I enjoy both, but vastly prefer the Old; and only enjoy the New when delivered with proper sanctity, and enjoy it even more when, for some reason or other—usually during flu season—the sign of peace is omitted.
But, as a convert, nothing warms my heart more than the beautiful symphonic movements of the Latin Mass which are so conducive to the inner prayer so congruent with Mass; while the movements of the New Mass are often jerky and non-melodious, generally disruptive to interior worship.
This article from Catholic World Report is excellent.
After Pope Paul VI introduced the Novus Ordo Mass in 1969, the older form of the Roman rite—sometimes known as the Tridentine Mass, the Old Mass, the Traditional Latin Mass, and, more recently, the Extraordinary Form—virtually disappeared from many dioceses. Its celebration was severely restricted, if not banned outright, and became a source of controversy.
A yearning among some for the older form of the Mass, coupled with decisions by Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI, led to its wider use and to a de-stigmatizing of its celebration over the years. The most significant of these decisions was Pope Benedict’s 2007 motu proprio Summorum Pontificum, which declared that any priest may celebrate the older form of the Mass on his own without special permission from a bishop. Today, attendees of Extraordinary Form Masses are often younger Catholics, as the number of older Catholics who remained devoted to the pre-1969 Mass dwindles.
Catholic World Report spoke to four priests who regularly celebrate the Extraordinary Form of the Mass, each of whom has spent most of his life attending, and most of his priesthood celebrating, the Novus Ordo.
“Both forms can coexist”
Father Mark Mazza served for many years as pastor of Star of the Sea Church, near the Golden Gate Bridge in the Archdiocese of San Francisco, and as chaplain for the Traditional Latin Mass Society of San Francisco. He recently began a six-month medical leave.
Ordained a priest in 1980, Father Mazza had celebrated the Novus Ordo for more than 30 years when San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone asked him to begin a regular Extraordinary Form Mass at the parish in 2012. He agreed, and spent several months learning its precise rubrics.
From an early age, Father Mazza lamented the end of the celebration of the older form of the Mass in many dioceses after the Second Vatican Council. “I always thought it was a great loss, even when I was a child,” he said. “We had celebrated it for so many centuries, and it went into eclipse. It’s a beautiful part of our faith life that we never should have lost.”
He’s quickly become comfortable celebrating the Extraordinary Form, and plans to continue celebrating it privately while on medical leave. “I really like it,” he explains. “It has a mystical, contemplative, and mysterious quality, with its use of Latin, the gestures, the position of the altar, and the prayers, which are more ornate than we have today. I find myself saying the traditional Mass more often than the Ordinary Form.”
Father Mazza noted that according to Pope Benedict, the “Old Mass” is not a separate rite, but part of a single rite with two forms, the Ordinary and the Extraordinary. “I believe it doesn’t have to be either-or, but that both forms can coexist together,” he says.
The Extraordinary Form Mass at Star of the Sea draws as many as 200 attendees on weekends, of all ethnic groups. The high cost of living in San Francisco has been a drawback, Father Mazza noted, as few young families can afford city life. He said, “We have a lot of churches in the city but we need people to fill them.”
The reaction of Father Mazza’s fellow clergy in the city to his promotion of the Extraordinary Form has been mixed. Many are supportive, he says, but others oppose it as “contrary to the Second Vatican Council.” “They’d like to see it banned,” he says. Archbishop Cordileone has been a big supporter, he noted, and will come to the parish on September 14 to celebrate a Pontifical High Mass.