From the Madison State Journal:
Growing number of Catholics push for return to Latin Mass
DOUG ERICKSON | firstname.lastname@example.org | 608-252-6149
Ellie Arkin doesn’t speak Latin, so upon entering Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in Madison on a recent Sunday, the 21-year-old UW-Madison student opened a Latin-to-English translation book provided by the church.
For the next hour, she and many of the other parishioners followed along in the book as the Mass unfolded mostly in Latin.
For centuries, this was the only way Catholics around the world experienced Mass. Reforms ushered in by Vatican II in the 1960s largely eliminated Latin Mass, but now, across the country and in the Madison Catholic Diocese, traditionalists are seeking its comeback.
Supporters say it offers a reverence and gravity lacking in today’s more casual worship approach.
“There’s this incredible sacredness you can feel and taste and see — it is not just a social gathering,” said Jacek Cianciara, 67, of Madison, one of the parishioners helping to bring back Latin Mass locally.
Other Catholics find the older style needlessly difficult to follow and too passive. [Needlessly difficult? Why should our liturgical worship, our opportunity to encounter mystery, be easy? And if you have an idea of what is going on, it isn’t passive.]
“When it’s in Latin, it’s just rote — you’re not reading the words for the real meaning,” said Alice Jenson, 66, of Fitchburg. [Speak for yourself, Alice.] “I’m opposed to having this artificial barrier being put up.” [Well. That settles it, then.]
Catholics now can attend a Mass in Latin somewhere in the 11-county diocese every day, although the vast majority of worship services remain in English. About 200 Catholics consistently attend a Latin Mass at least weekly, with others dropping in periodically, the diocese estimates.
That’s a tiny slice of total church attendance — about 57,000 people attend Mass in the diocese each week — but it’s a vocal and growing slice. [Growing.]
More than language
Latin Mass, also known as the Tridentine Mass, is distinguished by more than language. The priest faces the altar, which traditionally faced East, the direction from which Catholics believe Christ will return.
This means the priest has his back to the people, which traditionalists view as appropriate, like a general leading his troops. [The terms are mixed. If the priest is leading, then is it right to say he has his back to them? Technically, I guess… but it isn’t quite accurate.]
The priest speaks in a low, quiet voice, rendering the Latin largely and intentionally inaudible to parishioners. That’s because the priest should be praying to the Lord in their name, not proclaiming something to the people, said Monsignor Delbert Schmelzer, 81, one of the diocesan priests who leads Latin Masses. [Right.]
“That emphasis is a world of difference,” he said.
Gregorian chant is the required music, sometimes accompanied by an organ or singing. [Not quite. There is a vast treasury of music available for Mass.] Female altar servers are not used because traditionalists believe the role should be reserved for boys, the only ones who can become priests. [Actually, it isn’t necessarily because of the beliefs of the people, but because of the laws that govern liturgy in the older form, as Universae Ecclesiae clarified.]
Only the priest reads the Scriptures or distributes Communion.
In the Madison diocese, parishioners petitioned Bishop Robert Morlino to restore Latin Mass in 2006. Morlino, a strong supporter, led a Latin Mass in December 2007. It was the first official Latin Mass in the diocese since 1969. [WDTPRS kudos to him for that!]
Regular weekly Latin Masses began at Holy Redeemer in early 2008, initially attracting 20 or so people. Now seven of the diocese’s 134 churches — one each in Madison, Roxbury, Fennimore, Merrimac and Mazomanie and two in Platteville — offer a Latin Mass at least once a week.
Avella predicts Latin Mass will continue to appeal to a minority of Catholics. [A larger and larger minority.]
“Most U.S. Catholics still gravitate to their home parishes where the Mass is in English, the music is more diverse, and they can be active in various liturgical ministries,” he said.
Schmelzer sees a gradual blending of the more-formal Latin Mass with the more-casual new Mass.
“They are the same Mass, just different styles,” he said. “The Pope would like it to be a melding of the best parts of both for the future, and that may take a generation or two.”
All in all, a fairly well-balanced article. Read the whole thing there.