God's Politics

God's Politics


Rose Marie Berger: Quis Latin Missa Opes Volo (What the Latin Mass Means to Me)

posted by God's Politics

I’m not surprised that Pope Benedict decided last week to allow the reintroduction of the Latin Mass (see also “U.S. Catholic Bishops Approve New Mass Translation”) in Catholic churches under special circumstances. It is consistent with his privileging of pre-Vatican II Catholics and his long association with the ultra-conservative Catholic minority who belong to Opus Dei (see “Opus Dei in the United States” by James Martin, SJ).


A number of Jewish leaders have expressed concern that a return to the pre-Vatican II missal will mean a return to anti-Jewish language. The specter of adversus judaeos is legitimate to raise given the horrific history of anti-semitism in the Catholic church. While most of the “hate speech” was removed before Vatican II, all of the theology and intellectual framework remains. Says Mark Francis in his article, “Beyond Language” (The Tablet, 14 July 2007):

Perhaps the most problematic aspect of the “Tridentine Rite” is its treatment of Judaism. While the adjective “perfidious” describing the Jews was removed from the 1962 edition of the Missal there are still prayers that call for their conversion in direct contradiction to Vatican II’s “Declaration on the Relationship of the Church to Non-Christian Religions” …


In much the same vein, the Missal refers to Christians of other Churches as heretics and schismatics—descriptions of fellow Christians that are unlikely to promote much ecumenical dialogue.


And since the lectionary attached to this Missal proposes practically no readings from the Old Testament it represents a deficient liturgical presentation of God’s Word—a problem that the Council fathers sought to remedy.

Phil Lawler’s article, “Pope broadens access to 1962 Mass,” gives a pretty thorough overview of the history of saying the mass in Latin and what the pope intends. Lawler accepts the pope’s spin, while Francis does not. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has also issued a newsletter with guidelines and “20 Questions.”


Since the vast majority of Catholics world-wide support the mission and message of Vatican II (though most also acknowledge that there have been excesses and also areas where Vatican II didn’t go far enough) and do not want to return to the archaic world-view of the Latin Mass, it saddens me that Pope Benedict “threatens to reduce the liturgy to a simple matter of individual ‘taste,'” as Mark Francis puts it, “rather than what it is meant to be: an accurate reflection of what we believe as Catholic Christians who live in the twenty-first century.”


As post-Vatican II Catholics, we have our work cut out for us. We have failed to educate the two or three generations of Catholics behind us on why Vatican II is so important to a vibrant Catholic expression of the gospel. When Pope John XXIII (who was named in 2000 by the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation as “Righteous Among the Nations” for his actions in support of people persecuted by the Nazi regime) was asked about his motivation in convening the Council, he said: “I want to throw open the windows of the Church so that we can see out and the people can see in.”


If Catholics want to advance the fresh, engaged movement of the Holy Spirit that Vatican II represented, then we better start teaching the lessons and documents of the Council. In other words, we better clean off the windows and let the Light shine in.


Rose Marie Berger, an associate editor of Sojourners, is a Catholic peace activist and poet.



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neuro_nurse

posted July 16, 2007 at 2:57 pm


I’m too young to remember the Latin mass. I was 3 years old when Vatican II closed.
“In much the same vein, the Missal refers to Christians of other Churches as heretics and schismatics”
From the Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1995:
“…large communities became separated from full communion with the Catholic Church—for which, often enough, men of both sides were to blame.” 817
“…those who at present are born into these communities [that resulted from such separation] and in them are brought up in the faith of Christ, and the Catholic Church accepts them with respect and affection as brothers . . . . All who have been justified by faith in Baptism are incorporated into Christ; they therefore have a right to be called Christians, and with good reason are accepted as brothers in the Lord by the children of the Catholic Church.” 818
“… we better start teaching the lessons and documents of the Council. In other words, we better clean off the windows and let the Light shine in.”
It sounds like I’d better clean off my copies of “Vatican Council II” and “Documents of Vatican II”
Seek peace and pursue it.



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Eric

posted July 16, 2007 at 4:45 pm


I don’t know a lot about the Latin Mass. Can someone please help? Below is a link to what I assume is the Missal described in Berger’s comments. I didn’t see anything about the conversion of the Jews or describing non-Roman Catholic Christians “heretics and schismatics.”
http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/basis/latinmass2.html
Am I looking at the wrong text or misinterpreting something?



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RM Berger

posted July 16, 2007 at 5:10 pm


For more on Vatican II and what it means for Catholics and the body of Christ, see the summaries here:
http://www.mb-soft.com/believe/txs/secondvc.htm



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RM Berger

posted July 16, 2007 at 5:36 pm


Some comments from Fr. Thomas Reese, former editor of “America” magazine on the development of the Catholic liturgy.
“The phrase “perfidious Jews,” which had appeared in the Good Friday liturgy, was removed by John XXII from his first Good Friday service as pope in 1959. The 1962 missal, the last version of the Tridentine liturgy before Vatican II, did not include this phrase.
Some stories in the media expressed concern that the expansion of the use of the Tridentine by Benedict XVI would include the phrase “perfidious Jews” in the Good Friday liturgy. This is not the case since it is the 1962 version does not include this phrase. It is the 1962 missal that was approved for limited use by John Paul II in his 1984 indult and presumably in Benedict’s upcoming moto proprio.
The confusion in the media may have been caused by a typo. Some stories are saying that the phrase “perfidious Jews” was removed in 1969 when in fact it was first dropped by John XXIII in 1959. Or the confusion could have been caused by the further revisions made in 1969 that were implemented in the 1970 missal.
The treatment of the Jews in the 1962 missal was not ideal. It prayed for the “conversion of the Jews.”
For the conversion of the Jews. Let us pray also for the Jews that the Lord our God may take the veil from their hearts and that they also may acknowledge our Lord Jesus Christ.
Let us pray: Almighty and everlasting God, You do not refuse Your mercy even to the Jews; hear the prayers which we offer for the blindness of that people so that they may acknowledge the light of Your truth, which is Christ, and be delivered from their darkness.
It also prays for “heretics and schismatics.”
The 1970 missal of Paul VI, which is used today, says:
Let us pray for the Jewish people, the first to hear the word of God, that they may continue to grow in the love of his name and in faithfulness to his covenant.
Almighty and eternal God, long ago you gave your promise to Abraham and his posterity. Listen to your Church as we pray that the people you first made your own may arrive at the fullness of redemption. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
— Thomas J. Reese, S.J., Senior Fellow, Woodstock Theological Center



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Ted Voth Jr

posted July 16, 2007 at 7:20 pm


From the sublime to the ridiculous; I do wish people would take the trouble to get their Latin right. I’m afraid your title is complete gibberish. I’d take a stab at it, but my Latin’s too rusty. I will say that while opes means ‘means’ it means the sort of ‘means’ the House Ways and Means Committee considers. This is ‘spell-check’ translation. Don’t do it again…



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non sequitur

posted July 16, 2007 at 8:41 pm


“I do wish people would take the trouble to get their Latin right.”
It’s extremely irreverent, sacrilegious perhaps, but does anyone remember the “Romans go home” scene from Monty Python’s “Life of Brian”?
“Don’t do it again…”



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canucklehead

posted July 16, 2007 at 10:19 pm


Latin, Schmattin.
Bring on Monty!



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Eric

posted July 17, 2007 at 7:01 am


Okay, now I’m even a little more skeptical of Rose Marie’s account. Can someone please quote from actual text (and not a writer’s article about the subject) the passage from the Latin Mass, the 1962 Missal, or any other text used in the Latin Mass that calls for the conversion of the Jews or that calls non-Roman Catholic Christians “heretics and schismatics?” Preferably with a link to a website so that we all can read the context.
I’ve pasted a link to the 1962 Missal. I can’t find any reference to the conversion of the Jews. Am I looking at the wrong document?
http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/basis/latinmass2.html



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jean-luc

posted July 17, 2007 at 10:02 am


very true indeed…”we better start teaching the lessons and documents of the Council,” as you suggest.
let’s start with these ones from the CONSTITUTION
ON THE SACRED LITURGY: SACROSANCTUM CONCILIUM
INTRODUCTION
4. Lastly, in faithful obedience to tradition, the sacred Council declares that holy Mother Church holds all lawfully acknowledged rites to be of equal right and dignity; that she wishes to preserve them in the future and to foster them in every way. (case closed)
III. The Reform of the Sacred Liturgy
A) General norms
22. 1. Regulation of the sacred liturgy depends solely on the authority of the Church, that is, on the Apostolic See and, as laws may determine, on the bishop.
3. Therefore no other person, even if he be a priest, may add, remove, or change anything in the liturgy on his own authority. (yet we see this constantly in contemporary Catholic worship)
23. …there must be no innovations unless the good of the Church genuinely and certainly requires them (does this include “guitar mass”?); and care must be taken that any new forms adopted should in some way grow organically from forms already existing. (instead of pasted together by a group of “liturgical experts”)
36. 1. Particular law remaining in force, the use of the Latin language is to be preserved in the Latin rites. (the BIGGEST flaw in the implementation of SACROSANCTUM CONCILIUM)
2. But since the use of the mother tongue, whether in the Mass, the administration of the sacraments, or other parts of the liturgy, frequently may be of great advantage to the people, the limits of its employment may be extended. This will apply in the first place to the readings and directives, and to some of the prayers and chants (some, SOME…not all), according to the regulations on this matter to be laid down separately in subsequent chapters.
…plus, keep in mind, the Mass said daily at Vatican II was a Tridentine Mass. The missal of ’62 was promulgated by Pope John XXIII. So, there you have it, we just want to be able to worship at the same table as the members of Vatican II
jld



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neuro_nurse

posted July 17, 2007 at 2:07 pm


“Therefore no other person, even if he be a priest, may add, remove, or change anything in the liturgy on his own authority. (yet we see this constantly in contemporary Catholic worship)”
Please cite examples.
The mass follows a specific form (the Liturgy of the Word, and the Liturgy of the Eucharist), the readings are specified for each day of the year. I can’t say I’ve ever been to a mass that deviated in form or content.
“there must be no innovations unless the good of the Church genuinely and certainly requires them (does this include “guitar mass”?);”
“The harmony of signs (song, music, words, and actions) is all the more expressive and fruitful when expressed in the cultural richness of the People of God who celebrate. Hence “religious singing by the faithful is to be intelligently fostered so that in devotions and sacred exercises as well as in liturgical services,” in conformity with the Church’s norms, “the voices of the faithful may be heard.” But “the texts intended to be sung must always be in conformity with Catholic doctrine. Indeed they should be drawn chiefly from the Sacred Scripture and from liturgical sources.” Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 1158, http://www.usccb.org/catechism/text/pt2sect1chpt2.htm#art1
The purpose of changing from the Latin to mass in the vernacular language was not only to make the mass more accessible to the laity, but to enhance the participation of the of the community:
“It is the whole community, the Body of Christ united with its Head, that celebrates.” Catechism, 1140
If the community chooses to celebrate with guitars or any other instrument, why should they be disallowed?
“Particular law remaining in force, the use of the Latin language is to be preserved in the Latin rites. (the BIGGEST flaw in the implementation of SACROSANCTUM CONCILIUM)”
Why is this a flaw?
“This will apply in the first place to the readings and directives, and to some of the prayers and chants (some, SOME…not all)”
To which does it not apply? Please specify.
Seek peace and pursue it.



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Eric

posted July 17, 2007 at 2:56 pm


Another item in my “help me understand Roman Catholics” file:
I want to know why at so many Catholic Churches I’ve attended do they only sing the first and second verses of so many hymns? What’s with that? I realize it’s not doctrine, but more custom, but why?



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neuro_nurse

posted July 17, 2007 at 3:16 pm


Eric,
If you’ve been to Catholic Churches, and heard Catholic sing, why are you asking this question?
That’s one thing I admire about Protestants – you guys can sing.
Peace!



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MKC

posted July 17, 2007 at 4:29 pm


We can try to go backwards–let ourselves be spellbound by a mythical imperial past, jump in the way-back machine and try to return to the middle ages, turning to salt in the process–or we can go forward, as Jesus suggests in Luke 9. I’m with Sojourners in thinking we do better to live in the present and take steps forward, one at a time (The past has been lost and the future is still to be won). The entire ecumenical effort toward reconciliation has been ill served by recent pronouncements from the
Vatican. Thanks, Rose Marie Berger, for your comments.



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The young fogey

posted July 18, 2007 at 9:37 pm


Me on the motu:
http://home.att.net/~sergei592/motu.html
IT’S NOT ABOUT LATIN.
There is nothing wrong with praying for the conversion of non-Christians. Not at all the same as persecuting them. And I think observant Jews and others realise that.
My peace blog may be of interest:
http://aconservativeblogforpeace.pageshow.net



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