The Latin Tridentine Mass
Following the Second Vatican Council’s reform of the Mass and the use of the vernacular language, the Church allowed restricted use of the former Tridentine ritual for those who found it painfully difficult to accept the new ritual. That use was expanded by Pope John Paul II and even further by Pope Benedict XVI who allowed any priest to celebrate the Tridentine Mass. The intent was to bring back into unity those who left the Church following the Council. Pope Francis has recently restricted the use of the Tridentine ritual. He states: “In defense of the unity of the Body of Christ, I am constrained to revoke the faculty granted by my Predecessors. The distorted use that has been made of this faculty is contrary to the intentions that led to granting the freedom to celebrate the Mass with the Missale Romanum of 1962.” Pope Francis indicates his vision that people presently celebrating Mass with the Roman Missal of 1962 need to return in due time to the Roman Rite promulgated by Saints Paul VI and John Paul II.
Now, only the diocesan bishop may grant permission to use the Tridentine Mass in certain conditions. Archbishop Etienne is allowing two places to continue using this Latin Mass: the North American Martyrs parish in Edmonds, and Saint Joseph Parish in Tacoma. Only the priests of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter are entrusted with these celebrations. “Priests living and/or ministering in the Archdiocese of Seattle are not authorized either to begin or to continue enjoying the faculty to celebrate Mass according to the Roman Missal of 1962. “
I never knew enough Latin even to attempt such a celebration. Nor could I embrace the ecclesiology behind the Tridentine ritual. I was around six years old when the liturgy was reformed and have only vague memories of the Tridentine ritual. I grew up with the new liturgy and its emphasis on full, conscious and active participation of all the faithful.
The Archbishop’s goal is that “the People of God of the Archdiocese of Seattle will diligently strive for the unity expressed in the Eucharistic celebration by continuing to give proper attention to the faithful and dignified celebration of the Mass according to the Roman Rite promulgated by Saints Paul VI and John Paul II.”
St. John the Baptist Parish has made its own sacrifice for this unity. You had a history of standing for the Eucharistic Prayer and for the Communion Procession (as did my former parish for the Communion Procession). I know it has been difficult for some to get use to the posture of kneeling at various times in the liturgy. Yet, we do it for the sake of unity throughout the archdiocese. Of course, those who are not physically able to kneel should remain seated. It’s a joy to celebrate Mass with you and I look forward to the time we emerge from Covid and can sing and even more ”give proper attention to the faithful and dignified celebration of the Mass according to the Roman Rite promulgated by Saints Paul VI and John Paul II.”