Why the Motu Proprio and more Latin are needed


This is a comment to another post, off topic, but a very good topic.  My emphases:

vox borealis:  I am a long time lurker but never left a comment.  I know this is rather off-topic, but–I am teaching a May term course in Florence for a North American university.  Today I attended a traditional rite, low mass at the Chiesa di S. Francesco Poverino; I invited any students who wanted to come as a "cultural/historical" experience. Four took me up on the offer (including three non-Catholics).  I ws worried they would be bored since it was a low mass with so much silence.  When we left the church, the students raved about how wonderful it was.  One student, who is Jewish, said that she felt she had just witnessed something "really special."  Another student gushed about how "amazing" it was to take part in such tradition.

If only the bishops would listen to these voices, and see how much this generation is yearning for the traditions (liturgy, processions like those you beautifully photographd today) that the generation of the 1960s/1970s abandoned.


More mottos:

Less chatter
More processions

Enough banality
Give us the sacred


If only I get get my hands on that student group for a few days on my terms, saying Mass, explaining the meaning, connecting it to the culture, history, architecture….   They would never see life the same again.  Maybe it is time to do pilgrimages.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. I have more good news along the same lines.

    I set up a new society at my university for Catholic students… you can guess what the pre-existing society was like…

    We went to a traditional Mass today, celebrated in the chapel of an old country house by a priest of ICKSP.

    Let us just say people were favourably impressed! :-)


    PS Many indult Masses here are celebrated in country house chapels because the bishops want to keep them out of the parishes. The similarity with the missionary priests during the recusancy is striking. Especially as Fr Hudson of ICKSP travels from Belgium every weekend…

  2. Christian says:

    This sort of thing, I must admit, depresses me. I fell in love with the old right when I discovered its massive evangelical power – so many can be converted by a even a good New Rite. Just imagine all the thousands of souls slipping through our fingers because of the changes. It is enough to make a grown man weep.

  3. Darryn says:

    Fr. Z,
    You said “If only I get get my hands on that student group for a few days on my terms, saying Mass, explaining the meaning, connecting it to the culture, history, architecture.” – Do you offer anything like that while you are in Minnesota? I can’t afford to fly to Rome, but I could afford Minnesota. It would be wonderful to hear you speak on these topics and celebrate Mass.

  4. Seumas says:


    What you need is your own show on EWTN. Then you could explain the Old Mass to the world.

  5. Fr Gregoire Fluet says:

    On May 6 my parish offered an elaborate celebration marking my 25th anniversary of ordination to the Priesthood. Thanks to the Canons Regular of Saint John Cantius, the Institute of Saint Joseph in Wisconsin, and the St Gregory Society of New Haven, I was able to celebrate a Solemn High Tridentine Mass.(Yes, I recently renovated the sanctuary so that Mass can be celebrated facing the east or facing the congregation) While I do celebrate the Indult Mass every Sunday, attendance is limited. This time, the Church was filled to capacity (over 500 people) with a high number of younger people who have never experienced this Mass…the result was the same, from comments on the beauty of the Chant, to the sense that we were all praying together because we were all facing Our Lord, to the wonder of receiving Communion while kneeling and on the tongue. I repeat, the result was 100% positive. No one complained, no one became ill, no one walked out, and many hoped to see this again (and no one, with the exception of the groups mentioned, knew this was going to happen; it came as a total surprise to the people!) But even if those who oppose the Mass heard this story, they would probably respond by trying to have me censured. Oremus pro invicem.

  6. Ben says:


    I was singing the chant at that Mass this morning. Wasn’t it a great occasion!

    Fr Z,
    I have a similar story. Teaching a course on the Reformation, I broached the
    subject of vernacular liturgy. One of the two Catholic students in the group was
    adamant that liturgy had to be in the vernacular liturgy, that Latin liturgy
    excluded the laity, &c. &c.

    Last week, at the start of the seminar, she said, ‘I have a confession to make.
    I was wrong about the Latin Mass.’ She’d been to a sung Latin requiem for a
    friend’s mother, and was deeply, deeply moved.

    Young people get it. Why don’t bishops?!

  7. Woody Jones says:

    Speaking of pilgrimages, here is THE pilgrimage site:


    Some day, God willing, I will make it, too.

  8. Ted Krasnicki says:

    Just a comment: The “generation of the 1960s/1970s” did not abandon the classical liturgy; it was taken away from them by their parents. This is an important matter for me, because too much blame is conveniently placed on that 60’s generation; rather, nothing occurs in a historical vacuum. Vatican II was not of this 60/70’s generation, but of their parents’ generation. The impetus for reforms began right after World war II, and Bugnini was already a leading figure in 1947.

  9. Stu says:

    What you need is your own show on EWTN. Then you could explain the Old Mass to the world.”


  10. Diane says:

    Out of the mouths of babes….

    I have seen it, or read accounts, time and again over the past two years: Many young people who experience a Tridentine for the first time, or even a Latin Novus Ordo, are awestruck with the beauty, the elegance, the majesty, and the silence of the atmosphere which follows cultures in such parishes.

    The biggest spiritual difference I see between a contemporary liturgy (busy atmosphere) and a Tridentine (and even the reverent Latin Novus Ordo I go to weekly), is that the latter enables us to discover the contemplative dimension of the Mass.

    It is the slowness, the stillness, the periods of silence, and the meditative quality of the music (for N.O. or TLM high Mass).

    I’ve taken a few younger people with me to Assumption Grotto and without even asking got expressions following Mass like, “that felt so right [to worship God that way]”

    Give us the motu proprio and more young people will explore, and discover, God in the Mass, in a way they have never encountered Him before!

  11. Marty says:

    Everyone should start a little society and beg the bishops around the
    world for the old Mass.
    I did it over here in Australia, we were succesful, but with limitations on when
    and who says our mass.
    Baby steps indeed.
    check out our society here –

  12. Darren,
    If you ever do have the opportunity to travel to see and hear Fr. Z in person…..DO IT!!! I had the great blessing the have Fr. Z work in a parish I attended. In his travels he probably would not remember me, but I will forever remember Fr. Z and the holy influence he had on me as a catholic man and father. Fr. Z once gave a grand presentation regarding active participation at Mass at a Wanderer Forum I attended. If Fr. Z were able to give this presentation on EWTN or have a program on the Holy Sacrafice of the Mass in the old or the new rite, many American Bishops would be jumping out of their windows and running for the hills.
    Please pray daily for Fr. Z and pray for more vocations of the calibre of Fr. Z.

  13. dad29 says:

    Film it, make it available on CD.

    While “education” can be over-done, it should not be difficult to create a 2 hour “explanation” of the OR Mass, including history of accretions–but particularly of interest would be the connections to the OT (k’dosh, k’dosh, k’dosh, the paschal meal, etc.)

    It doesn’t have to be filled with arcane data; it could be semi-formal, and certainly could include a Q&A sector.

  14. Maureen says:

    The thing is, there’s nothing intrinsically stopping the current Mass from being contemplative (or even being in Latin). If you go to the 8 AM Mass at our parish, the people are dead silent except when they sing (which they do with great intensity, whatever their volume). There is plenty of room for contemplation and plenty of verticality, because that’s what the priest and the people know they are there to do. The same WWII vintage priest says Mass every week, nearly, and that helps to produce continuity, I think. (He does make one joke at the beginning of every homily every week, but for some reason, it works. Maybe it’s the vintage of the jokes.)

    If people see how a more contemplative Mass works, they want it. They can imitate that in other Masses, whatever the Rite or kind. The motu proprio will help this process.

  15. Criagmaddie says:

    I had a similar experience: I took an agnostic friend to a sung Traditional Latin Mass and she was bowled over by it and made the comment that she felt that something special had take place. She had been to Catholic Masses before but had never experienced anything like that before.

    The 1962 Missal as a new tool of evangelisation? Well, hearing a crackly old vinyl of the Monks of Solesmes as a teenager and feeling something extraordinary in the music planted a seed for me that (along with other causes) grew into my becoming Catholic last year.

  16. Christine says:

    I agree with Dad29. Make a DVD. Get the art and architecture and music you want, and connect to the OT. I would suggest a 2 hour (2 part) highlights and an 8 part series of the whole development. The short version is for classrooms. I am a DRE and I would use it (somehow, sigh).

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