A priest writes about vernacular in the Traditional Mass with the 1962 Missal

Under another entry some folks are discussing the possibilities of the vernacular for the TLM.  According to the provisions of Summorum Pontificum it is possible to do the readings in the vernacular in an approved translation.  What is yet to be clarified by the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei is whether the readings must be in Latin before they are then read in the vernacular.  I am confident we will have a clarification on this.

However, I did get an interesting e-mail from a priest which, with some editing, I can share with you.  It is germane to the topic I mentioned above:  My emphases and comments.

Fr. Z -

As a priest who celebrates the 1962 Mass once a month, I often wonder why that Mass cannot be said in the vernacular.  We do the entire Mass in Latin except for the Readings and the homily, in accord with SP. [With due respect, I believe until there is an official clarification about this, it would be better to do the readings in Latin, as is normal, and then read them in English before the sermon.]  I am the pastor of two churches, one big and one medium, my time alotment for study is limited but I do the best I can to brush up on my latin.  Having learned classical nearly 20 years ago I find it difficult to learn Eccesicastical.  Never the less I do the best I can.  [This is precisely why I started the PRAYERCAzT audio projects!  To help men like you get the Latin into your ears and tongue.  Even though it means more work, I beleive the readings ought to be in Latin first.]

When we met, the people of my parish perfered that the readings be done in English and the homily- so we have no division on this issue. [With great respect, people can't decide for themselves how Mass is going to be.]  Some have inquired why the entire Mass cannot be celebrate in the Vernacular and quite frankly I agree.  After all the reason it is in Latin to begin with is because latin was the Vernacular, as Greek was before it.  [More on this point, which is not really precise, below.] I see no obstacles to the Mass being celebrated in English.  [You mean... other than the Church's rubrics and liturgical laws?] It is a beautiful Liturgy and it is a shame more people cannot have access to it,  By this I mean many are deterred by the use of Latin because they do not understand it. We also have beautiful Novus Ordo liturgies, in the vernacular, so I think this may be why our parish is content.  [I am very glad you have this flexibility.  That can only be of advantage to everyone.]

The real issue in the Church today is a beautiful liturgy[I entirely agree!] I have been to TLM Masses that are said so fast one wonders how that is reverent?  The illusion of reverence is present only because it is in a language that cannot be understood and therefore by extension must be mysterious[A good point.  There is more to the encounter with Mystery than Latin, or anything else that is simply obscure.] I think if people understood the language and then heard the priest plow through the Mass they would not find it terribly edifing. I have not been edified by how fast I have heard the TLM prayed.  It takes me one hour and fifteen minutes to say low Mass, [Ouch!  I hope you mean a private Mass.  That strikes me as a little long for a low Mass for the parish, but ... whatever...] I say it very reverently and do not ‘speed pray’ the prayers.

In summation I would like to see the Rites of 1962 in the Vernacular where everyone has total access to the Mass and clear understanding[This might be the point that needs deeper consideration.  I am not sure that "total access" and "clear understanding" does not lead to the trap that twisted the progress of the Liturgical Movement in the middle of the 20th century, when the desire for "didacticism" and "immediacy" was asserted by certain Benedictines and Dominicans.] Prayer by it’s very nature ought to be intelligilble and understandable.  [Yes, but I am not so sure that we are seeing the terms in the same way.  There are different kinds of intelligibility.] We use Latin/English Booklet Missals from Coatlition in Support of Ecclesia Dei and their English translation of the prayers is very beautiful.  I am not advocating changing the 1962 Liturgy simply making it more accessible to a wider audience.  [However, it does seem as if you are advocating changing the 1962 Liturgy.   Changing to the vernacular is a change, and that is exactly what you are advocating] It’s gestures, postures, and prayers ought to be available [I don't know what that means, unless it perhaps means "intelligible".] to the wider Catholic Community.

 

First, of all, I am delighted that this diligent priest is doing so much for the people of his parish.  He listens to them and tries to see to their spiritual needs.   I suspect a great many people would like to have this fellow as their pastor.

Second, I agree that Mystery should not be reduced to the obscure.  At the same time, Mass is not a didactic moment.  Sure, we can learn things during and through the sacred action of the Mass, but the real point is to learn those things which can only be apprehended at a deeper level. Also, if we aim at immediacy, and so forth, for everyone, we will inevitably have to dumb-down pretty much everything. 

Lastly, the mention of Latin being used now only because Latin was a vernacular that pushed out Greek back in the day, needs clearer thinking.  The history of the introduction of Latin into the liturgy of Rome, is used as an argument for the use of the vernacular today: Latin was the vernacular back when, so it is the vernacular that counts, not the Latin. 

Yes and no.

Yes, Latin was the vernacular.  However, the kind of Latin used in the liturgy was not at all the way people spoke.  Liturgical Latin really wasn’t the vernacular, in that sense.  Liturgical Latin was highly stylized, far removed from the way people spoke.  Also, the ancient Latin prayers contain concepts that were "available" only to the well-educated.  That is part and parcel of liturgical pray as well: not all of it is going to be understood immediately and by everyone.  The language and the concepts are special.   That doesn’t mean that all prayer has to be difficult, of course. This is however why the Council Fathers said that some vernacular, especially for readings, could be used occasionally but why Latin was to be retained in the Latin Church.

A very thought provoking e-mail for which I am grateful. 

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133 Responses to A priest writes about vernacular in the Traditional Mass with the 1962 Missal

  1. Legisperitus says:

    Thanks for that about the issue of Latin as “vernacular.” I suppose the same point could be made about the Temple and Passover liturgies in the time of Christ, which would have been in liturgical Hebrew rather than the vernacular Aramaic.

  2. Fr Justin says:

    Surely the point is that Latin, like Greek before it, was not so much a vernacular language as a lingua franca, a language that trancends local languages and is used as a form of communication between people whose vernacular languages are mutually incomprehensible. In the way that English is used as a common form of communication in sub-saharan Africa today between, say, the Nigerians and the people of Zimbabwe.

  3. EDG says:

    The Latin used in the Mass was certainly not the Latin spoken on the streets. But I’d like to suggest that the vernacular used in the classical rite Mass would not be the vernacular spoken on the streets, either. I remember the vernacular (English) masses occasionally celebrated in the late 50s and early 60s, and the language was formal, poetic in the way good, precise legal language is poetic, and of course could rely on a good translation of Scripture for the appropriate parts. None of this was street language, by any means.

    In fact, even the USCCB is aware of this. Some of them have been arguing that even the new more accurate English translation of the Novus Ordo is “unintelligible” to the herd – er, I mean, flock – because it uses “complicated words” like consubstantial, etc. So even the US bishops recognize that there’s a difference between vernacular in the sense of being a spoken language that is not Latin, and in the sense of being a current street language.

    One thing the classical rite vernacular Mass depended upon was an accurate translation of the Latin, of course, and it drew upon established English theological and devotional language. Furthermore, it was well understood that there were absolutely NO changes or additions allowed allowed to the text, regardless of the language. (That said, I have mixed feelings about the use of the vernacular; I think it could be helpful and it is obviously not forbidden in itself, but at the same time, great care should be taken in employing it.)

  4. Dan says:

    Perhaps this priest can try to obtain faculty to say mass in the Anglican Use. It is done ad orientem with all the bells and smells. It uses Elizabethan English and Eucharistic Canon 1 is used exclusively (at least the one I attend here in Boston). It is basically the Latin Mass in the vernacular.

  5. John says:

    I wonder if people actually understand the prayers in English? I say this because often the acoustics are poor, because people day dream and speakers do not project well etc,. If you asked after Mass a random parishioner my guess is that he could not paraphrase any of the particular prayers for that day. It is the sum total of the experiwence, some understood but most experienced that makes the TLM a superior prayer. Of course the seriousness counts for a lot too.

  6. Mark Jacobson says:

    There is already a more classical form of the Mass in English, approved by the Vatican… the Anglican Use Mass. Why not leave the TLM alone, and use the Anglican Use Mass when English is required? From what I have heard, this Mass uses beautiful Liturgical English. There is a reason Latin was maintained as the language of the Liturgy for over 1500 years – I don’t see any pressing reason to tamper with it. The attitude that says it must all be in the vernacular is what got us into the Novus Ordo mess in the first place. Leave the TLM alone!

  7. R says:

    John,

    Thanks. That is perhaps the key point about the \”intelligibility\” argument: it is rather academic, because many (most?) people at Mass are only paying attention part of the time anyway, and even then not always with full concentration. There are just too many other things to do in Church: daydreaming (as you say), looking around for your friends, listening to cell phones going off, thinking about what you saw on TV five minutes before leaving home to go to Mass; and on a more serious note, watching your kids, meditating on the current sufferings in your life and offering them to God, begging Him for the grace to be able to pray without distraction, etc. None of these activities are easily combined with \”active participation\” in a dialogue Mass.

  8. Phil says:

    There are several arguments in favor of latin.
    Fr. Justin hits the nail on the head with one: Latin as a lingua franca contributed greatly to the spread of cristianity in the past, and can help to maintain it in the present. Here in Europe it’s easy to see how: drive for half a day (often a lot less, even) in a single direction and you’re lilkely to end up in a place where a different language is spoken. Masses in the vernacular make it difficult for visitors who aren’t fluent to follow mass, masses in latin don’t. Big cities with immigrant communities are another example.
    No less important is the fact that the vernacular invites sloppy translations, ‘undue creativity’ in making additions (or omissions) in the liturgy and that latin symbolizes reverence and to some degree mystery.

    However, for what it’s worth, I think doing the readings in latin is a bit superfluous. Very special audiences excepted, almost no-one will be able to follow the latin of readings by just listening to them – the latin of the prayers will be (or better said: should be) learned if only through repeated exposure, but that works because many of the prayers are the same each Sunday, or mostly in a similar vein. And while Mass as a whole is not didactic in nature, I respectfully disagree with anyone who might say it does have no didactic elements. Readings are one of them, the homily is another. You can argue about what makes an appropriate didactic point for these occasions, but readings and the homily are not just another Gloria in a different from. They spread knowledge about the faith and invite reflection, appropriate for that particular Sunday. They are relevant for the attendants at Mass in their own right. Those functions – again, you can argue if they are primary, but I can’t see how you can argue they aren’t there at all – are performed better in the vernacular than in latin. Doing the readings (let alone the homily) solely in latin would be a loss. Doing them in both works, ofcourse, but I see no downsides in doing those parts solely in the vernacular, especially if Mass would become so long as to pose practical problems if they are done twice.

  9. BobP says:

    The Latin Mass is by definition, in Latin. Like an opera, it may be more easily understood in the vernacular but what happens to its total beauty? Besides why should a priest or seminarian or regular church-goer for that matter bother to learn this beautiful language only to have it in the vernacular later? Sort of loses its Catholic (meaning Universal) character bigtime. The Anglican Mass is living proof of that.

  10. Prof. Basto says:

    Prayer by it’s very nature ought to be intelligilble and understandable

    Wrong. If prayer was to be always intelligible and understandable by its very nature , then the Church would be doing something wrong when She dictates that some parts of the Liturgy are to be said in a low voice, or when She directs that a liturgical language surrounded by mystery be employed.

    The Ecumenical Council of Trent has something to say about that:

    If any one saith, that the rite of the Roman Church, according to which a part of the canon and the words of consecration are pronounced in a low tone, is to be condemned; or, that the mass ought to be celebrated in the vulgar tongue only; (…); let him be anathema.

    Furthermore, even the Second Vatican Council desired the maintenance of Latin (cf. Sacrossanctum Concilium, art. 36).

    And, as others have said, the Mass of 1962, per the rubrics and liturgical laws of the Church, can only be said in Latin. The Apostolic Letter Summorum Pontificum itself restates that norm a contrario sensu when it only grants permission for the readings to be changed to the vernacular. If permission is granted only regarding the readings, then all the rest must remain in Latin, as per the old rubrics and laws in force in 1962 that govern the extraordinary form.

  11. RBrown says:

    Surely the point is that Latin, like Greek before it, was not so much a vernacular language as a lingua franca, a language that trancends local languages and is used as a form of communication between people whose vernacular languages are mutually incomprehensible. In the way that English is used as a common form of communication in sub-saharan Africa today between, say, the Nigerians and the people of Zimbabwe.
    Comment by Fr Justin

    Pretty much agree, except the phrase I use is Language of Empire. Not everyone in the world today speaks English, but if someone wants to be an airline pilot or conduct international business, then English is necessary.

    A few more points:

    1. There are those who think that during the second century Rome was loaded with immigrants who didn’t know Latin.

    2. Although Latin was the language of business and govt in what is now France and Germany, the indigenous people were still speaking their own languages. Without education there was no way for the locals to learn Latin. NB: The Irish, who were able to resist learning English until a) all education was done in English and b) education was mandatory.

    3. The resistance to the shift from Greek to Latin in the 3rd century was not because it was the vernacular but rather because it was not Greek, which was the language of the NT. Perhaps the best known among those who objected to the change was Hippolytus, who is thought to have been from the Greek church in Lyon.

  12. Habemus Papam says:

    English imperialism. The Latin would be translated into Spanish, German, Phillipino. We are the Latin Rite Church. Leave it be.

  13. B.T. says:

    An appropriate quote from Dom Prosper:
    “We must admit it is a master blow of Protestantism to have declared war on the sacred language. If it should ever succeed in ever destroying it, it would be well on the way to victory. Exposed to profane gaze, like a virgin who has been violated, from that moment on the Liturgy has lost much of its sacred character, and very soon people find that it is not worthwhile putting aside one’s work or pleasure in order to go and listen to what is being spoken in the way one speaks on the town square.”
    -Dom Prosper Guéranger “The Anti-Liturgical Heresy” (in Institutions Liturgiques, v. 1)

  14. Padraig says:

    I love the opera analogy. So true. Did you ever attend the Barber of Seville in English? Ugh…

    But now, some practical points. If the readings are done in English, exactly what will happen? For example, will the server/people say ‘Deo gratias’ or ‘Thanks be to God’ at the end of the Epistle? ‘The Lord be with you’ before the Gospel? (If so, why not in English throughout the Mass???) ‘Laus tibi Christe’ or ‘Praise to you O Christ?’ after the Gospel.
    Will the priest face the people? Use a lectern? Or two lecterns, one at the Gospel side as well? Will he turn back to bow over the altar for the Munda cor meum, or just bow before the lectern?
    I think the whole thing is a minefield. Also, there is a great value in the priest’s getting to know the text of the readings in Latin. In practice there are few enough texts – a very small proportion of the Bible, with lots of repetition (think of the Commons). The Vulgate text is very venerable, and sacred in itself.

    So, I fully concur with Fr Z. Keep it all in Latin, and on Sundays read the readings again in English, from the pulpit, as a lead-in to the sermon. Keep the everyday out of the sanctuary!

  15. RBrown says:

    English imperialism. The Latin would be translated into Spanish, German, Phillipino. We are the Latin Rite Church. Leave it be.
    Comment by Habemus Papam

    ??????

  16. I am an Eastern Orthodox priest who has permission to serve in the
    Usus Antiquior either in Liturgical latin or in English. I use the Knot
    and Sons ENGLISH MISSAL, 5th Edition, which also includes sections
    in Latin. I have removed the Anglican sections and serve in the
    Gregorian Mode. On ocassion I serve entirely in Latin. For me
    the treasures of the liturgy unfold profoundly. Perhaps if more priests
    were able to serve in a Eastern Rite along with the venerable Roman Rite
    the reform of the Liturgy would be even more enriched. I greatly apreciate
    the movement of Pope Benedict XVI in the are of liturgical renewal, Patoral
    concern through his inspired epistles. his great ability as a teacher,
    his warm and humble bearing, and his undying quest for reunion of the Catholic
    and Orthodox Churches. May we all love and pray for His Holiness.

  17. RBrown says:

    I love the opera analogy. So true. Did you ever attend the Barber of Seville in English? Ugh…

    Actually, that was the first opera I ever attended. Despite it being in English, I still couldn’t understand the words. In fact, after about 30 minutes, I asked someone whether it was being sung in English.

    Of course, now there are supertitles: God’s in His Heaven, and all’s right with the world–at least with the opera.

  18. With all due respect to Fr. Greogory, I am confused. Are you Eastern Orthodox or Greek (or Eastern) Catholic? If Orthodox, what would ever call for you to offer the Divine Liturgy of the Latin rite of the Catholic Church? I am not trying to aggravate the division that exists (at certain points) between East and West, but I guess I never would have thought an Orthodox (big “O”) would have any desire to offer the Divine Liturgy of the West.

    On another note, I have been offering the Low Mass now for little over a month. Yesterday was my first public low Mass – and being Sunday, I gave a homily. I got confused about the order/procedure for giving the readings in the vernacular. I think I am supposed to read the readings with head uncovered, then, when finished, put on the biretta for the homily proper. We began and econcluded with the sign of the cross, and I got really tripped up about announcements – are these usually given before the vernacular reading or after the homily?

  19. Henry Edwards says:

    And while Mass as a whole is not didactic in nature, I respectfully disagree with anyone who might say it does have no didactic elements. Readings are one of them, the homily is another.

    I understand that in the ancient usage the sermon is not considered part of the Mass, but an interruption in it. This is why you see the celebrant take off his maniple (and sometimes his chasuble also) before going to the pulpit, and then put it on again upon returning to the altar. I’ve heard that in some Eastern rites, as well as originally in the Latin rite, the sermon was given after Mass, so as not to thus interrupt the liturgy.

    Perhaps someone else can discuss the possibility that the readings of the Epistle and Gospel in Latin at the altar have a liturgical purpose, while their readings in the vernacular before the sermon have a didactic or homiletic purpose.

  20. Cosmos says:

    I am obviously repeating other people’s thoughts, but it seems to me as well that Latin is primarily important 1) as a special instrument of unity, and 2) because of its use throughout history has somehow sanctified it and made it something special and set apart.

    For this reason it seems that all Catholics should learn some Latin, like certain prayers and responses, and children should be made aware of what they are saying and why it is good that they say it in Latin. We say it because it links us to all other Catholics in all other times and places and because it is infused with grace “for its efforts.”

    Furthermore, it seems especially important that Catholic theologians learn to think, read, and write Latin, so that there more significant works once again take on a catholic/universal, rather than a national or local significance (they become works for the whole Church)- and to rid the Church of deceptive or just bad translations.

    That said, it seems to me, and I am very ready to be corrected, that a hybrid mass is ideal. It should be in Latin (and occasionally Greek) when we are reciting prayers that stay consistent week to week for the sake of unity and for the power associated with Latin, and possibly in other parts that are especially important, and it should be said in the vernacular when we are saying things that vary, so that we can pray with our minds and hearts which is how Catholic prayer must be (though this is possible if one reads along or knows enough about what is going on to have proper intentions with out knowing what every word means, it is certainly more difficult for many of us).

    My hope is that this becomes the norm eventually. Why do our authorities insist on pitting Latin against the vernacular instead of using them reasonably together, as is the growing practice in many good parishes?

  21. thomas tucker says:

    I always thought that this was basically the intent of the Fathers of Vatican II- having the Traditional Mass in the vernacular, rather than a wholesale revision of the Mass. That would have been preferable to the Novus Ordo, I think.

  22. Andrew says:

    In one of his talks, the late Fr. Hardon, S. J. compared the establishment of the Holy See in Rome by St. Peter and the process of absorption and transformation of the Latin culture and language to the incarnation, inasmuch as Latin became (through the work of divine providence) an instrument capable of communicating the mysteries of our Faith. Christianity is not a concept. It is a reality inserted into human history. We cannot re-invent it at will over and over again. Therefore, the analogy of the vernacular becoming now that which Latin was long ago, is incomplete. This is touched upon from many different angles in Veterum Sapientia and elsewhere. For example in Fides et Ratio we read: “the Church cannot abandon what she has gained from her enculturation in the world of Greco-Latin thought. To reject this heritage would be to deny the providential plan of God who guides his Church down the paths of time and history. This criterion is valid for the Church in every age, even for the Church of the future …” Twist is as many ways as we will, we cannot get away from a basic premise often repeated by Popes of the last 100 years: the Church has an obligation to preserve Latin. And it is not going to happen if it will be optional: if everything is tranlslated into English. Learning Latin is not such an impossible task: it must be approached in a very practical way: one must be exposed to Latin as a spoken language. Repeated, daily exposure will do the trick. But if the clergy don’t have to use it, if everything is translated for them then they will abandon Latin and IT will abandon them. And English cannot substitue Latin no matter WDTPRS because it really says only what it really says.

  23. Father J says:

    Interesting… all of it… very! Would the “reform of the reform” be to have the Pian Missal offered in the vernacular? Interesting. Would that be limited to the 1962/64 typical editions? Mmmmm. Would there be any point in offering the Novus Ordo then?

    Sacerdos: I repeat the Readings before the homily, without versicle and responses, though obviously announce as to where they are from. Personally I don’t wear the biretta whilst reading or preaching; it is a hat worn to be taken off (I wear it to and from the pulpit). It doesn’t feel seeming to me to wear it during the Gospel, whether read liturgically or not and as I have a habit of mentioning the Holy Name more than three times generally when I preach, it’s as well not to wear the biretta! (Though I would expect colleagues in Choir to wear it, doff it the first three times and then leave it off after the third…?)

    Henry Edwards: I am of the opinion that the Readings in Latin at the Altar are liturgical. But I too have questions regarding the repitition in the vernacular… Isn’t Low Mass essentially a “private Mass” at which the Faithful who hear it, participate devotionally? A “public” Mass being a Missa Cantata or Solemnis? Therefore, the Readings repeated in the vernacular are surely most appropriate to a “public” Mass only? On that basis, the repeat by the Subdeacon and Deacon at High Mass are surely for the public edification of the Faithful… shouldn’t these be in the vernacular as they have already been read by the celebrant in Latin at the Altar? On High Days if a Missa Cantata or Solemnis cannot be offered, it would seem appropriate then to repeat the Readings in the vernacular before the homily at a Low Mass?

    It is my understanding that in the past and ideally in the present, a Low Mass should be offered by every priest privately every day, and in Parish/Collegiate and Conventual Churches a solemn offering for the Faithful also? Obviously, modern circumstances don’t necessarily allow for that, hence this confusion over the necessity to repeat in the vernacular? Father Z?!

  24. Petellius says:

    Couldn’t one way to get around this issue be to start thinking of the Solemn Mass, rather than the Low Mass (or Missa Cantata) as the normative form of the usus antiquior? Then, the epistle & gospel would be *sung* (not read) in Latin by the subdeacon & deacon, respectively. While this doesn’t exactly get around the language issue, I think it does make the readings more accessible to the congregation. Plus, I am inclined to think that the distinction between the readings and some of the other propers (many of which are also bits of Scripture) is not entirely a valid one. So it seems that the readings ought to be chanted, in the same way that, e.g., the Gradual is. Then, if it seems useful, they can be read in English prior to the sermon.

    I don’t mean this as a criticism of anyone – I second Fr. Z’s view of this priest’s diligence & pastoral concern. I realize that a Low Mass is challenge enough for those first learning the ropes (something of which I gained first-hand experience back when I was learning to serve it). I also realize that this would be rather difficult to implement in the average parish. (How many parishes have access to a deacon and subdeacon these days? Even if we allow the somewhat improper, if not strictly abusive, practice of having a layman fill in for the subdeacon, and the less improper practice of having a priest fill in for the deacon, it still would be difficult to arrange for and train the necessary people.) But I think that it would be useful to start emphasizing the Solemn Mass as the standard. In the first place, it makes it seem less like things are being said “just for the priest and acolytes”, since a substantial amount of the texts are sung aloud (in a sense it sidesteps the false dichotomoy of “things for the clergy/God/the elite in Latin, things for the people in the vernacular,” since it is clearly being publicly proclaimed, but in Latin). Besides, it was always supposed to be the standard anyway. (The “Low Mass mentality” was a big problem in many places before the Council, and it seems like we should try, if at all possible, to avoid making the same mistakes in the post-Summorum Pontificum era.)

    Just a thought.

  25. Johnny Domer says:

    My prayer is that some Pope in the near future (whether Benedict or his successor or the next successor) would make the following change: Latin for the ordinary, the elimination of options within the ordinary (one Eucharistic prayer, one penitential rite), optional vernacular for the proper prayers and readings. I can’t see how any REASONABLE objection could be made to that (although I can see how emotional objections can and probably will be made). If people go to Mass every week, they’ll get to know what the Latin means, it’s just natural. That’s what our ancestors did for hundreds and hundreds of years before the Novus Ordo.

  26. Phil says:

    Henry,

    I wasn’t aware of that distinction. Though I cannot imagine that, even if it’s strictly speaking an interruption, it ins’t there for a reason. It would seem logical to me to have the readings and homily in the vernacular, somewhere between entering the church and leaving it, so the place where they would normally be seems reasonable.
    Anyway, it would be most interesting if someone with more specific knowledge could elaborate on this; especially if there are indeed different purposes. Or else the PCED might offer some when the time comes.

  27. peretti says:

    Look, folks, I’ll give you my take on this, and I say right now that I hope I am wrong about this priest. In reading the letter and noticing the alterations the priest is advocating, I get the impression that he may have a hidden agenda. A Bugnini agenda. I only had a year of latin in high school, and I did not do that well in it. But when I came back to the Church after a period of idiocy in my youth, I decided I was going to learn abouth the Church and my faith. Icaught on pretty well with the Latin, and I have NO trouble at all following our priest when he says the TLM in the parish (which by the way he just started doing, and is doing a wonderful job. It is at Holy Family Parish, Denver Colo. praise be to God). In implying that we must make the TLM more “people friendly”, I fear an attempted ambush is coming on this beautiful Mass. Leave it in Latin. The people can handle it, and from my observation, the people love it. I’m looking for a trend, a backlash, if you will, against the TLM. And sadly, I’m having no trouble finding it. Maybe this priest is trying to be too accomodating. I hope thats all it is.

  28. dcs says:

    Sacerdos in Aeternum writes:
    Yesterday was my first public low Mass – and being Sunday, I gave a homily. I got confused about the order/procedure for giving the readings in the vernacular. I think I am supposed to read the readings with head uncovered, then, when finished, put on the biretta for the homily proper. We began and econcluded with the sign of the cross, and I got really tripped up about announcements – are these usually given before the vernacular reading or after the homily?

    I can only report on what I’ve seen. I’ve never seen a priest wear the biretta or the maniple during the announcements, vernacular readings, or the sermon. It is not unusual for the priest to begin and conclude his sermon with the sign of the cross. The announcements come before the readings, so the order of things is as follows:

    (1) announcements;
    (2) Epistle and Gospel in the vernacular (the congregation should stand for the Gospel);
    (3) sermon.

    The priest then comes down from the pulpit, puts the maniple back on, and prays the Credo.

    AFAIK, in a Low Mass the priest only wears the biretta when processing in and processing out. Others might be more knowledgeable on this topic however.

  29. Habemus Papam says:

    The 1964 Missal is a vernacular translation of the Tridentine Mass. Why bother with the 1962 in vernacular when its already been done.

  30. thomas tucker says:

    Not that I have a vote, but the Pian Mass in the vernacular would be an excellent reform of the Reform. And I would not lament the then-expected disappearance of the Novus Ordo Mass, which will be seen as a brief transition (or an aberration) a century or two down the line.

  31. Habemus Papam says:

    peretti: good point. Vernacular in the Tridentine Mass is a non-issue but some are intent on MAKING it an issue. “Modifications” to Summorrum Pontificum? I smell a rat.

  32. John Adams says:

    I too think that the TLM in English (ala the Knot Missal) would be a reform
    of the liturgy faithful to the wishes of the Council. I’ve read the documents
    and there’s nothing in them about the extensive changes that went on when
    people got the “Spirit of VII.”

    I think having the mass in the vernacular, though, only works if you have a
    single language parish (which would probably be ideal if you take seriously
    the documents of the council on culture – take a look at culture in the Orthodox
    church – and in our history – but I digress…) Language differences complicate
    the mass in the vernacular in America – even for the NO.

    As for what Father Gregory is likely referring to… I believe he is describing
    what is known as “Western Orthodox.” Those in communion with one of the Eastern
    Orthodox Churches (like the Antiochian Church) who have retained (or adopted)
    Western Liturgical forms. The TLM is offered in Prayer Book English and referred
    to as the Liturgy of Saint Gregory the Great. The Anglican form is referred to as
    the Liturgy of Saint Tikhon, a modern-day Russian martyr, once head of the Russian
    Orthodox Church in America. He approved of the idea of Western Orthodoxy, and had
    the liturgy approved by the Russian Synod, though it was not actually in use until
    recently. Both of these Rites have been “corrected” some what, and the epiklesis
    from the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom has been inserted.

  33. It looks like a hard part of getting the Roman rite back on track is to get over this notion that the liturgy revolves entirely around us.

    While it is certainly ideal that we understand what we are praying, it’s as though we forget that God can understand our Latin even if we don’t. We still have the intention of praying to God and lift our hearts to Him and show our love of God, even when we don’t completely understand every single word.

    I compare it to a small child who is taught how to sing a song in another language. They may not know the meaning of the words, only how to say them, but if those listening to it, hear it, they will understand it and appreciate it, even if the childs only intention is to sing the words even though they don’t completely understand them. The child could know it is a song that they are singing saying, for example, they love their parents, even though they don’t know the exact words. I don’t think the act of praise of their parents is really lessened. Heck, maybe the fact the child made the effort to learn something foreign is more impressive.

    It has also never killed anyone to put a bit of effort into learning the prayers of the Mass in Latin (which Vatican II said the faithful should know anyway). I’d say in only a few months, most people could feel comfortable with the Latin. The biggest problem is that they are just not that used to it.

    The other question might be, what type of message are we giving God if we don’t want to put any effort into learning the form of worship given us through the Church?

    Remember we are worshipping God, not ourselves. He can understand the words we say and he can see the intention in our hearts. The Mass is not supposed to be purely catechetical. There is worship of God involved. While we may not feel we “got anything” out of Mass, if we go with the proper intention and faith, we can receive many spiritual benefits which are beyond our senses.

  34. RBrown says:

    Perhaps someone else can discuss the possibility that the readings of the Epistle and Gospel in Latin at the altar have a liturgical purpose, while their readings in the vernacular before the sermon have a didactic or homiletic purpose.
    Comment by Henry Edwards

    Liturgical and didactic are not mutually exclusive. Anyone who has read Garrigou-LaGrange’s books knows how often he used liturgical texts to re-enforce a theological point. In fact, he was known to say during his lectures that the metaphysical principle Inter ens et non ens est ens in potentia should be sung in Gregorian Chant.

    My understanding is that in the 60′s the original plan for a public low mass was to have everything in Latin except the two readings, assuming that the readings from Scripture would be more extensive, as they are now.

  35. John Q Public says:

    Father Z – I see you are reading #After Writing#. Will you be blogging about your thoughts?
    What do you think Pickstock would make of the Latin / Vernacular issue?

  36. John Q Public says:

    Dom Prosper’s thoughts are good… But what about the Anglican tradition? Prayer
    book English is no more the language of the street than is Old Slavonic. I think
    Aidan Nichol’s comment in an interview with Touchstone, that one of the problems
    is the state of English today is worth thinking about…

    TS: Do you think the debate about retaining traditional English instead of using contemporary English is a significant one?

    AN: I don’t think this is a particularly good time for the English language! The purification of archaic idioms in a period when English is in a very unstable condition is already problematic. But it is really asking for trouble, I think, to propose its modernization at a time when it has become dominated by, on the one hand, a functional use of it by an increasingly technologically dominated society, and on the other hand, banal entertainment-oriented uses of it in cultural media like television.

  37. RBrown says:

    English imperialism. The Latin would be translated into Spanish, German, Phillipino. We are the Latin Rite Church. Leave it be.
    Comment by Habemus Papam

    While driving to mass, I think I finally understood what you were saying. Two points;

    1. In the first two centuries, we were not a Latin rite Church.

    2. The growth of Latin across Europe was the consequence of Roman Imperialism.

  38. techno_aesthete says:

    Sacerdos in Aeternum: I think I am supposed to read the readings with head uncovered, then, when finished, put on the biretta for the homily proper. We began and concluded with the sign of the cross, and I got really tripped up about announcements – are these usually given before the vernacular reading or after the homily?

    The announcements are usually given before the vernacular readings, then the readings, then the sign of the cross before (and sometimes after) the sermon. The only priests I have seen wear the biretta during the sermon are from the Institute of Christ the King. I can’t recall if they wear it during the vernacular readings. You might try contacting the Institute for more information.

  39. Cosmos says:

    “It looks like a hard part of getting the Roman rite back on track is to get over this notion that the liturgy revolves entirely around us… While it is certainly ideal that we understand what we are praying, it’s as though we forget that God can understand our Latin even if we don’t. We still have the intention of praying to God and lift our hearts to Him and show our love of God, even when we don’t completely understand every single word.”

    I think that this statement is something of a straw-man/non sequitur . Of course the liturgy “does not revolve entirely around us.” And yes, the changes of the last 50 years have strengthened the tendency of many to think that it does. But it does not follow that the opposite is true: that the mass is completely NOT about us; rather, it is far less about us than we have pretended.

    In order to combat our self-centered attitude, we are not called to try to eradicate every trace of ourselves from the rite, by insisting it be less comprehensible or rational. One of the beauties of the Catholic liturgy is that it is a gift from God to the whole person: spirit, mind, and body. This is one of the apologist and theologians great “bragging points” over the centuries. While God certainly can and does accept our hearts prayers whether or not they are fully and consciously cognizable to us (in other words, he accepts our intentions), this does not mean that mere intention is sufficient or optimal when there is an alternative. Protestants often hound us about infant baptism because they insist (and we agree), that God could/would save a man who professed with his lips and believed in his heart but did not get baptized (in certain situations). But, our theology also has to deal with non-extreme situations: granted such a man may be saved in certain circumstances, but if we are commanded to baptize, and it is available, what right or reason do we truly have not to baptize. The exception does not create the rule. Tough cases make bad law.

    Similarly, while God may accept our intention to pray despite the fact that our mind or body is in some way not fully involved, the question is why should we PURPOSEFULLY do it that way if there is freedom and a better option? (Perhaps there is not!) Our more erudite scholars who know Latin (as well as much of the Orthodox world) are not confined to praying with mere intention, but are able to pray in a more fully human way: with a untied spirit, mind, and body. Why should this option not be offered to a greater number?

    To increase Latin education, which I wholeheartedly endorse, is one way to approach this goal- but so is increased use of the vernacular. I suggested that the balancing point be constantly repeated prayers and formulas (plus possibly other particularly solemn moments like the Eucharistic prayer, although if there were only one, this would be moot) as opposed to those prayers and forms that change week to week. This is my judgment, and more educated or wise people might have better suggestions, but I am certainly not caught in some self-centered view of the liturgy.

    This pope is particularly skilled at not throwing out the baby with the bath water, and we should try to follow his lead.

  40. Habemus Papam says:

    RBrown: Thank you. BTW never blog the morning after the night before.

  41. Guy Power says:

    Just a voice from the “peanut gallery.”

    I’m not a scholar and — at 55 years old (and a recent convert) — am not likely to become one either. That said, what is NOT “intelligilble and understandable” in the Traditional Latin Mass? English is my native language and I have no problem following along with the Baronius Press 1962 Missal. As a matter of fact, I was using an old St. Andrews two Sundays ago while the Gospel was being read in Latin; the Gospel in my missal was only in Englis; no Latin, but I was able to follow Father by recognizing “English” words that are rooted in Latin.

    With a missal, why should I not understand what is going on? Hey, this ain’t rocket science (I work at NASA, so I know the difference).

    Leave the TLM alone, please.

  42. Andrew says:

    Perhaps someone else can discuss the possibility that the readings of the Epistle and Gospel in Latin at the altar have a liturgical purpose, while their readings in the vernacular before the sermon have a didactic or homiletic purpose.
    Comment by Henry Edwards

    Unless you understand Latin in which case the vernacular readings serve no purpose at all.

  43. Petellius said:

    “Couldn’t one way to get around this issue be to start thinking of the Solemn Mass, rather than the Low Mass (or Missa Cantata) as the normative form of the usus antiquior? Then, the epistle & gospel would be sung (not read) in Latin by the subdeacon & deacon, respectively. While this doesn’t exactly get around the language issue, I think it does make the readings more accessible to the congregation.”

    It would certainly be the better way to think of things, but it is not the norm in most of the parishes who are doing the TLM. Many parishes do not have a priest who is capable (at least yet) of chanting in Latin, or with deacons/priests to take the parts of the Solemn Mass. I’m afraid that the “Low Mass” is here to stay, and that we should do whatever we can to make it as edifying as possible. If this involves some compromises between the High and Low Masses, that can be accomplished within the rubrics, then that’s what we should do.

  44. EDG said:

    “In fact, even the USCCB is aware of this. Some of them have been arguing that even the new more accurate English translation of the Novus Ordo is “unintelligible” to the herd – er, I mean, flock – because it uses “complicated words” like consubstantial, etc. So even the US bishops recognize that there’s a difference between vernacular in the sense of being a spoken language that is not Latin, and in the sense of being a current street language.”

    I just finished watching (yes, one more time!) “Pirates of the Caribean”. I still marvel at the language used, and that so many thousands of people have “flocked” to this series of popular movies! There are both turns of phrase and “complicated words”, and yet no one seems to have a problem understanding the movie. The only complaints I ever hear are about the lack of this type of theatrical beauty in the I.C.E.L. translations – and that responsibility rests on out bishops’ preferences. (I wonder if any of them have seen the movie, and had any trouble understanding it!)

  45. Cosmos said: “I think that this statement is something of a straw-man/non sequitur . Of course the liturgy ‘does not revolve entirely around us.’

    Of course, however, there are many people who really do believe this. They think the congregation is the most important thing, to the point that we celebrate ourselves. As obvious as my statement was, it isn’t that obvious to everyone.

    Cosmos said: “And yes, the changes of the last 50 years have strengthened the tendency of many to think that it does. But it does not follow that the opposite is true: that the mass is completely NOT about us; rather, it is far less about us than we have pretended.”

    I never said, or even implied, that the opposite is true. Remember I said “the liturgy does not entirely revolve around us.” I left room for the idea that the liturgy does relate to and envolve us in some way. There is certainly a part for us to play in the liturgy, since there needs to be someone to worship God, and we certainly receive spiritual graces from God. I’m just saying that I would think the first and foremost aspect of liturgy is worship of God.

    I am not sure vernacular worship is necessarily “better” as Cosmos puts it. I encourage Latin becuase you can easily and often lose something in translation. So many words are just full of a deeper meaning that you can’t get with just translating it through one word. An example would be the Greek word for “Paraclete” (which is often not translated but just Latinized in Latin, most likely so as not to lose the meaning of the original word).

    But, I would agree with Cosmos that the regular prayers, like the Commons, the responses, and Canon, can quite easily remain in Latin and be learned by the faithful.

    One question I would ask is: how much should be expected of the faithful when it comes to learning things like the Mass? Is it too much to ask the average layman to learn enough Latin to understand Mass? It can certainly be a legitimate question in today’s society where people are so busy (sometimes legitimately but other times unnecessarily so). How much should the ritual be changed to provide an intrinsic catechesis, but how much of that catechesis should be done either by the priest during the liturgy, or should be done outside the liturgy? I’d say one problem is that there are many faithful who really don’t do much to learn about or practice their faith outside of Sunday Mass. But if this is the case, are we to expect the Mass to become the all encompassing faith builder, so that it is all you have to attend to get the fullness of the faith? (I’m greatly exaggerating, but only to make a point).

    The vernacular is certainly a serious topic that doesn’t have an easy answer. There are certainly legitimate points made on both sides of the fence.

  46. One of my oft-repeated expressions is IT’S NOT ABOUT LATIN.

    Thank you, Fr Gregory, for bringing up the English Missal (Knott Missal) – the link shows you the order of Mass complete with full Latin text and Anglican options. Roman Catholicism in the idiom of the Book of Common Prayer, the King James Bible and Shakespeare! It is Roman Catholics’ for the asking if the authorities approve it.

    As John Adams explained here, yes, there are Orthodox priests using Western rites, either an approved form of the traditional Roman Mass (such as Knott with a few revisions) or approved traditional Anglican-based services much like Anglo-Catholics used the Book of Common Prayer, with Catholic ceremonial and with a few de-protestantisations (some of Cranmer’s ambiguity is removed and those parts rewritten) and, true of the Orthodox Tridentine Mass as well, Orthifications like removing the filioque. (And regrettably a few byzantinisations as well, not needed but bending to the prejudice of people in the majority rite, like putting a descending epiklesis in the Roman Canon. Just like the problem of self-latinisation in the Eastern Catholic churches.) A minority, converts (and their descendants), most of them former Anglicans. (ISTM very few committed members of either the Roman or the Orthodox Church switch.) Most of the Roman Rite Orthodox are former vagantes, not exactly ex-Roman.

  47. Henry Edwards says:

    Father J: Isn’t Low Mass essentially a “private Mass” at which the Faithful who hear it, participate devotionally? ….. Therefore, the Readings repeated in the vernacular are surely most appropriate to a “public” Mass only?

    Indeed, I don\’t recall ever hearing the vernacular readings (or a sermon) at a ferial low Mass (except at a special occasion like First Friday, etc). And I\’ve never thought the Holy Sacrifice suffered for it. Quite the contrary–thinking of how often a sermon seems to detract from rather than contribute to the Sacrifice offered up to God.

    On High Days if a Missa Cantata or Solemnis cannot be offered, it would seem appropriate then to repeat the Readings in the vernacular before the homily at a Low Mass?

    Whereas I don\’t recall offhand the sermon or vernacular readings ever being omitted at a \”public\” low Mass on a Sunday or Holy Day.

    In any event, it almost always seems to me on a subjective level that the interruption for sermon and vernacular readings deflates the intense atmosphere of sacrifice that is building from the beginning of Mass. So after the sermon, the liturgical balloon has to be blown up again.

    The one point on which I\’m uncertain of agreement is that the formal Latin chanting of the Epistle and Gospel at a sung or solemn Mass seems to me more liturgical than didactic in its effect (if not intent).

  48. Fr. Peter says:

    For now, reading the readings for the 1962 Mass in the vernacular is perfectly acceptable from the correct translations. There is a good chance that the vatican will clarify this point – and it could go either way (I see no problem with the vatican leaning either direction on this point).

  49. Ken Wolfe says:

    On the use of the biretta between the Mass of the Catechumens and the Mass of the Faithful, I believe it is indeed permitted. The Institute of Christ the King often (if not always) has priests make the announcements from the pulpit, re-read the Epistle and the Gospel in the vernacular, then make the sign of the cross, put on the biretta and deliver a homily. At the end of the sermon the sign of the corss is made again (because the homily is not technically part of the Mass) and the biretta is removed.

    Also, I don\’t think it is mandatory to remove the maniple for the announcements/re-readings/homily. One may even remove the chausable, I believe, so the regulations are not either this-or-that.

    Finally, to those who are insisting on vernacular Epistles and Gospels replacing the Latin readings at the altar. Why? Why is the status quo of reading them in Latin at the altar followed by in the vernacular from the pulpit a problem? No one has given a good answer.

  50. Cosmos says:

    Roman Sacristan,
    You have been more charitable with me, than I have with you. You certainly never did make the extreme argument that I was responding to, but I just wanted to make my point clearly (as I think you did). Thank you for not getting testy, because I certainly was not trying to put words in your mouth.
    I actually think that Latin is a better and “holier” language; however, there is a place for the vernacular. What is better about it is that it is understood- which is clearly a good thing. Maybe my argument is confusing because I, like you, am starting from the default position that it should all be Latin and we should move from there. It is a matter, to me, of what should NOT be Latin rather than what should.
    To me, this argument has parallels with the public school argument in this country. Some people seem to want the government to fund only public schools, even if those schools are ineffective and dangerous. It is an ideal. I think that ideal needs to bend to the situation on the ground for at least a while, so that present generation gets a good education instead of an ideal. Similarly, Latin education needs to be promoted once again in a number of ways, but we are so far from that point that “too much Latin” could be confusing to people, and ultimately counter-productive. The “Lamb of God” has been a good starting point. Maybe an additional prayer or two per year for the next decade and we would have some headway.
    However, I don’t buy that people can’t be taught a lot, and quickly. Look how much tradition was undone in 40 years! Please don’t hear me arguing for endless Catechesis as a diversion.
    Lastly, when it comes to the readings, I think the idea is that they be understood. The gift of tongues was given so that the word might be heard, so to speak. However, I know that the purpose of the readings within the context of mass is not so elemental, so I stand ready for correction.

  51. EDG says:

    Steve Collins said: “The only complaints I ever hear are about the lack of this type of theatrical beauty in the I.C.E.L. translations…”

    I think “theatrical beauty” is a great way of saying it. I make my living as a professional translator (Romance language to English) and I can tell you that what the ICEL has done is not a translation.

    For a long time, however, I thought that simply a better translation of the Novus Ordo would do it. But now I honestly think that the classical rite and the Novus Ordo are very different critters, and I am beginning to realize that I have to seek out and attend the classical rite, regardless of its language. The thing that produced the beauty was the Truth that is written into the classical rite in Latin and, if translated accurately into the vernacular, comes across in that, too. The Novus Ordo is terribly translated, but the more I look at it now, the more I realize that it is inherently limited and much of its original language (the Latin) wasn’t particularly inspiring, either.

    However, in the classic rite, I think there should be flexibility. Some parishes might need the propers and readings in the vernacular; some, only the readings; and some might even do better with the entire rite in the vernacular. (A good, approved English translation already exists and was in use prior to VatII.) Personally, I would like to see Latin kept for most of the Mass. On the other hand, if the [English] translation used is the old one, which was a genuine translation and not the modern ideologically motivated paraphrase, I could live with it. The important thing is the rite.

  52. Henry Edwards says:

    On that basis, the repeat by the Subdeacon and Deacon at High Mass are surely for the public edification of the Faithful… shouldn’t these be in the vernacular as they have already been read by the celebrant in Latin at the Altar?

    Actually, the premise here — that at a solemn Mass the celebrant reads the Epistle and Gospel at the altar, with them being duplicated by the subdeacon and deacon — is incorrect. The liturgical rendering of these readings is their chanting in Latin by the subdeacon and deacon, and then the homilist reads them in the vernacular (for the people’s edification) before the homily.

    I personally regard the solemn chant of the Gospel as a high point of the Mass (speaking informally rather than liturgically); for this to be replaced by a mundane reading in the vernacular would be a terrible disappointment.

    As an aside, I recall one Palm Sunday when it required 39 minutes to chant the Passion Gospel (with everyone standing, of course), and then there was an audible sigh of relief when the homilist said he assumed there would be no objection if, just this once, he dispensed with the usual reading in the vernacular.

  53. canon1753 says:

    Would you recommend the Knott Missal as a training aid for the Priest’s actions? I know that I will need a lot of time to learn both the Latin and the actions of the Mass before I can celebrate a low Mass. So it might be easier to learn the actions and then learn the Latin? Just a thought

  54. malta says:

    Peretti: “Look, folks, I’ll give you my take on this, and I say right now that I hope I am wrong about this priest. In reading the letter and noticing the alterations the priest is advocating, I get the impression that he may have a hidden agenda. A Bugnini agenda.”

    The TLM organically evolved from the time of Pope St. Gregory the Great, and Latin was already the lingua franka of the Church by the eighth century, when it was no longer the vernacular. Thus, you had French, English, German etc. speakers all worshipping in the same language.. There is sublime beauty to that. Even today, a worshipper attending a TLM worships in a common language with believers all over the world, AND throughout the centuries– raising our prayers in one voice, one prayer, and in one language to God.

    Moreover, Latin IS a beautiful language. Why do we have to dumb everything down? It is because of our need for speed? Well, Mass is a time to slow down, meditate, pray and reflect. Peopel for centuries have been learning the Latin prayers even though this is not their mother tonguue. Today we have missals to help us, before, say, the nineteenth century they did not generally have this benefit–yet the world’s greatest Saints were formed and nourished by this rite–in Latin. St. Therese de Lisieux didn’t complain about the Latin; in fact, I don’t know one Saint who complained about assisting at a Latin Mass (one Saint did, but that was because he had to learn Latin, but even then he only complained about learning Latin, not praying it.)

    So, some one folks! Get over the bit about, “Oh, Latin is so hard, what SHALL I do!!” Frannkly, The latin prayers also sound better than they do in, say, English or German, where the sounds are much more gutteral. Let’s be proud to have an ancient language that has united all believers, whatever their mother tongue may be! It has formed Saints, my children are sanctified by it, I am drawn to its mystery and beauty, it is accessible to all with an ounce of effort. We don’t go to Church to be ENTERTAINED, but to give to God what is His. Don’t be a bunch of Bugninis!

  55. Fr Andrew Wadsworth says:

    As a priest in the UK who celebrates the Traditional Rite every day and reads the epistle and gospel directly in the vernacular, I understand that this is the sense of the permission that accompanies ‘Summorum Pontificum’. There has long been permission for the vernacular to be read after the Latin so the recent papal pronouncement must refer to the possibility of replacement.

  56. Ken Wolfe says:

    I disagree, with all due respect, Fr. Wadsworth. Those of us who believe the Latin is important in the Latin Mass have been pointing out a very important word not included in most English translations of Article VI of the MP: “also.”

    Art. 6. In Masses celebrated in the presence of the people in accordance with the Missal of Blessed John XXIII, the readings may ALSO be given in the vernacular, using editions recognized by the Apostolic See.

    Therefore, the pope is making a point of saying they may also be read in the vernacular after being read for real at the altar. It is very interesting how the use of the word “also” was removed in most translations…

  57. Glory to Jesus Christ!

    While I respect the love for Latin experienced by many here on this forum, I am (not surprisingly) very sympathetic to the priest who wrote you, Father Z. Some have commented here that Latin serves the “unity” of the the liturgical rite around the globe, but I believe that this confuses “unity” with “uniformity”. The notion that divine worship can and should be heard in one’s own mother tongue reflects an incarnational principle of our religion. Just as the Divine Word of God was “translated” into human form through the Incarnation as an act of divine accomodation without any damage to His divinity, so to the Divine Liturgy of the Mass does not suffer any loss to its mystery when it is translated into the language of its worshippers. In fact, I believe it also serves as a more effective instrument of the apostolic mission of the Latin Church. That said, I believe it is of great benefit to retain some Latin in the worship as an expression of its roots historically.

    But the mindset of some here reminds me of some of the Japanese Orthodox that I have met who celebrate the Divine Liturgy in a form of Japanese that is no longer in use or understood, but was entrusted to them by St. Nicholas of Japan and is therefore somehow “sacred”. Nevermind the fact that St. Nicholas translated it as a missionary so that a native Japanese Orthodoxy could take root in their mother tongue!

    Given the universal reach of the Roman Empire, the retention of Latin (for the Western territories) made great sense to help aid the missionary expansion of Christianity. Translation work was and always has been a laborious task, but to do so while engaging in mission work made it even more challenging. Maintaining the use of Latin meant that more people would be reached in a Western Roman territory.

    But can someone explain to me the sense of today having a priest in Singapore celebrating a Mass of the Church of Rome in Latin? The value of that is what precisely for the worshippers?

    Unity in worship is not necessarily served by uniformity of language, beyond the “language of the Holy Spirit” given to the apostolic college gathered in the Upper Room at Pentecost so that each could hear the kerygma in his own tongue. That charismatic event reveals a principle of the ingathering of the nations in Christ: the Church must in the power of the Spirit make disciples of all nations so that each hears the saving message according to the needs of the hearer. The point of that saving event is not that Latin is the language of unity! I think the Latin Church would be better served by making the Tridentine Mass available in the vernacular, while maintaining the integrity of the ritual forms. We need to retrain Latin Catholics to worship the Holy Trinity, and the notion that retaining the Latin language somehow facilitates that while translating worship to the vernacular inherently “dumbs down” worship is patently absurd.

    In ICXC,

    Gordo

  58. M Kr says:

    Father J:

    Speaking of the High Mass, it is not the subdeacon and deacon who repeat the epistle (or lesson) and gospel, respectively, but the priest who repeats. The practice of the priest simultaneously reading the scriptures while the subdeacon and deacon sang them was introduced with the spread of low mass toward the end of the first millennium. As priests began to celebrate low mass more often, they carried this practice over into High Mass. But, it is the subdeacon and deacon, whose duty it is to proclaim the scriptures. The repetition by the priest was removed in 1962, so it does not apply now.

  59. David2 says:

    First, let me say that this priest’s dilligence and care for his parish is laudable.

    That said, his argument appears to me to repeat and to have adopted many of the shibbeloths and assumptions of the “Spirit of Vatican II” crowd. I would like to make a few points.

    First, although Latin was indeed a “lingua franca” of the educated classes at the time of Pope Damasus, it is stretching it somewhat to call it the “vernacular” outside the educated classes and outside of Italy. Remember how St Augustine needed an interpreter to debate the Donatists, because he had little Punic, and they had little Latin? Indeed, many of the un-educated laity outside of Italy spoke “barbarian” languages for everyday use, rather than the Latin of the clergy.

    Second, this priest repeats that Bugini-ite canard that “latin is just sooooooo hard for the laity to comprehend”. Speaking as a member of the laity, with no formal Latin training, I dislike that condescention. Please do bot assume that we are idiots.

    Third, the use of a “dead” liturgical language has intrinsic value, not least because it stops priests and “liturgical directresses” (they’re usually “wimyn”-of-a-certain-age) treating the Holy Mass as their private play thing, or as a showcase for experimentation, or worse…

    Fourth, as Roman Sacristan writes, no matter how good the translation, something is often lost in the process. Preservation of the latin tends to resistance of unnecessary change to the liturgy, particularly in heteredox or downright heretical directions. Not for nothing did the Council of Trent reject proposals for the “vernacularization” of the liturgy, during a time when reformers were inserting all sorts of erroneous notions into public prayer.

    Fifth, what is being suggested is really a type of “reform of the reform”; it might be worthwhile as a revision of the Novus Ordo in a more traditional direction, but would be a disaster if applied to the older form of Mass. I suspect that it would not be long before ICEL released “approved translations” of the older form. Sister Chchester would then demand “inclusive language”..”pray, my sisters and brothers”…etc etc. Then the Bishop Trautpersons would say that the Mass needs to be translated into words of two syllables or less…

    This priest is probably well-meaning, but his proposal would gladden the hearts of the “Spirit of Vatican II” crowd. It should be reprobated.

  60. Malta says:

    Gordo wrote:

    “Given the universal reach of the Roman Empire, the retention of Latin (for the Western territories) made great sense to help aid the missionary expansion of Christianity. Translation work was and always has been a laborious task, but to do so while engaging in mission work made it even more challenging. Maintaining the use of Latin meant that more people would be reached in a Western Roman territory.”

    You are forgetting that the missionaries that came to North and South America evangelized with the Traditional rite of Mass. Missionaries out on the great plane held Our Lord aloft in open sky (sometimes) and consecrated Our Lord before indigenous people, in Latin. Not only was Latin, for them, a foreign language, but a foreign mode of thought in language; much as oriental languages are for westerners, but it worked. Today, for instance, 90% of Native Americans are Catholic. I don’t think the Bugnini Mass would have done much better in this regards.

    You see, it’s not about total and complete comprehension on the part of the attendees, but it is about a Holy Consecration (which often doesn’t even happen in a Novus Ordo mass); people are instilled with a deep respect for and love of mystery and the inexplicable. Do you think a priest dressed as a clown laughing through a completely comprehensible NO mass would or could convert even a single person to a true understanding of Catholicism? Today, we have “Catholics”, but the Traditional Latin Mass really created CATHOLICS. Today, we boost the enrollment in our Church with “Catholics”, but in heart, mind, and soul, they are protestants wanting something a little deeper, but still contracept, abort, etc. just like the rest of the world.

  61. Cosmos says:

    \”The notion that divine worship can and should be heard in one’s own mother tongue reflects an incarnational principle of our religion.\”

    Full disclosure demands that I admit that I have the same reaction to the word \”incarnational\” as I do to \”dialog.\” It is a word with a certain logic to it that can be applied for particular results to almost every situation, but like all other theological concepts, it has to find its place in relation to a host of doctrines and beliefs. For example, we might also claims that Aramaic or Hebrew have a special pride of place as a result of the Incarnation. After all, to claim that the bare ideas that words carry is superior to the particular sounds spoken by the tongue of a speaker and heard by the ear of a listener, is simply a universalizing platonism which ignores the fact that the Word became a real person in a real time and real place. Therefore, as a result of the Incarnation, we should use the very language with which Christ himself brought the Gospel to the world.

    Perhaps Gordo used it correctly. To me, it is better just to say that the Holy Spirit gave us the gift of tongues so that people might understand the Apostle\’s teaching, and that this certainly argues for people\’s understanding the words now as well. Nonetheless, this does not answer the question of what a body of believers who know the Gospel and have full access to venacular translations and teachings should do in their Sabbath worship!

    I do agree with Gordo the Byzantine that over emphasizing Latin may hypothetically be counter-productive. For example, history seems to say that a foreign language Church is very vulnerable to those who want give the people the venacular AND a few extras (ie. heresies). The whole \”they are keeping the Word from you\” really rings true with some people (not me!). This is just an observation.

    Another observation… Perhaps Latin is best when the culture is so thoroughly Christianized in both its institutions and its imagination that its divine worship is not the only or primary connection most people have with the Church and her worldview. When the whole world is Christian and most statutes, paintings, songs, poems, and speach give glory to God, one need not rely on Sunday readings so much. But where the very opposite is true, in a sad reality like ours, could the venacular be more crucial?

    But if the Japanese that Gordo referred to had their venacular, would they be better Christians? Who knows? The protestant and Orthodox nations are hardly lights on a hill for the world despite their use of their mother tongues! And the change from Latin does not seem to have born much fruit, does it?

  62. Malta,

    I think we have to take into account the full missionary (and cultural, military, etc) expansion in the New World when discussing the partial (at that time) Native American embrace of Catholicism. Could the Native American missions have expanded even further through the use of vernacular? Who knows…to be sure, the missionary work of Sts. Cyril and Methodius demonstrates that vernacular translations can be very effective.

    I think what you offer is a false dichotomy: EITHER Novus Ordo abuses or the Tridentine Mass in Latin. What I would suggest is that a Tridentine Mass celebrated mostly in the vernacular according to the proper rubrics could be a VERY powerful tool of evangelization. Someone above mentioned the very beautiful Anglican usage. My question is: why could not the same thing be done with the Tridentine Mass of 1962 in the vernacular?

    God bless,

    Gordo

  63. Father J says:

    If I might just say that my earlier questions were exactly that, questions. Not stating a position or belief, but offering a view for discussion…

    I know, of course, the history of the Subdeacon and Deacon’s roles in proclaiming the Lesson and Gospel respectively… But what I was asking was, couldn’t these now be said/sung in the vernacular at High Mass as they are obviously staged liturgically to be read out to the Faithful? (Also… I think you’ll find that the Priest read the Lesson and Gospel during, not after, the chanting at High Mass.)

    There is another question underlying all of this though… what is the point of Missa Paul VI if Missa Pius V can be offered in the vernacular… what was the point of the liturgical development of the newer rite? Is there a need to keep the Novus Ordo and if so, what is it about that Mass that the older Rite doesn’t express or would/could if it were taught? Is it really about the Latin?!

    I’d be the first to agree to Mass and all liturgy only in Latin and compulsory Latin lessons reinstated on the curriculum of our Catholic schools! However nice that would be though, it ain’t gonna happen… yet, maybe or ever. Therefore, do we allow the TLM to become the reserve of the educated and traditional or do we follow the purpose of the original concept of Reform and look at ways of making the TLM more accessible to our present age and condition?

    SP is not about “turning the clock back”… if anything it’s about putting the Church “back on track” reference the original need for the reforms… It’s a recognition that the “baby was thrown out with the proverbial bath water” but it is not about discounting what the Fathers were considering and decided at VCII… what prompted them back then concerns us now.

    Is SP just about the language? No, obviously not. Is it about replacing the Novus Ordo then with the older Mass in the vernacular? No, perhaps not. Is it about recognising where we were, what we thought we were doing, how what we did went wrong and prompting us to think about it all over again? I think that is the purpose of our Holy Father. He has not reminded us of the TLM simply to appease traditionalists, nor to turn the clock back, but to prompt us to consider again our understanding of “it all”. From his teaching it is clear he feels VCII had purpose, but that purpose did not materialise fully or as it ought. It is clear that his own teaching reflects what was believed before and considered anew at the Council… but it is obvious too that he feels all of that was not properly understood or developed as it should have been since.

    For the same pastoral reasons that traditional minded Priests use the vernacular in the occasional services, e.g. Baptism, Matrimony etc we should consider carefully the use of the vernacular in the Mass. The SP, I believe, is an opportunity to make the traditional rite of Mass accessible to our age, to bring back our understanding of what worship is all about, what belief is all about, what the Church is all about. It’s not about language per se, it’s not about vestments and music per se… it’s about rediscovering our past to make our future make sense… That may mean allowing the people to hear The Word in their own tongue (as was the benefit of the Apostles at Pentecost), but at the same maintaining a connection and continuity with the past in worship in the same way the liturgy developed first from Hebrew/Aramaic, then Greek, then Latin…

    Our understanding of worship now is not just about our specific community… we’re open now to outsiders coming in and witnessing our faith… should we return to turfing the strangers out before the most sacred act of worship or should we accomodate them to stay and see why we believe and what we believe?

  64. Cosmos,

    Thank you for your thoughtful reply to my post.

    I understand your reaction to various terms. I fo one would rather reclaim wonderful words like “incarnationa;”, “dialog”, “community”, “ecumenism”, etc etc and imbue them with their full Catholic meaning. Why give theological progressives all the great terms? :-)

    I also miss the days when the rainbow meant a blessing and a promise from God. But I digress…

    You wrote the following:

    “Another observation… Perhaps Latin is best when the culture is so thoroughly Christianized in both its institutions and its imagination that its divine worship is not the only or primary connection most people have with the Church and her worldview. When the whole world is Christian and most statutes, paintings, songs, poems, and speach give glory to God, one need not rely on Sunday readings so much. But where the very opposite is true, in a sad reality like ours, could the venacular be more crucial?”

    I think I understand your perspective here. But I think your underlying premise here seems to be that the use of Latin somehow reflects a superior form of worship – an ideal to strive after once the culture has been fully Christianized. While I do favor the use of some Latin as a nod to the historical roots of the Church of Rome, the predominant use of the vernacular seems to me to be more in keeping with the incarnational, pentecostal and apostolic principles I
    mentioned above. Worshipping as a Byzantine Christian, I know that it is VERY possible to enter fully the Mystery of the Kingdom of God and to experience the heights of spiritual worship in the vernacular. I think it is far more critical to maintain the proper form of worship (respecting the iconic meaning of colors, vestments, gestures, ministries, signs, etc.) than to use the Latin language. If the use of Latin represents the pinnacle of heavenly worship, why stop with the Church of Rome? Why not use it in the Syrian Holy Quorbana (sacrifice)? Why not in teh Greek Catholic Divine Litugy?

    Secondly, I think your point about all of the artistic and cultural expressions of the faith you mentioned risks displacing the centrality of the proclamation of the Sunday readings (and indeed the fundamental kerygmatic nature of the Mass itself) in the Christian life. All of the things that you mention (including icons, BTW) flow from a well developed, liturgically formed and informed worldview, which is cultivated through a deeper penetration of the Mysteries of Christ proclaimed in the Sacred Scriptures – the soul of all theology and the source of many of the
    the prayers and structure of the Mass – by the Church according to the liturgical cycle. You may recall from the passage concerning the Emmaus event with the disciples that it was only after Jesus taught them about all that was said concerning Him from Moses and the prophets that they were able to properly perceive (and receive) Him in the breaking of the Bread. This same dyadic pattern of Word and Sacrament is what we find throughout the Mass. If the readings (which are letters for the most part to specific Churches which were read in the congregation at the liturgical assembly) are read in such a way that no one can understand, it really begs the question: why bother reading them at all? Somewhere along the lines we risk losing touch with the purpose of the sacramental actions and its need to reach hearts and minds. We have been so convinced (and properly so) of the efficacious nature of the sacrament, of ex opere operato, that we lose sight of the need for the proper dispositions for reception, ex opere operantis, and the role that the vernacular can play in this.

    And I do not mean exclusively with the converted, BTW.

    God bless,

    Gordo

  65. Fr. W says:

    “If people understood the language and then heard the priest plow through the Mass they would not find it terribly edifying.”

    This shows a great strength of the Ancient Rite: the people are protected from the priest. The Ancient Mass by using Latin and whispers, conceals the human personality flaws and lack of piety of priests. This is a strong reason for retaining much Latin and silence in the Mass – as well as ad orientum.

  66. Malta says:

    Gordo,

    The Spanish arrived in North and South America in the sixteenth century. From that time until the Bugnini Mass was promulgated in 1970, these continents worshipped and were converted in the Traditional Latin Mass. Sure, it may be conjecture to say how the Bugnini Mass would have done, but if your current era is any indication, it would have been a miserable failure.

    In South America, the Protestants are converting once Catholics in droves because we have lost our orientation since Vatican II. In particular, why attend a Mass when you can get the same thing, or something seemingly even better, at a protestant service? You see, we so protestantized the Mass, why not just join ‘em?

    In trying to become friends with the protestants, we became them, to a large extent. We want a friendly, happy-clappy mass, but not a Sacrifice. That is too “mystical,” “ancient,” etc.

    Bugnini was shipped off to the middle east when his connections (and possible membership in) the Masons came to light. This was the man who spearheaded the NO mass (along with six “protestant observers” among the liturgical committee), why did Bugnini eliminate so many of the ancient prayers in the TLM?

    Now as to your question as to why the TLM can’t be put into the vernacular.

    Why would we do that in a world already starving for spirituality? You see, the TLM IS a better conduit for spirituality, and connecting with the essence of ancient prayers, because it connects us together, now, and connects us with the great Saints. This is no small matter. Why can’t we pray in one voice with the great saints of centuries past, or pray with our contemporaries in one voice? Today, if I go to a German Mass I hear German, or in a French Mass I hear French. I traveled to France recently, and understood only a few words of the NO mass. In the past, in the Latin rite, we all prayed in one voice, one prayer, in one language. You know, today we are even “smaller” as a world—with international travel as common as it is—why not, especially today, nurture a single rite in a single language to connect all Catholics, throughout the world?

    A vernacular traditional mass is going to cause more division and more confusion—a new Babel. That makes no sense to me. It is historically, sociologically, and theologically incompatible with the Catholic Faith. It is Bugnini, and his crazyness, all over again…

  67. Cosmos says:

    Gordo,
    You may be arguing with the wrong guy! I think that the reading should be done in the venacular. But to me, it is a case of grace building on nature, or more acurately in our case not buiilding on anything. A Christian culture outside of Church provides individual’s with the foundations they will need for worship inside the Church. (No doubt, in such a society the Divine Liturgy would provide the foundation for society itself). Until people are sufficiently educated and convicted, mass is simply a Sunday ritual.

    In a Catholic culture where people were first and foremost concerned with their souls, people would know what they were doing before they entered the Church. They would study the readings and prayerfully prepare for the liturgy. In such a place mass could be re-focused on its much more sacramental and mystical aspects, where Latin is ideal. Sometimes I feel as if the older form is simply more than the average Catholic can spiritually handle; as Father Z suggested: meat for babies.

    I think the main reason that the mass needs to include the venacular is the lack of exposure/catechesis/culture outside of mass. In other words, the mass has to carry the additional load of being the central place of formation for Catholics since there are realistically no other alternatives. The Gospel really isn’t preached anywhere else to most Catholics, and they have to hear it somewhere, or else, how can they know and have faith? In that case, Communion just becomes an empty ritual.

    The counter-argument here is that a powerful and mystical liturgy will awaken people’s curiosity, and they will seek out their faith as a consequence. I think that both of these arguments come together in the middle.

    “You may recall from the passage concerning the Emmaus event with the disciples that it was only after Jesus taught them about all that was said concerning Him from Moses and the prophets that they were able to properly perceive (and receive) Him in the breaking of the Bread.”

    I always read this passage in exactly the opposite way. It seemd to me that despite having Jesus himself expound all scripture and salvation history for them, they were unable to percieve him until the (seemingly) unlikely act of the breaking of the bread. It was then that they were able to understand why their hearts burned as Jesus taught them on the road. The liturgical pattern is certainly there, and there is no dount the readings are essential to the celebration of the Eucharist. But I think that this passage ends up arguing for an almost a passive understanding of hearing scripture; one that is focused much more on the heart and the Spirit and less on the intellect. In that case, Latin would be just as useful to the Spirit as any language provided the hearer had an open heart.

  68. Malta,

    Again, I believe you mistakenly equate the use of the vernacular with NO abuses (although the NO is not itself an abuse). Speaking as an Eastern Christian, there is absolutely NO correlation between a loss of reverence and sense of mystery and the translation of the celebration of the Sacred Mysteries into the vernacular. To say that the Tridentine Mass is somehow “unique” in its universality among the various liturgical streams and expressions offered by the Catholic Church and should therefore be preserved in its original Latin seems itself to be more than a bit lacking in a truly universal (or Catholic) perspective. To call a vernacular Mass a new “Babel” and to say that it is “historically, sociologically, and theologically incompatible with the Catholic Faith” shows an ignorance of Church history, particularly of the battles fought courageously by Sts. Cyril and Methodius and eventually fully supported by the Pope against the German hierarchy.

    The Liturgy itself is the universal language of the Church – not Latin.

    In ICXC,

    Gordo

  69. young fogey,

    In reality most Western Rite Antiochians today are former Anglicans. The
    use of the Tikhonite Liturgy seems to be on the wane, and may soon become
    a relic of the past. By the way ,if my memory serves me correctly ,a recent
    example of the Ambrosian Liturgy had the Nicene Creed minus the filioque. As far as the epiclesis
    is concerned St. Nicholas Casibilas was of the opinion that the epiclesis of
    the Roman Mass was quite adequate without any interpolations. It was the
    Synod of Moscow in 1870 made this change without thought of the opinion of
    the Greek Fathers.

  70. Cosmos,

    Great response!

    You wrote:

    “In a Catholic culture where people were first and foremost concerned with their souls, people would know what they were doing before they entered the Church. They would study the readings and prayerfully prepare for the liturgy. In such a place mass could be re-focused on its much more sacramental and mystical aspects, where Latin is ideal. Sometimes I feel as if the older form is simply more than the average Catholic can spiritually handle; as Father Z suggested: meat for babies.”

    I think what you are saying here is true to some extent – the sensibilities of the average Latin Catholic have been “dumbed down” for so long that an over-exposure to the Mysterium Tremendum may be a bit like the reaction of Israel to the brightness of Moses’ face coming down from Mt. Sinai! At times a “veil” is necessary as an aspect of accomodation. This is where catechesis coupled with the integration of Catholic liturgical practice can help to gradually lift the veil. We have seen the same necessary gradual steps in Eastern Catholic parishes that have been heavily Latinized. Some pastors have taken the approach that everything needs to change at once, and the results were disastrous. (I was told of a young Maronite priest who was sent back to Lebanon after his parish rebelled when he installed a traditional bema according to the Syrian practice and celebrated the full Maronite rite!) Those who take a patient, yet persistent, approach achieve their goal and allow the fulness of worship to enter the hearts and minds of their faithful. It can take years, but when it is done well, it is beautiful to see! I believe that Latin Catholic parishes who start to move towards traditional forms of worship can and should do so gradually. But to assume that Latin is somehow for the advanced, while vernacular remains the “food of infants” I think distorts somewhat the proper role of liturgical language.

    That said, I see the wonder and awe of Latins who attend our Byzantine liturgies. They are generally excited and awed by the experience and often want to learn more. So I think we need not be too cautious in exposing people to the fulness of Catholic tradition in worship.

    I think the fact that these practices have become “politically charged” in the Latin Church is part of the problem that artificially creates resistance.

    “I always read this passage in exactly the opposite way. It seemd to me that despite having Jesus himself expound all scripture and salvation history for them, they were unable to percieve him until the (seemingly) unlikely act of the breaking of the bread. It was then that they were able to understand why their hearts burned as Jesus taught them on the road. The liturgical pattern is certainly there, and there is no dount the readings are essential to the celebration of the Eucharist. But I think that this passage ends up arguing for an almost a passive understanding of hearing scripture; one that is focused much more on the heart and the Spirit and less on the intellect. In that case, Latin would be just as useful to the Spirit as any language provided the hearer had an open heart.”

    I think our views are complimentary. Jesus’ catechesis of the disciples on the road is a form of catechumenate, which ultimately does not come to full fruition until the celebration and reception of the Mystery. Once the Mystery has been received (which I agree is supra-rational and not purely an intellectual exercise – I’m Eastern after all! :-) ) a Mystagogical catechesis of the HOly Spirit illumines their hearts and minds to understand the mysterious “burning”.

    That said, I disagree with your conclusion about a passive hearing. Passivity and receptivity are not the same thing. The proclamation of the Word liturgically is itself a sacramental act which calls upon the faithful to hear, to listen and to receive actively. (If you have ever seen an infant nurse at his mother’s breast, you know that it is not purely a passive act.) The nature of the spoken word (or Word) though is that its sacramental form is a language that can be properly digested. If the outward form of the Eucharist was an indigestible rock, no one would associate it with eating (skipping across still ponds, perhaps, but not eating.) The Word comes to us in the form of language so that it can be consumed by the mind and thus enter the heart. To my mind, to give the Word a form that is not at all understood by the faithful makes reception all the more difficult.

    To further the analogy, if the Archangel Gabriel had appeared to the Theotokos at the Annunciation proclaiming the “Good News” in an angelic tongue, she may have consented to God’s Messianic will in the Incarnation, but would not something have been lost in her fiat had she not fully understood precisely what the angel was saying according to her own mother tongue?

    God bless!

    Gordo

  71. I wrote:

    “To further the analogy…”

    I meant: “to continue the use of analogies…”

    Blame it on the jet lag!

    In ICXC,

    Gordo

  72. LeonG says:

    \”Unity in worship is not necessarily served by uniformity of language…\”

    Oh indeed it is. Since the 1960s the establishment of tower of Babel principle has had a decisively de-stabilising and disunifying effect on the liturgy. As a professional nomad myself of some considerable traditional and modern liturgical experience it can be seen how vernacular norms have produced overseas parishes who need 5 or 6 services on Saturday evening and Sunday to serve the main linguistic communities of their respective parishes whereas before VC II, two or three well-attended Latin Masses sufficed to keep the parish together. This goes as far as separate linguistically based prayer groups mid-week which further subdivides parish life into ethnic groupings. Some in these groups are resentful that certain \”foreign\” cliques actually have more language exposure time than others during the week. In some places the dominance of English, as an actual foreign or second language liturgically , can be another source of resentment.

    Not only this but the devastating effects of mistranslations and other misinterpretations of rubrics in various foreign languages has also further subdivided the catholic community.

    Division is from the Devil, as Our Blessed Lord admonished us. The vernacular is a profound source of division. It has scattered and not gathered. The profound understanding of the early church and its sequel was to unify and harmonise in liturgical worship, praise and thanksgiving. The modernist hair-splitting about incapacity to follow The Latin Mass is their invention. Contemporary rates of doctrinal and liturgical illiteracy have increased exponentially with the advent of vernacular usage. Few believe in Real Presence; few believe in the imperative of Confession prior to attending Holy Communion; few understand that belief in universal salvation is heresy and many now advocate female & married priesthood in spite of the fact that several popes, including the last one, have made it clear the priest must be male and celibate.

    Use of the vernacular has made a significant contribution to such a pathetic and confused condition of the contemporary church. Further, the pentecostal-type charismatic speaking in tongues as misused by emotionally oriented protestants & misguided catholics today has nothing in common with the gift of The Holy Ghost to the early church, and some saints since, of speaking in their own tongue and being comprehended by their multi-lingual audiences. The so-called charismatic movement, in fact, is one of the most divisive in the church today and has accounted for a massive demise in Catholic Church membership in Latin America such that Rome has at last woken up to its appalling destructiveness therein.

    Pope St Pius V made it clear and so did the Councils of Trent that use of the vernacular in the liturgy is anathema. Nowadays we can properly understand why this is the case.

  73. Jon says:

    Leon,

    Outstanding post. You’ve hit the nail squarely.

  74. Leon,

    Clearly I meant that statement not to refer to an individual parish, but rather to the unity of the Latin Church as a whole. A parish supporting five different languages in its liturgy is really almost 5 different parishes meeting in the same sanctuary at different times. Additionally, I think immigration issues require their own pastoral approaches. Is it appropriate to have a parish full of 1st generation immigrants celebrate the liturgy according to their native tongue? Absolutely. But over time, if you have parishes that have 3rd and 4th generation immigrants still celebrating in, say Ukrainian, I think there is a problem if the predominant language of the culture is another tongue. When parishes become ethnic enclaves and turn liturgies into vehicles of home culture, it keeps them from realizing more fully their roles as apostolic outposts. Ethnically based parishes should help aid in the integration and assimilation, instead of forming ecclesiastical/cultural ghettos.

    It sounds like the parish you mention, unless these are 1st generation folks, is sustaining five ghettos.

    Mistranslations and the application of political points of view in translation are a a definite problem, but very, very correctable. Presumably the side-by-side translation created so that people can have some measure of understanding is an accurate rendering in the vernacular of what is transpiring on the altar and in the pew. If that is the case, why not just simply use the accurate translation?

    I think you are wrong to equate vernacular translations with demonic, divisive powers and the Tower of Babel. If anything, Pentecost (the healing of Babel) teaches us that people need to hear the Gospel in their own tongue. The Holy Spirit facilitates this miraculously through the apostles. The source of Church unity liturgically is the form and meaning of the celebration, not necessarily the language used.

    I’m honestly not quite sure what the Pentecostal/Charismatic movement has to do with this conversation. Pope St. Pius V has the same powers of the keys as Pope Paul VI, Pope John Paul I, Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict had. The vernacular use of the liturgy is quite legitimate. The Eastern Churches demonstrate this fully Catholic principle as well.

    Again, I think the issue is the mindset that “it all goes back to the Church dropping Latin.” Granted, this had some symbolic value, but I think it stretches the boundaries of reason to say that it is the principal cause of the liturgical ills of the Latin Church and that, if only we can get Latin back, we get our worship back. To my mind, such an approach fails to account for the history and issues that have developed within Latin Catholicism since the Council (and before).

    In ICXC,

    Gordo

  75. Cosmos says:

    Gordo-
    Thanks for the reply!
    More disclosure… I often attend a Ukranian Eastern Rite Catholic Church and it is by far my favorite way to celebrate the mass. That service is about 90% English with some Ukranian and possibly a llitle Greek. It is that experience that gave me the impression that the best answer, at least short-term, is the venacular old rite.
    However, it also gave me a real sense of awe at what the Western Church did for so many centuries. The old mass is so quiet and reverent and powerful, even in comparison with the beautiful Eastern celebrations. It must have been powerful for an Easterner to see such a powerful expression of the faith that centered on the Cross rsther than the Ressurection. Done right it is an extremely noble rite. That is why JPII talked about two lungs to the Church. Without the old mass side-by-side with the Byzantine liturgy, such statements become just drivel that theologians spout out before they tell us why the grass is greener on the other side and we should become more like the East. The Eastern liturgy is certain better than the modern protestanized Latin Rite, but it is a beautiful compliment to the ancient rite.
    You are right about the Emmaus passage. I just meant that it was not directly on point.
    My overall point is that I think there is an element of providence in the whole liturgical problem: in other wrods, we might have the mass that our lukewarm Church deserves.

  76. Cosmos,

    Good for you for fulfilling the wish of pope John Paul the Great to be a Catholic who breathes with both lungs!

    Just to clarify, my intention is not to hold up the Eastern expression of worship as somehow inherently superior. Each tradition has its own unique expression of piety , devotion and liturgy. That said, there are aspects of orthopraxis which are held in common, and are even of apostolic origin.

    So what I am arguing is not that the Eastern way is better because it is Eastern, but rather in the broader communion of Churches, I believe in this respect (the use of the vernacular) it is the best and more authentically apostolic approach.

    God bless!

    Gordo

  77. Henry Edwards says:

    Gordo,

    Your posts provide a valuable complementary perspective, but there may be issues where an eastern view of a western question can be misleading.

    For instance, because of the over-riding respect for Tradition (“Orthodoxy”) in the Eastern Churches, the issue of unfaithful translations has not arisen there (so far as I know), and vernacular liturgy has not lead to the “deformations” recently observed so widely in the West.

    However, because of the much different cultural and religious situation in the Western Church at the present time, it is possible to argue sensibly and powerfully that there is indeed a correlation between vernacular usage and liturgical abuse — in that the former so much more readily accommodates and even facilitates the latter in unrestricted usage.

    While at the same time we should realize–that even in English which bears the burden of carrying so much of the good, bad, and ugly in the global society–beautiful and reverent liturgy is certainly possible in restricted situations, including the many parish enclaves of parish sanity scattered throughout the world, and in special situations like the Anglican Use, Anglo-Catholic liturgy with the Knott missal, etc.

    In any event, the vernacular is certainly here to stay in the ordinary form of the Latin rite. Clearly a principal motive for Summorum Pontificum was for the extraordinary form to provide a stable model for the re-sacralization of the ordinary form. I suspect this role will make it doubly important for Latin to be retained in the extraordinary form to “guard” its stability as a model of right liturgy.

    Incidentally, Fr. Calvin Goodwin in his extraordinary sermon at EWTN’s first televised TLM made some incisive remarks about Latin in the western rite playing the same role as the iconostasis in eastern rites–to veil the liturgy from profane gaze (and influence).

  78. Henry,

    Thank you for your comments. I think your point about the issue of abuse and its tie to the vehicle of language is well made. No doubt, faulty translations (especially deliberate ones) lead to all sorts of mischief. The Ruthenian Metropolia of Pittsburgh (Byzantine Catholic Church) recently underwent a new “translation” that was driven in large part by a single bishop intent on leaving a legacy was FULL of all sorts of gender neutral language. The reaction within the CHurch has been catastrophic on some levels. Some have left for other Greek Catholic jurisdictions, some for Orthodoxy and some have abandoned the faith altogether. Others, of course, remain and either embrace the change or wait and hope for the best. (Note: No other Eastern Catholic or Orthodox jurisdiction was involved or even approached in this nonsense. Very unconciliar for being a conciliar Church!) So we are starting to see some of these things, ironically as the devastation of the West starts to turn towards authentic reform and renewal. The Melkite Greek Catholics have also recently done a translation that does not embrace the same gender neutral interpretive approach and it is being well received by liturgical scholars.

    Again, though, I think one has to look past the issue of translations, despite their past abuse. Assume for the moment that all side-by-side translations are good and valid. To my mind, there is nothing in principle that violates Catholic sensibilities in using such a translation, retaining all of the other rubrical forms. That really is my point.

    I recall hearing the homily you mentioned. It really was profound and beautiful, although I disagree with the analogy. The original Byzantine iconostasis was not a full wall, floor to ceiling, but rather far more open – save only the mounted images that it served to support for the viewing of the faithful. Also in our tradition, the iconostasis is not a wall, so much as a bridge between heaven and earth. Some traditions refer to it as a sign of the incarnation…

    …where the Word was “translated” in human form!

    :-) God bless,

    Gordo

  79. Deborah says:

    \”Also in our tradition, the iconostasis is not a wall, so much as a bridge between heaven and earth. Some traditions refer to it as a sign of the incarnation…\”

    Latin in the Sacred Liturgy should also be thought of this way….\”a bridge between heaven and earth.\”

    Quite often it is a traditional Catholic sensibility which needs to be formed in the faithful for a deeper understanding of why we use Latin in the Sacred Liturgy.

    Pope Benedict XVI mentions this extensively in ?Sacramentum Caritatis. He speaks of the importance and need for a formal mystogogical education for the faithful. Also, he explains that a deeper understanding of the meanings of the externals, like Latin, gestures, postures, etc, within the Sacred Liturgy inevidibly lead to a deeper understanding of the mysteries themselves which leads to an deeper interior conversion of the human heart.

    Without such formal mystogogical education, externals of our Catholic faith seem shallow, empty, and useless, only mere ritualism leading nowhere. This is precisely why unformed people, with little or no Catholic sensibility, phrase ad orientum as the priest having his back to the people rather than the spiritual reality that the priest and the faithful are worshiping God together in the same direction.

    I agree with the Holy Father in that mystogigical formation is lacking greatly in our day even among many faithful Catholics.

  80. Sean says:

    If you want English and/or rationalisation then go play with the Novus Ordo. The surest lesson of the last 100 years is that whenever a ‘liturgical movement’ experiments with novelties then sooner or later the wheels fall off.

  81. Deborah,

    Amen. Beautifully said. I believe the crisis in Mystagogical Catechesis is rooted in a fundamental failure of the Latin Church to embrace the best of the ressourcement movement and its effort at patristic revival (including patristic catechesis and exegesis), while dividing up into extreme Neo-Scholasticism and extreme Modernism. I hope that the CCC will bear much fruit in recapturing this authentic mystagogical approach to the sacramental mysteries, particularly through the quadriga/fourfold method officially endorsed by the Catechism.

    Sean,

    You wrote:

    “If you want English and/or rationalisation then go play with the Novus Ordo. The surest lesson of the last 100 years is that whenever a ‘liturgical movement’ experiments with novelties then sooner or later the wheels fall off.”

    Two things:

    1. The use of the vernacular is not a novelty.
    2. I rather think that Msgr. Richard Schuler, of blessed memory, the Mozart Masses and St. Agnes Church in St. Paul are a marvellous example how one can properly “innovate” and “restore” simultaneously.

    In ICXC,

    Gordo

  82. thomas tucker says:

    Fr. W- that is a good point. I do appreciate being spared the “tyranny of the priest’s personality” in the TLM.

  83. malta says:

    Gordo wrote: “To say that the Tridentine Mass is somehow “unique” in its universality among the various liturgical streams and expressions offered by the Catholic Church and should therefore be preserved in its original Latin seems itself to be more than a bit lacking in a truly universal (or Catholic) perspective.”

    Well, actually, the Tridentine Mass is unique. It was codified at the council of Trent by a Pope who is now a Saint:

    http://www.ewtn.com/library/COUNCILS/TRENT22.HTM

    (Canon 9. If anyone says that the rite of the Roman Church… ought to be celebrated in the vernacular tongue only… let him be anathema.)—this anathema was never abrogated, even by Vatican II.

    The NO mass is “on-the-spot” liturgy, “manufactured” in a liturgical think tank (BXVI’s words in quotes). Yes, there is a vast difference in those liturgies. It’s not so much the language of the NO mass that’s problematic, it’s the intentions of the man who formed it–Bugnini; clearly, prayers were eliminated and the Sacrifice was deemphasized, to appeal to protestants.

    Of course, every organically developed liturgy that has been passed on to us through the centuries is good and holy. Certainly the Ambrosian rite as well as the rites from the East are good and holy rites. But among the hierarchy of rites, the Tridentine has pride of place because it is the only rite specifically codified by a Council of the Roman Catholic Church.

  84. Malta,

    Perhaps you have not read the Documents of the Second Vatican Council regarding the equality of the ritual traditions?

    “2. That Church, Holy and Catholic, which is the Mystical Body of Christ, is made up of the faithful who are organically united in the Holy Spirit through the same faith, the same sacraments, and the same government and who, combining into various groups held together by a hierarchy, form separate Churches or rites. Between these, there flourishes such an admirable brotherhood that this variety within the Church in no way harms her unity, but rather manifests it. For it is the mind of the Catholic Church that each individual Church or rite retain its traditions whole and entire, while adjusting its way of life to the various needs of time and place. 5

    3. Such individual Churches, whether of the East or of the West, although they differ somewhat among themselves in what are called rites (that is, in liturgy, ecclesiastical discipline, and spiritual heritage) 6 are, nevertheless, equally entrusted to the pastoral guidance of the Roman Pontiff, the divinely appointed successor of St. Peter in supreme governance over the universal Church. They are consequently of equal dignity, 7 so that none of them is superior to the others by reason of rite. They enjoy the same rights and are under the same obligations, even with respect to preaching the gospel to the whole world (cf. Mk. 16:15) under the guidance of the Roman Pontiff.”

    Decree on the Eastern Churches

    What you propose violates not only the teachings of an ecumenical council, but has absolutely NO historical basis whatsoever. Your notion of a hierarchy of liturgical rites is quite simply a fiction.

    Sadly, however, it is reflective of a certain Latin superiority complex which rears its ugly head from time to time, but is not universal. If you have not done so, I would also add Orientale Lumen to your MUST READ reading list. It is one thing to be rightfully proud of your tradition and rite. It is quite another to assert without foundation that it supercedes any other, whatever its unique history. (Do you think that the fact that it was a Western rite promulgated by a Council in the West approved and promoted by a Western Pope of Rome might have something to do with its uniqueness? To be sure – no Eastern liturgical rite, Church or tradition can make such a claim…BUT nor would any want to!!!)

    The canon you cite from Trent would not apply to me in part because I do not assert that it should only be celebrated in the vernacular. I said I favored a mixture of Latin and the vernacular.

    BTW, I do not disagree with most of your assessment of the Ordo of Paul VI.

    In ICXC,

    Gordo

  85. Gordo,

    Your assesment is most cogent. I mentioned in an earlier post that living
    experience as worship within multiple rites gives one a fresher perspective.
    What becomes most clear is that any historic rite that has continuity is
    imbued with apostolicity and a patristic spirit. Both Rome and Constantinople
    being as they are “imperial churches” set a certain pattern for satelite
    rites to work as an integral oneness. Protestantism in any of its forms tend
    not tobe truly liturgcal in this same sense. When one learns to worship
    with ease in the various Rites of the Undivided Church, one does develop a deepeing
    of faith and intensity of contact with the Risen Lord Who always is at the core
    of each liturgical expression. Sucn experience enriches the spirit of
    one’s liturgical piety, while appreciating the distinctive qualities of each.

  86. Sean says:

    Gordo:
    “1. The use of the vernacular is not a novelty.
    2. I rather think that Msgr. Richard Schuler, of blessed memory, the Mozart Masses and St. Agnes Church in St. Paul are a marvellous example how one can properly “innovate” and “restore” simultaneously”

    1. English is certainly a novelty in the context of the 1962 and 2. the trouble with ‘liturgical movements’ is their variability and re-negotiation every generation. The only constant in a ‘liturgical movement’ is change. Here’s a novel idea, how about some liturgical stasis for a change? I am not talking of setting the 1962 in aspic but having switched in the last couple of years from Novus Ordo to 1962 with much reading and thought on making the 1962 more like the 1965 or whatever I would now simply like to shut up and worship.

  87. malta says:

    Gordo wrote (quoting VII): “They [Churches of East and West in communion with Rome] are consequently of equal dignity, 7 so that none of them is superior to the others
    by reason of rite.”

    How did what I say “violate” Vatican II? I can state, as an opinion, that the
    Tridentine rite has “pride of place” because it was promulgated by Pope Saint
    Pius IV, and still agree that neither the east nor the west is “superior” by
    “reason of rite.” Saying that one rite is superior to another is not saying that
    one Church is superior. Heck, you may think your rite is superior–maybe you do,
    and that is why you attend it.

    But now I must make a confession: I’ve never been to an Eastern Catholic Mass.
    From what I’ve heard, they are very beautiful and holy. I’ve seen an Ambrosian
    Mass on youtube, and was really impressed by it. I guess in my mind when I think
    of a “heirarchy” of rites I am not thinking of the eastern rites but of the “ordinary”
    form of mass compared to the “extraordinary” form. There, I really do see a
    “heirarchy” in the sense that one is superior, more dignified, older, and should
    inform and teach the other. In fact, part of the reason that the Church is in
    grave crisis since Vatican II can be layed squarly on the shoulders of the Bugnini
    mass in my opinion (e.g. “liturgical abuse leads to sexual abuse” and certainly deemphasising the
    sacred and Sacrificial aspect of Mass has led to dwindling numbers of converts
    and only 25% of the 25% of Catholics who still attend mass believe in the Real
    Presence).

  88. Puzzled says:

    Dear Gordo,

    What do you make of the undeniable historical reality that it was the Roman Missal
    that was in the hands of missionaries as they conquered millions upon millions of
    souls for Christ? Virtually all of South and Central America, large sectors of North
    America, vast swathes of Africa and Asia–all brought to the faith by missionaries of
    the Roman Rite? Do you regard this as mere historical accident? It is certainly true
    that in principle all rites are of equal dignity. But God Himself has not seen fit to
    provide for their equal prominence and growth. Is this reality not also “incarnational”?
    I cannot speak for others, but I know that when I hear of the traditional Roman liturgy
    spoken of “uniquely” universal or as a special manifestation of the “Catholic” faith,
    my thoughts turn to these historical realities. And of course, 99% of the liturgical
    activity connected with all this missionary work was in Latin (the Mohawk Missal and
    similar phenomena being truly exceptional). Or does that just not matter?

  89. jack burton says:

    Please excuse a wee rant of the extreme and reactive sort.

    Anti-liturgical heresy, didacticism, inordinate anthropocentrism, vernacularism (the gravely heretical form), et cetera. Sure, I blame it on the liberal Protestant liturgical “reform” of the late 20th century, but I think the door was cracked a bit back when vernacular hymns were allowed before and after the liturgy, pews were introduced, et cetera, and then flung open a bit in the first half of the 20th century in response to the decadence that flowed from the first round of weak liturgical renewal. Instead of flushing out the garbage they let in the smoke of Satan.
    The “new” Mass is a pretty strong argument for jumping ship and becoming Orthodox in my opinion. The violent suppression of the historical Roman rite was radically illegitimate and illegal by any standards of orthodoxy or common sense. Couple this with the fact that the authentic liturgical tradition was cast aside in favor of a novel scholarly fabrication, one quite dubious in many ways, and it seems obvious that the Church of Rome has crawled into bed with the spirit of this world. The Church did not merely hack apart her living continuity with that worship in spirit and truth breathed upon the Church by the Risen Christ two thousand years ago; on a more natural level she has simply lost a great deal of credibility. It is the extreme of clericalism to effectively assert that the worship mystically bestowed upon the Church is simply “the work of human hands”; I would dare say that the so-called “new Mass”, by its very existence, unambiguously puts forth this claim. Apparently in the 20th century we became so clever and knowledgeable that we were finally qualified to reconstruct the Divine Liturgy according to our interests and ideas- all in the name of progress and positivism I’m sure – and yes, we ought to accept as dogma that this is perfectly normal; this is progress and historical dialectic. The people have finally attained self-expression and consciousness in the liturgy; we now have the proletariat Mass! Ignorant, uncultured sheep of the world unite! We have a new Church to sing into being with our cheap jingles!

  90. John Q Public says:

    Boy this thread is a little off track, no?

    Puzzled- The Eastern Church has done a very good job of missionary activity,
    I think. I do think you need to look at the historical situation of the East
    during the great period of expansion that you refer to. There is the issue of
    internal problems, Muslims, etc. that the West did not have to deal with.

  91. Puzzled,

    Let me state unequivocably that the Tridentine Mass and the Latin Curch has a wondrous missionary history and is itself part of the great symphony of Catholicism over the centuries, equal in dignity to any Eastern rite (and there are multiple). Antioch, Alexandria and Constantinople had its own rich history of missionary activity…a history which is beginning to be recovered and rediscovered. The expansion of Latin Catholicism into the Americas was certainly a work and gift of the Holy Spirit, especially considering the disastrous effects of the Protestant “Reformation” in Western Europe and the resultant shrinking fortunes and influence of the Latin Church. Had the Americas not been discovered, however, it is difficult to imagine what shape the Latin Church would be in today. Meanwhile, much (but not all) of the Christian East suffered a slow, strangling martyrdom under the Muslim yoke of dhimmitude. Survival instead of missionary expansion was the focus. Does that mean it is grounds for seeing the Tridentine as providentially superior?

    Hardly.

    But this thread really is not about the Eastern Churches. Nor is it about supposed Latin superiority in rite or anything else. It really is about the viability and desirability of celebrating the rich Tridentine tradition in the vernacular. I for one – as a CATHOLIC who is also fully Eastern believe that there is great merit in considering the celebration of this tradition in the vernacular as is done by the other five ritual traditions that make up the symphony of Catholic worship. As I have stated, I believe it would be of great benefit to my Latin Catholic brothers and sisters and to the state of Latin Catholicism as a whole (thus redounding as well in a positive way to our communion).

    Peace of Christ.

    Gordo

  92. Matt Q says:

    RBrown wrote:

    quoting Habemus Papam: “English imperialism. The Latin would be translated into Spanish, German, Phillipino. We are the Latin Rite Church. Leave it be.”

    “While driving to mass, I think I finally understood what you were saying. Two points;

    1. In the first two centuries, we were not a Latin rite Church.

    2. The growth of Latin across Europe was the consequence of Roman Imperialism.”

    Yes, Mr Brown, thank the Lord for the Pax Romana. It is from Rome we have our Western civilization, and in hind sight we see the wisdom of Holy Spirit Whom sent St Peter to Rome, that in His Divine Providence the Pax Romana Catholica would be the standard of the civilized world. From there we are grateful for the British Empire from which came the United States of America, hence the greatest country human cilivation has ever seen.

  93. jack burton says:

    I have no problem with the basic idea of varying degrees of vernacular in the Roman liturgy. What I have a problem with is the heresy of vernacularism which believes Latin to be nothing but a superfluous accretion to our liturgical tradition or at best an optional embellishment only pertinent based on pragmatic criteria (such as international celebrations). Included in this mentality is most often the error that Latin is intrinsically hostile to authentic “active participation” and/or the ideal celebration of the Mass. The contemporary form of vernacularism seems to be bound up with all manner of similar attacks on the nature and spirit of the liturgy so I don’t see it as an entirely isolated issue. My previous comment was extreme and somewhat asinine, but I do believe that my core perspective is rooted in authentic Catholic teaching and theology and thus consider it to be far more than a trifling opinion. In any case I believe that the heresy of vernacularism is a part of the crisis of impoverished liturgical understanding these days; although probably just a symptom of a bigger problem.
    What really kills me is the idea of ICEL getting their hands on the 1962 missal. Lol.

  94. Matt Q says:

    In regards to the Tridentine Mass in the vernacular, I say NO. It would be the Novus Ordo all over again! It would be the greatest calamity for the Pius V Missal to suffer from bad translations and silly anecdotes in the expression of the Faith in the way the texts would be written. We have only to look at the Novus Ordo and laugh at the most ludicris thing this Church has put forward. Still to be tinkering with it after forty years is a great indicator of its ineptitude.

  95. John Q Public says:

    Depending on how the talks with the TAC turn out, we may have the TLM in the
    vernacular soon… in the form of the Anglican Missal…

    In that case, we could just see what happens… Groups will be using the 1962
    in Latin, and the Tridentine Mass in English… Who knows what would happen from
    there, but I hope it means the NO goes the way of the dinosaurs…

  96. jack burton says:

    I tend to agree Matt. I’m not opposed to the introduction of the vernacular in principle, but the thought makes me weary simply because of recent history. To be in conformity with the mind of the Church and the spirit of the liturgy I believe that such an undertaking would be quite conservative and cautious in character whereas the trend in recent decades has been more along the lines of haphazard revolution.

  97. jack burton says:

    Good point John. If some vernacular TLM’s means less NO Masses I’ll probably be forced in conscience to support it.

  98. Puzzled says:

    Dear Gordo,

    Thank you for your thoughts on the historical constraints that faced the
    missionary possibilities of Eastern Christianity. An interesting point, to be
    sure. But please note that I never declared in blanket fashion that the
    traditional Roman Rite is “providentially superior,” whatever that might mean.
    I stated that God provided for its numeric and geographic ascendence, which is
    an indisputable fact. And I went on to say that any reference to the
    traditional Roman Rite’s status–perceived or otherwise–as uniquely universal
    or specially indicative of the faith’s catholicity always reminds me of that
    indisputable ascendence. I hasten to add yet again that all true rites are
    equal in dignity.

    But you are right in that that is neither here nor there. What is at hand is
    whether the Roman Rite of these 1500 years ought to be universally available in
    vulgar tongues. Let me tell you why the traditional Latin liturgy cannot be
    celebrated in the vernacular: because such celebration is *not tradition*.
    There is, effectively, absolutely no tradition of celebrating the sacraments in
    the Roman Rite in the vernacular. These past forty years do not count, as they
    are obviously an experiment gone horribly awry. And the tiny enclaves where
    the vernacular was permitted (in Mohawk amongst certain American Indians, or in
    Old Church Slavonic amongst certain Eastern Europeans) are the exceptions that
    prove the rule. This is where your Oriental vantage skews your judgment,
    Gordo, and I mean that with all respect. “The vernacular works for us. Why
    not for them?” Reverse the positions for a moment and ask yourself what you
    would think if some son of the traditional Roman Rite were to think: “A sacred
    language works for us. Why not for them?” Imagine, say, that he proposed that
    all Liturgies of St. John Chrysostom henceforth be in nothing but ancient Greek.
    “But Puzzled, but Puzzled, it’s not tradition,” you would respond. Indeed,
    Gordo, it’s not. And in the traditional Roman Rite, the sacraments aren’t
    celebrated in the vernacular, because it’s not *tradition*.

    Latin is our sacred language: it is a precious jewel of Western Christianity, an
    invaluable heritage. I weep to think of how its fragility has been demonstrated
    by the horrific experiment of these four decades. If Catholics of the Roman
    Rite do not act now to preserve and strengthen this heritage, to foster it and
    protect it as it deserves, then, I believe, it will surely perish, and live on
    merely as the preserve of scholars and antiquarians. It is not dead yet in the
    hearts of the people. The time has come to end this gross attempt at linguistic
    euthanasia. Making the sacraments of the traditional Roman Rite generally
    available in the vernacular would strike Latin a cruel death blow indeed.
    Shouldn’t you, as a man so obviously respectful of tradition, be advocating
    that the traditional Roman Rite preserve the integrity of its own
    traditions–which includes the virtually exclusive use of Latin–just as much
    as you believe that the Eastern rites should preserve the integrity of their
    own, which includes the widespread use of the vernacular?

    Very truly yours,
    Puzzled

  99. “In that case, we could just see what happens… Groups will be using the 1962
    in Latin, and the Tridentine Mass in English… Who knows what would happen from
    there, but I hope it means the NO goes the way of the dinosaurs…”

    “Good point John. If some vernacular TLM’s means less NO Masses I’ll probably be forced in conscience to support it.”

    Precisely!

    :-) Gordo

  100. Andrew says:

    (Latina lingua … thesaurus est incomparandæ præstantiæ; quare sacrorum administer qui eam ignorat, reputandus est lamentabili mentis laborare squalore.”)

    The Latin language is a treasury of incomparable excellence; wherefore every priest who does not know it is deemed to suffer from a lamentable mental squalor. Pope Pius XII “Magis Quam” – 1951.

    Even if the priest speaks English very well he’s still to be deemed to suffer from a lamentable mental squalor? I guess so!

    Until the day we have a revival of Latin studies we will not have a true liturgical revival. Impossible!

    We are ROMAN Catholics, even those who are not of the Latin rite are ROMAN Catholics.

  101. Puzzled,

    My question is: why point out the geographic and numeric ascendance at all? And let us not forget that the Latin Church is largely responsible for the loss of many, many thousands ofof Greek Catholics to Orthodoxy through the policies of Rome and the US Bishops in violation of the agreements of union (not to mention the absorbtion through the Catholic school system). To point out the Latin Church’s numeric greatness in light of that history seems, well, more than a bit offensive.

    I certainly welcome your critique of my points. I would not say that I am blinded by my own Eastern affiliation, except insofar as I can say without any doubt whatsoever that a celebration of the Sacred Mysteries in a vernacular tongue does no harm to the sense of the sacred. I believe it is a stretch to say otherwise.

    So my point is that I am convinced theologically and pastorally as a non-exclusive “vernacularist” in my views and believe it to be very much in keeping with apostolic principles and practices. I would hold to that position, were I a member of the Latin Church. I think too much is made of Latin as if it is the “cure” to liturgical ills, when in fact its restoration really amounts only to a symbolic victory for traditionalism, and a shallow one at that. The REAL restoration of the Latin Church’s worship will be the embrace of the traditional liturgical forms (and texts) , with some integration of Latin (and Greek in the Kyrie)out of deference to the Church’s ancient historical roots.

    In terms of any reference to the East, my point is that if the celebration in the vernacular does no damage to the sacred nature if the celebration in the Byzantine East for instance (and any who attend these liturgies can and do testify to that fact), it is difficult to argue that it is violates a matter of liturgical principle (or worse yet it is an evil from Satan himself, perhaps a heresy) to celebrate the litugy in the vernacular. To my mind such a position is neither Catholic nor good nor helpful.

    That said, your point about respecting traditions is true, and certainly I would advocate a diversity of expression, including the use of various liturgical languages. (Our Divine Liturgy in our parish, for instance, has English, Arabic, Greek and Syriac in the celebration.) If the Latin Church decides for its own betterment to preserve Latin in the celebration of the extraordinary form (1962 Missal), I can only say that I believe it represents a missed missionary (from within and without) opportunity.

    So my argument is not that we in the East do not exclusively use Greek (well, not all of us) because it is a part of our tradition to celebrate in the vernacular (however true that may be). To me, to enclose the riches of Tridentine worship (or any worship) in an exclusive use of the Latin language almost makes the liturgical language an end in itself. Yes, the worship is “preserved”, but whom does it serve? And how?

    I understand the fear of abuse. But fear should never be the deciding factor in these matters. ANd besides, are there not already worthy translations of the 1962 Missal in English, for instance?

    Pax Romana,

    Gordo

  102. Puzzled says:

    Dear Gordo,

    Tell me, what is your opinion on the Western tradition of
    a celibate priesthood?

    Best,
    Puzzled

  103. Puzzled,

    LOL! I knew that this was going to come up, and I even started to write something on it, but I hesitated because it was a rabbit hole best avoided and could take us very far off topic.

    Nutshell so that you can bring us back to the main point: The Western tradition of an exclusively celibate priesthood (well, we all know that there are exceptions) is rooted in an apostolic tradition and is perfectly within the rights of the Latin Church to enforce on its own clergy. It has the added value of availability and flexibility in service that a married priest will find challenging given his balance of obligations. I, of course, prefer the Eastern approach which has equal apostolic roots of optional celibacy for its married candidates. I also believe that this is in keeping with St. Paul’s letter to Timothy where how a man has served his domestic church becomes a critical part of the discernment regarding his fittingness for ministry in the Household of the God.

    God bless!

    Gordo

  104. M Kr says:

    Regarding the use of language in church services, I think an important distinction needs to be brought into consideration – that is, the distinction between the “didactic” part of the mass, that is the reading of the scriptures and the giving of a sermon, and the more strictly “liturgical” parts, i.e. prayers addressed to God, culminating in the Eucharistic prayer, but also including the hours, such as praying the psalms, antiphons, etc. at Vespers and the other hours. I see no problem with reading or chanting the scriptures in the vernacular, although it would be good to retain Latin for the chanting, to preserve a sense of tradition and because the Gregorian chant is so well suited to the Latin language.

    However, I don’t see that the rest of the Mass is of a “kerygmatic” nature, and the dropping of Latin here would seem to be of significantly less value. However, if Latin is used, it is important that people be well-instructed about the meaning of the different parts of the services, and of the specific content of the prayers. Also, one must keep in mind that using vernacular for church services is not a substitute for good preaching by pastors. Pastors should not expect the Mass to do their teaching for them, so to speak.

  105. M Kr,

    Great points all. I agree that Latin is more condusive to chanting than English. I also think that keeping the “Liturgy of the Word” largely in the vernacular and reserving the Latin mostly for the “Liturgy of the Eucharist” (especially following the traditional rite of the dismissal of the catechumens).

    That said, I do think that the Mass has a “kerygmatic” dimension to it (especially the anaphora).

    God bless,

    Gordo

  106. Malta says:

    puzzled wrote: \”Latin is our sacred language: it is a precious jewel of Western Christianity, an
    invaluable heritage. I weep to think of how its fragility has been demonstrated
    by the horrific experiment of these four decades. If Catholics of the Roman
    Rite do not act now to preserve and strengthen this heritage, to foster it and
    protect it as it deserves, then, I believe, it will surely perish, and live on
    merely as the preserve of scholars and antiquarians. It is not dead yet in the
    hearts of the people. The time has come to end this gross attempt at linguistic
    euthanasia. Making the sacraments of the traditional Roman Rite generally
    available in the vernacular would strike Latin a cruel death blow indeed.
    Shouldn’t you, as a man so obviously respectful of tradition, be advocating
    that the traditional Roman Rite preserve the integrity of its own
    traditions—which includes the virtually exclusive use of Latin—just as much
    as you believe that the Eastern rites should preserve the integrity of their
    own, which includes the widespread use of the vernacular?

    I can\’t add a comment to improve on that passage!

    As to a married priesthood: we have married priests in the U.S. who were once Anglicans.
    The East has always had married priests, and the west had them until about the 12th century. I think a celibate priesthood is much superior to a married priesthood, based on the Bible and Tradition, but perhaps a time will come that in order to have good priests who
    aren\’t gay, we might have to broaden our priesthood to married men. But that should be a last resort. I think for now, we could regularize SSPX, hugely support FSSP, and we would have a groundswell of good, celibate, men wanting to be priests.

    To save the Church we also need to have as our goal the abolishment of the Bugnini mass, a horrible aberration in the history of the Church–although I think BXVI did the right thing in preserving it for now, unlike what Paul VI did with the TLM.

  107. RBrown says:

    Gordo,

    1. You mention that the Byzantine rites use vernacular liturgy. But in those rites the priest, hidden behind the Iconostasis, is separate from the faithful. Further, none of the Eastern Rite Eucharistic celebrations I have attended use contemporary music forms.

    BTW, when I was in Rome, I often went to the Russicum on Sunday.

    2. The Apostolic and Missionary activities of the Eastern Rite Churches have not really amounted to much compared to the Church in the West. The West has the Franciscans, Dominicans, Carmelites, Jesuits, and Opus Dei—all Apostolic orders.

    3. In fact, some think that if there had been Franciscans and Dominicans in the Russian Orthodox Church, then there would have been no Russian Revolution because there would have been no Rasputin. The Mad Monk, probably from a Gnostic sect, was a major factor in the suppression of the Parlement (which spurred on the revolution). There were figures similar to Rasputin in the Middle Ages—they began to disappear with the emergence of the Apostolic Orders.

    4. I think the use of Latin spurs Missionary Activity rather than restricts it, simply because missionary activity is a manifestation of the universality of the Church. And Latin, as JXXIII pointed out, is a universal language. And so, due to the work of St Nicholas in Japan. there are now about 9,000 Japanese Orthodox compared with 500,000 Catholics.

  108. LeonG says:

    In contemplation of the current numerous hideous liturgies cast in various vernacular modes that have mushroomed since the late 1960s, only a return to the appropriate linguistic register of liturgical Latin will restaurare in omnia Christo. The objective evidence is there throughout western christendom of a euphemistic Latin Rite Church which is no longer Latin Rite and whose members have become stricken with manifest doctrinal error; manifest illicit usages and manifest illiteracy in its knowledge of The Faith. The arguments that vernacular use improves knowledge and participation are bankrupted by emptying seminaries, rapidly closing churches, dying religious communities and devastated church attendance.

    Liturgical Latin is part and parcel of the culture and identity of the Latin Rite Church. To have unhinged it from the Holy Sacrifice of The Mass was an act of liturgical vandalism in its real sense. It has contributed directly to the abominable anarchy and disobedience witnessed on a daily basis throughout the universal church. By its very nature the use of the vernacular is profane, can be politically manipulated and has the potential to be doctrinally subversive. It also opens up the way for linguistic imperialism – vis-a-vis the English language for example, and it has the capacity to create dissension and dissatisfaction which it does in actual fact today in certain parts of the world. On a practical level it divides along ethnic lines and can be reductionist linguistically. This militates against the universality and harmony of the Roman Catholic liturgy.

    It has to be repeated that Pope St Pius V made it clear and so did the Councils of Trent that use of the vernacular in the liturgy is anathema. Nowadays we can properly understand why this is the case. Except where the priest illuminates the Holy Scriptures for the congregation, the vernacular has no place in the Roman Catholic Mass without very severe consequences. Today, those consequences are being objectively suffered.

  109. Malta says:

    LeonG:

    Everything you say is true, except, I would add that the consequences of the Bugnini Mass are also subjectively “suffered:” case in point: my own family. We have to travel around 150 miles round trip to attend a traditional Mass (there are a couple of priests who would like to pray the TLM closer, but are suppressed politically–if not in fact. ) This is a great burden on my family; it is real and palpable in my little world with rising gas prices.

    The more I think and learn about the Bugnini mass, the more I think it was a terrible thing for the Church (but it is a valid mass, barely). The consequences have been devastating, as I said supra, which I won’t repeat again.

    The original letter says: “. I am not advocating changing the 1962 Liturgy simply making it more accessible to a wider audience. [by allowing for a vernacular 1962 liturgy]”

    perhaps I’m alone in saying this: but that idea is manifestly absurd! The idea of a vernacular traditional mass is oxymoronic! It is aberrant, and shall I be blunt: anathema (read Code 9 of the council of Trent). Thus, those that promote a vernacular traditional mass, if I may again be blunt, should be excommunicated from the Catholic Church for advocating heresy.

  110. Malta says:

    I said \”code,\” of course I meant \”canon\” 9 of the Council of Trent:

    http://www.ewtn.com/library/COUNCILS/TRENT22.HTM

    btw: I still haven\’t seen one response how this Canon–a solemn declaration by a didactic Ecumenical Council of the Church–has been changed or abrogated by any authority, whether by council or Pope. (Vatican II specifically declined to teach by anethema or promote new doctrine or dogma, and thus was a \’pastoral\’ council.)

  111. Matt Q says:

    John, Jack, Gordo, Puzzled, et al… good posts.

    I like Father Z’s motto, “Save The Liturgy, Save The World.” ( Better the Liturgy than the cheerleader, right? ;) ) For me, the missa prima is the Tridentine Mass. The Novus Ordo for what it is can be saved. It’s language and rubrics however must be solidified in a set and codified manner. Perhaps the current rewording of the Novus Ordo is a good beginning.

    The Novus Ordo can be made as precise as the EFTM, and bring about good spirituality. On the other hand, this will never happen until the socio-political agendas of the various liberal factions of the Church are put to an end.

  112. paleothomist says:

    Malta & others,

    Could we please stop throwing around canon 9 of Trent? It does not say what you seem to think it says:

    “Canon 9. If anyone says that the rite of the Roman Church, according to which a part of the canon and the words of consecration are pronounced in a low tone, is to be condemned; or that the mass ought to be celebrated in the vernacular tongue only;[28] or that water ought not to be mixed with the wine that is to be offered in the chalice because it is contrary to the institution of Christ,[29] let him be anathema.”

    It is anathemtizing those who say that Mass should be offered in the vernacular only. To advocate that the TLM could be said completely in the vernacular is not nec. to claim that it ought only to be celebrated in the vernacular.

    This canon of Trent is from 1562. In 1615, the Holy office, in the presence of Pope Paul V and with St. Robert Bellarmine as a member, gave permission for the Tridentine Mass and Breviary to be translated into Chinese for liturgical use. Were they heretics or excommunicates?

    Obviously, if the Mass could be said in a language besides Latin in 1615, it could still be done in 2007. The question is the merits of the case, not some supposed (non-existent) ban.

    So please stop hitting people over the head with canon 9, it does not apply to this discussion.

    (for more info on the Chinese situation, c.f. Generations of Giants, by George Dunn, 1962)

  113. Sub Umbra Mortis says:

    I am a pastor who does both the Ordinary and Extraordinary for of the Mass every week. I have a real problem with doing the Latin Mass in the Vernacular, even the readings.
    One of the great heartaches that I endure is that for a small parish I have to do Mass in English, Spanish and Vietnamese (in addition to the Latin Mass). I say all of these Masses for only a hand-full of people because they feel that they must have “their mass.” Hence, the community is most divided and it is as though I have four parishes. This is especially irksome since I could easily fit two of these congregations into one Mass; however, since the Latin language has become so foreign to the Latin Rite Tradition, I have to multiply services thereby eliminating the possibly of ever developing common ground.

    What is more as a result of all these Masses I am exhausted every Sunday since I have no assistance. What happened to the days when we could all attend Mass together and follow along in our Missals? What happened to the days when we could all sing together from the one Language of the Church thereby expressing one faith, one Lord, one Baptism, from the many languages of man? What we have created is a new tower of Babble. Now no comes together or comes to understand the other.

    One may object to my argument by stating that we could have multi-lingual Masses. I tried this, and this so-called solution creates even more confusion and distraction from the Sacred Action of the Mass. Some will say: why wasn’t the Eucharistic prayer done in English? Why wasn’t the Gospel proclaimed in Spanish? Why wasn’t this or that done in my tongue? One language will dominate in this forum. It’s unavoidable. Besides, very few people even attend these services. They also find it distracting and hard to follow.

    Finally I resent the political nature of the vernacular for the sacred liturgy. Every translation is an interpretation. The terrorists at ICEL and the bishop’s conference have been abusing this dictum for years in order to express low-Christology and banal translations. What is more, they have made the sacred texts uninspiring, as a result of “playing” with the language in order to suit a particular ideology. I know of one case where the creed had to be suppressed as a result of people tampering with the language.

    The only viable solution is to return to the Latin language and Gregorian chant. It is the only way to express the one faith, rise above the political nature of a living language, and come together in prayer in the Latin rite.

  114. Matt Q says:

    Dear John:

    In regards to the Anglicans, I wouldn’t worry too much about the TLM. There is already a Roman Catholic liturgy of Anglican Use in use. There is a cool parish in Houston, Our Lady Of Walsingham. http://www.walsingham-church.org.

    That parish is a Roman Catholic parish using the Latin Rite Mass in English which more or less dates from Tudor times. Wonder why they didn’t use that missal for the Novus Ordo. LOL

    I don’t think the Novus Ordo will go away, just more concrete ways of saying it. Again, until the agendas of the various liberal factions are put down, there won’t be too much change. Too many people are going to be making excuses to maintain their status quo, just like the same people who are making excuses against implementing Summorun Pontificum. It will never end until the Church puts her foot down. Too crippled though with Vatican II-itis. IMO

  115. The Ikonostas veils the Mystery in the sense of hiding? The iconostas represents
    heaven and earth in timeless adoration of the Triune Lord of the Cosmos. Nothing
    is hedden that isn’t revealed as the sciptures attest. By hiding do you mean the
    use of the Royal Doors? In the Russian Traditon the opeing and closing depends
    more on the rank of the celebrant. the higher his rank the more the doors
    remain open. Pascha, no closing of the doors. The curtain is closed only after the
    Great Entrance and at the Communion of the Clergy. Many Bishops no longer
    close the doors at all. Let us not read into liturgical actions or appoinments
    things that are not really intended. Clerical pomp is not really the issue
    here at all. In fact in Orthodox theology the priest (hieros) always remains
    numbered among the laos–the people of God.

  116. Cosmos says:

    RBrown,

    I thought your comments were very interesting, except that I disagree with this statement:

    “1. You mention that the Byzantine rites use vernacular liturgy. But in those rites the priest, hidden behind the Iconostasis, is separate from the faithful.”

    I have attended a Ukranian Byzantine liturgy quite a bit, and I did not get the impression that the priest was hidden. BUt even if he were characterized that way, there was a lot of interaction, a lot of call and response, etc. My only point was that the venacular was not just a technicality, as you seem to imply. My first impression of the Liturgy was pure joy, and I imagined that this was a little glimpse of what the Council Fathers had probably intented for the Latin Rite.

    I do not know enough to know who is right in this debate, and I sympathize with both sides in many ways, but I do think that if the Old Mass had simply been translated in limited parts, there would be far less debate and 99% of orthodox Catholics would have been happy.

    In other words, the appeal of Latin is likely fueled, in no small part, by the fact that it was removed at the same time that the mass was re-written whihc seems to have lead to a crisis in the faith. (this is not to denegrate the call for its return!) But while the change to the venacular, and the creation of a new and inferior liturgy happened at the same time, they are two seperable events- even if they correspond in time.

    I think that the most powerful crticism of the Novus Ordo is that it fails to clearly convey the Catholic understanding of the Eucharist. Had the liturgy been replaced with an ugly and boring but extremely clear expression of Christ’s eternal sacrifice, instead of with the Novus Ordo, we would be facing a very differnt battle right now. I wonder if we are conflating the abandonment of Latin, with the abandonment of the theology that underpinned the Tridentine mass BECAUSE the same revolutionaries who desired one desired the other as well. For this reason, I think that Latin, as important as it is, takes a backseat to the reform of the liturgy itself (knowinng full well that Latin would obviously be part of that reform.)

  117. paleothomist says:

    Cosmos,

    Excellent points. I have long thought that a lot of the liturgical debacle was caused by two things being done at once: altering the Mass and translating it into the verncaular. If only one had been done, it would not have created such a free for all atmosphere.

    If the Mass had just been translated, all the old rubrics and customs would have been more or less intact. If the Mass had been changed but kept in Latin, it still seems to me that there would have been many fewer abuses. After all, how many priests would have been able to ad-lib in Latin?

  118. LeonG says:

    The protestations against the citing of Canon 9 and its anathemas ignore the socio-historic context of not only Pope St Pius V’s liturgical work but the reasons for the work of the Councils of Trent also. These have implications for the modern church.

    Where liturgical development is concerned, the case of China is unique in that its cultural traditions were well established and as any Chinese scholar can understand, the language, written and spoken, its religious traditions, its literature and music, the Chinese way of life essentially Confucian, were all highly developed with no experience at all of Christianity. There had to be a studied response since the earlier attempts at evangelisation prior to the advent of Fr Ricci, (a Jesuit like St Robert Bellarmine) in the late 16th & early 17th centuries, were inadequate in the face of such a remarkable civilisation. In fact, Fr Ricci found much of the Chinese way of life mutually enriching & adopted some of their norms. While he had successes and failures there without entering into arguments about it, he was criticised for religious syncretism. This did not rule out the use of The Latin Mass as the desired norm. Use of vernacular language form many perspectives was deemed a necessary stepping stone. The pity is that Catholic missionary attempts in the 13th & early fourteenth centuries never materialised. This is another story.

    In western Christendom, in the climate of the protestant deformation with all its schismatic acts and heretical beliefs, the stripping of Catholicism of most of its norms and values was a principal objective. In doctrine and in liturgy, the appeals were made by the various deformers to empty both of what was specifically Roman Catholic. Thus, for example, salvation was possible outside The Church, Holy Scriptures should be open to personal interpretation and the liturgy should be a memorial only & not sacrificial and in the vernacular. Many of the rebels wanted vernacular only liturgies. In the mind of the Conciliar fathers of the sixteenth century and popes such as St Pius V there could be no question of vernacular Masses. Latin had been the exclusive language of the Roman liturgy for at least one thousand years and significant parts of it most likely went back to the times of the Apostles. The thought of a vernacular Mass or vernacular only Mass which protestants called for was out of the question. The Roman Mass in Latin was the customary sacred liturgy. Use of the vernacular was unthinkable. The anathema was therefore applied against this genre of thought and its revolutionary background.

    In Pope St Pius V’s mind there was only one Holy Sacrifice of The Mass in the Latin Rite and it was in Latin. He determined to ensure there would only be one text and one form forever. The thought that one day a Roman Catholic pontiff could entertain the idea of and authorise a form of the Mass in the vernacular denuded of its principal Catholic components would have been impossible for the saint pope to conceive. Moreover, his papal successors were in entire accord with this belief and orientation. That is until we arrive at the time of Pope Pius XII when the subversive modernist undercurrent bent on wholesale changes found its able liturgical ally in Bugnini and later in the liberal modernist-friendly Pope Paul VI (RIP). At this point the earlier appeals from protestants for vernacular and vernacular only liturgies comes significantly from within the church itself. Evidence demonstrates amply that Paul VI wanted a Mass reduced in its Roman Catholic content to favour the protestant sects as he thought this would assist in opening up the way for increased conversions and even vocations. He was lamentably and wholly misguided in this notion. However, and very significantly, he did not abrogate the Latin Mass of All Times because he knew he did not have the authority to do so. For other proponents of the same liturgical folly, the vandalisation of The Roman Catholic liturgy was an opportunity to destroy The Church as it was understood in orthodox terms for a new style religion which was, briefly, more worldly. The liberals played the role of useful though rather misguided allies.

    Thus, it is clear that to Pope St Pius V; to his successors for over four hundred years as well as to the fathers of the Councils of Trent that the Latin liturgy was a strategic element in protecting The Roman Catholic Faith from false doctrines, false biblical exegesis and false religion: all three being rampant during this period and thereafter. The liturgy had to remain in Latin and in a more unified form. Deviations away from this have been warned against by linguistic anathemas, appropriately applied, and by admonitions of the “wrath” of Saint Peter and Saint Paul and of Almighty God Himself.

    The consequences of disobedience to this liturgical guarantee “in perpetuum” are objectively evident for all to see. Only the ardently blind may deny it. There is absolute confusion which the SP of Pope Benedict XVI does nothing to solve neither does it protect against further liturgical abuses be they linguistic, cultural or episcopal. For instance, the perverse promise of a lesbian priestess led Latin/multi-lingual Novus Ordo editions beckons. As a gesture in itself the SP was necessary to eliminate the propaganda engineered by liberals that made the Latin Mass of All Times appear an outlawed liturgical form and Latin appear as a “fossil”. Nonetheless, it conveniently ignores all the excellent and admirable work of the sixteenth century Roman Catholic Church which protected Roman Catholic lay and clergy from impertinent and illicit protestant vernacular liturgies which lead and have led astray doctrinally and behaviourally most attendees and which have now gravely undermined the authority of The Roman Catholic Church over what is valid and or licit in the liturgy.

    Pope Paul VI opened a veritable Pandora’s Box when he authorised vernacular liturgy, the box which Pope St Pius V, his successors for over four hundred years and the Council fathers had kept tightly shut. They knew only too well what would result from vernacular liturgy. One might even describe Pope Paul VI’s act as apocalyptic since it has set in motion a period of extreme disturbance and destruction not only in the liturgy but also in the entire landscape of the contemporary church. The trumpet of the supposedly “Catholic” vernacular Sunday service had been blown. Thereafter and even more so today we are provided with the perspective of more liturgical abuses with wider permutations to come, as indicated. In a period where the average contemporary “catholic” appears to know more about false religion than true, this bodes ill.

    By the imperative Catholic axiom of lex orandi being directly proportionate to lex credendi, in the first place, a return to the Latin only Holy Sacrifice of The Mass is the sole means that The Roman Catholic Church has at its disposal to instaurare omnia in Christo. In the second, all the other misdirected and un-Catholic novelties that have accompanied the universal weekly liturgical brainwashing in the vernacular with modernistic ideologies such as collegial misgovernance; pluralistic, indifferentist ecumenism and anarchic religious liberty need to be swept away into the dustbin of Catholic history and serve as a future warning to all Roman Catholics. Pope St Pius V and his contemporaries the Conciliar fathers of Trent were absolutely correct to anathematise vernacular as the key language of The Latin Rite Mass in the Roman Catholic Church and to guarantee its form and the Latin language “in perpetuum” so spare us the wrath of Almighty God, St Peter and St Paul.

  119. Malta says:

    paleothomist,

    Canon 9 most certainly does belong in this conversation. It says what it says–without ambiguity. This anathema wasn’t a joke or a statement only for its time. I have no authority that it was ever abrogated, do you? The Chinese vernacular rite of mass was, apparently, never promulgated:

    http://friarsminor.org/xix7-3.html

    Pope Saint Pius V presided over the dogmatic council which declared those anathema who espouse a vernacular-only mass, and yet you seem to be throwing your hat in with Pope Paul V, not a saint, who approved a Chinese vernacular mass which was never promulgated. That’s your prerogative, but I wouldn’t so flippantly disregard Canon 9.

  120. Fr. Gregory,

    Glory to Jesus Christ!

    Your wrote:

    “The Ikonostas veils the Mystery in the sense of hiding? The iconostas represents
    heaven and earth in timeless adoration of the Triune Lord of the Cosmos. Nothing
    is hedden that isn’t revealed as the sciptures attest. By hiding do you mean the
    use of the Royal Doors? In the Russian Traditon the opeing and closing depends
    more on the rank of the celebrant. the higher his rank the more the doors
    remain open. Pascha, no closing of the doors. The curtain is closed only after the
    Great Entrance and at the Communion of the Clergy. Many Bishops no longer
    close the doors at all. Let us not read into liturgical actions or appoinments
    things that are not really intended. Clerical pomp is not really the issue
    here at all. In fact in Orthodox theology the priest (hieros) always remains
    numbered among the laos—the people of God.”

    Well said! In fact, as you know, the first vestment of a priest is his baptismal garment!

    As far as the iconostasis is concerned, much of the Russian practice of floor to ceiling iconostases is confusing. I personally prefer New Skete’s attempt to patter theirs after Hagia Sophia:

    http://home.att.net/~sergei592/newsketescreen.jpg

    It signifies the condescension of heaven to earth and the ascent of earth into
    heaven – NOT separation. In Syrian churches, the ancient bema was the bishop’s throne which was an extension of the solea into the center of the nave upon which the Gospel book was placed and which had several seats for the bishop and his presbyters. It was from here that the Liturgy of the Word was celebrated, with the people gathered around. I believe this ancient practice (which had its roots in the synagogue) helped to demonstrate even further the union of the altar and the nave. It is a shame that so many churches have truncated the solea!

    Peace,

    Gordo

  121. paleothomist says:

    Malta,

    Please read canon 9 carefully:

    “or that the mass ought to be celebrated in the vernacular tongue only;[”

    No one here is (or should be) claiming that the Mass must ONLY be in the vernacular, only wondering if it could be celebrated in the vernacular. So this canon is not relevant.

    My point about Paul V and St. Bellarmine is that they certainly did not share your interpretation of Trent’s 9th Canon. Sorry Malta, but I will accept the interpretation of a Pope and a Saint over yours any day.

    Once again, I must ask, are you claiming that Paul the VI and St. Robert Bellarmine were heretics. That seems to be what you are implying.

  122. paleothomist says:

    I meant to say Paul V at the end of my post

  123. malta says:

    paleo,

    Please read the entire passage carefully and in context:

    “Canon 9. If anyone says that the RITE OF THE ROMAN CHURCH [boldface added], according to which a part of the canon and the words of consecration are pronounced in a low tone, is to be condemned; or that the mass ought to be celebrated in the vernacular tongue only;”

    The priest who wrote the original letter which started this interesting discussion
    seems to be advocating for a vernacular-only version of the extraordinary form of mass
    and that strikes me as counter to the intent of Canon 9.

  124. Jordan Potter says:

    Malta said: The priest who wrote the original letter which started this interesting discussion
    seems to be advocating for a vernacular-only version of the extraordinary form of mass
    and that strikes me as counter to the intent of Canon 9.

    We know that the intent of Canon 9 was to condemn and exclude the teachings of the Protestants, who wanted the Mass only in the vernacular and never in Latin or in any language that the congregation could not understand. Therefore Canon 9 has no relevance for a situation in which a vernacular Mass is just one option and a Latin Mass is another option.

  125. paleothomist says:

    Malta,

    To give the priest the benefit of the doubt, he may just be advocating the advantages of using the 62 Missal all in English. He is not necessarily saying that it is bad to say the Mass in Latin (which is what the Protestants condemned at Trent were saying). His statement “Prayer by it’s very nature ought to be intelligilble and understandable.” does, I’ll admit, suggest this. I would hesitate to judge him without further information. Perhaps he would (one hopes) admit that for the right group Latin IS intelligible and understandable.

    For the record, I am skeptical about the value of doing the 62 Mass in English. There have been many good arguments on this thread in favor of more vernacular in the Traditional Mass. I am not really convinced by them, but that is different from thinking they are heretical, as I have tried to point out.

    My two reasons for hesitation are:

    1) The problems of even getting a decent Novus Ordo translation are a sign of the difficulty of translating liturgical texts in modern culture. It seems if we opened the TLM to translation you would have the same problems. Maybe it would be best to leave well enough alone for a century or so until things stabilize. I think, looking back from a future time, VII will be viewed as the death nell rather than the triumph of the liturgical movement, at least for the midterm.

    2)Is there really any point. I have attended Tridentine Masses, Novus Ordo in every form from Latin High Masses to… (you know), as well as Byzantine Liturgies in various languages ant the Ethiopian Rite. I have seen a lot of different ways of offering the sacrifice of the altar. The vernacular has a great appeal. But I also recognize the great richness of Latin. Would translating the 62 Missal in the vernacular (which basically the Missal of 65) really be a great improvement. There would certainly be some gain, but also some loss. Certainly it wouldn’t be a “New Pentacost”. So I guess it goes back to my point: It might be best to leave well enough alone. The Latin wasn’t a hindrance to Saints being formed in the past.

  126. paleothomist says:

    Postscript:

    Maybe instead of trying to vernacularize the Tridentine Mass, one should try to Tridentize the vernacular Novus Ordo. Even with the existing rubrics a lot can be done in this direction.

  127. malta says:

    Leaving aside Canon 9 for a moment, I find it absolutely incredible that there are really those advocating for a vernacular Tridentine Mass. Here we have one of the most beautiful treasures in the history of humanity that was suppressed after Vatican II and the Bugnini Mass and the Church has been in auto-destruct mode since. And now that BXVI has liberated the TLM, we are starting to hear that sicky-sweet swansong that we heard by the liberals during Vatican II: “[in a soft voice] we need to make the extraordinary form of the mass intelligible to the people too.” When will these liberals get over their proletariat mumbo jumbo, and realize that to vernacularize the traditional mass would be a sin against humanity and quite likely a grave sin before God.

  128. Jordan Potter says:

    Malta said: Leaving aside Canon 9 for a moment, I find it absolutely incredible that there are really those advocating for a vernacular Tridentine Mass. Here we have one of the most beautiful treasures in the history of humanity that was suppressed after Vatican II and the Bugnini Mass and the Church has been in auto-destruct mode since. And now that BXVI has liberated the TLM, we are starting to hear that sicky-sweet swansong that we heard by the liberals during Vatican II: “[in a soft voice] we need to make the extraordinary form of the mass intelligible to the people too.” When will these liberals get over their proletariat mumbo jumbo, and realize that to vernacularize the traditional mass would be a sin against humanity and quite likely a grave sin before God.

    We already pretty much have a vernacular Tridentine Mass — in the Anglican Use parishes of the Latin Rite. But your remark that “to vernacularize the traditional mass would be a sin against humanity and quite likely a grave sin before God” sounds like more of your usual intemperate rhetoric, Malta. I’m not interested in an English Tridentine Mass, but the Church has no problems with one, and there’s no moral or doctrinal or disciplinary obstacle, so if some want to go that route I’m in no position to say them nay.

  129. LeonG says:

    Contrary to all those who would like to ignore the sanctions of the sixteenth century Roman Catholic Church governing the liturgy, they are still extremely relevant today. In the light of the devastated vineyard which surrounds us in the anarchy of contemporary post-conciliar modern church liturgy and its mostly un-Catholic environment, the use of the vernacular is one of the principal elements which has unleashed the demon of division & doctrinal subversion. You can only the ignore objective evidence for so long. To imagine a reform of a supposed reform which has obvious manifest fault-lines would be to rebuild on unreliable foundations. The Church Fathers of the sixteenth century knew perfectly well what they were doing for the long term future of The Roman Catholic Church on Earth. The disobedient willfulness of the modernist and the malice of forethought of those who are sworn enemies of The Church have combined to destroy necessary unity and harmony in The Roman Catholic liturgy, among other factors. Protestations that there is ‘no going back’ is to say that we accept continued and worsening liturgical anarchy and, with the neomodernists explain it away as “unity in diversity”, the rights of man and the emergence of the super-ego with its immanent pantheistic utopia. This would no longer be the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. We are returning to the tower of Babel. If there were some vestiges of discipline being imposed in the modern church as there used to be, then there would be grounds for realistic optimism. However, even the leadership is at sixes and sevens. The Latin Mass is now being thrown to the wolves.

  130. Malta says:

    Jordan wrote:
    “I’m not interested in an English Tridentine Mass, but the Church has no problems with one, and there’s no moral or doctrinal or disciplinary obstacle, so if some want to go that route I’m in no position to say them nay.”
    What!? The Church “has no problems” with a vernacular Traditional Latin Mass? Where did you read that?
    I think you need to re-read Canon 9:
    “Canon 9. IF ANYONE SAYS THAT THE RITE OF THE ROMAN CHURCH, according to which a part of the canon and the words of consecration are pronounced in a low tone, is to be condemned; OR THAT THE MASS OUGHT TO BE CELEBRATED IN THE VERNACULAR TONGUE ONLY; or that water ought not to be mixed with the wine that is to be offered in the chalice because it is contrary to the institution of Christ, LET HIM BE ANATHEMA.” [BOLDFACE ADDED]
    When did that Canon stop applying to the Traditional Latin Mass—a Mass codified by Pope Saint Pius V just after the Council of Trent? If there is any rite of Mass this Canon applies to, it is the “Tridentine Rite.” To say otherwise is anathema. You know, when a Dogmatic Council of the Church speaks of Anathemas, the charge is not really optional or changeable (unless in the extremely rare case where the Church specifically changes a doctrine of the Church, which I have no authority was done with Canon 9.) So, Jordan, are Catholics now free to pick and choose their dogmas and doctrines?
    The Anglican rite is not THE rite of the Roman Catholic Church; the Eastern Rites aren’t, either.
    The obvious question is: did Paul VI or Bugnini violate Canon 9? Remember, Vatican II did not propose a purely vernacular rite, but rather changes to the existing rite, with a bit more vernacular. Paul VI never abrogated the Traditional Latin Mass (although it seemed that way) and now Benedict XVI has said that it was never abrogated, and indeed was always licit, even though SSPX was “excommunicated” in the process or trying to save it! I can only argue that the TLM is and will always be THE rite of the Catholic Church since, arguably, Paul VI had no authority to abolish it, and thus, titles notwithstanding, the Novus Ordo will someday be seen for what it was: an aberration; a minor, deficient manufactured, on-the-spot liturgy imposed on the people of God much to their detriment. THE RITE OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH IS AND WILL REMAIN THE TRADITIONAL LATIN MASS.
    Btw: here’s a prophetic article by a great Bishop who was present at Vatican II:
    Archbishop Robert Dwyer of Portland Oregon on New Mass:
    “When whole segments of the contemporary Church are set on a downward course of vulgarization, of anti-intellectualism, of revolt, and rebellion against all standards and authority, it is exceedingly difficult to put a stop to the trend, holding back the enormous weight, and then attempting to turn these segments back the other way, to begin all over again the slow, laborious climb to the high and distant peaks.
    It is just such a catastrophe which overwhelms us today. We recall the dream of St. Francis and Pope Innocent III where the little Poor Man was holding up with his feeble hands the collapsing fabric of the Lateran…
    We are in a veritable landslide of vulgarization. What was intended by Vatican Council II as a means of making the liturgy more easily understood by the average Christian, has turned out to be something more like an orgy of stripping it of all sense of holiness and reverence, bringing it down to the level of commonness where the very people for whom the changes were made now only yawn out of sheer boredom with the banality of the result.
    What was the great poetic style of the Bible has been transmogrified and cheapened into some of the most graceless, flat, plodding prose ever inflicted upon undeserving dullards. Matters are bad enough now, but wait until the new Order of the Mass is released as compulsory for a revelation of what crimes can be committed by men in committee! It might have been thought, in the interest of ecumenism, that consideration could have been given to strengthening the old Douai-Challoner text with the great style, the ‘organ roll’ of the King James version. But no! In the minds of those commissioned by hierarchy to do the work, the great object or target, manifestly, was to denude the liturgy of its last claim to literary dignity…With polite pious acquiescence, the Bishops received the results with no more than an occasional feeble, almost only grunted protest. Thusly, do we lose a priceless cultural inheritance.”
    Quoted from The Clarion, Parish Bulletin, Glenview, Il, July 26, 1971

  131. Malta says:

    Here’s why the Traditional Latin Rite is worth preserving, and preserving vigorously:

    http://www.godtube.com/view_video.php?viewkey=b16f7fd526d5fc677927

    Why is the Church crisis directly linked with Priests Bishops etc. who celebrate an english vernacular only mass? Why is it that, statistically, Novus Ordo Catholics contracept, abort etc. like the rest of the world, but Traditional Mass Catholics, statistically, are almost immune to these modern trends? Why is it that 99.5 percent of the abusing priests Novus Ordo priests, even given the fact that much fewer are allowed to pray the TLM?

    Why is it, we had 48,000 priests in American, and now we have 15,000? Why are Traditional orders, including SSPX, thriving, while the rest of the Catholic, Novus Ordo, world decaying? Just think–use your God-given brain–about this….

  132. Andrew says:

    Friends:

    … or that the mass ought to be celebrated in the vernacular tongue only

    There is a difference between saying “vernacular only” and “vernacular”.

    “Vernacular only” means “no Latin at all, ever, a complete prohibition of Latin”.

    No one in this thread or in the original post suggested such a thing. For a priest to say: “I wish to say it in the vernacular” does not mean “I also want to forbid it to be said by anyone else anywhere ever in Latin”. Understand this distinction or else you will misinterpret the canon in question.

  133. Malta says:

    Andrew,

    Trent clearly called for some vernacular in the Mass. Personally, I think it called for the readings in latin/vernacular and a vernacular homily. Moreover, it (somewhat strangely) called for an explanation by the priest to describe what is going on during mass to make it more intelligible to the people.

    But the whole vernacular-Latin dichotomy is much bigger than any of us can imagine. It transcends our current era, and reaches deep into the history of the Church, when Christ was crucified, and above the cross was written, “King of the Jews” in Latin, Aramaic, and Hebrew. If Latin is unimportant in the contemporary Church, why is it especially effective for exorcists? Why do modern exorcists use Latin because it is most effectatious against evil?

    http://byzantinedominican.blogspot.com/2007/06/devil-especially-hates-prayers-in-latin.html