More on Mass in Latin

Since some commenters have been saying that perhaps our small survey might not be reflective of a large portion of the population, the great Melissa Cidade of CARA –the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown offers this report from CARA on the Latin Mass.

The short answer for their results which are far more scientifically based (and by the way I wasn’t claiming that our little survey of people who read this blog o’ mine was social science–even if it certainly is reflective of the general population as it turns out) than ours here is the following:

As you may be aware, Pope Benedict XVI recently eased restrictions
on the use of the older Latin Tridentine Mass, as celebrated just
before the Second Vatican Council in the mid-1960’s. Do you
favor as an alternative to the newer Mass, bringing back the older
Latin Tridentine Mass for those who would prefer this option?

Favor 25%
Oppose 12%
No opinion 63%

Millennials and Gen Xers by the way were also the least likely to oppose the Latin Mass but also the most likely not to have an opinion one way or the other. Which doesn’t surprise me on both counts.

And perhaps an even more interesting question:

If the Latin Tridentine Mass were made readily
available at convenient times and locations,
and you were able to attend, would you?
Respondents who “Favor” or have “No opinion” about
easing restrictions on the Latin Tridentine Mass

Yes 29%
No 25
No opinion 46

So as King of fairness (because I am King of fairness) I think some conclusions that we can draw is indifference towards the Latin Mass and not opposition which has been my point the whole time. We need to decide what is a more passionate effort that would get people excited and put our efforts there. Shoring up preaching, welcoming and music at mass is far better use of our time in my opinion. I would also say being more visible in social justice outreach as Catholics is also something worth putting efforts in. After all, who has had more influence on Catholics in the world, Mother Teresa or the head of Liturgy at the Vatican or the USCCB?

Do YOU Want Mass in Latin? – SURVEY RESULTS

OK people…results are in after about a 24 hour wait. Thanks to all who took the survey. We have a small but significant sample.

66 people took the survey.

Would you like Mass to be in Latin?
15 YES
51 NO

77.3% said NO.

——————–

Do you wish the priest would face away from the people during mass?
(OK before we get to the answers, I’ll take responsibility for a poorly worded question. Better stated, “Do you wish the priest and people were facing the same direction during mass? Now regardless, I don’t think it would change the answers)

13 YES
53 NO

80.3% said NO.

————–

Do you want to NOT have the option of receiving the Eucharist in the hands?
11 said YES
54 said NO
1 person skipped the question

83.1% said NO.
——————-

Now before we move on to the latter three questions, I’d just like to point out that I think our sample speaks conclusively on this issue. That there’s really not an interest in having mass in Latin or some of the other options from before the council being restored. Interestingly there have been comments from both sides of the aisle on this issue. Some of these include the following:

Philip Schweiger: As long as it’s always in addition to, and never in place of the local language, sure, let’s have Latin mass. If some people feel more comfortable worshipping in Latin, then the addition of that choice is a good thing. I think the vernacular should be the norm, though.

Melissa McKerroll Francis: I don’t want the Latin Tridentine. I get the fact that some of the most famous composers of all time have written for the Mass, but I don’t think I’ve heard a convincing reason other then that, and that reason is purely aesthetic–so an occasional *performance*, sure. Otherwise, no.

Gladys Izquierdo: My Parish holds Mass in Latin once a month on a Sunday for anyone interested in attending. That’s an idea for Parishes. I have never been to one but would like to one of these days.
Yesterday at 9:08pm · Delete

Vickie Figueroa: Mass in Latin is good for honoring tradition and a universal common language – because regardless of our tongue, we are one. But I prefer Mass in each culture’s vernacular to allow for full, conscious and active participation in the liturgy. Sacrosanctum Concilium 14 Vat II – gotta love it.

Larry Rice: The fact that the mass in English is often celebrated poorly isn’t going to be improved by switching to Latin. Ask someone in their 60s and 70s, and they’ll tell you that the old rite was often celebrated so poorly that any sense of transcendence and mystery was obliterated.

That said, I’m not going to get all pushed out of shape by the revised Roman Missal…

Fr. Charlie Donahue: I am of two minds (at least) with this. I have a growing respect for the hunger for the ‘Extrordinary Form of the Mass’ as I do for the Mass as celebrated by the Church ordinarily.

From my student ministry there has been a group, sometimes small, sometimes more, that has ben deeply nutured and comforted and challenged by full and conscious participation in the ‘Extrordinary Form of the Mass.’ Even though it looks quite different from the ‘full and conscious participation’ as I have been used to it.

As I celebrate the Mass I was trianed to celebrate and try to teach myself the “EF” Mass, I am struck by:

-How many people are suspicious and angry that I am doing this, because it ‘must betoken’ some agenda.

– How different the ‘operative theologies’ of the two Masses are – for example – 1) the ‘locus’ of the ‘Holy’ 2) Is the table an altar or is the altar a table or both? 3) Are we gathered for a celebration or a sacrifice or both 4) Is the Priest ‘in persona Christi’ or leading the community communitas’ in it’s offering?

– It is a very different undestanding of what we are doing as ‘liturgy is the work of the people.’

Looking through the lens of the theology of the Ordinary Form of the Mass, the Extraordinary form is lacking… Looking through the lens of the Extraordinary Form, the Ordinary Form is lacking.

And so many speak pejoritivly about the other. It is as if theologians are choosing “shirts or skins” and then playing dodgeball.
I think that it may lie in Myers Briggs or left brain right brain or some other representative of human differences that speak to how liturgy nutures and worships God in Spirit and in Truth.

So it seems even those who MIGHT want it don’t even want it exclusively. Now let’s look at the three remaining questions:

Do you wish Sunday preaching was more interesting and engaging?
59 YES
6 No
1 person skipped the question.

90.8% said YES
———————————–

Do you wish that music in your church was actually singable?
57 YES
7 No
2 I don’t want music at all

86.2% said YES
——————————–

Do you wish that people were actually engaged in parish life and that it became more than a place to go to mass for one hour each week?

60 YES
2 No

90.9% said YES
——————————-

Again some significant good comments were made on Facebook

Crissy Bowen: The “do you wish questions” were skewed… yes, I wish songs at Church were singable… most of the time they are, people just don’t sing… though occasionally the cantor can’t be matched and people just leave it to her/him… liked the preaching question but rarely is there no room for improvement. On the East Coast many parishes are understaffed leaving parish life to be lacking… and now I am seeing parishes being consolidated… it is all very sad, very sad. Going back to the Latin Mass isn’t going to solve the Church’s problems…

Susan Francesconi: the one question about music presumes that no where is the music good or singable. My parish St. thomas the apostle in naperville has fabulous music and we can all sing it.

I would agree that the questions presume that this isn’t happening already. So perhaps there’s an assumption at hand that things aren’t as great as we’d like them to be.

But my point is along the same lines as Fr Larry’s. People aren’t engaged when the mass is in ENGLISH. Why? Because most places simply don’t do liturgy well. Preaching is lousy, music is downright embarrassing and welcoming attitudes are not present at all. Doing things in Latin might ratchet up the curiosity scale for a Sunday or two but is that really the change that is needed?

Not by a long shot.

Good, relevant preaching that is engaging and challenging, professional sounding music that we can all sing along with, a sense of mystery and transcendence running throughout the mass and an attitude of welcoming. If we can get the parishes to just do these things well I think we’d be doing the church a huge service.

Or we can do something that most people aren’t interested in.