The Latin Mass and that ‘trio’ again

ratzingertlm9as 01Time for another visit to the doctrinal terrain of the infamous “tmatt trio” (cheers).

For those who need a brief refresher course on this Sunday morning, here is the trio of questions that I have found — as a journalist, not as a churchman — yield me the most interesting information when I am interviewing leaders involved in conflicts inside mainstream Christian groups.

They are doctrinal questions that loom in the background and help define the various camps. Here we go.

(1) Are biblical accounts of the resurrection of Jesus accurate? Did this event really happen?

(2) Is salvation found through Jesus Christ, alone? Was Jesus being literal when he said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6)?

(3) Is sex outside of marriage a sin?

This brings us back to the big story from Rome that GetReligion has been anticipating for quite some time, and here is the lede in the Los Angeles Times. (Click here for a Google search of the mainstream media coverage in general.)

Pope Benedict XVI … authorized wider use of the long-marginalized Latin Mass, a move that delighted Roman Catholic traditionalists but worried others who fear the erosion of important church reforms.

Revival of the old service, which had been largely supplanted by the modernizing spirit of the Second Vatican Council, also angered Jewish groups because it contains a passage calling for the conversion of Jews.

In a decree known as a motu propio, essentially a personal decision, the pope urged priests to celebrate a 1962 version of the 16th century Tridentine Mass when their congregations request it. Until now, priests could use the Latin Mass only with permission from their bishops, which was not always forthcoming.

There are all kinds of things hiding in there, from the much-discussed “spirit of Vatican II” to the tensions between bishops on the left wing of the church and the conservatives in their dioceses.

But my question is simple. If you were a journalist right now and you were covering this story, how would the questions in the “tmatt trio” relate to it? Which question is the most relevant and why? Which question does not seem to be relevant, but if you know anything about post-Vatican II Catholicism, it actually is?

Here is a more than obvious hint from the Los Angeles Times story.

Some of the strongest criticism Saturday came from proponents of interfaith dialogue and from Jewish organizations. Although references to “perfidious Jews” have been removed from the old liturgy, its Good Friday prayers contain a call for the conversion of the Jews and for God to lift the “veil from their hearts” so that they might know Jesus Christ.

“This is a theological setback in the religious life of Catholics and a body blow to Catholic-Jewish relations,” Abraham H. Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, who is in Rome for meetings with Vatican officials, said in a prepared statement. “It is the wrong decision at the wrong time.”

Clearly, this is an important issue, one linked to historic changes in Vatican II.

But what is the basic doctrine of Christian theology that is at the heart of this? Are there any mainstream stories today that even raise this “trio” question?

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About tmatt

Terry Mattingly directs the Washington Journalism Center at the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. He writes a weekly column for the Universal Syndicate.

  • Elisabeth Jablonka

    I grew up in Vienna, Austria, in the forties and fifties with masses which were a combination of popular and traditional. The moving parts and prayers were recited in German and read by children in the children’s mass, by teenagers in the youth mass, etc. We all carried prayer books which reflected the liturgy in both German and English. You did not have to know Latin to be part of the mass. After the war I was sent to Belgium for 6 months to get proper nourishment. My constant homesickness was tempered by going to church and feeling at home because of the common language – Latin.

    I have never felt comfortable looking at priests’ faces when saying mass. It seemed such an intrusion into a totally personal experience. By the same token I would have felt incredibly violated if people watched my every expression while praying. The idea of priests facing the altar together with the congregation seems to me the most logical one since we are all praying to same God.

  • john

    It is interesting that Pope Benedict XVI would make a “mutuo propio” statement. Which basically means he thinks he is in control. When you live a Jesus centered life there is no “mutuo propio”. I wonder what we can conclude from this?

  • George Nicholas

    Not at all. The question is whether or not Christianity is true. Did Jesus really rise from the dead? The Catholic answer is of course “yes”; therefore, to pray for the conversion of the Jews is no more than to pray that Jews (and everyone else) recognize the truth about the Messiah.

    In other words, the reaction of Mr. Foxman as quoted in the article seems to be that he is shocked–shocked! to discover that Christians believe Christianity to be true.

  • Christine

    I am so happy to here that the traditional Latin Mass can be said again.
    I’m with Gary Tanous, are you kidding me? I was raised in the 60′s going to a traditional Catholic school hearing a Latin Mass every day for 8 years. My prayer book never had a passage about jews being reformed in it. This is what’s wrong with religion today. They don’t take into account anything in the whole, everything is broken down into bits to serve someones twisted needs.Even I could probably start an uprising by opening any religions sacred books and just picking a passage to suit my needs.No wonder the world is the way it is.
    Maybe ALL religons should go back to their traditional teachings.Wouldn’t it be nice to think this might make a difference?

  • Antonio

    I think it all pivots on whether you take the Bible literally. If what it says is not taken literally then there is nothing to argue about. Then no amount of belief would make it true in the ultimate-absolute sense. But if it is the inspired word of God, then no amount of disbelief would make it false and make us less responsible for reading, knowing, and following the life set within it. Imagine a diabetic on insulin deciding one day to take aspirin to address the diabetes. It is his choice but it will not benefit him medically. We don’t so much decide what is true as much as we come to realize it and acknowledge it. And when it goes against our grain we fight it with every pound of rational and emotion we can muster.

    God Bless You.

  • http://www.inspiration-for-singles.com Jack Zavada

    A recent survey found that 76% of Catholics go to confession once a year or less. Over 40% never go.

    Since the breaking of the child molestation scandals, it seems that millions of Catholics, especially those in the U.S. who have grown accustomed to thinking for themselves, find church hierarchy increasingly irrelevant. Lay Catholics still go to mass, they still love Christ, but they have lost faith in cardinals, bishops, and sometimes the pope having the capacity to make right decisions.

    For most of us, a mass said in Latin might just as well be said in Klingon. Was this a great victory for Opus Dei? This is not news; in fact, it was expected. The real news will be who the NEXT pope is and which direction he tries to take the Church.

  • Ben

    I think Mt. Foxman has every right to be concerned as the Church has been the greatest tormentor and murderer of Jews for the past 2000 years. At a time now when ant-antisemitism is making a resurgence in the world it will definitely bring Catholic-Jewish budding relationships grinding to a halt when the Catholic Church reverts on it’s progressive relations with it’s Jewish cousins and restarts some of its offensive latin mass.

  • Dan

    When reporting on the Catholic Church, Tracy Wilkinson routinely presents liberal shibboleths as commonly accepted fact and often fails to present the Church’s own understanding of a matter. Her articles suggest that she is constantly irritated that the Church and the Pope refuse to sign on to the liberal agenda.

    Further, she seems to think that the newsworthiness of what the Church does is measured solely by how “controversial” it is. It is this mindset that makes her reporting so shallow.

  • John

    I agree with Ms. Jablonka. I think the form of the Latin Mass is a much more fitting way to re-establish the honor and respect that is due to Our Lord which seems to be totally lacking in this immoral age in which we are living. Most of today’s youth seem to be overcome by the vast cynicism and immorality of our times. Perhaps if some of them were able to see the innate beauty of the Latin Mass it might inspire some to grow closer to God, and give their lives more meaning.

  • ira rifkin

    Granted: Abe Foxman is no angel, and I doubt he’s capable of dancing on the head of a pin.

    But, like Ben, I agree that as a Jew he’s correct to be concerned on this account. Theology has consequences, both good and bad, in the realm of human relations. If it didn’t it wouldn’t have any value. And history would read far differently.

    The larger question for me is, how do differing theologies co-exist in today’s globalized world?

  • John

    I think Ben’s comments re: “the past 2000 years” are misleading. Since 1945, the Church and Christians and non-Christians in general have shown great support and sympathy for the Jewish people, and the horrors of the Holocaust. It seems to me that the recent surge of “anti-semitism” is mainly due to the Israeli-Arab conflict, and the inability of the people there to get along with each other. Their age old conflict, which predates Christianity, has enveloped the entire world, and the United States in particular, and there will be a lot less “anti-semitism” if a just peace can be achieved in the Middle East.

  • Chris Bolinger

    Does anyone care to comment on how the press is reporting this religion story?

  • http://None Susana de Montoya

    Though a distant descendant of Sephardi Jews who were forced to leave Spain in the late 15th century (thanks to the Inquisition as well as to the Alhambra Decree of 1492 (the infamous expulsion decree)), I am not overly concerned whether or not the run-of-the-mill American Catholic attends a Latin or English mass. I would hope, however, that the reference to Jews in the Latin Mass will not be interpreted by knuckledraggers, ignoramuses, extremists, holier-than-thous and the disingenuous as a call to use more “persuasive” measures to effect the conversion of the Jews.

    It has, after all, happened before.

    Inasmuch as there has never been a period in recorded history totally absent of religious strife and persecution of one kind or another, I am much more concerned about the potential actions of religious fanatics of any flavor, including those of my own religion. One has only to listen to what modern Muslim extremists have to say about other religions. Or read the words of the German Father of the Reformation, Martin Luther, who advocated that the synagogues and homes of Jews be burned and their property destroyed. Or familiarize oneself with the histories the indigenous populations of North and South American and their treatment by good “Christians.” As an aside, Sephardi were for the most part, treated better in Spain by Muslims (the Moors) than by Christians.

    This list goes on and on, almost ad infinitum. And such things concern me more than the language of a religious service.

    Just out of curiosity, does reciting the mass in Latin require a knowledge of the language? Or is it merely a rote repetition of sounds? I ask as one who is passably fluent in several languages as well as one who learned English as a second language. It is one thing to repeat memorized phrases, but quite another to actually be able to think in a foreign language. Or is “thought” not required?

    Susana

  • anne

    The language in question from the Roman Missal, put into effect in 1970, reads as follows, “Let us pray for the Jewish people, the first to hear the word of God, that they may continue to grow in the love of his name and in faithfulness to his covenant. Almighty and eternal God, long ago you gave your promise to Abraham and his posterity. Listen to your Church as we pray that the people you first made your own may arrive at the fullness of redemption.” Beautiful. I’m sure I’m not the only Catholic who feels warmth and affection for the Jewish people when I hear these words. I think the reflexive charges of imminent anti-semitism and violence that surface so often when Catholic belief or teaching is highlighted in the press must stop. It is unwarranted (most recently The Passion comes to mind) and harmful to Jewish-Christian relations.

  • ira rifkin

    Jews don’t want sympathy. That’s after the fact and infantalizing. They want respect – as do all people.

    As for the “age old conflict”…it does not predate Christianity. Arabs are not latter-day Cannanites. The term refers, ethnically, to those from Arabia, and culturally, to those from Arabized lands – a reference to language, customs and faith. The Arabization of the Holy Land was a consequence of Islam’s 7th century CE spread, and clearly post-dates Christianity’s arrival.

    And speaking of the consequences of theological language, the Israeli-Arab conflict and anti-Semitism, read what the Q’uran has to say about Jews (and Christians).

  • Peggy

    Terry M,

    The Vatican is also slated to come out with a document on the unique role of the Roman Catholic Church in God’s plan for salvation. So, that’s going to add to any ecumenical worries from Jews and fellow Christians.

    I understand that it is a bit “tricky” and of course sensitive to question whether the Jews need conversion to Christianity to obtain salvation. But, we are not true to our own faith if we profess that we need not believe in Christ in order to be saved. [See, Kate Shori's recent interview.] The Catholic Catechism does say that non-Christians can be saved by the grace of Jesus Christ. I don’t think that those who outrightly reject Jesus would be those who might be saved. I suppose that could include Jews or Hindus or Muslims for example. In that sense, the Jews are not different from any other non-Christian. The RC Church also is unique among Christian faiths, don’t forget. RC Church teaches that they do not have the fullness of the Truth. So, if the RC Church believes she is uniquely right, then she and her people must, by definition, pray for conversion of every one else, including the Jews. If Abe Foxman is defensive about it, then he’s got to deal with it.

    Finally, I certainly take issue with Ben’s claim that the Church is responsible for most deaths of Jews over history. I acknowledge the Church has a terrible history in this area, but do the number of those killed by Christian forces–on behalf of Christianity–exceed the millions killed just in a few years by Adolph Hitler and his henchmen, not to mention those killed in Soviet prisons–and now by the Muslim radicals?

  • Pat H

    RE Trio questions. First you must ask the following question: Do you CARE about the correct answers to (1)(2)&(3)? If your answer is YES, then the answer to the questions is YES. If your answer is NO, then the answer to the questions is NO.

  • LogicGuru

    I don’t see why praying for the conversion of the Jews, or any other non-Catholics should be offensive. Catholics believe that they have got theology right, and that it would be good it other people got it right too. I pray that my students get it right, that they learn of the overwhelming superiority of Modus Ponens over the Fallacy of Affirming the Consequent. Why shouldn’t Catholics pray that Jews and everyone else get it right when it comes to the doctrine of the Trinity, the Resurrection and all the other stuff they believe?

    Turn this around and ask: what if there were a special ban on praying for the conversion of the Jews. This would be saying, “We don’t expect you people to get it right. We don’t expect or want people from your gene pool in our church.”

    This is plain racism.

  • Sam

    I don’t pretend to have the answers, I’ve been away from the church since the mid 60′s. But, I remember as a child being in a French speaking country, unable to understand a thing written or said … until Sunday, when I went with my brothers and sisters into the local Catholic Church. There, in a foreign land, everything was the same as back home. That was awesome and even being very young I understood how wonderful and comforting that it was; this has been something I have sadly mourned ever since Vatican II. Nobody, even the Church, makes moves that are not in some way related to the “almighty” dollar … the church wants to bring back members that fell away from the church after Vatican II … ONLY because they want baby-boomer money … they are in big financial trouble; this is just one way to keep the chalices golden and the silk robes replaced with new ones.

  • LogicGuru

    What silk robes? You’ve been away for a while, Sam. Last time I was at mass they were wearing gunny sacks. I suppose the money has to go somewhere–so much the more reason to save on liturgical decor. A cheap keyboard and a few kids with guitars will do fine.

  • http://jandyongenesis.blogspot.com Alice C. Linsley

    A gracious move to heal an old wound.

    If only The Episcopal Church had been so gracious to allow parishes to use the Book of Common Prayer instead of imposing the 1979 disaster (with its pirated name).

  • Ken

    The old liturgy cannot be used on Good Friday under these rules. In other words, the prayer that Abe Foxman is shrieking about can’t be said under these new regulations.

    Twenty-eight comments, and I can’t tell that anyone actually read the document you are trashing.

  • Sam

    I see what the rest of the whole world sees … the pope, bishops, cardinals in silk robes. The problem the church has right now are the gunny sacks and kids with guitars you see in church today … these types of people, as devout as they may be, do not have the resources (money) to build the churches and pay for the gold and silk. I know this for a fact, my great grandparents, grandparents, parents, built catholic schools and churches, this isn’t happening anymore; parishes are closing instead. The obvious attempt by the church to lure the baby-boomers and their money back, with Latin, is pretty transparent.

  • joe

    Jack zavada took the word out of my mouth.

  • Trevor

    Being Jewish, and now a practicing Christian, neither effecting the truth of the other. Jesus is the Messiah of Israel, the only Savior of the world, and would have His truth proclaimed in a language that people understand, which means, whatever the make-up of the church is, speak the common language oe the people, not a dead one, such as Latin.

  • Paul

    Truth is known to God and God alone. No human, whether Catholic, Protestant, Muslim, Jew, Buddhist, etc. can rightfully lay claim to the one truth of God. That is God’s domain, and it is ours, ultimately, merely to seek a path to Him, with all due humility. Vatican II in some small way recognized this. What a shame that in troubled times, religions are no different than other edifices of human society in succumbing to the darkness so easily.

  • Conor

    The old liturgy cannot be used on Good Friday under these rules

    This is incorrect. Only private Masses are banned during the Easter Triduum. This applies equally to TLM and Novus Ordo. All Masses during this time regardless of the form used must be public.

  • Conor

    The old liturgy cannot be used on Good Friday under these rules

    This is incorrect. Private Masses are banned during Easter Triduum, this applies to both the TLM and the Novus Ordo. Only public Masses, regardless of form used, may be said during this time.

  • LogicGuru

    On the money, Sam. My son was in the last graduating class at his Catholic high school. The diocese in its wisdom has moved its high schools to wealthy suburbs from which it can extract big bucks. It continues to close parochial schools in inner cities that have provided a wonderful education not only to successive waves of Catholic immigrants from Southern and Eastern Europe, and more recently from Latin America but to poor black kids and other non-Catholics.

    To be fair, these operations in the past ran on the virtual slave labor of nuns who are now virtually extinct.

  • Conor

    The obvious attempt by the church to lure the baby-boomers and their money back, with Latin, is pretty transparent

    Rubbish! It’s the baby-boomers generation that was responsible for the current liturgical mess in the first place and it is they, for the most part (especially among the clergy), who are most resistant to the freeing of the TLM. There is great interest in the TLM among my generation (less than 35) because they are looking for liturgy that actually reflects lex orandi, lex credendi.

    To accuse the Pope of doing this for the money is not only slanderous, it has absolutely no basis in reality.

  • Ken

    Thank you, Conor, for the correction. What threw me was that Mass is not normally said on Good Friday at all, so I read the article to mean the Good Friday Liturgy.

    Which sent me back researching: somewhere in the last couple of days I read that a reference to conversion of the Jews was deleted from the liturgy by John XXIII in the 1962 Missal. Unfortunately, I can’t find that reference now, so perhaps you know if it’s the reference so offensive to Abe Foxman.

  • Sam

    Conor, I’m a baby-boomer, nearing 60, I don’t think I can take blame for decisions made during Vatican II in Rome, when I was 12 years old; like most baby-boomers, I wasn’t at an age to have much pull. I was 15 years old and told by a priest, in church, during mass, to put away my rosary. It should only be used in private. I walked out of the church, a baby boomer at age 15, and have never gone back.

    Rome created the problem, no one else. The Church needs to increase their rolls, luring people back with Latin is one way to do that. I’m certainly not saying that is wrong, I’m just saying it’s transparent. With those that come back to hear a Latin mass, will come their money, I don’t think Rome will object to that either.

  • Jerry

    This topic has certainly stirred people up; some here using it to drag in everything including the theological kitchen sink. As is evident here, we see more evidence of our hyper-divisive zeitgeist in action. People have seized this pronouncement as a starving dog would a hunk of beef. I read one opinion that I can’t find to cite right now, that the net effect on actual practice will be minimal – we might see a few more cases with that mass celebrated but not many. So I think there’s really less to the story than many others believe. It’s just one more indication of the current Pope’s stance on the church, nothing more.

  • LogicGuru

    What more do you want–liturgy is everything. The purpose of the church is to open the Kingdom of Heaven to all believers. All the rest of the junk–same-sex marriage and other ethical issues are peripheral.

    Churches, through liturgical revision, took away the only means most of us have to get in contact with the transcendent. They demanded more and more and more–kick in more bucks, be more informed and involved, shake people’s hands, participate in social service and political action projects–while giving us less and less and less.

    This is the most important story in years–the first time I can remember in about 30 years that a mainline church has made a serious effort to accommodate the religious interests of its lay members, to support piety and devotion.

  • Dan

    Ben says that the Church has been the greatest murderer of Jews in the last 2,000 years. Before reading the subsequent comments I assumed that any half-way educated person would know that this statement is delusional (to put it politely), but some of the subsequent comments suggest otherwise. So let me say it: the statement is delusional. In post-Holocaust times “never forget” has become a mantra, but Ben apparently nevertheless has forgotten that guy named Adolph Hitler, who I had always thought was the “greatest murderer of Jews” ever. (Hitler might also take the title as the “greatest murder of Catholics” also, having put to death 3,000,000 Catholic Poles and who knows how many other Catholics.) As is almost always the case when accusations are leveled at the Church, Ben provides no historical evidence for his accusation.

    The prayer for the conversion of the Jews irks because it is contrary to the modern assumption that “tolerance” is opposed to belief in truth. In fact, the opposite is the case. When one champions tolerance with no regard to what is right and wrong the result is inevitably (and logically) tyranny by the most powerful. “Tolerance” is not per se a good thing. It depends on what is being tolerated. When moral relativism is united with “tolerance,” the result is tolerance of evil since moral relativism does not recognize any difference between good and evil.

    In any event, the Church no loger possesses secular power of any sort (Mr. Foxman seems not to know about the French Revolution) and Pope Benedict has made clear that the Church does not aspire to secular power. As such, it is ludicrous for anyone to worry about it coercing anyone to do anything (if the Pope can’t even get parish priests to follow the rubrics of the liturgy, what chance does he have of forcibly converting the Jews?). Mr. Foxman and those who think like him need to realize that we are no longer living in the Middle Ages.

    Sam is right that baby boomers are not to blame for Vatican II. They are however to blame for perpetuating and institutionalizing the more egregious of the post-Vatican II liturgical abuses.

  • Michele Hagerman

    How about a more dignified English translation while they’re at it? I was raised Catholic in the 1970s-80s. I’d been away for a while (had in fact become Episcopalian), when I went to Mass occasionally with a Catholic friend 6-7 years ago. My experiences at those Masses eventually led me to become Orthodox, rather than returning to Rome.

  • LogicGuru

    To what extent were the theological views off the Catholic Church ever responsible for anti-Semitism? In Europe as it happened Jews were the petty traders who did the shop-keeping and money-lending and so drew the resentment of the indigenous peasantry–like Armenians in Turkey and Korean shopkeepers in LA slums. It’s simply tribalism.

    I’m ok with the Church supplying Latin masses for money. I’ll pay. At last we as consumers get to buy what we like.

  • Deacon John M. Bresnahan

    From the pope’s statement it is clear that he expects 99% of Masses to still be said in the vernacular.And whether it is the quick jumping to unwarranted conclusions by some professional activist Jews or the non-liberalism of the so-called “liberals in the Church–the media’s need to stoke controversy seems to trump all in much of the news coverage.
    If we are the One, True Church founded by Jesus Christ on the Rock of St. Peter–as we believe we are–then we should be praying for –in respectful language– for the conversion of heretics, Jews etc. My mother was a Methodist and I regularly prayed for her conversion. It was because I loved her–not because I harbored some sort of hatred for her. Yet in our society where jellyfish values and spineless
    loyalties are the prime virtues any strength of conviction is slandered as “hatred.” (While the slanderers frequently foam and froth with hatred toward those who have strong convictions.)

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  • MaryMargaret

    Sometimes one does not know whether to laugh or cry over the comments here.

    Of course, the three questions matter, if you profess to be a Christian, the answers are Yes. If not, you may have no interest in them whatsoever.

    Predictably, the MSM cannot figure out what the Church is doing here. “PBXVI is a closet traditionalist, who hates VII and wants to take us back to the dark ages”, is a favorite speculation. This is, frankly, ludicrous. It would be nice if the reporters would either read what PBXVI has written about the Liturgy, or talk to someone who has.

    The simplest explanation is usually the correct one. Simply put, we should all take the Holy Father at his word. He wishes to be generous to those who love the Mass of Blessed John XXIII, and would like the celebration of the two Masses to complement one another, rather than exist in opposition. Ultimately, (my opinion here) I think he would like this to lead to a “reform of the reform”, in the hopes that we can come to a meeting of the Masses.

  • Deacon John M. Bresnahan

    Mary Margaret’s comments are right on the mark especially her take in her last paragraph on what the real situation is. But, sadly, how many news stories on the pope’s actions will be even close to her reasoned accuracy???? So far, very few.

  • Martha

    I happen to have a Missal printed in 1964, so let’s take a look, shall we, before we all start making pronouncements on things we know nothing about?

    Now, the ordinary Mass has nothing about the conversion of the Jews, so that hare won’t start: if the Latin Mass was said in every church in every parish every day of the week, there still would be nothing said good, bad or indifferent.

    What the problem is, if I may phrase it that way, is the prayers for Good Friday during the Triduum of Holy Week.

    After the Passion Gospel is read, there are a sequence of prayers:
    (1) For the Holy Church of God
    (2) A second prayer for the Church
    (3) A prayer for the Pope
    (4) For the Bishop
    (5) For all Bishops, Priests, Deacons, Subdeacons, Acoyltes, Exorcists, Lectors, Porters, Confessors, Virgins, Widows and for all the holy people of God
    (6) For all in orders
    (7) For those in authority over us, the governments of the world
    (8) For the Cathecumens
    (9) Another prayer for the Cathecumens
    (10) A prayer that God would cleanse the world of all errors, take away diseases, drive away famine, open prisons, release from chains, grant a secure return to travellers, health to the sick and a safe haven to those at sea
    (11) A prayer for those in sorrow or in trouble
    (12) A prayer for heretics and schismatics to return to the church
    (13) A prayer for those deceived by the devil and in heresy
    Finally, we come to the Big Bad Wolf!
    (14) Let us pray also for the Jews: that our God and Lord would remove the veil from their hearts; that they also may acknowledge Our Lord Jesus Christ
    Let us pray. Let us kneel down. Arise.
    (15) Almighty and everlasting God, Who drivest not away from Thy mercy even the Jews: hear our prayers, which we offer for the blindness of that people: that acknowledging the light of Thy truth, which is Christ, they may be rescued from their darkness. Through the same Lord… Amen.
    (16) A prayer for pagans
    (17) Another prayer, that they may be delivered from the worship of idols

    Then we have the Adoration of the Cross.

    So, the prayers which Mr. Foxman is objecting to (and I imagine he is only going on what the reporter asked him, when the reporter stuck a bit of paper under his nose and asked him “So, what do you think of the Roman Catholic Church calling Jews ‘perfidious’, Mr. Foxman?”) come in a long sequence of prayers for various people once a year.

    NOT in the Mass said every day.

    I’m willing to let the Pope handle this one; as for the motu proprio allowing the greater use of the Latin Mass, I’m neither hugely for nor against it.

    I think it will, if done properly, actually be good for the Tridentine Rite since it is in danger of becoming a fussy museum piece performed as an historical re-enactment and the province of extreme traditionalists who verge or veer towards disobedience and schism (not saying all those who prefer the Tridentine are such, please don’t take that as my meaning).

    It will instead be a functioning, breathing part of the life of the Church once again. It will be changed, as it would have evolved naturally if still in wide use after Vatican II, but it might have a beneficial effect on the Novus Ordo as well.

    I don’t think it is a triumph for the conservatives, an attempt to roll back Vatican II, or a marketing gimmick. I do think we should, whatever our opinions, give it a fair go.

    And I *strongly* dislike cheap attempts to whip up easy controversy along these lines of “Anti-Semitic Mass Rides Again!”

  • http://www.hymnographyunbound.blogspot.com Kathy

    Michele Hagerman, there is a new translation of the Paul VI Missal (the “ordinary” usage) in the works. It will probably take a few more years.

  • Alexei

    Also wouldn’t the Church have been smarter by switching to the Latin and just changing the word JEW to the word NON-CHRISTIAN religions? Or better yet, would the church have the nerve to put the word and Moslem in there after Jew?

    Uh, dude…Christ was a Jew? And, like, Christians claim He fulfills Jewish prophecy? Does any of this ring a bell?

    HTH,
    A.

  • cheryl

    Just a quick reply to Jack Zavada (way back at comment #11):

    When you ask, ‘is this a great victory for Opus Dei?’ I presume you are under the impression that Opus Dei celebrates traditional rite Latin masses.

    This is not the case. Opus Dei Masses, while often incorporating a bit of Latin, are Novus Ordo (new order) and said in the language of the country in which the Mass is taking place.

  • ira rifkin

    I repeat, theology has consequences in the way people treat those who do not share their beliefs. Believe as you will. Even pray as you will, as long as you do it without harming others.

    But it’s a fine line, and one easily manipulated, between sincerely wanting Jews (and other non-Christians) to accept Jesus as the Messiah because you think that’s best for their eternal souls — and engaging in hateful language, and, in the extreme, deadly retribution because Jews and others say thanks but no thanks, we believe otherwise.

    It may no longer be the Middle Ages or the Nazi era, but human nature remains unchanged. Hatred still abounds, most of us operate out of our insecurities, human institutions (including religious ones) remain terribly imperfect, people still kill each other over trivial –not to mention — important differences of opinion, and Jews are still threatened with death or murdered because someone has made an assumption about their political/religious beliefs simply because they are Jews.

    Hopefully the venom evidenced in a few of these posts will remain confined to the online world.

    Ciao on this one.

  • http://www.ecben.net Will

    “Let us pray for the Jewish people, the first to hear the word of God, that they may continue to grow in the love of his name and in faithfulness to his covenant. Almighty and eternal God, long ago you gave your promise to Abraham and his posterity. Listen to your Church as we pray that the people you first made your own may arrive at the fullness of redemption.”

    I have for some years past heard this or a similar prayer included in the Good Friday service at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church here, and I think in Anglican services also. Funny how this wave of anti-Semitism has escaped media attention.

    “read what the Q’uran has to say about Jews (and Christians).”
    You mean “the nearest to you are those who are called Christians”?
    Or perhaps you mean the bizarre assertion that Jews worship “Ezra”? How many people, Moslem or not, take that one seriously?

    I am shocked, SHOCKED, that the Holy See thinks that Catholicism is true.

    Ken, I think that “1962″ refers to the decree deleting “perfidious” form the prayer for the Jews… which Foxman and the MSM seem never to have heard of.

  • http://www.ecben.net Will

    For the sarcasm-impaired, my reference to a purported “wave of anti-Semitism” was so intended.

    Will
    “First-degree mongrel” under the Nuremberg Laws
    Member of “strange church” that “doesn’t believe in normal things” according to Missouri Democraps

  • http://www.tmatt.net tmatt

    I have been in a car all day long and unable to monitor comments.

    Maybe three or four have anything to do with the questions I raised and I don’t think anyone has answered my direct question.

    Par for the course, I guess. Sadly.

    But the key trio question, in this case, is the one about salvation through Jesus alone.

    However, there are plenty of American Catholics who would take the “spirit of Vatican II” out to the point where sexual ethics and the resurrection would be affected as well…

  • Dennis Colby

    This is an issue where the need for specialists in religion to cover it in the press is particularly evident. The distinctions between 1962 and pre-1962 missals, the fact that the normative language of the Mass currently is Latin, Joseph Ratzinger’s role as an enthusiastic and influential reformer at Vatican II, the SSPX’s opposition to ecumenism and religious freedom. . . all these are important points that have been largely lost in the press coverage, because the reporters covering the story don’t seem to have much of a background in the subject.

    As for the Tmatt Trio, I don’t know how much it applies here. Foxman aside, I have yet to see much indication that many people care about this change, probably because it will have little impact at the parish level. This is an issue that’s only controversial for the people to whom everything is controvesial.

  • Stephen A.

    This entire story is stupid.

    If Catholics pray for the conversion of Jews (or Muslims, or atheists, or Buddhists) during their prayers ONCE a year, on Good Friday, why is this news, regardless of the language used to do it? Why is this meriting a quote from a person who seems like his ideal career would be “Professional Offended Person”? Gosh, I only thought Muslims were perpetually outraged over nonsense.

    And if this phrase is no longer part of the Latin Mass (did someone above say it was removed? Is that true?) then someone owes Pope Benedict and all Catholics an apology for misreporting this story.

    Should Christians get riled up if, in a Mosque, the Quranic verse condemning to Hell those who worship “partners” with God (i.e. Christ) is read during prayers?

    That the monotheistic religions all see themselves as unique and True Faiths is not news, people. Nor is it news that many in those Faiths pray that others would “see the light” and convert. In fact, it obviously happens in sects WITHIN all of these Faiths, too.

    Only for secular reporters who demand that religion be non-exclusive, non-doctrinaire and “tolerant” of all other Faiths – and are outraged that they are not – is this “news.”

  • Conor

    Sam is right that baby boomers are not to blame for Vatican II. They are however to blame for perpetuating and institutionalizing the more egregious of the post-Vatican II liturgical abuses.

    This is exactly what I meant. I didn’t meant that baby-boomers were responsible for V2. I meant that they were responsible for hijacking & perverting it and it’s implementation, through the whole “Spirit of Vatican II” rubbish. I doubt if any of those who adhere to the “Spirit of Vatican II” have actually read a single V2 council document in their life. They’d be in for a nasty surprise if they did.

  • http://stevenpaul.org Steve

    I’m sorry but Abe Foxman is not a religious leader. He is not the head of any religion at all. he is the head of the ADL, a secular organization concerned with attacks against the Jewish ethnicity. He can no more peak for the Jewish religion that I can.

  • Petellius

    I don’t have time to read all the comments above, but I had a few points to make that might clarify things.

    1) Re: adding Moslems and/or other non-Christian groups to the Good Friday prayers, this is not necessary, since they are already included. The prayer immediately before the prayer for the Jews is a prayer for the heretics and schismatics; the one immediately following these two is the prayer for pagans. Thus, all non-Christian religions were covered (remember that, traditionally, Islam had been considered a heresy, not a separate religion, so would have been covered by the first of these three prayers. I realize that is not the case anymore, but we are talking about prayers that are over 1000 years old here). And adding them to the prayer specifically for the Jews would have muddled distinct theological categories.

    2) re: “perfidious” – in case no one has pointed this out yet, this is a gross mistranslation. “perfidus” in Latin means “unbelieving” or “faithless” (i.e., not believing in Christ), not “perfidious” (i.e., treacherous). I don’t know who came up with this translation, or why the press keeps repeating it (though I am glad to see that, unlike the recent falsehoods printed in the Britain’s Independent, the LA Times does not claim that this term has been permitted under the motu proprio), but it really is misleading. Now, one may still object to the content of the prayer, but the “perfidious” thing is false and inflammatory.

    3) Finally, re: Mr. Foxman’s claim about the Church being the “greatest murderer of Jews.” Unfortunately there is no evidence for this claim at all, and no one who actually studies Church history would believe it for a second. I would be more inclined to Mr. Foxman’s position if he could point to a single papal document which supports his statement. There were, admittedly, limitations on the rights of Jews (most obviously, property rights) during most of the pre-Modern period. But more often than not, the popes were the ones who intervened to protect the Jewish population of Europe, when they were able to, from persecution by the secular government. As early as the 12th century, there are documents to this effect (cf. the Bull “sicut Iudaeis” issued by Callixtus II in 1120, which specifically forbade the harming of the Jews.)

    We might compare the conclusions reached by Schlomo Simonsohn in his magisterial 7-volume study “The Apostolic See and the Jews”. I quote the review in Speculum, a highly regarded journal of Medieval Studies: “in all probability if the Apostolic See had had its way, the Jewish presence in most Western European countries would have continued. Only the papacy’s relative political weakness allowed the secular rulers to prevail.”

  • GerryD

    All other observation aside, this “Motu Proprio” appears to be a major step in Benedict XVI’s stated goal towards bringing all major Christian denominations back into full communion with Rome. If Rome is to bring the Orthodox and perhaps other christian liturgies into the “family” it must first heal the liturgical and theological schisms in its own house. By addressing the issue of the Roman Missal as one rite with two liturgical forms, one being ordinary and the other extraordinary, Benedict XVI hopes to heal the internal rift with the Lefebvrites and other traditionalists, while at the same time, showing the Orthodox Churches the road that leads to full communion with Rome. Benedict seems to be saying, we all share one Eucharistic rite, even though our liturgical styles may differ.

  • Robert

    An issue that has not been covered in any news reporting that I have heard, and is a major question for me:

    What liturgy, exactly, has the Pope relaxed restrictions on? Is it:

    a) the pre-Vatican II Tridentine liturgy, celebrated in Latin?

    or

    b) the post-Vatican II Novus Ordo liturgy, celebrated in Latin?

    It’s my understanding– is this right?– that Tridentine and Novus Ordo are different liturgies with different rites and prayers within them. And it’s also my understanding that the Tridentine is celebrated only in Latin, whereas the Novus Ordo can be celebrated in any language, including Latin.

    Is my understanding correct? If so, which Mass exactly is this new announcement about? If not, what exactly is the relationship between the Tridentine and the Novus Ordo?

    I’ve yet to hear any reporter give a sensible answer to these questions.

  • http://ontheotherfoot.blogspot.com Joel

    I’m not sure why the text of the liturgy should be any of the Jews’ business, anyway. I don’t mean that to sound hostile, but really, it’s OUR ritual, not theirs. Do we raise protests if their liturgies aren’t sufficiently pro-Christian? Do any of the major Jewish organizations run their ceremonies past the Vatican for vetting before they go into use?

  • http://augustinepoodle.blogspot.com Colm

    What is the basic Christian theology that is at the heart of this? I’d guess it would be that there is no salvation outside the Church of Christ, which itself is summed up within the Mass. For Catholics and I think the Orthodox, the Mass is the spiritual core of every Christian. It where we find our Lord each day, and where we pray unitedly, publically and earnestly with others. Also, the sex and Bible inerrancy questions are implicit if one believes that ‘salvation [is] found through Jesus Christ, alone? Was Jesus being literal when he said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6)’

    As for the reporting, it’s been pretty shambolic but pretty predictable. To be fair though, it really must seem to non-Catholics that the Pope is just falling into his conservative tendencies to most journalists who are not familiar with the liturgical history of the Catholic Church and the questions raised by the past 40 years of liturgical experimentation. They all seem to have missed that this document does not mean that the Mass in the vernacular will suddenly cease to exist, or that the Pope may simply want to make sure more priests are comfortable and proficient in the Church’s language.

    And as for everyone bringing out their greivances with the Church rather than trying to answer your question, Terry, I think it’s just because the orthodox/liberal divisions within the Church are everyone’s business these days.

  • http://www.wantonpopery.com James G.

    Tmatt,

    Could you clarify what you’re asking?

    The core theology of the new “Novus Ordo” Mass (1970 Missal of Paul VI) and the old “Tridentine” Mass (1962 Missal of Pius V) are the same; that is, they renew the eternal sacrifice made by Christ on the cross and transform ordinary bread and wine into His body and blood. Pope Benedict affirmed in Summoroum Pontificum that they are both part of the same Roman rite of the Mass, just different expressions or uses of it.

    So, in relation to the “trio”, both forms of the Mass affirm “yes” to all three questions. Nothing is changed there. At most, we can observe that liberal priests are more prone to using the Novus Ordo Mass and watering down doctrine, while traditional priests are more likely to use the Tridentine Mass and preach orthodoxy from the pulpit.

  • http://www.wantonpopery.blogspot.com James G.

    Robert,

    “What liturgy, exactly, has the Pope relaxed restrictions on? Is it:

    a) the pre-Vatican II Tridentine liturgy, celebrated in Latin?

    or

    b) the post-Vatican II Novus Ordo liturgy, celebrated in Latin?”

    It’s A, the Tridentine Mass (the Missal of 1962). Prior to this motu proprio, the 1962 Missal could only be used by diocesan priests with the explicit approval and authorization of the local bishop. For many years, this has constrained parishes in which a traditionally-minded priest and/or congregation would like to offer the Tridentine Mass, but the local bishop refuses because either he’s given the permission to someone else, or because he sees the old Mass as “backwards” and contrary to the “spirit of Vatican II”. Now, priests can say the Tridentine Mass without the bishop’s approval, because as Pope Benedict has said, the old Mass was never abrogated in the first place.

    The motu proprio states:

    … having reflected deeply upon all aspects of the question, invoked the Holy Spirit and trusting in the help of God, with these Apostolic Letters we establish the following:

    “Art 1. The Roman Missal promulgated by Paul VI is the ordinary expression of the ‘Lex orandi’ (Law of prayer) of the Catholic Church of the Latin rite. Nonetheless, the Roman Missal promulgated by St. Pius V and reissued by Bl. John XXIII is to be considered as an extraordinary expression of that same ‘Lex orandi,’ and must be given due honour for its venerable and ancient usage. These two expressions of the Church’s Lex orandi will in no any way lead to a division in the Church’s ‘Lex credendi’ (Law of belief). They are, in fact two usages of the one Roman rite.
    “It is, therefore, permissible to celebrate the Sacrifice of the Mass following the typical edition of the Roman Missal promulgated by Bl. John XXIII in 1962 and never abrogated, as an extraordinary form of the Liturgy of the Church.

    About B, all priests have always been allowed to say the Novus Ordo Mass in Latin, or facing away from the people, or with Gregorian chant. In fact, the original Vatican II documents and the 1970 Missal rubrics assume that this is the “default”. Things that we normally associate with the Novus Ordo Mass; such as the vernacular tongue, facing the people, Communion in the hand while standing (instead of on the tongue while kneeling), and modern music instead of Gregorian chant; are all “options” which have been abused to the apoint where they seem like the norm, rather than the exception.

  • http://www.wantonpopery.blogspot.com James G.

    john (comment #2) said,

    It is interesting that Pope Benedict XVI would make a “mutuo propio” statement. Which basically means he thinks he is in control. When you live a Jesus centered life there is no “mutuo propio”. I wonder what we can conclude from this?

    First, it’s spelled “motu proprio”, which is Latin for “of his own motion”.

    Second, have you even read the motu proprio itself? If you did, the answer would be there in the very first sentence, which states:

    Up to our own times, it has been the constant concern of supreme pontiffs to ensure that the Church of Christ offers a worthy ritual to the Divine Majesty, ‘to the praise and glory of His name,’ and ‘to the benefit of all His Holy Church.’

    We can conclude that the Supreme Pontiff, or Pope, is the head caretaker or steward of the Church of Christ. The Pope is “in control” insofar as that he holds stewardship over the Church, granted to him by God. Hence, St. Paul writes to Titus, saying, “a bishop must be without crime, as the steward of God” (Titus 1:7).

    You can read even more about a Christ-centered life in Pope Benedict’s book Jesus of Nazareth, his apostolic exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis (“The Sacrament of Charity”), or his encyclical Deus Caritas Est (“God is Love”).

  • tony55398

    It seems that Catholics fight over the least important things. That Christianity is more than the Mass, that man does not live on Bread alone but every Word that springs forth from the mouth of God. Let the tradionalists have their Mass and Let those of us that look to the future have ours. God is Love and I have seen Him, I have experienced Him to absolute. If only people would Love one another. Thats His greatest desire.

  • http://www.wantonpopery.blogspot.com James G.

    Tony55398 said,

    It seems that Catholics fight over the least important things. That Christianity is more than the Mass, that man does not live on Bread alone but every Word that springs forth from the mouth of God.

    Most of the conflict between liberal and traditional Catholics is over the best way to properly worship and serve God in the Mass, and that’s no small matter. True, Christianity is more than the Mass… but the Mass is the sacrifice of Christ on the cross renewed, and that’s the most important part of the Catholic Christian faith. Hence why Pope St. Pius X said, “The Holy Mass is a prayer itself, even the highest prayer that exists. It is the sacrifice, dedicated by our Redeemer at the cross, and repeated every day on the altar.”

    Let the tradionalists have their Mass and Let those of us that look to the future have ours.

    That’s what the motu proprio is saying. It allows the Tridentine Mass for those who want it; and the Novus Ordo Mass for those who want that.

    You should be aware of how much relief or even liberation this motu proprio is giving to many people around the world. I’ll cite an example story from a certain comment left in a blog:

    I heard a story the other day, about the first folk mass celebrated in my diocese. The woman who as a 16 year-old girl attended it told of how she and her class were taken as a group to “something special” at the cathedral. At the door nuns collected everyone’s traditional missal and mantilla, never to return, though they weren’t told that at the time (and hand missals weren’t cheap and still aren’t!), but she wouldn’t give hers up. The nun tried to force it from her, but my friend held onto it tenaciously. Finally the nun gave up, and my friend recounted being told to come up and surround the altar, the singing of vernacular folk music, etc. She said, and I quote, “I felt as if I was being raped.”

    The changes after Vatican II Council were traumatic, and for many Catholics, they feel as though they’ve been abandoned for 40 years until this motu proprio.

  • Stephen A.

    Responding to Tony55398: Speaking as a non-Catholic, I must say that even I understand that Catholics see the Mass as the CENTRAL ritual of the Faith, having far greater significance than many Protestants to a merely symbolic “communion,” which I celebrated as a Protestant for many years. Therefore, yes, Christianity is “more than the Mass” but it is exceedingly important to how they experience their Faith, as James G. noted, above (63).

    I would hope anyone writing about this issue (and this is, after all, a blog about reporting on these religious issues, not inserting one’s opinion about them) would step back and undersatnd this, and perhaps look up the word transubstantiation, among other words and phrases, while they’re at it.

    The historic and current role of the Pope as leader of Catholicism would also be a good line of study for reporters, and others. Even some (lapsed) Catholics would gain from a bit more understanding of his role in setting the moral tone for his Church and his Church’s polity, since he has the duty and the right to set both moral and ritual guidelines for those who claim to be Catholics.

  • tony55398

    I didn’t mean that Mass itself was least important, but that there is room for all rituals, all people, and all ways of expressing the Love of Christ in the Sacrament of unity, in His own Flesh and Blood and we should not have conflict over this.

  • Stephen A.

    The bottom line is this is an internal decision by the Catholic Church. Clearly, they feel they have a right to pray for the conversion and salvation of whomever they please, and that’s a valid point of view.

    The way many news organizations start off their discussion is that exclusivity is NEVER acceptable, or is somehow abberant. This seems to be the starting point in this story, and leaves the door open for an outsider to claim to be horrified that the Catholic Church believes in converting others.

  • tony55398

    New wine should be poured into new winebags so that both will be saved. The old and the new. the Jew and the Christian. The old promises for the Jews remain in effect, and the new for Christians till the end of time.

  • Stephen A.

    Tony, I suppose that was supposed to be profound, but it doesn’t seem relevant and isn’t on topic at any rate.

    I suggest you brush up on your Great Commission theology, rather than this “it’s true for ME, etc.” thing you’re trying to work out with this analogy.

  • Sean Gallagher

    I wonder why reporters don’t ask Mr. Foxman and those who share his concerns about the prayer for the Jewish people that is in the current ordinary form of the Latin Rite (that which most Catholics experience each Good Friday).

    Although different in style than its predecessor in the 1962 Missal, it’s substance is the same. After all, it still prays that the Jewish people might come to the “fullness of redemption.”

    That prayer would seem to imply that the Jewish people are not yet at that fullness, doesn’t it?

  • Shocked

    I understand from news reports that there will be logistical problems.
    Most priests know very little Latin. Most lay people know even less.

    The problem has never been the use of language per se.

    It’s the Liturgy itself which is the problem. Vatican II sought to renew the Liturgy by involving the laity as had been the practice in the early Church. Unfortunately, the Mass had gradually changed to be more of something to “hear” rather than something to participate in. Such practices as praying the rosary during Liturgy and private devotions reading a prayer book were quite common no matter that they were contrary to the spirit of the Mass. More unfortunately, those in charge of renewing the Liturgy had very little or next to no knowledge of its theological history and import. The result was a disaster, theologically, spiritually, and practically.

    It would have been much more in keeping with the spirit of Vatican II for the RC Church to adopt the Chrysostom Liturgy or a variant of it.

    Orthodox have never had a problem going from one Orthodox Church to another even if the language was different because of the strict order of liturgical prayers and actions of the priest, deacon, choir and laity, each with its own proper function, each with its own participatory role.

  • http://www.wantonpopery.blogspot.com James G.

    Shocked said:

    The problem has never been the use of language per se.

    It’s the Liturgy itself which is the problem. Vatican II sought to renew the Liturgy by involving the laity as had been the practice in the early Church. Unfortunately, the Mass had gradually changed to be more of something to “hear” rather than something to participate in. Such practices as praying the rosary during Liturgy and private devotions reading a prayer book were quite common no matter that they were contrary to the spirit of the Mass. More unfortunately, those in charge of renewing the Liturgy had very little or next to no knowledge of its theological history and import. The result was a disaster, theologically, spiritually, and practically.

    I don’t know how that’s the fault of the Mass itself (or even if it’s a fault, since many Catholics I know argue strongly for the “passive” approach to assisting at the Mass, because of its contemplative nature). I’ve attended Tridentine Masses which were like you described; but I’ve also attended “participatory” Tridentine Masses in which the congregation sang all of the responses, the Gloria, Creed, congregational hymns, etc.

  • http://www.wantonpopery.blogspot.com James G.

    And I intended to reply to a couple other comments early on in the list, but maybe it’s too late for that now. Nevertheless:

    Jack Zavada (comment #6) asked:

    Was this a great victory for Opus Dei?

    No. Opus Dei priests do not celebrate the Tridentine Latin Mass, because they prefer the new rite of Mass, even though they may sometimes celebrate the new rite in Latin. What does Opus Dei have to do with anything here?

    Susana de Montoya (comment #13) asked:

    Just out of curiosity, does reciting the mass in Latin require a knowledge of the language? Or is it merely a rote repetition of sounds? I ask as one who is passably fluent in several languages as well as one who learned English as a second language. It is one thing to repeat memorized phrases, but quite another to actually be able to think in a foreign language. Or is “thought” not required?

    No, it’s not necessary to be fluent in Latin; just as most synagogues do not require Jews to be fluent in Hebrew to attend a Hebrew liturgy, or Muslims to be fluent in Arabic to attend an Arabic liturgy.

    I attend a Mass in Latin (in the new rite); I don’t know Latin fluently, although I’ve taken a couple years of it and plan to take some more in college this year, as well as a course in Gregorian chant which is a mandatory subject at my college. My parish church offers summer Latin courses, and the parish school makes Latin a mandatory subject for grades 5 through 12.

    At almost all Latin Mass communities, translations of the Mass with Latin and the vernacular side-by-side are provided by greeters to each parishioner, and are also found in the pews. A lot of people bring their own hand Missals with the translations in them for all the days of the year. Most devotees of the Latin Mass memorize what’s called the “Ordinary of the Mass” after a while; those parts of the Mass which are always the same, like the Confiteor (“I confess to almighty God…”), the Gloria (“Glory be to God on high…”), the Nicene Creed (“I believe in one God…”), and the common greetings and responses.

    That being said, yes, “thought” is required. Pope St. Pius X wrote on the Mass (which was still always in Latin at that time): “The Holy Mass is a prayer itself, even the highest prayer that exists. It is the sacrifice, dedicated by our Redeemer at the cross, and repeated every day on the altar. If you wish to hear Mass as it should be heard, you must follow with eye, heart and mouth all that happens at the altar. Further, you must pray with the priest the holy words said by him in the name of Christ and which Christ says by him. You have to associate your heart with the holy feelings which are contained in these words and in this manner you ought to follow all that happens on the altar. When acting in this way you have prayed Holy Mass.”


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