BY A SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
REFORMS of the Mass as practised in many countries constituted "a betrayal of the Council's Constitution on the Liturgy, and a violation of the laws of organic development," the annual meeting of the Latin Mass Society was told on Saturday.
The speaker was Dr. Eric M. de Saventhem, president of the International Federation of Una Voce, the world counterpart of the LMS. Earlier in the morning members attended a solemn Tri dentine Mass at Notre Dame, Leicester Square.
He maintained that these defects were not corrected by Papal approval "given in the mistaken belief that the reform had faithfully implemented the conciliar guidelines."
He argued that in the context of the changing views on the nature and exercise of ecclesiastical authority, obedience had to become critical. This was what the hierarchy expected. It was therefore perfectly legitimate to criticise recent liturgical legislation and to work strenuously for its amendment or rescind. ment, thus putting an end to the Dutch captivity of the Church.
RESPONSIBILITY The speaker called for a more honest assessment of the devastating effects of liturgical experimentation and reform. "As the Latin rites have progressively been deprived of beauty, depth, tension, and transcendent significance, so faith has weakened, attendance decreased, vocations have dwindled and authority has been undermined".
Quoting from conciliar texts, Dr. de Saventhem asked whether the overriding liturgical competence of the Bishops' Conference, with its majority decisions and with the power wielded by its expert advisers, could be reconciled with the individual bishop's inalienable responsibility as "principal dispenser of the mysteries of God and as governor, promoter and guardian of the entire liturgical life of his diocese"?
"As parishes are being 'integrated' into larger 'pastoral regions' served by an itinerant clergy, the People of God will disintegrate into countless small sub-groups focused on widely differing objectives and developing widely diverging liturgies" he said.
If they were to express and experience their common membership of the Universal Church, the 'parish liturgy' must transcend all group aspirations. Only the millenary Tridentine rite in Latin could fulfil this vital unifying function. In asking for this rite's retention 'as one of the legitimate forms of eucharistic celebration to be used and honoured throughout the church', the Latin Mass Society was rendering an essential service to the Church as a whole, and particularly to future generations, MISSA NORMATIVA Sr. Julio-Retamel Favereau, a Chilean who lectures at Oxford, said that there had been considerable success in the Oxford area in attracting younger people to the Tridentine Mass. Anglicans and Methodists were also attending.
The meeting later passed a motion recommending that the LMS should not act in such a way as to imply validity of the Missa Normativa.