Interesting points about our (contemporary American society’s) lack of culture, and what that means.
I read the article… it seems to me to be a fairly typical opinion written by someone who is grumpy that their preference is not the norm. Not particularly well written and kind of snarky towards those who don’t share the author’s opinion.
I read it, too. Standard run-of-the-mill bitter lamentations of a hopelessly deluded malcontent. Would be amusing if not so pathetic.
Reading these thoughts that downplay Mass today is disconcerting to me as one who is just beginning to embrace the fullness of Christianity in the Catholic Church. I long for unity in the body of Christ which is splintered in the world of Protestantism. I don’t like it inferred that I am embracing an inferior version of Catholic Christianity.
I guess when the author becomes Pope, he can change things to be more to his liking
Most Protestants share the same baptism as Catholics do, so I would prefer to leave matters to God and the Magisterium as to what part of the Body of Christ, if any, they belong to.
And as a point, should readers here not know, if a Protestant is joining the Catholic Church they are not baptized, as we profess one baptism - and they have already received it.
or further the desire to hear every amplified breath the priest utters.
Really? This is news to me – that anyone has a desire to hear my every amplified breath when I am the Presider at Eucharist. I have never heard that before…from anyone.
How utterly insipid.
The author does provide me in his final words with an excellent turn of phrase for my assessment of the article.
Unitatis redintegratio, the Second Vatican Council’s decree on ecumenism:
…it remains true that all who have been justified by faith in Baptism are members of Christ’s body, and have a right to be called Christian, and so are correctly accepted as brothers by the children of the Catholic Church.
It is also wholly inappropriate to refer to Christians who are not Catholic as belonging to “sects”. Such language was done away with.
As we read in Saint John Paul II’s encyclical, Ut Unum Sint:
…the very expression separated brethren tends to be replaced today by expressions which more readily evoke the deep communion — linked to the baptismal character — which the Spirit fosters in spite of historical and canonical divisions. Today we speak of “other Christians”, “others who have received Baptism”, and “Christians of other Communities”. The Directory for the Application of Principles and Norms on Ecumenism refers to the Communities to which these Christians belong as “Churches and Ecclesial Communities that are not in full communion with the Catholic Church”.69 This broadening of vocabulary is indicative of a significant change in attitudes. There is an increased awareness that we all belong to Christ.
Notice, please, that the language is one of esteem and respect for brothers and sisters with whom “we all belong to Christ.”
Most assuredly, you are not.
Having lived through both eras, as a priest I can assure you that you are extraordinarily blessed to live in the days that are illuminated by Vatican II and its teachings – and to have the blessing of the liturgical renewal which has informed every part of the Church’s prayer and sacramental life.
Good article. I’m puzzled that your post got no likes so far (except the one I just put in), and that the other commenters in this thread have been so negative about it. It ends on a bitter note, perhaps too much so – but nevertheless it makes some very valid points, and it makes them well. For starters, it makes the rare but accurate observation that “understanding every prayer uttered is not the actual purpose of the Mass. Sacrificial worship is directed to God, not man”.
This is entirely true, and seems to be understood the world over except by modern Christians. You couldn’t find a single Hindu or Muslim to support the idea of eliminating their Sanskrit/Arabic prayers in favor of vernaculars. They all reason: If you want to understand it, you study. If not, fine, you just memorize it without understanding, and your prayer will still be valuable as long as you worship God whole-heartedly. The RCC was no different prior to VC2. Whether you understood or not, prayer was in Latin. (An on a personal note, I’ve always found it interesting that even those relatives of mine who never studied Latin lamented its disappearance from the liturgy of the Mass.)
The comparison with Shakespeare is also powerful. Why did the Mass have to be made “accessible” while we all agree that in order to understand Shakespeare one must put in the time and effort to understand his language? The author’s answer is that the modern world isn’t really a cultured environment: “today, there is perhaps less knowledge and wisdom now than at any other age of modern human history. Ease and instant understanding are the current crowning achievement of life.” I think this too is accurate. Insistence on understanding, and easy understanding at that, is indeed typical of modern man. This was already pretty bad in the 1980s and 1990s, but with the advent of Google and Wikipedia culture has really gone out the door, and so has the willingness to make an effort to know anything, for “knowledge” (or rather information, which modern man thinks is knowledge) is only a few keystrokes away.
I think there’s no denying that the switch from Latin to the vernacular reflects a profound misunderstanding on the part of those who re-designed the liturgy, namely that literal comprehension prayers, readings, etc. contributes to the efficacy of worship. In truth though, the efficacy of one’s worship is determined by the intensity of one’s reverence.
To quote the author " Latin is a veil. It is a language for worship. We do not speak the common tongue to worship the heavenly God. We rather sing with the cherubim and seraphim. "
Does that mean they all speak Latin in Heaven ?
No; it means he waxes loquacious over the use of Latin, a language that in the 1950’s, odds were that 99% of those in the pew in the average parish had nearly no understanding other than a few catch phrases.
"And I question the forfeiture of a chanted Gospel, done in an act and language of worship, in exchange for storytelling-like Gospel readings proclaimed at a podium from a priest who is always facing you, always telling you exactly what he thinks is going on, usually with affirmations and accompaniment. "
This from the last paragraph of the article at first left me wondering if the writer had stumbled into, perhaps, a Southern Baptist service as I have never heard any “affirmations and accompaniment”.
Re-reading the ;turn of phrases in his last paragraph, I was almost of the thought that were the writer to sit at the foot of Jesus (and of course, understand Aramaic), that he would criticize the story-like way that Christ communicated. Granted that the four writers of the Gospels were not stenographers, I still suspect that they handed down to us not only what Christ said, but also how he said it.
Everyone seems to have an opinion; I prefer those opinions which are based on facts, not emotions.
One major criticism of the Catholic Church was the use of Latin. When the Latin prayers were explained to our separated brethren, they would be in agreement with the sentiments they expressed but then they would ask, "Why does it have to be in Latin?
So when the vernacular came along I had great hopes of some kind of mass conversion. That hope has not been realized.
My mother was born in 1917. and her high school graduating class consisted of 5 students, from a rural high school.
One day, about 12 or 15 years ago, I asked her what she thought about Vatican 2.
Her immediate response was “Oh! The Mass In English!”
After she retired (which was 27 years before her death), she was an almost daily Mass attendee.
There are, perhaps, the effete elite who pride themselves in their extensive gratification of ancient forms. She was a simple woman who prayed daily, was nearly a daily communicant, and her greatest joy was the change to the vernacular. And I seriously doubt she was alone in that, or for that matter, even in a minority.
Some people seem to forget that Christ was born in a room filled with animal dung and they have never put on boots and mucked out a stable of a barn And had a nose full of the sharp scent of silage. They seem to forget that the Last Supper did not have choirs of Gregorian chanters or four part harmonies of Palestrina. They seem to miss the point that the Last Supper, and the “breaking of the Bread in front of the two in Emmaus” was all in the vernacular, as well as Mass being celebrated wherever the Apostles went in the vernacular of that region, and continuing on for several hundred years in languages that the people spoke.
I grew up with the EF, and loved the Mass enough that when I started college, I started in seminary. But as soon as I was able to use one, my mother - that uneducated peon - got me and my siblings a missal so we could know what the priest was praying. None of my classmates had one. They just sat there in Mass, enduring.
I can’t stand Palestrina, and didn’t like it in the 1950’s. But I love Gregorian chant, and was part of a schola in the seminary who cut a record of it. And I learned to love the LOTH through the daily chanting (in English) we did in the seminary. I don’t begrudge anyone at all to attend the EF; it was what I grew up on.
But the effete attitude of the writer, and the parting comment you made in your post really raise my ire. I don’t think either one of you has the faintest clue how much people appreciate finally getting the Mass, our central worship, in our language - and I don’t mean to restrict that to English speakers by any possible stretch of imagination.
I begrudge no one the opportunity to go tho the EF should they desire, nor do I question that they may find it far easier to worship in that form. My mother had 70 first cousins, many of whom I knew over the years, and they were delighted with the change to the vernacular, Just because they all grew up on country farms is no reason for you or anyone to look down the end of your nose at them - and that you have done.
As you noted, one major criticism was the use of Latin.
But it was one among many, including celibacy, Mary, the saints, the Eucharist (how many of the Protestant churches consider it a memorial, which they do occasionally?), virgin birth - I am just scratching at the surface.
On the other hand, there is Africa (and other areas of the world) which were highly colonialized, much to the hatred of the citizens of those countries, and how many of them identified Latin with Europe with oppression?
From my experience and that of others I have spoken with, the numbers are outstanding. Putting the Mass into the vernacular took away the image of the oppressor.
The mass is beautiful whether it is in Latin or the vernacular and whether it is the ordinary form or the extraordinary form.
The writer comes off as elitist, condescending, and too focused on extrenals.
It might’ve come across “snarky” here and there, and I’m not the most educated person
here, but his idea comes across to me with some weight to it. The mystery of the mass has been eroded away. The word “Mystery” is key here and I think essential concerning the current worship practices.
I like horror and sci-fi movies; nothing gross or graphic. I watched the earlier version of Stephen King’s movie “It” and although I didn’t care for his ending, I really liked the feel and atmosphere of the movie and that was enough to be scary. I was really excited to see the new release of his movie “It” but was very disappointed. Too much in the way of graphic digitally created images. Explaining away with too much detail. Much of it more violent than the original and unecessarily I thought. Things like movies work better when we our allowed to use our imaginations to a degree. I think similarly the mass should be the same. Our imaginations when fed with the mysterious, help to nourish our intellect.
Just another diatribe from someone who laments things he thinks have gone. It is poorly written and the author cannot decide whether there is no culture or, in his opinion, a bad one. He clearly does not understand what culture is. As for his comments about watching Shakespeare I do not know whether he lies deliberately or is just ignorant about what he writes.
It’s not Cardinal Burke himself that’s the issue…
It’s his followers who use things he’s said in the past to beat the Holy Father over the head with.