All those I told, time and again, not to react prematurely, not to act on rumor or second-hand information, to be patient, wait and see...
Have at it!
I'm referring, of course, to the much discussed, trumpeted and feared motu proprio by the successor of St. Peter on the use of the older form of the Latin Mass (you will note my wording; it is accurate, even if it is surprising. See below.*)
I just read the documents -- there are two, the "legal" document that actually contains the new norms, and a cover letter to the bishops explaining them and responding to some concerns -- and I am struck by several things:
This is definitely "power to the people." The document is very clear: the priest can offer the old Mass on his own initiative; he can do so "privately," only then, the people can come. (And don't kid yourself; how will the people know? The priest will "let it slip"!) So, in effect, the priest can organize such groups, starting simply by offering the old Mass. But more remarkably, whether the priest does that or not, the people can simply come to the priest, and ask for it--and the priest is expected to respond favorably, as best he can. If he doesn't, the bishop is expected to act to help (i.e., perhaps another priest, or training for the priest, etc.) If he doesn't help, it goes to Rome. But the entire arrangement seems to say, tip it in favor of the people's request!
This is "power to the people." And so those who choose to call this anti-Vatican II, I wouldn't recommend saying that too soon before or after you claim Vatican II was all about empowering the laity and ending excessive clerical power, because, um, people might notice the two statements don't follow.
This won't be easy on priests or some parishes. For example, I will have to get trained in the old Mass; I still have a lot of work to do refining my celebration of the current rite. Nothing against the old rite, but I wasn't looking for more. Fear not, I'm going to be positive, because I trust the pope. But finding time to do it won't be easy.
Also, I will most likely have to buy additional ritual books, and who knows what else that goes with them. I really have no idea. This will cost real money. Getting that done, doing it right, again will all take time as well. (It's more than the old Missal, because the pope said all this applies to baptisms, marriages, anointing of the sick, etc.)
Hint: if you are going to pursue this in your parish, you might want to offer to help with these additional costs. They may be considerable, get ready. And--to be fair--don't take it away from other parish needs, either! That's dirty pool!
This is about how the Church, and history, views Vatican II--and that's big This should signal it's time to stop using the "new v. old" Church and Mass way of explaining Vatican II. Sorry, that's both incorrect and now it's clearly unhelpful. The pope--the pope--is saying that's wrong. I know, a lot of us were told that, and on behalf of those who told you that, wearing a collar--I'm sorry. But the time has now arrived to stop.
This marks a new era--the era of we invented a new church, "sing a new church," out with the old (some cheer, some boo, some cry), in with the new (some cheer, some boo, some cry), is over. There is one Church. And there is one, great Roman tradition, and at some point in the future, the Mass of the ages, which is the "old Rite," and the revised form of the Mass called for by Vatican II, are not far apart but very close, really all part of one lex orandi ("law" or norm of praying). The pope is acting to arrest the drifting of them apart, and to bring them back together; not necessarily united, although that may be what God will bring about in years to come, but clearly much closer.
This also means, I must say, that those who are arguing for an essentially "contemporary" celebration of the Mass--as opposed to an essentially traditional celebration, which includes elements that are contemporary (can you see that these are different?), would seem to be on the defensive. I don't say that exultantly, but it is time for those who have been rather strident, on that score, to realize their position.
Now we have the great tradition itself, plus what the Council said, plus what re-thinking liturgists and bishops are starting to say, plus what many of the faithful are saying, and now, plus what the pope is saying, and what the norms of the Church herself are going to provide for. I don't kid myself; it's going to be a bumpy ride for many years, but unless a future pope rescinds this; or the enthusiasm for old form fades, it seems the re-integration of the two forms of the Roman liturgy is now official policy from the highest level.
Will the enthusiasm for the older forms fade? Ironically, they may, precisely as the old and new become better integrated. One wonders if the immediate implementation of the Council's mandates had been handled -- for lack of a better term -- more "conservatively," we might well have a unified rite already. God only knows.
Will a future pope rescind this? Of course he may, but consider the grief that would cause him? The most favorable occasion to do so would be...when it is no longer needed. I.e., if and when the development of the liturgy has moved to a new place of harmony--just what the pope has called for.
Contention is not the pope's doing. Some will accuse the pope of "creating discord." Don't kid yourself, it was already there. I think he's trying to seek a long-term path away from it. Just because parishes are completely in the "contemporary" mode, that doesn't mean they've escaped conflict--they've simply moved it to the parish boundary, or that of the diocese, or that of the social circle: "us v. them." For that matter, when the Church of today is divorced from the Church of the ages, that is not progress, it's death.
There's more I could say, but I must head over and offer Mass.
* I call it the "older form" because all other names are either misleading or obscure. To call it the "Tridentine Mass" implies it originated at Trent, which is seriously mistaken--it preceded that council by something like a thousand years. To refer to the Missal of Blessed John XXIII is correct, but not terribly enlightening to most.
To call it the "Latin Mass" is flat wrong for reasons I will explain presently. The Mass of the "Roman Rite" -- that's us Roman Catholics, remember not all Catholics are Roman -- is, by definition, the "Latin Mass." Even when you don't celebrate it in Latin, it remains "the Latin Mass." While I know that's not common usage, it is confusing usage, especially in light of this decision. So let's stop being confusing.
To refer the older form as its own "rite" is also wrong, because "rite" refers to a great segment of the Church, and there is not two Roman Rites -- two great segments of the Church originating from the city of Rome -- but solely one Roman Rite. To the extent liturgy has, in recent decades, become a battleground, the pope is aiming to chart a path back toward greater unity around one Roman Rite -- and, note, "Rite" implies that this identity of the Roman "segment" is united around the liturgy; yet another reason the pope is acting, because the Roman liturgy, in recent years, has hardly been very unified in its expression, except in a very lowest-common-denominator way.