The Latin(o) Mass

This year I noticed something rather interesting during the Feast of the Assumption. Since it was a Holy Day of Obligation, there were additional Masses celebrated all over Seattle. At the FSSP Parish where I attend, it was the last Mass of the day in that area of Seattle, so it was really packed with the after-work crowd.

I noticed several people in front of me had not picked up the Mass booklet from the back, so I thought they must really know the Tridentine Mass well. It was a Solemn High Mass and they seemed really impressed with the platoon of altar boys and beautiful strains of the polyphony choir. I’m always glad when we get newcomers who like what they see and hear.

When the Asperges started, they seemed a little puzzled. They said a few words to each other and I realized they were speaking Spanish. Apparently they saw “Latin” on some Mass schedule and assumed it meant Latino (or Spanish Mass).

I had to smile a little, because once the Mass got going they were able to follow along fairly well: Spanish being a Latin-based language. Some of the words are very close e.g. “Let us pray” = Oremus in Latin = Oremos in Spanish. Pretty soon they seemed very comfortable with it. It was really nice to see how both English-speaking and Spanish-speaking people could attend the same Mass together and get the same benefit from it.

Afterwards it occurred to me that the Tridentine Mass could be a great unifying source in some parishes. Where I grew up, there was a large Hispanic minority in the parish. Things turned out there the way they do in all parishes like that. In effect, you have two parishes: An Anglo parish and a Spanish parish. It’s not like anyone intends it to happen, but the language difference drives it.

We had an EF Mass in the that parish from back when Ecclesia Dei was first issued, and we made sure we had both Latin-English and Latin-Spanish missal booklets, but we could never get the Spanish-speaking parishioners to come, no matter how much we encouraged them. We did get some French-speaking people from Quebec, and they brought their own Latin-French missals, but that’s about it.

Does anyone have an idea why the Spanish-speaking people might not want to go to the Latin Mass? You would think simple demographic percentage alone would get a few of them to come in a parish with a large Spanish-speaking minority. Have they been given some erroneous view about the EF Mass?

Just wondering…

They probably do not want to attend for the same reasons that othern modernist Catholics do not want to attend a trad mass.

But how could they all not like the EF Mass? You’d think there would be at least some who would come to it out of the numbers we get at the EF Mass (in my parish, there are usually 300-500 attending). Any clue about that?

Do they think it’s for English-speaking only? As I said we would put out Latin-English and Latin-Spanish missal booklets. Some of our greeters even speak Spanish. I don’t know what else we could do to make them feel welcomed. :shrug:

Maybe they want to attend mass with people from their own culture. Before the novus ordo was devised many parishes were created and sustained along ethnic lines.

That’s true; when I lived in Pittsburgh, you would see a Polish Catholic Church directly across the street from a German Catholic Church. I guess I thought we were past all that. :rolleyes:

Might just be your location, down here in San Diego, the FSSP parish draws many Spanish speakers, and from what I see we’re starting to win over more of the locals from the neighborhood(mainly mestizo Mexicans). I myself am Mexican-American and my mother, a lapsed Catholic, was quite impressed with the TLM every time I’ve taken her. She likes the “no nonsense” of it :smiley:

You may be right. In Washington State a lot of Hispanics are only here temporarily, so they may feel drawn culturally to the Spanish Mass community.

I just like the unity of being able to share the same Mass, no matter what language we speak. I’m glad to hear it is popular with the Spanish-speaking people there.

When speaking about the Latino community, we must remember that it’s a very complex community. Watch.

  1. Latino is anyone from Latin America.

  2. Hispanic is anyone of Spanish ancestry.

  3. Not all Latin Americans are Hispanic.

  4. Not all Hispanics are Latin Americans.

There is cultural divide there, to begin with. To assume that one size fits all, does not work.

Now watch this.

In Latin America there are three races and two blends.

Caucasian - race

Negroid - race

Mongoloid - race

Mestizo - mix

Mulato - mix

This creates more differences.

All of these differences influence how they worship, be it in common or individually.

Then we have to add the last and most important piece of all.

The Caucasian Latin American Catholic is very attached to his or her European roots. He eats European food. He designs European buildings. He writes European Spanish. He is very attached to European Catholicism. However, he’s a minority in Latin America.

The Native American people (Mongoloid), also known as the Indigenous people and the Mestizos make up the largest percentage of the population in Latin America, about 80%. They hate the Europeans. They refuse to follow anything that tastes, smells like, looks like, or feels like Europe. The Mestizos are the children of the Indigenous population and the Europeans. They were forced to adapt European way of life. As soon as they became independent nations, they took over their countries and their first act was to dismantle what the Europeans had built.

This was a very bad idea. This opened the door for corruption at all levels. This corruption is still going on and getting stronger. But in that dismantling, was also Catholicism.

They wanted nothing to do with European Catholicism.

The Catholic faith would have been lost in Latin America had it not been for the presence of the Franciscans, Dominicans and Jesuits. The three orders persuaded Rome to allow the local people to Christianize the culture rather than Romanize the Catholic faith.

After many years, Latin American Catholics are beginning to trust the European Church. For a very long time, there were two Catholic Churches in Latin America. In some places you had what one could call “High Catholic”. These were parishes that were just like those in Spain, Portugal, England, and Italy.

Then you had what you could call “Low Catholic.” These were parishes that were very different from the European model. They are usually in the smaller towns. If they exist in the larger cities, they are in the poorer neighborhoods.

With the arrival of the Salesians, the Daughters of Charity, the De La Salle Christian Brothers and the IHM sisters from Europe, Catholic education became available to most people. It has done a good job at breaking down these barriers. But it has not finished. There are still barriers.

It will be a small movement of Latinos toward the EF. Most of the Hispanics that I know who attend the EF are from the upper classes of Latin America or they are Hispanic American. Hispanic Americans are not Latinos. They’re Americans. You will find very few from the masses at the EF.

I have no doubt that they will come, but it will be slow. Their problem is not the Holy Mass. Their problem is that they have long memories and a short love affair with anything European.

Now, they are even more resistant to certain things, because the Holy See has taken some positions in favor of the developing nations that make Europe and the USA look very badly. We want to avoid presenting the EF as too European or too American.

It’s very tricky.

JR, I guess I have a higher opinion of my Spanish-speaking brothers-in-Christ. I don’t think their motivations are born out of hatred or intolerance, and I don’t think it’s proper to make such broad generalizations about them. I think as Juan said, it depends where you live. In some places they may feel more comfortable in their own cultural setting, as the greater society around them is too different.

? I’d say his assessment is probably based on observation and pensive reflection, as Br. JR is known for.

:thumbsup: Great post Dear Brother JR! :smiley:

Thank you!

Actually, I have a very high esteem and love for the Hispanic and the Latino community. I spent many years as a missionary in South America. I also ministered to the Hispanic immigrant community in DC and now in Miami.

I understand it very well. It’s a very diverse community. It’s a complex community. Language is what unifies most, but not all of it. Half of the Latin American community is not Hispanic. It’s Brazilian.

If you refer to a Spaniard or a person from the Canary Islands ad a Latino, they will correct you. They are Hispanic, but not Latinos.

Within the Latino community there is such a diversity and richness of culture, history, languages: Spanish, Guarani, Quichua, Quechua and others. There are people who trace their history back 10 to 12 thousand years. Then there are people whose ancestry is a blend of indigenous American and European.

There is no way that we can say that all of these people can fit into the same pair of shoes anymore than all English speaking people can do so.

Americans, Canadians, Native Americans, Irish, English, Scotts, Welsh, South Africans, Indians, New Zealanders, Australians, Pacific Islanders, Caribbean peoples are all Anglophones, but we’re not one people. We have different experiences of the Catholic Church.

That’s the point that I’m trying to make. We have to let people move at their pace, because we don’t know their experience, their fears or their loves and hates. We cannot deny the existence of hatred. We would be naive to do so.


I think having a Latin Mass as a way to bridge the English and Spanish communities is an EXCELLENT idea!! And I am saying this as a Cuban-American woman working for a Catholic church that does not offer Spanish mass even though we have a small Hispanic community. :rolleyes:

I’m not feeling the esteem from your words. You seem to be examining them like bugs under a microscope. I have Mexican relatives by marriage, and I do find such negative and patronizing generalizations a bit insulting to them. I know my relatives from Guadalajara would be offended by such a post. Could you please keep this on a higher plane and think better of our Catholic brothers and sisters?

If you have some constructive ideas for reaching out to them in good spirit, rather than just wringing your hands and speaking of the hatred you find in them, I would be happy to hear it.

I’m Hispanic (or Latina, I don’t care which term you use) and I don’t see any hatred in JR’s posts. He’s not examining us like bugs, he’s just relating his experiences. I know you’re trying to stand up for Hispanics because you have some in your family (and I commend you for that) but I don’t think there was any harm meant in the posts above. :confused:

It feels like you’re taking this a bit too personally mate, it sure didn’t seem like Brother was posting anything hateful.

They should provide you with a Spanish Mass, but in my opinion, a Latin Mass would be even better, because everyone could come together. :thumbsup:

Have you tried to find out if there’s a Latin Mass near you? Ecclesia Dei has a directory. I checked it and it’s up-to-date, because our Masses in Seattle are on it.

Try it, you might like it.

It would be great to see more Spanish-speaking people at the Latin Mass! It was such a wonderful feeling at the Feast of the Assumption to worship in common, no matter what language we spoke. I did bring my nephew’s Spanish-speaking Grandmother (father’s side) to the Latin Mass. She really liked it. She went back to Guadalajara, so I don’t know if they have a Latin Mass there.

Actually, the Spanish-speakers would definitely have an edge over English-speakers in the Latin Mass. I think they will be surprised how quickly they can pick up the Latin Words.

There is nothing in Br. JR post – that warrants your kind of response.

understandable but surely unnecessary imo

It’s very understandable. Take a few examples.

  1. Spain handed the government of the colonies to the Conquistadores. As the title says, they were Conquerors. These were not nice pilgrims looking for a new home.

  2. When there was a problem, it took six months for a letter to reach the Spanish and Portuguese crown and six more months to get a response. In the meantime, the colonial governors ruled like lords. They could be as corrupt as possible, because the crown was not present.

3 The wealthy who came built the big cities and the huge cathedrals that mimicked those of Europe. The first thing that the natives noticed was that Jesus, the Blessed Mother and the saints did not look like them. They were very European looking… Our art does not represent Mary and Jesus with darker skin. In Mexico, they have Our Lady of Guadalupe. She appeared as an Aztec Princess. The Latin Americans never really had a single image of Christ and his mother that even looked Jewish, just less like them.

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