Musings of a Modernist Pope: Sorry Francesco, the Mass of the Ages isn’t the passing “fad”. You are!

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[Abp. Jan Graubner speaks:] When we were discussing those who are fond of the ancient liturgy and wish to return to it, it was evident that the Pope speaks with great affection, attention, and sensitivity for all in order not to hurt anyone. However, he made a quite strong statement when he said that he understands when the old generation returns to what it experienced, but that he cannot understand the younger generation wishing to return to it.

When I search more thoroughly – the Pope said – I find that it is rather a kind of fashion [in Czech: ‘móda‘, Italian ‘moda‘]. And if it is a fashion, therefore it is a matter that does not need that much attention. It is just necessary to show some patience and kindness to people who are addicted to a certain fashion. But I consider greatly important to go deep into things, because if we do not go deep, no liturgical form, this or that one, can save us.

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Traditional Latin Mass DVD now available

“The Latin Mass DVD is nice for people who don’t have that Mass in their area or are curious about it,” said Diehl. “My friends were surprised by how different it was, how calming, how reverent, how different from a modern Catholic Mass. My parents have been traditional Catholics since I was a toddler. They made sure their children had an understanding. I don’t think you can love your faith if you don’t understand it. I love them for it.”

Rita and Chris McEvoy think there’s a market for the DVD. They’d like their children and grandchildren to know about the traditional rite they grew up with in Detroit. Both attended Latin Mass when she was a student at Visitation Elementary and High School and he attended church at St. Dominic, St. Agnes and St. Francis de Sales. Today both are parishioners at St. John Neumann in Canton where an English Mass is offered.

“It was very well done and it’s great for the kids to know what you’re talking about,” said Chris McEvoy of Canton.

“It’s great if you can’t go to church,” added his wife, Rita.

The Latin Mass DVD is available at www.stjosephsmedia.net or amazon.com. The cost is $20 plus shipping and includes the Mass missal. Or send a check for $23 to St. Joseph’s Media, P.O. Box 186, Wayne, MI 48184.

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Cause of Schism: “those who assert that Vatican II founded a new Church with a new theology and new sacraments.”

Rorate Caeli has posted an English translation of a Die Welt interview by Paul Badde with Martin Mosebach, author of the seminal lay apology for the traditional Mass, The Heresy of Formlessness.  Mosebach, with his usual insight and ability to get to the crux of an issue quickly, discusses the new instruction on the Extraordinary Form, Universae Ecclesiae.

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Traditional Latin Mass Explained


The theology of the Catholic Faith is expressed in the rich symbolism of the extraordinary form of the Roman rite, commonly known as the Traditional Latin Mass.

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About the Latin Mass recently celebrated in Washington, DC

For those who are unfamiliar or unappreciative with the splendor of  the Latin Liturgy in this form some questions often arise.

1. Why pray in Latin or any language unfamiliar to the language of the people who attend?

Simply put, praying in Latin is to pray in what has been a sacred language for the Church. It is a common feature of cultures down through human history that they often prayed in a language other than the language of the home and streets. To pray liturgically is to enter heaven, a world apart from the every day world. To use another and more ancient language is a common way many cultures have underscored this.

At the time of Jesus, the synagogue services and the Temple liturgy used ancient Hebrew. Jesus and his contemporaries did not speak Hebrew at home or in the streets any longer. They spoke Aramaic. But when they prayed they instinctively used the ancient prayers which were Hebrew.

In the early Church it appears that the earliest years saw the use of the Greek language for the Liturgy. It seems to have been used even though many people spoke Latin throughout the empire. But many did not think Latin was suited for the Liturgy which required a more elevated language than what most people spoke. By the 5th Century however Latin came to be introduced in the Western Empire as it became an older and more venerable language to them. Eventually Latin wholly replaced Greek in the liturgy of the Church in the Western empire (except a few remnants such as the Kyrie). It remained the language of worship until about 1965 when the local languages were allowed. However, it was not the intent of the Church that Latin should wholly disappear as it has largely done. Latin remains for the Church the official language of her worship.

So, why pray in Latin? Why not? It is for us a sacred language of worship and there is an instinct in human culture that liturgy is  world apart where we enter heaven. It is not wrong to pray in the local language but, truth be told, it is not the usual practice in human history.

2. Why does the celebrant face away, or “have his back to us?”

It is really a wrongful description to say the celebrant has his back to us. What is really happening is that the celebrant and the people are all facing the same direction. They are looking toward God. On the center of every older altar was a crucifix. The priest faced it to say Mass and all the people faced it with him. He and they are turned toward the Lord.

In the ancient Church, they not only faced the cross, they also faced to the east to pray. An ancient text called the Didiscalia written about 250 AD says,  Now, you ought to face to east to pray for, as you know, scripture has it, Give praise to God who ascends above the highest heavens to the east . In later centuries it was not always possible to orient the Church so that everyone could face east. But the Crucifix above the altar represented the east and the Lord. Hence everyone  faced the Lord to pray.

The idea of facing each other to pray is wholly modern and was never known in the Church prior to 1965.  Hence the answer is that the celebrant is facing the Lord to pray and so are we.

3. Why is so much of the Mass whispered quietly?

Not everything is whispered but the much of the Eucharistic prayer is. Historically the whispered Eucharistic prayer (or Canon) developed in monastic settings where it was not uncommon for more than one liturgy to be celebrated at the same time at various side altars. In those days priests did not concelebrate masses as they do frequently today. Each priest had to celebrate his own mass. In monasteries where numerous priest might be in residence, numerous liturgies might be celebrated at similar times. In order not to interrupt each other, the priests conducted these liturgies with a server quietly. This practice continued into modern times.

Over time this monastic silence came to be regarded as a sacred silence. The whispering of the prayers was considered a sign of the sacredness of the words which “should not” be loudly proclaimed. (There are other more complicated theological trends that swept the liturgy too complicated to go into here that also influenced the move to a more silent liturgy) At any rate, the practice of a sacred silence came to be the norm eventually even in parish churches. Hence the hushed tones were not an attempt to ignore the faithful who attended or make their participation difficult but it was associated with a holy silence. People knelt, praying as the priest prayed on their behalf.

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