Monsignor Peter Elliott, in his review of two recent books on the Roman Rite of Mass (October AD2000), has expressed his personal preference for the Novus Ordo Missae promulgated by Pope Paul VI in 1969. This is fair enough.
But when he writes of Dom Alcuin Reid "exploding the myth of an unchanging Mass of all ages", one is entitled to ask two questions: Is the unchanging Mass of all ages a myth? How successful was Dom Alcuin in his critique of what he evidently regarded as a myth?
It is a fact and not a myth, cherished by traditionalists, that there was no substantial change in the Roman Rite of the Mass between St Gregory the Great (died 604) and the publication of the Roman Missal in 1570.
It is enough to compare the text of this Missal with the Novus Ordo of 1969 to see that there has been a revolutionary change. It may well be true, as Monsignor Elliott has pointed out, that our society has been radically changed by the Enlightenment, which spawned the French Revolution. But it is far from evident that the Church, in devising a liturgy that will do justice to the Eucharistic Sacrifice, should look for guidance to the ever-changing patterns of thought that dominate life in the world.
I notice that Monsignor Elliott writes of "priests who use the indult of Pope John Paul II to celebrate Mass according to the last edition of the pre-Vatican II Missale Romanum". Unless I am misinformed, the Roman authorities have stated clearly that an indult is not required for using the Missal of 1962.
FR G.H. DUGGAN SM
Silverstream, New Zealand