For the Love of Latin

A review of Fr. Roberto Spataro’s book In Praise of the Tridentine Mass and of Latin, Language of the Church.

Pages from "The New Roman Missal (In Latin and English)" by Rev. F. X. Lasance (Benziger Brothers, 1937)

When I saw the notice of this book’s publication, I did a double-take as I mistook the author’s surname for “Spadaro,” with a “d” rather than a “t”! Had the infamous Jesuit Antonio Spadaro had a conversion? Or, was this book going to be a hatchet job on both the extraordinary form of the Mass and the Latin language? I breathed a sigh of relief upon discovering my error: Father Spataro is the secretary of the Pontifical Academy for Latin. Whew!

Now, in the interests of full disclosure: First, I have taught Latin since I was a sophomore college seminarian and have had a love affair with the language since I first learned the altar boy’s parts of the Mass at the age of eight. Second, although I am not a committed aficionado of the so-called extraordinary form, I do celebrate it when asked to do so – and, further, I firmly believe that the so-called ordinary form of the Mass as we have it was not what the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council envisioned.

The work has a hefty introduction (24 pages) on the history of Latin and its “many-sided reality” by Patrick Owens, an accomplished Latinist who sat at the feet of the premier Latinist of our age, Father Reginald Foster. Owens does not merely sing the praises of the language, he also offers “causes of [its] diminishment” and highlights the negative influence of the self-declared Enlightenment. This section is a kind of “mini-version” of Nicholas Ostler’s Ad Infinitum: A Biography of Latin and alone is worth the price of the book.

The rest of the volume is a compilation of lectures by Father Spataro, originally delivered in Italian but presented here in a very fine translation. Thus, as one might expect, there is much repetition, which is in the very nature of such a work. One of the most irritating repetitions is the author’s almost incessant drum-beat either praising Pope Francis or calling him to his side as an ally for the Tridentine Mass and Latin. To be sure, Cardinal Bergoglio was exceedingly generous to the Society of St. Pius X in Buenos Aires – and continues to be such as Pope. However, Francis’ affability toward “traditionalists” in full communion with the Church has been noted in the breach more than in the observance. Need one mention his frequent dalliances with extremely problematic theological positions? Spataro refers approvingly to the “magisterium of the current pope” (38) and asserts that Francis “seems to stir up enthusiasm” (47) – amazingly said, in light of the fact that even the Vatican-released statistics show a massive downturn in those who show up for papal events over the past six years. At the same time, he can write:

Unfortunately in the past few years, with a rapidity that should raise serious questions and concern, the Church has become engrossed with issues of a sociological nature, all affecting more or less the Church’s moral teaching. Many dubious proposals have been made by pastors, even those who bear serious ecclesial responsibilities, that are frankly incompatible with the Gospel. (118f)

The “dubia cardinals” would know about “dubious proposals.” Who would come to mind as the principal actor in the scenario Spataro decries to any objective reader, other than Pope Francis? So, the constant paeans to Francis are certainly irritating and suggest no small degree of disingenuousness. Indeed, he “doth protest too much.”

Spataro does not use the official terminology of “extraordinary form” very often, preferring “Tridentine Mass” or “usus antiquior” (older usage) or “vetus ordo” (old order); quite happily, he does not call it “the traditional Mass,” which expression suggests that the ordinary form is not “traditional.” Indeed, every validly celebrated Mass is “traditional” by its very intent and execution.

Chapters 4 and 5 are the most helpful. Spataro informs us that there is an organized effort “to encourage the United Nations to declare the Latin and ancient Greek languages ‘an immaterial patrimony of humanity’” (63) – which was most welcome news to me. He explains that “if these languages are lost or neglected, everyone is culturally impoverished, which is equivalent to saying that the humanity of everyone is impoverished.” He goes on to ask what should be a rhetorical question: “Who could deny that the historical roots and the inexhaustible treasure of the common memory of Europe reside principally in the Greek and Latin civilizations?” (64). Wasn’t this one of the points constantly made by Pope John Paul II in the lead-up to the formation of the European Union, closely linked to his fundamental stress on the Christian roots of Europe – one studiously omitted from the foundational documents of the EU? Isn’t this likewise at the heart of the discussion about what the restored Notre Dame Cathedral ought to look like?

Our author brings forth another interesting factoid: “The earliest examples of Latin’s literary use, the extremely ancient carmina, were ritual texts” (66). Hence, a wonderful connection to the preservation of the language through the Sacred Liturgy. He cites with approval the position of Father Michael Lang that one reason that Latin is “sacred” is because “it is immutable” (67). Indeed, this was one of the arguments of Pope John XXIII in his 1961 “dead-on-arrival” apostolic constitution, Veterum Sapientia: “The Latin language is set and unchanging. It has long since ceased to be affected by those alterations in the meaning of words which are the normal result of daily, popular use.” Pressing for recourse to a “sacral” language, Spataro brings to his side the former secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship, Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith, who notes that in Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam recourse is had to ancient forms of languages no longer in common use, concluding that “the use of a sacred language helps us to live the sense of the transcendent” (71). Or, as a charismatic Catholic replied to me when I asked why he prays in tongues, “It’s important for me to speak to God in a language in which I have never cursed another man.”

Under the rubric of “universality” or “supranationalism,” Father Spataro is both practical and academic. Thus we read that “Latin possesses the character of synchronic universality,” by which he means its accessibility across linguistic boundaries at the present moment. However, he notes that “this property derives from its diachronic universality.” He explains: “I mean to say that within and outside of the Church Latin has been employed for centuries as the lingua franca par excellence of educated persons and in contexts calling for a communication unfettered by national linguistic forms” (77). Quite a mouthful but very true nonetheless.

When the push for the vernacularization of the liturgy beyond the limits staked out by Sacrosanctum Concilium was in full swing, wags of the left snidely remarked that the great thing about Latin in the Mass was that “you could go anywhere in the world and not know what it means.” In the highly mobile world we currently inhabit, a universal language for prayer is more relevant than ever. Further, what are we to make of the balkanization of parish communities, some of which have five weekend Masses in four or five different languages – with the result that those distinct language groups become islands unto themselves and whereby common celebrations of the Sacred Liturgy is well-nigh impossible?

The nineteenth-century Jesuit sociologist, Luigi Taparelli, uttered what he thought a truism when he said, “a Church that embraces all peoples of the world needs a universal language.” He continued: “On the human level, the Church needs a universal language, unchanging and intellectual, that rescues her from a choice detrimental to her unity” (78). With the banishment of Latin from ecclesiastical academia, for instance, the pontifical universities in Rome effectively force students from around the globe to use Italian – a language they will be most unlikely ever to use once their studies are finished. When Latin was in place, all comers were at an equal advantage or disadvantage.

Our author seals his apologia for Latin by pointing out its beauty: “It is full of majesty and nobility. The Latin language is artistic” (84). Anticipating a “who cares” challenge, he raises the question himself: “Why did I bring up this property of the Latin language? Because the truth, to which the texts of the Magisterium intend to lead us and which they desire to demonstrate, is intrinsically tied to the mystery of beauty” (85). The theologian of beauty, Hans Urs von Balthasar, would declare without fear of contradiction:

We no longer dare to believe in beauty and we make of it a mere appearance in order the more easily to dispose of it. Our situation today shows that beauty demands for itself at least as much courage and decision as do truth and goodness, and she will not allow herself to be separated and banned from her two sisters without taking them along with herself in an act of mysterious vengeance. We can be sure that whoever sneers at her name as if she were the ornament of a bourgeois past – whether he admits it or not – can no longer pray and soon will no longer be able to love.

In the sixth chapter, we encounter the figure of Benedict XVI, whom Spataro dubs a “doctor of the Church,” in “anticipation,” as he says. His enthusiasm for Benedict as a liturgical reformer does not resonate with me. I would argue that as Joseph Ratzinger the theologian, he did more for “the reform of the reform.” While as pope, he showed by example how he thought Holy Mass ought to be celebrated, apart from the promulgation of Summorum Pontificum, he did nothing to enshrine his liturgical vision in law – although he had nearly seven years to do it.

Unlike some devotees of the Tridentine Mass, Spataro does not feel compelled to blame Vatican II for the liturgical mess we have endured for half a century. On the contrary, he observes: “Several practices and orientations that followed the liturgical reform after the Second Vatican Council – but not caused by the Council – have obeyed this anthropocentric logic” (94, emphasis added).

Taking up the vision of Pope Benedict, expressed in Summorum Pontificum, he writes:

. . . the Vetus Ordo is a schola liturgica that, when placed side by side with the Novus Ordo, becomes a sensitive educator that draws out all the positive potential contained in Paul VI’s Missal. In the same way, the Novus Ordo can improve the celebration of the Vetus Ordo by enriching it with some sensibilities typical to the ordinary form of the Roman rite. (94)

I should warn Father Spataro that when I expressed a similar hope to his second suggestion (see my January 31, 2017 CWR essay “How the ordinary form of the Mass can ‘enrich’ the extraordinary form”), I was roundly castigated on numerous “traditional” websites! While on this topic of what Benedict called “mutual enrichment,” it is worth reminding priests and liturgists that it is not within our province to do that “mutual enrichment,” which is to say that we cannot lawfully import rubrics from one rite to another. In other words, it would be just as wrong for a priest to insert multiple genuflections into the ordinary form of the Mass as it would for another priest to impose the contemporary lectionary on the extraordinary form of the Mass.

Under the heading of “the miserable failure of Christian initiation,” the author brings to our attention some shocking statistics of Italian ignorance of basic Catholic doctrine. Although Italians self-identifying as Catholic still make up the vast majority of the nation, we learn that a sociological study in 2014 revealed that “50% of the population cannot distinguish between Jesus and Moses and that 60% know almost none of the commandments besides the seventh, ‘Thou shalt not steal’”! (98). I suspect that even the United States would not be that bad.

He uses that datum to argue that if the extraordinary form of the liturgy were in place, things would be different. Calling the Tridentine Mass “a catechism for our times,” so as to suggest that it would or could provide a full catechesis, is naive at best. One need only look to the abysmal state of Catholicism in Latin America where, for five centuries, the Tridentine Mass was in full force to behold the phenomenon of a people who, for the most part, were “sacramentalized” but poorly evangelized and catechized. Hence, the prevalent superstitions making them ready prey for the incursions of the fundamentalist sects. And now the promoters of the upcoming Amazon Synod want to spread the ignorance by having an equally ignorant priesthood, drawn from so-called “viri probati” who will never attend a seminary! Historically, many of the Eastern churches claimed that the liturgy taught the Faith, tout court. However, having been a pastor of a Byzantine parish, I can assure all that, although the liturgy is a locus theologicus, it is not a replacement for a full, all-encompassing catechesis. That is why the Fathers of Trent taught that the first responsibility of a priest was not celebration of the rites of the Church but preaching and teaching.

Spataro correctly comments that secular journalism is “sadly the only source from which the ordinary Catholic receives news about the Church” (103). Again, this is not a failure of liturgy; it is a failure of catechesis.

The many fine points of the work are marred by several errors or over-statements, usually made apodictically, which might cause one to respond, “Quod gratis asseritur, gratis negatur” (for those not attuned to the lingua franca, “What is asserted gratuitously may be denied gratuitously”). So, for a few examples:

• “. . . it is an objective fact that the lay faithful who love the Tridentine Mass find, in a most evident way, abundant spiritual resources for being faithful spouses, fertile parents, responsible educators, honest citizens, obedient believers, charitable neighbors, and penitents who confess frequently” (31f). Says who? Whence comes the “objective fact”? Having heard the confessions of such persons for years, the only difference I find in the confessions of ordinary form Catholics and extraordinary form Catholics is the frequency of their confessions.

• “The Tridentine Mass ensures that the priest recites beautiful prayers as he vests, before leaving the sacristy and when standing before the altar. He enters a dimension of time where there is no more reason to move hastily” (33f). If that were so, one would have to ask why St. Alphonsus Liguori had to list offering Mass in less than fifteen minutes within his catalogue of mortal sins.

• “Pope Leo XIII ordered [the Archangel Michael] to be invoked at the end of every Mass” (35). Not true. The “Leonine Prayers” are recited only after a Low Mass.

• He regrets the elimination of the Indulgentiam prayer as part of the Penitential Act, perhaps unaware that one reason given for its deletion was a concern that not a few of the faithful had come to see it as absolution for all sins, not just venial sins. Spataro then makes a quantum leap by suggesting that Pope Francis would be a supporter of that prayer since he “has repeatedly told us that God is good, indulgent, merciful!” (41). Ugh!

• He rightly condemns the “chatty Cathy” type of celebrant who makes comments throughout the Mass (42). However, he does not seem to know that with the Roman Missal of 2002, the possibilities to proclaim something “in these or similar words” are eliminated. Of course, that does not mean celebrants don’t still do it, unfortunately. At the same time, Spataro likewise does not seem to know that the Council of Trent actually encouraged priests to offer a running commentary throughout the Mass as a means of liturgical catechesis. Thankfully, that never really took off – at least not until the post-Vatican II era.

• Very helpfully, he makes a statement from which “Rad-Trads” would recoil: “I don’t intend to affirm that the Vetus Ordo Missae has an exclusive claim on grace and that the ordinary form is not an abundant dispenser of it” (46). However, he goes on to contend that the ordinary form “interprets participatio actuosa in terms of a plurality of gestures, and thus expresses in its ritual a certain human agency.” Where does that come from? What document? What rubric? In point of fact, numerous statements of the Holy See categorically reject such an interpretation; regrettably, praxis may deviate from theology and law, but that is a problem of enforcement.

• Oddly, he defends the recitation of the Rosary during Mass (56) and apparently thinks that the corporal is no longer required in the ordinary form (57).

• Carelessly, he credits the writing of the Vulgate to St. Jerome (68) when, as we know, Jerome was its translator.

This very slim volume has much to offer. However, I think Father Spataro has done the cause some injustice by linking too closely the Tridentine Mass and the Latin tongue. What I mean is this: There are supporters of the Tridentine Mass who want it celebrated in the vernacular, while there are devotees of Latin who do not desire the Tridentine Mass and prefer a Latin Mass in the ordinary form. A case can be made for both the Tridentine Mass and Latin, without making an unnecessary and artificial joinder of the two.

Very early on in John Paul’s pontificate, he issued his apostolic letter, Dominicae Cenae (it, too, was a DOA document, sadly). However, in a succinct sentence, he sums up what I believe lies at the heart of the work under consideration: “The Roman Church has special obligations towards Latin, the splendid language of ancient Rome, and she must manifest them whenever the occasion presents itself” (n. 10).

In Praise of the Tridentine Mass and of Latin, Language of the Church 
By Fr. Roberto Spataro
Translated by Zachary Thomas
Foreword by Raymond Cardinal Burke
Introduction by Patrick M. Owens
Angelico Press, 2019
Paperback, 123 pages

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About Peter M.J. Stravinskas 282 Articles
Reverend Peter M.J. Stravinskas founded The Catholic Answer in 1987 and The Catholic Response in 2004, as well as the Priestly Society of Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman, a clerical association of the faithful, committed to Catholic education, liturgical renewal and the new evangelization. Father Stravinskas is also the President of the Catholic Education Foundation, an organization, which serves as a resource for heightening the Catholic identity of Catholic schools.


  1. Humans crave and need ritual, something that elevates rather than condescends to them. Unfortunately, they will not find it in the Mass in its present iteration. Nor will they find it anywhere else that is wholesome and true in the 21st century.

  2. Dear Fr. Stravinskas, I started to read your article, and I was deeply shocked when I began the second sentence. Your write, “Had the infamous Jesuit Antonio Spadaro had a conversion?” I have never read anything by Fr. Spadaro, but because he is a priest, I assume that he is a validly baptized Catholic. That makes him a member of Our Lord’s Mystical Body, if I am not mistaken? Our Lord said that, “Whatever you do to the least of My brethren, you do to Me.” I know that many doctrines of the Church are questioned nowadays. Is the teaching of the Mystical Body no longer a doctrine to be believed and put into practice? Fr. Spadaro may be “the least of My brethren,” but I believe that he should be treated with respect as a member of Our Lord’s Mystical Body, just as a particle of a consecrated Host which falls to the floor should be treated with respect. Am I mistaken?
    Since I frequently read various Catholic websites, including the Catholic World Report, I am aware that my way of thinking is not shared by everyone. If it is heretical, I would greatly appreciate it if you would explain my error.
    I would like to add this statement about St. Thomas Aquinas: “Though he constantly wrote on controversial topics, there is a remarkable serenity in his work; for he made a point of not writing in the first person, thus avoiding the word ‘I’, and he never mentions contemporaries by name, but simply states the various opinions currently held on the matter under discussion.” Is this a valid approach for apologetics? I thank you in advance for your comments.

    • What are you REALLY shocked about, Anne Marie? REALLY? You bring Bible and Church Teaching quotes to protect someone whom you say “I have never read anything by Fr. Spadaro, but because he is a priest…”. Your own words sound quite dishonest. You make quite a LONG protective disertation on charity about someone you claim to not be acquainted with. Are you then protecting all that are as un-Catholic as Fr. Spadaro? You certainly are. You use the same tactics as Fr. Spadaro and those like him, who call “hate” anything and anyone that disagrees with them in any way. This is done through direct agressive acussation or indirect, falsely compassionate, out-of-context, falsely “spiritual” disertations like you just did. It’s either beating hard with the fist on the face or “oh-so-gently” over the head with twisted, incomplete spiritual teaching quotes. That’s not Catholic and it’s identical to anti-Catholic tactics.

      Neither God nor His Holy Word ever contradict. All those things you mentioned have to be taken in the context of the many times the Bible and the Church give us BIG WARNINGS about: “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves”, (Matthew 7:15). How do we communicate when we find a disguised ravenous wolf preying on God’s sheep, especially when that wolf has rejected all private fraternal correction? Are we supposed to speak shyly and with hushed voices, totally enabling the wolf with FALSE CHARITY, or are we supposed to speak bravely like prophets did, reducing or stopping the wolve’s predations on God’s People, which is TRUE CHARITY?

      Even the Old Testament has hard words for that: “When I say to a wicked person, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn them or speak out to dissuade them from their evil ways in order to save their life, that wicked person will die for their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood” (Ezekiel 3:18). False charity-holiness is Satan’s favorite weapon and that has to be shouted very loudy from the rooftops (Matthew 10:27).

      • Dear Phil, 60 years ago, my mother told me, “You can demolish anyone’s ideas as often as you want as long as you use the facts and never attack the person.” If I understand your comment correctly, you believe that because I object to calling a member of Our Lord’s Mystical Body “infamous” I support that person’s ideas, even though I do not know what those ideas are. Is that what you are saying? If so, then I think that you are conflating two very distinct realities: a person baptized in the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, and that person’s ideas. St. Thomas Aquinas made very careful distinctions when he wrote. I try to do the same and I think it is a good example for all of us to follow. Cardinal Wyzinski wrote,“Bow down before man, every man, whether he be Judas or Peter, for that is what Christ did.” I willingly bow down before you, for I believe that you truly desire the truth.

      • Half right, the second half, Rich Leonardi. Father Spadaro has long left the Misguided Land of the Unwise to step with great popular applause into the Highly Celebrated Willful Land of the Heretical (“Whoever is a friend of the world is an enemy of God”, James 4:4) No matter how subtle and gradually we do this and how many “spiritual” words we use, being WILLFULLY unwise like Father Spadaro is, becomes the royal road to heresy and all mortal sin: “For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, he has also rejected you” (1 Samuel 15:23). The True God does not ever beg.

        Indeed, even our personal image of who God is dictates whether we will be basically oriented toward failthfulness and holiness or compromise and heresy. If we think of God as a sentimentalist, feeble minded, popularity-and-approval-concerned god, a god worried about always being seen as sensitive and “good/nice”, we have chosen a road paved with false gold to eternal perdition. If we choose the Real God revealed by the whole Bible and Jesus Himself, a God who seeks us with infinite, eternal love but Who does not ever beg, who is not ever worried about his public image and Who does not ever lower His Holy Standards (John 6:66-68), then we may fall and get up frequently, but eventually the scales of sin will fall away and Jesus will secure a Heavenly Mansion for us. This is the Real Jesus: “Whoever is not with me is against me”, (Matthew 12:30) Praise be to the Infinitely Loving God Who Is Not Ever Cheap!!

  3. I am not a committed aficionado of the so-called extraordinary form (Stravinskas), neither am I [in that I find welcome support]. Although I offer my private NO Mass in Latin and find a deeper sense of the spiritual liturgical content. Why? “’Latin possesses the character of synchronic universality’ (Spataro), by which he means its accessibility across linguistic boundaries at the present moment” (Stravinskas). I differ with the reason given that this “property derives [solely] from its diachronic universality (Spataro).” Language reflects the intellect of a culture Greek and Latin the two most highly developed and inflected apart from though more refined than Jewish and Hebraic and inflection in mod German [although Hebraic derives from Babylonian and today borrowed from Arabic to supplement]. Greek philosophy Plato, Aristotle Roman Law Cicero, prose Virgil required highly inflected languages to convey the height of thought. Latin Fr Stravinskas taught me how to order my speculative research and define my findings, i.e. how to think. That began with studies of the critical Latin texts of Thomas Aquinas as compared with the Cathala-Spiazzi Marietti edition. Research in class line by line assessment at home a closer sense of meaning with the critical edition. The acclaimed critical edition of Aquinas was compiled under the direction of Pope Leo XIII texts becoming available when I studied at the Angelicum. They are called critical because of their authenticity to the author. Comparing texts the Marietti v the Critical Edition the slight differences though mostly nuanced in the Critical enhance the thought of Aquinas. Regards moral doctrine that’s essential. Latin because of this excelling refinement of expression is best suited to raise the level of intellectual apprehension within cultures whose languages are not designed to convey the same. We find the result of this lack of appreciation in the extremely poor theology within Catholicism today adversely affecting moral doctrine and liturgical form. And reason why many pontiffs [except the present] insist on revival of Latin and return to St Thomas Aquinas [even with Aquinas much of what is considered scholarly is abysmal].

  4. Reading this review,I would never purchase this title. However,the book is already on my bookshelf. Lacking the in depth knowledge of the reviewer,the objections he points out did not occur to me. A number of people attending the Traditional Latin Mass at our parish have purchased the book.

  5. The author mentions the “mutual enrichment” of the two forms of the Mass. In a previous essay, he detailed numerous ways in which the extraordinary form could be enriched by the ordinary form, ways so extensive, that they could have been the proper implementation of the reform after the Council. He does not allow the extraordinary form to enrich the ordinary, however, citing rubrics which prohibit some such importing rubrics from one to the other form. Short of such importation of rubrics, however, there are very many elements of the extraordinary form which can legitimately be considered for the ordinary form. I detail just a few: Proper introit, gradual, alleluia, offertory, and communion chants have generally been replaced by hymns or songs; yet, these chants are to be used in the ordinary form—they are published in the Gregorian Missal (latest edition 2012). Moreover, in the high Mass in the extraordinary form everyting to be said aloud is sung; the Council articulated such an ideal, describing what the old rite called missa cantata as a norm, but the celebration of the ordinary form is a mish-mash of sung and spoken elements, which I have called missa mixta; the entire ordinary form can legitimately be sung. The Tridentine Mass could have been celebrated facing the people, as was customary at St. Peter’s, and the ordinary form can be celebrated ad orientem, the priest and people facing God when they address him. Many other elements of the practice of the extraordinary form can be used in the ordinary form to enhance the sacredness of the rite, which is sadly lacking in many celebrations of the ordinary form.

    • I am afraid that you did not understand what I said/wrote. The earlier article was my effort to suggest ways the OF could enrich the EF, only because the majority of articles only spoke of enrichment of the OF by the Ef. That said, as I pointed out in the present article, no one can “enrich” either rite by his own authority, period.

  6. Why the defense of the new Mass? What does it have to offer insofar as it differs from the traditional Latin Mass? As far as I can tell all it gave us is division deriving from multiplicity of language, altar girls, banal hymns, Protestant gestures, and the abandonment of beautiful traditions (e.g., Ember Days, Octaves and the pre-Lenten season beginning with Septuagint Sunday). I deeply admire Pope Benedict XVI but I’ve come to realize that the “reform of the reform” is a misguided idea. There was no “reform” in the 1960s worth returning to.

    • Every item you list as a liturgical problem, in fact, has nothing to do with the Ordo Missae of the “ordinary form”; all of them are abuses and aberrations, which have been tolerated and even institutionalized, unfortunately. One can point to numerous aberrations in the celebration of the pre-conciliar liturgy (e.g., 15-minute Masses; distribution of Holy Communion to the faithful before the celebrant had received; etc.), but that would be unfair since they were indeed abuses and not in keeping with the norms. And yes, even in those “golden years,” there were abuses and they were tolerated.

      • The solution to 15 minute Masses and giving the people Communion out of order is to introduce the vernacular, change the structure of the readings, strip out most of the offertory, make the traditional Confiteor optional, eliminate the Ember Days, Octaves, and pre-Lenten season, and make the ancient Eucharistic prayer optional?

  7. “Second, although I am not a committed aficionado of the so-called extraordinary form, I do celebrate it when asked to do so – and, further, I firmly believe that the so-called ordinary form of the Mass as we have it was not what the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council envisioned.”

    This view of “the council” held sway amongst many orthodox priests and members of the laity for several decades. The problem is, the documents of the council were crafted in such a way to leave room for a variety of interpretations — the “liturgical time-bombs” Michael Davies wrote about — and there was no monolithic or even consensus view of the shape of the “reformed liturgy.” The innovators knew what they were doing, and part of that was making sure the final forms of the concilar documents gave them the leeway they needed.

  8. As a fan of the LTM having lived in its era, I often wonder why in books and exchanges like this, the two forms of Latin used in the old Mass are never mentioned, at least to my notice. They were called Classical and Church or hard R Latin. It is admitted as my thought only (though others might think the same) that this difference had much to do about why the reformers were so in favor of the vernacular and made the tragic change to NO.

  9. As an older person who grew up with the Latin Mass, from days as an altar boy, I have been startled by what I remember as some English translation of The Well of Jacob as a “cistern,” which it certainly was not! Cisterns do NOT produce the water of a well.

  10. On 24.6.2019 I wrote following letter to the Editor of the Southern Cross,South African only Catholic weekly:” Radio Vaticana is going to broadcast every Sunday news in Latin. But since 50 years the Vatican does not allow the celebration of the Traditional Mass in Latin.It would really be Good News to hear the Verbum Dei also in the Catholic Church’s official language.Another of the many paradoxes of this papacy”. My letter was not published.

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