From Mr Ronald J McDonald SIR – In his quarrel with the Latin Mass Society Fr Leo Chamberlain (Letter, April 1) was unduly complacent regarding the doctrinal safety of the New Mass.
Too few seem to be familiar with the publication The Reform of the Roman Liturgy: Its Problems and its Background by the late German liturgist Mgr Klaus Gamber, the French edition of which included a preface from the then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. Describing J A Jungmann as “one of the truly great liturgists of our century”, our future Pope agreed with his definition of liturgy as “the fruit of development”. But Cardinal Ratzinger continued: “What happened after the Council was something else entirely: in the place of liturgy as the fruit of development came fabricated liturgy. We abandoned the organic, living process of growth and development over centuries and replaced it – as in a manufacturing process – with a fabrication, a banal on-the-spot product. Gamber, with the vigilance of a true prophet and the courage of a true witness, opposed this falsification and, thanks to his incredibly rich knowledge, indefatigably taught us about the living fullness of a true liturgy.” Turning to the book itself, Mgr Gamber dealt with the question now in dispute. He wrote: “One thing is certain: the new [liberal] theology was a major force behind the liturgical reforms... Yet to assert, as is sometimes done, that the Novus Ordo Mass is ‘invalid’ would be taking this argument too far. What we can say is that ever since the liturgical reforms the number of invalid Masses certainly has increased.” Yours faithfully, RONALD McDONALD Glasgow From Mr Tom McIntyre SIR – Two points about Dr Joseph Shaw’s letter of April 22. By “Gregorian Mass” Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos can hardly have meant Gregory the Great’s drastic liturgical reform. That liturgy has more in common with the Ordinary Use than with the Tridentine: both in omission – eg, Psalm 42, Aufer a nobis, Lavabo inter innocentes, Suscipe Sancta Trinitas, Placeat – and inclusion – eg, OT reading, Responsorial Psalm, the people’s kiss of peace, Communion under both kinds, even the Prayer of the Faithful as the skeleton Sunday litany from which the Kyrie survives.
The cardinal surely meant Gregory VII’s reform, the one that the Trent Fathers hoped to restore (though even that reform had, eg, no Elevation or Last Gospel, and the people still received under both kinds).
With a lower case “t” the Tridentine Mass is certainly a “traditional Mass”; but, observing the distinction that the Catechism of the Catholic Church observes in other contexts, to call it “the Traditional Latin Mass” with a capital “T” would suggest that it alone satisfies the teaching Tradition. And, whatever earlier popes did “normally”, nothing obliged Paul VI to abrogate the older use. In charity he allowed it in certain circumstances. Indeed, Paul VI’s thought has such affinity with the present Holy Father’s that I wonder if the Summorum Pontificum settlement would not have contented him. In 1970, though, with such concessions human inertia might well have frustrated the Church’s sacred desire to incarnate the Tradition in the liturgy.
The discourtesy apart, to say that Fr Leo Chamberlain objected “not for the first time” means that, not for the first time, a reiterated claim merited objection.
Yours faithfully, TOM McINTYRE Frome, Somerset From the Very Rev Fr Leo Chamberlain OSB SIR – I wish Dr Shaw had not written so rebarbative a letter about the Latin Mass Society’s use of the term Traditional Mass. Pope Benedict’s Summorum Pontificum teaches that the Roman Rite has two forms, the Ordinary and the Extraordinary. One has to ask, does he accept Pope Benedict’s Motu Proprio or does he not? If he does, there is no need for further distinguishing description from Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos or anyone else and Dr Shaw should be happy to use Pope Benedict’s eirenic terminology. It is a gift for the Church for which we are in debt.
Yours faithfully, LEO CHAMBERLAIN St John’s Priory, Easingwold, York