Mutual enrichment

Every goal begins with an attitude.

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Watch ye, and pray!

When Benedict XVI promulgated Summorum Pontificum ten years ago in order to grant universal access to the Traditional Latin Mass, that the Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms enrich one another became its corollary goal. Thus, the Italian possono arricchirsi a vicenda [1] later encouraged the conceptualisation of mutual enrichment, on which topic, debates continue to produce intelligent proposals, respectful disagreements, reasonable discernments, and disarming predictions.

There are two sides to mutual enrichment: what it means to the Pope emeritus; and what it means to us. Concerning mutual enrichment, in his letter introducing his motu proprio, Benedict XVI said: “New Saints and some of the new Prefaces can and should be inserted in the old Missal” [2]. Some of us might feel hurt that the Pope emeritus only saw the virtues of the Novus Ordo, but let us not dismiss the possibility that he considers these two as the only virtues of the Ordinary Form worthy of emulation.

While this papal ideal remains a vision as we strive to attain stability, the enrichment has already begun and continues to gain momentum in the opposite direction. Mutual enrichment begins with our attitude, our disposition, our outlook. Once we attend the Old Rite, it will be quite hard to set aside meaningful habits—those gestures of humility and vestures of modesty—that we have acquired in the Old Rite. Veiling and appropriate attire are an example. Kneeling for Communion is another. The longing for silence, for an interior communication with the Lord, in the Mass, dispose our souls towards what happens at the altar.

Oftentimes, however, when we are in the Ordinary Form, noise and ugly music imperil our disposition. This is where enter church musicians who have been touched by the Extraordinary Form, conscious of the liturgical prescriptions of the Ordinary Form. Sacred music is one of the easy ways through which we can enrich the OF with the EF. We can begin with a serious Catholic musician who is in good terms with his parish priest. Patience and perseverance and gradual amelioration possess an underestimated power to reshape attitudes over time.

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Credo videre bona Domini !

As the clock edges closer to the 10th anniversary of Summorum Pontificum’s entry into force, let us pray for all musicians serving in the EF, who many days in a week battle the absurd prejudices in their home parishes.

Diva Caecilia, ora pro nobis. Dive Gregori, ora pro nobis.


[1] Letter Con grande fiducia (7 July 2017) near the middle: AAS 99 (2007) p. 797.
[2] Ibid.

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