Wednesday, 25 May 2011

It's not the Latin - no really, it isn't!

This may come as a shock to some but, much as I love the Tridentine Latin Mass or EF Mass if you will, I could live without the Latin bit.
Heresy! You exclaim but hear me out.

Would English be acceptable?
The language of the English translation straight from the pre 1962 missal is extraordinarily beautiful; it rolls off the tongue: "I will go in unto the Altar of God. To God who giveth joy to my youth". It is comprehensible (although some passages need a little bringing up to speed). Trouble is, the English varies from missal edition to missal edition, not big variances but enough to throw you out if you are following the Mass (I won't even mention that aberration known as a dialogue Mass).

Now what would make me pronounce such a thing. One thing and one thing only and that is, if the Bishops of England and Wales agreed to make provision for 20% of their parish churches to celebrate the "English" EF Mass every Sunday, morning, that is, not 15.45 in the afternoon!

We would lose very little and gain a great deal. Of course, the full rubrics and content of the EF Mass would have to be observed, rigidly. There would be no booming out the words of the consecration, the host would be held by the celebrant betwixt index finger and thumb, all the minutiae of actions and inflections would still be there - it would just be in English!
Would it work I wonder? Would those who only attend the TLM accept the version a la Anglaise?
And would those who only attend the English Ordinary Form of Mass feel comfortable with an English Extraordinary Form?

Or, do we see in the actions of the Holy Father an inexorable grind towards a bringing together of both forms which, still leaving them distinct, makes them more like Low Tea and High Tea rather than Ordinary and Extraordinary?

And what would become of the Latin Mass Society? Would they morph to the "EMS"?

In the name of the Father,
and of the Son,
and of the Holy Spirit.
I will go in unto the Altar of God.
To God who gives joy to my youth.
Judge me, O God,
and take up my cause against the nation that is not holy.

Free me from the unjust and deceitful man.
For You, O God, are my strength,
why have You cast me off?
And why do I walk in sorrow,
while the enemy troubles me?
Send forth Your light and Your truth,
they have led me,
and brought me to Your holy hill,
and to Your dwelling.
I will go in  unto the Altar of God,
to God who gives joy to my youth.
To You, O God, my God,
I will give praise upon the harp,
why are you sad, O my soul?
And why do you trouble me?
Hope in God, for I will still praise Him,
the salvation of my countenance and my God.


  1. I'd be very happy to attend an English EF Mass.

    At one time the best Anglo-Catholic churches used to used a book called the English Missal, which was essentially the EF Mass translated into the kind of elevated English associated with the King James Bible.

    It would be wonderful if a suitably adapted form of the English Missal were to become the Anglican Patrimony of the Ordinariate...

  2. I would love to attend an English EF too!

  3. With you all the way, though I still miss Asperges, and the sonorous roll of the Latin (from memory) "per Dominum Nostrum Jesum Christum Filium Tuum".

    Sorry I can't comment normally, because my Google account is having an identitiy crisis.

  4. In total agreement! The thing I like the most about the EF is the reverence of the liturgy, especially the orientation of the priest.

  5. One of the advantages of the Latin- which I have noticed in the Ordinary Form- is a tendency to enforce the use of the correct words. For instance, we shall, in English, shortly return to "I..." rather than "WE believe"- as it always has been ( Credo") in Latin. Greater reverence, however, is a concern around which all faithful Catholics can unite!

  6. I would certainly enjoy the EF in English. Personally though, I've always like the idea of mixing English and Latin together in the liturgy. Some parts (such as the readings) simply make sense to be in the vernacular, while others (such as the consecration) make sense to be in Latin.

  7. Here in India, Latin is the biggest obstacle to the EF mass. It just wouldn't be accepted. As it is, many people feel disconnected with mass and are leaving to join small denominations.
    An EF mass in English might work, just might...

  8. Ridiculous to sing Gregorian Chant in English.It is as crazy as the circus mass.

  9. Joan...thanks for your comment. I actually attended a sung "English" Mass - a straight translation from the Latin, in 1972. It was very beautiful, it can be done (with a great deal of effort).