Thank you to all the people who have answered my questions on the Latin Mass and expressed their opinions. The combox is now closed on this one.
A summary of my own feelings is this: I do actually appreciate the Latin Mass, and hope a wider permission is granted for the Latin Mass to be celebrated because it will aid the cause of unity in our church. A wider use of the Latin Mass will also help to set an example and bring back a more reverent celebration of the Novus Ordo.
I appreciated reading why people enjoyed the Latin Mass, and I share a love of most of the things they cherish. However, I believe that most of the things people value: reverence, order, dignity, silence, a sense of the numinous, and a love of Gregorian chant etc. can be found when the Novus Ordo is celebrated properly. I do understand that I am lucky to be part of a parish like St Mary’s where the Novus Ordo is celebrated with care and reverence. I realize some readers are not so blessed.
In conclusion, I’d like to be positive and do something I very rarely hear anyone do: I’d like to point out what I like about the Novus Ordo. There are some rough spots, but on the whole, I think the English language translation of most of the Novus Ordo is simple, utilitarian and dignified. The language is not flowery but functional. It does the job in a practical and straightforward way without drawing attention to itself. It’s common sense for the worship of the people of God to be audible and to be in the ordinary language of the people, and despite the rather complex academic answers to my questions, I think it is still obvious that the Mass was first translated into Latin so that more people could understand it, not fewer.
We live in a very pluralistic and varied modern culture. The Spirit is at work in all sorts of ways throughout the church and throughout the world. The flexibility of the Novus Ordo allows us to respond to the needs of the all of the faithful in a universal church. I actually think this is a positive thing. I realize that this leads to some abuses, but there will be abuses of one kind or another in whatever form the liturgy takes, and I’d prefer to take the risk.
In addition to the Novus Ordo itself, I think the new lectionary is vastly improved. Now the faithful are fed with far more of the Scriptures on a regular and consistent basis. I could go on about how good the new breviary is, for instance, but most of all I accept the Novus Ordo because I accept the authority of the Catholic Church. I accept her authority in the past down through the ages, and I accept her authority now in my own age. I believe the Holy Spirit has led the church into the Second Vatican Council. The Novus Ordo is one of the fruits of that Spirit-led council. I’m happy to accept the authority of my church and the liturgy which better men than myself have handed on to me, and I simply don’t feel qualified to set myself up as an alternative liturgical authority.