This is for all of my relatives who maybe don't know about the Pope's "Motu Proprio" and it's consequences to our faith (much anticipated and released TODAY!). A simple (and not a very technical!) summary is that the New Order Mass, the one we're used to on Sunday, was getting more and more squirrely and more traditional minded people were getting ticked (some from the beginning) that the "old Mass" was being replaced with the newer forms and all but forgotten. It seems that if you even wanted to go to an "old Mass" or you were a priest who wanted to celebrate it, you were considered by a lot of bishops to be "old fashioned", or even schismatic and were not given "permission" by those bishops. So, if you did celebrate the "old Mass" without "permission"...let's just say that that and liturgical abuses (i.e. clown mass, improper gestures, downright silliness) in the new Mass caused much confusion among the faithful. For instance, I went to a "mass" in the basement of the Cathedral in St. Cloud one time. Here I thought I would see a really good Mass...it's the Cathedral, right? I left wondering if I had even fulfilled my Sunday obligation. It was that bad! So, you can see where the confusion has been and now, the Pope has come up with a really simple explanation of how the "Old Mass" is not only "allowed" but has NEVER BEEN DISALLOWED! Pope JPII had tried to get people to understand that the "old Mass" should be liberally celebrated and should not be hidden away like some old thing we have no use for anymore, but not a lot of people really got the message. Now the whole world can know what the Church really teaches on the subject and we'll see what happens as a result! Take note tomorrow morning at your church and see if your priest mentions anything about this. If not, maybe YOU could say something to him after Mass? You could ask him if he'll have even a note in the bulletin about where to find info about this subject! The more people that know about this, the more reverence we can bring back to the Liturgy. Bear in mind, I'm know that this will be a slow process because of all of the people who have gotten "used to" the new form of the Liturgy. I don't believe that we will go "back" to the old form in every church in America...but at least the people who WANT the old form will not be looked down upon or ridiculed for not being "with it" anymore (they might be, but it would be WRONG and always has been wrong to do this, the Pope said!).
Fr. Z has the best summary of the whole deal. Here is an excerpt:
Effectively it levels the playing field for people who want to use the older liturgical forms.
Remember: the MP applies to all the sacraments as they were before the Council, not just Holy Mass. It concerns the liturgy, not just Holy Mass. Thus clerics (bishops, priests, deacons), who are obliged to recite the Liturgy of the Hours can use the older Breviarium Romanum as it was in 1962. Benedict is establishing the older form of liturgy, as in was in 1962, as an extraordinary form (forma extraordinaria). The Novus Ordo of the Roman Missal and all other liturgical books remain the ordinary way of celebrating the liturgy.
“Extraordinary”, here, does NOT mean “rare” or “unusual” or “special”. It simply means “out of the common order”. If we turn to how the Church uses Latin in, for example, a pretty good Latinist, St. Jerome, the adverb extraordinarie means “with excessive frequency” (cf. On Ephesians 1 ad. 2, 13). It cannot be argued legitimately from the word “extraordinary” that use of the older forms must necessarily be “rare”. It can be quite regular, depending on the circumstances, while in the larger scheme of things the Novus Ordo remains now the usual way things are done.
The Motu Proprio responds to THREE GROUPS of people:
1) Followers of the SSPX, for whom this form of Mass is a “mark of identity”, even though there are also deeper theological reasons for that break.
2) There are many lay people who also remember the older form of Mass from before the changes. And you don’t have to be to 80 to remember those days. There are people in the 40’s and 50’s who remember living with the old Mass. They have always remained attached to the old Mass or have regained a longing for it.
3) There are those who were neither in a separated group nor remember the pre-Conciliar Mass. These are younger people who have discovered the older form.
As a result, it is unacceptable to suggest that these provisions were made merely to accomodate a bunch of nostalgic old foggies who can’t get with the program. The provisions were made with anyone in mind who wants older forms, for any decent reason. People who want to avail of this extraordinary use are not second rate citizens.
They may not be treated any longer like the nutty aunt in the attic.
Oh, and if this didn't explain it properly to you, at least check out this crazy video! (from Fr. Z's website too but it was created by Fr. Tim)