Return of the Latin Mass
Published 10/07/2007 | 00:00
I welcome Pope Benedict XVI's decision to loosen restrictions on the use of the Latin Mass. Vatican II, in fact, never called for the elimination of Latin. The Pope's decision, therefore, is meant to foster a more comprehensive and profound understanding of the church‘s liturgy.
Latin is the official language of the Catholic Church. It is a "dead" language that prevents church liberals from translating words into the vernacular using ambiguous terms that undermine church doctrine. Perhaps, the greatest advantage of the Latin Mass, then, is that it is not open to the numerous abuses presently experienced on a regular basis with the new Mass. The universality of Latin makes it conducive to all believers experiencing more fully the mystery of the Mass. It imbues a heightened reverence and sense of the sacred. It compliments well the Latin rites' traditional Gregorian Chant with its moving meditative cadence that touches the depths of the soul.
The Tridentine Mass is also more uniform and consistently Catholic in its theological and Christian-cultural aspects. The Pope has previously mentioned, for example, how in the new Mass the "turning of the priest toward the people no longer opens out on what lies ahead and above (but) has turned the community into a self-enclosed circle." Both the priest and people should be facing the east.
The Eucharist is the all encompassing source and summit of Christian life. A wider implementation of the Latin Mass will no doubt be an effective means of both preserving the Church's faith and identity while at the same time allowing her to carry out her mission of evangelization.
I hope the Pope's new directive will encourage bishops to actively and aggressively promote the Latin Mass throughout their dioceses and beyond.