“There is a tide in the affairs of men”, goes the famous quote from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. And so it is, as opinions tend to shift in a given direction, society is greatly changed. In the last decades there has been a gradual shift in opinion away from secular humanism and towards religious-based government and behavior. This can be seen in the fall of the Soviet Union, to a Russia that much more openly embraces the Russian Orthodox religion. It can be seen in the rise of Islamism and sharia law in the Muslim world. It can be witnessed in the rise of Hindu nationalism in India, and even in Buddhist nationalism in Thailand (which may soon adopt Buddhism as the official state religion). This is a great change for a world where “we the people” secular humanism (as adopted in the constitutions of the United States and later the United Nations) had for centuries been on the march.
Given this general shift, it should not surprise us of a shift occurring within Romanism. Consider the news from http://www.usatoday.com/news/religion/2007-05-26-tridentinemass_N.htm , excerpted below:
“VATICAN CITY — It was one of the most radical reforms to emerge from the Second Vatican Council. The Mass, root of Roman Catholic worship, would be celebrated in the vernacular and not in Latin. Now, little more than a generation later, Pope Benedict XVI is poised to revive the 16th-century Tridentine Mass…A Vatican official, Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, confirmed earlier this month that Benedict would soon relax the restrictions on celebrating the Tridentine Mass because of a "new and renewed interest" in the celebration — especially among younger Catholics…Benedict also was acting, Castrillon Hoyos told bishops in Brazil, to reach out to an ultratraditionalist and schismatic group, the Society of St. Pius X, and bring it back into the Vatican's fold. The late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre founded the society in 1969 in Switzerland, opposed to Vatican II's reforms, particularly its liturgical reforms. The Vatican excommunicated Lefebvre in 1988 after he consecrated four bishops without Rome's consent. The bishops were excommunicated as well. Benedict has been keen to reconcile with the group, which has demanded freer use of the old Mass as a precondition for normalizing relations….Progressive Belgian Cardinal Godfried Daneels echoed that concern, saying that greater celebration of the Tridentine Mass could polarize the church and, depending on how the document is written, could lead to the "negation" of Vatican II reforms such as support for religious freedom.”
Roman Catholic commentator Patrick Buchanan has opined this on the topic at http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=56587 :
“…Ratzinger is pope, and the Latin Mass, which had fallen into disuse with the introduction of the new rite in 1970, is back. Why? Because the Holy Father knows the solemnity, mystery and beauty of the Latin Mass hold magnetic appeal, not only for the older faithful but the searching young. And he acted to advance a reconciliation with traditionalists out of communion with the Holy See, including the 600,000 followers of the late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, excommunicated in 1988, who belong to his Society of Saint Pius X. The current head of SSPX, Bishop Bernard Fellay, has welcomed papal restoration of the Latin Mass. But he has called it a first step toward addressing all doctrinal disputes dating to Vatican II. Among these are the issues of ecumenism and religious liberty. If the true church is one, holy, catholic and apostolic, then not all churches are equal…”
Consider also this information from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juventutem, excerpted below:
“Juventutem is an international Roman Catholic movement of young people attached to theTridentine Mass. It was established with the intention of having a Traditional Mass delegation present the international World Youth Day in 2005 and in subsequent years. Juventutem also aims to foster and strengthen relationships between these young people at the national and international levels, and to encourage and assist them in developing their faith. The word juventutem is Latin for ‘youth’ and is taken from the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar (the opening prayers) of the Traditional Mass: Introibo ad altare Dei. Ad Deum qui laetificat juventutem meam. (I will go in to the Altar of God. To God, the joy of my youth.) In the Catholic understanding, the term 'juventutem' refers to the spiritual youth that comes from the grace of Christ. The celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is central to the Catholic Faith. The Traditional Mass was codified by Pope St Pius V after the Council of Trent, and was the norm of the Church until the codification of the new rite, the Novus Ordo, in 1969. The first Juventutem meeting was in 2005 in Cologne, Germany, and was the first official delegation to any World Youth Day. More than 1000 young people from more than 20 countries attended Juventutem Cologne. Two cardinals and eight bishops participated in parts or all of the two week meeting, as well as many priests, religious and seminarians from around the world. Juventutem has grown significantly since Cologne. Juventutem-International was formed in 2006 and numerous nation-based organisations, including the USA, UK, Ireland, Australia, France, Spain and the Netherlands have also been established. Work is already underway for Juventutem at the next major World Youth Day,in Sydney 2008, under the co-ordination of Juventutem Australia.”
As the first article suggests, there is more to this movement than merely the manner Mass is celebrated; rather, it marks a conservative shift in Romanism itself, back to its old manifestation. That cannot help but have political ramifications, for traditional Romanism is politically monopolizing by nature. And groups like the Society of St. Pius X, which I hope to write about in some future articles, have a definite political agenda. The reality is that the creed of the Society of St. Pius X is a self-consistent expression of Romanism, even as the Westminster Standards are a self-consistent expression of Biblical Protestantism. Traditional Romanism is opposed to secular humanism, even as it is opposed to Biblical Protestantism. There is a tide headed in the direction of Trent.