THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: The pope's plan for liturgical renewal, and the "reform of the reform," has now come into focus. Two years ago we witnessed the Holy Fathers liberalization and promotion of the extraordinary form (Tridentine) mass via his motu proprio entitled Summorum Pontificum. This effectively created, and continues to create, a parallel liturgy to the ordinary form, which is available to the faithful without restriction. It is the Holy Father's plan to allow this situation to exist for while, both the ordinary (Novus Ordo) and extraordinary (Tridentine) forms of the Gregorian Rite to develop organically side by side.
Now he turns his attention to the ordinary form (Novus Ordo) mass. The document was placed on his desk in April of this year (2009), after having been voted on almost unanimously by a convocation of cardinals and bishops hand selected by the pope. The document has allegedly been signed already, but has yet to be formally released to the public. The contents of the document contain the outline for Pope Benedict XVI's reorganization and reform of the ordinary form liturgy. At this point we do not know exactly how these reforms will be implemented, but we do know the pope does not wish to do so by official proclamations, such as was done with Summorum Pontificum two years ago. It would seem that when it comes to reform of the new liturgy, a much more practical method is in order. Rather than pontifical edict, the pope would appear to be opting for a pastoral and administrative method. While the document outlining the reform will at some unspecified future date be revealed to the faithful, trusted bishops, strategically placed all over the world, will be given an advanced preview of the contents outlining liturgical goals the pope would like to see met in the coming years. Just what are they? According to one reliable source we have the following...
- The recovery of Latin in the ordinary form liturgy. This includes more frequent celebrations of the ordinary form in Latin, as well as the use of some Latin prayers and responses during vernacular celebrations of the mass.
- Remaking the introductory parts of the missal to a more traditional form.
- Reception of communion in the mouth, as opposed to the hand, preferably while kneeling.
- The use of the ad orientem posture (face to the east, back to the congregation) during the prayers of consecration at the very least.
Other sources indicate the document may also contain changes to the "sign of peace," wherein it is placed closer to the creed, before the Liturgy of the Eucharist truly begins. The first concrete evidence of Pope Benedict XVI's liturgical reform of the new mass has finally come into focus. Ladies and gentlemen, the Holy Father has a plan, but he has assured us it will take years before it is fully implemented. Nevertheless, every day is one step closer.