Here is something from The Herald of Scotland with my emphases and comments:
Antiquity confers solemnity in shape of Latin mass
Published on 17 Jan 2010
Attending a traditional Latin mass in Glasgow yesterday was a chilling experience.
There was no heating ["chilling"… get it?] in the Sacred Heart RC church in Bridgeton, a vast 100-year-old building in the bosom of a parish first established in 1873.
Perhaps that was because there were only 31 of us in the congregation, but being freezing cold certainly helped focus the mind. After all, they do say austerity is good for the soul.
I was curious to remind myself what mass used to be like, following a debate about how the liturgy is celebrated. This was revealed in the Herald on Saturday, and has been sparked by Pope Benedict XVI’s imminent visit to Scotland.
It was the first time I’d been at Latin mass since I was a child in the 1960s, pre-Vatican Council II, and boy did I have to concentrate. Hard. [Good. But I suggest that it takes even harder work to stay focused during most Novus Ordo Masses.]
Although I attended a convent school, have a Latin O-Grade and studied French at University, the rhythmic delivery of our affable celebrant was difficult to follow. Yet the church was in total silence: this being low mass, there was no singing or any participation in the liturgy, apart from responding to Mgr Hugh Boyle’s familiar repetitions of “Dominus Vobiscum”. [WRONG. There was plenty of participation! The writer herself said that she had to concentrate. That is a deeper and necessary form of participation than mere outward activity.]
Traditional Latin Mass is said with the priest facing the altar rather than the congregation. [And thus toward the liturgical East.] This is to help us focus on the altar, the symbol of Christ’s perfect sacrifice to his Father’s will. [Well… close… actually Someone beyond the altar, but okay.] Thus is the mass depersonalised. [It is perhaps Personalized, in the sense of being directed to the divine Person of the High Priest Jesus Christ rather than the person of the priest.] As Father genuflects and kisses the altar more frequently than usual, the sense of reverence is palpable.
By the term “Latin mass”, I mean traditional mass said in the Extraordinary Form – that is, the old rite, according to the Roman Missal of l962, before Vatican Council II. It is better known as Tridentine Mass. The version that most modern Catholics are familiar with is the Ordinary Form, or new mass, issued by Pope Paul VI in 1970.
In Scotland there has been a resurgence of interest in, and the practice of, the Latin mass, [Do I hear an "Amen!"?] yet traditional Latin mass was effectively re-instated by Pope Benedict XVI in 2007. In his apostolic letter Summorum Pontificum the Holy Father said that there were two forms of expression of the Roman Rite of the Mass, effectively decreeing that all priests were now free to choose whether to offer the Tridentine Mass or the new mass.
However, the majority of parishes in Scotland don’t offer Latin mass, and some Scottish bishops are not in favour of it. [And their ages would beeeee…] This, say traditionalists, contradicts not only Benedict but even the late Pope John Paul II, who in 1988 asked bishops to actively support those who felt “attached to the Latin liturgical tradition”.
The anticipated visit of Pope Benedict XVI to Scotland in September therefore highlights a problem. If as expected the Holy Father will want to celebrate mass, could it be in the Extraordinary Form? [Hmmm….]
The majority of his concelebrants, and therefore their congregations, do not know the liturgy in Latin. Unlike 73-year-old Mgr Boyle, who has celebrated Latin mass throughout his ministry, if not always in public, younger priests will not have learned liturgical Latin.
Father Stephen Dunn, the 48-year-old parish priest at Sacred Heart in Bridgeton, started saying mass in Latin only last May, having made what he calls a “concerted effort” to learn it since 2007. [NB:] Ordained in 1994, he says he feels “bullied and suppressed” by the Glasgow Archdiocese’s “reluctance to accept” the Pope’s 2007 decree, as shown in Archbishop Conti’s response to it in a letter to Glasgow’s priests on August 10, 2007, in which he questioned the need for it.
Yet as I was about to rediscover yesterday, it’s not just the fact that it’s said in Latin that makes the Extraordinary Form so different. The entire structure of the Mass is almost recognisable from what it is today. [Ummm… I think she meant unrecognizable. But…. go on…]
The first thing I noticed on entering Sacred Heart were the altar railings. [Altar rails are not part of the structure of the Mass.] These are a rarity in Catholic churches, because most were removed post-Vatican II to facilitate the taking of the Host from the priest at Holy Communion and self-administering it. [NO! NO! NO! That is NOT why they were removed. It is actually easier to distribute Communion at an altar rail. Rails were removed for theological/ideological reasons, not for practical reasons. But notice her language: "taking" the Host… not "receiving".] The traditional mass, by contrast, encourages us to kneel and be given Communion as we did in the old days because it helps engender a greater sense of reverence for the sacrament, and humility to God. [Sounds like a pretty good reason to me.]
We’re reminded that only baptised Catholics, and those in the state of grace, are invited to receive Holy Communion. This is to remind us that we are sinners and to encourage us to attend Confession. [Dear, we are sinners after confession too.]
Nobody recites the Creed except the priest, and he says most of the Offertory quietly to himself. The Canon – the very heart of the mass, as it leads to the Consecration – is also silent. There is only one form of the Canon, though there are four options in the new mass.
There are no tambourines or guitars, and no lay church members stepping on to the altar. [Do I hear and "Amen!"?]
Everything is in the priest’s gift, which leaves us free to take from mass what we’re meant to. [Hmmm… not quite sure what this means. I think it means that because no one is shoving outward participation or music, etc., down your throat, you can participate more freely. You are not compelled to be doing stuff or singing everything. However, this is NOT about what the priest gives. It is all about what the Priest gives, Jesus Christ.]
It does at first feel stern and authoritarian, but in the end I was humbled by Latin mass, and felt awed by its solemn simplicity. It forced me turn in on myself and to examine my conscience in a way that, for better or for worse, reminded me what being a Catholic is really all about. As soon as I returned home, I felt compelled to look out my childhood Catechism and to re-learn the fundamentals of my faith. [Wow. Wonderful!]
Yes, I could warm to it. If they turned up the heating a bit. [Indeed. Good point. I hope at that parish they are able to pay the bills. Be generous in the collection, folks!]