… 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.