Deacon John Giglio
Whose Mass is it, anyway?
Deacon Bill Ditewig address a common misconception:
It is the tendency of some commentators, such as Father John Zuhlsdorf (“Father Z”), to refer to the 1962 editio typica of the Missale Romanum asRead it all. Interesting stuff.
“The Mass of St. John XXIII”. I’m not sure why such an error is being
made, and I don’t want to ascribe any motivation to something which may
be nothing more than a simple error of fact. It does seem, however,
that this description of the Mass seems to be made most often by critics
of the Mass of Paul VI, so perhaps it is their way of suggesting a
contrasting hermeneutic of church and liturgical worship. I don’t know.
Assuming that this is nothing more than a simple error, then, this
post is offered as fraternal correction.
Here’s the deal. As we all know, a wide variety of ancient
liturgical texts developed. These took a variety of forms and often
varied widely from place to place. There were also attempts over the
years to consolidate or to unify liturgical practice in the Latin
Church, often following the patterns used by the Church in Rome. There
are many good studies of all of this so there is no need to recount
those details. However, the custom of “naming” the Roman Missal is what
concerns me here.
In 1570, following the decisions of the great Council of Trent, Pope Pius V promulgated a new editio typica of
the Roman Missal. This became known, then, as the “Mass of Pius V.”
In fact, I have open on my desk at the moment an 1896 printing of the
Roman Missal, and the title page states: “Missale Romanum, ex decreto
sacrosancti concilii tridentini restitutum, S. Pii V Pontificis Maximi”.
Ah, “but Deacon, but Deacon,” you’re probably saying, “St. John XXIII
came up with his own typical edition in 1962!” Let’s continue, and all
will be made clear.
Following that first typical edition of the so-called “Tridentine
Mass”, many subsequent popes made changes to the Mass of Pius V, and
some of these popes issued their own typical editions: Clement VIII in
1604, Urban VIII in 1634, Leo XIII in 1884, and Benedict XV (reflecting
much of the work of his immediate predecessor, St. Pius X) in 1920. In
1951, Pope Pius XII issued a number of significant changes to the
Missal, especially involving Holy Week, but none of these changes were
placed into a new typical edition. Finally, in 1962, St. John XXIII
published the last of these typical editions. Now, here’s the point: at
no point in all of this history did we as a Church change the
attribution of the name of the Mass. When Clement VIII issued his
typical edition, we didn’t start calling it the “Mass of Clement VIII”;
when Urban VIII issued his in 1634, we didn’t call it the “Mass of Urban
VIII”; when Leo XIII issued his, we didn’t. . . , well, you get my
point. It was ALWAYS, even in 1962, referred to as the “Mass of Pius