On the 10th anniversary of Ecclesia Dei adflicta
In this stunning speech Cardinal Ratzinger knew that he had to challenge the EF Geeks to move away from a 1950's sort of actual participation in the EF Mass which centered not so much on the liturgy itself but on devotions and private ecstatic experiences, to the actual participation in the Mass as Vatican II envisioned it could occur.
If actual participation in the actual Tridentine Mass had been the goal of the reform of Vatican II rather than tinkering with revising the Roman Missal altogether in an external way, I don't think there would be the liturgy wars we have today and two forms of the one Roman Rite. We would have the Tridentine Mass in whatever form, low, high, solemn high, with the laity actually participating by vocal demonstration in the parts of the Mass that belong to them, the responses, the chants and even in the PATFOTA when the Mass is chanted. They would be seen as ministers in addition to the altar boys.
Could some vernacular have been easily allowed? Could the lectionary receive some revision as well as the Roman Calendar? Could there have been some noble simplicity? Yes, yes and yes!
Scriptures could have been in the vernacular as well as the changing parts of the Mass, i.e. Propers, Collect, Secret, Preface and Post Communion Prayer and without a wholesale revision of these, although additional prefaces and new Masses are an advancement.
The lectionary as we have it today exposes us to much more Scripture than the one year cycle EF lectionary. This is good and should not be denigrated. This doesn't mean that the new lectionary is above a reform, but it need not be tossed out as some silly EF geeks desire.
The Roman Calendar did not need the radical reorientation that occurred but I do prefer the new names for various types of Masses, that of Solemnity, Feast, Memorial and little "m" memorial (optional). I love the fact that the ordo suggests various Masses for daily Mass that tie into the lectionary readings.
As far as noble simplicity, what the 1965 EF missal did accomplished this and no more was needed. It was minor but it was a detangling of complexity of some aspects of the Mass and the various rites associated with it, such as on Ash Wednesday and Candlemas.
This is what the future Pope Benedict had to say to these Geeks and a challenge it was for them then and for them today. These rigid geeks are the cause of so many dismissing the EF Mass today:
...But there is another question underlying the first: what is the deeper reason for this distrust or even for this rejection of a continuation of the ancient liturgical forms?
It is without doubt possible that, within this area, there exist reasons which go further back than any theology and which have their origin in the character of individuals or in the conflict between different personalities, or indeed a number of other circumstances which are wholly extrinsic. But it is certain that there are also other deeper reasons which explain these problems. The two reasons which are most often heard, are: lack of obedience to the Council which wanted the liturgical books reformed, and the break in unity which must necessarily follow if different liturgical forms are left in use. It is relatively simple to refute these two arguments on the theoretical level.
The Council did not itself reform the liturgical books, but it ordered their revision, and to this end, it established certain fundamental rules. Before anything else, the Council gave a definition of what liturgy is, and this definition gives a valuable yardstick for every liturgical celebration. Were one to shun these essential rules and put to one side the normae generales which one finds in numbers 34 - 36 of the Constitution De Sacra Liturgia (SL), in that case one would indeed be guilty of disobedience to the Council! ...
...Fortunately however, there is also a certain disenchantment with an all too banal rationalism, and with the pragmatism of certain liturgists, whether they be theorists or practitioners, and one can note a return to mystery, to adoration and to the sacred, and to the cosmic and eschatological character of the liturgy, as evidenced in the 1996 "Oxford Declaration on the Liturgy".
On the other hand, it must be admitted that the celebration of the old liturgy had strayed too far into a private individualism, and that communication between priest and people was insufficient. I have great respect for our forefathers who at Low Mass said the "Prayers during Mass" contained in their prayer books, but certainly one cannot consider that as the ideal of liturgical celebration!
Perhaps these reductionist forms of celebration are the real reason that the disappearance of the old liturgical books was of no importance in many countries and caused no sorrow. One was never in contact with the liturgy itself.
On the other hand, in those places where the Liturgical Movement had created a certain love for the liturgy, where the Movement had anticipated the essential ideas of the Council, such as for example, the prayerful participation of all in the liturgical action, it was those places where there was all the more distress when confronted with a liturgical reform undertaken too hastily and often limited to externals.
Where the Liturgical Movement had never existed, the reform initially raised no problems. The problems only appeared in a sporadic fashion, when unchecked creativity caused the sense of the sacred mystery to disappear...
Long live Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and his vision for the Liturgy!