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Monday, July 07, 2008




For those (VERY FEW) who really wanted the opportunity to attend a Latin Mass, the Pope has loosened things. It should never have been an issue, and now those who really want it can shop around and find a parish that offers it. (Never mind that the priest will either be fairly elderly or if younger, his Latin will be bad).

That being said, why force it upon the rest of us? I thought the only people who really took this tack were wacko sedevacantists that think the real Pope is some guy in Nebraska.

I predict nothing will come of this. Pope Benedict XVI is a smart guy and he is not going to turn the church upside down over an issue of such narrow interest to so few.

I think I would like to attend a Latin Mass as a history lesson to show my kids, but get serious, very few have any interest in doing that every week.

This subject takes energy away from real challenges that we Catholics have to deal with: abortion, increasing secularism, advancing Catholic education, and about a hundred other things. We have an election coming up in which we need to educate the faithful of the issues at stake.

The Latin Mass is a distraction. It is available now to those who want it. End of story.


To the above writer, obviously not such a narrow issue because people may actually have to pay attention in Mass and perhaps learn what the prayers say in the vernacular.I think it will help to retain it in memory rather than hearing it week after week in the vernacular but never really HEARING it...My experience after years...Attending a Latin Mass I now have heard it for the first time..Latin taught me what it means in English...I am fortunate to have a Latin Mass within reach, but for many, many, others they still do not..It has not been "put in stores everywhere" which your last comment seems to infer..Funny how people now feel they are being forced...How did we arrive with Mass in the vernacular... I little coercion, I seem to remember!!!!!!!!!!


Where do you get the evidence supporting your opinions?
If you are concerned about abortion, secularism, Catholic education, and other things, why would you blow off the Pope's initiatives like this?
Abortion will not be stopped by any political party. The Church has the influence and power to fight all these battles you are seeming to take issue with...and the Pope is attempting to take steps that increase our reverence of the Blessed Sacrament and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass that will have positive outcomes in our lives. Prayer and belief in God is the beginning of change-not political parties and activism.
Read some of the Pope's writings and you might understand this better.



I took 2 years of Latin in high school. I still remember quite a bit of it. There are many benefits to study of Latin. I am glad my son will pursue it in high school. That being said, there is nothing inherently holier about a mass said in Latin. Very few Catholics in 2008 know much Latin. Following the mass using a pamphlet to translate seems to be a distraction to full participation.

I have no problem in letting Latin masses being said. I do have problem with some who have an agenda to turn back the clock to 1958, which is something I sense among some (not all) adherents of the Latin Mass.

Benedict XVI also wanted to bring back some breakaways like the Lefevre schismatics.

I don't see a Pope in his 80's having a true desire to plunge the Church into unnecessary turmoil. Even if he were younger, he is too smart for that, as was John Paul II.


Thanks for the response.
I'd like to address a couple of possible misconceptions you have, at least from what I'm reading above.
First, the Mass of 1962 (Extraordinary Form, or EF we'll say) is not simply the Mass of 1969 (Ordinary Form, OF) dressed up in Latin. In fact, the 1969 Mass was written in Latin and allowed in the vernacular. That point aside, there is a far greater focus in the EF on God, Jesus Christ, our need for redemption, and the renewed Sacrifice present. The OF is much more focused on the Mass as a communal supper. There is plenty of good and bad stuff to read on the internet about this, so I suggest you check out what a diocesan priest says about it at this site: For the record, he is not a member of the SSPX and he is in good standing with his bishop, etc.
I also recommend you visit the website of the FSSP, and see how their numbers and vocations are growing.
You mention that following the Mass using a pamphlet seems to be a distraction. I'd like to point out my experience. I'm distracted pretty easily, which is a personal weakness of mine. However, I love to read. So, following along in the pamphlet is, for me, a wonderful way to focus more clearly on what the meaning of Mass is, and to pray more diligently. Others may find comfort in quietly praying along with the priest. "Participation" is often many men want to sing any of the hymns at Mass? The EF offers a way to pray that is much more natural for many people. 1600 years of Church developing a Mass must have gotten a lot right.

The "Lefevre schismatics", as you have deemed them, have done a lot of good for the Church. Right now they need our prayers. I do not attend an SSPX Mass but I do hope to see many of them accept the Pope's invitation into full communion (this applies to the bishops and priests of SSPX, not the faithful, who are not currently schismatic by attending SSPX Masses, according to Cardinal Hoyos) followed by some doctrinal talks to clarify some of the misconceptions about Vatican II.

There is no turmoil in the Pope bringing the Church's traditions back into the foreground. If he speaks the truth, and preaches the Gospel of Jesus Christ, he will lead us well. The Pope is also smart to shore up support from the right, as he is so sharply criticized by the left. Let's not forget either, he is working hard to bring back the Eastern Orthodox schismatics as well as a good chunk of Anglicans into communion with Rome. He's got a full plate.

God bless, and I appreciate the discussion,

Pat S.

Having grown up with the "old Mass" I can honestly say that a missal has never been a distraction--but an aide. Additionally, the translation of the Latin in those "old" missals is absolutely poetic, compared to the English translations we have today-which I find flat. I attend both the english and Novus Ordo Masses, and do not get the chance to attend the Tridentine which is available and approved. The distractions I've found in the English Mass is the singing, the sign of peace, and the casual attitude, of the people, as if Christ were not present after the Consecration. Turmoil ensued after Vatican II in my opinion--but now maybe things will get back on track. As for the fear of things being like the '50's
once again--do you mean without the trashy movies, television shows, abortion, violence, high rate of divorces, promiscuity, homosexual marriages, and hatred of religion? That turmoil?


Dear Pat,

I mean a false nostalgia. It is one thing for those of us (I am 53)to have a certain fondness for the Latin Mass based on our memories of "the good ole days." It is another to explain to my kids (13,15 and 17)that they should attend a mass in a language that is rarely heard and rarely spoken except in La Citta' Nel Vaticano.

I wonder if Catholics were complaining about the "New" Tridentine Mass back in 1563 after the Council of Trent? I would bet some Catholics were moaning about all the "new-fangled changes" and wish they could go back to the way they used to do it back in the 1400's. I bet some of them wish they could bring back their old "rood screens" so the common folk would not be able to cast their crude eyes on the altar.

I am curious as to your age? This issue seems to me to be a generational thing.

I am sorry you over-generalize about what you believe to be a loss of reverence or a perception that there is a failure to appreciate the Real Presence after the Consecration. Plus the music. Except for the lousy music our music director chooses, I don't find those issues present in my parish.

Every parish and every priest is different. I live in Spokane, WA where there are probably a dozen parishes to choose from. If I do not like they way they do things at Saint Augustine's, I can always go down to St. Al's.

Unless you live outside a metropolitan area, you should be able to find a parish that does things the way you like.

Pat S.

My children are adults with families. They grew up attending a Novus Ordo (Latin) Mass. They learned to answer the prayers-in Latin by going each Sunday. Never a complaint unless we went to a nearby Church were the music drowned out prayer and the sign of peace went on for 10 minutes. Then they griped.
Many children like a challenge, Latin is answered by the parishioners, including many young children at our parish. The Latin is no distraction, but if one finds it so they can attend the English mass. We also have the Tridentine--which has a large following. On occasions we have had substitute priests for the Latin Masses--they were quite young. It does not hurt anyone to broaden their knowledge. At one time the Mass was only in Latin which was a unifier in itself. I think the pope believes we need that unity today.


Dear Pat,

Good for your family. I would tend to say that they are an exception. Most folks for which the Latin Mass is any kind of attraction are a generation or two older than me.

PS, I have never (except in Italy) seen the Sign of Peace last more than a minute, rarely as long as 2. You must be blessed with an extraordinarily friendly congregation !!


Again, I wonder why you seem to think the only people attending a Latin Mass are older? My wife and I are in our 20's. Many "trads" (I dislike the term, but it's useful) have taken the Church's teaching on procreation seriously and you will find many young families at Latin Mass. Perhaps your experience was a time ago or the exception. I will be attending Mass in about 3 hours and I know there will be:
-About 2 dozen adults over 60
-A number of younger (under 35) families with any number of children. I would say no less than 10 families this age.
-A few families with college aged children-adults 40-60

That's a really rough estimate, but this is a small church. But it has no higher concentration of old duffers reminiscing about the good old days with rose tinted glasses.

I would say one way to compare pre-VII with post-VII would be vocations and conversions. In the U.S., both have diminished since VII. Correlation does not mean causation; nevertheless, there were definitely some better numbers pre-VII.



I am glad for anybody that wants a Latin Mass and feels fulfilled by it. I always felt that if the Vatican had just loosened the reins on it years ago it would have stopped being a big deal. To me, it is the same as if somebody wants to attend a Catholic service in Spanish or Vietnamese.

That being said I thought that the Pro-Latins just wanted to have their opportunity to have the Latin Mass and that would be the end of it. Reading this website was a bit of a shock in finding that there are apparently some who actually want to reverse large aspects of Vatican II.

That is nuts. We are almost 50 years past that point. Cardinal Ottaviani and the opponents had their say and the Council made its decisions. I have more than a little faith that John XXIII and the Council had some divine inspiration. This was not just some crazy idea they dreamed up after a night of pizza and vino.

Numbers of vocations and the like are more influenced by larger societal forces.

Church Councils such as Nicea, Trent and Vatican II come up every few centuries or so. After each one there has been some who did not like some aspect. Then things finally settle down and the Church moves on. That is what I think we are seeing here with some traditionalists.

If Latin works for you, fine and dandy and I am happy for you. However, I and most Catholics want the post V-2 form and hope you give us the same respect in following what works for us.


Latin Mass is just another way for some people to feel more Catholic than others. It's an exclusionary "you're in and you're out" mentality along the lines of banning female alter servers. Completely contrary to the life of Jesus (remember him, the source of our faith). Did Jesus speak to the masses in a foreign tongue? Having worked several years for our Catholic parish I found the hard core traditionalist to be extremely vicious and unkind in their criticism of everyday Catholics. They don't just express a difference of opinion in their beliefs but rather go for the jugular. Completely contrary to the life of Jesus. Scary.


The introduction of the new English translation of the Missal coupled with methodical instruction regarding the renewal of the Liturgy will realign the next generation of Catholics with the authentic teaching of the Second Vatican Council.

The EF Mass is truly the work of God, and so is the OF. No one can deny that the EF needed reform. Likewise, the OF desperately needs to be renewed in keeping with the designs inspired by the Holy Spirit. The cross pollination between the EF and OF is getting us back on track. All in God's time.

If we take Vatican II seriously, then we'll put our efforts into seeing the Mass restored to its proper glory. Let us cooperate entirely with the Holy Spirit and be configured to Christ. Gregorian chant will find its rightful place in the Mass, and beautiful hymnody and choral anthems will replace the insipid music currently laying siege to the Liturgy.

Pat S.

Surely the Pope, as the Vicar of Christ knows what he is doing. In Faith and morals he is protected from error by the Holy Spirit. If he wants changes in the Mass--so be it. The results of Vatican II do not speak favorably, and perhaps he wants to turn things around, maybe even bring back some Catholic identity in the process. Isn't that his job? As I stated before Latin was a unifier, but what happened after Vatican II-- wasn't unity. Those that fear Vatican II changes will be tossed out the window, remember that is what happened to the Latin Mass when Vatican II was put into effect.. Some states in our country still do not offer a Latin Mass. The Latin Mass advocates have been on the losing end from day one, and even though still outnumbered look at the outcry from the other side. Get over it. Let the Pope lead.


I guess we have beaten this horse to death and drug it around the arena a few times. We will have to agree to disagree on this. I am signing out and waiting for the next thread of interest.
Till then,


Just wanted to say that I found your post insightful and the image fairly hysterical. Keep up the good work!


"Did Jesus speak to the masses in a foreign tongue?"
This is part of the problem. The Mass is a prayer to God, not a proclamation to the people. I am not aware that the homily, the part of the Mass actually proclaimed to the people, was ever not in a local vernacular.
The idea that the "service" is a proclamation to the masses and not a prayer to God is a Protestant notion that developed along with the denial of the Mass as a sacrifice and the sacrament of Holy Orders.

C. William Walterscheid

a couple of decades ago, I had read that it was the Dominican Order, in the 12th Century, that "inovated" the idea of a vernacular sermon. However, lately I read in a secular book on the development of the Spanish language, that there were already some priests in the eighth century who wanted to have sermons -- not in Latin -- which few by that time understood (at least spoken Latin) but in the local vernacular.

It's an interesting subject. Not super important, but interesting.


For all those strict adherents to Vat II and the changes that came later read the documents....It says Latin is to be retained and the faithful should be able to recte the parts in Latin that pertain to them...Surprise, I bet your liberal Priests of the 70's never told you that. Mine did not. And as a Catholic, Latin is your language, we should all find some use for it, even if it is just the Consecration...I find it difficult to believe that a parent can not simply give a Missal or translation to a child to understand what the Latin means in our vernacular tongue....Lesson over, child will learn, and Latin is retained in our liturgies....Daily soccer, ballet, drama, and overtime for parents will go on.

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