Deacon’s Q&A about Extraordinary Form to create unity in multicultural parish

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.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. danphunter1 says:

    “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”
    What “words” what “meanings”

  2. Rouxfus says:

    The goal of having the prayers at mass he heard in the language of the people so that it might be understood is undermined in situations where a parish will have an event mass which includes both English and Spanish faithful, and the Mass is said in alternating languages. In that situation Latin would seem to be the logical choice for most of the parts of the Mass.

    The Archdiocese of Los Angeles celebrates Mass in 31 different languages:

    The administrative burden of this must be heavy.

    Cardinal Gibbons makes a very good case for the use of Latin in services and official business of the Church in his The Faith of Our Fathers, Chapter XXV:

    In the fifth century came the disruption of the Roman Empire. New kingdoms began to be formed in Europe out of the ruins of the old empire. The Latin gradually ceased to be a living tongue among the people, and new languages commenced to spring up like so many shoots from the parent stock. The Church, however, retained in her Liturgy, and in the administration of the Sacraments, the Latin language for very wise reasons, some of which I shall briefly mention:

    First–The Catholic Church has always one and the same faith, the same form of public worship, the same spiritual government. As her doctrine and liturgy are unchangeable, she wishes that the language of her Liturgy should be fixed and uniform. Faith may be called the jewel, and language is the casket which contains it. So careful is the Church of preserving the jewel intact that she will not disturb even the casket in which it is set. Living tongues, unlike a dead language, are continually changing in words and meanings. The English language as written four centuries ago would be now almost as unintelligible to an English reader as the Latin tongue. In an old Bible published in the fourteenth century St. Paul calls himself the villain of Jesus Christ. The word villain in those days meant a servant, but the term would not be complimentary now to one even less holy than the Apostle. This is but one instance, out of many which I might adduce, to show the mutations which our language has undergone. But the Latin, being a dead language, is not liable to these changes.

    Second–The Catholic Church is spread over the whole world, embracing in its fold children of all climes and nations, and peoples and tongues under the sun. How, I ask, could the Bishops of these various countries communicate with one another in council if they had not one language to serve as a common medium of communication? It would be simply impossible. A church that is universal must have a universal tongue; whilst a national church, or a church whose members speak one and the same language, and whose doctrines conveniently change to suit the times, can safely adopt the vernacular tongue in its liturgy.

    A few years ago a Convocation was held in England, composed of British and American Episcopal Bishops. They had no difficulty in communicating with one another because all spoke their mother tongue. But suppose they had representatives from Spain, France and Germany. The lips of those Continental Bishops would be sealed because they could not speak to their English brothers; their ears also would be sealed because they could not comprehend what was said to them.

    In 1869, at the Ecumenical Council of the Vatican, were assembled Bishops from all parts of the world speaking all the civilized languages of Christendom. Had those Bishops no uniform language to express their thoughts, public debates and familiar conversation among them would have been impracticable. The Council Chamber would have been a confused Babel of tongues. But, thanks to the Latin language, which they all spoke (except a few Orientals), their speeches were as plainly understood as if each had spoken in his native dialect.

    Third–Moreover, the Bishops and Clergy of the Catholic Church are in frequent correspondence with the Holy See. This requires that they should communicate in one uniform language, otherwise the Pope would be compelled to employ secretaries speaking every language in Christendom.

    But if the Priest says Mass in an unknown tongue, are not the people thereby kept in ignorance of what he says, and is not their time wasted in Church? We are forced to smile at such charges, which are flippantly repeated from year to year. These assertions arise from a total ignorance of the Mass. Many Protestants imagine that the essence of public worship consists in a sermon. Hence, to their minds, the primary duty of a congregation is to listen to a discourse from the pulpit. Prayer, on the contrary, according to Catholic teaching, is the most essential duty of a congregation, though they are also regularly instructed by sermons. Now, what is the Mass? It is not a sermon, but it is a sacrifice of prayer which the Priest offers up to God for himself and the people. When the Priest says Mass he is speaking not to the people, but to God, to whom all languages are equally intelligible.

    The congregation, indeed, could not be expected to hear the Priest, even if he spoke in English, since his face is turned from them, and the greater part of what he says is pronounced in an undertone. And this was the system of worship God ordained in the ancient dispensation, as we learn from the Old Testament and from the first chapter of St. Luke. The Priest offered sacrifice and prayed for the people in the sanctuary, while they prayer at a distance in the court. In all the schismatic churches of the East the Priest in the public service prays not in the vulgar, but in a dead language. Such, also, is the practice in the Jewish synagogues at this day. The Rabbi reads the prayers in Hebrew, a language with which many of the congregation are not familiar.

    But is it true that the people do not understand what the Priest says at Mass? Not at all. For, by the aid of an English Missal, or any other Manual, they are able to follow the officiating clergyman from the beginning to the end of the service.

  3. Fr. Basil says:

    \\In the past, anywhere you went to a Catholic Church the Mass was exactly the same \\

    Obviously, this person never attended an Eastern Catholic liturgy, much less one of the various Non-Roman Western rites.

    ||Latin has traditionally been the language of the Western Church,||

    The Tridentine Mass was celebrated in Slavonic for centuries before Vatican II in various Croatian dioceses.

  4. The Astronomer says:

    The deacon’s answer was that of a politician, it seems. When asked a “yes” or “no” question, the first thing a politician will say is “I’m glad you brought up this topic so I can address how seriously I..blah, blah, blah.”

    My parish in central NJ, to “embrace the diversity of church” used a Chinese woman reciting the NO Mass in French through a microphone to a VERY confused congregation of approx. 70% caucasian, 30% latino mix (NONE of whom spoke FRENCH) while the pastor quietly said the Mass at the altar. This was done, according to the presider, to show the confusion of the multitude when the disciples spoke in tongues during Pentecost.

    Oh, when asked about when formation would begin regarding the corrected translation of the Roman Missal, this same pastor just winks and grins about “that’s something for Sister so-and-so to coordinate with the parish liturgy committee.” They also sell the ‘fishwrap’ in the vestibule.

    How long, Oh Lord???

  5. The “multicultural” line is something that, while well-intended, I think is overdone and somewhat misguided.

    It is assumed that if someone is Hispanic, they want a certain kind of music and flare to their Mass, or that Black Catholics have certain preferences.

    It’s interesting to note that I have seen people from all races and many ethnicities who prefer the reserved and reverent nature of a TLM, or a Novus Ordo celebrated without all of the flare.

    It some dioceses it’s impossible to have a big Mass celebrated by the bishop without ethnic elements being introduced, yet how necessary is this?

    In my parish there are people of African, Asian Indian, Hispanic, and a host of European backgrounds, Croatian included, who are drawn to what we have at Assumption Grotto.

    Hence, because someone is of a different ethnic or racial background does not mean they are going to feel their worship needs are fulfilled.

    Pope John Paul II spoke of the contemplative dimension of the Mass back some years ago out west in an ad limina visit. If I were to be forced back into the kind of Mass I grew up with, it would be like taking a Carmelite out of the cloister and parking her in the middle of a busy mall and expecting her to pray.

    No. The dioceses need to meet the needs of those who are drawn into that contemplative dimension and in need of “noise reduction”. That is why we so often crave silence, because it is the language of God. It is where we hear him. When all of these flashy ethnic things are added to make it “relevant” to this ethnic group or that, it takes away We don’t need anything to spark our senses when we are working at suspending those senses so we can enter more fully into the mystery of the Mass interiorly. The last thing I need is noise in the form of a false sense of “active participation”.

  6. Geremia says:

    I know a parish in Phoenix, Arizona, where the diocesan priest moved the altar so he could celebrate masses ad orientem, both the weekly OF masses (in either Spanish, English, or Latin) and EF mass (in Latin). Many people left the parish, but currently there are about 1/3 English-speakers and 2/3 Spanish-speakers; he does bilingual English/Spanish homilies.

    In Tucson, Arizona, the Institute of Christ the King took over a diocesan parish of ~2/3 Spanish-speakers. Almost none of them attend the EF masses the Institute’s priest does; a visiting priest comes to do OF Spanish masses.

    If all parishes had to offer Latin EF masses, many people would likely leave the Catholic Church for more “Spanish-friendly” Protestant churches—of which there are many, e.g., those founded by ex-Catholic priests.

    Some people think Vatican II’s multilingualism would have or actually has fostered more unity, but now it simply seems to be a necessary evil.

  7. Emilio III says:

    When we moved to the US, the Mass was just about the only time I felt totally at home. (I’m afraid I didn’t pay much attention to the sermons at age 12, so the language did not matter much.)

    There are Masses in over a dozen languages near here, and (other than the Maronite and Byzantine Ruthenian parishes) they should all offer EF, at least as an option so nobody need feel to be a stranger.

  8. Acolythus says:

    I always refer to the Latin Mass as “omnicultural” — there are no cultural distinctions, except that of Roman (and perhaps a vernacular homily)!

  9. Sliwka says:

    Whereas the Anglican Communion seems to be a failed example of “many rooms in one house” the Church appears to be a (more) successful version fo teh same idea (I use the caveat “more” because there is division regarding the NO and Vatican II (SSPX), the current and upcoming translations, and even within the Ukrainian Catholic Church the split from the Priestly Society of Saint Josaphat (SSJK) over issues such as Latinisation). These “breakaway” churches are largely small compared to the rift in the Anglican Communion.

    What I think is most disconcerning is the use of different same-language translations by different jurisdictions (CCCB vs the USCCB vs etc.) in regards to the black and red in addition to the Readings. This is what will happen come 2011 when I doubt the CCCB will have the definitive text for the new translation (we are still waiting from the Vatican for some uniquely Canadian requirements). Coming into the Church from a non-Churched background, I had assumed that at the very least that all parishes in at the very least one language would be the same, let alone the entire Church. The use of Latin, I think, would encourage a return to a Catholic culture, rather than a Portuguese (or Irish, or French, or Italian, or…) culture that includes Catholicism as a main part. In some diocese is almost a ethnic segregation. “That is a ‘Hispanic parish’ or a ‘Black parish’. I will not worship there…”.

    Despite these difficulties, I still think the Church is far more united than some others out there.

  10. moconnor says:

    I agree that Latin should be the common liturgical language of the Church (of course it is whether I agree or not, isn’t it?), but the common rejoinder is that at bi-lingual Masses, at least folks understand half the Mass. At a Latin Mass NO ONE understands anything. That’s the response, you see. Nonetheless, this idea should be promoted with a good deal of pastoral help. Provide good translations in whatever languages are requested. Either that or allow separate Masses for different languages, even on Holy Thursday. The old ethnic parishes were better ideas, I think. Trying to mix everyone together AND have them understand every word is an impossible proposition.

  11. pjthom81 says:

    The arguments are very interesting in that they do not merely dismiss the Extraordinary form, but I nontheless found myself agreeing less and less as the comments went on. I personally had jumped off the bus when multiculturalism was mentioned. It seemed an echo of the view that we should seek converts by imitating and absorving each culture to the extent that a Mass in India looks completely different from one in Kenya or Rome.
    Its not that multiculturalism in itself, understood in a cosmopolitan sense, is a bad thing. Its that its just simply not what this should be about. Its irrelevant to the points addressed. Catholicism must be about an intimate relationship between God and the believer. Implicit in this is a basis on ultimate supernatural truths that touch the heart of every man. To try to focus upon what will be pleasing to different cultures is in my mind, to think backwards. The most disturbing point to my mind was the last: that unity should be primarily deepened outside of Mass. Great heavens! Celebrating Mass is who we are, and any cultural variations are secondary concerns at best. I would even go so far as to say that our primary cultural affiliation should be to a Catholic culture.

    Now all of this is a far different question than whether to celebrate in the vernacular. I think that it has been aptly demonstrated by the Eastern Catholics that the vernacular does not impede great devotion and piety. The Novus Ordo has so far suffered from….other cultural ingredients inherent in the time from whence it sprang. Translation is inevitable, the only question to be whether it is to be done verbally or in a book next to the original Latin. As I am still in my twenties, I can say that I was unfamiliar with the Extraordinary form and was indifferent to the issue until I read through the translation of the Old Mass and found parts, like the Judica Me, that seemed much more real and tangible than anything I had heard or read in the Novus Ordo. The old form seemed much more realistic, less pollyanish, but more hopeful for that realism. (The hippyish version of Christianity never seemed to be able to adequately account or prepare for a world that persecuted Christ and would persecute His Church. Seemingly optimistic, it in fact leads to despair).

    Practically, I don’t think that it should make a difference what language the Mass is in so long as (1) there are good written translations side by side with the language used and (2) the language used is slavishly accurate to the Latin. I think that segregating the congregation by perceived culture is an error. If Latin will get everyone in the same room to worship the Almighty it has proven its use. I also think that translation is only one facet of understanding and communication, and that other facets of that communication include the surroundings of the space of worship, the general atmosphere, the music used, and the general attitude of the parishoners. Because of this, a bad translation impedes understanding more than a foreign language. To my mind, the primary advantage of Latin is that the Pope and Curia can easily patrol its use and correctness. It is no news to anyone who reads this blog that translation that is not slavishly accurate invites suspect agendas. Latin or an accurate translation…I’m happy either way.

  12. Traductora says:

    I think the use of the EF could be very positive, not only from the linguistic point of view, but because it doesn’t have the cultural baggage of the OF mass, which was created during the rise in “ethnic nationalism” and in many places has been shaped in such a way as to exult an ethnic or national group rather than to serve as worship of the One Lord of all.

    But the EF has got to be carefully presented and indeed its role as a unifying, supra-cultural event has to be directly addressed and made attractive. I suspect that sometimes the EF is not made attractive by the people who offer it, and to the faithful in the pews, it comes across as a sort of scholarly experiment that is being inflicted on them.

    I also think that they should be offered paraliturgical services and devotional events – everything from Bible study with hymn singing to cursillo-type experiences – where they can indulge in their ethnic music, customs, etc. to their hearts’ content. But this is different from the Mass, and they should understand the difference.

    Several people have commented on the resistance of Hispanic (Latin American) Catholics to the EF and have expressed fear that Hispanic Catholics would go to the Protestants. One of the reasons that Hispanic Catholics now have such a tenuous connection to Catholicism is that they have already received a highly Protestantized version of the Faith, both from left-wing bishops in Latin America and from US missionaries in LatAm. To many Latin American Catholics, their faith is a mixture of very personal sentimentalism, sometimes with a bit of nationalism, and a peculiar utilitarian “social justice” ethic that doesn’t really demand much of them morally. They drift into Protestantism and then eventually they drift out of Christianity altogether. So perhaps the point is that Latin American Catholics are going to need serious reevangelization regardless of which form of the Mass is used and what language is used for it, and perhaps the EF would offer a good place to start.

  13. JaneC says:

    My parish has a substantial Spanish-speaking population (mostly Puerto Rican, some Mexican). Our diocese has very few Spanish-speaking priests. We are fortunate that our current parochial vicar has a gift for languages and immediately set about learning Spanish, with which he has done well, but before he came the pastor said the Spanish Mass in such an abysmal accent that many who attended said they could not understand him. And when the parochial vicar goes back to school next fall, we’ll be right back in the same boat. I have been in other parts of the country where the same thing occurs.

    If all priests were taught to say Mass in Latin (whichever form of the Mass) right from the start, it might be part of the solution to the problem of a multi-ethnic parish where the priest cannot adequately address the language needs. If the parish regularly had Mass in Latin, the priest would at least buy himself some time to start learning the new language. I think it must be very discouraging for a priest when, although his congregation appreciates that he is doing his best, they also snigger a bit behind his back because his pronunciation is so awful. Not that I’ve never heard awful Latin pronunciation, but rarely was it so bad that you couldn’t follow.

    As far as ethnic unity, the attitude that “That’s the Spanish parish, that’s the black parish,” has been around for a very long time, has little to do with language use, and is not likely to change any time soon. These days, musical style is a big part of that (not that being the ‘white’ parish has ever stopped a choir director from singing spirituals, but that’s a whole other kettle of fish).

  14. Glen M says:

    “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.”

    Here’s my observation that I suspect is common throughout the majority of parishes.

    At the vernacular Novus Ordo Mass, nearly everyone in the congregation receivies Holy Communion. In most of these parishes, the Sacrament of Confession is available Saturdays and poorly attended. Although only God and the individual knows the state of the soul, it’s safe to assume many people are receiving the Blessed Sacrament unworthily – a mortal sin and insult to God.

    Converesly, at every “Latin Mass” I’ve ever attended there is a line up outside the Confessional and not everyone presents themselves for Holy Communion.

    Therefore, I conclude the Novus Ordo vernacular is not helpful to spiritually dispose the laity for the Sacrament. Furthermore, due to the drastic decline in Mass attendance since its inception, an argument can be made for the opposite.

    May God bless traditional priests and help the TLM become the OF once again. As Father says, save the liturgy, save the world.

  15. Torkay says:

    Multicultural situations are irrelevant: we can’t evaluate or judge the Church based on secular considerations, which is precisely why the Vatican II Revolution has brought her to ruin. There was no problem with different cultures before the vernacular scam was put in place, because only the second readings and the sermon were in the vernacular!

    The only case that needs to be made for the TLM is that it is the only true Mass, the Mass that reflects, enacts, embodies and portrays the truths of our faith and the identity of our faith, as handed down from Our Lord, His Apostles, and the Fathers of the Church. And by the way, the only case that needs to be made against the “Novus Ordo” is that it is the cobbled-together product of a Freemason and 6 Protestant advisers, designed specifically to be inoffensive to Protestants (i.e. heretics). It is, therefore, a crime against Heaven.

  16. Andrew says:

    “… the church has judged that celebrating in the vernacular languages better enables the active participation of all the faithful in the celebration of the Mass.”
    This is the official line in most places these days and it is false. The Church stated in Sacrosanctum Concilium that an extended use of the vernacular could be helpful, but even in cases of such extended use “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.” How did we get from there to the complete supplantation and elimination of Latin?
    Is any of this too hard to understand? Here is the pertinent text:
    36. 1. Particular law remaining in force, the use of the Latin language is to be preserved in the Latin rites.
    2. But since the use of the mother tongue, whether in the Mass, the administration of the sacraments, or other parts of the liturgy, frequently may be of great advantage to the people, the limits of its employment MAY BE EXTENDED. This will apply in the first place to the readings and directives, and to some of the prayers and chants, according to the regulations on this matter to be laid down separately in subsequent chapters.
    54. In Masses which are celebrated with the people, a suitable place may be allotted to their mother tongue. This is to apply in the first place to the readings and “the common prayer,” but also, as local conditions may warrant, to those parts which pertain to the people, according to the norm laid down in Art. 36 of this Constitution.
    Nevertheless 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.

  17. Young Canadian RC Male says:

    I’m all for it.

    The multicultural argument does not stand. How do you think it went down prior to Vatican II? That Latin Mass was attended by all, in greater numbers, in every part of the world, regardless of language barriers.

    Also another poster above used the argument that no one understands Latin and the vernacular allows us to understand it. While many of us may have forgotten their Latin from their grade school days, that does not take away from the sacredness of the mass. You may not understand it, but doesn’t the server dressed in proper cassock and suprlice, kneeling multiple times in front of the blessed sacrament demonstrate to those that the Eucharist is to be treated with dignity and sacredness? That doesn’t require Latin to learn. Also as a note, the homilies are always says in the vernacular. Don’t believe me? Download the iMass app for Iphone created by an FSSP parish in Sarasota, Florida and watch one mass for yourself. There are things one can learn from the TLM without it being in the vernacular.

    In addition, the disgust towards the TLM speaks to me that between the lines it is more “laziness” or “pride/self-catering” for the priests and people to learn another way to say mass with all those words and pronounciations and all that extra kneeling and dressing up. Some may argue “Oh there are no resources to learn Latin.” Again, wrong. Baronius press and Angelus press have 1962 missals online you can buy with side by side English and Latin. Also your local university might have continuing Ed/adult education courses in Latin. Or you could purchase textbooks for courses online, like Cambridge Latin Course. If you took the time to devote an effort to it you could learn enough to get the basic context of the prayers.

    Another argument someone might add is they can choose to dress comfortably for the NO. It is just too much without valid reason for a man to dress up for an hour or so every week in a suit and tie or a woman in a dress and appropriate shirt and cover your head for a portion of time to pay reverence to Christ? Hey if you can dress up for a meal with your family or an important date, how can you not dress up for the most important Meal-Sacrifice in the history of all humanity!

    To summarize, I think Fr. Z says it best when he asks “[ … 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?] ” No Fr. Z The answer is No. And when I get my own set of wheels I’m going to start pursuing the TLM, as scarce as it is in Southern Ontario, Canada.

  18. jdesilva says:

    I have made this point in the past to a former classmate of mine who is a pastor at an inner city parish. After explaining the liturgical gyrations they go through having parallel English/Spanish and alternating/timing different parts of the Mass in 2 languages I asked, “Why don’t you just use Latin and have everyone bring his own translation?”. One priest simply stated it would not work and the other merely snickered at the suggestion. I think this is more of a vernacular issue rather that a Rite issue (since both are in Latin, yes?) Seems like a reasonable “solution” to me that the Church solved for us centuries ago.

    As has been often repeated here in the past–tirades against the validity or veracity of the Novus Ordo does nothing more than undermine the valiant efforts of “reformers of the reform” and diminishes your own credibility–just sayin’.

  19. Andrew says:

    Provisions shall also be made, when revising the liturgical books, for legitimate variations and adaptations to different groups, regions, and peoples, especially in mission lands, provided that the substantial unity of the Roman rite is preserved; and this should be borne in mind when drawing up the rites and devising rubrics. (Sacrosanctum Concilium, 38)
    As far as I know it has never been elaborated as to what is the meaning of the “substantial unity of the Roman rite”. The same words appear in some document on “inculturation” with a reference to this paragraph. It seems to me that a good way to preserve the unity of the Roman rite is through language. That seems to be a very significant part of anyone’s identity: the language they use. Let’s say tomorrow our government would announce that here in the US we will no longer use English but Hungarian, as the official language. I think it would significantly affect our perception of who we are as Americans. So why should Roman Catholics stop using the Roman language? Oh, I see, because some of them didn’t learn it. OK – so we can “extend” the vernacular for them, but we don’t want to foster and promote the ignorance of Latin as a good thing, as a blanket provision for everyone across the board, including the Roman Rite clergy. “Bishops, don’t let anyone write against the usage of Latin in the celebration of sacred rites” (John XXIII, Veterum Sapientia).

  20. wmeyer says:


    I’m glad I am not the only one who believes more reference to Sacrosanctum Concilium is in order. In my own study of SC, it seemed clear to me that 37-40 were included in support of the Church’s efforts in mission lands, and were not for universal application. And if it needs to be said, the United States has not been a mission for over 100 years, as I recall.

  21. wmeyer says:

    I clicked too soon, forgetting another point I wished to include.
    The multi-culti folks do, I believe, a grave disservice to all ethnic groups. In the United States and Canada, both of which I know well, the principle language is English (apart from Quebec, where it is French), and the immigrants will be best served in their adaptation to the prevailing culture if the are quickly assisted in becoming proficient in the language. I will go further, and assert that multiculturalism is a high sounding form of racism–it fosters ghettoism, and holds back those it is meant to serve.
    Finally, I was raised with the EF, and I miss it and treasure it. In churches where it is celebrated, there is a clearly different atmosphere before Mass, and it is one of quiet reverence. In my own parish, where Latin is almost never heard, the atmosphere before Mass could persuade you that you had mistakenly entered the parish hall. Absence of the tabernacle contributes to the confusion. Bus at least we have a crucifix, for almost two years now.
    Christian unity, in my view, would be best served by restoration of the EF as the primary, if not sole form.

  22. Sixupman says:

    A large number of the self-orientated laity are possessed of a marked antipathy relative to the TLM. What puzzles me is that many are of my age group – so how have I clung on to the “Faith of Our Fathers” and they have abandoned the same in self-interest? Latin is the mortar between the bricks, without it we have a virtual ‘Tower of Babel’, leaving all disorientated. I am of the opinion that such disorientation, was the intended purpose of the procurers of the New Mass. Harsh, judgement? No! Why the change to the Lectionary, then? Why the abandonment of the Leonine Prayers [which brought the congregation together], then? What other reason was there for these and various other changes, other than to engender a disorientation?

    The church which I attend, not my parish [which is beyond the pale], has a Tradionally minded priest, yet he has succumbed to the pressures of those parishioners having an antipathy to the Old Rite. When I first started to attend there, in the narthex was a sign “Please desist from talking in church ….. “, that did not last long and disappeared! When attending his Sunday TLM, I arrive early and enter just after the end of the main Mass. The noise is appalling, and, whilst attempting to read my Missal, congregants rather than leave, or go for coffee in the hall, will stand chattering adjacent and oblivious to my attempts at prayerful preparation. The Diocese is not much better and whilst they allowed the Tabernacle being brought back to the High Altar, an edict denuded the church of, believe it or not, a formal Crucifix. Particularly galling, previously there had been a small black Crucifix affixed to the wall of the pulpit, the Diocesan ‘know-all’ would not allow it to be restored to that position. Yet how many Mass cards, or other pictures, have we seen with just that location for a Crucifix?

    When attending the New Rite, I now sense a movement away from the orthodox wordings and am concerned, even the Consecration does not appear to be familiar!

    Are clergy driven to schizophrenia? Unless the clergy assert their authority and follow Rome, what hope is there for us? A presbyterian future, with the priest sitting back and merely brought out for the Consecartion – if that what it actually is – a la France?

  23. wmeyer says:


    In the G.I.R.M. of 2003, it says:
    308. There is also to be a cross, with the figure of Christ crucified upon it, either on the altar or
    near it, where it is clearly visible to the assembled congregation….

    Seems clear enough to me. ;)

  24. pseudomodo says:

    In the eastern church there are many different rites, languages and liturgies, Melkite Romanian Ruthenian Ukrainian Albanian Chaldean Syro–Malabarese etc etc.

    In the western (latin) church we also have different rites like Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite, Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, Mozarabic, Ambrosian, Bragan, Dominican, Carmelite, Carthusian.

    What we see now is clear evidence of evolution at work. We have seen the emergence of new species in the last decade – the Anglican rite and now a completley unheard of rite in the latin church – the Eclectic Rite!

    I think this last adaptation would confuse even Darwin!

  25. Lirioroja says:

    wmeyer, I would say that the United States is mission territory once again. One need only look at the prevailing culture to be convinced of that.

    I can attest to Traductora’s account of the formation of Hispanics in their faith. I am Hispanic and I encountered many of the attitudes she talks about. I say “encountered” because it’s those very attitudes that have kept me away from worshiping with the Hispanic community for almost 20 years now. It’s very few that want the Extraordinary Form or even Latin in the Ordinary Form, aside from maybe the Sanctus and the Agnus Dei.

    I find the multilingual, multicultural extravaganza Masses to be horribly patronizing, tediously and needlessly long, chaotic, and danged near impossible to coordinate because of all the committees and organizations that are involved in planning it. I avoid them when I can and when I can’t I offer it up for the souls in purgatory. And of course, of all the languages that are meticulously included for these Masses, not a peep of Latin is heard. *Sigh*

    I do want to say something for those who prefer the vernacular over Latin, at least those of my acquaintance. These are devout Catholics who study the Bible and Church documents and who reverence the Eucharist and love the Pope. It’s because they’re always studying the faith that they want to understand what they hear at Mass. It’s very important to them. Nor do they want to feel as if they have to be glued to a missal in order to understand what’s being said. And of all the prayers they want to hear the Canon the most – after all, the consecration is the most important moment! (I must admit that although I do like the Extraordinary Form – when it’s sung – the silent Canon is the one thing that continues to bug me about it.) They (and I) are really looking forward to the new translation because we recognize the importance of words. I don’t believe that a unilateral move to all Latin Masses, either OF or EF, would drive these particular people away from the Church, but it could cause a crisis for some of them.

    I do believe that ultimately Latin Masses, either OF or EF, are the key to unity in multiethnic parishes. This will require a lot of catechesis, and for many a re-catechesis.

  26. Konichiwa says:

    The TLM is the cure for division. Today, people are leaving their own parishes to join with others and form their own parishes sharing their same non-English language. I think this division happens, because of the misguided understanding that there is a need for the vernacular to be used exclusively.

    Were the TLM to be celebrated in Vietnamese parishes, Korea, or Chinese Parishes I imagine you’d see a growing group of people with longer noses and brown or blonde hair. These parishes would grow in number and truely become richly diverse.

    Ironically, in parishes where the primary language is of something other than English, the English language is creeping its way back. The youth seem to understand English better, so the priest would often speak in English. Many of the children end up leaving their original parish and actually attend a different parish that celebrates Mass only in English.

  27. Supertradmum says:

    Before discussing the benefits of Latin, I must address two of the deacon’s points. Firstly, one can go to Mass 365 days of the year in the last two dioceses where I have lived and never hear any Latin sung or said. The comment that Latin has become more common in the NO is dubious and exaggerated at best. His point that the EF was not intended to help in multicultural parishes is a huge leap of incredulity. How can he state that when, one, most multicultural parishes have not tried this; and two, the universal view of the Church which the Pope has most likely did aid his decision. How do we know?

    As to multiculturalism, until the Church at the domestic level realizes the real problems of the lack of catechesis among the predominately Mexican parishioners, at least in the MidWest, we shall have huge problems. Most of the immigrants, and I have worked somewhat in the Latino community off and on for over thirty years, have had no background teaching in their faith. Remember, the Catholic schools in Mexico are rare and most Mexicans have been taught in either very poor rural schools. or larger schools, all of which are heavily influenced by Marxism and Socialism, the prevailing ideology of the teachers. There are not systems of parochial schools, as we have here in most areas.

    The lack of catechesis has led to an emotional, not a rational, response to Faith. One of the best and holiest pastors on the Illinois side is from the Neo-Catechumenal background, a group which finally came into line with Rome. This priest is teaching his people and told them to “learn English”. He himself is from Spain. His Masses are now packed, as he is teaching the people their Faith, and not relying on homilies, but giving sermons.

    In addition, as I am personally aware, many of the immigrants in Iowa are coming from occult backgrounds: voodoo, folk religion, and even neo-Azteca. These people are coming into the Catholic Church which huge issues of demonic influence, which keeps the diocesan exoricist and his team very busy. I do not exaggerate.

    Lastly, the clinging on to Spanish in the immigrant community is done on purpose, not because of a lack of resources for them to learn English. Most of those I have worked with do not want to learn English, especially the older immigrants, who are afraid they will lose their identity. Of course, I disagree with this entire view. I have students in my classes who took the GED in Spanish and barely know enough English to pass a course, but are allowed to do so by law.

    May I also add that in our area Latinas go to Mass, but few Latinos. That is part of the culture here. The men do not go to Mass, even on Sunday, while the women go with the children. Again, catechesis and evangelization is sorely needed.

    The Latin Mass would definitely help in several areas. Latin is not that different from Spanish, and some Latinos I know can make the transition easily. I tried to set up a Latin course, having taught high school Latin, but people in the TLM community would not come for various reasons. Even English speakers need to learn at least ecclesiastical Latin in order to fully participate in the EF. Why would the same not apply to Latinos? I think all the problems with languages have been encouraged by liberal priests, rather than discouraged.

  28. maynardus says:

    An anecdote: at various times I’ve stood by the main exit door after our E.F. Mass (At Holy Name in Providence) and counted the number of different bi-lingual Missals people were carrying. Invariably there are: English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Lithuanian; t. That was in a congregation of about 250. Proves absolutely nothing other than the fact that some folks for whom English isn’t their primary language *do* feel quite comfortable worshipping in Latin in an “omnicultural” congregation…

    And an observation: it seems to me to be the *music* used at these “inculturated” Masses – typically puerile and sentimental goo “performed” by a group of ethnic musicians around whom the whole thing seems to revolve – that half the people are there for… makes ya wonder.

  29. Magpie says:

    At World Youth Day the confusion is at its worst. Everybody is confused at the mish-mash of languages in the Mass. Nobody really knows what is going on. It is like Babel. Better to have the Mass in Latin.

  30. Supertradmum says:

    Magpie, thanks for the reference to World Youth Day. Taize, for all its faults, uses Latin for unity and youth love it, so why can’t we?

  31. wolfeken says:

    At the Solemn High Mass offered at Saint Mary’s in Washington, D.C., the celebrant is white, the deacon (an archdiocesan permanent deacon) is black, and the subdeacon (an archdiocesan permanent deacon) is Filipino.

    At the morning traditional Latin Mass there, the (permanent) deacon is Puerto Rican and a priest who distributes Communion is Chinese. That’s in addition to the British priest, the Italian-American priest from the Bronx and the priest from West Virginia who offer the Masses. We can truly be a Catholic and catholic church if we promote more of this.

    It doesn’t mean gospel music, or a samba choir, or Asian dancing — it just means extending the catholic net as widely as possible, as Gregorian chant and liturgical beauty pleases nearly every man in every culture.

  32. danphunter1 says:

    St John 17:21
    “That they all may be one, as thou, Father, in me, and I in thee; that they also may be one in us; that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.”
    Sounds like an airtight case for the Traditional Latin Mass across the board.

  33. Ioannes Andreades says:

    A large percentage of Latino Catholics are immigrants from countries where Epiphany is still celebrated on Jan. 6. If I were a priest where I live, I’d celebrate the Epiphany that day, have a Spanish speaking homilist, and have a really fun Three Kings Day event for families afterwards. Some school districts actually have a large enough Latino population to make that day a school holiday. This way, the TLM will be a way to recognize the customs and celebrations that are traditionally bound to the feast on a certain day.

  34. Antony says:

    It seems to me that the history of multiculturalism can be traced back to a particular event in scripture:

    And the earth was of one tongue, and of the same speech. [2] And when they removed from the east, they found a plain in the land of Sennaar, and dwelt in it. [3] And each one said to his neighbour: Come, let us make brick, and bake them with fire. And they had brick instead of stones, and slime instead of mortar. [4] And they said: Come, let us make a city and a tower, the top whereof may reach to heaven: and let us make our name famous before we be scattered abroad into all lands. [5] And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of Adam were building.

    [6] And he said: Behold, it is one people, and all have one tongue: and they have begun to do this, neither will they leave off from their designs, till they accomplish them in deed. [7] Come ye, therefore, let us go down, and there confound their tongue, that they may not understand one another’s speech. [8] And so the Lord scattered them from that place into all lands, and they ceased to build the city. [9] And therefore the name thereof was called Babel, because there the language of the whole earth was confounded: and from thence the Lord scattered them abroad upon the face of all countries. (Gen 11:1-10)

    The merciful God, through His Church, has provided for us a remedy for the consequences of Babel. When Satan took Our Lord up on the mountain and showed Him “all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them”, undoubtedly Rome would have been the most glorious of all of these. Having refused Satan’s temptation to offer worship to him, and after suffering and dying for us (at the hands of Romans, and by means of a Roman instrument of torture and death), and after countless martyrs spilled their blood on Roman soil by the decrees of Roman emporers, Our Lord claimed another victory over Satan by claiming Rome – and her language – for Himself and for the good of His Church.

    There is a touching scene in a movie (otherwise I really didn’t like this film at all) based on the spontaneous cease-fire between forces entrenched in Europe during WWI. I can’t remember many of the details, but one thing in particular struck me: a Catholic chaplain set up an improvised altar out in “no-man’s-land” and began “In nomine Patris, + et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti. Amen. Introibo ad altare Dei. ” All of the soldiers in attendance – English, French, Italian, and German – responded with one voice “Ad deum qui laetificat juventutem meam.”. I don’t remember the rest of the scene because something got into both of my eyes and they were watering pretty badly.

    It seems to me that the Good God, in His generosity and in His mercy, has provided for us a great unifying language that allows His Church to supersede the consequences of the Babel disaster and bridge the cultural divide that sprang up in its wake. That’s my $.02.

  35. S. Murphy says:

    Any parish that has two ‘Midnight’ Masses (one in English at 8:30, for the elderly Polish, Irish, and Italian 3-4th gen Americans), and one in Spanish at 11:30 , should at least try the Novus Ordo in Latin. TLM, sure, if it could be done without causing someone to have a stroke, but the parish I’m thinking of is in the archdiocese of Chicago. they had two Easter Vigils/Masses of anticipation, too; again, an early one in English, and a late one in Spanish.

    When I was in college, I got to go to an excavation on the island of Paros. There was one Catholic parish, mostly attended by tourists. The priest came over on the ferry from Naxos. He did the NO in Latin. There was a hexa- or hepta-lingual missal. (Latin – Modern Greek – English – German – Italian – French or something like that. Maybe Spanish as well. English wan’t one of the priest’s languages, so he’d get English-speaking volunteer – he’d read the Gospel in a couple of languages; the Irishman (eg) would read it in English. It worked. It was pretty moving, in fact.

  36. youngcatholicstl says:

    Neither the TLM or bilingual NO Masses or any variant of the Mass does anything to incorporate multiculturalism. I think the majority of commenters have failed to look at the history of the Church in the U.S. Most Catholic Churches in the U.S. (at least those 50+ years old), were founded as personal parishes to certain immigrant groups. You had your Irish, Polish, Czech, French, German, Italian, and all other ethnic parishes. Sure you had the TLM in Latin, but that clearly had little effect on multiculturalism. The immigrants still wanted to attend Mass where the sermon was spoken in their native tongue, where the fellow parishioners communicated with them in their native language, where the parish upheld traditional ethnic customs and worship of traditional ethnic saints, and where the priest fluently spoke their language. The fact that the NO has vernacularized everything has had little to no effect on the multiculturalism of parishes.

    Sure, a TLM or NO in Latin sounds like a lofty goal where everyone is compromising and getting along, but the reality of that is that it just doesn’t happen. If you had a church where the TLM was offered by a Mexican-born priest, and a church right next door where the TLM was offered by an American-born priest, the Hispanics would choose the Mexican-born priest everytime. The same is true of nearly all other immigrant groups as well. In summary, its the parishioners and the make-up of a parish that unites or drives the parishoners apart. The language of the Mass has little to do with it.

  37. wolfeken: I am sure that what you are promoting now is widespread use of the Missa Luba!


  38. wmeyer says:


    wmeyer, I would say that the United States is mission territory once again. One need only look at the prevailing culture to be convinced of that.

    De facto, not de jure. But I am with you, in spirit. Still, my point remains, SC appears to have addressed the matter of the vernacular in the context of mission lands, and at the time of the great disruption, we were not one.

  39. Dean says:

    The Mass in Latin is my preference, but where I live the few that we have are celebrated in the hinterlands of the diocese, mostly at the crack of dawn. Therefore, even with the distraction of the frequent use of the orans posture, raised hands like the priest, I attend Misa en Español.
    When I have arisen early enough to drive to a Latin Mass, I have noticed the majority of those attending are people born since the introduction of the vernacular Mass, with their young children.
    I took a friend from México to a Latin Mass, her first ever, and she was pleasantly surprised that she could understand much of it, and was very impressed with the attentive reverent participation of all, with a lack of toys and distractions needed for the little ones.

  40. It would seem that, contrary to expectations, ever since we got Mass in the vernacular, we understand the Mass less than ever!

    As regards the first question to the deacon, Bl. John XXIII’s 1962 apostolic constitution Veterum sapientia seems to be on point. Liberals have mischaracterized John XXIII as the Pope who ushered in the Age of Aquarius; but in fact he tried to stem the growing opposition to Latin as the language of the Church.

  41. danphunter1 says:

    “It would seem that, contrary to expectations, ever since we got Mass in the vernacular, we understand the Mass less than ever!”
    Isn’t that the honest truth!
    I was born in 1966, and baptised a Catholic 10 days after my birth, and never once in almost forty years of assisting at the Novus Ordo in English,did I understand what the Mass really is, until I began to assist at the Traditional Latin Mass a little over 5 years ago.
    This is not saying anything against my parents who taught me that the Mass is the Sacrifice of Calvary in an unbloody manner,
    but I could not understand this until the TLM.
    Just because the Mass is prayed in the vernacular does not mean that people will understand it.
    My wife’s is the same story.

  42. Ef-lover says:

    I went to a workshop on the new mass translation here in NY and a Hispanic man commented that as a spanish speaker he was better able to understand mass in latin since it was closer to spanish and that he had trouble understanding the lame- duck english translation since it was a far departure from the spanish and he had praised the new english translation

  43. Ben Yanke says:

    I think saying that all Hispanic people want a mariachi band at Mass is as ludicrous as people in Mexico or Spain saying that “those Americans” all want electric guitars and drum sets in Mass.

    Neither of these are true. I know many (most?) hispanics would rather have traditional organ & choir at Mass, than guitars and upbeat music.

    I also think the TLM is very “multicultural”. I went to a NO in Mexico on a trip, and I felt lost. I go to a TLM at home, and I feel very much at home. I’m sure if I went to one in Mexico, the feeling would be very much the same, because of the latin, and the fact that the TLM allows less options for the priest, so it is very much the same everywhere.

  44. TJerome says:

    I was in an Anglo/Hispanic Parish last weekend where the EF was celebrated. It was wonderful to be able to participate with my Spanish speaking brethren rather than having us “balkanized” into our individual language groups. Blessed John XXIII knew was he was doing when he issued “Veterum Sapientia” stating that “Latin is the language that joins the Church of today.” Too bad the liturgical “progressives” have decided they have more wisdom than he. Ut unum sint.

  45. maynardus says:

    “I think saying that all Hispanic people want a mariachi band at Mass is as ludicrous as people in Mexico or Spain saying that “those Americans” all want electric guitars and drum sets in Mass.”

    Ben Yanke et al:

    I’d tend to agree, but… why then do they put up with it? I certainly can’t say that I know that they *want* it , but it certainly seems to be part of the ethnic identity “schtick” that draws them in.
    It’s a mystery to me but in my experience it’s an observable phenomenon…

  46. danphunter1 says:

    I do not think they really deep down want this Mariachi/Mexican folk garbage. [Hang on. I don’t think the problem is with the Mexican nature of the music, or with Mariachi in particular. It is about the the genre and the place. Mariachi doesn’t belong in the context of Mass. It is great at other times! There could be music with a Mexican flavor during Mass, but it must be sacred music for Mass, not just any folk tune.]

    They have been fed a bill of goods so long by the white liturgiliberal Nazi’s in parishes, that these poor people think it somehow represents their true “Mexicanness”.

    An odd paradox seen here is when you see many Latin American men and women at Mass wearing skin tight jeans and overlly stetched baby tee-shirts, and jeans and rock and roll tee-shirts.
    They see this as fitting into American culture in this imitation of what they see on television and tabloid papers with Mariah Carey and Brtney Spears type’s
    And sadly most pastors don’t tell these poor people to dress modestly and apropriately to Mass.

  47. Felicia says:

    For what it’s worth, St. Clement’s (the FSSP parish in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada) is both French and English speaking. There are two homilies, one in each language. (They are never the same, incidentally, so the large fraction of bilingual folks hear two separate and independent homilies). It works!

  48. danphunter1 says:

    ” [Hang on. I don’t think the problem is with the Mexican nature of the music, or with Mariachi in particular”
    That is precisely what I meant. I apologise for not stating that.
    I meant that Mariachi type music is not appropriate for Mass, neither is some of the unbelievably sacharrine pseudo Mexican songs that are heard even at some English language Masses such “Pescador de Hombres”. That one is inappropriate for any event, but yes Mariachi can be wonderful, just not in Mass.

  49. Maltese says:

    Of course the TLM puts us in unity (with those with us and those now gone.) We are, essentially, praying the same rite in the same language that the majority of the great Saints prayed. St. Therese de Liseux didn’t, ever, insinuate that the mass was unintelligible; that is a liberal construct, hoisted and smashed down on us to convince us that radical reforms were “necessary.” Did Mother Seton (St. Elizabeth) ever complain about Holy Mass being in Latin? Not once, nay, it was the devoutedness of Catholics in Italy and America, praying the Latin Mass, which led to her conversion.

    I would love to pray one mass, in the same language (Latin) with my immigrant brethren! Yet, Bishops have commonly allowed the Novus Ordo to be said in every language on earth, but when it comes to the Traditional Latin Mass, which formed their parents, and thus informed and inspired them to become religious, they have, in some cases, a despise. Very ironic, that!

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