Do you want an example of how a reporter can spin a story? Take a look, with me, at this piece from the East Valley Tribune, for Phoenix, Arizona.
My emphases and comments.
Valley Catholics react to call for Latin Mass
Lawn Griffiths, Tribune
Pope Benedict XVI wants Catholic parishes worldwide to offer Masses in Latin, saying it is a "gift from God" and a "treasure from the past" that should be offered alongside Mass celebrated in the regular language of people where they live.
But East Valley Catholics doubt [Interesting. From the very beginning, the reporter seeks to create a rift between local Catholics and the Pope.] many would turn out for such Masses after initial curiosity or the novelty ended. [These are buzz phrases] So they wonder about the value in training current parish priests in Latin and teaching them to properly lead the old Mass, with its distinctive chants and precise rituals. [So, they wonder if priests should be completely trained in their own Rite, and they wonder if there should be distinctiveness and precision.]
"I don’t think very many Catholics are going to go back to the Tridentine Latin Mass," said the Rev. John Cunningham, [I think we can assume this is the source that shaped much of the thought of this article. Also, take note that he was suspended once for concelebrating Mass with a non-Catholic minister. Anyone can have a change of heart and mind, of course, but he has continued along his former lines then it is easy to understand his attitude toward to older form of Mass of the Roman Rite.] the founding priest of St. Bridget parish in Mesa and St. Mary Magdalene parish in Gilbert. "They have lived with the New Mass for 40 years, and I believe they find it more meaningful and expressive of their faith." [Okay… 40 years, versus centuries. You see… this really is a struggle over Catholic identity. He says, "their" faith, not necessary the faith of a Universal Church that unites nations and generations.]
"Vernacularization" was instituted [Ummm… not really. It wasn’t officially required, though it certainly did come to be institutionalized.] as part of the sweeping changes of Vatican Council II (1962-65) to renew spirituality in the church in a modern world, to give lay people greater roles and to better experience the Mass in terms they understand. [Hmmm… strange, the Liturgical Movement helped people understand the Mass without those things long before the Council. Individual priests could have done the same through catechesis, and in fact could have had a far richer terrain to work with. Also, note the additional buzz phrases: renew spirituality (did that actually happen?) and greater lay role (to the detriment, in many cases, of both the role of the priest as well as the role of lay people. When you tell people that they don’t have a good enough role unless they do things that pertain to the priest, that is actually an insult, not empowerment.]
On June 14, Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, president of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, announced Pope Benedict’s request to the Latin Mass Society in London. "The Holy Father is not returning to the past; he is taking a treasure from the past to offer it alongside the rich celebration of the new rite," the cardinal said, adding that the pope wanted it in "all the parishes. Not many, all the parishes, because this is a gift of God."
The call includes a request [This downplays what Card. Castrillon said: the Commission was going to write to require not request. Or did I read it wrong?] to all Catholic seminaries to train candidates for the priesthood to celebrate the Latin Rite. Moreover, parishes could [Ditto! See what the writer is doing?] use their catechism classes to prepare Catholics largely unfamiliar with the rites followed before 1970, when the Novus Ordo Mass was ordered. Latin Masses are to follow the 1962 Roman Missal, first codified by Pope Pius V after the Council of Trent (1545-1563). [Again, this is false. The language of the Novus Ordo is really Latin and not the vernacular. Any Mass with the Novus Ordo can be said in Latin.]
At the initiation of Bishop Thomas Olmsted, Masses in Latin [Again, bad terminology.] have been offered daily since 2004 in an east Phoenix parish, monthly in a Mesa church and at other scattered parishes in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix.
"We are supportive of the Tridentine Mass where people want the Mass, and we are trying to train more priests," said diocesan spokesman Jim Dwyer. But, he said, Bishop Olmsted and Office of Worship staff have not seen the official Vatican communications related to Pope Benedict’s call. "Until we see the guidelines, we really can’t address the idea of doing it in every parish yet," he said.
The plan got generally a cool reception among Catholics reached for reaction. [One wonders how hard the reporter tried.]
"I haven’t had any requests in my parish for the Latin Mass," said the Rev. Doug Lorig, pastor of St. Maria Goretti parish in Scottsdale. He has not heard of any of his parishioners regularly attending the 6:30 a.m. daily Mass at St. Thomas the Apostle in Phoenix or one at 1 p.m. Sundays that typically draws as many as 250 worshipers.
"They haven’t asked for it, and I haven’t made any kind of offering for it," Lorig said. For priests, he said, it would take extensive training to meet the rubrics and procedures of the Mass not commonly experienced by Catholics in decades. It’s much more than just mastering Latin, he said, "You have to learn all the liturgical movements, and everything behind it." Lorig predicted "a lot of priests are going to hesitate, and they certainly aren’t going to do it if there is no call for it."
"I don’t see a need to see it in every parish," said Betty Bova, a member of St. Bernard of Clairvaux parish in Scottsdale. [And therefore eminently qualified to speak on the issue.] Those who want the Latin Mass "could travel a little bit and just go to it," she said. [Yah… just so long as they don’t come around here. This is rather like the "back of the bus" treatment applied to other minorities.] If her parish had such a Mass mixed into its weekend schedule, [Let’s call it desegregation just for a convenient label.] "I would probably attend once just for curiosity and for old-time sake, because when I was little, that is what we did," Bova said.
"I think it’s boring," said 82-year-old Mary Douglas of Tempe, a longtime member of St. Mary’s parish in Chandler, saying the church should be more concerned with retaining young Catholics. "What can we do to make people to stop leaving the church?" [Ummm… most of the time when you go to Mass with the older rite you see lots of young families, whereas very often when you go to other churches you see lots of gray hair. Is there a disconnect? Which might have the potential to create more interest among young people?]
Many Catholics cannot even understand the Mass in English, "much less in Latin," said Douglas, [The irony of this statement is delicious.] who, for many years, has attended St. Mary’s Christmas Eve Latin Mass, which she termed a "rewarding experience," nonetheless. [Okay… Mary says is both boring and rewarding.]
"The big picture is what counts," she stressed. "Why are people leaving? Why do they not attend Mass? Why is Mass boring?" [If you go in to church explecting to the entertained you will no doubt find it boring. But Mass and our choices about what we do liturgicall cannot be about whether Mary is "bored".]
Allison Walters, a 38-year-old Tempean with St. Andrew the Apostle parish in Chandler, said she hears no call from her Catholic peers for a Latin Mass. "I appreciate it for the history and the charm, how it once was," Walters said. "I would want to attend it once and experience it once, but I wouldn’t do it on a regular basis." She said she would take her two children. "They would be bored quicker than me," she predicted. [Are you sensing a theme? It’s boring and only good for nostaligia.]
"You would have to attend it pretty regularly to figure it out," she said, adding that the priest’s homily in English now has great meaning to her, but likely she would not make such a connection if she listened to it in Latin. [HUH?? Since when are priests, or have priests preached in Latin? Do you see the lack of actual reporting that went into this and the bias?]
A member of St. Mary Magdalene parish in Gilbert, Judy Webber, recalls singing Latin in a choir when she was young. "The nice thing about it was that no matter where you went in the world, or within the States, the same Mass was celebrated." Webber said the old Mass represents a "rich tradition, and I really welcome it back and look forward to it." [This is sort of a handful of dirt thrown at the older Mass. However, again we are dealing both with the nostaligia angle as well as the break-down in unity between Catholics of that area with the rest of the world. This is not on the screen at all.]
Jay Kilroy, a parishioner of Queen of Peace in Mesa, said he was "very refreshed by Vatican II. I thought it was a great move in the right direction." He would not attend a Latin Mass if it was offered at his church. "I have not felt or sensed that there was a groundswell of people who like the Latin Mass," he said. [Since when are these folks good barometers of what is going on? What are their special credentials?]
The priest who regularly leads Latin Masses in Phoenix, Mesa, Clarkdale and Flagstaff, the Rev. Kenneth Fryar, welcomed the news of the pope’s quest for the spread of the Masses.
"God deserves proper adoration, proper devotion, proper respect, and that is what this Mass is all about," he said. He criticized those who want Mass to be "convenient" or fitting their wishes. "Convenience is out of the question here. The church has always been dedicated to serving God. That is the main issue here." [Indeed yes.]
The rite calls for the priest and congregation to all face the altar because "the whole focus of the Mass is toward God, and he unites himself with the people," said Fryar, adding that "praying and praising" isn’t a "social thing" where there has to be a lot of music "and you need a lot of stuff to keep everyone entertained." [Yep, there it is. He hit it on the head: entertainment.]
He insists that Olmsted "has made it clear that he doesn’t want anyone celebrating the (Latin) Mass who doesn’t know how to do it properly."
Cunningham said no one has requested, to him, a celebration of the Latin Mass during his 34 years in the priesthood. [Well well well… let’s see what happens in the next few years, shall we?] He said he believes the pope may be seeking to engender "a sense of unity in the church," evoking the pre-Vatican II times when it was the universal language for the church. [The Pope has not descended to mere pragmatism in reviving the older form of Mass. There are other questions, one being that it was the right thing to do.] He said today’s younger priests seem to be "more conservative, in general, and display a penchant for traditionalism when it comes to the liturgy," [Rather, they aren’t lugging around the agin-hippie baggage of men who were in seminary 34 years ago.] so "some of them, no doubt, will be pleased with the return to the Tridentine Mass in Latin and its 16th century theology," said Cunningham, a religious studies instructor at Arizona State University.
Across the Phoenix diocese, with 91 parishes and 25 missions, Masses are offered in eight languages, besides English and Latin: Spanish, Italian, Korean, Filipino, Vietnamese, Tongan, Lithuanianand Mayan, according to Dwyer.
"I have never heard any of my friends being serious about returning to the Latin Mass," said Harold "Hal" White, a member of Church of the Resurrection parish in Tempe. "We just don’t talk about it. … If they want it, I think it’s fine. I don’t think I would go back to it."
So… get the point?
- Mass shouldn’t be boring.
- Mass is boring if it is in Latin.
- The TLM is okay for the sake of curiosity or nostalgia.
- What we do here is fine, regardless of what the Church did for centuries everywhere.
- My tastes are really what count.
- Let’s not do anything that might entail some changes of perspecitve.
- If you are interested in the TLM you are really out of touch with everyone in these parts.
Still want the older Mass?
No, I thought not.