Here is an offering from the Catholic Sentinel, the twice monthly publication of Oregon Catholic Press, the official newspaper of the Archdiocese of Portland.
Rev. Mr. Cummings answers a question.
Why is the Latin Mass not offered more?
[Scottish-born, Irish-trained] Deacon Owen Cummings
Q — I was wondering, if unity is an important part of catholic teaching, why is it that we do not see the traditional Latin Mass offered more generously? In the past, anywhere you went to a Catholic Church the Mass was exactly the same (only the homily was in the vernacular). So, with an increasing number of parishioners who speak Spanish and other languages, why do we not offer this Mass more often so that we can come together and celebrate Mass without either group (the English speaking and the non-English speaking) feeling lost? [A great question.]
A — This is a very good question, but a complex question, and it shows a real sensitivity concerning the unity of the parish and, indeed, of the Catholic Church as a whole. [Indeed it does.]
Latin has traditionally been the language of the Western Church, and it seems to me that in some respects Latin may be understood as a badge or a symbol of our catholicity. [Indeed it is.]
That’s one of the reasons why various parts of the Mass are often sung in Latin, [Often? These days? Perhaps a little more often than before. But, … often? How about where you live? Is this your experience? It seems to me that the Deacon may be using just a little slight of hand here, perhaps to give the impression that Latin actually is being used… plenty of Latin, surely enough Latin… so much that we really don’t need any more.] e.g., the Sanctus, the Agnus Dei. At the same time, the church [read “Church”] has judged that celebrating in the vernacular languages better enables the active participation of all the faithful in the celebration of the Mass. [The Church also made this judgment in Sacrosanctum Concilium 54 that “steps should be taken so that the faithful may also be able to say or to sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them.“]
Having access to the words and their meanings throughout the entire celebration, including the liturgy of the word, helps us to be more spiritually disposed for the reception of Holy Communion. [I hope this is the case. Is it possible that more people today are “spiritually disposed” to receive Holy Communion since the vernacular has been in use than they were before, when Latin was in use?] This access becomes even richer when one considers the more expanded repertoire of theological meaning in the new English translation of the Roman Missal that goes into effect on the first Sunday of Advent 2011. [“even richer”! I sure hope so. I am not convinced that we have seen lots of riches yet.]
The more generous availability of the older Latin Mass by Pope Benedict was not intended to supplant the various vernacular translations, [okay…] and it was not intended to address the multicultural nature of parishes and dioceses. [hmmm… is that so? What was the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church intended to address in its global diffusion? And what does it accomplish now where it is used?] In his letter to the bishops on the occasion of the publication of the apostolic letter Summorum Pontificum the Pope wrote: “The use of the old (1962) Missal presupposes a certain degree of liturgical formation and some knowledge of the Latin language; neither of these is found very often.” [Does that seem like a non sequitur? That said, I note that the 1983 CIC can. 249 has something to say about the preparation of clergy and Latin. Or am I wrong?]
[Watch this conclusion…] We need to find other ways to deepen the unity of our multicultural parishes beyond the actual celebration of the Eucharist, even as the Eucharist remains the bedrock of our unity in Christ. [Ummm… “other ways”? Why? Why can’t the older form of Holy Mass, which obviously cuts across centuries and all cultural groups and even several living generations not be one of the tools for fostering unity of different groups in a parish? Why is it dismissed by the writer so swiftly? The writer even concedes points about catholicity earlier on. Pope Benedict intended that the older form of Holy Mass – holy in times past, still holy now – be used and that it exert an influence of some sort. This is a time for the “New Evangelization”. Shouldn’t we be using all the tools we have?]
Treat this fellow’s arguments seriously.
Make your case for or against the use of the TLM in a multicultural situation.