Saturday, April 2, 2011

Sad Divisions

I have noticed around the blogosphere some tension between so-called traditional and non-traditional Catholics.  While I may have my preferences for the way in which Mass is celebrated, I do not look down my nose at one form or the other.  Either form celebrated with the appropriate reverence and adherence to the liturgy is ok with me. I happen to prefer the Extraordinary Form, but this does not prevent me from attending the Ordinary Form. And yet I know people who will go to Mass at another parish rather than attend the TLM at their own church on Sundays.  And of course there are the uber-traditionalists that won't step foot inside my church unless the Mass or devotion is being celebrated in the Extraordinary Form.  In my humble opinion, this is all so wrong.

I know that many people who revere the Extraordinary Form have suffered  not only deprivation but have also been subjected to scorn and ridicule.  This is wrong.  But what is also wrong is to treat a perfectly licit and reverently celebrated Novus Ordo as though it is a pagan ritual.  I seem to be coming across such people who fit both categories more and more lately and it doesn't sit well with me.  Without the physical violence, it sometimes seems like a gang warfare mentality has gripped some of us.

Wrong, wrong, wrong.

One way in which I think non-traditionalists set themselves up for having a major inferiority complex is by thinking that if they don't fit a certain description, they will be viewed somehow as less than Catholic.  Certainly, it's wrong for any of us to judge others by appearances but in worrying about such things, don't we ourselves become caught up in the same superficial trap?

If and when I'm fortunate enough to reach the Pearly Gates, the only thing I want to hear is:  "Well done, good and faithful servant.  Enter into the Joy of your Master's Kingdom."

If I get hung up on what people think, I may never get there or at the least, substantially delay my arrival.


  1. Personally I am interested in a traditional
    theological emphasis in all actions of the

    Basically keeping Christ in the heart at
    all times.

    As a baptized Christian I have been in the
    process of training my mind to be focused
    on God all the time, not just Mass.

    So I agree with you because the goal of
    our spiritual life is the Beatific Vision.

    If we really wanted to be sticky about the
    Liturgy, then we would simply have the
    earliest accepted Missal in the history of
    the Church, which might be the Didache.

    Just because a Pope in 1570 demanded one
    form of the Mass, does not mean later
    adjustments cannot be made by Papal decree,
    such as in the case of V2.

    Correct me if I am wrong...just adding my
    2 cents as a humble candidate.



  2. We used to attend the OF Mass because we lived in a parish where it was celebrated reverently. Now we live in a region where no OF Masses are reverent.....they all contain grave abuses in contradiction to Canon Law. The only spiritual comfort comes from the EF Masses we attend.
    So, while I agree that both "sides" need charity there also needs to be a reform within the OF lobby that brings it back to how the Holy Father wishes it to be celebrated. It really is not (I believe) a question of looking down one's nose at OF Catholics, it is a matter of obedience to Holy Mother Church.
    Thank you for your posts, they are excellent.

  3. I agree with you Richard 100%. My hope within my own parish, and I'm quite sure my holy and wonderful pastor agrees, is that the Extraordinary Form will exert a positive influence on the Ordinary Form. He is just the kind of priest, lucky for us, to help make that happen.

    Thank so much for stopping by!

  4. Pete
    The more one longs for Christ, imho, the more one seeks out reverent worship. Even if a priest celebrates a perfectly valid and reverently celebrated Novus Ordo, the Mass can still be disrupted by people who simply do not know what appropriate behavior at Mass is. The one thing I have never encountered at the TLM is loud chatter before or after Mass. The sound of babies and young children is one thing. That is the sound of the future and should be music to our ears. But there is almost no conversation that two adults need to have with one another during Mass. Keep up the good work!

  5. I'm curious if you consider me a traditional or a non-traditional Catholic, Joyce. I know I've expressed some, what I'll call, eccentricities in my approach to our faith, but I do consider myself fairly traditional. I do like the traditional chorus and music. And while I insist that people should be free to choose the language of the mass and therefore both be available, I do insist that the vernacular option must be available so all can understand the Lord's message. So am I traditional or not?

    While we're on the subject of the language of the mass, may I ask why is Latin the language of choice? Afterall the Old Testament is written in Hebrew, Christ spoke Aramaic, the New Testament is written in Greek, the original mass by the early Christians was performed in Greek, and it was only after the western part of the Roman empire, which spoke Latin, decided they wanted to hear the mass in their vernacular did they switch to Latin. So Latin was actually the vernacular choice of its day.

    So Latin is probably the fourth choice after Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. I expect the mass in heaven to be performed in Christ's personal language of Aramaic. They will be handing out Rosetta Stone learning audiobooks at the Pearly Gates. :-P

  6. Oh, Manny.... trying to open another can of worms I see? lol :)
    The last thing I'd want to do is label anyone. Let me say that in most circles I doubt I would be considered a traditional Catholic. What's most important is that we are faithful and reverent Catholics, traditional or not.

    To answer your questions about why the Mass is celebrated in Latin, I would direct you to this explanation by the Catholic Traditionalist Movement.

  7. Thanks Joyce. I do sometimes try to stir up controversy. It can liven up an evening. :-D

    I checked that website on the traditional mass in latin, and all it basically says is that the way it has been done. But it doesn't say why not Aramaic or Greek. Seems like a cop out to me. ;)

  8. Manny I'm not sure what you mean by cop-out. For nearly 400 hundred years before Vatican II, the Mass was celebrated not in Hebrew or Greek or Aramaic but in Latin. Latin was the language recognized as the universal language of the church. No offense, but I have found sometimes that people who do not care for the Traditional Latin Mass will toss out distractions such as "Jesus spoke Aramaic" and that includes some priests I have encountered who are resistant to allowing those of us who wish to have the Mass celebrated in the Extraordinary Form. I don't know when the last time the Mass was celebrated in Hebrew, Greek or Aramaic, nor do I really care. What I do know is that both forms are offered at my parish and I assist at both. I'm as free to prefer the Extraordinary Form as you are to prefer the Ordinary Form. Nothing wrong with that.

  9. Joyce, in no way do I want to stop anyone from attending the Latin mass. If you think I said that, then I was not clear.

    My only irritation is with those that say that mass should only be said in Latin, the purest of the pure. The vernacular is so important for the general church goer. Identifying with a language is a means of feeling accepted, but even more importantly understanding the liturgy is paramount to catachesis. Just think of how many fewer converts we would have if our religion was presented to them in Latin. The language becomes a barrier. And may I say we would have more Catholics convert away if they could not identify with the language, especially while some other denomination uses English. Also notice, that all of the Orthodox denominations and the Protestant denominations have their services in the vernacular. Part of the reason is that vernacular led to mass conversions away from the Catholic Church way back when.

    So give people options is all I'm saying. As you can see, most people do not choose the Latin option.

    Also the reason some of us say that Jesus spoke in Aramaic is to point out the absurdity of the Latin only position. Latin was chosen because it was the vernacular of its day, not because there was some theological reason for it.

  10. take care ~~~ visiting here with a smile ~~~

  11. Hate to differ with you again Manny, but language barriers are hardly the reason for poor catechesis. Some of the worst poorly catechised people I've met have had excellent command of the English language. Just curious - Have you been to a Traditional Latin Mass or ever held a 1962 Missal in your hands? You would see that even the edition published by the SSPX has ALL of the readings and propers, etc. in English alongside the Latin. Also, in the two most well-attended Episcopal churches in Philadelphia (both of them in the Anglo-catholic tradition) the liturgy is nearly exclusively Latin in one and heavily used in the other.

    Now that Mass IS in the vernacular, people continue to fall away. Here is one more argument that very traditional Catholics use when promoting Latin-only ( I do not object to either form of the Mass, as I said, but I see the issue from both sides). If the Mass was said universally in one language, it would be possible to assist at Mass anywhere in the world and still be able to understand what was being said. I do not speak fluent Spanish and I'm even worse at trying to understand it when spoken by people for whom is is their only language. When I was in Panama on a mission a few years ago, I could hardly follow a word of the Mass. Understandably, it was in the vernacular of Panama. No such problem at the TLM and the only Latin I knew prior to my first Mass in the EF was "Vincit qui se vincit!" (my high school motto)

    People do have options, and I like to take advantage of both. Have a nice day and thank for "livening" things up :)

  12. I left the church when we went to the "vernacular." I had studied Latin and I knew very well what was being said. I did from the time I was a child, because at every mass, I held the missal which told me what it was. And for the record, back in the 60s, I never ever heard anyone say they wished the mass was in English.

  13. People are falling away from the church for lots of reasons, not because it's in the vernacular. I'm truely convinced that mass in Latin would make matters worst and would drive people to the protestants. You guys are the exceptional catholics, people who will walk on burning coals to attend mass. Most people are not like that at all. Like I said I see no reason why Latin is the special. It was selected ironically because it was the vernacular of its day.

  14. Yes, Manny, it was the vernacular of the day and then it continued for centuries to be the language of the Church. Despite what you believe, there are many people who were driven from the Church when the Mass they knew and loved was forbidden to them. It was a monumental mistake, imho, to forbid priests from celebrating what is now called the Extraordinary Form. Thank God we have a pope who recognizes that travesty. There are many people who come to my parish on Sundays who have been away from the Church for years because they could not stomach the liturgical abuses they had seen in the Novus Ordo. Having the TLM has breathed new life into my parish. I think you should experience a TLM first-hand before writing it off as some archaic obsession of purists who have an affinity for Latin.

  15. I agree it was wrong to forbid the latin mass. I said there should be options. But I think you're wrong here:

    "there are many people who were driven from the Church when the Mass they knew and loved was forbidden to them."

    And where did those Catholics who insisted on a Latin mass run off to? I doubt very much they became protestants. People dropped off because of the culture, mainly because of the the sexual culture of the 60's and 70's which did not cohere with Church teaching, and still doesn't. But I would have to see real evidence to show me that people who were so religiously Catholic that they stopped being Catholic because it was no longer in Latin? If they were so religious to insist on Latin, I find it very hard to see that they suddenly stopped being religious.

    Here from this person's Catholic apologetics website:

    What about the Vernacular? Why did they change from Latin to many languages?
    When the Traditional Latin form of the Mass took shape in the 5-7th centuries, Latin was a well know language but people don't speak Latin anymore. That in itself is not a reason to go to the vernacular, but it certainly was weighed in the decision.

    I think it is biblical for the Mass to be in the vernacular (in the language of the local people). When the Holy Spirit landed on the apostles in the upper room on the first day of pentecost, which is the birth of the Church, they went and preached in many different languages, the languages of the people (Acts 2:4).

    In the old days, before Vatican II, many people would sit through the entire Mass doing the Rosary and not paying attention to what was going on at the altar, because they didn't understand Latin. I love the Rosary, but not during Mass.

    The new Mass has more participation from lay people who now do the 1st and 2nd readings.

    I agree with this entirely. He actually found a biblical reason for why it should be in the vernacular. Brilliant. People need to identify with the language and understand it.

  16. Manny, it is not just about having the Mass in Latin. The EF Mass is quite different from its OF counterpart. The wording and format are quite different - Extraordinary if you like. Both Masses are valid but I have to say that the EF Mass is more profound and has greater inbuilt reverence that many people crave for in today's world. It is also basically the same as it was nearly two thousand years ago and we who love it
    like this fact as it gives us a very real thread to Christ and his Apostles....what the Holy Father calls the Hermeneutic of Continuity.

  17. Manny, I think you are so caught up on the Latin part that you are missing the big picture. You can comb through websites all day and night to prove your point, but I would prefer that you see for yourself. I invite you as my guest any time you are in Philadelphia to come to the TLM. I will be happy to introduce you to folks who joined anglo-Catholic churches because they cannot stand what was permitted to happen to the Mass that they loved. I have news for you - people pray the Rosary during the Novus Ordo, too. You can't blame that on language. At some point, the Novus Ordo became more about us and less about Him. I'm grateful and blessed to have a choice. And Richard is again correct - it's not the language, it's the form of the Mass and the reverence and mystery and, as the Holy Father has said, the gravitational pull toward Christ in the Holy Sacrifice.

    As an aside, the apostles preached in the vernacular. So does the priest during the TLM.

    Lay participation has sadly, in many places, lead to abuses. The best participation is prayerful, imho.

  18. Richard - I have no opinion on the form. I guess I do not understand the differences. Why can't the EF be in English? I will look up the differences. Thanks

    Admittedly, Joyce, I do not understand the differences in form. I am focused on the language. The language of the mass is nearly the same argument that occurred in the middle ages on whether the bible could be translated into vernacular. Did you know it took centuries for the church to admit that it was ok to translate the bible? It was actually sacrilidge to translate from the Latin. And by that time most of the slavic cultures decided to side with the Greek Orthodox over the Latin church. And then protestants all pushed their vernacular versions of the Bible which influenced people away from the Pope. My argument is very historically based. Look up that history. It's fascinating, and really one of the biggest mistakes the Catholic Church ever made. Can you imagine today the bible not being in English?

    I do have to see for myself. My church unfortunately doesn't offer the Latin mass, but some church in the neighborhood must. If I lived close i would take you up, but I will have to find it on my own. Thanks much. As i said I don't wish to deny people the Latin mass.

  19. Manny, please be aware that most of history is written from a Protestant perspective. We did print bibles in the vernacular long before the Reformation but printing was in its embryonic infancy and only limited copies could be produced. Naturally, as is the way of the world, these were expensive and hence only available to a few.
    As a matter of interest, an Oxford professoor has stated that the Catholic peasant c. 15th century, fully understood conversational Latin and was able to fully comprehend the Latin Mass.


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