Monday, June 25, 2007

Pro-Choice, Pro-Moto

St Blog's Parish, especially its Roman branch, is all a-twitter these days with rumors that the long desired Motu Proprio of Pope Benedict, authorizing greater use of the Latin Mass as it was celebrated in 1962 (most often called the Tridentine Mass or the Mass of St Pius V) is about to be released.

And in other parishes, populated by those who have taken solemn vows to eradicate Latin, swords and shields are being shined and WD-40 squirted on them to make more effective in the upcoming spiritual combat.

It is really interesting how folks who will march and contribute for the "right to choice" with respect to abortion will quickly enlist to engage in the campaign to prevent Latin from being a "choice" for those who might desire it.

I think at its heart, the anti-choice anti-Latin folks are the pointy headed intellectuals of the Catholic Church who are satisfied that they know what is best for all of us.

Here's Father Z on the Rumors

Here's Father Z on the Enemy


Cathy_of_Alex said...

It is really interesting how folks who will march and contribute for the "right to choice" with respect to abortion will quickly enlist to engage in the campaign to prevent Latin from being a "choice" for those who might desire it.

I agree. Especially interesting considering one involves murder and the other doesn't.

Anonymous said...

If some people want to celebrate the Mass in Latin, fine by me. Just don't take away my English Mass. Call me crazy, but I like to actually know what is going on and to participate fully when I'm at Mass.

Honestly, though, I am baffled by people who prefer an archaic language over their own language. It seems to me that they fear change and progress, which is what V2 brought.

If the Church ever returned to all Latin Masses, I guarantee you would see a steep decline in the number of Catholics. Hopefully we're not heading in that backwards direction.

Mary Ellen said...

Wow....I was pretty surprised by your language of condemnation of those who are strongly against the return of the Latin Mass.

I'm fine with a parish offering one Latin Mass per week at the request of a number of their parishoners. In fact, I know a few in the Chicago area who do this. But, like cathy of alex, I like the English Mass because it is something that one can truly participate in.

However, to call those who feel this way, "pointy headed intellectuals" is un-christianlike behavior. Is name calling and insults the way to get your point across? Everyone is entitled to their opinion regarding the Catholic Church, IMO, and respect should be shown for the opinions of others. At least, that's what I was taught in my religion classes. How about you?

Unknown said...

anon. and Mary Ellen:

Thanks for posting.

Nobody knows for sure, but all indications seem to say that the only change would be the removal of the requirement that a priest must receive permission from his Bishop in order that he might say the "old Mass."

And that might require evidence that thirty people have requested it.

There would be no elimination of the current Novus Ordo Mass in English.

And I doubt that more than five percent of priests would want to say the Mass regularly in Latin. Most don't know the language, for one thing.

Anon.: I like to know what's going on, too. Right now, I attend a Saturday morning Mass in Minneapolis where most of the readings are in English, but the congregations sings most of the responses in Latin in Gregorian Chant. And we all know what those responses mean because we have been saying them for 40 years.

But what I don't like is the way that some priests get creative when they say the Mass in English, changing and adding words to please themselves and their congregations.

They have no right to do that. They think that they are performers. They are not. They are priests of God, sworn to say the Mass as determined by the Holy Roman Catholic Church.

One advantage that I see in the use of an "archaic language" is that since the congregation will not understand the language, there will be no incentive for the priest to "show off."

Mary Ellen:

I don't think we disagree.

I think you misunderstand me. The "pointy headed intellectuals" to whom I referred are those who are opposed to the use of Latin at all.

There is a parish here in St Paul, St Agnes, that has a Sunday High Mass in Latin that is sung with a full choir and orchestra.

I think their service might be akin to that offered at St John Cantius in Chicago. But the music is far better.

If you talk to most "progressives" around here and mention St Agnes parish, immediately you will start getting sarcastic and disparaging remarks and personal putdowns for being so stupid as to attend Mass there.

But they would never criticize parishes where women rise to attempt to "co-consecrate" the host , lay-people read the gospel and give the homily, priests perform Native American sweetgrass ceremonies, private confessions are almost unknown, and poetry is read to praise civic events.

Those happen here, and I would bet they happen in Chicago, too.

Right now, out of maybe 600,000 Catholics in the St Paul and Minneapolis Archdiocese, maybe 1,000 might attend a Latin Mass once a year.

If the Motu Proprio is adopted, perhaps 5,000 might attend a Latin Mass once a year.

Why is that deemed offensive by "pointy headed intellectuals? I'll tell you why.

They really know that they are cheating God with their services and they don't like being called on it.

Thank you for your comments.

Anonymous said...

Ray from MN, I don't think priests should change the words of the Mass either, but I also don't think using a language hardly anyone today understands is the solution. That seems a little extreme, in my opinion.

What I don't understand is why some people want a Latin Mass. I'm not against it or anything, but what's the point? Maybe you can explain it to me...

Unknown said...


1. Why do some people want abortions? There are many reasons.

2. Why do some people want the Latin Mass? There are many reasons for that too.
a. The Church used Latin for 1500 years or so. Why change now?
b. More than ever, the Church is "Universal" and we could be in a foreign country in hours, rather than days, weeks or months. Wouldn't it be nice to have the Mass available in Latin everywhere?

c. Contrary to what people say about the Second Vatican Council, no document from it eliminates the use of Latin. What it does say is that the use of vernacular, local, languages should be made more available.

d. When the Novus Ordo English language translation was approved about 1970, no document forbade use of the old Mass. It just said that permission must be received from the local Bishop. Some Bishops never give permission. The change would eliminate the permission requirement.

e. The real issue is that people are getting very upset and fearful that the English Mass is about to be eliminated? That is not the case.

Why are they worried? What is there about the Latin Mass that terrifies them? Most of them weren't even alive when the Latin Mass was the norm.

I personally think that a lot of them are aware that there are many other changes that have been made without any Church authorization that might get revoked. And there have been many practices instituted that are against the Church's Canon Law. Those might get suppressed also.

They see Latin as the first step in the cleaning up of the Church.

Actually, the first step was the cleaning up of the Church's seminaries.

If you saw photographs of those most opposed to the use of Latin, you would see that most of them are near retirement. They have fought long and hard and now see that they were incorrect and are on the "losing side."

Thanks for your question, anon.

Anonymous said...

Using the vernacular is better in my opinion because it's more important that people understand the Mass on a deeper level than to preserve a small-t tradition. Also, I don't think the Church could evangelize effectively today if becoming Catholic meant having to learn another language.

No matter where in the world you travel to, the Mass is the same even if the language is not. Latin is a symbol of unity on the surface, but the substance of the Mass is what really unites us.