The Pope wants to reinstate the Latin mass.  Is it a step forward or a step backward to return the mass to a dead language?

          One reason for this change is to win back the conservative followers of Archbishop Lefebvre who insisted on the mass in Latin.  Does it make sense to win the favour of a few hundred conservative fundamentalists when the Pope dismisses the thousands of priests who have left because of mandatory celibacy? 



  1. 1
    Barbara Says:

    apples and oranges, Neil. I doubt he wants to reinstate a Latin Mass to increase the number of priests in the Church. I don’t pretend to know all his reasons, but I suspect one of them is to reconcile a schism with the Church of Rome. As one article I read recently put it, he is not so much conservative as old-fashioned. He likes the traditional trappings of Catholicism. There is, no doubt, a soft spot somewhere for the old Tridentine Mass.
    If that’s what floats your boat… Not my boat, however.

  2. 2

    Or mine, Barbara. A decreasing tide does not raise all boats.

  3. 3
    SUZANNE Says:

    It’s not a matter of a few hundred schismatics. The movement is larger than that. It’s a small minority, but a very vocal one, and they are very dedicated to the Church.

    It also includes non-schismatics who, while acknowledging Catholic teaching and the pope, feel the Tridentine Mass is theologically superior to the Novus Ordo (contemporary mass).

    The Mass wouldn’t be a requirement: it would simply mean the Tridentine Mass is permitted everywhere. Right now, it’s up to the local bishop to allow the Tridentine Mass or not.

    The issue of the celibate priests is apple and oranges. Priests who tend to fight against celibacy tend also to be theologically liberal, i.e. they dissent from Catholic teaching. The pro-Latin Mass crowd tends to be more faithful, depending on the crowd. There are some who are completely faithful, and some who’ve for all intents and purposes have left the Church and have their own pope. But in general in they’re more conservative and « récuperable » as they say in French.

    I tend to find liturgical arguments utterly boring though. I could live with the Latin Mass, but I’m not unhappy with the New Mass. My big complaint is that the rubrics are not followed and the Sacrifice of the Mass isn’t properly emphasized.

  4. 4
    jim Says:

    As a thurifer during catechumens, amongst other duties at St. Pat’s when I was younger, I was bored to no end hearing but not listening to
    the sermons.No future sinner should have had to go through those monotones.That was no way to treat or attract the next generation.First things first, have all the priests take up public speaking and the main goal of the Vatican will be achieved i.e. standing room only. Then ask the congregation decide on language
    as they do to this day in some parts of Europe. How about alternating masses. Also, adults only in the choir please.

  5. 5

    I also remember the incense in the parish in Hastings. But the sermons — hellfire and brimstone — were enough to put the fear of God in you and keep it there for eternity.

    Sadly, most of the sermons today don’t instill fear or much of any other emotion for that matter.

  6. 6
    SUZANNE Says:

    Neil: I agree about the sermons.

    My husband has « issues » with the church. One of them is the fact that the homilies are so namby-pamby. He wonders why the priests never quote Church Fathers, papal encyclicals or other Catholic « source material ». There’s so much to draw from, and all the priest can do is relate personal anecdotes that advance pop psychology. A lot of the « advice » is the same stuff you can get on « Oprah ». Why be Catholic if you’re going to be told the same thing the world says? You go to Church to get a different message– something distinctly Catholic.

  7. 7
    Barbara Says:

    I think the occasional experience of a Latin Mass with all the bells and whistles can be a beautiful one. It links us to our history as a faith, it transcends cultures. However, the rubrics of the priest mumbling prayers facing away from the people, the limited number of Scriptural readings, the « air of magic » about the Transubstantiation — I am not denying the mystery, merely the « hocus-pocus » appearance of the act when the priest is facing the altar — those I can do without. It is sooo long ago, were the Epistle and Gospel read in English by the priest at the time of the homily?
    Being able to give a good, thoughtful, stirring homily is a great grace. Like celibacy, it is not given to everyone.

  8. 8
    Alan Hustak Says:

    Who there is left to celebrate a latin mass? « Et intribio ad altare die, juventutem meum….The priests I know either have forgotten or admit they simply couldn’t say one in Latin..Nostalgia, as they say, isn’t quite what it used to be.

  9. 9
    SUZANNE Says:

    There are priests in the world who do celebrate the Tridentine Mass. The Fraternity of the Society of St. Peter is an Order of Priests dedicated to celebrating the Latin Mass. Then there’s the Fraternity of the Society of St. Pius X, which is schismatical group, but the degree of schism varies from individual to individual. There are some areas with « lots » of Latin Masses, and some places that have relatively few. I’d never heard of a Latin Mass in Quebec City, except for the brief period an SSPX was a chaplain at Laval University. One « hotbed » of Latin Mass in North America is, of all places, Kentucky. I knwo there is a large group of Latin-Mass types down there.

    I live in Ottawa, and there’s one parish dedicated to the Latin Mass, St. Clement. I heard it’s full of young families.

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