Ordinary Form in Latin

It’s quite rare, isn’t it? I often wonder why that is. Any ideas?

My parish, for several years, had an OF Mass in Latin every Sunday. When the EF was also introduced a few years later, eventually it was decided to end the OF in Latin and continue the EF weekly, introducing a weekly High Mass (formerly the only EF was had was a Low Mass). Most who attended the Latin OF Mass began attending the High Mass in the EF.

Mass in the OF in Latin is particularly rare, I would venture a guess, due to the reality that so little of Sacrosanctum Concilium’s directives were carried out even partially, let alone fully. Had they been, and has I am sure been discussed many times on this forum in multiple places, the OF would have always had Latin in the parts that were “ordinary” to every Mass.

I know at least one priest that told me they didn’t see the point in celebrating the OF in Latin when they could just have the EF in Latin. They were ordained just before the Council ended and for them, the OF seems tied to the way it was (incorrectly) initiated in so much of the world.

I remain convinced that a future pontiff will have to be known as the “pope of liturgy”, making it perhaps their number one priority after saving souls, to right the course of liturgical arguments and discord. It cannot go on forever, truly.

But amid all of this, yes, it gets lost that any priest, anywhere, can celebrate the OF entirely in Latin if they wished, no quetions asked. Of course that’s the case now with the EF, but we know that in actual fact so many ordinaries do not foster or support their priests in fulfilling the Motu Proprio.

My guess is that by the time the New Mass was mandated in 1969, Masses had been pretty much stripped of all Latin. However, the altar Missals did have side-by-side Latin with the ICEL English (among other vernaculars).

Reminds me that the Church would have done well to publish all of its own missals and hymnals instead of the chaos we have long had of private publishers so doing, and thus, no consistency in missals/hymnals in helping people see the vernacular and Latin with ease.

Any liturgical arguments and discord are taking place amongst an extremely small minority of individuals. There are over 17,000 parishes in the US, and the vast majority have not seen a Mass said in Latin - whether the EF or the OF - in over two generations. And that is only looking at the US - the Church being universal, that leaves an awful lot of other territory in pretty much the same position.

Yes priests may say the Mass in Latin; but their first duty is to the care of their parishioners, and given that such a change would be seen in most quarters as a radical change, and likely to cause repercussions that most pastors do not want to deal with, it is fairly likely that the vast majority of pastors are not going to start saying the OF in Latin. It is more likely that some parishes will have some Latin during the Mass, but there does not appear to be any significant movement in that direction, either; and again 40 years is a long time for matters to settle into a familiar pattern and stay put.

Consider supply and demand. I think there is minimal, close to non-existent demand.

I think Una Voce may disagree with you, as they get many requests from Catholics on how to bring the EF to their towns/cities. I think it has more to do with supply, as there are not many diocesan priests willing to learn the EF, and many bishops who would rather not have the EF said regularly in their diocese.

Having spoken with several FSSP priests, I know that many Catholics all over the country have asked for the FSSP to come to their cities, but they don’t have enough priests to cover the demand out there. They have also come across difficult bishops who do not want them in their diocese.

The good news, however, is that their priest shortage may become less and less of an issue as the FSSP has been ordaining many new priests every year, and the average age for their priests is still relatively young.

The ICRSS and SSPX have been booming as well, from what I have read, so there’s definitely an increasing demand out there. I guess we’ll have to see if this trend continues.

I think you’re kidding yourself.

I live in a city that has had a Latin Mass (EF) since the 1990s. It isn’t booming. There is a respectable group of people (around 400) who attend regularly and somehow come up with enough money to pay the two priests (ICK). The church building itself is a beautiful oratory that could really use a couple of million dollars to fix it up a little. That money isn’t there–not enough people.

Our OF/vernacular parishes ARE booming, though. Most of the Masses are full, and most of the parishes make or exceed their budgets, including their financial commitment to the Diocese. We have parishes that offer Masses in English, Spanish, and Polish, and also an Italian parish that does an occasional Mass in Italian.

I think our city is typical of most cities in the U.S. My daughters live in large cities, and they find the same dynamic–a committed but small group of people interested in Latin.

The numbers prove it–although interest in Latin is there, it’s hardly booming. Yes, the “traditional” seminaries have numbers. So do the “regular” seminaries. And even the liberal seminaries aren’t exactly ready to close down.

In an era of information overload, it is vital for Catholics to be able to understand what they are hearing and seeing in the Mass. If Latin works for some Catholics, wonderful. But I think that the majority of Catholics are struggling to understand their Church in their own language, let alone a foreign language. We would be wise to do all that we can to enhance understanding of the Catholic Church in the face of the Evangelical Protestant juggernaut that is all about clarity, simplicity, and straight-forward teaching.

If you are looking for “booming” in Christianity, look at the Evangelical Protestant denominations and non-denoms, which really ARE booming! In our city, the Evangelical Protestant non-denominational megachurch garners almost one-tenth of the population of our city every weekend for their worship services! And their services are most definitely in the vernacular (English and Spanish).

I think that one of the reasons has to do with the books.

After 1973, the Latin text was no longer printed in the Sacramentary in columns with the English.

The attitude was “Mass in Latin is forbidden.” The sentiment was untrue, but the attitude existed nonetheless.

The priest had a book that was entirely in English, so it’s only natural that he would use English exclusively.

Ironically, there was an appendix in the old Sacramentary that provided the Mass ordinary in Latin along with a short selection of the propers for certain votive Masses. Most priests probably never even noticed it because it was tucked away in the back of the book.

The new Roman Missal in English does not have the complete Mass in Latin.

Obtaining the Roman Missal (3rd edition) in Latin is still rather difficult and expensive. They’re hard to find, although internet shopping has made it easier.

And what about the congregation? There are hand missals available for the Extraordinary Form, but not the Ordinary Form in Latin. They might be out there (and yes, I would appreciate a link) but they are certainly not readily available.

The New York Archdiocese has just announced that they will be closing 31 churches and merging 112 parishes. And Masses in Chicago aren’t exactly packed to the rafters either.

But that said, the OF in Latin is celebrated at St. John Cantius. Last time I was there, it was well attended. The Latin Mass literally saved that parish from closing in the late 80’s. Probably true with the other churches in Chicago which were about to close their doors.

FWIW, the 1959 St. Joseph handmissal, very popular at the time since it was easy to hold in the hands, had already cut the Latin from the propers. No big deal since the Latin readings were quietly done anyway. But this was the missal that was allowed in the transitional mass going forward with the vernacular in 1965. And, as everyone knows by now, the ICEL retranslated the Gloria, Credo, Roman Canon, Sanctus, Agnus Dei and procured their own copyrights.

The question was about the OF in Latin. And I think you’ve just proven my point. The tiny number who prefer Latin will seek out an EF Mass instead.

For those who are interested in the text:

media.musicasacra.com/books/latin_missal2002.pdf (828 pages)

I believe this is the current edition, unless they put out another edition for St. Joseph in the Eucharistic prayers.

Less so in monasteries.

I learned all the responses at my grandmother’s parish.

My grandmother attended a parish that was, in the late 60’s, about half Hispanic and half irish\german. On Sundays, we would often pick up my grandmother and take her to Mass.

Mass was said in Latin, and the homily was given in both English and Spanish.

Along comes the new Mass, and the pastor just continued to say the OF Mass in Latin and give the homilies the same way.

It really avoided all that ‘balkinization’ that has happened in other parishes, where the Anlgophones and the Hispanics became, effectively, two parishes sharing the same building.

My parish has the OF Mass in Latin on Weds morning, the Sunday OF Latin Mass was converted to the EF Mass after Summorum Pontificum came out.

One could call it “balkanization”, or one could call it outstanding, shout-it-out-loud, 100% accurate, living and breathing proof of how much people appreciate Mass in their native tongue. They vote with their feet (I would have said with their pew rent, but that went out about the time they stopped putting spring-loaded snaps on the back of pews, for men’s hats). Oh, and out here, the Vietnamese have their own Mass too, in their native tongue.

Unity does not require uniformity.

Unity does not require uniformity.

In April 1974 Pope Paul VI sent to every bishop in the world a booklet of some of the simplest selections of Gregorian Chant, much of it drawn from the Graduale Romanum. This booklet, called Jubilate Deo, was intended as a “minimum repertoire of Gregorian chant”. It is, in other words, an official Latin “core repertoire” for the Roman Rite. It was prepared, the Pope said, in order “to make it easier for Christians to achieve unity and spiritual harmony with their brothers and with the living tradition of the past. Hence it is that those who are trying to improve the quality of congregational singing cannot refuse Gregorian chant the place which is due to it” (Voluntati Obsequens).

Pope Paul VI gave permission for the selections in Jubilate Deo to be freely reprinted. The booklet was accompanied by a letter in which the Holy Father made this request of the bishops:

“Would you therefore, in collaboration with the competent diocesan and national agencies for the liturgy, sacred music and catechetics, decide on the best ways of teaching the faithful the Latin chants of Jubilate Deo and of having them sing them…. You will thus be performing a new service for the Church in the domain of liturgical renewal” (Voluntati Obsequens).

Jubilate Deo contains simple chant settings in Latin of the parts of the Ordinary of the Mass: Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Memorial Acclamation, Agnus Dei. It also provides musical settings for the dialogues between priest and people, such as before the Preface, and the Ite Missa est, the response to the Prayer of the Faithful, and others.

You can’t beat the price. :slight_smile:

You are right - the price is excellent.

Sadly, hardly anyone is buying…

Enough to keep Holy Innocents open despite all the Church closings in NY.


But that’s not the Latin OF.

Well, gang, I definitely took a stand last evening at our daily Mass (evening).

For the last few times that I have attended, after the Mass is ended (AFTER the Mass has ENDED–note that, please!), the congregation has sung a song in a foreign language.

This is fairly recent. I attend the evening daily Mass whenever I have the time free, and only in the last few times has this happened.

The first time it happened, I wasn’t even sure that it was Latin. There are quite a few Hispanics in our parish, and it sounded like it might be in Spanish. So I stood politely.

But then it happened again, and I was able to pick out some Latin (with a very Midwest or Hispanic accent, depending on who was doing the singing). I couldn’t understand much of it, and since it was chant, I couldn’t recognize a melody to be able to look it up in the hymnal.

Mind you, it wasn’t an enthusiastic singing by everyone in the congregation. It was about four people singing enthusiastically while others stood. Even the priest didn’t join in.

Finally last evening, I took a stand. AFTER the Mass was ENDED, and this song was over, I turned around and asked, “Pardon me, what was that song, please?”

The lady told me, “Salve Regina.”

I said, “Where is it in the hymnal?”

She said, “Page ___.”

She explained that one of the priests used to love this song, and so they started singing it after Mass. The first few times, they announced the page #, but now everyone knows that it’s on Page ____, so they just sing it."

I told her, “I didn’t know the page number. Anyone visiting doesn’t know the page number. I had no idea what you were singing. I’m from a Protestant background where Latin was never used, and I have no idea what you are singing.”

She told me she would make sure that the hymn was announced in future Masses. I thanked her.

Now I suppose some might say that I was rude. But I think it’s rude in an OF Mass to sing songs in a foreign language without telling anyone what they are singing and where to find it (and the very important translation!). It’s like keeping a little secret–how is anyone supposed to get familiar with and more comfortable with the Latin language if it’s kept “just between Catholics?”

Hopefully the lady will make sure the hymn is announced, and I will do what I usually do during the singing of Latin hymns–follow along in the English translation . I personally cannot see any point to singing or speaking in a foreign language. I recognize that those who grew up with find it “more reverent,” and some people who didn’t grow up with it are drawn towards Latin. But I didn’t grow up with it, and I don’t see the point.

As for the chant–it was a fairly complex chant, and I don’t think it’s likely that people without the ability to read music or pronounce Latin (thanks to our abominable music education in the schools over the last 40 years) will be able to “pick it up” by just listening to the other people sing it. But at least those four people know it. It’s just like Praise and Worship in the Protestant churches–only four people singing, and all the rest of us sitting and listening!

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