Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos is the president of the Vatican's Ecclesia Dei Commission, a commission originally started by Pope John Paul II to administer and manage the use of the Tridentine Mass. Pope Benedict XVI has kept Cardinal Hoyos in this position. On June 14, 2008, Cardinal Hoyos granted an interview to the press in London. Some highlights of his comments are presented here.
Reuters: In some parts of the world there is resistance by local bishops to allowing the faithful the freedom to celebrate the Extraordinary Form. What do you recommend that the faithful do?
Cardinal Hoyos: Be informed! Bishops and faithful do not understand the meaning of the Motu Proprio. Many of the difficulties come because they don’t know the reality of the Gregorian Rite - this is the just name for the Extraordinary Form, because this Mass was never prevented, never. Today for many bishops it is difficult because they don’t have priests who know Latin. Many seminaries give very few hours to Latin - not enough to give the necessary preparation to celebrate the Extraordinary Form well.
Others think that the Holy Father is going against the Second Vatican Council. That is absolute ignorance. The Fathers of the Council never celebrated a Mass other than the Gregorian one. It [the Novus Ordo] came after the Council... The Holy Father, who is a theologian and who was in the preparation for the Council, is acting exactly in the way of the Council, offering with freedom the different kinds of celebration. This celebration, the Gregorian one, was the celebration of the Church during more than a thousand years. Most of our saints grew out of this rite.
Others say one cannot celebrate with the back to the people. This is ridiculous. The Eucharist is offered to the Father. The Son of God has sacrificed Himself to the Father, with His face to the Father. It is not against the people. It is for the people. To face east is not lack of courtesy to the people.
Daily Telegraph: So would the Pope like to see many ordinary parishes making provision for the Gregorian Rite?
Cardinal Hoyos: All the parishes. Not many - all the parishes, because this is a gift of God. He offers these riches, and it is very important for new generations to know the past of the Church. This kind of worship is so noble, so beautiful - the deepest theologians’ way to express our faith. The worship, the music, the architecture, the painting, makes a whole that is a treasure. The Holy Father offers to all the people this possibility, not only the groups who demand it, but so that everybody knows this way of celebrating the Eucharist in the Catholic Church.
Daily Telegraph: What would be the practical steps for ordinary parishes [to prepare for the Gregorian Rite]?
Cardinal Hoyos: The parish priest should select an hour on Sundays to celebrate the Mass, and prepare the community with catechesis to understand it, to appreciate the power of the silence, the power of the sacred way in front of God, the deep theology, to discover how and why the priest represents the person of Christ and to pray with the priest.
The Tablet: Your Eminence, I think many Catholics are rather confused by this new emphasis on the Tridentine Rite, mainly because we were taught that the new Rite represented real progress, and many of us who have grown up with it see it as real progress, that there are Eucharistic ministers, women on the sanctuary, that we are all priests, prophets and kings. This new emphasis to many of us seems to deny that.
Cardinal Hoyos: What is progress? ‘Progredire’ means [offering] the best to God... I am surprised, because many young people are enthusiastic about the celebration of the Gregorian Rite.
The Tablet: Should it therefore supersede the new Rite? Should we go back?
Cardinal Hoyos: It is not going back: it is taking a treasure which is present, but was not provided.
Daily Telegraph: There is great enthusiasm among younger Catholics for the Extraordinary Form and they are deeply grateful to the Holy Father.
Cardinal Hoyos: Progress is important but what is it? Progress is discovering contemplation. Silence is needed. A person who has no time for silence is a poor person. The Holy Mass is sacrifice - Golgotha, Calvary, the Cross of Christ - contemplate this. This is freedom, redemption. This Victim will be our Judge. Sacrifice first, the meal afterwards.
The Tablet: Can this not be expressed in the new rite?
Cardinal Hoyos: Yes, but the forty years experience has not always been good. Many abandoned the sense of adoration. We are brothers but not saved as brothers. The sacrifice saves us. The mystery saves us. We sing because we are brothers. We sing because we are celebrating, but we keep silent because we are in front of the mystery. The new rite can express this, but so many abuses led to people and children abandoning the Mass and the Church. The Extraordinary Form is a Mass of signs, of the presence of God, of progress!
Daily Telegraph: Have we gone beyond the “stable group”?
Cardinal Hoyos: It’s a matter of common sense. In every bishop’s household there is a chapel and there are maybe three or four persons. This is a stable group... It is not possible to give two persons a Mass, but two here, two there, two elsewhere - they can have it. They are a stable group.
The Tablet: You mentioned abuses in the new rite post-Vatican II. What are they?
Cardinal Hoyos: So many. Priests celebrating in clown’s clothing with a wig and painted lips - a travesty. A priest celebrating Sunday Mass wearing a mini skirt. Another priest who invited a Protestant minister to celebrate the Eucharist. And another who introduced his wife and sons before celebrating Mass. There is an atmosphere which makes for abuses and that must be changed. In my poor opinion the new presence of the Gregorian Rite will help us to take seriously the identity of our Faith, respecting all the other ways of thinking but keeping strongly our identity with Christ, with Christ in Calvary, with Christ in Golgotha, with Christ offering His blood for our salvation.”
The entire interview can be read here.
The Tridentine Mass according to the 1962 Roman Missal.