INDONESIA: Priests Asked Not To Refuse Providing Pre-Vatican II Latin Mass

There is a fascinating piece of UCANews out of Indonesia about the older form of Mass.

My emphases and comments.

INDONESIA     Priests Asked Not To Refuse Providing Pre-Vatican II Latin Mass

DENPASAR, Indonesia (UCAN) — The bishops’ liturgical commission has asked priests not to refuse requests for Mass to be celebrated in Latin as presented in the Roman Missal Pope John XXIII promulgated 45 years ago.

Divine Word Father Bernardus Boli Ujan, the commission’s executive secretary, told the recent National Meeting of Liturgy, "Priests have no right to reject a request to celebrate the Eucharist according to the 1962 Roman Missal."   [Can I believe what my eyes are seeing?  They seem to have read that Latin subjunctive in Summorum Pontificum!]

The Liturgy Commission of the Bishops’ Conference of Indonesia (KWI, Indonesian acronym) conducted the gathering July 31-Aug. 3 at Tegaljaya in Denpasar, capital of Bali province, 945 kilometers east of Jakarta.

Besides the commission’s plenary board members, the 97 participants included heads of diocesan commissions, experts and lecturers on liturgy.

Father Ujan informed them that, though the old Latin Mass is a cornerstone of the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX), the society has no branches in Indonesia.

Even so, he said, "for the sake of faith development and unity within the Church, you may not prevent people who want to celebrate the Latin Mass from doing so," and a local bishop may need wisdom to fulfill the request.

SSPX’s official website (www.fsspx.org) says it is in 30 countries, has 463 priests, 85 brothers, 75 oblates and 160 seminarians, and maintains 159 priories, more than 600 regularly served Mass centers and seven retreat houses.

According to the SSPX website for Asia, the society has been active in Indonesia since October 2003, and a "Mass Center" in Jakarta provides "Mass every 2 months" (www.sspxasia.com/Countries/Indonesia/index.htm).

"The positive reason which motivated my decision to issue this Motu Proprio updating that of 1988," the pope wrote, "is a matter of coming to an interior reconciliation in the heart of the Church." SSPX is not explicitly named in the pope’s text, but many say he means reconciliation with that society.

Capuchin Father Emmanuel Sembiring, a member of the Liturgy Commission’s plenary board, told the meeting, "It is not urgent to discuss the apostolic letter here because the society does not yet exist in Indonesia."  [Oooppps... the document and derestriction is NOT intended only for people going to SSPX chapels!]

Despite that claim, Father Ujan told UCA News, "we will translate and disseminate it among all Catholics, to help people understand and implement the letter in accordance with local Church situation."

Bishop Martinus Dogma Situmorang of Padang, KWI’s president, told UCA News on Aug. 3 that the letter will not significantly impact Indonesia’s Catholics, and "Catholics will not celebrate a Mass just to experiment."

The Capuchin prelate said Indonesians are satisfied with the Mass in the local language, Bahasa Indonesia, because they can understand the liturgy.

He pointed out that Catholics tend to take active part in liturgy, "while in the Latin Mass, where the priest faces the altar with his back toward the Massgoers, they could only be active in the penitential prayer."  [4 erroneous clichés in 26 words!  Pretty good!]

The bishop added that Catholics used to share actively in the Eucharistic prayer when they and priest responded to each other, but the "dialogic prayer" was stopped in 2005, following a Vatican instruction. "We have the impression that it was hard for people to relinquish the dialogic custom," he remarked.

According to the bishop, implementation of the pope’s letter depends on the understanding, interest and attitude of priests, "because certain clerics may show an interest to experiment."  [The second time we read "experiment".  Look how he reduces interest to a passing whim or novelty.] Nonetheless, he said he is sure promulgating the Roman Missal’s use in Latin will not negatively impact seminary curricula.

"True, seminarians need to study and master Latin," the KWI head said, "but that is more to understand theology and the contexts of the Bible."  [Grrr..... they are going to be priests of the LATIN RITE, no?]

Oblate Father Fransiskus Xaverius Sudirman, pastor of Trinitas Church in Cengkareng, West Jakarta, told UCA News he welcomes the Mass in Latin "because sometimes my parishioners sing Gregorian songs."

Aurelia Andika, 21, agrees that the Mass could remind Catholics of its Latin roots, "and young people may have more insight and get to know the language."

The Mass in Latin is most solemn and sacred, 67-year-old Maria Agustina told UCA News. For her, it is "the Holy Spirit’s work to revive the Mass in Latin."

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9 Responses to INDONESIA: Priests Asked Not To Refuse Providing Pre-Vatican II Latin Mass

  1. Indra says:

    Having grown up as a Catholic in Indonesia, this is of interest to me. Being born after 1970, the only exposure that I had growing up was the Mass in Bahasa Indonesia, which is the vernacular throughout most of Indonesia. I suspect this is the case with most Catholics in Indonesia, at least those of my generation or younger. I’m not aware of any indult Tridentine Masses celebrated in Indonesia. However, this is probably due to the fact that Catholicism is not as entrenched as it is in the Western world, and hence, when the changes were made, people mostly followed along with them. But then, I didn’t see liturgical abuses there either, at least not of the order I’ve seen in the US. Most churches are full on Sundays, and the impression that I got is that there is no problem with lack of priestly vocations. However, as I’ve been mostly in the US for the last 10 years, I’ve followed the development there much, although the impression that I got when I went back there a couple of months ago was that nothing much has changed. But I would like to see how the motu proprio affects things there.

    P.S. One thing that I find interesting about the churches in Indonesia is that the confessions are usually held only before big feast days. There are no weekly confessions. As a result, I learned about the importance of this sacrament only after I got to the US. I hope this will change.

  2. Indra says:

    Having grown up as a Catholic in Indonesia, this is of interest to me. Being born after 1970, the only exposure that I had growing up was the Mass in Bahasa Indonesia, which is the vernacular throughout most of Indonesia. I suspect this is the case with most Catholics in Indonesia, at least those of my generation or younger. I’m not aware of any indult Tridentine Masses celebrated in Indonesia. However, this is probably due to the fact that Catholicism is not as entrenched as it is in the Western world, and hence, when the changes were made, people mostly followed along with them. But then, I didn’t see liturgical abuses there either, at least not of the order I’ve seen in the US. Most churches are full on Sundays, and the impression that I got is that there is no problem with lack of priestly vocations. However, as I’ve been mostly in the US for the last 10 years, I’ve followed the development there much, although the impression that I got when I went back there a couple of months ago was that nothing much has changed. But I would like to see how the motu proprio affects things there.

    P.S. One thing that I find interesting about the churches in Indonesia is that the confessions are usually held only before big feast days. There are no weekly confessions. As a result, I learned about the importance of this sacrament only after I got to the US. I hope this will change.

  3. Anonymous says:

    There is some desire for the extraordinary form of the Mass in Indonesia. A young man from the country visited the Benedictine monastery in Le Barroux, France before entering another Benedictine community outside his native land. Pray for our bishops!

  4. TnCath says:

    Wow! Now could somebody please bring this to the attention of Bishop Steib in Memphis?

  5. Felicia says:

    I hope more Catholics, especially Indonesian, would come to realise the beauty and solemnity of the Tridentine Mass. I learnt Latin from attending Daily Latin Mass,and my spirituality has grown much better than ever before in my life. To me, Latin Mass is a unique experience and the best that the Church can ever celebrate. Although every Mass is valid and sacred Mass despite all its liturgical abuses, I feel that in Latin Mass almost all errors are eliminated, also depends on the Celebrants. I think it is just foolish to refuse to celbrate Mass in Latin, it is just like refusing the best heritage that the Catholic Church has given in terms of Liturgy. It is the most solemn hours in which we can fully lift up our hearts to the Lord.

    ps. I personally learnt to wear veil to Mass from attending Latin Mass, where mostly all women are wearing one. Unfortunately in Indonesia, Catholic women are never taught to show their humility in this way.

  6. Friska says:

    It has been about a year now, since I became a regular Latin mass goer and involved in the most beautiful Gregorian Chants Choir (not that I am good, but the others are). Latin is a heritage and an invaluable treasure which we as Catholics have to appreciate, preserve and pass it onto or share it with others. LATIN and the mass are the one which make us VERY DISTINCTIVE, especially to those protestants!!!
    As a Catholic born in Indonesia, believe it or not, I didn’t even know that we, Catholics have a mother language, i.e. Latin. Let alone knew a single word in Latin!!! How shocking is the education there? Theology means nothing without Latin! We have to know our beliefs, our faith, our religion. Latin is part of the theology of the Catholic Church.

    It was funny that I got introduced to Latin, when my house mother (as I was and still am studying in Australia) brought me to Latin mass. Then, I began to wonder…is this the so called the “ORTHODOX”?? I had a bad image about them as what people had told me about them. They make it to sound that they are out of trend, of era, of time, etc. (i.e. they are not today’s trend so they are not “cool”). Even older people make it sound like it was something not to go to or being involved in. SHOCKINGLY a parish priest said they (the Latin mass community) have this wrong thought or wrong impression and so and so…BUT you know what????

  7. Alex says:

    May I remind you all of the fact that two Indonesian emeriti Roman Catholic Bishops provided the sacrament of Confirmation in the traditional Roman Rite (old form) for the Servi Society in the United States. (See source) Also, the Society of St. Pius X noticed that a surge in Indonesian students, including ex-muslims, attending their lectures on the Church crisis etc. occurred in 2006. (Source: Mitteilungsblatt.) The mentioned late Bishops also offered the Tridentine Mass privately and one exclusively.

    Please remind yourselves of the fact that although many Dutch modernists perverted the Indonesian Roman Catholic Church in the 1960s, the pious Dutch missionaries and the Portuguese priests brought the very Mass of St. Pius V with them to convert the Javans, Sumatrans, Florese, Moluccians and Balinese.

    May God bless Indonesia and save it both from Islamism, paganism and secularism.

  8. Alex says:

    I fear the lack in frequent Confession is due to Dutch pastoral errors still pouring into Indonesia in the 1960s and 1970s. The exclusion of the veil for women is a sad development, especially given the fact that fellow Muslim Indonesian women wear the veil and burka even on the public streets.

    I hope some traditional Roman Catholic priests will go to Indonesia to bring them back the heritage of their heroic ancestors who converted to the Gospel under grave dangers to their lives (Islamism and the revenge by e.g. Hindu family members). Indonesia had a martyrs’ Church tradition.

    May they rediscover the Faith in all its plenitude and fullness! Orémus.

  9. Antonia says:

    (Father, finally a post about my country!)
    I too grew up in a Catholic school in Indonesia before entering the Church. Like several commenters here wrote, there doesn’t seem to be much perceived need for the celebration of Mass according to the 1962 Missal, nor was I aware of any indult Tridentine Masses celebrated before the Summorum Pontificum. Most of the families I met in the parishes are first- or second-generation Catholics, hence not a single veil was ever seen, and I suspect, most Catholics learn the fact that Latin used to be the primary language in which the Mass is celebrated outside their parish. Perhaps one of the sources is your blog :)

    Now that I am currently staying in Singapore, there doesn’t seem to be much response to the MP here either. In the “Catholic News”, the archdiocesan official newspaper, there are 2 pages of very simplified explanation lifted directly from USCCB– and it presents a patronizing excerpt on the front page that summarize the general attitude: “Interest in the Tridentine Mass among parishioners is likely to be low except among some groups in Europe.”