The return of the Tridentine Mass?
One big clue to the pope's thinking came in his 1997 book, titled "Milestones: Memoirs 1927-1977" and written when he was Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, in which he sharply criticized the drastic manner in which Pope Paul VI reformed the Mass in 1969.The almost total prohibition of the old missal, which had been used for 400 years, was unprecedented in the history of the liturgy, he said in the book.In effect, he said, "the old building was demolished" and a new one put in its place. Thus the liturgy ceased to be a living development and was treated as something manufactured by experts, which has caused the church "enormous harm," he said.Even before he wrote those words, then-Cardinal Ratzinger had caused a stir when he said it made sense for the priest to celebrate Mass facing the same direction as the congregation, in the pre-Vatican II style, although he also said it would be confusing to turn the altar around once again.Over the years, he has sharply criticized what he sees as a tendency for the worshiping community to celebrate only itself.I'm not going back to that.
Promulgation Of The Roman Missal Revised By Decree Of The Second Vatican Ecumenical Council
The Mass Is The Same - Pope Paul VI's Address to a General Audience, November 19, 1969
How could such a change be made? Answer: It is due to the will expressed by the Ecumenical Council held not long ago. The Council decreed: "The rite of the Mass is to be revised in such a way that the intrinsic nature and purpose of its several parts, as also the connection between them, can be more clearly manifested, and that devout and active participation by the faithful can be more easily accomplished
For this purpose the rites are to be simplified, while due care is taken to preserve their substance. Elements which, with the passage of time, came to be duplicated, or were added with but little advantage, are now to be discarded. Where opportunity allows or necessity demands, other elements which have suffered injury through accidents of history are now to be restored to the earlier norm of the Holy Fathers" (Sacrosanctum Concilium #50).
It is not an arbitrary act. It is not a transitory or optional experiment. It is not some dilettante's improvisation. It is a law. It has been thought out by authoritative experts of sacred Liturgy; it has been discussed and meditated upon for a long time. We shall do well to accept it with joyful interest and put it into practice punctually, unanimously and carefully.
-- Pope Paul VI