Thursday, 1 September 2011

The Tridentine Rite...

Rubricarius of the St Lawrence Press has put up some fascinating photos of a Belgian Missal dated 1576, containing the texts and rubrics of the rite of the Mass as codified by the Council of Trent, prior to the Clementine revisions of 1604 - far removed from the bastardised rite devised by curial sycophants and approved by Pacelli in the mid-1950s, and used by so-called ''traditionalist'' groups who promote the Extraordinary Form of the ''Roman'' rite. The Tridentine Rite was a much-reformed and watered down form of the ancestral Roman Rite of the parish churches of the city of Rome (to which the venerable Use of Sarum was akin), used by the Papal Court, reformed by a succession of popes such as Innocent III, and adopted by the Friars Minor (a fact which Adrian Fortescue curiously passed over in his otherwise brilliant history of the Roman Mass). The Tridentine Rite was revised less than forty years after its codification in 1570, and eventually, in the wake of the innovations of the Counter Reformation period (which in my view signalled the death knell of Tradition in the Roman Church), this form replaced the local uses of the West. By the mid-20th century Liturgy in the Roman Church was, to put it mildly, dead - stifled by rubricism, Low Mass and the S.R.C. If Traditionalists seriously think that a 1962 celebration of the Eucharistic Sacrifice, in the foul spirit of Ultramontanism, is continuity with the Tradition of the Church they are, in the light of the countless reforms of the Liturgy since Trent, seriously mistaken.

The photos open a window into a lost world and reveal elements of the Tridentine Rite which were abolished in the Clementine and Urban reforms. It is not the Missal of Pius V that survived into the 20th century, the so-called Mass of Ages, redolent of that primeval liturgy celebrated by the Apostles, but the Missal of Urban VIII, the man who replaced the traditional hymnody of the Breviary with ones more to his liking. One rubric in the Tridentine Missal, revised in 1604, had even sacramental implications; a matter which surely indicates that liturgical reform, even for the good of the Church, is perhaps best when not left to demented old men who invoke Apostolic authority to justify abuse and the intoxication of raw power.

I encourage readers to study the photos in detail; it behoves you as Catholics to appreciate them for themselves, inherently valuable, and fundamentally as the way in which the Church prayed for a brief time.

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