Monday, 9 March 2009

Latin Mass Returns to Bury


Here is an article I wrote for our recent Deanery newsletter.

Some of you may be wondering 'Why bring back the old Mass Rite when we have a new one?'

In July 2007, the Holy Father issued a Decree Motu Proprio entitled Summorum Pontificum which decreed that there is to be a greater freedom in celebrating the Mass Rite commonly called the Tridentine or Latin Mass, which many will remember from the 1960's and before.

In some sections of the Catholic press, the Holy Father has been accused of not going with the flow of the Second Vatican Council. At the time of the Council there was much renewal in the life of the Church, so we had not only a new Mass Rite, but also a new Code of Canon Law and a new Catechism. Those who disagree with the Holy Father's decision are likely to say that to return to the old, is to turn you back on the the new and give up its benefits. But we have to be careful in our way of thinking.

When we go into a supermarket or see adverts on TV we are constantly confronted by the word 'new'. New pet food flavours, new recipes, new soap powder formulae etc. The impression given is that new is improved or better and who wouldn't want that?

By implication, of course, what is old is seen as outdated, no longer useful or serving its purpose, and only a fool would stick with it.
But this reflects the mentality that all change is for the better, and what comes after always improves on what went before. When in fact the word 'new' simply means different than before - it may be better and it may be worse. I'm sure that you can remember a few years ago when a popular cola brand brought out a new recipe for its product. It was expected that everyone would jump on board with this new cola, but no one liked it and it was quickly withdrawn.

So once we understand that new simply means different than before, we begin to realise that old does not mean something to be scorned or avoided.

The fact that the Church uses two Mass Rites does not mean that one is better or worse, more Catholic or less praiseworthy, than the other.

The Holy Father is aware that the Extraordinary Form of the Mass (Tridentine, Latin) meets the spiritual needs of many people in the Church today, and a surprising number of them too young to remember the Latin Mass when it was the norm. (Priest's included!!!)

In order that the Holy Father's wishes may be fulfilled and that those who wish may have access to the Extra Ordinary Form of the Mass I have decided to offer this Mass very Friday at St Marie's at 7:30pm. Everyone is most welcome to these celebrations and I look forward to welcoming you.

1 comment:

Paul said...

I remember the Latin Mass when it was the norm and am very used to the prayers having grown up with them, and having done some Latin at school, and I am very glad to see a revival. This is certainly beneficial to people who travel frequently or go to live in another country either temporarily or permanently when the Mass in the vernacular may be difficult or even impossible to follow and the whole spiritual feeling is lost - meaning the loss of true participation. I have from time to time had visitors from overseas countries who could not follow the Mass in English and felt left out. I have also been to other countries where I have also felt at a loss during the Mass because I could not properly follow the prayers in the vernacular. This takes getting used to.
I see the revival of the Latin Mass as very beneficial in these areas where, sometimes, normally, people don't think of the need.
I shall support the Latin Mass whenever I am able. Thanks to those who bring it back.