Now I’m dating myself but I grew up with the Latin Mass and made my sacraments in the Latin Rite. According to some acquaintances, they wonder why I would still prefer to have the Latin Mass more available. I remember one Sunday, when the pastor mentioned something about some of the Latin Mass possibly coming back in part to the Mass and a very elderly gentleman came tearing out of the church exclaiming, “Save your children! They are going to make them learn Latin!”
In the Latin Mass days, there was a lot less unnecessary chatter in the church before Mass. Children were hushed up and pointed towards the altar. When people returned from receiving Communion, they actually looked as if they had just taken Jesus into their heart and didn’t meet and greet people on their way back to the pew. Random applause didn’t happen because it was God’s House and a house of prayer.
My husband was blessed to attend a Mass at a Catholic Conference, years ago, that the priests decided to celebrate exactly as set out by Vatican II. Seems a lot has been lost in that translation as it was more on the dignified presentation/Latin Mass format than what most of us experience today.
I hear over and over that Vatican II made the Church more attractive to people and would bring back the youth. Statistics don’t prove that as before Vatican II, attendance was around 75%. Today, for every convert, we lose about six Catholics.
While Vatican II marked a great change in the Church, it also emphasized tradition and continuity. Here are some precepts of the great council that are often overlooked.
From “The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy” Sacrosanctum Concilium, 4 December, 1963.
Article 36. (1) The use of the Latin language, with due respect to particular law, is to be preserved in the Latin rites. (2) But since the use of the vernacular, whether in the Mass, the administration of the sacraments, or in other parts of the liturgy, may frequently be of great advantage to the people, a wider use may be made of it, especially in readings, directives and in some prayers and chants. Regulations governing this will be given separately in subsequent chapters. (emphasis added)
Article 112. The musical tradition of the universal Church is a treasure of inestimable value, greater even than that of any other art. The main reason for this pre-eminence is that, as a combination of sacred music and words, it forms a necessary or integral part of the solemn liturgy.
Article 116. The Church recognizes Gregorian chant as being specially suited to the Roman liturgy. Therefore, other things being equal, it should be given pride of place in liturgical services.
Article 120. The pipe organ is to be held in high esteem in the Latin Church, for it is the traditional musical instrument, the sound of which can add a wonderful splendor to the Church’s ceremonies and powerfully lifts up men’s minds to God and higher things.
Many churches now distribute both the Body of Christ and the Precious Blood of Christ at Communion time. Many prefer both thinking that one without the other ‘won’t work’ and will, somehow, be lacking in full graces. I’ve been reprimanded on this topic after Mass.
Being of the more conservative mindset, we find our grace, solace, and mercy in receiving the Host and then going quietly back to our pew to offer our prayers and thanksgiving . . .
It doesn’t quite work that way these days. We receive Communion and five feet away a line forms for those who wish to receive under both Species. Okay, fine, right? Uh, not quite. Since we don’t get in line for the reception of the Precious Blood of Christ, we can’t kneel down in our pew because other people sharing our pew are still in line waiting for the Blood of Christ so we stand up against the wall and wait and wait for them to return. By the time we kneel down in our pew, it is almost time to sing the processional and out we go.
Today, there were more than usual waiting against the wall for the other pew dwellers to come back from the second line. Now a another procedure seems in place. Our pew is now completed and we try to get in to kneel BUT the second-line receivers take away our right of way and won’t pause long enough to let us return to our pew and prayers. After several pushed past, I finally stepped in front of the next one and with much surprise, she stopped and said, “Oh, you go on ahead!” like she had bestowed a favor on us.
Another interesting aspect is that while we are waiting against the wall (I was standing over the air vent and don’t want to talk about it!), people we know stop to say ‘good morning’, grin at us, or even try to chat a bit. I guess they are still in a good mood from their excessive peace signing earlier.
Not sure what can be done about this except pray for a Latin Mass to open up closer to home but I bet we aren’t the only one with most of our after-Communion thanksgiving being, “Whew, finally back in our pew!”