Why is the latin mass such a big deal?

i understand the beauty of the latin language and the history behind it (this is coming from some one with 7 years of latin instruction), but i don’t understand why so many people want the latin mass to be the only one available. (i am protestant by the way). it seems that if people wanted a true historical service they would do it in aramaic or greek as opposed to latin. if some people could give me some insight on this i would really appreciate it. thanks.

Well it isn’t just the Latin that is the issue but since you say you are not Catholic, it would be very difficult to give you a comparison of the pre and post 1962 missals. First you would have to undertand the meaning of the Mass regardless of the rite.

But you are correct in questioning why some want it to be the only Mass - perhaps some think it is the only way to fix what has happened to the liturgy is to go back and start over.

Not being a Catholic you may ask what is wrong with the New Mass and this article tells what some Catholics who participated in a poll had to say about it.

catholicexchange.com/vm/index.asp?vm_id=2&art_id=17832

There is also a web site which one traditionalist uses to compare them (not sure I totally agree but there is validity in the assessment)

traditionalmass.org/compare.html

One of the main benefits to having the Mass in Latin is that no matter where in the world you are, the Mass will always be the same. You can either learn the Latin, or bring your Latin-English (or whatever language) missal with you.

The other issue is the debate between the pre and post 1962. The pre 1962 missal is often referred to as the Latin Mass or the Tridentine rite. The post 1962 missal is often referred to as the Novus Ordo or vernacular. Technically speaking the post 1962 missal is in Latin, and vernacular versions are available, and in fact, are the ones generally used. Some of the translations leave much to be desired.

[quote=spetreopn]The other issue is the debate between the pre and post 1962. The pre 1962 missal is often referred to as the Latin Mass or the Tridentine rite. The post 1962 missal is often referred to as the Novus Ordo or vernacular.
[/quote]

Is that strictly true? I thought the mass commonly referred to as N.O. was actually published in 1970. Between 1962 and 1970, things were slowly evolving but the changes were mainly to allow more and more parts of the 1962 mass in the vernacular. 1970 was a completely new Rite of Mass. Do I have that right?

Melman - your statement is for the most part the more accurate. The 1970 Missal is the missal promulgated by Pope Paul VI following Vatican II. This missal is the standard or “normative” missal in use throughout most of the world. This missal is sometimes referred to as “Novus Ordo” which is Latin for New Order. Between 1962 and 1970 there was another missal, not commonly spoken about which was essentially the changes by Vatican II and was less radical a change than the 1970 missal. I still have a copy of this. It essentially followed the order of the Latin Mass but with the people’s parts being in the vernacular and arranged for parish participation.

Mine was called the New Saint Joseph Sunday Missal and Hymnal in accordance with the New Revised Liturgy - it was published in 1964. Why Pope Paul had to change this I still never figured out.

But then as now, it was never intended that the entire Mass be in the vernacular just as it was never written or intended that altar rails be removed, or confessionals torn out, or churches be built without kneelers or even removing the high altar. It was proposed that the altar be placed so that the priest could walk entirely around it. I notice some high altars were already built that way but others were f ixed. Some things just had a life of their own it seems and evolved without instruction or verification.

Oh and regarding my comment about Latin still being a part of the N.O. Mass - this is item 41 from the USSB Version of the New GIRM

  1. All other things being equal, Gregorian chant holds pride of place because it is proper to the Roman Liturgy. Other types of sacred music, in particular polyphony, are in no way excluded, provided that they correspond to the spirit of the liturgical action and that they foster the participation of all the faithful.50

Since faithful from different countries come together ever more frequently, it is fitting that they know how to sing together at least some parts of the Ordinary of the Mass in Latin, especially the Creed and the Lord’s Prayer, set to the simpler melodies.51

Hi bengal_fan,

I think you make a good point regarding aramaic or greek (which rather leads to the notions of the vernacular service as those languages were, at first, spoken by the participants). I for one don’t want the Mass to be solely in Latin. I just want there to be more of them (Tridentine) offered, or perhaps more Latin (any Latin) could be used in the current Liturgy.

Latin is the official language of the Church and its use in the Liturgy might, with proper, additional instruction, lead more people to take part in the life of the Church- which is supposed to be the point. As was already aptly pointed out in this thread, one may also attend Church anywhere and fully follow the service, which speaks to the same “catholic” (i.e. universal) point.

Also, there is a sense, not fully of history per se, but continuity. The Church very much believes that it extends not just spatially but temporally (it is interesting that we do have, as an option, the use of some Greek- the Kyrie). Latin serves as an imperfect symbol of the Communion of Saints, stretching through time and (by our Lord’s Redemption) through death. Again, it doesn’t have to be the whole of it, just a part. Others will argue that the Church already has enough historical detritus. I prefer to think she has a long memory, and a justifiable need to honor it.

When I returned to the Church, I attended one of those Catholics Come Home seminars. When I mentioned that I had no recollection of the Latin Mass (born in the late 60’s) and that I wanted very much to attend one, I was immediately jumped upon. “You never knew what was going on!”, “There was no participation!”, “You didn’t miss anything!” While others were chortling at my ignorance, I tried unsuccessfully to explain that I simply wanted to have an idea of how my father, grandfather, great grandfather, etc. worshipped.

Well, just one guys opinion, but, I look forward to reading others on this topic.

deogratias, (nice latin name :slight_smile: )
and everyone else:

i guess i should clarify also, although i am not catholic but on my way back, i am a protestant minister, i was raised catholic for 19 years (baptized, 1st communion, confirmed, etc.). however, i never understood the faith (although i did know what was happening in the mass so i do understand the mass and have been to however many 19 years every week is). recently, in conversation with my still very catholic mother, i have been researching the historical and scriptural arguments of the church and am nearly fully convinced. i still have a few more issues that i need cleared up before i can go changing my entire life (as well as my wife’s who was raised rather anti-catholic and is not excited about my quest). my point in telling you this is 2 reasons: 1, i felt i needed to be more honest so you could know where the question was coming from better. and 2, so we wouldn’t need to clarify specific parts of the mass. thanks for everyone answering my question and i look forward to more thoughts on this.

i have another comment. if you knew what was happening in the mass when it was in latin (which isn’t difficult even if you aren’t fluent in the language) then why would it matter if it was in french or german or a slavic language. it is still the same things. i guess i’m hoping for some sedevacantists to join in this conversation (not to debate the pope or anything, just to give insight into the latin being better).

What many of those who are seeking the Mass in Latin is a return to the degree of reverence that was seen at most masses prior to Vatican II when the masses were in Latin.

The actual use of Latin, I believe is a secondary issue.

[quote=bengal_fan]i have another comment. if you knew what was happening in the mass when it was in latin (which isn’t difficult even if you aren’t fluent in the language) then why would it matter if it was in french or german or a slavic language. it is still the same things. i guess i’m hoping for some sedevacantists to join in this conversation (not to debate the pope or anything, just to give insight into the latin being better).
[/quote]

Hello,
The main issue has probably more to do with the Missal than the language. The vernacular Mass not only changed the language, but many of the old prayers were also discarded. If you are able to, find the text of the Tridentine Mass online and that of the Novus Ordo. Read through both and then you’ll probably see the difference better.

The use of Latin has to do with the Catholicity of the Church. The Church is universal, so when the entire Church uses the same language in its liturgy, there is something awe-inspiring about that. You could go anywhere in the world, Europe, America, Africa, Asia… the Mass was exactly the same.

For this reason, sometimes I think it would be good to have the Liturgy of the Word in the vernacular (in order to catechize people and get them involved in their faith) and then the Liturgy of the Eucharist or the Canon in Latin (in order to express the Oneness and Catholicity of the Church). The old Latin Canon also reminds us of the ancient roots of the faith.

Another idea I’ve juggled about in my head would be to have the words of Consecration in Aramaic. Seriously, how incredible would it be to hear the words of Consecration just as Jesus Christ said them?!!!
Peace be with you,
Ryan

By the way, you were looking for a sedevacantist to join the conversation… but I am NOT a sedevacantist. Don’t want anyone to be confused.

Newvert,
Great Post! As a Traditionalist, all I am asking for is the wide and generous application of the Tridentine indult given by Pope John Paul II in Ecclesia Dei. There is no need to throw the Pauline Rite in the trash. We have enough room for everyone in the Church. :slight_smile:

What do you think of my idea about having the Liturgy of the Word in the Vernacular and a fixed Latin Canon for the Liturgy of the Eucharist?
God bless,
Ryan

[quote=bengal_fan]i understand the beauty of the latin language and the history behind it (this is coming from some one with 7 years of latin instruction), but i don’t understand why so many people want the latin mass to be the only one available. (i am protestant by the way). it seems that if people wanted a true historical service they would do it in aramaic or greek as opposed to latin. if some people could give me some insight on this i would really appreciate it. thanks.
[/quote]

I guess you’d just have to be there.

Words are inadequate to describe what a “sense of the Sacred” is all about. Either it’s there, or it’s not. Go and experience it. That should answer your question.

It’s kind of like having someone tell you about a great stand up comic routine they saw. The jokes aren’t half as funny, you’re not rolling on the floor laughing the way you would be if you’d been there in person. Or perhaps a better example would be trying to describe a great ballet or symphony. This form of worship is just so sophisticated, so classic. It’s intense. You actually can sense that you are in the presence of Divine Royalty, your King and Lord.

I just don’t think I could describe why so many Catholics love it so. I sure wish the TLM was offered in my area. :frowning:

Pax Christi. <><

Hi,
Where are you from? I agree with you whole-heartedly. I am one of those traditionalists who happens to give their filial devotion to the Holy Father. All I want is the wide and generous application of the indult which the Pope called for in Ecclesia Dei. Many of the Bishops are so resistant though.

I have been pleased to speak with people down in Phoenix who have just gotten the Indult. It is exciting to hear about the blessings they have with Bishop Olmstead.

In the Buffalo Diocese here there is a fair application of the indult (though generous would be a stretch). I make about an hour drive once or twice a month to go to the Indult in Cheektowaga, which is a suburb of Buffalo.

I don’t want to see the Pauline Rite eliminated, but the things liberals have done with it sometimes make it difficult to go. I’ve always been intrigued by talk of a Reform of the Reform. Somehow, uniformity and reverence has to be brought back to the Sacrifice of the Mass EVERYWHERE. Rubrical liturgies shouldn’t be a luxury.
Peace,
Ryan

[quote=ServusChristi]Hi,
Where are you from? I agree with you whole-heartedly. I am one of those traditionalists who happens to give their filial devotion to the Holy Father. All I want is the wide and generous application of the indult which the Pope called for in Ecclesia Dei. Many of the Bishops are so resistant though.
[/quote]

True Catholic traditionalists are soooo misunderstood. :yup:
Please check your messages.

Pax Christi. <><

What do you think of my idea about having the Liturgy of the Word in the Vernacular and a fixed Latin Canon for the Liturgy of the Eucharist?
-Servus Christi

I think this is a fine idea. In fact, I like the Consecration-in-Aramaic idea too, though I think such a switch would be a very tall order in the current Church. Frankly, I think some traditionalists would be against it because it isn’t a part of long-standing, wide-spread practice. I’m a linguist by training though, so I may be biased in this area.

As for people being unable to follow something fully unless its being presented in their own language- think of the audience’s reaction to The Passion. Did they seem lost? Subtitles you say? Well, people at a Latin Mass, as noted previously, have Latin-English missals.

I should note here that I have been to all of two Latin Masses in my adult life. When I found that one is routinely said within forty-five minutes of my home, though, I decided I would try to attend there as regularly as possible. Everything said about the difference in reverence is true. At my local, Risen-Jesus-Cross-Let’s-play-hide-the-tabernacle-I’m-surprised-they-still-have-kneelers Church, they have one remaining statue of Our Lady tucked away in back. Every Sunday, as we’re filing out, there is a woman who is to be seen kneeling in front of it- and getting a lot of strange looks. I think that dear woman may be an angel of the Lord, and doubt that anyone leaving a TLM would *ever *look askance at her.

Note to bengal_fan: At the risk of telling you something you already know, Marcus Grodi has The Coming Home Network, specifically for those who are leaving Protestant ministry and entering the Church. As I understand, they are well accustomed to helping those whose families don’t always understand. Have you thought about contacting him?

Another $0.02.

I think your question is a very deep one, Bengal_fan, and touches on the importance (or not) of language. Make a simple change: why is the Qur’aan in classical Arabic? Why not translate it into modern standard Arabic? Answer (aside from the small issue of sacrelege): there is no modern standard Arabic any more than there is a modern standard English; they both change (quickly) with time. The text of the Qur’aan is fixed to prevent a drift in meaning.

So, there is no lack of clarity in “qui pro vobis et pro multis.” But, lacking a single source of language, and adding a little legerdemain, in English we get “which [is shed] for you and for all.” This is just a tiny step from being able to claim that redemption is universal…all from a teensy “lapsus linguae!”

Latin is beautiful, but so is Cranmerian English; the aesthetics of either are irrelevant to this argument. I personally want Latin back because I believe in its historical accuracy, and feel that I and every Catholic deserve the “real thing” at all times, even if it’s a little bit hard.

[quote=T.A.Stobie, SFO]What many of those who are seeking the Mass in Latin is a return to the degree of reverence that was seen at most masses prior to Vatican II when the masses were in Latin.

The actual use of Latin, I believe is a secondary issue.
[/quote]

I wholeheartedly agree.

I think it will be interesting to see how things will be in a couple years with the new translation of the Roman Missal in English and at least in some places more emphasis on “liturgical correctness.”

Another idea I’ve juggled about in my head would be to have the words of Consecration in Aramaic. Seriously, how incredible would it be to hear the words of Consecration just as Jesus Christ said them?!!!

Prayers at Passover Seders are traditionally prayed in Hebrew by the Jewish people, not in the individual Jew’s native tongue, in this case, Aramaic. Its doubtful if Christ said the words in question in Aramaic that evening.

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