"Liturgical decline began
(Which was rather late for me) ..."
The Society of St Tarcisius is not a campaigning or controversial organization. It is devoted to giving practical and spiritual support to servers of the traditional mass. However, when honest questions are asked about its aims and objectives, honest answers may be given.
It has been asked, what is mean by the statement in the membership leaflet that: "The Society is specifically committed to the traditional Latin liturgy of the Catholic church, in a form no later than that current in 1962." What is meant by "in a form no later than that current in 1962?"
What is referred to as the 1962 Missal is the revision of the Missale Romanum that came into effect in December 1962. It differed little, to the uneducated eye, from what went before, but there were simplifications to the rite of mass, and some changes to the calendar. This was part of a process that went back at least to 1955 - a simplification of the rubrics, of the calendar, of the text. There was a wide expectation of further revision and simplification, which was of course what happened!
In retrospect, the 1962, though much closer to the traditional missal than anything that came after, was a transitional form - a creeping towards the changes that came later.
Why has the 1962 Missal become the most common one used by traditionalists, and others who make use of what they refer to as the 'extraordinary form'? Partly, of course, because that is what was explicitly authorized by the 1988 Ecclesia Dei indult, and more recently has been referred to in the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum. But the roots seem to go back to the early 1980s, when Archbishop Lefebvre, dealing with disagreements in his Fraternity, decided on the 1962 Missal as a way of excluding a number of hard-liners, who were not flavour of the month at that time. That's all ancient history now; but the 1962 Missal has stuck. Before 1988, at least in England, there was a variety of usage, and quite commonly the rubrics in use before 1962 were adopted.
Many priests who use the old rite say that they want to stick rigidly to the rubrics of 1962, because they believe that their obedience and loyalty to the pope require this. That is a respectable position, though I would observe that very few masses that I have attended have actually observed the revised rubrics fully. The most well-known difference is the omission of the Confiteor before communion, but it's not the only one, and these other changes are commonly ignored.
Whether the rubrics of 1962 are strictly observed or not, I find it difficult to imagine that anyone would argue that this form of the Missal is liturgically perfect - the culmination of the organic development of the Roman Mass. It is clearly a staging post on the way to the Novus Ordo - and that is good or bad, depending on your perspective. If you disapprove of the the changes to the liturgy, then 1962 is less than ideal, because the process has started. If you approve of the changes, then 1962 is less than ideal, because it doesn't go far enough. If anyone wants to maintain the theoretical perfection of 1962, I'd be interested to hear the argument.
Comparisons between 1962 and its predecessors have been made in extenso elsewhere, and need not be rehearsed here. See, for example, the excellent blog of the St Lawrence press, who also publish an excellent ordo: http://ordorecitandi.blogspot.com/
1962 is the standard 'compromise' Missal, de facto, for 'extraordinary form' masses, at least for the moment. There seems no reason, however, to commit the SST, in its foundational document, to a Missal which many traditionalists would argue is a staging post towards liturgical decline. The SST does not campaign on this issue - after all, as I said, it is not a campaigning organization - and individual members hold their own views on this. Similarly, a variety of views on the Novus Ordo are to be expected; there is no party line.
There are enough schisms in the church, and disagreements among traditionalists. There is a variety of views on when the liturgical decline set in, and what version of the Missal is the last one before the deluge. There is nothing the modernists would like better than to see us rend one another over this issue. Let any debate be courteous, respectful, and self-disciplined, in the true spirit of Catholic tradition.