Saturday, October 20, 2007

The Mass in Latin

A few weeks ago, my diocesan newspaper carried a Catholic News Service column by Father Peter Daly of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, MD, on the subject of the moto proprio. In this article Father Daly appears scornful of those who wish to attend the Mass in Latin, claiming that they want a speedy Mass during which they are not responsible to participate. He also declares that these Masses are a burden on the priests who celebrate them.

Today, the Curt Jester reports that Father Daly has revisited the subject. I was really glad to see this new article, which he said was to correct the failures in the first one:
First, it did not convey my own affection for the old liturgy. Second, it did not recognize the good motivations of the people who want a return to the Latin liturgy.

He mentions that the reasons people wish to attend Mass in Latin include a search for three things that we feel a lack of today:

Born in 1965, I grew up and was catechized in the Age of Felt Banners and the Era of Simon and Garfunkel Hymnals. Church became a place of entertainment rather than worship. It became commonplace for choirs to have birthday parties in the sanctuary, for high-school students to perform songs from the movie "Fame" (with accompanying liturgical dance), and for church architecture to allow stadium seating wherein the assembly looks at people in the facing pews rather than at the altar and pulpit. And Father Daly hit the nail right on the head when he said that Catholics are searching for reverence, mystery and tradition. Those have virtually disappeared in the past forty years.

I've never attended a Mass in Latin. That's not to say that I never would. But I can honestly say that I probably wouldn't feel too much need of doing so if I found more reverence, mystery and tradition in the Church today.

I appreciate that Father Daly has clarified his first column, and I hope that in days to come, we will experience more reverence, mystery and tradition in our churches. It is sorely missed.

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