“To the Universal Church”
This is the title of a rather shocking document to come out of Rome very recently. How it is shocking depends on one’s personal preferences. Some are shocked with joy, some are shell shocked. Most I believe won’t care because it will not affect most people and things will roll along just fine with few noticing anything.
There was a time in the Church when we did not say what is now called the extraordinary form of the Mass. Then we were allowed to with significant restrictions as long as we had permission of our bishop. Then we were allowed to say it without permission but to be public required differenting regulations among bishops. Now, not only is to be openly permitted, it is also somewhat promoted even to the point of being taught in the seminary. (In this way Saint Sebastian is cutting edge once again.)
In fact, not only the Mass but all the rites of the Church are to be made available in the manner they were celebrated prior to Vatican II at least in some way in each diocese. The only people they are to be refused to are those who do not recognize the validity of the ordinary form (Vatican II Mass) and those who do not recognize the pope as head of the Church. If there is a lack of priests it is suggested that they be brought in until trained priests are in place.
I am not going to go into any further detail. Here is an excellent place to read about the document and here is the document itself. I won’t reinvent the horse. (the horse?)
Of course there are significant obstacles to be overcome. All of the books and materials are not readily available and when they are they are very expensive. There is a lack of qualified people to teach the Mass let alone priests to celebrate it or the other rites. It is easy to say, “bring in a religious order” it is another to find someone to pay for it. Many churches have been renovated to such an extent that it would be difficult to perform some of the rituals properly in them and in more modern churches it would be practically impossible. Like all documents it will be looooooooong in implementation but it does appear to be on the horizon.
I remember asking my pastor growing up (after whom I took my confirmation name and the man who inspired my vocation) what he thought of all the changes in the Church. He said, “When all the money has been made wrecking churches (his words, not mine) all of this will revert and we will spend twice as much fixing them back up when the Church starts really enacting Vatican II.
I thought, though normally rather insightful, that he was a bit blind on this point.
Turns out I was.