Pope ready to bring back the Latin Mass

posted at 2:46 pm on October 11, 2006 by Allahpundit

Islamists aren’t the only adherents trying to capitalize on the emerging culture clash. What better way to reintroduce Europe to its roots than to reintroduce Europe to its roots? The grays will appreciate the nostalgia and the kids might have their curiosity piqued. A more demanding form of Catholicism is Benedict’s best bet for a revival, paradoxically: the new-agey sects seem to be hemorrhaging members while evangelical Christianity and Islam are doing quite well around the world. If you’re seeking spiritual discipline, it stands to reason that you’d prefer a religion that challenges you.

The Pope’s walking a neat line lately. He inserts critical quotations about Islam into his speeches — then adds footnotes later to politely distance himself from them. He plans a trip to Turkey to “further the dialogue” — then reminds the faithful that identity trumps dialogue. It’s all guaranteed to provoke the perpetually aggrieved, but it impresses Europeans. And with every new hysterical overreaction, a few more come back towards the fold.

No wonder he’s become a target.

Meanwhile in the UK, “peaceful” Islamists Hizb ut-Tahrir are outraged that the British government wants to cut off state support to radical Muslim groups. How will Abu Hamza afford a $400,000 homes if he has to pay his own $500,000 legal bill? All Britons are victims, it seems, but some are more victimized than others. Alas.


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Europeans don’t go to church now – they can’t stand (and don’t understand) those Latin sermons. Not a good idea because they were happy when rid of them.

Not a good idea.

Entelechy on October 11, 2006 at 2:51 PM

Gotta love this guy! I hear a steadily growing whooosh sound as the pendulum is swinging back – from the brink of the abyss.

RushBaby on October 11, 2006 at 2:51 PM

That’s just the right way to bring more wandering sheep back into the fold, and make Christianity more relevant to increasingly secularized youth – by conducting services in incomprehensible medieval jibberish.

Lehuster on October 11, 2006 at 2:58 PM

the new-agey sects seem to be hemorrhaging members while evangelical Christianity and Islam are doing quite well around the world

Exodus, Dave Shiflett, climbs all over this, if anyone has a mind.

Axe on October 11, 2006 at 3:02 PM

Not a good idea.

I started to write that Entelechy, but the more I think about it, the less sure I am. I agree that it isn’t going to result in any mass conversion, but it might have the effect of deepening some roots, and that might show up later.

Axe on October 11, 2006 at 3:10 PM

sorry–quickly–if the idea is to go Latin everywhere all the time, then nevermind. Bad idea.

Axe on October 11, 2006 at 3:12 PM

The grays will appreciate the nostalgia and the kids might have their curiosity piqued. A more demanding form of Catholicism is Benedict’s best bet for a revival, paradoxically: the new-agey sects seem to be hemorrhaging members while evangelical Christianity and Islam are doing quite well around the world.

This is true. The conservative dioceses like the Diocese of Arlington, VA have many young, orthodox priests. Catholics in their 20′s and 30′s are far more conservative than the sorry 1960′s, liberal generation that gave Catholics Vatican II, cheesy folk music, lame liberal priests, and who tried to pervert the absolute teachings with relativism. What a smart move by Pope Benedict!

You’re right: Liberal parishes and dioceses are dying throughout the country. Liberalism is often compared to acid that destroys everything it touches. Membership in conservative parishes and dioceses, on the other hand, is growing by leaps and bounds. If you look at the trends of conservative versus liberal dioceses, conservative dioceses like the Diocese of Arlington have numerous young, orthodox priests, while liberal dioceses such as the Diocese of Richmond have very few and almost no new priests. Conservative universities like Christendom College in the Diocese of Arlington are becoming popular throughout the nation.

People are attracted to the orthodox, traditional liturgy and to moral absolutes, and Latin really adds dignity.

januarius on October 11, 2006 at 3:15 PM

Entelechy and Axe-

The Pope is not bringing back Latin into all the masses. What he is doing is saying that any priest who wants to say the Tridentine mass (the traditional Latin Rite mass that was essentially banned by liberals in the 1960′s) can say it, unless expressly forbidden by the Bishop (the leader of a diocese). The homilies (or sermons) would not be in Latin even if the priest said the mass in Latin. Most masses will stay in the vernacular. All the Pope has done is give priests and traditional Catholics more choice.

januarius on October 11, 2006 at 3:24 PM

Dominus vobiscum.

Corky on October 11, 2006 at 3:25 PM

Axe and januarius, Europeans were exhilarated when Latin sermons went away.

I had 8 years of Latin, was a studious kid, have an affinity for languages and their root/s, and it is what it is, a dead language. Extremely difficult to comprehend, no matter how intense the effort. For the flock, nobel as it sounds, it is the most boring thing – they simply go to sleep/snore during the endless monotonous sessions.

Nowadays, kids don’t even know/study their own languages well (be that English, French, German, Italian, Spanish or whatever). How can they be expected to show interest in Latin or Greek?

Theory, great maybe. Practice, silly and elitist, as only the priests (and not all of them) would know what is talked or yammered about.

Entelechy on October 11, 2006 at 3:28 PM

Did y’all hear that the Pope had contracted bird flu?

He got bit by a Cardinal….

jdpaz on October 11, 2006 at 3:39 PM

Latin Masses are just going to be like the Masses in Italian, Polish, and Spanish that your parish already conducts. Those who want will get.
Besides there’s a new vernacular translation of the mass that’s coming out soon anyway. Its supposed to be a more accurate translation of the ancient mass.

Iblis on October 11, 2006 at 4:06 PM

There’s nothing wrong with Catholic priests saying a few masses in Latin. We are Greek Orthodox and our liturgy is mostly in Greek. I don’t speak Greek, but I find the service absolutely beautiful and prayerful. So, I can only assume that this is the reason why some Catholics want to return to the traditional mass – as a way to find their “roots” and as a more traditional way to pray.

pullingmyhairout on October 11, 2006 at 5:17 PM

Thanks for the clarification, januarius.

Axe on October 11, 2006 at 6:33 PM

Entelechy – you sound bitter. I haven’t heard this kind of silliness since the first indult was given by Pope John Paul II back in 1988. When the last Pope allowed bishops to allow the tridentine mass in their diocese if they wanted. No one thought this would fly and there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth but low and behold it caught on and not by the older folk, but by the young twenty-somethings. You don’t need to know Latin. There are thousands of bilingual missals (mass prayer books) that one can follow along with. The point is to bring back some of the mysticism and a sense of being away from the earthly while one is at mass.
Masses with guitars or rock bands were the norm for a while as well as liturgical dance. Nothing like being at mass and a 16yo girl in leotards prancing around to put you in the mood to receive Christ with a clean mind.
This universal indult would, if it is true, allow an individual priest the option to say mass in Latin using the rubrics from before the second Vatican Council. The need comes from the fact that many of the Bishops, in American dioceses at least, did not take the option to allow the latin mass. This new indult would give the individual priest the option to use the present rubric or the Tridentine rubric. Nothing goes away but more come in.

DrM2B on October 11, 2006 at 6:34 PM

et cum spirito tuo….

Latin isn’t that difficult to understand, especially as the Mass ain’t changing week from week. Not that I’ve been exposed to a Latin Mass, excepting Pope John Paul II’s funeral Mass. When was Novus Ordo. But I have sung Agnus Dei in Latin, and a few others.

meep on October 11, 2006 at 6:52 PM

A friend in college studied the attachment of practicing, church-going Catholics to the Catholicism/the Church and found that it was the sense of tradition and history that kept them in the fold. Even lapsed or cafeteria Catholics found this aspect appealing, even as they railed against some specific thing that alienated them from the church–not ordaining women, contraception, etc. Most said that a return to the Latin Mass was an acceptable and indeed welcome option.

A few years later I took several courses in Latin at the University of Colorado, Boulder (Ward Churchill land) and about half of those in the class were learning Latin so that they could understand the Latin Mass, a reason in addition to taking the course for language requirements, or as a Classics major. I was astonished.

I find the Latin Mass extremely appealing and it makes me feel more a part of the community of all–since even a basic understanding of the Mass in your own native language will help in interpreting the Latin version. I may not understand Polish, but if the Mass was in Latin I could attend a service in Krakow and know what was going on!

elpresidente on October 11, 2006 at 6:54 PM

Not catholic or even Christian, but if I was, I’d be hunkus dorus (Latin for: hunky dory) with this proposal.

thirteen28 on October 11, 2006 at 6:58 PM

DrM2B, by all means, I am not bitter. I’m not even Catholic. I was just relating the feedback from hundreds of European relatives and friends.

My view won’t make a difference, one way or another; nor should it. If Catholics like the tradition, then by all means, they should apply and enjoy it.

Entelechy on October 11, 2006 at 7:04 PM

Good for the Pope. I think this is a great idea.

CrimsonFisted on October 11, 2006 at 7:21 PM

Some of Catholicism’s strongest, most faithful, most devout, most loyal, and most unswerving members belong to a surprising upswing of conservative or traditionalist Catholicism. More liberal Catholics, while they have their place, are not looked upon as positively by The Holy See. The Holy See would rather cater to the conservative/traditionalist Catholics who stand by The Holy See rather than to Catholics who question, undermine, and practically diminish the authority of The Holy See.

This should not be seen as a requirement: it’s a universal indult or permission, which means that wherever there may be demand, the Mass may be prayed using the pre-Vatican II form (often called the Tridentine Mass or Tridentine Latin Mass). There will be plenty of Masses prayed in the vernacular – all according to the Novus Ordo as it exists now – it just means that more parishes will be free to pray the Mass the Tridentine way. Before this indult, a parish would require an indult from the bishop, if I remember correctly; with this universal indult, each parish already has that indult and will not have be left at the mercy of a bishop who may or may not grant it.

And those who will attend these Masses will not be ignorant. Their missals will often have an English translation next to the Latin text. (I have such a missal.) These people will be devoted to the Mass, and they will learn what it means.

It’s not so much because people love the flashy ritualism but because there is a resurgence of fidelity to tradition. As well as a belief that people took Vatican II too far. And they have a point.

Furthermore, the Catholic Mass has been such a part of Western culture and tradition. It is good for even non-Catholics to once again discover it.

One should note: the sermon (properly, the homily) will remain in the vernacular, as it was even before Vatican II.

Muslihoon on October 11, 2006 at 8:20 PM

I think holding Mass in Latin is an excellent idea. That way they can condemn fascist militant Islam in Latin and diaperheads will have no idea what’s being said or prayed.

Coronagold on October 11, 2006 at 9:22 PM

This permission is intended to encourage the excommunicated Pius X Catholics to return to Rome. They were scandalized by the new Mass. The use of the Tridentine Mass will also be a reminder to the faithful who attend it, even occasionally just for the novelty, of the proper form of the Consecration that has been subtly altered by dissident priests saying the Novus Ordus.

Catholics of the post Vatican II generation can experience the Mass as it had been said without change for 400 years throughout the world.

Margaret McC on October 11, 2006 at 10:14 PM

If the Pope was serious he would make ties/amends with the Byzantine order of Orthodox Christians in southern Russia.

Coronagold on October 11, 2006 at 10:56 PM

Quis Separabit?

SouthernGent on October 11, 2006 at 11:11 PM

Would anybody even notice? Do people really pay attention during Mass?

GregH on October 11, 2006 at 11:56 PM

GregH, are you

really

that stupid or is this some sort of moron act that you feel the need to continually treat us to?

Pablo on October 12, 2006 at 9:36 AM

Pablo – that was mean. HIs parsih experience may be just that. I have been to many a parish where the mass is so ininspiring it is hard to stay in tune with what is realy suppose to happen there. This is actually one of the reasons people like the older mass, THere are things to draw people in. If nothing else it is so different from everyday life that one is dazzled by the mysteriousness of it all.

DrM2B on October 12, 2006 at 10:38 AM

Great, now that all that Latin liturgy has finally evaporated from my brain, it’s making a comeback. Sanctus, sanctus….oh Lord.

honora on October 12, 2006 at 10:59 AM

Some of Catholicism’s strongest, most faithful, most devout, most loyal, and most unswerving members belong to a surprising upswing of conservative or traditionalist Catholicism. More liberal Catholics, while they have their place, are not looked upon as positively by The Holy See. The Holy See would rather cater to the conservative/traditionalist Catholics who stand by The Holy See rather than to Catholics who question, undermine, and practically diminish the authority of The Holy See.

Yes, but. The Church remains quite conservative in many areas–sexuality, the role of women in the church, right to life. But the Church has its liberal side, which conservatives tend to ignore–the anti-death penalty, pacifist, social reform part. Nothing’s easy, huh?

honora on October 12, 2006 at 11:49 AM

The only people who will be drawn to the Tridentine mass are those people who already attend mass regularly.

The majority of Europeans despise their religious roots. Latin isn’t going to change that.

irishsquid on October 12, 2006 at 1:18 PM

+ In Nomine Patri, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti +

The majority of Europeans hate themselves, period! Always have! Always will!

As for religion, why is ok for Islamists, for Greeks, and Protestants to celebrate or practice their religion in an orthodox fashion?

But Oh No!!!!!!!! Not those Roman Catholics!!!

Why is it ok for Islamists and others to mention the name of God?

But Oh No!!!!!!!! Not those Roman Catholics!!!

Do you suppose some fear the return of the Orthodox Roman Catholic Church??

If not, they should!!! Remember, your history folks! Remember your history!!!!

And for you non-Catholics, you have no idea of the power of the Faithful!

During the Civil War a minister, walking past the Chaplin of the 88th NYVI, Father Corbin C.F.C. asked, “Father, how do you get hundreds, if not thousands, of men to regularly attend Mass? I can barely get a handful to attend my services.” To which Father Corbin replied, “Sir, I do nothing to get them to attend. It is their faith which calls them to me.”

Dread Pirate Roberts VI on October 12, 2006 at 2:40 PM

Do you suppose some fear the return of the Orthodox Roman Catholic Church??

Small o, there is an Orthodox Catholic Church already. I find your contention that Europeans hate themselves rather comical–have you ever spent any time with Italians? French? Germans? Believe me, these folks have their problems, self hate is not one of them. In fact, they suffer from the opposite IMO.

honora on October 12, 2006 at 4:00 PM

if the Mass was in Latin I could attend a service in Krakow and know what was going on!

elpresidente

My aunt is a devout Catholic. She said the same thing. Catholics memorize the mass. They know what the phrases stand for, even if they do not know Latin. Truthfully, after a while they know what the words mean, even if they could not decline the verb tenses. My aunt said Catholics can participate in a worship that has spanned centuries. Very impressive.

Latin is making a comeback. After the first course, like all foreign languages it becomes difficult, yet it exposes you to so many of the roots of English words.

I was transfixed by the funeral service for the late Pope and spent a lot of time translating on the web. I also like to watch EWTN the conservative Catholic channel and enjoy their use of Latin. Mystical only in the sense it is ancient rite. The real mystery is in the promise of Christ and the Resurrection. Even Latin cannot do it justice.

For Benedict I say, sincerely: Ora pro eo.

entagor on October 12, 2006 at 11:12 PM