In 2007, on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, Our dear Pope Emeritus 'liberated’ the use of the 1962 missal and with it said that the Extraordinary Form (as it was termed) and the Ordinary Form (Novus Ordo) were in fact two versions of the same thing – the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
Traditional Catholics rejoiced. Great enthusiasm flowed from clergy and laity and the growth in the number of Old Rite Masses available and those attending them is evident in each edition of 'Mass of Ages'.
Yes, it is fair to say that in the intervening 7 years things have developed well: new Mass venues, enthusiastic diocesan clergy, supportive members of the Episcopate and the establishment (in England at least!) of orders such as the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest and the Priestly Fraternity of St Peter typifying the progress made.
The ‘freeing’ of what always was, is and will be forever sacred allowed priests, supported by committed laity, to bring about the growth I refer to above.
However, a reality check!
Some of the barriers that existed before Summorum Pontificum still exist.
Using football parlance, we call it locally, ‘the professional foul’ – defined as a deliberate act of foul play intended to bring about an advantage for the perpetrator. Professional fouls are usually committed to prevent an opponent from scoring.
Example: Enthusiastic priest desires to celebrate the Latin Mass but is thwarted by virtue of assignment. He is sent to a parish with no defined group whose spirituality is traditionally minded and therefore the threshold of Summorum Pontificum is not reached. Result: no Latin Mass.
Or, in accordance with Summorum Pontificum, A priest and defined group establish a Traditional Mass only for the priest to be sent elsewhere. The stable group is destabilised and seek the Mass elsewhere, end of stable group. Result: no Latin Mass.
Unlike many ‘trads’ I don’t immediately point to Rome and lay the blame at the door of the Holy Father. Although those playing the professional foul perhaps have grown in confidence and seem to feel they will ‘win over’ the referee since the change in papacy!
The referee, Pope Francis will not tear up Summorum Pontificum, like football, blowing the whistle will disrupt the flow of the game - however the growth we have been so blessed with has stalled somewhat. The professional foul is more prevalent as those playing it gain more confidence.
This isn’t a sales pitch for the LMS but stable groups need representation and support and that sort of support can be given via the Latin Mass Society.
An irony is that LMS membership has declined since Summorum Pontificum. Don’t be complacent and think the good fight has been fought and won in Summorum Pontificum- the professional foul is still being played.
Join the Latin Mass Society today.