Learning to read Mass

With the future publication of the Motu Proprio to derestrict the older form of Mass, many younger priests (i.e., without baggage) will be wanting to learn how to celebrate it.  While I really enjoy the old phrase "read Mass" for a priests saying or celebration Mass, there is infact more to it than reading, though reading surely helps.  Say The Black, Do The Red, after all. 

Just so, a couple priest friends will be visiting me at the Sabine Farm during the summer to learn how to offer the Sacred Synaxis with the 1962 editio typica of the Missale Romanum.

It is nice to see that provisions are being made for this in other places. 

With a tip of the biretta   o{]:¬)    to Gerald I relate a piece from the site of the Latin Mass Society in the UK:

Latin Mass Society Launches a Major Training Conference at Merton College, Oxford for Priests Wishing to Learn the Traditional Latin Rite

The Latin Mass Society is organising a residential training conference at Merton College, Oxford from Tuesday 28 – Thursday 30 August 2007 for priests ordained within the last ten years to learn the Traditional Latin Rite. Information packs have already been sent to over 400 priests.

There will be three days of intensive practical training sessions, guided by priests who regularly celebrate the Traditional Mass, and supported by lectures on the Latin, history and doctrine of the Mass. There will also be a full schedule of daily Traditional Mass, Lauds, Vespers and Benediction.

The conference has been designed for priests who have little or no previous experience of the Traditional Rite, and a knowledge of Latin is not essential. Most of the tuition will focus on celebrating the Low Mass. It is planned that a follow up conference in 2008 will focus on the High Mass. The conference will conclude with a magnificent Pontifical High Mass celebrated by a visiting bishop.

Julian Chadwick, Chairman of the LMS said, "Interest in the Traditional Latin Rite has burgeoned under Benedict XVI’s pontificate, especially among the younger priests and faithful. In a service to the Church, the Latin Mass Society will provide growing opportunities over the next few years for priests to experience the reverence and devotion of the Traditional Rite. We see it as an integral part of the re-evangelisation of England and Wales, and know that a number of bishops are quietly appreciative of our efforts."

Full details of the Oxford Traditional training conference are available from the LMS at 11-13 Macklin Street, London WC2B 5NH; telephone 020 7404 7284.

For further information, please contact John Medlin, General Manager, or Yvonne Windsor, LMS Office Administrator, on (T) 020 7404 7284; (F) 020 7831 5585;

E-mail: thelatinmasssociety@snmail.co.uk

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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24 Responses to Learning to read Mass

  1. In the US, Una Voce in cooperation with the FSSP is setting up training workshops for priests to learn to say the Old Mass. The ICRSS is doing something similar too.

  2. Christian says:

    400! That is between 5 and 10% of the entire priesthood of England and Wales. As my Grandfather’s headmaster once said to him: “one of the best things in all the world to be is an English gentleman and their is only one thing better than that – to be an English, Catholic gentleman”.

  3. Nick says:

    Hi
    How can a priest learn the TLM if they dont know Latin well, if at all?
    You cant be praying and not knowing what you are saying.

  4. Dan says:

    I am not a priest but I think I can respond to Nick’s question. One can learn the Latin that is said during the Mass pretty easily. This is what I am doing right now, on my own. I happen to know Italian, which makes things easier, but anyone could learn the few hundred words that are used in the Mass in well under a month.

    (By the way, I would be willing to donate toward the training of any priest who could and would use the training to celebrate the old Mass on the westside of Los Angeles.)

  5. Several entities have announced recently that they would offer training in how to say the tridentine mass.

    Supposedly, according to various commentators, a hoped-for effect of a wider availability of the tridentine mass will be an effort of at least some novus ordo celebrants to clean up their celebrations — make them beautiful, dignified, and reverent — even though they don’t go tridentine.

    Suppose this does come to pass. In that case there will be a real need for teachers to train priests to say the novus ordo in a traditional manner. One hopes sources of novus ordo training would open up just as have sources for tridentine training.

    I suspect there are many young priests out there who would like to say the novus ordo traditionally but who have hardly a clue how to do it.

  6. Nick says:

    Hi again.
    The Latin that a priest reads goes beyond the same payers that are part of the mass, it includes reading the Scriptures in Latin and that requires a thorough knowledge both to pronounce and comprehend.

    I agree with you though, that anyone who ALREADY knows Spanish, French or Italian (all have their roots in Latin) is well on their way to better learning/understanding Latin. Its us English-only speakers who have some catching up to do. :)

  7. Brian Day says:

    While Nick did not come out and say it, but I think the larger issue is “saying the Mass” versus “praying the Mass”. Do you really need to know the Latin language for the prayer to be effective?

    I tend to think not, (because you do what the Church intends) but I’ll gladly defer to those more knowledgeable than me.

  8. Dan O says:

    Hi Father,

    Your comment about “reading Mass’ reminds me of a place I worked where the VP would show visitors around and tell them, “This is where Dan sits.” “This is where Frank sits.”, etc. I always got a bit perturbed because I did more than sit, I was WORKING.

    Even though you like the ‘read Mass” terminology, I prefer the term ‘pray Mass’ since as you say more is going on there than just reading.

  9. Ben D. says:

    I have to second Father Z.’s affection for the phrase “read Mass”, because it’s correlative, from the faithful’s point of view, is that other lovely phrase, “hear Mass”.

  10. Michael says:

    The Latin that a priest reads goes beyond the same payers that are part of the mass, it includes reading the Scriptures in Latin and that requires a thorough knowledge both to pronounce and comprehend.

    It requires a knowledge of pronounciation and cadence to read the scriptures in Latin. I knew a priest who did not seem to have much real knowledge of Latin but managed to struggle through it. No one in the congregation complained. They loved him for caring enough to try.

    This does raise a larger question and that is will remedial courses in Latin be made available for priests who want to go further? It is difficult to imagine that once priests begin to crack open the Latin prayers for real that they will not want to study the language in greater detail. One can imagine that the freeing of the TLM could lead to a longer term resurgence of learning in latin. Father’s Z’s column can only increase in popularity.

  11. Geri says:

    I like the phrase “read Mass” (which I had never heard before,) because the concept is so much to be preferred beyond, “improvise Mass,” or, “make Mass up as you go along,” or, “do your best to say what you remember of Mass,” to which we’ve all been subjected, I imagine.
    I would say that a single priest form the UK asking to to learn puts the lie to the claim of one prelate that the motu proprio is not necessary, that there was already plenty of access to the TLM.

    (Save the Liturgy, Save the World)

  12. Serafino says:

    I speak Italian, Spanish and have a working knowledge of Latin. As far as pronunciation of ecclesiastical Latin is concern, with some few exceptions Latin seems to be pronounced very much like Italian. Priests who are not fluent in Latin, but would like to celebrate (read?) the TLM would do well to go over the texts of the TLM in the vernacular first. This would give them some idea as to what they are saying (praying?)

    BTW, I am old enough to remember the “good old days” when the TLM was the normal expression of Catholic Worship. Many priests said Mass so fast (25 minutes on Sunday! 15 minutes weekdays!) that I am sure not even the good Lord understood what they were saying! Not every Mass was “Solemn High” with deacon and subdeacon sung in polyphony! While I am in favor of the Motu Proprio, I hope we never return to those days again.

  13. Andrew says:

    I am not sure whether Fr. Z knows this or not but didn’t St. Pius X decree that when priests say the mass, they must try and use a Roman accent?

    Maybe I am mistaken.

  14. Alex says:

    Serafino,

    Of course the old days were not perfect. In fact the 1950s with their lack of liturgical formation and theological piety prepared the crisis of the 1960s and the vicious attacks on Catholic dogma spread during meetings of the various commissions at Vatican II.

    However, I must say that I prefer a quickly said Traditional Mass to a long taking Novus Ordo Mass where people want to make themselves seen and where Communion into the hand is practiced. And I know some Novus Ordo priests who do it in 15 minutes on week days.

    On the contrary, I know of no traditional priest who says the TLM in 15 or less than 25 minutes. Not even ‘my’ elderly Missionary of Africa. All high Masses I attended in the Classical Roman Rite took at least 1h10min.

    The liturgical impiety of the 1950s priests culminated in the liturgical indifference and devastation of the 1960s. It is not characteristic of the priests now offering the Roman Mass of all ages. These latter sacrificed often prosperous secular or even theological carreers just to be able to celebrate the Traditional Roman Rite and offer orthodox Roman Catholic sermons to the Faithful.

    By the way: does anybody know of Archbishop Carlos Quintero Arce of Hermosillo (Mexico), formerly of Ciudad Valles. This old Prelate seems to be celebrating the Traditional Roman Mass at Mel Gibson’s private chapel and three weeks ago confirmed Mel Gibson’s nephews in the Traditional Rite at his Mexican residence (private chapel I presume). He is coming to the USA with Gibson to bless Gibson’s new estate and another church of Gibson’s father Hutton.

  15. Tip of the Padres hat at Fr. Z. :)

  16. RBrown says:

    I think any diocesan priest who want to say mass in Latin but has almost no knowledge of the language should first schedule a meeting with his bishop. At the meeting he should say: Both Vat II and the new code of canon law* say that priests should have a working knowledge of Latin. Why was this not included in my clerical formation? Why did you cheat me?

    Then he should write an open letter to the bishops, asking them the same questions.

    *linguam latinam bene calleant CIC 249.

  17. Geri says:

    “didn’t St. Pius X decree that when priests say the mass, they must try and use a Roman accent?”

    Doen’t this just mean “Church” Latin as opposed to “classical” Latin, with its hard “c”s and non-fricative “v”s?

    (Save the Liturgy, Save the World)

  18. RBrown said:

    I think any diocesan priest who want to say mass in Latin but has almost no knowledge of the language should first schedule a meeting with his bishop. At the meeting he should say: Both Vat II and the new code of canon law* say that priests should have a working knowledge of Latin. Why was this not included in my clerical formation? Why did you cheat me?

    Then he should write an open letter to the bishops, asking them the same questions.

    While I DON’T disagree that clergy have been cheated with regard to proper formation – of which a complete and utter disregard for the Latin is one component, I think the tone of suh a confrontation is entirely to be avoided, as it only feeds the distrust that so many of my Father’s generation harbor toward all things ecclesiastical before 1970.

    As one priest who was not properly introduced to Latin in the seminary (it was offered as an option – if one could find time among required classes) I think the best course of actino is to block out a little time each day to work on Latin – get a good text or find a decent tutor – perhaps an older retired priest who had taught latin himself! – and work on developing facility with the Language. There should be no guilt either about taking the time, as priests are encouraged to legitimately devote part of their time to the purpose of furthering their study

    Motu Proprio or not, sour grapes are not going to help further the cause of the Traditional Liturgy.

  19. Mrs.Kimball says:

    Ave Maria

  20. Alex: With a little research one can come up with Abp Quintero Arce’s email address and phone number. But I would hesitate to contact him directly. The poor man is 87 years old and retired in 1996. Better to try to find a way to contact Gibson.

    I too might have some interest in a private chapel, Gibson’s or not, where tridentine mass is offered here in Mexico. I’d like to continue this thread. If you concur, let’s do it offlist. My web site has a link to my email address.

  21. Alex says:

    Dear Joseph Mansfield,

    It is not so much my interest to contact this elderly 87 year old Emeritus
    Archbishop, but I rather intended to inform Mexican and US Traditional Roman
    Catholics about this Archbishop and his willingness to celebrate in the
    traditional rites of the Holy Roman Church. I think “traditionalist” groups
    should contact him in order to support him and convince him to at least give some
    moral support to the Traditional Latin Mass and other questions.

    I am sure the FSSP, SSPX, ICRSP, Independent Fathers, Le Barroux and Institut du
    Bon Pasteur are interested in contacting this Archbishop and asking him for his
    opinion.

    In the meanwhile I found out Mel Gibson contacted this Archbishop because he was
    consecrated a bishop in 1961, and therefore in the Traditional Roman Rite. Mel
    Gibson considers the revised Roman Pontifical of Paul VI (18.6.1968) to be
    invalidated and “null and void” (like Rev. Cekada). Because the Gibsons had some
    quarrels with the SSPX and Monseigneur Marcel Lefebvre himself in the past, they
    probably were not prepared to receive their “only valid” Confirmation in the SSPX.

    Fr. Bealko at the Universal Indult site of Dr. Brian Kopp declared even that he,
    a sedevacantist priest, had been supporting Mel Gibson to search for many elderly
    Bishops consecrated to the episcopacy “prior to 1958″ (I think they mean 1968).

    Mel also visited some emeriti bishops of the USA, including some 90 year old
    bishops. He is allegedly trying to set up a (sedevacantist?) seminary, chapels
    and monasteries network for his World Faith Foundation Inc. Gibson is investing
    huge sums of money into it and is looking for a non-controversial Roman Catholic
    Bishop consecrated prior to the revision of the pontifical in 1968 to provide
    Holy Orders for this “network”. A bit weird to me. The SSPX etc. do not want to
    cooperate of course (pending their Personal Prelature, which is near). And Gibson
    himself does not want one of the many “valid but illicit” (Cardinal Laghi) Thuc-
    line bishops around here in the USA. He wants a real old “pre-conciliar”
    dinosaur I guess. But I hardly expect any of them to be real sedevacantists.

    Or even SSPX-style traditionalist Catholics. But Gibson keeps on visiting many
    elderly bishops. That at least is a good thing. I do hugely respect Mel, except
    for his anti-semitic jokes while drunk.

    As to Archbishop Arce: I think that in the context of Rev. Fr. Zuhlsdorf’s article
    above, his presence (his having celebrated traditional Confirmation) may be interesting to many
    Priestly Societies around in Mexico and the Americas.

    So would you please forward his e-mail address and his living address to
    them (SSPX, ICRSP, FSSP) so they can contact him? I am not in the ability to do
    so over here. As to you searching a chapel: Gibson, I think, has no chapel in
    Mexico. But there are Indult and other Traditional Masses there.

  22. RBrown says:

    Sacerdos in aeternum,

    1. Actually, it’s not sour grapes. SG would be someone hating Latin after having wanted to study it but having been denied.

    2. You seem to be in KC, which–finally–has an excellent bishop. You wouldn’t have to tell him that you were cheated–because he already knows it.

    BTW, a friend from Rome, Fr Vince Rogers, is also in the diocese.

    3. A lot of bishops today–esp those who are MOR–are vulnerable to pressure and I think knowing that young priests think they didn’t get good formation would be effective.

    4. With the sexual scandals in the priesthood, I find it hard to believe that your father would be scandalized merely by knowing that seminary formation isn’t up to snuff.

  23. RBrown says:

    “didn’t St. Pius X decree that when priests say the mass, they must try and use a Roman accent?”

    Doen’t this just mean “Church” Latin as opposed to “classical” Latin, with its hard “c”s and non-fricative “v”s?

    (Save the Liturgy, Save the World)
    Comment by Geri

    I think it means Church Latin, but that’s not the whole story.

    Germans often pronounce “caelum” as “zaylum”. And Americans tend to to “us” into “is”. Then there’s the matter of “r’s”

  24. ALEX: Your comments led me to revise my thinking on Abp. Quintero. After all, he obviously wishes to be involved in traditional work. His addresses and telephone numbers are at this link:
    http://www.iglesiahermosillo.com/
    and click “directorio” at left. Anyone seeking to contact him should call or send email; the postal service is very unreliable.

    What do you know about traditional and indult masses in Mexico? Extensive searching on my part has come up with a few sporadic SSPX masses and zero indult masses. Please share your knowledge, if you can be more specific or refer me to some resource.