As its act of public worship, the Mass defines the Catholic Church – for good or bad. The Catechism of the Catholic Church notes, quoting Sacrosanctum concilium, “For it is in the liturgy, especially in the divine sacrifice of the Eucharist, that ‘the work of our redemption is accomplished,’ and it is through the liturgy especially that the faithful are enabled to express in their lives and manifest to others the mystery of Christ and the real nature of the true Church” (CCC 1067). Thus, the Mass must be considered with the utmost respect and reverence. It must not be treated as the playground of “innovation” and “experimentation.” Liturgical development should be a slow, methodical, and organic process which constantly maintains its link with Tradition.
Bishop Marc Aillet provides us a compelling work on authentic liturgical reform in his book, The Old Mass and the New: Explaining the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum of Pope Benedict XVI (Ignatius Press, 2007, Softcover). Despite claims to the contrary, the Roman Catholic Rite has never been completely static. However, the change which occurred grew naturally from what was already present. Never was there a complete and wholesale overnight rewriting of the Mass. Such a move is not representative of true liturgical reform, and is certainly not representative of the wishes of Pope John XXIII and the fathers of the Second Vatican Council. As Bishop Aillet notes, “The motu proprio Summorum Pontificum…does not aim to reestablish the old Missal…But it is trying to invite pastors and faithful to take another look at the way they celebrate the liturgy according to the ordinary form of the Roman rite…So above and beyond a fatherly hand extended to those children of the Church attached to the old form of the Roman rite, turbulent and undisciplined but also often unjustly treated as they sometimes may be, the motu proprio constituters an invitation to everyone to rediscover the authentic meaning of the liturgy.” Bishop Aillet provides an important contribution to the discussion of authentic liturgical reform.
This review was written as part of the Catholic book reviewer program from The Catholic Company. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on The Old Mass and the New. They are also a great source for a baptism gifts or first communion gifts.