Adoremus was founded in 1995 with the mission to promote authentic reform of the liturgy of the Roman Rite. To alleviate any confusion as to what the promotion of “authentic reform” meant, its charter of founding principles explained that Adoremus “fully and unreservedly accepts the Second Vatican Council as an act of the Church’s supreme Magisterium (teaching authority) guided by the Holy Spirit, and regards its documents as an expression, in our time, of the word of Christ Himself for His Bride, the Church.”
At the same time, Adoremus founders indicated that “we do not oppose those who are seeking a liturgy more in harmony with the Church’s tradition provided they legitimately make use of the present discipline which permits the pre-conciliar liturgy under certain conditions. Indeed, we look forward to mutual collaboration and a fruitful exchange of ideas.” In 2007, with Pope Benedict’s accommodation of the usus antiquior, this principle was updated to say that Adoremus “does not oppose the use of the Extraordinary Form according to the discipline begun with Summorum Pontificum.”
While the recent Traditionis Custodes may bring new changes and challenges to our longstanding mission, much remains the same. Adoremus will continue to implement the teaching and liturgy of the Second Vatican Council, and it will continue to pursue “mutual collaboration and a fruitful exchange of ideas” with those who celebrate and participate in the Mass according to the Missal of Pope John XXIII.
In the 27 years since our inception, the coexistence of the two Missals has supported our apostolate, for the traditional elements of the Mass—which Adoremus seeks to guard and promote—have been almost exclusively preserved in celebrations of the 1962 Missal. Their absence from most celebrations according to the Missal renewed by the Second Vatican Council represents a great loss of tradition and an absence from the spiritual and liturgical lives of most Catholics. This loss, in fact, has led some Catholics to seek the stability and mystery in the usus antiquior.
After the example of the celebrations according to 1962 Missal, and based on the teaching of the Council Fathers and the legitimate options of the present liturgical books, Adoremus will continue to assist bishops, priests, and laity as “guardians of tradition.” We will continue to promote the use of Latin and sacred vernacular, as do Sacrosanctum Concilium (36, 54, 101) and the tradition. We will continue to encourage the use of Gregorian Chant and sacred polyphony, as do Sacrosanctum Concilium (116) and the tradition. We will continue to form liturgical ministers to serve and act according to “the traditional practice of the Roman Rite,” as the General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM) directs (see GIRM, 42). We will continue to demonstrate the need for beautiful, heavenly sacred art and architecture, as do Sacrosanctum Concilium (122) and our liturgical tradition. We will continue to teach about legitimate, longstanding liturgical options, such as praying the Eucharistic Prayer ad orientem, as offered by the current Missal (see, for example, Order of Mass, 29, 127, 132).
As the Missal promulgated by Pope Paul VI itself says, “the two Roman Missals [i.e., following the Council of Trent and following the Second Vatican Council], although four centuries have intervened, embrace one and the same tradition” (GIRM, 6). For all who give witness to the tradition and show fidelity to the Church, we are grateful. May we all continue to be guardians of this sacred tradition in the years ahead.
Christopher Carstens is director of the Office for Sacred Worship in the Diocese of La Crosse, Wisconsin; a visiting faculty member at the Liturgical Institute at the University of St. Mary of the Lake in Mundelein, Illinois; editor of the Adoremus Bulletin; and one of the voices on The Liturgy Guys podcast. He is author of A Devotional Journey into the Mass and A Devotional Journey into the Easter Mystery (Sophia), as well as Principles of Sacred Liturgy: Forming a Sacramental Vision (Hillenbrand Books). He lives in Soldiers Grove, Wisconsin, with his wife and eight children.