There was a time when it would take two or three weeks for a decree to travel from Rome to London – perhaps sooner if the messenger had a donkey.
Last week, I heard about Pope Francis’s latest Moto Proprio within minutes of its publication. Facebook was buzzing!
Pope Francis had effectively banned the Tridentine (or Extraordinary) Rite in parish churches. Bishops must now choose where – and when – such Masses may take place and must appoint the celebrant.
Newly-ordained priests who want to celebrate the old liturgy, should ask the bishop who will then check with his superiors before agreeing.
There were several celebratory posts on Facebook and Twitter. But, of course, there are many who are upset by the move. It’s not just the Latin, they say, it’s the whole rite, including silence, incense, mantillas and lace.
I heard of one young man, due to be ordained around now, who is thinking about not going ahead. He wanted to celebrate the old Mass and if he can’t….. Well, methinks this young chap might be better off in a different line of work.
Incense, mantillas and lace by Stephen Pittman
But I’m not without sympathy. I was most aggrieved when we were given the new translation of the Mass in 2011. How dare They, I fumed! And I felt justified: The familiar had been swept away overnight.
And perhaps that is how adherents to the old Mass feel right now. But there are some who sound nostalgic for a different theology – a different way of being church.
Some dream of a Church where the Pope issues an edict and we all jump to attention. Of course, that is exactly what has just happened. Unfortunately, the news came suddenly via the Internet. It is not, currently, trudging across Europe – on a donkey!
• How do you feel about Pope Francis's decision to ban the Tridentine Rite in parish churches? You can share your thoughts at Have Your Say.