Vatican II Reforms - Impact on Converts

I pulled this quote from a thread in the Apologetics/Sacred Scripture forum. I did not think the discussion was appropriate in that forum. But it is very interesting so I am transferring here. The original thread is here:

Rocketrob – I am also a convert (just under 3 years ago), but I love the Tridentine Mass (FSSP) and generally favor the viewpoints of so-called “traditionalist” Catholics. Your statement above is very interesting to me and I would love to discuss it. What Vatican II reforms do you think were critical to your conversion?

Without going into all the intricate detail, I joined the Catholic Church about 8 years ago after being raised in a protestant tradition. I married a “cradle Catholic” some years before and we both pretty much knew that I would never become a Catholic. Well, after some period of soul searching and investigation, I did eventually join the Catholic faith and very much felt like I had “come home.”

I joined the faith as I understood and found it those 8 years ago. As a result, I did not specifically research Vatcian II reforms, but I can comment on my perception of a few reforms that I believe greatly facilitated my conversion process.

First, my perception is that Vatican II re-emphasized the “scripture” component of the “scripture and tradition” interelation in the Cathoic faith. This is, of course, primarily based on my own personal experience and relationships with the Catholics I know from the pre- and post- Vatican II eras.

Ironically, I realize that the New American Bible was a product of this reform and I am not all that impressed with it. The quality of the translation may be debatable, but I think its well established that the study or footnotes associated with various editions are suspect and misleading with respect to the tenets of the Catholic faith.

Second, I feel that conduction of the mass in one’s native language enables the typical layperson to have a fuller understanding of all that is actually happening. The numerous references to scripture and salvation history are quite evident, and it is readily apparent that through the mass we are actively participating with the Heavenly Host. I believe that much of this connection would be lost for myself and my young family if the mass were being conducted in Latin. (Granted, I have never actually experienced a Latin mass, and I do think it would be nice to attend one on an occasional basis).

Third, I like the fact that the priest faces the congregation during the consecration of the Eucharist. I feel very much that I am part of the ritual in its current form. However, this is more of a preference for me than is my second point above.

These are some of the Vatican II reforms that I think cleared stumbling blocks with respect to my joining the Catholic Church. Obviously, the Church should not alter its practices just to attract potential converts. However, I believe many protestant converts would share in my opinions expressed above.


Dear rocketrob,

I appreciate very much that you have offered your perspective on the Mass. It will take awhile to get used to the Latin, I am sure, but having a firm foundation in the Romance languages it is easier for me to follow the Latin.

I have focussed on your above paragraph specifically because I experienced a different feeling in regards to my participation at the Latin Mass, which I attended for the first time this morning.

I actually felt as if I were one with the Priest as he prayed the words of Consecration. I did not expect that, because I have always felt that with the Priest facing me I am “in on” what is happening, and thought that with the Priest facing away from me, I would be “excluded.” This morning I felt almost as if I were at the Priest’s side during the Consecration. I had a very distinct sense of the Priest coming forth from amongst us, as one of us, leading us in the re-presentation of the Sacrifice on Calvary.

The experience, viewed through this lens, actually made the Eucharistic Liturgy a much more intimate experience for me. I had a great sense of the Ancient and of the Eternal; as if I were at the Heavenly Altar.

I have no idea if any of that makes any sense at all.


Thanks for responding. I also converted from Protestantism. And, I too like the emphasis on Scripture and the “enhanced” readings in the new mass. And, I agree that the NAB translation leaves much to be desired.

I also agree that most folks find the new Mass easier to follow initially. To converts from Protestantism it is definitely much more familiar. That is good in a way as it is less intimidating to the new Catholic, the potential convert, and even cradle Catholics who have never experienced the Tridentine Mass. But, in the long term it is bad, because the externals of the new Mass de-emphasize the central meaning of the Mass and it abandons much that is of great importance in our rich Catholic heritage.

I strongly encourage you to attend a Tridentine Mass a few times and **really focus on praying it. While doing so, retain the picture in your mind of a heavenly liturgy also occurring simultaneously as reported in the Apocalypse (ie. book of Revelation). ** Try doing this alone a few times so that you can give the prayers in the Mass your undivided attention (ie. without distractions from small children etc. . . .)

The external beauty and depth of the Tridentine Mass far surpasses the new Mass. Once you learn it after attending for about a year, it is actually easier to follow than the New Mass, because the readings and Order of the Mass are more predictable.

The turning toward the people is a bad thing. Of course, it is a Protestant thing so once again it is more familiar for converts like us and it seems more sociable in our modern society. But, the turning way from the people hammers home the point that the focus of the Mass is in heaven. It is about worshipping God and offering sacrifice to Him. This is what makes the Mass so special and it is strongly emphasized in the externals of the Tridentine rite.

For thousands of years, the Church made new converts without externally de-emphasizing the sacrificial nature of the Mass. There are good reasons why this is so.

I encourage you to continue to explore this matter.

Maurin, I’m so glad you posted your experience. I was hoping you would. It sounds like it was a profound experience. One of the things that struck me when I watched a TLM Mass was the same thing that you voiced here. That sense that the priest then becomes one of us…as we all face the altar, there is something to be said for the TLM in this regard which I appreciate.

Perhaps more of us can experience this if the Pope allows for it.

Sorry to the OP if I went off topic a bit. :slight_smile:

I entered the Church on April 15, 2006. The first time I entered a Catholic Church was Trinity Sunday 2005. At the time, I thought that mass was still entirely in Latin. When I was greeted by black gospel music rather than Gregorian chant, I was very shocked. When I later found out that the Latin rite wasn’t actually in Latin anymore, it was truly the greatest disappointment of my life. Given that, I’m actually surprised that I managed to stick RCIA out and complete the conversion process. I am so thankful for the FSSP parish near my house, because the NO just wasn’t satisfying me spiritually. It was at the point where I felt like a theater critic and not a worshipper. I think most non-Catholics still think of the Church in pre-Vatican II terms and aren’t very aware of the modernist crisis that grips us. I was a total naif when I started out my road to Catholicism, being almost completly unchurched, and had no idea that the liturgy had been changed or that there were altar girls or that there were churches that resembled Wal-Marts and Pizza Huts. I think that the TLM can be appreciated by people even if they aren’t Catholic or religious, which I don’t think is nessesarily the case with the NO. I mean the NO is certainly valid, but as an aesthetic experience it often falls flat at least in my experience.

going back a few yrs my mother converted in the 1940s after marrying my dad, she had been raised Methodist, and simply fell in love with the Catholic faith, worship, Eucharist etc., and the simple faith of my Catholic grandmother.

The changes in liturgy and elsewhere in the 60s nearly killed her and for a while nearly killed her faith. She and my dad both thankfully came back to the church before their (untimely) deaths, but she suffered greatly. She told me once she understood how Catholics in England felt during the time of persecution, despoiling the churches and monasteries, etc. during the time of England’s protestant reformation.

Another convert here. I have only experienced the NO in English so have nothing to compare it to except for this.

Within the past year and a half we have had three Franciscans take over the parish. One of these priests is well into his sixties, possibly in his seventies. The first time I went to him for confession he gave me absolution in Latin. I’m not sure why but there was something really moving about that, something almost more “real”. Maybe that’s not the best word, but I’m having trouble describing what I felt.

In any case, it got me thinking that I would like to go to a Latin mass, but I also wondered whether it would be better to find a Tridentine mass or a NO in Latin. Is it even possible to find the NO in Latin? I know that the NO was written in Latin and then translated and I know that “ad orientum” of the celebrant is quite licit under the NO. There is no prohibition on it. I wonder whether the effect would be similar to the Tridentine to have an NO in Latin ad orientum, or would there still be something missing? Without any experience of this I’m only asking speculative questions.

This thread is very interesting because I’ve wondered what other converts think about this. I was received into the Church last Easter. Before that, I was a “traditional Baptist” so I guess you could say I was born with traditionalist blood in me. :stuck_out_tongue: I thank God that my first experience of the Mass about three years ago was a very, very reverent NO at the parish I eventually joined. I pretty much randomly picked a Catholic church to attend in my city, and I just “happened” to end up in the most traditional one probably in the whole diocese. And so you can only imagine the shock I had when I visited other parishes that weren’t exactly so reverent. Even with reverent NOs, I still feel, and this may sould odd, like I’m missing out on something. I have never been to a TLM because there are none around here. However, I watch as many videos of the TLM online (thanks to those who posted all those links in another thread!) as I can find and I am addicted to it. :smiley:

I was wondering how does the Latin language attract a non-Catholic to the Church if this person does not know Latin?

Good question. I don’t know the answer but I think it may have something to do with deeply embedded culture.
That’s just a wild guess.

Hi Water, You have to admit, it sounds awfully beautiful :slight_smile: It sure always looks lovely in all the movies :wink: :smiley:

As a Protestant I was very attracted to it, but then I am a romantic…I hope that doesn’t sound strange but there is a passion and poetry with the Latin :slight_smile:

I was happy to offer my opinion. By the very nature of this particular forum, I knew that I would likely be in the minority, but you brought my original thread over and asked me to respond.

I still stand by my opinion, but I think there are legitimate benefits with both forms of these masses. The Catholic Church is strengthened by the fact that diverse opinions can co-exist within its body.

I would have no problem experiencing the Latin form of the mass as long as it is performed in accord with the legitimate authority of the Church.

However, I would not knowingly participate in or condone anything that undermines this authority or rejects the teachings or decrees of the Magisterium.


ahh! it sounds like I don’t understand French but I love the sound of the language. It is a beautiful language. So same goes with the Latin.

I hope someday when my father has chance to visit me down in my town, I surely will take him to a TLD mass - He grew up with the Latin and French languages - He’ll definitely enjoy the mass.

I joined the Church at age 15 in 1963 when the Mass was still in Latin…and the priest had his back to us and there were altar rails!:smiley:

I remember High Mass and absolutely love it. I wish I could go back in time to the way it was then. No funny business allowed…

But I left the Church for quite some time and have now come back and I am just happy to be here…

TLM’s can be more enjoyable than a Classic Music Concert. My mom used to say, “Everyone to their own tastes as she kissed the cow.” I have never experienced a liturgical event as beautiful as a Solemn High Mass with three priests, acting as the Priest, Deacon, and Sub-deacon, complete with Choir, organ, and many Altar Boys in Cassock and Surplus. On the other hand the majority of Latin Masses were Low Masses with no singing or music and absolutely no vocal participation by the congregation. Even the Funeral Masses were more edifying. No wonder so many of us learned to delight in the twice a week Benediction and Rosary or Way of the Cross. I still delight in Benediction particularly if it is done in Latin.

That is more matter to all of us. Welcome home!

I think you are very insightful. Your second paragraph–you sound like St. Paul!

May God always bless you and your family, rocketrob.

your little brother,

Happy yer back Blyss :slight_smile: God works His magic. :wink:

Can you explain to me what is meant by “high Mass” I always wondered this, thanks :slight_smile:

In a High Mass, the priest and the choir sing all the parts of the Mass, and there is lots of incense.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit