Mother Angelica on the Traditional Mass


#1

On The Traditional Roman Mass, by Mother. Angelica

*"Latin was the perfect language for the Mass. It’s the language of the Church, which allows us to pray a verbal prayer without distraction. See, the purpose of the Mass is to pray and to be associated with the crucifixion and with that glorious banquet that we partake of in Holy Communion. He is there. But so much is spoiled in the vernacular.

“During the Latin Mass you had the missal if you wanted to follow it in English. It was almost mystical. It gave you an awareness of heaven, of the awesome humility of God who manifests Himself in the guise of bread and wine. The love that He had for us. His desire to remain with us, is simply awesome. You could concentrate on that love, because you weren’t distracted by your own language. You could go anywhere in the world and you always knew what was going on. It was contemplative because as the Mass was going on you could close your eyes and visualize what really happened. You could feel it. You could look to the east and realize that God had come and was really present. The way it is today with the priest facing the people, it’s something between the people and the priest. Too often it’s just some kind of get-together, and Jesus is all but forgotten.” (Mother Angelica’s Little Book of Life Lessons and Everyday Spirituality, pg. 206)*


#2

I agree 100%, but would like to change the “was” to “is”.


#3

We have lost so much. :frowning:

And the wrecking ball continues on…


#4

With all due reverence and respect for Rev. Mother, this doesn’t make sense (probably because it’s a subjective opinion):

*"Latin was the perfect language for the Mass. It’s the language of the Church, ***Factually accurate ***which allows us to pray a verbal prayer without distraction. ***I don’t see how one’s language is a distraction. Understanding is a distraction? ***See, the purpose of the Mass is to pray and to be associated with the crucifixion and with that glorious banquet that we partake of in Holy Communion. He is there. I don’t see how that isn’t also true in the vernacular. But so much is spoiled in the vernacular. ***Again, with respect and reverence (I quite love her), Mother’s subjective opinion. **
*
“During the Latin Mass you had the missal if you wanted to follow it in English. It was almost mystical. ***In the vernacular, I don’t have to use a book, which I find very distracting. ***It gave you an awareness of heaven, of the awesome humility of God who manifests Himself in the guise of bread and wine. The love that He had for us. His desire to remain with us, is simply awesome. ***This comes through better in Latin? How? ***You could concentrate on that love, because you weren’t distracted by your own language. ***So if my grandfather says,“Ego amo te” or “Ego te amo” to my grandmother, she wouldn’t be distracted? That’s going to mean more than “I love you?” That’s the second time that’s come up and it still doesn’t make sense. ***You could go anywhere in the world and you always knew what was going on. ***Agreed, but in the balance, in Jefferson, Iowa, or Talty, Texas, I think the vernacular also has enormous benefits for the faithful. ***It was contemplative because as the Mass was going on you could close your eyes and visualize what really happened. You could feel it. ***I can do the same with the vernacular mass. ***You could look to the east and realize that God had come and was really present. The way it is today with the priest facing the people, it’s something between the people and the priest. Too often it’s just some kind of get-together, and Jesus is all but forgotten.” ***I can see the rest of it, I suppose, the ad orientum, etc. **


#5

*You could look to the east and realize that God had come and was really present. The way it is today with the priest facing the people, it’s something between the people and the priest. Too often it’s just some kind of get-together, and Jesus is all but forgotten." ***I can see the rest of it, I suppose, the ad orientum, etc. **

I agree wholeheartedly with your post, however, as much as I do respect Mother Angelica and everything she has accomplished, I disagree with the last part of her statement.

"something between the people and the priest"
I think it is more a “beauty in the eye of the beholder” issue. If one is percieving the beauty of the Host, that is what one will see.
“some kind of get-together and Jesus is all but forgotten” Can happen at any Mass.

The priest, language, music, etc. are just a means to an end.


#6

*You could look to the east and realize that God had come and was really present. The way it is today with the priest facing the people, it’s something between the people and the priest. Too often it’s just some kind of get-together, and Jesus is all but forgotten." ***I can see the rest of it, I suppose, the ad orientum, etc. **

I agree wholeheartedly with your post, however, as much as I do respect Mother Angelica and everything she has accomplished, I disagree with the last part of her statement.

"something between the people and the priest"
I think it is more a “beauty in the eye of the beholder” issue. If one is percieving the beauty of the Host, that is what one will see.
“some kind of get-together and Jesus is all but forgotten” Can happen at any Mass.

The priest, language, music, etc. are just a means to an end.


#7

*You could look to the east and realize that God had come and was really present. The way it is today with the priest facing the people, it’s something between the people and the priest. Too often it’s just some kind of get-together, and Jesus is all but forgotten." ***I can see the rest of it, I suppose, the ad orientum, etc. **

I agree wholeheartedly with your post, however, as much as I do respect Mother Angelica and everything she has accomplished, I disagree with the last part of her statement.

"something between the people and the priest"
I think it is more a “beauty in the eye of the beholder” issue. If one is percieving the beauty of the Host, that is what one will see.
“some kind of get-together and Jesus is all but forgotten” Can happen at any Mass.

The priest, language, music, etc. are just a means to an end.


#8

We celebrate Mass to fulfil Jesus’ command. Whilst you can theorise that Jesus gave that instruction as a means to an end, I doubt that Jesus thought in that way.


#9

JKirk,

I agree with your post. I love Mother Angelica and EWTN and have been a supporter and admirer of hers since she began her multimedia apostolate in the early 1980s. I don’t agree with the position she puts forth in this case however.

I have attended Mass in English, Spanish, German, Italian, French, Portuguese, Basque, Catalan and Galician … I have always known exactly what is going on because the structure and order of the Mass are the same despite the linguistic differences. For the readings and the responsorial, you have a printed missal in your own language in your hands and you just follow along at that point. So how’s that different from the old rite of the Mass when folks had to follow along in Latin? I’m not being sarcastic here, I just don’t get why following a Mass with missal in hand is somehow a more enriching experience than attentively following what is being said in one’s own language.

As for all this opposition to the Novus Ordo mass: for Holy Week this year I attended Holy Thursday Mass in the Cathedral of Toledo (Spain, not Ohio … ), Good Friday services in the Cathedral of Our Lady of la Almudena in Madrid and the Easter Vigil this year I was privileged to attend Mass in the Pontifical Basilica of St. Michael in Madrid. The point here is not the language (I speak Spanish); the point it that the Mass was celebrated correctly according to the rubrics in both cases (Thursday and Saturday night) and was a holy, reverent and beautiful experience which placed the emphasis exactly where is should always be: on the sacrificial nature of the Mass as the sacramental re-presentation of Christ’s suffering and death on the Cross.

Folks, I am with you on the point about the abuses which regularly occur in so many places. But, as has been pointed out many, many times, it’s not the NO mass in and of itself which produces those abuses. The problems lie elsewhere, imho.

I want to see Pope Benedict XVI publish the motu propio allowing the wider use of the Tridentine Mass. I think that’s fine. But I don’t think you’re going to find that all of the Church’s problems are simply going to disappear when he does. The problems are theological and catechetical ones related to a spirit of rebelliousness and pride in my opinion.


#10

I don’t know how Jesus thought in this case. His command was to “Take this and eat…”

This is why I go to Mass. The rest is peripheral and external. The Eucharist is the end for me.


#11

I wonder if the Motu Proprio came out if Mother and EWTN would have the Tridentine Mass at the Temple and have that shown daily on TV together with the Pauline Rite from the small chapel.


#12

I agree that the Eucharist is the most wonderful and important part…but there is more going on at Mass than just that. If one only goes for the Eucharist and not to worship and be spiritually fed in other ways(well, since I cannot yet partake in the Eucharist its the rest of Mass is the only way I can be spiritually fed) then why show up for anything but that? Why not just have Communion services instead of Mass if the rest is not important and does nothing for the spirit? I’m sure you didn’t mean that, just asking in case you did.

Anyway, I agree that Mother Angelica’s opinion on the TLM is just that, her opinion. I have been to a TLM and it was beautiful, however until I can learn Latin it won’t be anywhere near as meaningful to me as Mass said in English. Its hard to know whats going on if you don’t know Latin, and the book is very distracting. The NO can be just as beautiful and meaningful when done correctly. Anyone who says the NO is evil, must not be Catholic. Since the Pope himself celebrates using the Novus Ordo and has stated its a valid Mass.

If more people knew Latin, the TLM would definitely have more supporters.


#13

People did do that. In some medieval castles there was a hatch from the Lord and Lady’s chamber to the chapel. At the consecration the hatch was opened so they could see the highlight, but closed off for the sermon, readings and other boring bits.
An abuse, of course, and I am sure it wouldn’t be allowed today, and quite rightly too. But shows where the priorites were.

The important thing is being present. The old rite the simple people used to say their rosaries, which wasn’t ideal, but it was at least an action essentially in harmony with the Mass, and they were counted as attending. On the other hand reading a Bible at home isn’t attending.


#14

I have never been to a communion service, but it is my understanding that pre-consecrated hosts are used. If no Mass were available, I would go.

Of course, I love the Mass. What I meant was that I can tolerate sometimes banal hymns, sometimes less than inspiring homily and, yes, even “altar girls”. All these do not affect my central purpose to obey the command to recieve the Body of Christ.


#15

Ah yes, I definitely understand that, and agree. How immensely blessed and lucky you are to be able to receive Our Lord. Always wonderful to find those who take it seriously, as I fear some may take for granted the gift it is to us.

God Bless


#16

Wait a minute. How can that be? Abuses? Hah! The Novus Ordo Mass wasn’t in place then and we ALL know that there were NO abuses in the tridentine Mass.:rolleyes:

Peace

Tim


#17

We are corporate beings: body and spirit. Much of the “it’s valid, so stop complaining about the accidentals” mentality stems from a quasi-Puritanism. This temptation to focus on the spiritual aspect only and say “Christ comes to us in a poorly done Mass” tends to lead one down the road of minimalism. The end result is very stark - and boring.

Catholic sacramental theology is based on the idea that the rites we participate in are “visible signs of an invisible reality”. If we are at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, but the externals don’t reflect that solemn reality, our body and soul are receiving conflicting information. It doesn’t seem right. Those strong in their catechesis will try to mentally remind themselves that they are, indeed, at a sacrifice. Those of weak faith will see the dicotomy and conclude either that 1) what they say about the Mass is not true, or 2) the parish obviously doesn’t believe what the Church teaches. Either way, they abandon the church.

I’m not saying all NO Masses inevitably lead down this path. I’m saying that the Puritanical, spirit-only mentality leads to a loss of Faith.

My general advice to people is this: If you have to continually remind yourself, “I AM at a solemn sacrifice, I AM at a solemn sacrifice…” then something needs to be changed.


#18

Fr. Kenneth E. Myers wrote an article in the Homiletic and Pastoral Review entitled “A new look at the old Mass” in it he writes about his experience as a pastor with the Traditional Latin Mass. Here is a quote taken from that article on the use of Latin:The use of Latin for Mass is so valuable in our world today, where the English language has become so profane and vulgar. Latin removes the Mass from the realm of everyday life. It sets the Mass apart from the world, so that when we come to church our minds and hearts are called upon to leave the world behind and enter into the realm of the sacred. Latin helps us to make this transition from the worldly to the sacred. In this way, Latin becomes the language by which we speak to God, separating what is profane from what is sacred. Indeed, the great Catholic philosopher Dietrich von Hildebrand said that modern liturgists have “replaced holy intimacy with Christ by an unbecoming familiarity.” He meant that the replacement of Latin with the vernacular at Mass has actually placed a distance between the Lord and People, in contradiction to what is popularly believed. Latin addresses God at Mass, but our common speech is directed to man. The use of Latin at Mass does not create an artificial barrier between God and man, but rather enables us to address God with a gracious elegance that befits the prayer of the creature offered to his Creator.You can read the article in its entirety here.


#19

A quick clarification:

Christ IS present in a poorly-done (albeit, valid) Mass. I also understand that circumstances (ex., warfields, etc…) may merit drastic stripping down of the externals in order to accomplish the greater good of receiving the Sacrament.

However, there is a tendency in this country for “extraordinary circumstances” to dictate the “norms” that you find in an average parish. I think conservatives need to step up to the plate and reclaim “the spirit of Vatican II.” Many of the documents are clear in what they invision. Exception clauses and mitigating provisos have become justifications for all sorts of bread-and-butter operations in Catholic parishes.

Much will also depend on laypeople being willing to embrace their real vocation as laymen and not be mini-clerics who hang out at the church all day. JPII wrote an exceptional apostolic exhortation called Christifideles laici that outlines the lay vocation and clearly distinguishes it from that of Holy Orders. The lines are being blurred, and many laymen are mistakenly attaching “holiness” with “doing things at the church.” Our vocation is to take the Gospel out to the world. Anyway, read the document if you have time. It’s one of my favorite JPII documents.


#20

What’s important in Holy Mass is that our redemption is being carried out, the sacrifice of Jesus, and the merits of that sacrifice for our redemption are applied to us.

Without the Mass we could just as well be dead.


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