BBC: Church ‘comeback’ for Latin mass

I found this BBC story on Card. Castrillon Hoyos’ Mass at Westminster via the new blog Levavi (go give this young man a bump in his stats!).

My emphases and comments.

Church ‘comeback’ for Latin mass Cardinal Dario Hoyos, 1999 Cardinal Dario Hoyos is a senior adviser to the pope

A mass to be held in Latin at Westminster Cathedral has been hailed as a sign that the use of Latin in church services is returning to the UK.


The Latin mass was replaced by modern national languages after the reforming Second Vatican Council of the 1960s.

But Cardinal Dario [Castrillon] Hoyos’s holding of a Latin Mass has been seen by Catholic traditionalists as a signal to the church leadership in England and Wales.

Supporters of the traditional mass say it is popular among young Catholics.  [And they would be right.]

‘Pick-and-choose’ religion

Following the reforming Second Vatican Council of the 1960s – although the Council did not rule Latin out, [Far from "rule out"!  The Council required that Latin be maintained!] many Catholics did not speak it and so Latin gave way to modern national languages.

Many British bishops were reluctant to grant permission to priests to celebrate mass in Latin, and some refused to do so.  [Yep.  But now it is out of their hands.]

But last year Pope Benedict ruled that priests no longer had to secure special permission from their bishop to conduct mass in Latin.

And the presence of Cardinal [Castrillon] Hoyos – a senior adviser to the Pope – celebrating Latin Mass in one of the country’s principal Catholic cathedrals, has been interpreted by some in the Church as a pointed gesture to the relatively liberal leadership in England and Wales.

There is evidence of a demand for the Latin mass from young Catholics in particular, some of whom claim it represents a wider rejection of a modern pick-and-choose attitude to the religion.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Father

    I am in receipt of a satirical tribute to the people who made the Mass on Saturday possible.
    I am told their intentions are playful rather than malicious – I shall let you be the judge of that…
    God bless Ninja Carthusians everywhere! ;-)

  2. Mike says:

    Can we have a link to the chap’s blog?

  3. TJM says:

    Dear Father Z,

    I have pondered this for a long time and would like your thoughts. Why do bishops (particular older ones) appear to have such an aversion
    to using the Latin language? Is it because they believe its administratively easier for them and their priests to just to have to deal with all
    vernacular languages in a parish setting? Are they hostile to the Church’s mother tongue, or are they simply uncomfortable with a language most of them have lost any facility in? Or is it a combination of the foregoing?



  4. TJM: I am not sure there is a rule that fits all.

    It may be that,

    • in their desire that people understand what is said, they think that Latin must not be used
    • they don’t have clue themselves what the Latin means, and don’t want that to be known
    • at the time the reforms were starting, they had one good change in them and it is too hard to image going back to Latin
    • they have imbibed the false information that Latin was forbidden


  5. TMJ: Possibly a version of Father Z’s third possibility, I recall an account of a priest ordained just a few years before Vatican II, who is now devoted to reverent celebration of the Novus Ordo, but adverse to any thought of returning to the TLM.

    When asked why, he said the TLM had been the most precious thing in his life when he was a young priest. That it had broken his heart when after Vatican II this possession so close to his heart was suddenly ripped away.

    That it having been so difficult and heart-breaking to travel down this road, he simply could not bear the thought of traveling back up it.

  6. Mike says:

    I guess that’s a no then.

  7. Emilio III says:

    Mike, I don’t think that’s a “no” as much as a “huh?”.

    Fr. Z: You forgot the link, and googling for Levav doesn’t help much, so we can’t give this young man the requested bump!

    How about a hint? :-)

  8. I think it’s a combination but there’s a lot of the third possibility there. I think some of them feel that they put a lot on the line for Vatican II and can’t go back on it, because they think they couldn’t have been wrong. I believe that some of them even think that because they’ve always heard that the Church can’t err, it means they can’t err either, because I think some of them think they run things autonomously in their own dioceses.

    I also think that they think laypeople are stupid (ironically) because somehow(!) they haven’t noticed that Dominic Q. Catholic is no longer a longshoreman but rather a corporate lawyer or college professor.

    I also think some of them took the Spirit of Vatican II stuff entirely seriously and that has caused the antagonism to tradition. I think some of them actually did think there was a break and a new church was born.

  9. Henry,
    I’ve actually heard that hypothesis before. It was suggested that might be the reasoning behind a famous Latinist’s gruff attitude toward tradition. Do you know of whom I’m speaking?

  10. Here is the link I forgot to post for Levavi.

    Go give this young man a bump in his stats!

  11. Levavi says:

    Dear all

    Thanks for all your support for my new blog! I’m enjoying giving free reign to my feelings on the blogosphere, without annoying my friends! Thanks to Fr. John – reciprocal links all round…

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