In his address to participants at the recent priest and server training conference at Ratcliffe College, Bishop McMahon made reference to the practice of referring to the traditional Mass. He suggested that the regular use of this expression by the Latin Mass Society was the cause of much irritation to our opponents, and that the use of an alternative expression might improve our public relations.
He accpted that in one sense of the word, the sense of having a long past, the use was fully justified. However, he also argued that there was another sense of the word, whereby the novus ordo Mass also had claim to the description traditional. I think he was referring to the fact that the modern Mass is the latest stage in a long development of the Mass, and therefore part of the living tradition. Of course, there is plenty of scope for argument over the meaning of words and the appropriateness of their use an any particular circumstance, but Bishop McMahon certainly had a point. This is that the frequent use of the this particular word by the Latin Mass Society serves as a rallying cry for our opponents. He suggested that we come up with an alternative.
What might this alternative be? Here are some possibilities:-
The Tridentine Mass,
The Gregorian Mass,
The Pian Mass,
The Mass of Pius V,
The Mass of Pope John XXIII
The Johanine Mass
The 1962 Mass
The Mass according to the Missal of 1962,
The Old Mass
The older form of Mass,
The Traditional Latin Mass or TLM,
The usus antiquior,
The Forma Extraordinaria,
The Extraordinary Form.
All of these have some disadvantages, and many of them cause irritation to our opponents. Some of them, such as the extraordinary form, cause irritation to me. If I had to choose one, I would go for Tridentine Mass, because it has been used for a long time, and most people would know what you are talking about. I would welcome a debate on the subject, so please send in your comments.