Introducing traditional elements into the celebration of the modern rite

Pope Benedict XVI (with lips moving)

Following on from Michael Davies’ challenge which I quoted yesterday, I would like to support the suggestion made by Fr Hunwicke recently. Father gently suggests that we could learn from the manner in which anglo-Catholics gradually improved the liturgy and he advocates “the gradual, tactful, pastoral introduction of EF elements into the OF Mass?”

The first recommendation, the invariable use of the Roman Canon, is already legitimate. The Institutio Generalis Missalis Romani n.365.a begins:
The first eucharistic prayer, or Roman Canon, which can always be used…
[Prex eucharistica prima, seu Canon Romanus, qui semper adhiberi potest…]
The text goes on to detail when the Roman Canon is “more opportunely brought forth” but that does not contradict the basic statement that it can always be used. A priest who never says any of the other Eucharistic Prayers is not disobeying any rubrics.

Fr Hunwicke then suggests the use of the old offertory prayers and goes on to offer some examples of gestures that can be used. He mentions Pope Benedict’s joining his hands at the Gratias agamus at the end of the Preface. I also seem to remember video clips of him moving his lips while incensing the altar at the offertory. Another useful element from the old rite would be the manner of doing the ablutions. I have seen many good and devout priests attempting to be more traditional at this point of the Mass but getting a bit tangled up. I will scan Zualdi's instructions and post them - something I have been meaning to do for a while.

In the end, we could arrive from a different direction at a destination which is usually rejected by my fellow traditionalists. If you suggest that it should be legitimate for the traditional Roman Rite to be celebrated in the vernacular, many will throw their hands up in horror at the very idea. Would it not destroy the Latin Mass for which we have fought so hard?

What might be less traumatic would be to suggest that elements from the traditional Roman Rite should be permitted in the celebration of the modern rite, whether in Latin or in the vernacular. My guess would be that most younger clergy would be only too delighted to have the prayers at the foot of the altar, the last gospel, and the old offertory prayers.

One of the principal difficulties that many younger clergy have about celebrating the traditional Latin Mass is that they have no Latin. That is bad, of course, and against the explicit requirement of canon 249, but it is a fact and it is not their fault that no provision was made in the curriculum of their seminary. I am sure that they, and many of the lay Catholics in their pastoral care, would welcome access to the treasures of our liturgical tradition.

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