|"Did you drop my CDF insert?" "No, Father, I don't see it."|
I don't know. That is the only honest answer anyone can give about our current health situation. Imperical College predicted 500,000 deaths in the UK and now predict 20,000. Oxford thinks half of the UK has already had the dreaded virus and in America we are experiencing two pandemics, the virus and uncertainty. Our economy is melting down as New York, the West Coast, and New Orleans become disease epicenters with an unknown number of fatalities to come. Will a million die? A few thousand? We will return to work by May? Will it go on for months? I don't know, and no one else does either.
So rather than labor under fear and uncertainty hear my entirely accurate prediction about the other major news this week: the optional insertion of post-1960 saints into the "EF" Mass as third class saints and the optional use of some prefaces from the Pauline Mass, most of which come from ancient sacramentaries.
Who will eagerly take advantage of the opportunity to use these new texts and novel saints in the older form of Mass? My prediction: six Benedictine monastic communities and one young curate.
On one hand this little bit of optionitis, one of the principle symptoms of the Novus Ordo Mass, is somewhat welcomed, if only because it means the old Mass is here to stay and that these items will not be used anyway.
On the other hand the movement is clearly in favor of pre-1955, and occasionally pre-Pacellian, rites of Holy Week, the first week of May, and in some other rubrics. Old rite Holy Weeks, with or without the consent of Ecclesia Dei, have multiplied many fold in the last four years. There are one off instances of churches skipping the assigned 1962 Mass on May 1 in favor of either the Paschaltide day or even the old feast of Pip 'n' Jim; I know of priests in America, England, and Italy who sing the Gaudeamus omnes Mass on August 15. A church in Australia did the old Holy Innocents Mass and Office last year. Even the ICRSS and FSSP, who have less cover that the diocesan clergy to deviate from 1962, are adding the odd commemoration and using Benedicamus Domino as the penitential dismissal.
If the Traddie fraternities are unlikely to use these optional integrations from the Pauline Mass, and they are unlikely to use them, does that mean diocesan priests who celebrate the old Mass will use them instead? No.
Allow me to explain. Diocesan clergy fall into two categories here: those who do the old Mass because someone asks for it and those who do it because they themselves want to do it. The former category relies on some layman MC to organize the Mass, guide him through the text, coordinate with the music director, and pick out the Mass for the Sunday or Holy Day—which is generally the only time when diocesan old rite Masses are offered. The latter category are attracted to the integrity of the old rite, Mass and Office, and look at it as a respite from what they do the rest of the time.
Moreover, diocesan priests more often than not celebrate the old Mass on Sundays and Holy Days, not every day of the week. There are no third class feasts for Sunday or Christmas, and unless they are simultaneously observing the pre-Pius X ranking system and integrating the new kalendar saints as Doubles, there will be no feast of "Saint" Paul VI on any Sunday.
Where will that one young diocesan curate come from? He will be an eager young priest from a quiet diocese. He will have grown up optimistically under Benedict XVI, perhaps attended a "Reform of the Reform" parish (one of the six in the world), gone through seminary during the Bergoglian years with a tightly grinning smile, and have an odd day of the week in which he is not celebrating the daily Mass in his parish. He will get out his old Missal and his new insert, congratulate himself on providing some mutual enrichment, and celebrate the third class feast of Saint John Paul II. After two years of doing this sort of thing one day a month, combined with saying the old breviary and dealing with Eucharistic ministers, disillusionment will hit and he will toss the inserts, go straight to the real thing, and await the end of "this wicked generation."
And the monks? Traditionalist monks never seem to follow the entire old rite, Roman or Monastic. Nor do they seem to follow each other, although the descendant houses of Fontgombault seem to follow some general principles: new prefaces, a sparser kalendar, odd bits of the new lectionary and in the vernacular, occasional concelebration, and the omission of the Iudica me and In principio at the conventual Mass. These imports from the Novus Ordo are meant to accentuate the communitarian aspect of monastic life. They also underscore a sort of tinkering among Traditionalist monks who spend considerable time studying the liturgy and must find some manner to change or improve it without repeating wholesale what happened half a century ago. Other than following their own kalendar and psalter, I am unaware of monks having such widespread textual deviation in the Mass from the Roman books published from 1568-1964 as they do now. I could see some of the Fontgomabult abbeys and priories using some of these saints in private Masses and the prefaces, if they do not already.
It is worth noting that many of the options provided by Summorum Pontificum and Universae ecclesiae have not been followed except in places where they practices were already in place, such as proclaiming the readings solely in vernacular as is done in Germany and in France (UE 26).
Now you have some accurate predictions. Go back to your hovel and quarantine yourself. Have a new drink I invented, the Quarantini. It is a Martini, you just drink it alone.