Many of our Roman sisters and brothers are excited (or alarmed) about the apparently immanent arrival of the letter from Benedict XVI that will permit again the celebration of the old Latin service, at least as it was celebrated by Roman Catholic Christians throughout the world until the conclusion of Vatican II and its liturgical reforms. Those reforms were more than a bit of a mixed bag. Among Lutherans, Hermann Sasse could note with dismay that it seemed as if St. Zwingli presided over the liturgical reform! So a move back toward the old Tridentine mass is not something a Lutheran can view as entirely negative, not by a long shot.
This Lutheran watches from the sidelines with interest and sympathy. And I wonder.
You see, there is a parallel in a way with our own liturgy. If I may put it so, LSB contains both the results of the second Vatican Council and the liturgy prior to it. You can worship with Divine Service I or II and the revised three year lectionary, and the very heart of the council's reforms are yours (right down to the "and also with you"). Or you can worship with Divine Service III and the one year (better called the historic) lectionary and you are essentially worshipping in the manner that Lutherans in this country worshipped prior to the heady liturgical reforms in the middle of the 20th century - granted, not in Latin, but the Latin mass largely in direct translation (right down to the "and with thy spirit").
I confess to being a traditionalist in this regard. My parish at its sung Divine Services over the weekend uses only Divine Service 3. We still use the old calendar (gesimas and such, and yes, Visitation is coming up on July 2!) and the traditional collects to the traditional tones.
But we are not exclusively Vatican II, if you will. During Advent and Lent we use Evening Prayer (rather than Vespers) and this ordo owes much to the liturgical reforms. And at our Thursday Divine Services (spoken) which will begin in July, we'll be using Divine Service I.
Which is all to say to any Roman brothers or sisters who read this, I don't think the allowance of the old Tridentine mass will be a bad thing for Rome, not at all. It will restore much that was beautiful and lost with Vatican II. I trust it will counter the man-centered treatment of the liturgy and restore it as a prayer addressed to the All-holy Father through the Son and in the Spirit. But I hope that some of the best of Vatican II is not lost: celebration in the language of the people (at least for the Scripture readings and the sermon!), and the realization that there is more than one way to pray Eucharistically than the recitation of the Roman canon (that throughout much of the history of the Western church there have been other ways). Frankly, from my perspective, the ideal would be to see the old service rendered in the vernacular without all the changes that came with Vatican II. We can witness from our perspective, it is possible to live from the best of both pre and post the Council, and that is what we hope and pray for you and your parishes.