In honor of the fifth anniversary of Pope Benedict XVI’s announcement that any priest can celebrate the Mass according to the pre-Vatican II rite in Latin, a number of pilgrims have come to Rome to offer thanks and celebrate.
“I gladly accepted to celebrate (tomorrow’s) Mass for pilgrims who came to thank the Pope for the gift of the motu proprio ‘Summorum Pontificum’ because it is a way to make others understand that it is normal to use the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite,” said Cardinal Antonio Cañizares Llovera, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship.
He will say Mass in the extraordinary form on Nov. 3 in St. Peter’s Basilica.
This is significant because liturgical reforms do not do away with traditional forms of the liturgy.
American priest Father John Zuhlsdorf came to Rome to participate in the pilgrimage, which includes liturgical rites as well as talks about the importance of the Mass which was universally used before the Second Vatican Council.
Fr. Zuhlsdorf, better known as “Fr. Z,” engages in the New Evangelization via his award-winning blog, which reaches Catholics around the world.
Speaking of the Pope’s 2007 document on the extraordinary form of the Mass, he told EWTN News on Nov. 2 that it aids the Church in embracing a form of liturgical worship wrongly neglected after the Second Vatican Council.
“The Holy Father … is bringing us back into continuity with the way that Catholics have worshiped for centuries,” Fr. Zuhlsdorf said.
“After the Second Vatican Council there was a rupture in ritual, of our worship of Almighty God. There was an artificial imposition of the liturgy after the mandates of the Second Vatican Council. We didn’t actually get what the Second Vatican Council mandated. And it caused a rupture in how we worship as Catholics.”
Fr. Zuhlsdorf noted that liturgical innovations applied by “selective readings of the council documents” led to certain aspects of them being “de-emphasized while very important aspects were entirely ignored.”
The way liturgical rites, particularly the Mass, were re-interpreted following the council did not take into account the natural life of the faithful’s worship.
Before he was elected Pope, said Fr. Zuhlsdorf, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger described certain liturgical reforms after the council “as an artificial thing” in that they didn’t “grow organically out of previous forms. Instead, they were artificial developments that grew more out of scholars at their desktop rather than something that grew out of the praying Church.”
This, in turn, caused a rupture in the Church’s worship that jarred many Catholics.
Fr. Zuhlsdorf noted that in contrast, Pope Benedict’s mandate allowing worldwide use of the extraordinary form encourages the faithful to embrace the faith of their forefathers, lending a “continuity of tradition.”