Please read the powerful article below about the TLM!


Ten Reasons To Attend The Traditional Latin Mass

Ten Reasons To Attend The Traditional Latin Mass 58


Given that it can often be less convenient for a person or a family to attend the traditional Latin Mass (and I am thinking not only of obvious issues like the place and the time, but also of the lack of a parish infrastructure and the hostile reactions one can get from friends, family, and even clergy), it is definitely worthwhile to remind ourselves of why we are doing this in the first place. If something is worth doing, then it’s worth persevering in—even at the cost of sacrifices.

This article will set forth a number of reasons why, in spite of all the inconveniences (and even minor persecutions) we have experienced over the years, we and our families love to attend the traditional Latin Mass. Sharing these reasons will, we hope, encourage readers everywhere either to begin attending the usus antiquior or to continue attending if they might be wavering. Indeed, it is our conviction that the sacred liturgy handed down to us by tradition has never been more important in the life of Catholics, as we behold the “pilgrim Church on earth” continue to forget her theology, dilute her message, lose her identity, and bleed her members. By preserving, knowing, following, and loving her ancient liturgy, we do our part to bolster authentic doctrine, proclaim heavenly salvation, regain a full stature, and attract new believers who are searching for unadulterated truth and manifest beauty. By handing down this immense gift in turn, and by inviting to the Mass as many of our friends and our families as we can, we are fulfilling our vocation as followers of the Apostles.

Without further ado, ten reasons:

1. You will be formed in the same way that most of the Saints were formed. If we take a conservative estimate and consider the Roman Mass to have been codified by the reign of Pope St. Gregory the Great (ca. 600) and to have lasted intact until 1970, we are talking about close to 1,400 years of the life of the Church—and that’s most of her history of saints. The prayers, readings, and chants that they heard and pondered will be the ones you hear and ponder. 

For this is the Mass that St. Gregory the Great inherited, developed, and solidified. This is the Mass that St. Thomas Aquinas celebrated, lovingly wrote about, and contributed to (he composed the Mass Propers and Office for the Feast of Corpus Christi). This is the Mass that St. Louis IX, the crusader king of France, attended three times a day. This is the Mass that St. Philip Neri had to distract himself from before he celebrated it because it so easily sent him into ecstasies that lasted for hours. This is the Mass that was first celebrated on the shores of America by Spanish and French missionaries, such as the North American Martyrs. This is the Mass that priests said secretly in England and Ireland during the dark days of persecution, and this is the Mass that Blessed Miguel Pro risked his life to celebrate before being captured and martyred by the Mexican government. This is the Mass that Blessed John Henry Newman said he would celebrate every waking moment of his life if he could. This is the Mass that the Fr. Frederick Faber called “the most beautiful thing this side of heaven.” This is the Mass that Fr. Damien of Molokai celebrated with leprous hands in the church he had built and painted himself. This is the Mass during which St. Edith Stein, who was later to die in the gas chambers of Auschwitz, became completely enraptured. This is the Mass that great artists such as Evelyn Waugh, David Jones, and Graham Greene loved so much that they lamented its loss with sorrow and alarm. This is the Mass so widely respected that even non-Catholics such as Agatha Christie and Iris Murdoch came to its defense in the 1970s. This is the Mass that St. Padre Pio insisted on celebrating until his death in 1968, after the liturgical apparatchiks had begun to mess with the missal (and this was a man who knew a thing or two about the secrets of sanctity). This is the Mass that St. Josemaría Escrivá, the founder of Opus Dei, received permission to continue celebrating in private at the end of his life.

What a glorious cloud of witnesses surrounds the traditional Latin Mass! Their holiness was forged like gold and silver in the furnace of this Mass, and it is an undeserved blessing that we, too, can seek and obtain the same formation. Yes, I can go to the new Mass and know that I am in the presence of God and His saints (and for that I am profoundly grateful), but a concrete historical link to these saints has been severed, as well as a historical link to my own heritage as a Catholic in the Roman rite.

2. What is true for me is even more true for my children. This way of celebrating most deeply forms the minds and hearts of our children in reverence for Almighty God, in the virtues of humility, obedience, and adoring silence. It fills their senses and imaginations with sacred signs and symbols, “mystic ceremonies” (as the Council of Trent puts it). Maria Montessori herself frequently pointed out that small children are very receptive to the language of symbols, often more than adults are, and that they will learn more easily from watching people do a solemn liturgy than from hearing a lot of words with little action. All of this is extremely impressive and gripping for children who are learning their faith, and especially boys who become altar servers.[1]

3. Its universality. The traditional Latin Mass not only provides a visible and unbroken link from the present day to the distant past, it also constitutes an inspiring bond of unity across the globe. Older Catholics often recall how moving it was for them to assist at Mass in a foreign country for the first time and to discover that “the Mass was the same” wherever they went. The experience was, for them, a confirmation of the catholicity of their Catholicism. By contrast, today one is sometimes hard pressed to find “the same Mass” at the same parish on the same weekend. The universality of the traditional Latin Mass, with its umbrella of Latin as a sacred language and its insistence that the priest put aside his own idiosyncratic and cultural preferences and put on the person of Christ, acts as a true Pentecost in which many tongues and tribes come together as one in the Spirit—rather than a new Babel that privileges unshareable identities such as ethnicity or age group and threatens to occlude the “neither Greek nor Jew” principle of the Gospel.

4. You always know what you are getting. The Mass will be focused on the Holy Sacrifice of Our Lord Jesus Christ on the Cross. There will be respectful and prayerful silence before, during, and after Mass. There will be only males serving in the sanctuary and only priests and deacons handling the Body of Christ, in accord with nearly 2,000 years of tradition. People will usually be dressed modestly. Music may not always be present (and when present, may not always be perfectly executed), but you will never hear pseudo-pop songs with narcissistic or heretical lyrics.

Put differently, the traditional form of the Roman rite can never be completely co-opted. Like almost every other good thing this side of the grave, the Latin Mass can be botched, but it can never be abused to the extent that it no longer points to the true God. Chesterton once said that “there is only one thing that can never go past a certain point in its alliance with oppression—and that is orthodoxy. I may, it is true, twist orthodoxy so as partly to justify a tyrant. But I can easily make up a German philosophy to justify him entirely.”[2] The same is true for the traditional Latin Mass. Father Jonathan Robinson, who at the time of writing his book was not a friend of the usus antiquior, nevertheless admitted that “the perennial attraction of the Old Rite is that it provided a transcendental reference, and it did this even when it was misused in various ways.”[3] By contrast, Robinson observes, while the new Mass can be celebrated in a reverent way that directs us to the transcendent, “there is nothing in the rule governing the way the Novus Ordo is to be said that ensures the centrality of the celebration of the Paschal mystery.”[4] In other words, the new Mass can be celebrated validly but in a way that puts such an emphasis on community or sharing a meal that it can amount to “the virtual denial of a Catholic understanding of the Mass.”[5] On the other hand, the indestructibility of the traditional Mass’s inherent meaning is what inspired one commentator to compare it to the old line about the U.S. Navy: “It’s a machine built by geniuses so it can be operated safely by idiots.”[6]

5. It’s the real McCoy. The classical Roman rite has an obvious theocentric and Christocentric orientation, found both in the ad orientem stance of the priest and in the rich texts of the classical Roman Missal itself, which give far greater emphasis to the Mystery of the Most Holy Trinity, the divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and the sacrifice of Our Lord upon the Cross.[7] As Dr. Lauren Pristas has shown, the prayers of the new Missal are often watered-down in their expression of dogma and ascetical doctrine, whereas the prayers of the old Missal are unambiguously and uncompromisingly Catholic.[8] It is the real McCoy, the pure font, not something cobbled together by “experts” for “modern man” and adjusted to his preferences. More and more Catholic pastors and scholars are acknowledging how badly rushed and botched were the liturgical reforms of the 1960s. This has left us with a confusingly messy situation for which the reformed liturgy itself is totally ill-equipped to provide a solution, with its plethora of options, its minimalist rubrics, its vulnerability to manipulative “presiders,” and its manifest discontinuity with at least fourteen centuries of Roman Catholic worship—a discontinuity powerfully displayed in the matter of language, since the old Mass whispers and sings in the Western Church’s holy mother tongue, Latin, while the new Mass has awkwardly mingled itself with the ever-changing vernaculars of the world.

6. A superior calendar for the saints. In liturgical discussions, most ammunition is spent on defending or attacking changes to the Ordinary of the Mass—and understandably so. But one of the most significant differences between the 1962 and 1970 Missals is the calendar. Let’s start with the Sanctoral Cycle, the feast days of the saints. The 1962 calendar is an amazing primer in Church history, especially the history of the early Church, which often gets overlooked today. It is providentially arranged in such a way that certain saints form different “clusters” that accent a particular facet of holiness. The creators of the 1969/1970 general calendar, on the other hand, eliminated or demoted 200 saints, including St. Valentine from St. Valentine’s Day and St. Christopher, the patron saint of travelers, claiming that he never existed. They also eliminated St. Catherine of Alexandria for the same reason, even though she was one of the saints that St. Joan of Arc saw when God commissioned her to fight the English.[9] The architects of the new calendar often made their decisions on the basis of modern historical scholarship rather than the oral traditions of the Church. Their scholarly criteria call to mind Chesterton’s rejoinder that he would rather trust old wives’ tales than old maids’ facts. “It is quite easy to see why a legend is treated, and ought to be treated, more respectfully than a book of history,” G. K. writes. “The legend is generally made by the majority of people in the village, who are sane. The book is generally written by the one man in the village who is mad.”[10]

7. A superior calendar for the seasons. Similarly, the “Temporal Cycle”—Christmastide, Epiphanytide, Septuagesimatide, Eastertide, Time after Pentecost, etc.—is far richer in the 1962 calendar. Thanks to its annual cycle of propers, each Sunday has a distinct flavor to it, and this annual recurrence creates a marker or yardstick that allows the faithful to measure their spiritual progress or decline over the course of their lives. The traditional calendar has ancient observances like Ember Days and Rogation Days that heighten not only our gratitude to God but our appreciation of the goodness of the natural seasons and of the agricultural cycles of the land. The traditional calendar has no such thing as “Ordinary Time” (a most unfortunate phrase, seeing that there cannot be such a thing as “ordinary time” after the Incarnation[11]) but instead has a Time after Epiphany and a Time after Pentecost, thereby extending the meaning of these great feasts like a long afterglow or echo. In company with Christmas and Easter, Pentecost, a feast of no lesser status than they, is celebrated for a full eight days, so that the Church may bask in the warmth and light of the heavenly fire. And the traditional calendar has the pre-Lenten season of Septuagesima or “Carnevale,” which begins three weeks before Ash Wednesday and deftly aids in the psychological transition from the joy of Christmastide to the sorrow of Lent. Like most other features of the usus antiquior, the aforementioned aspects of the calendar are extremely ancient and connect us vividly with the Church of the first millennium and even the earliest centuries.

8. A Better Way to the Bible. Many think that the Novus Ordo has a natural advantage over the old Mass because it has a three-year cycle of Sunday readings and a two-year cycle of weekday readings, and longer and more numerous readings at Mass, instead of the ancient one-year cycle, usually consisting of two readings per Mass (Epistle and Gospel). What they overlook is the fact that the architects of the Novus Ordo simultaneously took out most of the biblical allusions that formed the warp and woof of the Ordinary of the Mass, and then parachuted in a plethora of readings with little regard to their congruency with each other. When it comes to biblical readings, the old rite operates on two admirable principles: first, that passages are chosen not for their own sake (to “get through” as much of Scripture as possible) but to illuminate the meaning of the occasion of worship; second, that the emphasis is not on a mere increase of biblical literacy or didactic instruction but on “mystagogy.” In other words, the readings at Mass are not meant to be a glorified Sunday school but an ongoing initiation into the mysteries of the Faith. Their more limited number, brevity, liturgical suitability, and repetition over the course of every year makes them a powerful agent of spiritual formation and preparation for the Eucharistic sacrifice.

9. Reverence for the Most Holy Eucharist. The Ordinary Form of the Mass can, of course, be celebrated with reverence and with only ordained ministers distributing Holy Communion. But let’s be honest: the vast majority of Catholic parishes deploy “extraordinary” lay ministers of Holy Communion, and the vast majority of the faithful will receive Holy Communion in the hand. These two arrangements alone constitute a significant breach in reverence for the Blessed Sacrament. Unlike the priest, lay ministers do not purify their hands or fingers after handling God, thus accumulating and scattering particles of the Real Presence. The same is true of the faithful who receive Communion in the hand; even brief contact with the Host on the palm of one’s hand can leave tiny particles of the consecrated Victim.[12] Think about it: every day, thousands upon thousands of these unintentional acts of desecration of the Blessed Sacrament occur around the world. How patient is the Eucharistic Heart of our Lord! But do we really want to contribute to this desecration? And even if we ourselves receive communion on the tongue at a Novus Ordo Mass, chances are we will still be surrounded by these careless habits—an environment that will either fill us with outrage and sorrow or lead to a settled indifference. These reactions are not helpful in experiencing the peace of Christ’s Real Presence, nor are they an optimal way to raise one’s children in the Faith!

Similar points could be made about the distracting “Sign of Peace[13]; or female lectors and EMHCs, who, apart from constituting an utter break with tradition, can be clad in clothing of questionable modesty; or the almost universal custom of loud chitchat before and after Mass; or the ad-libbing and optionizing of the priest. These and so many other characteristics of the Novus Ordo as it is all too often celebrated are all, singly and collectively, signs of a lack of faith in the Real Presence, signs of an anthropocentric, horizontal self-celebration of the community.

This point should be emphasized: it is especially harmful for children to witness, again and again, the shocking lack of reverence with which Our Lord and God is treated in the awesome Sacrament of His Love, as pew after pew of Catholics automatically go up to receive a gift they generally treat with casual and even bored indifference. We believe the Eucharist is really our Savior, our King, our Judge—but then promptly act in a way that says we are handling regular (though symbolic) food and drink, which explains why so many Catholics seem to have a Protestant view of what is going on at Mass. This unfortunate situation will not end until the pre-Vatican II norms regarding the sacred Host are made mandatory for all liturgical ministers, which is not likely anytime soon. The safe haven of refuge is, once again, the traditional Latin Mass, where sanity and sanctity prevail.

10. When all is said and done, it’s the Mystery of Faith. Many of the reasons for persevering in and supporting the traditional Latin Mass, in spite of all the trouble the devil manages to stir up for us, can be summarized in one word: MYSTERY. What St. Paul calls musterion and what the Latin liturgical tradition designates by the names mysterium and sacramentum are far from being marginal concepts in Christianity. God’s dramatic self-disclosure to us, throughout history and most of all in the Person of Jesus Christ, is a mystery in the highest sense of the term: it is the revelation of a Reality that is utterly intelligible yet always ineluctable, ever luminous yet blinding in its luminosity. It is fitting that the liturgical celebrations that bring us into contact with our very God should bear the stamp of His eternal and infinite mysteriousness, His marvelous transcendence, His overwhelming holiness, His disarming intimacy, His gentle yet penetrating silence. The traditional form of the Roman rite surely bears this stamp. Its ceremonies, its language, its ad orientem posture, and its ethereal music are not obscurantist but perfectly intelligible while at the same time instilling a sense of the unknown, even the fearful and thrilling. By fostering a sense of the sacred, the old Mass preserves intact the mystery of Faith.[14]

In sum, the classical Roman Rite is an ambassador of tradition, a midwife for the interior man, a lifelong tutor in the faith, a school of adoration, contrition, thanksgiving, and supplication, an absolutely reliable rock of stability on which we can confidently build our spiritual lives.

As the movement for the restoration of the Church’s sacred liturgy is growing and gaining momentum, now is not a time for discouragement or second thoughts; it is a time for a joyful and serene embrace of all the treasures our Church has in store for us, in spite of the shortsightedness of some of her current pastors and the ignorance (usually not their own fault) of many of the faithful. This is a renewal that must happen if the Church is to survive the coming perils. Would that the Lord could count on us to be ready to lead the way, to hold up the “catholic and orthodox faith”! Would that we might respond to His graces as He leads us back to the immense riches of the Tradition that He, in His loving-kindness, gave to the Church, His Bride!

It is no time to flag or grow weary, but to put our shoulders to the wheel, our hand to the plough. Why should we deprive ourselves of the light and peace and joy of what is more beautiful, more transcendent, more sacred, more sanctifying, and more obviously Catholic? Innumerable blessings await us when, in the midst of an unprecedented crisis of identity in the Church today, we live out our Catholic faith in total fidelity and with the ardent dedication of the Elizabethan martyrs who were willing to do and to suffer anything rather than be parted from the Mass they had grown to cherish more than life itself. Yes, we will be called upon to make sacrifices—accepting an inconvenient time or a less-than-satisfactory venue, humbly bearing with misunderstanding and even rejection from our loved ones—but we know that sacrifices for the sake of a greater good are the very pith and marrow of charity.

We have given ten reasons for attending the traditional Latin Mass. There are many more that could be given, and each person will have his or her own. What we know for sure is that the Church needs her Mass, we need this Mass, and, in a strange sort of way that bestows on us an unmerited privilege, the Mass needs us. Let us hold fast to it, that we may cleave all the more to Christ our King, our Savior, our All.



[1] See “Helping Children Enter into the Traditional Latin Mass” (Part 1, Part 2); “Ex ore infantium: Children and the Traditional Latin Mass” (here).

[2] Chesterton, Orthodoxy (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1995), 132.

[3] Jonathan Robinson, The Mass and Modernity (Ignatius Press, 2005), 307.

[4] Ibid., 311, italics added.

[5] Ibid., 311.

[6] The same author, John Zmirak (who is sound on this issue), continues: “The old liturgy was crafted by saints, and can be said by schlubs without risk of sacrilege. The new rite was patched together by bureaucrats, and should only be safely celebrated by the saintly.” John Zmirak, “All Your Church Are Belong to Us.

[7] As documented in Peter Kwasniewski, Resurgent in the Midst of Crisis (Kettering, OH: Angelico Press, 2014), ch. 6, “Offspring of Arius in the Holy of Holies.”

[8] See, among Lauren Pristas’s many fine studies, her book Collects of the Roman Missal: A Comparative Study of the Sundays in Proper Seasons Before and After the Second Vatican Council (London: T&T Clark, 2013).

[9] Fortunately, acknowledging that this was a mistake, Pope John Paul II restored St. Catherine to the Novus Ordo calendar twenty years later, but what about all the other saints who got axed?

[10] Chesterton, Orthodoxy, 53.

[11] See, among the many who argue for this point, Fr. Richard Cipolla, “Epiphany and the Unordinariness of Liturgical Time.”

[12] See Father X, “Losing Fragments with Communion in the Hand,” The Latin Mass Magazine (Fall 2009), 27-29.

[13] The Novus Ordo “Sign of Peace” has almost nothing to do with the dignified manner in which the “Pax” is given at a Solemn High Mass, where it is abundantly clear that the peace in question is a spiritual endowment emanating from the Lamb of God slain upon the altar and gently spreading out through the sacred ministers until it rests on the lowliest ministers who represent the people

[14] For centuries, going all the way back to the early Church (and even, says St. Thomas Aquinas, to the Apostles), the priest has always said “Mysterium Fidei” in the midst of the consecration of the chalice. He was referring specifically to the irruption or inbreaking of God into our midst in this unfathomable Sacrament.


Originally published on July 9, 2015.

RIP Justice Scalia: Lover of the TLM

A friend and fellow Old St. Mary’s Parishioner has written an article below about his memories of his time attending the Traditional Latin Mass with Justice Scalia.  May eternal light shine upon him!


Wall Street Journal: Scalia the Music Critic and Pew Policeman
Putting on a tie using his car’s mirror before attending Mass—the one in Latin, of course.
By Kenneth J. Wolfe
Feb. 18, 2016 7:01 p.m. ET

Antonin Scalia attended the traditional Latin Mass nearly every Sunday, at St. John the Beloved church near his home in McLean, Va., or at St. Mary Mother of God church in the Chinatown section of Washington, D.C. When he went to the latter location, it was usually followed by a day of reading in his nearby Supreme Court office, which he did for decades on certain Sundays during the court’s term.

In the 20 years I saw him at Mass, not once was he protected by Supreme Court police or by U.S. Marshals. The associate justice with his home number still listed in the telephone book was surprisingly down to earth, true to his New Jersey roots. It was not uncommon to see him park his  BMW  on G Street in the District before Mass and put on his necktie using the car’s mirror. He would walk into St. Mary’s with his pre-Vatican II handmissal, always sitting in the same general area, near Patrick Buchanan, about halfway up the aisle on the far left side of the nave.

Justice Scalia loved music, especially opera. So when I was the director of an amateur choir at St. Mary’s in the late 1990s (in a Verizon Center-less neighborhood far different from today), we were under increased pressure during the Sundays when he attended High Mass. Our choir was admittedly awful, and even though we rehearsed every Thursday night and Sunday morning, it didn’t seem to help much.

The church’s pastor at the time would hear from Justice Scalia about the choir’s underwhelming performances. In what would become a familiar ritual over a period of months, we would fail to sing basic, four-part sacred music in tune. Justice Scalia would register his disappointment with Father, and I would be urged to try to do better. I wasn’t surprised when one day I was called into the pastor’s office to be gently informed that my volunteer choir-director days were over.

As was so often the case during his career, Justice Scalia’s dissent was entirely justified and ultimately a blessing to the world. The mixed-voice choir was soon replaced by a group of men (including me) who would sing Gregorian chant at the Sunday 9 a.m. Latin Mass at St. Mary’s, with that schola continuing to chant to this day. The congregation seems to appreciate it, and as recently as a few months ago when we last saw Justice Scalia, there have been no complaints about the music.

He was a character at a church full of character. After the Sunday 9 a.m. Mass at St. Mary’s, a coffee and doughnut hour is held in the basement, and Justice Scalia could often be found there. For years, the rear right corner was where the smokers gathered, doing a balancing act of cigarettes, pastries and hot beverages. Justice Scalia seemed to relish that time, smoking and talking, recounting his world travels and shaking his head over the liturgical and theological argle-bargle he found in some Catholic churches overseas.

One morning in the smoking corner, Justice Scalia pulled out a cigarette and looked around to see no one joining him with a lighter. He asked where his fellow tobacco traditionalists were, only to learn that a newly established traditional Latin Mass in rural, conservative Front Royal, Va., was apparently a more convenient option for the smoking crowd. Conversation carried on anyway, and by request he got the latest scoop on shenanigans at his alma mater, Georgetown University.

Like the rest of us, Justice Scalia was not perfect. He had no patience for unruly children and was the local sheriff of the rear left of the nave of St. Mary’s. But his willingness to talk with anyone—as long as it was not about a pending court case—was generous, and he certainly could have had better coffee and doughnuts at home instead of a church basement in Chinatown.

Despite his having attended the traditional Latin Mass for decades nearly every Sunday, the funeral for Justice Scalia will be a post-Vatican II, concelebrated service in English on Saturday morning at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington. Still, pre-Vatican II Latin Masses have already been offered this week for the repose of his soul, and fellow parishioners continue to beg God that the good and faithful servant attains salvation after years of prayer and labor. May there be a tuxedo-clad waiter in a dark Italian restaurant serving him white pizza and Chianti in heaven. And good music, we pray.

Mr. Wolfe is a contributor to the traditional Catholic blog, Rorate Caeli.

The Devil Hates the Latin Mass . . Do You Agree?

Below is a classic post from Father Peter Carota on the importance of the Latin Mass.  This is a great way to start the new year . . . to devote yourself to the Latin Mass in 2016 for the sake of your and your family’s soul.


Latin Mass, Latin Exorcism, Latin Sacraments Crush The Devil


Ancient Catholic Missals show that the Latin Mass Canon has been basically the same ever since Pope Gregory the Great (560-604). Pope Pius V (1504-1572), only slightly modified this ancient Gregorian Missal, along with some of the rubrics.  He did not modify the Roman Canon itself.  He then promulgated this ancient Roman Latin Mass in all places (except where there was still in use another Rite that was 200 years or older).  This did not include where the Byzantine Rites were being used.  But remember, the vast majority of Catholics are Roman Rite Catholics.

Simon Marmion_Mass of St. Greg_Bk Hrs_Belgium_1475-85_Morgan_m6.154raVision St. Gregory Had While Offering The Latin Mass

Since then, slight changes have been made, like new saints feast days, but the Tridentine Missal, or St. Pius V Missal was in use all over the Roman Rite Church for 400 years.

But then, in 1965, this Tridentine Missal was translated into the vernacular (in our case, English) and no longer was obliged to be offered in Latin only.  The Novus Ordo, (New Mass), of Pope Paul VI was promulgated and began being offered all over the Roman Rite world in December 1969.  The Latin Tridentine Mass was then suppressed in the Church, (except for a few places and for old priests who did not want to offer the new mass or could not learn it).

At the exact time that Latin was being removed from the Catholic Church’s Sacraments, all hell broke out in the world.  Many attribute the break down of society and the down fall of the Catholic faith to the “drugs, sex and rock n roll” revolution of the late 60’s.  I contend that it was the devil, and his friends (demons), who brought on the revolution.

Remember that the devil hates Latin and the sacred ancient Latin Sacraments, Rites and prayers of the Catholic Church.  So you can see that it was precisely when Latin was being removed, (1965-69), that all hell broke loose.

devilMany ask why the devil hates Latin and why it is used in Exorcisms and has power over the devil.  The answer is that ecclesiastical Latin is a sacred language that was reserved only for the divine service of the Church of God, in prayer and in the Sacraments.  (There is classic Roman Latin of Cicero that is also studied today.  But it is significantly different for the sacred ecclesiastical Latin.)

H092_Devil-2Our profane language is English.  It is used to cuss with, to curse with, gossip with, to lie with, to deceive with, to corrupt souls with, along with all the other common ways it is used to communicate with.

On the other hand, ecclesiastical Latin is only used for holy things, and is a dead language that does not change and has been reserved for centuries just for prayer, (especially the Latin Mass).  For this reason, the devil hates it.

It is so sad when Catholics say they hate the Latin Mass.  They literally say they do not like it, or, in some cases, say they hate the Holy Latin Mass, just because it is in Latin.  They also say that they do not want to go because they cannot understand what is being said.  I tell them, please, God gives you everything all week long, 24-7, can’t you just offer God one hour in sacred prayer, the way He likes it?  Why hate what the devil hates?  Why not love what God loves?

480511_10151436109968705_1551975927_nThe proof that God love’s the Latin Mass is the it was He that had His Church offered it that way, in the Roman Rite Church, for the last 1800 years?  The only other answer is that God and His Church had it wrong all those years, and finally, 1800 years later we got it right.  How absurd.

My theory is that when the popes removed Latin from the Roman Catholic Church, and suppressed the Tridentine Mass, that is what allowed all hell to break out on earth.  We need to return to the Latin Mass and other Latin Rites and prayers to fight the devil.

I talk about the Roman Rite or Roman Catholic Church because Latin is our sacred language.  Other rites use other sacred languages like Greek, Russian, and Aramaic.  Most of these rites have not had their Divine Liturgies altered since Vatican II and are still basically in their ancient form.

il_fullxfull.192488957Let us all do our part to get rid of hell out of this world by bringing back the Latin Mass, all the Latin Rite Sacraments and the Exorcisms.  We are so blessed to be traditional Catholics and have these nuclear weapons to fight the devil.

Conscious Participation

Please go to a Latin Mass over the Christmas season. You will not regret being reverent in front of our dear lord. Please read the outstanding article by Peter Kwasniewski on how the TLM actually fosters more active participation than the new mass.


Monday, December 15, 2014
How the Traditional Latin Mass Fosters More Active Participation than the Ordinary Form
Peter Kwasniewski

How many times do lovers of the classical Roman Rite hear the objection: “The new Mass is better than the old one because it allows for more active participation of the faithful,” or “The old Mass just had to be reformed eventually, because the priest was the only one doing anything, and the people were all mute spectators.” My aim in this article is to refute such claims and to demonstrate that, if anything, the opposite is true.

Active/Actual Participation
People who take the time to sit down and study Sacrosanctum Concilium are often struck by how much of this document is unknown, ignored, or contradicted by contemporary Catholic practice. Often, there are phrases that are so rich, and yet the manner in which they have been turned into slogans has undermined their original nuance and depth.

The most notorious victim of this process of journalistic simplification has been the notion of “active participation” or participatio actuosa. The word actuosa itself is very interesting: it means fully or totally engaged in activity, like a dancer or an actor who is putting everything into the dancing or the acting; it might be considered “super-active.” But what is the notion of activity here? It is actualizing one’s full potential, entering into possession of a good rather than having an unrealized capacity for it. In contemporary English, “active” often means simply the contrary of passive or receptive, yet in a deeper perspective, we see that these are by no means contrary. I can be actively receptive to the Word of God; I can be fully actualizing my ability to be acted upon at Mass by the chants, prayers, and ceremonies, without my doing much of anything that would be styled “active” in contemporary English.[Note 1] As St. John Paul II explained in an address to U.S. bishops in 1998:

Active participation certainly means that, in gesture, word, song and service, all the members of the community take part in an act of worship, which is anything but inert or passive. Yet active participation does not preclude the active passivity of silence, stillness and listening: indeed, it demands it. Worshippers are not passive, for instance, when listening to the readings or the homily, or following the prayers of the celebrant, and the chants and music of the liturgy. These are experiences of silence and stillness, but they are in their own way profoundly active. In a culture which neither favors nor fosters meditative quiet, the art of interior listening is learned only with difficulty. Here we see how the liturgy, though it must always be properly inculturated, must also be counter-cultural. [link]

If your choir or schola sings Proper chants or motets at Mass, or if you’d like to see this happen someday, make sure you have this text from John Paul II ready for the person who objects: “But the people need to be singing everything!” Dom Alcuin Reid explained the Council’s intention very succinctly in an interview last December:

The Council called for participatio actuosa, which is primarily our internal connection with the liturgical action—with what Jesus Christ is doing in his Church in the liturgical rites. This participation is about where my mind and heart are. Our external actions in the liturgy serve and facilitate this. But participatio actuosa is not first and foremost external activity, or performing a particular liturgical ministry. That, unfortunately, has been a common misconception of the Council’s desire. [link]

Now, even with the common misunderstanding of “actual” cleared out of the way, it is an extremely curious fact that the full expression from Sacrosanctum Concilium 14 is rarely quoted: “Mother Church earnestly desires that all the faithful should be led to that full, conscious, and active participation in liturgical celebrations which is demanded by the very nature of the liturgy” (in the original: “Valde cupit Mater Ecclesia ut fideles universi ad plenam illam, consciam atque actuosam liturgicarum celebrationum participationem ducantur, quae ab ipsius Liturgiae natura postulatur”). Whatever happened to “full” and “conscious”?

Conscious Participation
Let’s probe this matter further. After several decades of attending Mass in both the OF and the EF (both celebrated “by the books”), I’ve become convinced that there is paradoxically a far greater possibility of not consciously paying attention to the Mass in the vernacular, precisely because of its familiarity: it becomes like a reflex action, the words can go in and out while the mind is far away. The vernacular is our everyday comfort zone, and so it doesn’t grab our attention. This is why when we are in a busy place where lots of people are speaking, we tend not to notice that they are even talking—whereas when we hear a foreign language, something other than our mother tongue, suddenly our attention is caught by it.

Of course, this lack of attentiveness can happen in the sphere of any language: as someone once put it, I can be doing finances inside my head while chanting the Credo in Latin—if I have been chanting it every week for years. But it nevertheless seems evident that this danger is significantly less present with the usus antiquior, for two reasons:

First, its very foreignness demands of the worshiper some effort to enter into it; indeed, it demands of the worshiper a decision about whether he really wants to enter into it or not. It is almost pointless to sit there unless you are ready to do something to engage the Mass or at very least to begin to pray. The use of a daily missal, widespread in traditional communities, is a powerful means of assimilating the mind and heart of the Church at prayer—and for me personally, following the prayers in my missal has amounted to a decades-long formation of my own mind and heart, giving me a savor for things spiritual, exemplars of holiness, ascetical rules, aspirations and resolutions. When I attend the EF, I am always much more actively engaged in the Mass, because there is more to do (I’ll come back to this point) and it seems more natural to use a missal to help me do it.

Second, the traditional Latin Mass is so obviously focused on God, directed to the adoration of Him, that one who is mentally present to what is happening is ineluctably drawn into the sacred mysteries, even if only at the simplest and most fundamental level of acknowledging the reality of God and adoring our Blessed Lord in the most Holy Sacrament. I am afraid to say that it is not clear at all that most Catholics attending most vernacular OF liturgies are ever confronted unequivocally and irresistibly with the reality of God and the demand for adoration. Or, to put it differently, the old liturgy forms these attitudes in the soul, whereas the new liturgy presupposes them. If you don’t have the right understanding and frame of mind, the Novus Ordo will do very little to give it to you, whereas the EF is either going to give it to you or drive you away. When you attend the EF, you are either subtly attracted by something in it, or you are put off by the demands it makes. Either way, lukewarmness is not an option.

Full Participation
So much for “conscious.” What about “full” participation? Again, as surprising as it may seem in the wake of tendentious criticisms, the traditional Latin Mass allows the faithful a fuller participation in worship because there are more kinds of experience to participate in, verbal and non-verbal, spiritual and sensuous—indeed, there is far more bodily involvement, if one follows the customary practices. This last point deserves attention.

At a Low or High Mass, depending on the feast, one might make the sign of the Cross 8 times:

In nomine Patris…
Adjutorium nostrum…
Cum Sancto Spiritu (end of the Gloria)
Et vitam venturi (end of the Credo)
Benedictus (in the Sanctus)
if the Confiteor is repeated at communion;
At the final blessing.

To this, some add the sign of the cross at the elevation of the Host and of the Chalice. And of course, the triple sign of the cross is made twice—once at the Gospel, and once at the Last Gospel.

Moreover, one will end up striking the breast up to 15 times (!)

3x at the “mea culpa” of the servers’ Confiteor;
3x at the Agnus Dei;
3x at the second Confiteor;
3x at the Domine, non sum dignus;
3x at the Salve Regina (O clemens, O dulcis, O pia).

Traditionally-minded Catholics have learned to bow their head slightly at the name of Jesus, and to bow at other times during the liturgy, such as when the priest is passing by or when the thurifer is incensing the people. We go one step further and genuflect at the “Et incarnatus est” of the Creed—every time it is said, not just on Christmas and Annunciation, as in the Novus Ordo. We genuflect as well at the final blessing and at the words “Et verbum caro factum est.” (There are also other special times during the liturgical year when everyone is called upon to genuflect.)

While the postures of the faithful at certain times in the Mass are not as regimented as in the Novus Ordo, a Low Mass will typically have the faithful kneeling for a long time (from the start all the way to the Gospel, and from the Sanctus all the way through the last Gospel), which is a demanding discipline and really keeps one’s mind aware that one is in a special sacred place, taking part in a sacrifice. At a Sunday High Mass, there will be quite a lot of standing, bowing, genuflecting, kneeling, and sitting, which, together with the signs of the cross, the beating of the breast, the bowing of the head, and the chanting of the responses, amounts to what educators call a TPR environment—Total Physical Response. You are thrown into the worship body and soul, and, at almost every moment, something is happening that puts your mind back on what you are doing. The OF has tended to drop a lot of these “muscular” elements in favor of merely aural comprehension and verbal response, which, by themselves, constitute a fairly impoverished form of participation, and surely not a full one.

Most distinctive of all, perhaps, is the immensely peaceful reservoir of silence at the very center of the traditional Latin Mass. When the priest isn’t reading the Eucharistic Prayer “at” you, as it were, but instead is offering the Canon silently to God, always ad orientem, it becomes much easier to pray the words of the Canon oneself in union with the ministerial priest, or, if one prefers, to give oneself up a wordless union with the sacrifice. This makes the Canon of the Mass a time of more intensely full, conscious, and actual participation than is facilitated by the constant stream of aural stimulation in the Novus Ordo.

A Culture of Prayer
An observation at the blog Sensible Bond fits in very well with the foregoing analysis:

One can still hold the new rite to be integrally Catholic, and yet consider that the culture of the extraordinary form, where the people are supposedly passive, tends to teach people to pray independently, while the culture of the ordinary form often tends to create a dynamic in which people just chat to each other in church unless they are being actively animated by a minister.

What we have seen, therefore, is a conclusion that flies completely in the face of the conventional wisdom. “Active participation,” in the manner in which it is usually understood and implemented in the Novus Ordo sphere, actually fosters passivity, while the Catholic who receives in a seeming passivity all that the traditional Mass has to give is actualizing his potential for worship to a greater extent. Consequently, if you are looking to fulfill the Council’s call for full, conscious, and actual participation, look no further than your local traditional Latin Mass and you will find, with due time and effort, a richness of participation more comprehensive than the reformed liturgy allows.

Note 1. I have rewritten the preceding sentences in response to some excellent criticisms leveled against my treatment of the Latin word actuosus in the first version of this article. Readers who are interested in the details may find them in the comment thread below.

(First and third images courtesy of Joseph Shaw and the Latin Mass Society of England & Wales; second photo courtesy of Corpus Christi Watershed and the Campion Missal, used with permission.)

Proclamation of the superiority of Catholicism

Please read the outstanding article below about the need to reclaim our Catholic heritage and pride.  We need to get our dignity back.  The only way to do this is through masculine leadership.  We need Catholic men to put down their porn, put down their remote, pick up your bible and your Aquinas, etc. and proclaim the truth to all.


No More Scraps: Regaining Rightful Catholic Pride

Eric Sammons
November 24, 2015


The movie Braveheart dramatizes the heroic struggle, led by the commoner William Wallace, for Scottish independence. In one scene, the Scottish nobles gather after some initial victories by William Wallace over the English. The nobles begin bickering over how best to negotiate with the English King, Edward Longshanks, for they fear losing their lands and moneys if they push Longshanks too hard. Disgusted, Wallace begins to walk out of the room when he is stopped and asked his plans:

Wallace: I will invade England and defeat the English on their own ground.

Lord Craig: Invade? That’s impossible.

Wallace: Why? Why is that impossible? You’re so concerned with squabbling for the scraps from Longshanks’ table that you’ve missed your God-given right to something better. There is a difference between us. You think the people of this country exist to provide you with possession. I think your possession exists to provide those people with freedom. And I go to make sure that they have it.

I’m often reminded of this scene when I see how Catholic leaders today – clerical or lay – act in relation to the world. Although the Catholic Church has been given the words of everlasting life, most Catholic leaders seem content to squabble over the scraps from the world’s table – working to make Catholicism palatable to polite society, simply satisfied with the continued existence of the Church and doing nothing to expand her footprint. When anyone suggests that perhaps we should “invade England,” i.e., resist the world’s lies completely and work for its total conversion to Catholicism, these same leaders are quick to say, “That’s impossible,” for all sorts of timid reasons – “No one will listen to us,” “We have to meet people where they are,” and “We can’t be triumphalistic.” But it is fear of rejection – and fear of losing their current comfortable positions – that is driving their timidity. All the while faithful Catholics are denied their God-given right to something better – a full and unadulterated proclamation and practice of Catholicism.

What would such a proclamation and practice look like? Here are some starters:

Full-throated defense of the Church’s moral teaching. No more tepid justifications for why we should go along with the death march that is our modern culture: “We must accompany people on their journey.” “We are just making a pastoral, not a doctrinal, change.” Instead we need a robust defense and explanation for why the Church’s moral teachings are the only sane ones in an insane world, and an exhortation to follow them, that we may find true joy and peace.

Condemnation of error and those that promote it. No more acting as if orthodoxy is an option, while souls are falling deeper and deeper into sin and error. Leaders need to treat theological error for the serious danger it is: something that can separate us from God for all eternity. Further, those who promote error need to be publicly and strongly resisted, not given tenured positions at “Catholic” universities (or promoted to Cardinalate dioceses).

A liturgy that reflects the grandeur of what it is celebrating. No more insipid, uninspiring liturgies that either would be more at home in a Gilbert & Sullivan show or reflect a deep-seated apathy toward the Faith. We need liturgical celebrations to be reverent, serious, and awe-inspiring. Did I mention reverent?

Proclamation of the superiority of Catholicism. No more acting as if every Tom, Dick and Martin Luther has more religious wisdom than Thomas Aquinas and Augustine put together. We need to start proclaiming that the Catholic Church is the Church founded by Jesus Christ, and that eternal salvation comes through her. Souls are depending on it.

A concern for the next life more than this life. No more treating recycling campaigns and government social programs as if they are more important than the eternal destination of souls. Our sights have been set so low over the past few decades that we forget that it is only the Church that has the means to solve the greatest problems in existence: sin and death. The guiding principle of every action of a Church leader must be “Will this help or hinder souls getting to Heaven?”

For far too long Church leaders – again, lay as well as clerical – have thought that their positions exist to provide them with prestige, invitations to dine with the Important People, and as a means to book deals, TV shows, and speaking engagements. In reality their positions exist to provide people with the path to eternal life. Only if they stop squabbling for the world’s scraps and instead “invade England” –  i.e., confront the world head-on and work for its complete conversion – can the Church fulfill her mandate, given to her by Christ, to “make disciples of all nations” and thus conquer, instead of conform to, the world.

A Treatise on Why Mass Should be in Latin

If you have a distrust or dislike of Latin, please read the entry below and I pray this speaks to your heart.  The article below is a reasoned and logical dive into why Latin is so important for the Church, for the world and for your soul.  We must understand this and be able to articulate this to the masses.  Latin is sacred and reverent.  Our good Lord deserves nothing less.


Why Mass in Latin?

By Raymond Taouk

You know, a time will come when a man will no longer be able to say, ‘I speak Latin and am a Christian’ and go his way in peace. There will come frontiers, frontiers of all kinds—between men—and there will be no end to them.” – John Osborne, Luther, 2:4, spoken by Tommaso Cardinal Cajetan to Martin Luther

Such was Cardinal Cajetan’s prophetic statement to Martin Luther predicting the end of European Christendom after the dawning of the Era of Protestantism.

What is even more prophetic are the words of Dom Prosper Gueranger, founder of the Benedictine Congregation of France and first abbot of Solesmes after the French revolution, who wrote in 1840 his Liturgical Institutions in order to restore among the clergy the knowledge and the love for the Roman Liturgy. In his work the anti-liturgical heresy he wrote the following concerning the Latin language and the liturgy and the enemies of the Church:

“Hatred for the Latin language is inborn in the hearts of all the enemies of Rome. They recognize it as the bond among Catholics throughout the universe, as the arsenal of orthodoxy against all the subtleties of the sectarian spirit. . . . The spirit of rebellion which drives them to confide the universal prayer to the idiom of each people, of each province, of each century, has for the rest produced its fruits, and the reformed themselves constantly perceive that the Catholic people, in spite of their Latin prayers, relish better and accomplish with more zeal the duties of the cult than most do the Protestant people. At every hour of the day, divine worship takes place in Catholic churches. The faithful Catholic, who assists, leaves his mother tongue at the door. Apart form the sermons, he hears nothing but mysterious words which, even so, are not heard in the most solemn moment of the Canon of the Mass. Nevertheless, this mystery charms him in such a way that he is not jealous of the lot of the Protestant, even though the ear of the latter doesn’t hear a single sound without perceiving its meaning .… . . . We must admit it is a master blow of Protestantism to have declared war on the sacred language. If it should ever succeed in ever destroying it, it would be well on the way to victory. Exposed to profane gaze, like a virgin who has been violated, from that moment on the Liturgy has lost much of its sacred character, and very soon people find that it is not worthwhile putting aside one’s work or pleasure in order to go and listen to what is being said in the way one speaks on the marketplace. . . .

Since the introduction of a new missal in the 1960’s Masses have been celebrated most often in living languages like English, Spanish, Portuguese, etc… One of the reasons given for this liturgical change was to make the Mass comprehensible to the faithful who no longer knew Latin. However, attendance at these Masses has diminished in many places and a minority of Catholics continue to ask that the Latin Mass continue to be celebrated. Why such an attachment to Latin? Is it only for aesthetic or sentimental reasons?

What is the historical origin of the introduction of Latin into the Catholic Liturgy?

Even though Our Lord Jesus Christ could speak all languages, he habitually used only Aramaic, the language of the Jews of Palestine of his period. When the apostles dispersed after the siege of Jerusalem by the Romans, in the year 70 A.D., they had to adopt the local languages in order to be able to preach. In the Roman empire, the Greek language was the universal vehicle for literature, for worldly correspondence, and for commercial affairs. For that reason, the early Church spoke Greek and read the sacred books in that language as well. That is why Greek was predominant as a liturgical language at the origin of the Church; the Kyrie Eleison remains extant. That, however, did not stop the first Christians from praying in Coptic, Syriac, or Armenian. Then, as time passed, Greek lost its influence in the West and Latin progressively took its place. The Roman liturgy followed this movement, adopting Latin as its language and keeping it until the twentieth century. Nevertheless, there remain to this day liturgies in Greek, Chaldian, Syriac, Arabic, Georgian and Slavonic.

The traditional Roman Mass in all its essentials was passed on by St. Peter, the first pope, to the Church, was according to St. Ambrose elaborated by the Apostles themselves, and reached its complete perfection with Popes St. Damasus (fourth century) and St. Gregory the Great (sixth century). As the great liturgical scholar Fr. Adrian Fortescue wrote, this Mass is “the most venerable in all Christendom, with a history of unbroken use far longer than that of any Eastern rite, there being no doubt that the essential parts of the Mass are of Apostolic origin.” – A Study of the Roman Liturgy.

What are the principle reasons in favor of Latin as a liturgical language?

First reason: The concern for dogmatic unity.

Pope Pius XII  points out that “the use of the Latin language affords at once an imposing sign of unity and an effective safeguard against the corruption of true doctrine.” (Mediator Dei)

The Catholic Church is a depository of the truths of faith without which “It is impossible to please God.” (Heb. 11:6) The use of Latin in the liturgy is a most efficacious way of avoiding heresy; translations of the liturgical texts, which are being constantly updated, increase the risk of error in the transmission of divine teaching. That is why the Church has held to Latin for such a long time as a protective rampart for the integrity of her dogmas. This is because an unchangeable dogmas require an unchangeable language. On this point Alfons Cardinal Stickler pointed out that:

The vernacular has often vulgarized the Mass itself, and the translation of the original Latin has resulted in serious doctrinal misunderstanding and errors….  The theological correctness of the Tridentine Mass corresponds with the theological incorrectness of the Vatican II Mass.—In an address given May 11, 1996, in New York
Second reason: The concern for stability.

Living, spoken languages, English or Spanish for example, are always changing, perpetually and profoundly; it is certain that if our great-grandparents came back to life today, they would have difficulty in understanding the speech of their great-grandchildren. Now to celebrate the Mass in a living language is to condemn the liturgical text to these continual alterations and variations without end. That is what is established undeniably in the multiple editions of the New Mass edited in 1969. That is why it is preferable to preserve the Latin language which is dead i.e. no longer changing. In Fact it well known that the meaning of words is changed in the course of time by every -day usage. Words, which once had a good meaning, are now used in a vulgar or ludicrous sense. The Church, enlightened by the Holy Ghost, has chosen a language that is not liable to such changes.

Third reason: The concern for Tradition.

The Catholic Church venerates Tradition. Utilizing a dead language in the liturgy brings us something of the eternal and immutable God. That is why Pope Pius X said that “the true friends of the people (Catholics) are neither revolutionaries nor innovators, but traditionalists” (Letter on the Sillon; 25 VIII 1910).

Fourth reason: The concern for universality.

Pope Pius XI on this issue expressly states that: “The Church – precisely because it embraces all nations and is destined to endure until the end of time – of its very nature requires a language which is universal, immutable, and non-vernacular.” (Officiorum Omnium, 1922)

Since Latin was spoken in numerous countries for many centuries, it is impartial and does not arouse jealousies between nations. It is the prerogative of no one and therefore can be accepted by all. That is why it has been maintained by the Catholic Church as a universal language, uniting the faithful in the practice of religion for all times and in all places. This is because a universal Church requires a universal language. In speaking on this question Alfons Cardinal Stickler stated that:

“The vulgar tongue has often vulgarized the Mass itself, and the translation of the original Latin has resulted in serious doctrinal  misunderstanding and error….  This Babel of common worship results in a
loss of external unity in the worldwide Catholic Church, which was once  unified in a common voice….  We must admit that only a few decades after  the reform of the liturgical language, we have lost that former possibility of praying and singing together even in the great international gatherings such as Eucharistic Congresses, or even during meetings with the Pope as the external center of unity of the church.  We can no longer sing and pray together”.  —  The Theological Attractiveness of the  Tridentine Mass,” a speech given on May 20, 1995 in Fort Lee, New Jersey apud
Catholic Family News, (II:7, July 1995), p. 10
Fifth reason: Latin has many linguistic qualities.

Noble and harmonious, Latin protects the sacred mystery from the profane and the vulgar; clear and precise, it makes it possible to avoid haziness and vagueness; concise and diversified, it stops the introduction of garrulity and monotony. That is why it incites, in an inimitable manner, toward solemnity and contemplation of prayer.

Sixth reason – Variety of Languages is the result of Sin

The Variety of Languages is a punishment (Genesis 11:7) a consequence of sin; it was inflicted by God that the human race might be dispersed over the face of the earth. The Holy Church, the immaculate Spouse of Jesus Christ, has been established for the express purpose of destroying sin and uniting all mankind; consequently she must everywhere speak the same language.

Seventh Reason: The Example of Christ Himself

It is often neglected or plainly forgotten that Christ Himself worship with the Jewish people in the Hebrew. This Hebrew language was not the contemporary language of the time as Aramaic was the language of the Jews at the time and yet they worshiped God in this dead language to which Christ Himself conformed and approved.

Fr. James L. Meager in his well know work “How Christ said the First Mass” (Tan Books) affirms that “The sermons of these ancient preachers come down to us under the name of The Targuns and Midrashes. But they made no change in the ancient Hebrew of Moses and Temple, and synagogue services to our day (circa 1906) remains in the pure Hebrew, which only the learned Jews now understand. People who find fault because Mass is said in Latin, Greek , and tongues the people do not understand, do not realize that Christ worshipped in the synagogues where the services were in a dead language.”

Pope Benedict XIV  (1740-1758) laid down a rule on the use of the vernacular in the liturgy:  “The Church must steadily and firmly heed that although the language of the people may change, the language of liturgy should not be altered.  Thus, the Mass must be said in the language in which it was said from the beginning, even if such a language be already, antiquated and strange to the people, for it is wholly enough, if the learned men understand it.” –  De Missae Sacrificio, 2, II
The Council of Trent summed up well the Church’s mind on Latin being the Language of Roman rite in the following words “ If anyone says that the Mass should be celebrated in the vernacular only, let him be Anathema . “ – Council of Trent (Session XXII, Canon 9)

Again Pope Pius VI, condemned the  notion that the mass should said “in the vernacular” as “rash, offensive to pious ears, insulting to the Church, and favorable to the charges of heretics against it” (Dz 1533).

It is true that Latin is no longer spoken ordinarily, but in order to follow this Mass without difficulty, bilingual missals are available which have on one side the text of the Latin prayers which the priest says and on the other side the translation in the every day language of the people. With a bit of practice, it is within the reach of everyone to unite himself with the prayers that are said. In addition, to want to understand everything of the Divine Mystery, which is the Sacred Mass, is impossible, mystery by definition is a truth that one cannot fully comprehend.

As Fr. Michael Muller well wrote in 1885 in his well know work “God the Teacher of Mankind” namely that “If the Mass or the sacraments were nothing but a common prayer, read for the people, then perhaps the common language of each country would be the most proper to use; but then, also, would religion lose its chief character of Divinity, and the priesthood be stripped of the only character which distinguishes its members from the laity. We do not, therefore, blame the Protestants for using the common language of the people in their public prayers, for as they have neither sacrifice nor priest, they were only consistent n laying aside the language when they rejected the sacrifice and the Priesthood” – Pg. 502-3

St. Alphonus Liguori, in writing on this issue states: “The innovators contended that mass should be celebrated only in the vulgar tongue: Luther left this matter to the choice of the celebrant (lib. De form. Missae.) but the Catholic Church has, for several reasons, ordained the contrary: for, (St. Robert) Bellarmine justly observes (de missa c. 11) that the oblation of the mass consists more in the act which is performed, than in the words: since, without offering him in words, the very action by which the victim, Jesus Christ, is presented on the altar, is a true oblation. For the consecration, the words are, indeed, necessary: but these are said, not to instruct the people, but to offer the sacrifice. And even the words of oblation are not directed to the people, but to God, who understands every language. Even the Jews, in their public functions, used the Hebrew language, although it had ceased to be their vulgar tongue after the Babylonian captivity. Besides, it has been always the custom in the east to celebrate in the Greek or Chaldaic, and in the west, in the Latin Language: this custom existed after these languages ceased to be commonly understood in the western nations.

The use of the Latin tongue was necessary in the west, in order to preserve the communication among the churches: had not this custom existed, a German could not celebrate in France. Besides, it frequently happens that the words of one language cannot express the full force of certain phrases in another tongue: hence, if in different countries, mass were celebrated in different languages, it would be difficult to preserve the identity of sense. The use of the common language was also necessary for the constant uniformity in the rite prescribed by the Church in the administration of the sacraments, and as a preventive of schisms in the Church: great confusion would arise from the translation of the Roman missal into the language of various countries. Hence, the Bishops of Grance unanimously supplicated Alexander VII., in 1661, to suppress a translation of the Roman missal (to be used by the celebrant) into the French language, which was published by Doctor Voisin, in 1660. On the 12th of January, in the same year, the Pope condemned it.

…. Besides, if the priest of every country were to celebrate in the vernacular language, they would not be able to communicate with each other in different nations. Moreover, it is not right that the people should hear, every day, the mysteries of our faith in the vulgar tongue, without an explanation from the minister of religion, accommodated to their capacity.” – Exposition and Defense of all the points of Faith discussed and defined by the Sacred Council of Trent, Dublin 1846, Pg. 302-303


“The Church is without question a living organism, and as an organism in respect of the Sacred Liturgy also, she grows, matures, develops, adapts and accommodates herself to temporal needs and circumstances, provided only that the integrity of her doctrine be safeguarded. This notwithstanding, the temerity and daring of those who introduce novel liturgical practices, or call for the revival of obsolete rites out of harmony with laws and rubrics, deserve reproof. It has pained Us grievously to note, (…) that such innovations are actually being introduced, not merely in minor details but in matters of major importance as well. They are, in point of fact, those who make use of the vernacular in the celebration of the august Eucharistic Sacrifice; those who transfer certain feast days – which have been appointed and established after mature deliberation – to other dates; those finally who delete from the prayer books approved for public use the sacred texts of the Old Testament, deeming them little suited and inopportune for modern times.

The use of the Latin language, customary in a considerable portion of the Church, is a manifest and beautiful sign of unity, as well as an effective antidote for any corruption of doctrinal truth.” (Pius XII: Encyclical Mediator Dei, November 20, 1947)