Based on the Vatican Council II document "Sacrosanctum concilium", the Ordinary Form of the Mass bares little resemblance to what the Council Fathers called for. Inasmuch as only the Pope or the Bishops with the Pope can approve changes in the Mass; is not the Ordinary Form of the Mass illegitmate? I don't recall Pope Paul VI nor Pope John Paul II nor Pope Benedict XVI, "offically" approving this Mass as it is/has been celebrated since Vatican II.
I think you are inadvertedly mixing up two separate issues: 1) the canonical status of the Ordinary Form and 2) the way it has been generally celebrated in the experience of 90% of post-Vatican II Catholics.
1) the legitimacy of the Ordinary Form of the one Roman Rite cannot, simply, be put in question. It is not just the fact that the Popes since Vatican II have used it - which would be enough of a clue- but that there is a specific legislative act in the form of the highest expression of the law of the Church: an Apostolic Constitution (Missale Romanum
of 1969 http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/paul_ ... um_en.html
If done respectfully and with legitimate arguments, we can criticize that document, the process that led to his publication and the way it was implemented. We can even criticize the opportunity
of proceeding to a reform the way it was done
. It has been done many times, including by some Joseph Ratzinger who is now the Successor of the Pope who issued it. But we cannot doubt its legitimacy and the nature of the Mass it presents to us. The Mass could even change again. who knows. But liking this fact and it being a legitimate fact are two different issues.
2) The way the Ordinary Form has been "adapted" by the various Episcopal conferences is also legitimate: they voted on it and Rome approved it. It doesn't mean we have to agree with that either. But it is still a legitimate process. There is no doubt that in this case what we have is truly a far cry from what Vatican II said, and even from what Missale Romanum
Our Pope famously said that there is less difference between the Extraordinary and Ordinary form as found in the actual books and rubrics - and Vatican II - than there is between the Ordinary Form as should
be celebrated and the way is was completely transformed by two converging processes: a) the disputable but legitimate adaptations of the Episcopal Conferences and the absolute lack of liturgical preparation of both priests and the people, contrary to the mandate of the Council, which could only give rise to the many abuses and the various forms of dumbing-down of the mystery of the eucharist most of us have gone through for decades.
I won't enter the rabbit hole of whether the modern rite is in fact more "ancient" than the traditional rite which the Church has used in its essential form at least
since Pope St. Damasus (366-384AD). I will abstain from offering arguments in favor or against one form or the other. What counts is that a) legitimate preferences aside, the Mass is the Mass as long as it is celebrated with the intention of doing what the Church does and according to her duly approved books. We must be grateful for all the priests who are there for us - regardless of the form of the rite - and try their best with what they have, and for the people who sitll go to Mass in the year of the Lord 2012.
While the Popes have tried to "nudge" corrections be made; no major effort has been attempted.
Because a) the Pope has much less real power over the human beings who are members of the Church than generally believed and b) implementing corrections the way the modern liturgy was implemented - and well described in "Milestones", Card. Ratzinger's autobiographical book -would only lead to the same consequences, since good intentions are not enough to get good results. The Pope, who celebrates according to the books most of the times and every time he can, has chosen another route: the example. Not only the use of Latin in keeping with the Council and the rubrics, but also - and is some regards more importantly IMHO - the orientation of the altar (he's had several altars he uses modified back to their original position or at least to a position that allows both the celebration ad orientem
which is in the books and the celebration towards the people which is currently the prevailing usage although it was never even imagined
by the Council Fathers and certainly not prescribed by the rubrics of Paul VI's/Bl.JPII's Missale Romanum
. He has reintroduced kneeling for communion and many other little, gradual, charitably implemented - and explained - elements of the liturgy of all times. A tiny but steadily growing number of (mostly) young priests and bishops are following his example.
The Pope is trying to show bishops how it's done: first you change the mentality, the culture, by explainiing and by being an example, and when the culture is widespread enough you implement legislation that reinforces those you have educated and helps educate the new generations. It is not perchance that the collection of his complete works is not organized chronologically but thematically, and it begins with his works on the Liturgy, which IMHO should be mandatory reading in every seminary.
FabrizioParty like it's 1773
No one can be at the same time a good Catholic and a true socialist (Pius XI)