discontinuity" camp. He describes as a "lamentable misconception" the idea that the old Mass represented an ancient and traditional form of celebrating Mass whereas the Mass of Paul VI was based on modern innovations. "nothing could be further from the truth", he says. On the contrary, the Mass of Paul VI was a modern version of the Mass of the early Church and the Mass of Pius V was the medieval Mass.

Sadly for such reveries, the scholarship behind much of the recent reform of the Mass is now questioned by recent scholarship on the Apostolic Tradition "of Hippolytus" (probably not), the orientation of the priest (cf. Michael Lang's "Turning Towards the Lord") and the excellent articles published by the CIEL conferences and others.

The article includes a fanciful account of the liturgy of the "early Church" in which, after the sign of peace, the assembled Christians elected one of their number to preside over the Eucharist. Well let's just ignore St Clement, St Ignatius of Antioch, St Cyprian, St John Chrysostom and anyone else who gets in the way of what should have happened in the early Church.

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