The Prevalence of Latin Masses In Buenos Aires Proves Nothing…

… There seems to be some confusion existing as to whether Bergoglio was “friendly” or not to the Latin mass in his old diocese of Buenos Aires. Some say he was open to it while others claim he was outright hostile to the prospect. This supposed hostility and preference for simpler liturgical styles is being used to paint Pope Francis as liturgical dance-y and an enemy to all things traditional.

Trying to judge whether Pope Francis loves, hates, or is indifferent to the Latin based on it’s availability in Buenos Aires strikes me as supremely odd. Technically, their masses are already in Latin, but I digress.

To understand why this seems like an odd assumption to make about the pope let’s look at my current diocese of Charlotte, North Carolina. Bishop Jugis hearts the Latin mass and even then local Catholics had to organize a massive group effort to get mass in the extraordinary form celebrated here. It’s been almost 6 years since Summorum Pontificum and we just now started having Latin masses celebrated weekly at my current parish. Before that masses were celebrated scantly- in the middle of the week, first Saturdays, certain holy days, and at certain churches here and there throughout the diocese.

The entire effort required that priests, deacons, and altar servers receive training. Mass times needed to be reorganized. Vestments bought. Interest to get stoked. And even before all that parishioners prayed, petitioned, and begged. We have Latin mass here because we demanded it. It was something that was actively sought after and took a monumental amount of effort by some very hard working, highly organized locals and priests.

Whew! All that and we have a Latin loving bishop. The motu proprio did not magically make Latin masses effortlessly appear in dioceses all over the world. Noting the lack of Latin masses within a particular area is not an indication of the spirit of the Bishop, but more about the nature of the people living and worshiping within that diocese. The people have to want it.

And do Hispanics want it? In our diocese, no. Locally, the area Hispanics have zero, zilch, nada interest in attending mass in the extraordinary form. And it most certainly has nothing to do with them being in the minority. In the diocese of Charlotte Hispanics make up the largest demographics chunk of practicing Catholics. Thanks to the influx of immigrants Catholicism has seen a boom, making it the most practiced religion in the state.

As a Puerto Rican I can plainly state it’s just a cultural thing and nothing more. Judging from my own personal and familia experience with Hispanics and their reception to the Latin mass it wouldn’t be a stretch to suppose about the locals in Beunos Aires and guess the demand is not going to be great. There is no great conspiracy and the prevalence of Latin masses in Pope Francis’s old diocese is indicative of nothing really. It’s just not how most Hispanics worship.

Moving on…

About Katrina Fernandez

Mackerel Snapping Papist

  • David L Alexander

    I addressed this subject seven months ago …

    … and it is no less timely, in light of the initial impressions we are forming about our new pope. There is a segment of the Catholic blogosphere, usually categorized a “radical traditionalist” — “radtrad,” if you will, and we all know who they are — that know enough about the subject to be dangerous, and have gained enough exposure on the internet to mislead a good number of Catholics. It belies any understanding of the human condition, to think that any one man, no matter his position, can force people to “like” something.

    Few if any of the present bishops (never mind that of Rome) can be blamed for a generation of misplaced “inculturation” (although many are at a loss to attempt a proper remedy). Most attempts, whether it’s mariachi at the Spanish Mass (which is a rather narrow approach, even on its own terms) or polka at a Polish Mass (never seen it, suspect people are making it up), merely pander to the level of pop culture.

    It is really too early to judge the legacy of Pope Francis, but if anything is clear, it is that Catholics on the whole have whatever they need to restore the Traditional Mass, if only in the hearts and minds of a rising generation.

  • Anne Gomes

    Thank you for saying what I wanted to, but couldn’t. Just too hard to explain to gringos. Latino Catholics hardly even register in our parishes.
    Btw, I never, ever saw mariachi masses in Mexico, but here in the US, yeah.

  • DavidWerling

    You left out more than half the story!

    Left out:

    There was a desire for the TLM before SP, including a petition and more than one priest willing to offer it.

    When SP came into effect, the Archbishop granted a hybrid TLM, offered by a priest of his own choosing (not the priests who expressed a desire to offer the TLM). That priest expressed his displeasure having to it openly to parishioners on more than one occasion. The first time this Mass was offered over a hundred people showed up, but the readings were in the vernacular, and were according to the Ordinary Form calendar. Understandably, people faithful to the TLM stopped attending because it was offered properly elsewhere. Only after people stopped going to this hybrid Mass was it declared in the Archdiocese that there was no interest.

    Left out:

    At least one other priest took it upon himself to offer the TLM without permission from the Archbishop, something he had the right to do according to SP. He was ordered, by the Archbishop, to stop.

    This information comes from people ACTUALLY IN ARGENTINA!

    Left out:

    There are many TLMs offered in Argentina, and they are well attended, thus revealing the lie that traditional worship would not be popular in Argentina.

    This piece is a pandering lie, plain and simple, designed to curry favor with the Bergoglio “conservatives” who are living in a fantasy world, and also to malign traditional and devout Catholics who have done nothing more than report the FACTS.

    You should be ashamed of yourself for propagating this attack on traditional Catholics.

    • Katrina Fernandez

      Where exactly did I attack traditional Catholics? I simply noted the non-preference in Hispanic culture for Latin mass… not sure how you read some attack in that. If you expect to be taken seriously here please don’t infer victimization where there is none.

      I would be interested in reading your **credible** sources for the “left out” bits. Can you provide them please?

      • DavidWerling

        Please, Ms. Fernandez, “victimization”? Don’t you think your original post was patronizing enough? If there is such an aversion for the Traditional Latin Mass in South America, how do account for their being so many TLMs in Central and South America? There’s more than half a dozen in Argentina alone (though none in the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires).

        You are obviously calling traditionalists liars, based, no doubt, the misinformation presented on Patheos by someone else sharing your less than stellar journalistic skills (i.e. Miss Eden).

        If what you mean by “credible” sources are those sources that are as myopic and biased as you, I suppose a simple presentation of the objective facts by Rorate Cæli won’t suffice for you. (Never mind, they have been posting some of the best coverage on international Church affairs on the internet for over six years, far better than Patheos!, and were granted press credentials to cover the papal election…)

        Fr. Finigan apologized for contradicting the information that Rorate Cæli received first from Argentina.

        When the whole thing recently flared up once again here at Patheos, Rorate Cæli had to again address the issue here:

        This is simply getting old. I’m sure you have first hand accounts from Argentina to counter what Rorate Cæli’s first hand sources have to say. If so, you present them. The burden of proof is on you, Ms. Fernandez.

        • Katrina Fernandez

          No. I don’t think I was being patronizing at all. I apologize if it came across that way. And again… you will find no where in this post or comments where I called any one a liar. I wish you would stop putting words in my mouth. And I never even read Ms. Eden’s post. I’m not into calling people Holocaust deniers and don’t see what one has to do with the other when discussing this topic. It lends nothing to the discussion.

          What I mean by credible sources are ones not associated with SSPX, as they are typically biased. Sources like Vatican news, or L’Osservatore Romano… you know, actual news sources, not blogs. Blogging is not the same is journalism. But of course, presume to know my meaning and calls me slanderous name.

          Now ooze your hatred elsewhere.

      • DavidWerling

        I’d like to add that my reaction is such because I have always enjoyed reading this weblog, and I’m simply shocked that you didn’t bother to do some rather basic research. I think you simply are taking the lead from another blogger who was categorically wrong on this subject.

        • Katrina Fernandez

          Wait, I’m confused. Do you like my blog and just hate me, or hate the blog and like me? This is a blog post, not journalism. It is a personal reflection on the nature of Hispanic worship, noting that we simply don’t roll like that. I don’t need sources and links and dogmas to back up my own personal opinion on the matter. And as someone else noted in the comments… there appears to be a Latin mass in Buenos Aires so what exactly is the big whoop then?

          Let the pope be pope and Catholic on.

          • DavidWerling

            You are confused. First, there is NO TLM in the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires. That has been established, and I don’t understand why you are continuing to profer that missinformation. Secondly, despite your opinion that there is no interest for the TLM among Latinos, the presence of so many TLMs in Latin America demonstrates that your opinion is false. Lastly, you characterize me as a hate filled person based only on the fact that I’m calling you out on your unsound premises. That is simply unjust. Do you characterize everyone who disagrees with you as hate filled? Resorting to such tactics is intellectually lazy. Btw, you have yet to refute theses sources.

          • Katrina Fernandez

            I said you are behaving hate filled by claiming I am attacking trads and calling them liars.. to which you have not be able to point a single incident here where I have. That is slander against me that I will not tolerate. I’ve been more than patient with you and your absurd need to be right. You are free to disagree with me as the day as long but as least do your self the intellectual honesty by disagreeing with something I actually said and not something you just made up.

            I have no time and patience to continue on with you if you to continue to misinterpret my intentions.

      • Sisu

        Howdy :) I’ve seen some reporting on this, and am trying to
        understand it – these might be some of the sources below. Part of the
        issue seems to be that Benedict gave permission for any priest to say
        Mass from the 1962 Missal, but specifically *not* for any hybriding or
        experimentation with that form. People are freaked out because the
        reports say the TLM there was set up in a hybrid way which automatically violated what Benedict permitted – and the TLM folks had no interest in participating in dissent towards the Pope. So it was like the gift of soup with a fly in it.

        Who knows how why or if it happened that way or what happened, I wasn’t there – but I do get why it might freak people out.

        This mentions people being perturbed and at the mixing of elements:

        and some other sources:

        and a map of where else the TLM is offered in Argentina:

        • Katrina Fernandez

          Do you suppose that the mass was a hybrid because they were ill prepared and not properly trained yet. I mean it took years to get it going here due to logistics. That may be the case here. Does anyone know? David Alexander, maybe?

          • Romulus

            My guess is that what happened here is the same as what’s happened in many dioceses where the bishop was hostile to the TLM but wanted to go through the motions anyway: the Mass was scheduled irregularly, at a time and place unsuitable and untraditional — such as Sunday afternoons, one a month, in a non-parochial setting, effectively a quarantine to prevent “infection” of others. The Mass is then celebrated without support, in a minimalist and rubrically questionable way, so that the faithful are scandalized and discouraged. When the project collapses after six months (as intended, having been intentionally programmed for failure), the powers-that-be can cancel it regretfully observing that it failed to receive support because the people are thronging to the Novus Ordo instead. That’s how the game is played.

          • Sisu

            Don’t know – I have seen situations in my diocese that appear and are at odds with what our own Bishop encourages and preaches, and are perpretrated by entrenched parties on the edge of retirement or dotage or death – I can only assume he is waiting for them to “exit naturally”.
            Perhaps the priest/staff charged with holding the TLM in Buenos Aires those were those kind of people. Perhaps it was or is politics within the Archdiocese at a personal level?

            p.s. Does the blogging software come with a supply of Maalox and Solarcaine? Yowza. :[]

    • David L Alexander

      As one who attends the Traditional Mass almost exclusively, I was not the least bit offended by this article, which is one of the few intelligent treatments of the subject, and one where I admit that Ms Katrina has outdone herself.

      The so-called “hybrid” Masses were more likely than not, from what has already been reported, the result of poorly-informed leadership and ill-prepared priests, as opposed to anything else, of a sort which was actually common around the world in the first year or so. And if “[t]here are many TLMs offered in Argentina, and they are well attended, thus revealing the lie that traditional worship would not be popular in Argentina,” then there isn’t a problem to begin with, is there?

      • DavidWerling

        The point, Mr. Alexander, is that there was a desire for a TLM in the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires, and it was not provided for by the Archdiocese.

        The nature of that hybrid Mass was well documented by first sources in Buenos Aires. Forgive me if I take their word for it over yours.

        • David L Alexander

          It was offered, if badly, but offered nonetheless.

          Keep in mind that very few diocesan priests knew how to celebrate the Traditional Mass in 2007, even those that really, REALLY wanted to. And since they were essentially learning to say the Mass over again and had to learn it while working six days a week for more than eight hours a day (something people such as yourself usually fail to take into account), there were a lot of mistakes early on.

          But the plain, unvarnished, irrefutable fact is that it was offered. In fact, it was offered in the cathedral within 48 hours after the decree. Yes, there were mistakes made by the celebrant, in this case a pretty big one. But it was offered nonetheless. Since then, clarifications have put confusion about a number of details to rest.

          You have your primary sources; I have mine, which are the result of rolling up my sleeves and working to bring the Traditional Mass to the people, and earning the trust of the priests who celebrate it, as opposed to sitting at a computer all day and whining about it.

          Forgive me if I take their word for it over yours.

  • wolfeken

    There is no interest for the traditional Latin Mass among Catholics in Argentina? Someone tell all the Latin Americans in these pews!

    • Katrina Fernandez

      Thank you for the link. I’m glad to see those needs are being met in the diocese. Do you know how long it’s been offered here there? Has it been longer than Francis has been Pope?

      • Romulus

        Katrina, you have missed the point. The overwhelming
        majority of TLMs in Argentina are SSPX affairs — valid but illicit.
        Their existence proves that the people desire them — and that the desire is
        NOT being adequately served by the bishops. True, the TLM is not widely
        requested by the faithful: After 50 years of lite beer, very few people are
        going to remember the taste of real champagne.

  • danphunter1

    I know of many Hispanics that go to the TLM and many others who I have encountered that desire it but there is no access, even though they have petitioned pastors to offer it and have volunteered to support it financially and otherwise.
    It is not a matter of “the way they roll”, [bad lackadaisical terminology], it that the TLM is extrinsically much more salutary to the soul and accurately portrays and catechizes to Catholics, and the world, the Sacrificial Nature of Mass much, much more than the other forms of Mass in the Latin Rite.
    Hispanics know this and want it.

  • danphunter1

    At the Traditional Latin Mass yesterday for the Third Sunday after Pentecost at OLG in Greensboro, there was at least 25 Hispanics.
    It was good to see.
    It is growing.
    Also, My wife and I recently had word from a friend in Matanzas, Cuba that they are filling up the regular Sunday TLM and many are going to the weekday Mass there.
    So if offered and educated in it, Hispanics are going to the Mass of Ages.
    I have also seen first hand that the TLM in Miami is filled with Hispanics.