Why does "Latin Mass" seem like such a dirty word?

During RCIA whenever I’d ask about Latin Masses everybody acted amazed that anyone should want to attend such a thing. Why is it such a no-no? And why is it you’re lucky to find only one weekly Latin Mass in a major American city?

** Progressives think it is a step backward. Now that hundreds of years of Catholic heritage have been dumped, through miss-interpretation of V2, it would mean that someone made a mistake. Many things that were fixed that were not broken.**

[quote=seeker63]During RCIA whenever I’d ask about Latin Masses everybody acted amazed that anyone should want to attend such a thing. Why is it such a no-no? And why is it you’re lucky to find only one weekly Latin Mass in a major American city?
[/quote]

It’s certainly not a dirty word, but the Tridentine Mass is often (and many times accurately) associated with:

  • Individuals who often suggest that the Tridentine Mass is somehow “better” than the normative Pauline Mass. (It’s not.)

  • Individuals who are quite devisive within the Church.

  • Individuals who follow what they feel is best, and not what the Church actually directs.

  • Individuals who promote the Tridentine Mass as a panacea for all that ails the Church. (It’s not.)

These individuals with their weird actions do nothing but provide ammo for those at the opposite end of the spectrum – those who never want to attend a Tridentine Mass – likely like some of the people in your RCIA class.

[quote=tom.wineman]** Progressives think it is a step backward. Now that hundreds of years of Catholic heritage have been dumped, through miss-interpretation of V2, it would mean that someone made a mistake. Many things that were fixed that were not broken.**
[/quote]

:amen:

look, there is nothing wrong with the latin mass, also there is nothing wrong with the no mass, either the holy spirit who guides the popes was in error or he wasnt, but im sure those who disapprove of the no mass will give god a good ear bashing for his obvious mistake when they finally meet him. but in a more serious note the infighting and bitching about what mass is better will have to stop, unity is strength

That is so strange…this sounds exactly like what people have been doing since Vatican II. It is the Pot calling the Kettle Black. :rolleyes:

[quote=seeker63]During RCIA whenever I’d ask about Latin Masses everybody acted amazed that anyone should want to attend such a thing. Why is it such a no-no? And why is it you’re lucky to find only one weekly Latin Mass in a major American city?
[/quote]

I have to ask, are you talking about a TLM, a Latin NO or a Mass with Latin in it?

Man, I’ve seen Pariah spew alot of bad grapes in all directions. ‘You catch more flies with a bit of honey than a barrel of vinegar’ as Saint Francis de Sales said.

[quote=Pariah Pirana] * Individuals who often suggest that the Tridentine Mass is somehow “better” than the normative Pauline Mass. (It’s not.)
[/quote]

Thanks be to God that I only have to quote our Holy Father to demolish this. From Milestones.

“It was reasonable and right of the Council to order a revision of the missal such as had often taken place before and which this time had to be more thorough than before, above all because of the introduction of the vernacular. But more than this now happened: the old building was demolished, and another was built, to be sure largely using materials from the previous one and even using the old building plans. There is no doubt that this new missal in many respects brought with it a real improvement and enrichment; but setting it as a new construction over against what had grown historically, forbidding the results of this historical growth, thereby makes the liturgy appear to be no longer a living development but the product of erudite work and juridical authority; this has caused us enormous harm. For then the impression had to emerge that liturgy is something “made”, not something given in advance but something lying within our own power of decision. From this it also follows that we are not to recognise the scholars and the central authority alone as decision makers, but that in the end each and every “community” must provide itself with its own liturgy. When liturgy is self-made, however, then it can no longer give us what its proper gift should be: the encounter with the mystery that is not our own product but rather our origin and the source of our life.”

[quote=usqueadmortem]Man, I’ve seen Pariah spew alot of bad grapes in all directions. ‘You catch more flies with a bit of honey than a barrel of vinegar’ as Saint Francis de Sales said.

Thanks be to God that I only have to quote our Holy Father to demolish this. From Milestones.

“It was reasonable and right of the Council to order a revision of the missal such as had often taken place before and which this time had to be more thorough than before, above all because of the introduction of the vernacular. But more than this now happened: the old building was demolished, and another was built, to be sure largely using materials from the previous one and even using the old building plans. There is no doubt that this new missal in many respects brought with it a real improvement and enrichment; but setting it as a new construction over against what had grown historically, forbidding the results of this historical growth, thereby makes the liturgy appear to be no longer a living development but the product of erudite work and juridical authority; this has caused us enormous harm. For then the impression had to emerge that liturgy is something “made”, not something given in advance but something lying within our own power of decision. From this it also follows that we are not to recognise the scholars and the central authority alone as decision makers, but that in the end each and every “community” must provide itself with its own liturgy. When liturgy is self-made, however, then it can no longer give us what its proper gift should be: the encounter with the mystery that is not our own product but rather our origin and the source of our life.”
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If you are suggesting that Pope Benedict XVI has said the Tridentine Mass is “better” than the normative Pauline Mass then quite clearly, you have no idea what he is talking about.

Additionally, making such erroneous claims does nothing more than to underscore the fact that quite a few Tridentiners believe they know better than what the Church actually directs…

[quote=Pariah Pirana]If you are suggesting that Pope Benedict XVI has said the Tridentine Mass is “better” than the normative Pauline Mass then quite clearly, you have no idea what he is talking about.

Additionally, making such erroneous claims does nothing more than to underscore the fact that quite a few Tridentiners believe they know better than what the Church actually directs…
[/quote]

:amen:

Part of the reason that people react is not that they are progressives - or liberals - they are simply Catholics who rejoice at being able to hear and understand, and therefore follow along with the priest as he says Mass. Some of them have had the opportunity to attend a Mass said in Spanish or Vietnamese, and feel that those experiences are fairly close to what their experience would be if the Mass were in Latin; that is, they would either simply have the Mass “happen” while they were present, with much less participation ir offering the prayers, or the experience of trying to do two things at once - listten to a language they did not understand, by and large, while they read the prayers in English.

The only people who would call this set of Catholics liberal are those who consider anyone to the left of them a liberal; and that is an abuse of the term.

[quote=otm]Part of the reason that people react is not that they are progressives - or liberals - they are simply Catholics who rejoice at being able to hear and understand, and therefore follow along with the priest as he says Mass. Some of them have had the opportunity to attend a Mass said in Spanish or Vietnamese, and feel that those experiences are fairly close to what their experience would be if the Mass were in Latin; that is, they would either simply have the Mass “happen” while they were present, with much less participation ir offering the prayers, or the experience of trying to do two things at once - listten to a language they did not understand, by and large, while they read the prayers in English.

The only people who would call this set of Catholics liberal are those who consider anyone to the left of them a liberal; and that is an abuse of the term.
[/quote]

Tell me something, friend. If Latin prevented people from fully participating in the Mass and thereby hindered them in their relationship with Christ, why did the Holy Spirit wait until the late 1960’s to guide the Church in changing the Mass? Was the Holy Spirit not paying attention in the 500 years after the Council of Trent?

I’m not trying to be confrontational, I genuinely want to know your opinion. :wave:

[quote=otm]Part of the reason that people react is not that they are progressives - or liberals - they are simply Catholics who rejoice at being able to hear and understand, and therefore follow along with the priest as he says Mass. Some of them have had the opportunity to attend a Mass said in Spanish or Vietnamese, and feel that those experiences are fairly close to what their experience would be if the Mass were in Latin; that is, they would either simply have the Mass “happen” while they were present, with much less participation ir offering the prayers, or the experience of trying to do two things at once - listten to a language they did not understand, by and large, while they read the prayers in English.

The only people who would call this set of Catholics liberal are those who consider anyone to the left of them a liberal; and that is an abuse of the term.
[/quote]

I did not grow up Pre-VII and do not attend a TLM but I can sing the Agnus Dei with the best of them. So can my 7&5 year olds. They understand that the Agnus Dei is the same as the Lamb of God, because I (their mother) taught them. Your mother would have taught you too if you had been brought up with a Latin Mass.

We went to a Polish funeral. Polish like, that was the vernacular. My girls and I were lost. Stick us into a Latin Mass and we could keep up.

I grew up when the Mass was in Latin. All that changed when I was in high school. I was an altar boy before, during, and after the change…and there was a change. It has taken me the better part of a life time to get over that change. I loved the Tridentine Latin Mass. Anyone who says they didn’t understand it, didn’t have a missal in front of them and were not praying the Mass along with the priest. English translation on the left, Latin on the right. Even as a child I could recognize the cognates and it wasn’t very hard to put two and two together. I grew up understanding that Latin was the “universal” language of western civilzation. It was also something we anthropologists would call a “sacred” language. One could go to Mass all over the world and use one’s English language missal and could understand the Mass. We lost our “universality” in a very real sense when the Mass went into everyone’s vernacular.

Now there was a lot of pressure way back when to make the Mass more relevant to our “modern” times. I was not one of those who thought we should. I loved the solemnity of the Latin Mass, the ritual, the incense, the chant - all of it. In a matter of two years we transistioned from Pange Lingua to Sons of God (and yes, I am using hymnology because it perfectly exemplifies what happened). As the most senior altar boy in 1967 when we consecrated our new “in the round” parish church, I knelt to kiss Archbishop Hannan’s ring AND I knew what I was doing and why.

By 1969 everything had become “modern”. At my HS graduation Mass we sang “Bridge over Troubled Waters” and “Sounds of Silence” in additon to “Sons of God” and that all time favorite “And They’ll Know We Are Christians by Our Love” replete with guitars, etc. - all to forward the rush to be “modern”.

I quit going to Mass in the 70s because I could not (and still cannot) stomach the swayin and strummin and (for me) the total lack of reverence that I grew up with. God, my friends, has mysterious ways. In 1983 a protestant co-worker was a paid chorister at our local cathedral. She mentioned it one day to me and I said, “Oh yeah, I can sing that. I sang it as a kid.” She asked me to contact the choral director, which I did, and bam, I became a member of our cathedral choir. Guess what? The Mass was in English but the ritual and hymns were from my childhood. When was the last time any of you sang the “Asperges Me”? It only got better. In 1985 we got a new choral director and organist (he’s still here) and I am happy.

So, in my own long winded way, the answer to the question of why the Latin Mass is a dirty word, it is reverence. There is a quantum leap difference between the reverence of a Latin Mass and the hummin, and astrummin, and lift up your hands, let’s be protestant, every body feel good type of mass seen at most local parishes. What brought this even more closely into focus is when I went to Greek Orthodox Great Vigil of Easter services. I didn’t understand the language but I sure understood the ritual and what was going on. Latin Mass is never a dirty word in my language but the baby WAS thrown out with the bathwater in the 60s.

Oh MY Goodness!!!
You have truly hit the nail on the head. I was a lukewarm Cradle Catholic because the parishes turned Protestant on me. Handholding, lifting them up, palms up instead of together, dipping in the knees when they “Lift them up to the Lord” OH MY!
Now I am in a Deep Catholic parish with Latin, Rosaries, May Crowning, all the devotion. We have a gem and I hope it speads!
Thank you for saying what I mean.

[quote=Dr. Bombay]Tell me something, friend. If Latin prevented people from fully participating in the Mass and thereby hindered them in their relationship with Christ, why did the Holy Spirit wait until the late 1960’s to guide the Church in changing the Mass? Was the Holy Spirit not paying attention in the 500 years after the Council of Trent?

I’m not trying to be confrontational, I genuinely want to know your opinion. :wave:
[/quote]

I’ll ask Him when I die! :dancing:

Come on, now, how am I supposed to answer a question like that? Isn’t that a little bit akin to asking me if I have stopped beating my wife?

There seems to be a presumption that the Mass was always “not in the vernacular”. It started out in the vernacular, and has remained with the Church in the vernacular for 2000 years, primarily in the Eastern rites. The Roman rite, which became the largest, moved to Latin in the three hundreds ( with a short-lived move back to Greek) because at the time, Latin was the most prevalent language throughout the greater part of the then known world - if, by known world, we mean largely the Middle East and Europe because of conquest and/or economic reach of the Roman Empire. At some point, probably well after Latin was no longer the language in common, it was most likely decided that Latin would remain the language of the Roman rite.

The Church has almost in all circumstances been slow to move and slow to change. Why did it take so long? In part, just because of that; in part, because at other times, there were other more critical issues to deal with, because there were many who simply didn’t question the statu quo, and I suppose if I really studied the issue for a while, I could come up with other reasons.

It is a little bit like asking why the Church continued to use The Manual to train seminarians to be confessors for so long, when it became obvious to some, and then to more, that The Manual had unintentionally aided in shaping attitudes toward moral theology that were minimalistic, negativistic, and legalistic. How could the Holy Spirit let the Church do that?

Without presuming sinfulness, I would remind you that we are all prejudiced; we have had certain learning experiences that, coupled with personalities, cause us to look at things in a certain way and decide that is the “right” way, when in fact, it may not be the best way, although not a moraaly wrong way. Morality may have nothing to do with it.

I have taken Latin in both high scholl and college, as well as Homeric and a bit of koinae Greek in high school. I have sung, as part of a large choir while in college, on a record of Gregorian Chant in Latin. I have a couple of records of Gregorian chant and at least one CD in Latin. and, contrary to some of whom I call purists, I think that English can be sung in Gregorian chant form; I have done it in the Liturgy of the Hours.

I have also attended more TLM Masses, I’d bet, than a goodly number of individuals in this forum, and served as a candle bearer, altar server, thurifer, and master of ceremonies in more Solemn High Masses than I’d wager most herein have attended. From the time I was able to read, I had a Missal with the translation. I think that having the Liturgy in the language of the people is a tremendous gift from the Church, and therefore from God.

But asking your question is akin to asking why the Holy Spirit waited to give us a Pope like John Paul 2, with his Theology of the Body, instead of delivering us a Pope like Paul 6th, who had the task of explaining why the Pill was wrong. Why did we have another rehash of a cold, dry, formalistic (and what appears to be a legalistic) Scholastic answer when one coming from Phenomenology and Personalism gives us one that makes so much sense, is so deep, and resonates with the individual’s lived experience of their and their spouse’s lived sexuality? Paul 6th was technically right, but the answer appears so inadequate when compared to John Paul’s approach; and we have seen the damage done to the Church by the resounding, vehement, and almost violent dissent that followed Humanae Vitae. Why would the Holy Spirit allow that?

I’ll ask Him when I get there…

[quote=netmilsmom]I did not grow up Pre-VII and do not attend a TLM but I can sing the Agnus Dei with the best of them. So can my 7&5 year olds. They understand that the Agnus Dei is the same as the Lamb of God, because I (their mother) taught them. Your mother would have taught you too if you had been brought up with a Latin Mass.

We went to a Polish funeral. Polish like, that was the vernacular. My girls and I were lost. Stick us into a Latin Mass and we could keep up.
[/quote]

See my post to Dr. Bombay. She didn’t have to teach me; the nuns did.

I guess I see the Mass as something more than just “keeping up”. I also have the advantage of knowing more Latin than the average person in the pew. And I prefer English.

[quote=brotherhrolf]I grew up when the Mass was in Latin. All that changed when I was in high school. I was an altar boy before, during, and after the change…and there was a change. It has taken me the better part of a life time to get over that change. I loved the Tridentine Latin Mass. Anyone who says they didn’t understand it, didn’t have a missal in front of them and were not praying the Mass along with the priest. English translation on the left, Latin on the right. Even as a child I could recognize the cognates and it wasn’t very hard to put two and two together. I grew up understanding that Latin was the “universal” language of western civilzation. It was also something we anthropologists would call a “sacred” language. One could go to Mass all over the world and use one’s English language missal and could understand the Mass. We lost our “universality” in a very real sense when the Mass went into everyone’s vernacular.

Now there was a lot of pressure way back when to make the Mass more relevant to our “modern” times. I was not one of those who thought we should. I loved the solemnity of the Latin Mass, the ritual, the incense, the chant - all of it. In a matter of two years we transistioned from Pange Lingua to Sons of God (and yes, I am using hymnology because it perfectly exemplifies what happened). As the most senior altar boy in 1967 when we consecrated our new “in the round” parish church, I knelt to kiss Archbishop Hannan’s ring AND I knew what I was doing and why.

By 1969 everything had become “modern”. At my HS graduation Mass we sang “Bridge over Troubled Waters” and “Sounds of Silence” in additon to “Sons of God” and that all time favorite “And They’ll Know We Are Christians by Our Love” replete with guitars, etc. - all to forward the rush to be “modern”.

I quit going to Mass in the 70s because I could not (and still cannot) stomach the swayin and strummin and (for me) the total lack of reverence that I grew up with. God, my friends, has mysterious ways. In 1983 a protestant co-worker was a paid chorister at our local cathedral. She mentioned it one day to me and I said, “Oh yeah, I can sing that. I sang it as a kid.” She asked me to contact the choral director, which I did, and bam, I became a member of our cathedral choir. Guess what? The Mass was in English but the ritual and hymns were from my childhood. When was the last time any of you sang the “Asperges Me”? It only got better. In 1985 we got a new choral director and organist (he’s still here) and I am happy.

So, in my own long winded way, the answer to the question of why the Latin Mass is a dirty word, it is reverence. There is a quantum leap difference between the reverence of a Latin Mass and the hummin, and astrummin, and lift up your hands, let’s be protestant, every body feel good type of mass seen at most local parishes. What brought this even more closely into focus is when I went to Greek Orthodox Great Vigil of Easter services. I didn’t understand the language but I sure understood the ritual and what was going on. Latin Mass is never a dirty word in my language but the baby WAS thrown out with the bathwater in the 60s.
[/quote]

Well, we have similar backgrounds but our reactions are not the same. I have attended awesome liturgies in the current rite. I also attended daily Mass (6:30 a.m.; my mother was a saint for seeing that I got there, as I was the oldest of 4 and she had to drive me three miles to serve that Mass) that was said by a then drunk - or still drunk from the night before - Irish priest, whom we swore could say Latin while breathing in as well as breathing out, and could have you out of that Mass in less than 20 minutes - including Communion. He also was the one who could put every possible bit of pomp and circumstance into a Solemn High Mass. They, too, were awesome in their pomp and circumstance, and I wouldn’t go back for love nor money…

I couldn’t figure out then why, if we could read it in English, we couldn’t hear it in English. One time when I was serving, I asked him, and he said he thought one day we would. He might have been a flaming alcoholic, but he knew what was going on. The move to the vernacular didn’t start with Vatican 2.

[quote=otm]The Church has almost in all circumstances been slow to move and slow to change. Why did it take so long? In part, just because of that; in part, because at other times, there were other more critical issues to deal with, because there were many who simply didn’t question the statu quo, and I suppose if I really studied the issue for a while, I could come up with other reasons.
[/quote]

Okay, that makes sense. However, it seems to me that if people were truly being kept from getting the full benefit of the Mass because it was not being said in their native language, the Holy Spirit would have lit a fire under somebody and rectified the situation. And that same Holy Spirit must have had a very good reason for guiding the Fathers of Vatican II to write that “The use of the Latin language is to be preserved in the Latin rites.” What could this mean?

And what about people who are unable to follow what’s going on at Mass regardless of the language, such as the mentally challenged, babies, brain damaged people, etc.? Do they receive less from the Mass than others because they can’t fully comprehend what’s being said?

“I have to ask, are you talking about a TLM, a Latin NO or a Mass with Latin in it?”

Not one in particular. I’ve just never attended any kind of Latin Mass and wanted to know why it’s such a major undertaking to find one.

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