Monday, 1 July 2013

Who's afraid of the Latin Mass?

I mean, of course, the Tridentine Latin Mass, the Mass of all time, the EF Mass.

There certainly does seem to be a fear of this form of Mass (Latinophobia?) among many members of the clergy and, certainly among the laity, the bulk of whom, I suspect, have never attended a Latin Mass in their young lives.

We know, of course, that most of the English and Welsh Bishops are phobic about the old Mass but, leaving them on one side for a change let's examine the fear amongst priests and laity.

I believe that the 'fear' takes two forms.

Firstly the fear of the  unknown and of hearing or using a foreign language, and, secondly, the fear of what they believe the old rite of Mass might represent (old fashioned, fuddy duddy fire and brimstone type attitudes and smoke and bells pageantry).

Let us employ some aversion therapy:-

1. The Latin Mass is only 'unknown' because it is unfamiliar - you know how to crack that one don't you Father?
Just say the black and do the red.

2. Worried about the 'Latin'? - remember those initial summer holidays in France and how you struggled to muster enough French to order a round of drinks?
 Well, it's the same with Latin, only.....much easier.

Basically, you won't go far wrong pronouncing Latin more or less as it appears on the page.
Just a couple of exceptions...'J' is pronounced as a 'Yay' or a 'Yu' and 'C' can be either a 'Ch' sound (when it appears followed by a vowel as in 'Caeli' ('Chay-lee') or, as a hard 'K' sound when it is followed by an 'H', for example, 'Choro; becomes 'Kor-oh'.

There, that was easy wasn't it?

Also, if you are worried about how you can follow a Mass in Latin as a layman, your missal has a vernacular translation opposite the Latin text.

And if you still think that only Oxbridge graduates can speak Latin, remember that medieval peasants coped with it very well.

3. As for the ritual and smoke and bells, they all help to link us back both to elements of the Jewish tradition of the Old Testament and to the formation of the liturgy in the years following the crucifixion and resurrection. And they all have a meaning, they are not symbolic relics of a dimly remembered past, although, at times, some symbolism may be involved.

4. Lastly, some priests and laymen and women are worried that attendance at Latin Masses will change them in some way.
That is true. You will become less self focused and more God focused, you will be led down a route to greater reverence, you will comprehend the benefits of meditative prayer and you will understand the universality of the Faith.

Best of all, you will no longer be Latinophobic!


  1. Quite good instruction. Now everyone, Let's Go!
    Right? Right.

  2. Just a quick mention of this video (link below) which you may have seen on the LMS website.

    Isn't there something in the Bible about being "As sly as a snake and as wise as a fox". Well good PR for the latin Mass would go along way to helping it return.

    *Shock horror*. Yes PR for the Latin Mass? I know many will think that the Latin Mass could never need good PR, but bare with me a minute.

    My understanding of the Holy Spirit always pushing us forward does not mean 'modernising' the Church as seems to be the belief of these liberals. It means taking what we have (not changing it) and making it relevant for the next generation.

    The way that the Latin Mass is portrayed is paramount, because if it is portrayed well then you will get more people in, and as soon as you get people in they will soon work out (just like I did) that there was something missing in the NO masses i.e. reverence and the sacred.

    The following video was highlighted by the LMS as being a useful tool. It is not perfect, but there are two key components that I have discovered that people are drawn to (which the video also mentions):

    1. The silences during the Latin Mass (it is often the only silence, and time to be with God, that they get in their lives).

    2. The fact that they have to focus on the translation means that people often state that "this is the first time I feel like I have really been to Mass and prayed the Mass".

    These are the only two points that I mention when I 'evangelise' the Latin Mass to people (so to speak), and it seems to work.

    1. Thank you, OPN, for that helpful comment, full of good points to consider.

      In my neck of the woods we have, alas, a problem with the Ancient Rite mass as said by the ICKSP. They insist on, and have impemented, constant organ playing throughout the entire Mass - Low Mass or High Mass - and so but for about two minutes during the Consecration there are no longer any moments of silence for contemplation and adoration. The constant din from the organist (unfortunaely often poorly played, banal pieces) eliminates for us one of the great strengths from the Traditional Rite, the beautiful soul-searching silence.

      Polite and respectful complaints from parishioners have fallen upon deaf ears and so our Ancient Rite mass has become more of a chore than a joy, I'm sorry to say. The ICKSP appears to be adamant upon the point and will brook no contrary opinions.

      Some of the traditional religious orders do have a wee problem with arrogance which keeps some people away from them.

      Anyway, thank you again for the insightful comment.

    2. I attend Holy Mass celebrated by the ICKSP every Sunday in Lancashire and have not experienced this problem. I would find it very distracting. Do you think that this may well be a continental practice which the Institute have imported. If further pleas to the Priest concerned fall upon deaf ears I would be tempted to inform him that I feel duty bound to contact Mgr Vach and make him aware of the distress that this is causing.

  3. Mike, I spent 20 years plus of my working life in PR.
    Used properly there is no better (or honest) marketing tool.
    I will have a look at the LMS clip tonight, many thanks.

  4. Today is Canada Day -- God bless Canada and God bless the Royal Newfoundland Regiment, most of whom died at Beaumont-Hamel on this day in 1916.

    1. Dear Mack Hall, HSG. I visited Beaumont-Hamel, recently, and saw the place where The Newfoundland Regiment experienced their "Baptism of Fire". At 0800 hrs, 1 July 1916, they stood on the Front Line with 800 men Ready for Action. At 0830 hrs, they had 30 men left. May they all Rest In Peace.

      I made a Video of my visit and it can be viewed on YouTube at

      The Statue of the Moose, seen in the Video, is to commemorate the sacrifice of The Newfoundland Regiment.

      The Title of the Video is: Leyton Orient Football Club Supporters' Association's Visit To The Somme, 8 - 10 July 2011.

      God Bless Canada and The Newfoundland Regiment.

  5. Personally, I have observed much vituperation, (albeit decreasing), between New Mass and Traditional Mass attenders. But it is invariably directed one way, and that is from those who attend the New Mass towards those who attend the organic Mass of two thousand years of Catholic worship. This is the measure to which the post-Vatican II Reformers have succeeded.

    Now for the facts. The Tridentine Mass, or EF, as in the Form of the Mass of John XX111, is a co-equal rite in the Western Catholic Church. It expresses two thousand years of Catholic worship. It cannot be suppressed. No priest needs permission from his bishop to say it, and any group of parishioners can ask to have it.

    Clearly there are pastoral factors for any priest to consider. But, such priests who feel that they are being denied permission to say this valid form Tridentine Mass, a theologically pure expression of two thousand years of Catholic worship in Continuity, for the ultimate spiritual benefit of his parishioners, have two simple remedies.

    They can simply go ahead and say it in church, regardless of the bishop’s attitude, or they can join one of the rapidly growing Traditional Orders and serve out their vocation to God and parishioners, in that way.

    So the situation is clear, and I suggest you priests out there get on with it!

    1. WHAT ORDER opus dei

  6. Faith and reverence do not depend on Latin. One of the best things to come out of Vatican II is the mass in the vernacular with the priest facing the people. This has been a huge blessing in my life. Praise and thanks to God for it.

  7. @Anonymous, Croatia was granted papal approval in the Middle Ages to have Mass in the vernacular. That made it the first European country to do so.

  8. It's amazing how often individuals who feel served by a deleterious practice can't see how it affects others.

    It may have made your experience at Mass enjoyable, but it has destroy the Faith of millions upon millions of Catholics since Vatican II.

  9. I am afraid of the Latin Mass because of what it does to those who embrace it. Some, not all Catholics who embrace TLM begin to see themselves as separate from the Church, they begin to view the popes after Vat 2 with suspicion. They question the validity of the documents of Vat 2. They develop an arrogance and judgmental attitude to many aspects of contemporary Catholic practice, including Communion in the Hand. Some not all Latin Mass advocates begin to look negatively towards Jews, and foment conspiracy theories implying that the holocaust numbers were grossly exaggerated etc.

  10. Russ Rentler MD., - I think you are more than several shades incorrect. I know many orthodox Catholics and your description fits none of them. I have experienced (as have many others) examples of very bad unChristian behaviour from very many liberal Catholics.

  11. Richard, with all due respect, I was careful to write "some, not all" Catholics who embrace TLM...
    I don't want to impune the motives of those who love the reverence of the TLM, the wonderful pious devotions, the chant,etc. I too would seek TLM in my area however, what I am trying to point out is I am afraid of the Latin Mass because it is often, not always, associated with Catholics who do the things I mentioned above: conspiracy theory , antisemitism, distrust of the popes and magisterium. By the way I did not say I am a liberal Catholic. The fact that you assumed that makes my very point about some, not all LAtin Mass goers. Some, not all, like yourself assume that if you are not a TLM attender, you must be liberal. If the popes have approved the Novus Ordo, far be it from the TLM'ers to insist that those who don't attend are "liberal." I spent thirty one years of my life in schism with the Catholic faith as a devout evangelical Protestant. I am particularly sensitive to schism and the attitudes that lead to it. Some not all, TLM attendees are skating perilously close to the edge of schism, when they assume they know and understand the heart of the Church more than the popes. There was a devout German Augustinian monk in the 16th century who hated the hypocrisy and lack of reverence in the Catholic Church. He set out to reform it. We all know how that worked out. Contrast him with Saint Francis of Assisi. Think about Saint Francis' view of the hypocritical clergy . What did he do when he was told by his com-patriots of a certain priest's worldly ways? He said "I will kiss the hands that bring me Jesus." Until the TLM advocates can prove to me that the Eucharist in the Latin Mass contains a higher percentage of Jesus than the Eucharist consecrated in a Novus Ordo Mass, I will continue to desire to kiss the hands of the priest who brings Him to me, despite the lousy music, lack of reverence(though I don't read men's hearts as well as God)and the liturgy in the vernacular language.
    I am not liberal by the way. I love Jesus , his Church, the Blessed Mother, and all the councils of the Church as well as all the teachings and I daily live my life in great hope of one day seeing Jesus face to face. I hope and pray my TLM brethren can respect me, even if I choose to go to a novus ordo mass to receive Christ and offer my sacrifice to God in union with Him.

  12. IT is the beauty of this Sacred Liturgy, Mass in the E.F. the prayers, gestures, reverence...yes there was complaining prior to the Council.....and then after the N.O. was impliemented look what we ended up with or really without....all the beautiful music, (G. Chant) they couldn't through the Old ST. Greg's and other hymnals out fast enough......

    OF course the whole movement for the N.O. was to attract the Non-Catholic Brethren ....look what that got us....a decline (massive) of Priests, nuns and faithful.....

    The Council and Its documents are good the N.O. on the other hand well.....

    THe Progessives did what they could and still are to suppress the Mass in the E.F.

    On and ON.....would love to say more.....

    Funny that the Mass in the E.F. attracts and keeps the younger generation who NEVER attended Mass in the E.F. i.e. High Masses are the most beautiful Mass this side of Heaven....

    WE continue to pray for the reform of the reform....oh Pope Benedict how week thank YOU, and Still need you.....Pope Francis will do a Splendid Job as Pope BUt I still miss YOU and so do alot of others.!

  13. Sorry I meant throw out the old Song Books

  14. Russ apologies. You are correct. God bless.

    1. No need to apologize Richard , but thanks for letting me rant a bit. On our side of the pond, there is tremendous divisiveness being engendered by some, not all Latin Mass folks . God bless you too