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Speaking of B16

May 27, 2007

Pope considers return to Latin Mass
Shocking, no?

OK, OK. The headline is actually more sensational then the reality. What B16 is cogitating on is allowing for a more liberal policy on allowing the celebration of the Tridentine Mass – not a return to enforcing the mass to be said only in Latin. Currently, if one wishes to celebrate a mass in the Pre-VII way (in Latin, priest not facing the parishoners), one would have to get special permission from one’s bishop, and it’s basically at his whimsy as to whether or not it will be allowed. B16 wishes to liberalize this, as:

Benedict has made clear for years that he greatly admires the Tridentine rite and has already incorporated Latin into Masses at St. Peter’s.In a recent document, Benedict urged seminarians and the faithful alike to learn Latin prayers, and in the 1997 book “Salt of the Earth” he said it was “downright indecent” for people who are still attached to the old rite to be denied it.

“I am of the opinion, to be sure, that the old rite should be granted much more generously to all those who desire it,” then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger said. “It’s impossible to see what could be dangerous or unacceptable about t(h)at.” (emphasis mine)

As B16 and his minions would like to erase Vatican II – except for that damn troublesome thing about Pope’s being infalliable (it’s a bugger for them alright), B16’s position on this is not surprising.

Disappointing, but not surprising.

Although, I have mixed feelings. Part of the thing I like about RC mass is the rich tradition and cadence to the service.

I’ve only ever known a VII church – so I’ve only ever celebrated mass in the vernacular, but, I can appreciate the desire to get back to the “roots” of a celebration, and have an historical experience. Kind of like a living museum. This would be something “neat” to experience. If the choice to offer Tridentine Mass remains an “option”, I have less trouble then if this is a sneaky backdoor way for B16 to roll back VII reforms. I have no doubt +Benny “no girls on the altar, no female eucharistic ministers only guys so we can get recruits”, would love to see a return to the church of his youth.

Of course, I’d like to see the RCC remain the church of mine, and then some. I’d like to see VII as a somewhat stunted, not quite implement reform that needs to CONTINUE. But, that’s just me. It would be wonderful for ecumencial relations it that would continue, but I digress…

So much of what many liberal RCs consider progress could potentially be erased by this move. In the Tridentine mass, the priest faces the altar, and the people of God have no real role to play in the mass. There is language in the service that is VERY troubling to ecumenical issues. Jews are referred to as those lacking faith (which is what many RCs believe, although, they are now too pc to say so).

The surprising thing is that many young people want to return to the Latin mass, even though it is something that has never been part of their experience. I attribute this to the return to Mayberry phenomena. Aaaah…if only things never changed at all, the world would be perfect, just like it was perfect in Mayberry. Andy was sweet, Opie was precious, Aunt Bee always had pie and coffee. Nobody got seriously hurt and life was grand, right?

Problem is, there never was a Mayberry – not in Mayberry, and certainly not in the RCC. During that Mayberry time period, what was in place was an autocracy which strove to be the ultimate authority by keeping their backs to the faithful, and reminding them of how truly worthless they were in the eyes of God. The only relationship that matters during Mass is that of the priest and Christ – the rest are pretty much not even necessary, and perhaps it might even be better if the worthless didn’t even show up. Keep the sheep quietly in place, and not questioning authority, while Fr. Naughty does his thing with the altar boys, and the Bishop will move him around to a fresh crop when/if things get hot. The Mayberry of the RCC was the perfect set of conditions to habor that abuse and hide it, and a most unchristian matter – where the authority of the church far outweighed the ministry of Christ – the perfect authoritarian setting. Fr. knows best, and if he doesn’t, he certainly will never admit it to you.

No, there was no Mayberry.

In a book called Catholic Matters by Richard Neuhaus, Neuhaus (a Lutheran Convert to RC) reveled in the selection of B16, trumpeting that a return to tradition wiould be enacted, and the RCC would triumphantly continue down the path of arrogant irrelevance by returning to Mayberry, when things were just perfect, and the mass was in Latin and the priest was God. I believe this just might come to pass, as Neuhaus so joyously predicted.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Grandmère Mimi permalink
    May 27, 2007 4:06 pm

    Eileen, I read about the return to the Latin Mass this morning.

    I don’t know that this pope will be willing to stop at Mayberry. He may be looking to drag the RCC back centuries. Mayberry may not be pure enough.

    In my humble opinion, the liturgy of the present day Episcopal Church is more beautiful than that of the RC Mass.

    I have lived through the Latin Mass and the Mass in English. Something of the awe and majesty in the Latin Mass was lost with the change to English, but there is no turning back the clock.

    Having said that, I believe if folks want a Latin Mass, they should be able to have it. In that sense, I agree with the pope. Fancy that.

  2. Eileen permalink
    May 29, 2007 11:31 am

    I believe if folks want a Latin Mass, they should be able to have it. In that sense, I agree with the pope. Fancy that.

    Agreed. As long as he doesn’t use it as a back door way to roll back the clock of the church, and as long as he doesn’t allow objectionable things to remain part of the service (things bad for ecumenical relations, such as verbage about the perfidy of the Jews, etc.), I have no problem with it.

  3. July 15, 2007 10:24 am

    I have serious theological problems with the Latin Mass–most of which you mention. I find the nostalgia seriously troubling. Thankfully, many agree with me. A group approached our pastor and asked him to celebrate Tridentine Mass for our parish’s 50th anniversary and he told them, “no.”


  1. Sr. Joan Chittister on B16’s recent shannigans « Eileen the Episcopalifem

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