Latin Mass: Not the only one
The Traditional Latin Mass (aka Latin Mass, Mass of Blessed Pope John XXIII) is a beautiful liturgical tradition which I has enhanced my worship experience for quite a while. My fondness for the Mass coincides with my love for Gregorian Chant, and the deeply reverent nature of said liturgy. In addition, I like to receive the Eucharist on the tongue while kneeling, and frankly I’m too cowardly to break ranks and do so at the Novus Ordo.
One thing I love about the Latin Mass is that the liturgical abuse is almost non-existent. The practice of the Novus Ordo is often rife with liturgical abuse from improvised prayers, skipping certain parts like the Creed, inviting parishoners into the Sanctuary (behind the altar) during the Consecration, etc.. None of these are prescribed in the Missal rubrics or GIRMGeneral Instruction to the Roman Missal, but can be found at various Novus Ordo Masses. Sometimes the desire to shout “Do the red, say the black” from my pew becomes almost uncontrollable. The only thing stopping me is that Jesus is still present in the Eucharist, and I still receive the sacramental grace by attending Mass and receiving Christ’s body, blood, soul, and divinity.
On July 7, 2007, Pope Benedict XVI (or XV if you listen to NPR) published an Apostolic letter titled Summorum Pontificum. I discussed the purpose of SP in a previous post, so I will not address it today. The broadened use of the Latin Mass has breathed new liturgical life into the Church, and while this is beyond any measurable worth, some followers of the Latin Mass have fallen into the misunderstanding that the Latin Mass is the only valid or suitable liturgical form of the Roman Rite, to the exclusion of the Novus Ordo.
The solution which corrects this misunderstanding is that the Roman Rite has two equally valid liturgical forms. Pope Benedict XVI states in Summorum Pontificum:
Art 1. The Roman Missal promulgated by Paul VI is the ordinary expression of the ‘Lex
orandi’ (Law of prayer) of the Catholic Church of the Latin rite. Nonetheless, the Roman
Missal promulgated by St. Pius V and reissued by Bl. John XXIII is to be considered as an
extraordinary expression of that same ‘Lex orandi,’ and must be given due honour for its
venerable and ancient usage. These two expressions of the Church’s Lex orandi will in no
any way lead to a division in the Church’s ‘Lex credendi’ (Law of belief). They are, in fact
two usages of the one Roman rite.
The Novus Ordo and the TLM or “Extraordinary Form” are both valid forms of the Roman Rite. When you boil it down, both contain sacramental grace which is of greater importance to your soul than liturgical abuse, which falls on the soul of the priest. Skipping Mass because the priest makes a mistake is like refusing to clean the bathroom because the dishwasher is broken. While one does not function correctly in its role, it does not prevent the other task from being executed.
In the end, while one liturgical form may be preferred over the other by the individual, there is no difference regarding the sacramental grace received. To miss out on such a gift, even with the liturgical abuse would be a great disservice to your soul.