Vatican’s Cardinal Francis Arinz: Explanation and History of the Traditional Latin Mass

 

 His Eminence Francis Cardinal Arinze

 1. Advantages of Latin in the Roman Liturgy

 As was mentioned above, by the fourth century, Latin had replaced Greek as the official language of the Church of Rome. Prominent among the Latin Fathers of the Church who wrote extensively and beautifully in Latin were St Ambrose (339-397), St Augustine of Hippo (354-430), St Leo the Great ( 461) and Pope Gregory the Great (540-604). Pope Gregory, in particular, brought Latin to a great height in the sacred liturgy, in his sermons and in general Church use.

The Roman Rite Church showed extraordinary missionary dynamism. This explains why a greater part of the world has been evangelized by heralds of the Latin Rite. Many European languages which we regard as modern today have roots in Latin, some more than others. Examples are Italian, Spanish, Romanian, Portuguese and French. But even English and German do borrow from Latin.
The Popes and the Roman Church have found Latin very suitable for many reasons. It fits a Church which is universal, a Church in which all peoples, languages and cultures should feel at home and no one is regarded as a stranger.

Moreover, the Latin language has a certain stability which daily spoken languages, where words change often in shades of meaning, cannot have. An example is the translation of the Latin “propagare”. The Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples when it was founded in 1627 was called “Sacra Congregatio de Propaganda Fide”. But at the time of the Second Vatican Council many modern languages use the word “propaganda” in the sense in which we say “political propaganda”. Therefore, there is a preference in the Church today to avoid the expression “de propaganda Fide”, in favour of “the Evangelization of Peoples”.

Latin has the characteristic of words and expressions retaining their meaning generation after generation. This is an advantage when it comes to the articulation of our Catholic faith and the preparation of Papal and other Church Documents. Even the modern universities appreciate this point and have some of their solemn titles in Latin.

Blessed Pope John XXIII in his Apostolic Constitution, Veterum Sapientia, issued on 22 February 1962, gives these two reasons and adds a third. The Latin language has a nobility and dignity which are not negligible (cf. Veterum Sapientia, nn. 5, 6, 7). We can add that Latin is concise, precise and poetically measured.

Is it not admirable that people, especially well-trained clerics, can meet in international gatherings and be able to communicate at least in Latin? More importantly, is it a small matter that 1 million young people could meet in the World Youth Day Convention in Rome in 2000, in Toronto in 2002 and in Cologne in 2005, and be able to sing parts of the Mass, and especially the Credo, in Latin? Theologians can study the original writings of the early Latin Fathers and of the Scholastics without tears because these were written in Latin.

It is true that there is a tendency, both in the Church and in the world at large, to give more attention today to modern languages, like English, French and Spanish, which can help one secure a job quicker in the modern employment market or in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in their country.
But the exhortation of Pope Benedict XVI to the students of the Faculty of Christian and Classical Letters of the Pontifical Salesian University of Rome, at the end of the Wednesday General Audience of 22 February 2006, retains its validity and relevance. And he pronounced it in Latin! Here is my free English translation: “Quite rightly our Predecessors have urged the study of the great Latin language so that one may learn better the saving doctrine that is found in ecclesiastical and humanistic disciplines. In the same way we urge you to cultivate this activity so that as many as possible may have access to this treasure and appreciate its importance” (in L’Osservatore Romano, 45, 23 February 2006, p. 5).

2. Gregorian Chant

“Liturgical action is given a more noble form when sacred rites are solemnized in song” (SC, n. 113). There is an ancient saying: bis orat qui bene cantat, that is, “the person who sings well prays twice”. This is so because the intensity that prayer acquires from being sung, increases its ardour and multiplies its efficacy (cf. Paul VI: Address to Italian Schola Cantorum, 25 September 1977, in Notitiae 136, November 1977, p. 475).

Good music helps to promote prayer, to raise the minds of people to God and to give people a taste of the goodness of God.

In the Latin Rite what has come to be known as the Gregorian Chant has been traditional. A distinctive liturgical chant existed indeed in Rome before St Gregory the Great (+604). But it was this great Pontiff who gave it the greatest prominence.

After St Gregory this tradition of chant continued to develop and be enriched until the upheavals that brought an end to the Middle Ages. The monasteries, especially those of the Benedictine Order, have done much to preserve this heritage.

Gregorian Chant is marked by a moving meditative cadence. It touches the depths of the soul. It shows joy, sorrow, repentance, petition, hope, praise or thanksgiving, as the particular feast, part of the Mass or other prayer may indicate. It makes the Psalms come alive. It has a universal appeal which makes it suitable for all cultures and peoples. It is appreciated in Rome, Solesmes, Lagos, Toronto and Caracas. Cathedrals, monasteries, seminaries, sanctuaries, pilgrimage centres and traditional parishes resound with it.

St Pope Pius X extolled the Gregorian Chant in 1904 (cf. Tra le Sollecitudini, n. 3). The Second Vatican Council praised it in 1963: “The Church acknowledges Gregorian Chant as proper to the Roman liturgy:  therefore, other things being equal, it should be given pride of place in liturgical services” (SC, n. 116).

The Servant of God, Pope John Paul II, repeated this praise in 2003 (cf. Chirograph for the Centenary of Tra Le Sollecitudini, nn. 4-7; in Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments: Spiritus et Sponsa, 2003, p. 130).

Pope Benedict XVI encouraged the International Association of Pueri Cantores when they met in Rome at the end of 2005. They give a privileged place to the Gregorian Chant. In Rome and throughout the world the Church is blessed with many fine choirs, both professional and amateur, that render the chant beautifully, and communicate their enthusiasm for it.

It is not true that the lay faithful do not want to sing the Gregorian Chant. What they are asking for are priests and monks and nuns who will share this treasure with them.

The CDs produced by the Benedictine monks of Silos, their motherhouse at Solesmes, and numerous other communities sell among young people. Monasteries are visited by people who want to sing Lauds and especially Vespers.

In an ordination ceremony of 11 priests which I celebrated in Nigeria last July, about 150 priests sang the First Eucharistic Prayer in Latin. It was beautiful. The people, although no Latin scholars, loved it. It should be just normal that parish churches where there are four or five Masses on Sunday should have one of these Masses sung in Latin.

3. Did Vatican II discourage Latin?

Some people think, or have the perception, that the Second Vatican Council discouraged the use of Latin in the liturgy. This is not the case.

Just before he opened the Council, Bl. Pope John XXIII in 1962 issued an Apostolic Constitution to insist on the use of Latin in the Church. The Second Vatican Council, although it admitted some introduction of the vernacular, insisted on the place of Latin: “Particular law remaining in force, the use of the Latin language is to be preserved in the Latin rites” (SC, n. 36).

The Council also required that seminarians “should acquire a command of Latin which will enable them to understand and use the source material of so many sciences and the documents of the Church as well” (Optatam Totius, n. 13). The Code of Canon Law published in 1983 enacts that “the Eucharistic celebration is to be carried out either in the Latin language or in another language, provided the liturgical texts have been lawfully approved” (can. 928).

Those, therefore, who want to give the impression that the Church has put Latin away from her liturgy are mistaken. A manifestation of people’s acceptance of Latin liturgy well celebrated was had at the world level in April 2005, when millions followed the burial rites of Pope John Paul II and then, two weeks later, the inauguration Mass of Pope Benedict XVI over the television. It is remarkable that young people welcome the Mass celebrated in Latin.

 

Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, Carmel, Indiana: Latin Mass surges in the Diocese

Similar results were achieved in 2007 at St. Boniface in Lafayette with attendance over 600.  The Christmas and NewYears Masses at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel the attendance surged around 300 souls per Mass.  Many of these souls came to experience the extraordinary Latin Rite out of interest and curiosity for the first time.  However, many souls are part of our growing St. John Bosco’s Latin Community that are attending this traditional (extraordinary) rite every Sunday at St. Elizabeth Seton 3pm. 

We are urging all attending the Latin Mass to write a “Thank-you” letter to the Holy Father.  This letter will help our Holy Father know how much each of us appreciates the opportunity to know this ancient rite which forged the holy souls in our Communion of Saints.

If you have any questions or would like to become part of our apostolate of promoting the Latin Mass, please contact Fr. Roberts at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel via email at robertsc@olmc1.org.

Did you know?:  The Traditional Latin Mass is known as the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite, since Pope Benedict XVI issued the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum.

Wishing you a Blessed Christmas Season

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Una Voce Carmel extends our most sincere thanks for your prayers and financial support through this past year. Through your help, we’ve been able to support the training of our very own Father Christopher Roberts and fund the cost required to bring us the following God Loving priests:

Further, with your help, we’ve been able to reach more people than ever with information and support for the Traditional Latin Mass throughout the Diocese of Lafayette.  Again, thanks to you, new Una Voce chapters have sprung up in key location like Muncie and Lafayette. We are looking forward to Kokomo in the coming year.

Also, five traditional Roman fiddle-back vestment sets are being made and will be delivered in the beginning of the New Year.  A beautiful altar cross and processional cross are just now arriving and beautiful altar linens, frontal, Infant King statue, server paten, thurible, aspergillia set and candles have been purchased.

Thank you for helping our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI bring to reality his motu proprio, Summorum Pontifium.  May God bless you during this Christmas Season and throughout the new year.christmas_garland_wreath02

Pope to the Bishops of France

Strong words on Summorum Pontificum

It is never too often said that the priesthood is indispensable to the Church, in the very own interest of the lay faithful. Priests are a gift from God to the Church. Priests must never delegate to the faithful [those] functions which are related to their own mission.Dear Brothers in the episcopacy, I ask you to remain desirous to help your priests live in intimate union with Christ. Their spiritual life is the foundation of their apostolic life. You shall exhort them gently to daily prayer and to a dignified celebration of the Sacraments, particularly of the Eucharist and of Reconciliation, as Saint Francis de Sales did with his priests. Every priest should be able to feel glad to serve the Church. At the school of the Curé d’Ars, son of your land and patron of all priests of the world, do not cease to repeat that a man can do no greater deed than to give the Body and the Blood of Christ to the faithful, and to forgive sins.

Liturgical worship is the supreme expression of priestly and episcopal life, and also of catechetical teaching. Your mission of sanctification of the faithful people, dear Brothers, is indispensable for the growth of the Church. I was prompted to detail, in the Motu proprio Summorum Pontificum, the conditions for the accomplishment of this mission, in that which relates to the possibility of using both the missal of Blessed John XXIII (1962) and that of Pope Paul VI (1970). The fruits of these new dispositions have already seen [the light of] day, and I hope that the indispensable pacification of the spirits is being accomplished, thank God.

I comprehend your difficulties, but I do not doubt that you will be able to reach, within reasonable time, solutions which are satisfactory to all, so that the seamless robe of Christ is not torn anymore. No one is excessive within the Church. Everyone, without exception, must be able to feel at home, and never rejected. God, who loves all men and wills that no one be lost, entrusts us with this mission of Pastors, making us Shepherds of His sheep. We can only give Him thanks for the honor and the confidence He places upon us. Let us endeavor to always be servants of unity.

Benedict XVI
Meeting with the Cardinals and Bishops of France,
Hémicycle Saint Bernadette, Lourdes
September 14, 2008

Latin Mass to return to England and Wales

By Damian Thompson

The traditional Latin Mass – effectively banned by Rome for 40 years – is to be reintroduced into every Roman Catholic parish in England and Wales, the senior Vatican cardinal in charge of Latin liturgy said at a press conference in London today.

In addition, all seminaries will be required to teach trainee priests how to say the old Mass so that they can celebrate it in all parishes.

Catholic congregations throughout the world will receive special instruction on how to appreciate the old services, formerly known as the Tridentine Rite.

Yesterday’s announcement by the senior Vatican cardinal in charge of Latin liturgy, Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, speaking on behalf of Pope Benedict XVI, will horrify Catholic liberals, including many bishops of England and Wales.

The Pope upset the liberals last year when he issued a decree removing their power to block the celebration of the old Mass. Yesterday’s move demonstrates that the Vatican intends to go much further in promoting the ancient liturgy.

Asked whether the Latin Mass would be celebrated in many ordinary parishes in future, Cardinal Castrillon said: “Not many parishes – all parishes. The Holy Father is offering this not only for the few groups who demand it, but so that everybody knows this way of celebrating the Eucharist.”

The Cardinal, who heads the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, made his comments as he was preparing to celebrate a traditional Latin Mass at Westminster Cathedral yesterday, the first time a cardinal has done so there for 40 years.

In the traditional rite, the priest faces in the same direction as the people and reads the main prayer of the Mass in Latin, in a voice so low as to be virtually silent. By contrast, in the new rite the priest faces the people and speaks audibly in the local language.

Cardinal Castrillon said that the reverent silence of the traditional rite was one of the “treasures” that Catholics would rediscover, and young worshippers would encounter for the first time.

Pope Benedict will reintroduce the old rite – which will be known as the “Gregorian Rite” – even where the congregation has not asked for it. “People don’t know about it, and therefore they don’t ask for it,” the Cardinal explained.

The revised Mass, adopted in 1970 after the Second Vatican Council, had given rise to “many, many, many abuses”, the Cardinal said. He added: “The experience of the last 40 years has not always been so good. Many people have lost their sense of adoration for God, and these abuses mean that many children do not know how to be in the presence of God.”

However, the new rite will not disappear; the Pope wishes to see the two forms of Mass existing side by side.

Such sweeping liturgical changes are certain to cause intense controversy. At a press conference, a journalist from the liberal Tablet magazine, which is close to the English bishops, told the Cardinal that the new liturgical changes amounted to “going backwards”.

Following last year’s papal decree, liberal bishops in England and America have attempted to limit the takeup of the old Mass by arguing that the rules say it should only be reintroduced when a “stable group” of the faithful request it. But Cardinal Castrillon said that a stable group could consist of as few as three people, and they need not come from the same parish.

The changes will take a few years to implement fully, he added, just as the Second Vatican Council had taken a long time to absorb. He insisted that the widespread reintroduction of the old Mass did not contradict the teachings of the Council.

A critical turning point in the life of the Church

by George Neumayr, editor of CATHOLIC WORLD REPORT

Summorum Pontificum marks a new era of liturgical seriousness.

The forces in the Church most responsible for dividing Catholics from magisterial teaching are the quickest to use the word “divisive” in any controversy. A “divisive moment” is the Catholic left’s euphemism for any papal action that seeks to unite Catholics to the actual teachings and traditions of the faith.

So it goes with Pope Benedict XVI’s Motu Proprio, Summorum Pontificum, which authorizes wider use of the traditional Latin Mass. “Any liberalization of the use of the Tridentine rite may prove seriously divisive,” British prelate Kieran Conry, Bishop of Arundel and Brighton, said to the Telegraph shortly before the Motu Proprio’s release. “It might send out an unfortunate signal that Rome is no longer fully committed to the reforms of the Second Vatican Council…”

No, what it signals is a welcome new era of liturgical seriousness and the beginning of the end to the demoralizing liturgical chaos and distortions of the last four decades. In Summorum Pontificum, Pope Benedict has not only revived a venerable liturgical tradition but supplied a catalyst to reform the new liturgy.

By making the traditional Latin Mass and the new Mass two uses (extraordinary and ordinary) of “one and the same rite,” Pope Benedict is fostering a climate of healthy coexistence, perhaps one could even say healthy competition, in which false innovations may fall away and a sense of the sacred can be recovered.

In his letter to the bishops explaining Summorum Pontificum, Pope Benedict writes:

the two forms of the usage of the Roman Rite can be mutually enriching: new Saints and some of the new Prefaces can and should be inserted in the old Missal. The Ecclesia Dei Commission, in contact with various bodies devoted to the usus antiquior, will study the practical possibilities in this regard. The celebration of the Mass according to the Missal of Paul VI will be able to demonstrate, more powerfully than has been the case hitherto, the sacrality, which attracts many people to the former usage.

Far from ignoring the “needs of our time,” as he is often accused, Pope Benedict is responding to the most crucial one: the hunger for holiness, the simple desire for a transcendent, God-centered liturgy. Ordinary Catholics have asked for bread and been given stones, and the Holy Father is correcting the injustice:

Many people who clearly accepted the binding character of the Second Vatican Council, and were faithful to the Pope and the Bishops, nonetheless also desired to recover the form of the sacred liturgy that was dear to them. This occurred above all because in many places celebrations were not faithful to the prescriptions of the new Missal, but the latter actually was understood as authorizing or even requiring creativity, which frequently led to deformations of the liturgy which were hard to bear. I am speaking from experience, since I too lived through that period with all its hopes and its confusion. And I have seen how arbitrary deformations of the liturgy caused deep pain to individuals totally rooted in the faith of the Church.

Never too concerned about the trauma these arbitrary deformations caused in the faithful, the liturgical innovators now give voice to their own. “I can’t fight back the tears. This is the saddest moment in my life as a man, priest and bishop,” Luca Brandolini, a member of the liturgy commission of the Italian bishops’ conference, said to La Repubblica, reported Reuters. “It’s a day of mourning, not just for me but for the many people who worked for the Second Vatican Council. A reform for which many people worked, with great sacrifice and only inspired by the desire to renew the Church has now been cancelled.”

This reaction would only make sense if the Second Vatican Council had decreed a hostility to tradition. But it didn’t. All Summorum Pontificum cancels is the misapplication of Vatican II and mindless contempt for tradition, which resulted in a “fabricated liturgy,” as Pope Benedict has said previously. The Catholic left’s game of driving a wedge between Vatican II and previous councils-of treating Vatican II as in effect a mandate to start a new religion from scratch-now appears over.

By shaking up a failing status quo, Pope Benedict has performed a great service for the Church. It is abundantly clear that postconciliar attempts to make the Mass “relevant”-which were often nothing more than a pretext to smuggle secularism into it-has rendered the liturgy increasingly irrelevant and catechetically destructive, as declining Mass attendance and gross ignorance of the faith confirm.

And he deserves great praise for having the courage to address an act of self-mutilation which treated a long and fruitful liturgical tradition as something “forbidden” or “harmful”-an act that appears all the more perverse in light of the fact that many of those who endorsed it were simultaneously using the new liturgy to advance bewildering innovations alien to the traditions of the Church.

Summorum Pontificum represents a central piece in the overall project of this pontificate: to arrest a culture of self-worship and restore God to the center of life. Many years hence, historians will likely see it as a critical turning point in the life of the Church-the moment the liturgy moved away from functioning like the invention of men and regained its splendor as the work of God.

 

The Traditional Latin Mass Overflows into the Narthex in Carmel, Indiana

St Elizabeth Ann Seton, Carmel, IN - Inaugural Traditional Latin Mass

What do you do when 152 people show up for the inaugural Sunday Traditional Latin Mass and you can only seat 98 people? Father Gerard Saguto, FSSP had no thoughts of sending anyone home and in the true spirit of Summorum Pontificum said “stack’em in”. They were able to fit another 13 seats in the packed day chapel and the remaining 41 people stood and sat in the narthex outside the entrance door.  Of course, the Hamilton County Fire Marshall has now issued an arrest warrant for Father Saguto.

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, Carmel, Indiana

Una Voce officers and board members designed and constructed portions of the altar onto an existing altar. A frontal cloth, gradines and tabernacle canopy were constructed from scratch and installed with no damage to the existing altar. Also, a dual communion rail with continuous kneelers was also built and set into place. Missals were printed and stapled together. Chapel veils were made and provided.

TLM St Elizabeth Ann Seton, Carmel, IN

Two young men, Masters Brown and Golightly, veteran altar servers came from Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Indianapolis to help. Several other attendees came from as far away as Alexandria, Muncie, Lafayette and Kokomo. The organist drove all the way from Metamora.

The beautiful organ music was provided by Maestro Christopher M. Sedlak.  The Maestro has held several music positions within the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.  Presently, he director of music at SS Philomena and Cecilia’s Roman Catholic Church in Oak Forest, Indiana.   

After the Mass, a potluck was served and many people ate while making new acquaintances and many friends chatted.

Father Andreas Hellmann, Prior, Vice-Rector of Christ the King Shrine, Chicago, Illinois
The Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest

The next Traditional Latin Mass at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton will be on Sunday, April 20th at 5:00 pm. Offering the Mass will be Father Andreas Hellmann, Vice Rector of Christ the King Shrine in Chicago, Illinois from The Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest.  For more information or if you can help please call (317) 581-0315.