Thursday, January 17, 2019


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Ten years in, is the old Latin Mass becoming a separate ‘rite’?

Twelve Things I Like About the Latin Mass

  1. Latin – I don’t know Latin, but I think it is a fine language. It sounds noble, clean, crisp and dignified. The fact that I don’t speak the language doesn’t matter to me. At that point in the liturgy the Latin helps me to transcend the ordinary, everyday speech I usually use. I hope no one will be offended, but I experience the same thing as when I speak in tongues. I use a language that transcends language.
  2. Reverence – People really are reverent at a Latin Mass. They are attentive and pious and even their kids have a prayerful and attentive attitude for the most part. They show great reverence when they kneel to receive communion on the tongue and that reverence produces a wonderful atmosphere of worship.
  3. Altar Boys – The Latin Masses I have attended have altar boys who really know what they’re doing. They’re not slouching and picking their nose or chewing gum. They’re not wearing da-glo sneakers and they show true reverence. Nice.
  4. Ad Orientem – I could write a whole book on why this is best, but Fr Lang has saved me the trouble. Ad orientem turns us toward the Lord rather than towards ourselves. There’s more to it than that, but that’s the bottom line.
  5. Music – I have to admit, sometimes the Gregorian chant has been pretty dreary, and I’ve sometimes got the impression that the music director would prefer to do the right piece badly than the “wrong” piece well, but on the whole the sacred music is beautiful, good and true.
  6. Tradition – The Latin Mass connects us with the worship of our church from the last 500 years and beyond. The roots are alive and help to ground our modern lives in the riches of the past.
  7. Vestments – I like nice vestments. They dignify the Mass and lend glory and beauty to the celebration. They also help to blot out the priest’s individual personality. I see the vestments and I see the office of the priest…not Father so and so.
  8. Incense – What’s not to like about incense? The ceremony of censing the altar takes you beyond words like all good ceremony and ritual does. It is also a connection between our faith and not only the faith of the Jews so long ago but many other religions. Incense is a universal and its Biblical too.
  9. Mother Mary – The Latin Mass often ends with a hymn to the Mother of God. That’s good.
  10. Beauty – Beauty, Truth and Goodness. It’s a little Holy Trinity.
  11. Altar Rails – Kneeling at the altar rail gives people a few moments to be there in the Lord’s presence rather than the move it along assembly line of standing to receive. There’s dignity and simplicity and humility in that.
  12. Example – The Latin Mass offers a kind of gold standard for the celebration of the Mass. Those of us who celebrate the Novus Ordo are informed and enlightened by those brothers and sisters of ours who celebrate the Extraordinary Form. and do it so well. Good for them!


TJM said...

I saw where a Solemn Latin High Mass was offered at West Point Military Academy recently. I guess the cadets know quality!!! They asked for this Mass.

John Nolan said...

I get the impression that Dwight Longenecker's spiritual pilgrimage (from US evangelical, via Anglicanism and a comfortable benefice on the Isle of Wight, to US Catholic priest) is largely a matter of his likes and dislikes.

'I don't know Latin, but I think it is a fine language.' I don't know Mandarin Chinese, and have no doubt that it is a fine language. Perhaps Fr Dwight might have found time to gain a knowledge of Latin before his ordination - it is actually a requirement - and no-one is suggesting that he learn to speak it fluently.

To compare it with 'charismatic' glossolalia (which to normal people is at best schizophrenic and at worst demonic) reveals quite a lot about him. I understand he was ordained in the US because no bishop in England would touch him with a bargepole.

TJM said...

John Nolan,

LOL - you nailed him.

Anonymous said...

"To compare it with 'charismatic' glossolalia (which to normal people is at best schizophrenic and at worst demonic) reveals quite a lot about him.

And this sentence reveals quite a lot about the person who made it...

John Nolan said...

Anonymous, would you care to expand that statement? I thought not. I know who you are, and my contempt for you increases day by day. And I'm not alone.

Caritas non conturbat me.

Anonymous said...

"To compare it with 'charismatic' glossolalia (which to normal people is at best schizophrenic and at worst demonic) reveals quite a lot about him."

Would you, "normal" person, care to expand on that statement, especially in light of Acts 2:4 and 1 Corinthians 14:18?

TJM said...

Anonyous Kavanaugh,

Hang it up, you are no match for John Nolan. FYI, get a better rug for your head

John Nolan said...

When the apostles 'began to speak with divers tongues, according as the Holy Ghost gave them to speak' (Acts 2:4) they were understood by men of all nations. They did not practise 'glossolalia' which consists of uttering sounds that are unintelligible and bear no relation to any known language, as modern 'charismatics' do. Nor does a normal reading of 1 Corinthians 14 suggest that when St Paul writes of 'tongues' he means anything other than intelligible language. The whole point of 'tongues' is to edify the Church, and gibberish edifies no-one.

'Glossolalia' has been studied by linguistic scholars since the 1960s. It occurs in many fringe religions and cultures (voodoo for example) and when it does so it manifests itself in strikingly similar ways. In Christianity it is associated with the second century Montanist heresy, and was revived in the 20th century by Pentecostal groups. It is a 'taught' activity, which rather belies the claim that it is a result of spontaneous inspiration.

The Catholic charismatic movement originated in the USA in 1967. This was the year that Fr Gélineau, one of the architects of the Novus Ordo, boasted that the Roman Rite 'as we know it, no longer exists. It has been destroyed.'