The Catholic Defender: The Latin Mass
"I will lift up the cup of Salvation and call upon the Name of the Lord". Palms 116:13
On Deepertruth, 07/17/2021, John the Virginian invited a guest, Terry Delp, a devout Catholic from Texas to discuss the recent decree coming from Pope Francis concerning the Latin Mass. I myself love the Latin Mass, I was an Altar Boy going back to 1963-71 at the Catholic School that I had attended. The Second Vatican Council ran from 11 October 1962 until 8 December 1965. I remember the Latin we responded in the prayers of the Mass.
The next few years, I remember arguments against the language being used in the vernacular and I always thought people were fighting over a little "t" issue. It looks like the issue is flaring up again as a result of the Vatican's decree. Rorate Caeli, one of the editors of a "traditionalist" blog stated, “It is the most stinging rebuke by a Pope against his predecessor in living memory—there has never been anything like it,” for me, that remains to be seen.
Pope Benedict did in fact worked to bridge the gap because of the schism of SSPX and he granted some work to reunite those who broke away from the Catholic Unity. This really began with Pope St. John Paul II who granted limited use of the Latin Mass for the same reason, to bring back the dissidents of SSPX. So what does this mean? What does Pope Francis hope to accomplish with this new decree which seems to reverse his predecessors actions?
With Pope Francis, many also hoped that it was possible for reconciliation with the SSPX. Did he not grant permission for priests with the SSPX to conduct marriages and hear confessions? This was an invitation and call for unity. However, the seeds of division was blowing out through the seams. It was unproductive without the supervision necessary, which is the cause for the resent decree. The Pope is still hopeful for the full unity that will result once we can truly come together, One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic faith.
Pope Francis states, “An opportunity…intended to recover the unity of an ecclesial body with diverse liturgical sensibilities, was exploited to widen the gaps, reinforce the divergences, and encourage disagreements that injure the Church, block her path, and expose her to the peril of division,” from what I gather from what Pope Francis is saying is that the backlash taking place in Catholic communities is counter productive. The hope for unity is not happening under the current policy.
Pope Francis is clearly concerned that there has been much confusion in celebrating the Latin Mass which he also loves. The Pope's evidence is the ground swell among "traditional" Catholics that are questioning papal authority and the validity of Vatican II
The pope wrote that he was saddened that celebration of the Latin Mass was “often characterized by a rejection not only of the liturgical reform, but of the Vatican Council II itself, claiming, with unfounded and unsustainable assertions, that it betrayed the Tradition and the ‘true Church’.” Pope Francis is concerned that the hope for unity has actually became a source of division.
Joseph Shaw, chairman of the Latin Mass Society of England and Wales stated, “I would challenge any apologist for this document to produce real evidence that the [Latin Mass] has undermined the unity of the church,” well, Joseph, let me take a gander at it from what I see. There are those from with the traditionalist mindset that still rejects some of the tenets of Vatican II. Not necessarily differences as much as it is emphasis. The Mass is a sacrifice, it is called the "Sacrifice of the Mass". That will never change. The Church began emphasizing the Mass as a "communal meal" inviting laypeople to take a more central role in support of the priest reading Scripture and distributing Holy Communion.
I believe that there have been mistakes communicating the intent of Vatican II, no question that some of the Catechisms went many different directions. I remember the old Baltimore Catechism and how valuable that was until Pope St. John Paul II's masterpiece. It had seemed that our problems were spiritually deep as it is reported that 70% of Catholics denied Transubstantiation. That is the problem. Joseph, the issue is not a sacrifice vs a communal meal, it is both. Instead of rejecting the emphasis, open it up so people can see Jesus who is truly present body, blood, soul, and divinity at each and every Mass.
There are those within the "traditionalist" mindset that place their focus on the Latin Mass as if that is the only valid Mass? Joseph, that might not be your position, but you have many who place that on the faithful, the rejection of the liturgical reforms and Vatican II. Some have accused the Pope and the Church of betraying our Tradition and what the True Church is. Some call the Pope the "Anti-Christ" or the "False Prophet" which would be a source of division.
What is actually Pope Francis decree really saying? Does it do away with the Latin Mass? No it does not. What the Pope is wanting is that bishops who grant the Latin Mass in their respective Diocese to insure that their priests do so with the understanding that they “do not deny the validity and the legitimacy of the liturgical reform, dictated by Vatican Council II and the Magisterium of the Supreme Pontiffs.”
The Pope placing the Latin Mass in the hands of the worlds bishops, that itself falls into our Catholic Tradition going back to 49 A.D. with the Council of Jerusalem. Yes, St. Peter recognized St. James who was the first bishop of Jerusalem. There are some very important questions that both sides can come together to better explain these issues which our Shepherds must led the way, not necessarily learned theologians who have taken us on a roller-coaster ride.
What does it mean to say the Catholic Church is the One, True, Church and at the same time respect others from other different faiths?
What does it mean to recognize the Mass as a Sacrifice and how it is also a communal meal? How can we correct the problem of 70% Catholics rejecting the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist?
How can we share and explain the Holy Spirit's direction with Vatican II and work that plan going back to Pentecost?
Does the Office of Pope matter? How do we bridge those who reject the Papacy since Pope Pius XII?
Is the Latin Mass the only valid Mass? What about the Novus Ordo? If you go to the Norus Ordo, have you "missed" Mass as some claim? Should Pope Francis have said anything about this?
Another issue is Communion in the hand, there are those who really oppose that and also prefer kneeling to receive the Eucharist on the tongue. Some may see this as a little "t" while others make this a big "T". That is an issue in this debate. We should all be reverential and received Our Lord with the right purpose and understanding. He is God of all creation coming to each and every one of us.
It's all based on emphasis, the Catholic Church is the one True Church, the Mass is the Sacrifice, Vatican II is valid, and the Office of Pope is central in Christian teaching. Jesus promised that the gates of Hell will not prevail against the Church, that He would be with His Church until He returns and He sent the Holy Spirit to keep us in His truth. That is bottom line.
How can you love others if you do not respect them, how can we bring them in if they do not see the Lord's invitation? To open the Mass so that people can see the beauty of it, both Latin and vernacular. To share the tradition of the Church so Protestants can see the biblical understanding, which the tradition is rich in Scripture.
As God healed Naaman who did as the Prophet Elisha instructed him to go wash seven times in the Jordan River and was cured, so are we cured when we go to Confession and do the penance given. It's the soul that matters. The soul of the Church is the Holy Spirit and the reason why we can't let evil forces destroy many because of ignorance.
Pray for our Shepherds that they rejoice in the Lord as did the Disciples returning to give report to Our Lord after their missions. Give them rest oh Lord.
Instead of going after another one of Pope Francis pronouncements, let's see if the bishops can solve a lot of these problems. That is the spiritual intent of the Pope. All of us must pray for the Church, it is under attack from within and without. I call for a 30 day Rosary asking Our Lady to not only pray for us, but also as Queen, call for the Unity of the Church as her children (Revelation 12:17).
You (Jesus) are the visible face of the invisible Father, of the God who manifests his power above all by forgiveness and mercy: let the Church be your visible face in the world, its Lord risen and glorified. You willed that your ministers would also be clothed in weakness in order that they may feel compassion for those in ignorance and error: let everyone who approaches them feel sought after, loved, and forgiven by God. Send your Spirit and consecrate every one of us with its anointing, so that the Jubilee of Mercy may be a year of grace from the Lord, and your Church, with renewed enthusiasm, may bring good news to the poor, proclaim liberty to captives and the oppressed, and restore sight to the blind. We ask this through the intercession of Mary, Mother of Mercy, you (Jesus) who live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit for ever and ever. Amen. Pope Francis prayer