Front Bishop Hugh Lindsay
SIR Fr Gary Dickson (Letters, January 19) argues for "the restoration of the Old Rite" of Mass in a way which is irreverent, not the whole truth and contradictory.
To describe the present Roman Missal, from which he celebrates Mass every day, as "a new rite manufactured by a committee" is nothing less than gross irreverence. St Pius V after the Council of Trent, like Pope Paul VI after the Second Vatican Council, needed helpers to revise the Roman Missal.
To say that the revision of the pre1962 rite was "throwing out a Rite" is not the whole truth. It was carrying out the decisions of an Ecumenical Council that: "The rite of the Mass is to be revised in such a way that the intrinsic nature and purpose of its several parts, as well as the connection between them, may be more clearly manifested." Nor is saying that: "All prayers removed by the Protestant reformers were removed by the post-conciliar committee" the whole truth. The decisions of the Consilium and sometimes the Congregation were personally approved by the Pope after study. The rubrics make it clear that "the sacrificial nature of the Mass... was reaffirmed by the Second Vatican Council" and that "this teaching is aptly and accurately developed in the Eucharistic Prayers". It quotes two new prayers (111 and IV) to demonstrate that what would not have been acceptable to "Protestant reformers" had actually been added to the pre-conciliar Missal.
Fr Dickson contradicts himself in claiming not to reject the orthodoxy. of our present Rite while suggesting that the revision was intended to make the Mass "Protestant". He seeks to be rid of the liturgical abuses; yet his comments gravely abuse the Mass rite he celebrates.
Decisions he dislikes from a Coun cil and a Pope are "manufactured by a committee" but "the 2004 Vatican Instruction" which he does like is so important that he claims bishops are not implementing it. They did implement it by publishing a pastoral guide, Celebrating the Mass. He gives no examples of any substantial problems.
Finally, I cannot believe that he really intended to write that "the Church has need to regain her roots". As I understand it, a Church without roots would be dead and Our Lord's promise to Peter would be broken. Let us pray that any extension of permission to celebrate Mass in the 1962 Rite will not give rise to such unfounded attacks on our latest revised Roman Missal approved by the late Pope John Paul II.
Yours faithfully, +HUGH LINDSAY Former Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle, Grange-over-Sands. Cumbria