Time for a new Pentecost? Let it happen!

First as I forwarded an annotated version of this article to my pastor and administrator this evening, I ask you to go to the link first and read, let its wisdom take hold in good ground, and bloom in your hearts. Then I offer the letter of my thoughts about its sentiments that accompanied my memo to the pastor.


This is the memo forwarded to our pastor:

Please read the attached and I ask prayerfully consider the wisdom it . We may be on the cusp of seeing this potential great vessel of worship, the mother tongue and mother ship of the Barque of Peter cross the horizon never to return to our city. Liturgy is not about literal comprehension alone. As Fr. Friel and CS Lewis recognize that vernaculars are temporal, then would it be too much for us here to consider redressing the absence of the only timeless tongue of our Roman Rite? One Mass a week, one Mass a month? Or better yet one in each parish under the Missal of Paul VI? As Chesterton once said I now paraphrase, “Latin has not been tried (in the Ordinary Form) and failed, but has failed to be tried.” The readings and homily (even the Universal Prayer) in our vernaculars can move our minds and then our wills to leave the doors after Mass and try to bring both the Word and the Great Commission to fruition. But the status quo, the Mass which is expedited by the ease of words that become formulaic and thusly subject to unconscious distraction or worse, antithetical to the deeper Word that lies with the Ritual, the real locus of worship and mystery, will cripple ritual worship’s very viability and future in my estimation. There, I’ve said my words about my intuition and inclination. If it’s not in the cards, then “amen, so be it.” Blessings, C. 

Can it be done? Really?

11 Replies to “Time for a new Pentecost? Let it happen!”

  1. Mr. C, I think you and Fr. Friel are onto something: the Mass is not a committee meeting where we all follow the (prepared and distributed) minutes, perfectly intelligible and understood, by mentally checking them off until we can leave, although "unconscious distraction or worse" would certainly be a similar phenomenon. If we're not involved with something greater than ourselves, why bother? And what is more likely to make us realize that we are involved in something much greater than ourselves?

  2. For the past 50 years, of course, the issue has revolved on the interpretation of passages in SC such as these two, the translation which I use from the Vatican web site itself, considering there are different English translations around with different meanings:

    "Mother Church earnestly desires that all the faithful should be led to that fully conscious, and active participation in liturgical celebrations." SC14

    "The Church, therefore, earnestly desires that Christ's faithful, when present at this mystery of faith, should not be there as strangers or silent spectators; on the contrary, through a good understanding of the rites and prayers they should take part in the sacred action conscious of what they are doing, with devotion and full collaboration." SC48

    These passages have been interpreted quite cerebrally since the Council in the sense that the faithful must understand what is going on to be fully conscious of what they are doing at Mass. "Consciousness" and "understanding" have become equivalents; the Faith has been taken away from the heart and given to the brain.

  3. Ironically, Catholics today have virtually no theological understanding of the Mass and participation by Catholics has plummeted if we are honest and count the number of Catholics who no longer attend Mass. Great job bishops! Just keep doing what you are doing, What did Einstein say, "the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results."

  4. The Roman Catholic Church has a culture – and it is transmitted in the cultural markers of the Church of Rome established by St. Peter and St. Paul.

    This culture has its own language: Latin. It has its own music: Chant. It has its own content – the most ancient Eucharistic Prayer in continuous use in Christendom: the Roman Canon. These are 3 prominent parts of our Roman Catholic cultural endowment. And in the broader domain of the Roman Rite, as Laszlo Dobszay has shown, there was a rich diversity of liturgical expression beyond and surpassing the Rite of the Roman Curia, which, thanks to Pope Benedict, has managed to survive in the form passed down to us as the EF.

    For those who want to preserve the culture of the Roman Catholic Church, such as Laszlo Dobszay, Klaus Gamber, Louis Boyer et al, the expressed purposes of Sacrosanctum Consilium to promote and preserve tradition were thwarted by the Bugnini Liturgy and its totalitarian implementation. Fr. Louis Bouyer, loving our culture, and realizing the aims of Bugnini and Gelineau, resigned from the Bugnini Mass committee and explained the reasons to Pope Paul VI. For those who care little for the culture of the Roman Catholic Church, such as Fr. Gelineau, SJ of the Bugnini Committee, of one heart and mind with Bugnini – they were pleased to announce their attainment of their intended purpose for the Novus Ordo Mass and its implementation – i.e., "the complete destruction of the Roman Rite" (Gelineau's very own words).

    So Bugnini and Gelineau aimed to erase our culture and eliminate our endowment. Bugnini, Gelineau et all want us and our children to drink from the River of Forgetfulness. It is our duty to The Church to require The Church to be true what SC pledged to preserve, and to reject the counterfeit anti-culture wrought and implemented by Bugnini.

    Sacrosanctum Consilium gives us the right to keep and preserve the culture of the Roman Catholic Church: its language, its music, its prayer: Latin, Chant and The Roman Canon.

    We must assert our rightful claim for our cultural endowment in The Church. That right has more standing than the right to a "Contemporary Mass." Therefor we should take heart. Virtually every parish has a Contemporary Mass every Sunday, yet Vatican II and SC are not concerned at all with carving out a piece of turf for a "Contemporary Mass." By contrast, precious few parishes have the Novus Ordo with Latin, Chant and The Roman Canon. In light of Vatican II, and SC in particular, the absence of a Novus Ordo Mass in Latin with Chant and the Roman Canon is AN OBVIOUS FAILURE TO IMPLEMENT VATICAN II.

    We do a service to the Church to ask the Church to properly implement SC in the NO Mass, with Latin, Chant and The Roman Canon. We fail the Church by not asking for this, not praying for it, and not working for what we ask for and pray for.

  5. It is also ironic that the suppression of Latin has resulted in ignorance. Cardinal Dulles explained that in the latter half of the 20th C, when theology departments ceased requiring proficiency in Latin and Greek, students of theology were cut off from the primary sources of knowledge and tradition, and had no recourse except to what was in their vernacular, which was, of course, largely "modern" theology aimed at repressing and replacing tradition.

  6. The focus has been on Latin in the music. At our 'main' mass this past Sunday, the priest sang the Preface dialogues and Lord's Prayer (both in English). The people responded quite well (FCAP, anyone?). Now… how do we go about getting the priest to utter one iota of the Mass in Latin? Even a "Dominus vobiscum" would be a welcome beginning! I'm writing off the cuff, but will give this more thought. BTW, I'm starting to see what was missing from here…

  7. Hi Chris, from a Chris in Arizona….. I fully agree with you in this post!!. Our high school was able to finally hire a Latin teacher this year. Whether or not he wlll stay is another story. This has far reading repercussions beyond just the formal study of scripture, theology and philosophy. Any one with two cents of true intellectual pursuit is left withe translations of any language and because the vernacular is changing at the rate of stock prices the vernacular translations lose their depth of meaning and true meaning.

    In our house we follow a lot of politics, especially at the intersection of Church and politics. We ended up working for several months with an inter-faith Alinskian organization, the "religious" component to Community Organizing. Because Catholics do not know their faith, and haven't been formed, and Protestants by they very stance rejected Latin are even more suseptible to vernacular translations and historical misappropriations of the text they were so gullible in throwing their weight into this organization whose very existence to at best place the church in the margins or erradicate it altogether! I was stunned when I found several pages of suggested reading by this organization which has completely politicized faith and invaded religious houses.

    There is a lot at stake in this matter. For without a working knowledge of Latin and Greek, the church will not have an authentic voice to offer the world in any arena.

  8. This is not only about Latin, per se, as tjm mentions, but also about Theology, the theology of the Mass and the language also of symbols and ambiance and culture. It is really about formation. I agree also Mr. C about the noisy distraction of the vernacular at Mass and the sense that in order for the Mass to truly be of the people, by the people and for the people, every word must be heard and clearly and (help me here) through some mega-sound system. In an already noisy world, the OF is very noisy, both on the audible level and at the visual and environmental level as well. We were singing the Proper for Communion and over the loud speaker all you could hear was "Body of Christ" and I was not going have my choir scream or electronically blast the music so as to compete with the sound system.

    At this point I would be happy to use a missal such as Lumen Christi or Jogues Missal and follow the Mass with silent prayers at the altar. How can one's interior be moved to contemplate with the constant interruptions of noise and movement? Let the celebrant silently or quietly say the prayers in English or whatever vernacular he wishes and let the people pray through the words of the Missal and when their minds fall upon a phrase or word that penetrates their souls, please give them the space to rest there in the transcendent thought for a while. That moment vanishes and even with the best of intentions cannot be recaptured for future activity.

    From my point of view, the OF was designed to be a distraction just as the world is a distraction and not a glimpse into eternity. No wonder people leave! Who is looking forward to a heaven that looks like what we have already?

  9. Chris, precisely. THe Mass should not attempt to compete with the modern world. It should be an other wordly experiecence, a foretaste of Heaven.

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