There is a lot of potential division in our Church today, and predominantly over liturgical norms in Divine Worship. No one ever said that re-uniting is an easy act. It’s messy business! Consequently, expressing thoughts on this matter can be messy, too. A recent “Catholic Answers Live” interview with Francis Cardinal Arinze, Prefect Emeritus of the Congregation of Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, is the source of my inspiration to tackle this topic now.
Program host Patrick Coffin posed:
There is a sad irony here, Your Eminence, in which people who are attached to the Traditional Latin Mass often get into fractious arguments with people who prefer the Novus Ordo, so it’s almost like the mass itself, in a sense, is a source of division. Is there a way for it to bring all the members of the Body of Christ together, and does the Apostolic Letter Summorum Pontificum signal a kind of turn toward the future of greater reverence and greater unity?
Cardinal Arinze answered:
Yes, the Pope’s document is a great help to get all of us better together. We should accept and recognize that when we say “Latin Mass” it can be the traditional way of saying (it) up to Vatican II. It can also be the way of celebrating the mass now in the last 40 years. The way we say mass now can all be done in Latin today so that if perhaps some use the term Tridentine Mass, even though the term is not so exact, because that mass had that form even before the Council of Trent. So Pope Benedict has given it the two terms, the Extraordinary and Ordinary form of the Latin Rite. Both are of the Latin Rite. And the Holy Father, by giving out that document (i.e. Summorum Pontificum), wants to give people freedom. If people find their spirituality better nourished by the traditional celebration of the form that is what we call now Extraordinary, very good, let them not be denied that. If people find themselves nourished by the present way of celebrating mass, what some call Novus Ordo, which the Holy Father calls Ordinary Form, so be it. The main thing is to follow what Holy Mother Church has laid down. Indeed, if every priest who celebrated the mass according to Novus Ordo were to follow the books exactly, add nothing, subtract nothing, not project yourself, celebrate in Latin sometimes, you will find that most of that tension would be gone.