I got some positive feedback on my post a little while ago in which I wondered if I should familiarize myself with what's now called the "extraordinary form" of the Roman Rite, just in case I'm ever called upon to celebrate it according to the new norms of Summorum pontificum.
So today I picked up the a "new" edition 1962 hand missal. It's the very handsome and well-bound one published by Baronius Press.
As I was looking through it while coming home on the bus, a funny thought struck me. This business of issuing fairly general permission to celebrate Mass according to the Missal of John XXIII--i.e., mutatis mutandis, the Missal of Pius V, the so-called Tridentine Mass--this seems like an affirmation of traditionalism, conservatism, and restorationism, but it's not.
Holy and devout pontiffs from Gregory the Great and Pius V and down to our own time have worked hard to unify the Roman liturgy. This was the point of publishing Missals in the first place; to ensure that the liturgy was prayed properly and in the same way in all the local churches.
For a Pope to now come out and say, well, there are multiple forms of the same Roman Rite, that's a very postmodern thing to say, really. To acknowledge a pluriformity of expression of the same liturgy, a manifold expression or lex orandi of the one lex credendi--this is actually a daring step into the flexibility of postmodern thinking.
Just think: what will happen if John Paul XI comes out one day and renews the whole of the liturgy again? What we will have then? An ordinary form of the Roman Rite, an extraordinary form, and an extra-extraordinary form?
Perhaps I'm making my argument too strongly, as I was often accused of in philosophy. Or perhaps not. In any case, the missal I bought is very nice and I look forward to using it to assist at an extraordinary form Mass somewhere.