Liturgy chief seeks to reconcile old and new Mass

What happened?

Cardinal Robert Sarah, the Vatican’s liturgy chief, has sparked debate by proposing a “reconciliation” between the old and new forms of Mass.

Writing for the magazine Le Nef, Cardinal Sarah proposed that the Extraordinary Form and the Ordinary Form could have a shared calendar and the same Mass readings. The cardinal has previously said: “Without a contemplative spirit, the liturgy will remain an occasion for hateful divisions and ideological clashes.”

What the blogosphere said

At Rorate Caeli, Joseph Shaw said that trying to combine the readings from the two forms would result in “a muddle”: the Novus Ordo missal “reflects a liturgical vision which is completely different from that of the ancient Mass”. Cardinal Sarah’s proposal, Shaw suggested, might reflect “a certain conservative yen for centralisation and uniformity”, but this was plainly limited: it was unlikely that Cardinal Sarah would also want to incorporate the Eastern Rites, or the particular rites and usages of the Ordinariate, Dominicans, Norbertines or Carthusians.

At wdtprs.com, Fr John Zuhlsdorf said that diversity was nothing to be afraid of, but that there needed to be “a long period of stability of the two forms side by side. We must work to establish more and more celebrations of the older, traditional form so that there is a greater opportunity for, not only mutual enrichment, but also the healing of a deeply wounded Church.” We should proceed carefully: “Sound liturgical changes take time … a lot of time. Impatience and imprudent imposition broke hearts and ruptured our Catholic identity, so enervating the Church that we are now experiencing crises in virtually every sphere of her global mission.”

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