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Having been brought up with the Latin Mass or Mass in the Extraordinary Form as we now call it, I find it more familiar and certainly easier to say than the English version.
The Latin rolls smoothly off the tongue while the English stammers and struggles to sound sensible and reverent.
The EF Mass attracts a great deal of adverse criticism and I regularly prune the comments box, lopping off those anonymous contributors who carp on about this or that concerning the 'Mass of all time'.
I have yet to read a comment that is sound or factual, most are in the realms of fantasy or ignorance.
So this is my attempt (for those born after 1980 or, who have not attended a real Latin Mass in the past forty or so years) to explode some of the myths bandied about by the liberal lobby.
1. "The priest gabbles the Latin"
Have you ever travelled to France? Or Japan or Oman? Foreign languages, spoken as a first language are voluble and, to the novice listener, often sound unintelligible. They are not; it is just what we call fluency. The same applies to Latin, that's it.
2. "It's a dead language"
Not entirely sure what people mean when they say this.
Latin is at the root of many branches of the sciences and medics use it extensively.
It is also fundamental to many of the languages spoken in Europe including English, French, Spanish and Italian.
And, even if it is classified as 'dead', it is a truly wonderful thing to dedicate a language to the worship of Almighty God; a special language reserved solely for the purpose of giving praise to the Holy Trinity.
3. "We don't know what is being said"
What? I don't understand what you mean. If you look in any Latin missal you will see a vernacular translation alongside the Latin text - read it!
4. "I don't like the way the priest has his back to the congregation"
Let's make certain we know what is taking place here and why.
The priest is acting on our behalf, he is not asking us for forgiveness or for the chance of salvation or for any blessings; he is asking Almighty God for those things on our behalf.
He is acting as an intermediary, and, most vitally, the celebrant priest is the conduit that God uses to transform ordinary bread and wine into His own Body and Blood.
When you ask for anything it is common courtesy to face the person who will, hopefully, answer and fulfil your request; in this instance, Jesus Christ, present on the altar in the form of bread and wine.
If royalty was present you would not turn your back on them; what sort of leader looks backwards rather than forwards?
5. "But I don't speak Latin, the EF Mass is so elitist"
See point 3, the vernacular translation is there for you to follow.
In England and Wales in medieval times, even the peasant laity had a good grasp of Latin so there is nothing necessarily exclusive about it.
6. "Latin Masses are so quiet"
This is not a myth but I thought it worth including. If you have grown up with the dialogue Mass in the vernacular or, if you have not attended a Latin Mass for many years, there is a considerable shock element in the silence attached to the Extraordinary Form.
I view that as being rather like living in the centre of a busy city where noise is incessant and the roar of traffic is with you twenty fours hours a day. Take a break in the country and it will take you time to adjust and to appreciate that peace of mind that comes only when secular noises are excluded and fresh air inhaled.
The House of God should not be a place for noisy chatter and gossipping yet, in the Ordinary Form it so often is.
The EF Mass allows you a number of options; you may follow in the Missal, you may follow at your own pace through personal prayer preferences or you may use the Mass as a backcloth to meditation - or you may do a combination of all three.
7. "I find the Latin Mass thing to be old fashioned and out of date"
Fashion should not enter into the liturgical process; the fact is that the EF Mass evolved, after Christ's time on earth, providing the faithful with the most perfect means of us worshipping God and, at the same time, enabling us to fulfil His Son's request at the Last Supper.
In terms of format, that evolution had to stop at some stage; in terms of textual translation, there is a need to ensure that what is said at Mass remains intelligible.
We draw on tradition and ritual to link us back to when Christ walked the earth and to remind ourselves of our heritage - what Pope Emeritus Benedict called the hermeneutic of continuity.
And, if you wish to leave a comment please make it courteous and non anonymous.
Picture: Empower Lingua