Monday, February 25, 2008

An important weekend in Rome for the Usus Antiquior

I have received many comments privately about the liturgical glories of Rome this past weekend as relates to the usus antiquior. Our own Nicola de Grandi was very much a part of this -- and we will no doubt hear more from him in this regard -- but as a preface to that, I thought I would share this piece which appeared on the Italian site Petrus:

Faithful Rome: The City Breathes the Scent of Tradition

by Fabio Adernò

ROME - A particularly intense weekend just ended for the faithful related to tradition. It seems that the Eternal City is slowly getting a taste of "what is ever ancient, ever new," so dear to the Holy Father Benedict XVI, a pioneer of the rediscovery of the meaning of transcendence in the liturgy.

First off, on Friday February 22, in the Church of San Salvatore in Lauro, hosted the “vestizione musicale del Santo Rosario", a series of Baroque performances of Latin polyphony... There was a great turnout of representatives of the Roman Nobility, but also of people generally... Among the delights of the baroque Church, the voices of singers seemed to go along with those of stuccoed angels, elevating their praise. Prayer, therefore, brought together those present (almost all who had rosaries in hand), far from any merely aesthetic ambitions. It is through beauty that we can better contemplate these mysteries.

Then, on Saturday the 23rd, in the Basilica of St. John Lateran was held - for the first time since the 1970 reform of the liturgy - the solemn rite of diaconal ordination of four clerics of the [Institute of the] Good Shepherd, of pontifical right. The young deacons - two French, one Italian and Polish - were ordained at the hands of Monsignor Luigi De Magistris, titular Bishop of Nova and Regent Emeritus of the Apostolic Penitentiary... The solemn ceremony, according to the ancient Roman Pontifical, was held in front of the Cathedra of the Bishop of Rome, using the same altar which is used on Corpus Christi by the Roman Pontiff in the square of the Basilica. This sign outlines the degree of closeness that groups linked to the tradition have with the Holy Father, in addition to the filial devotion and deep gratitude present for giving the Church the ability to access such treasures that had been attempted to be left behind as needless. The ancient liturgy is old, however it is not "archaeology"... but rather lively celebrations of what is immutable...

The conclusion of these sublime three Roman days was a solemn Mass at the Pantheon, also in ancient Roman Rite. For the first time since the reform, the Tridentine Mass returned to the Pantheon... The schola cantorum the Basilica performed... while -- strangely for the place, still burdened by the chatter of tourists -- those present (including the curious), were found in an awestruck silence, being taken away by the solemnity, the symmetry of gestures, the genuflections, bows, the incense, from the ritual proper to a worthy act of the worship to God.

... it is precisely the younger faithful of the Church who today desire the ancient Mass. The organization [of the Mass] at the Pantheon is due to the willingness of some students, and many young people attended the celebration. There is a growing desire for sanctity, particularly among the younger generations... The love for the ancient liturgical form -- now better protected thanks to the Motu proprio "Summorum Pontificum" of Pope Benedict XVI - is not nostalgia for the past, but rather the desire to enjoy the transcendent beauty of which the saints too enjoyed, even our contemporaries. It is a priceless treasure that we cannot hide, whose brilliance we must return to the sight of all... Young people have the right to tradition, what else can ever convey to posterity?

The news that circulated around the city [of Rome] on this 3rd Sunday of Lent was significant: Tridentine Masses have multiplied.

Just think of the Mass in San John [Lateran], the first of ordination; to St. Peter's, upon the altar where the relics of St. Pius X are venerated, and the parishes of Gesù e Maria at Corso, San Gregorio de 'Muratori, San Nicola in Carcere (Solemn Mass), San Giuseppe Capo le Case... and who knows how many Masses are celebrated ancient ritual every day for the greater glory of God.

All this news, and the example of the solemn Mass at the Pantheon attended by several young priests and seminarians, may be the beginnings of a renewed spirit of filial devotion to the intentions of the Roman Pontiff, the principle of a theory of activity aimed at rediscovery of what, in the last fourty years, had been relegated to a mere memory and nostalgia of a few, and can also be, according to the recent papal teaching, a "hope" of a revival of ecclesiatical life... These young people and young deacons are a good example of this hope for the Church. Providence, which has allowed this happy juncture of events, is guided always by the path of good young people, "the sentinels of the dawn, and the builders of Christianity's future."

More recent articles:

For more articles, see the NLM archives: