Cardinal O’Malley on the Latin Mass

Cardinal O’Malley on the Latin Mass

On Friday, in his latest blog entry, Cardinal Sean O’Malley had some thoughts on Latin in the Mass, the Tridentine Mass, and the expected universal Indult. It starts with a question from a commenter who has heard the recent media buzz about the document that would purportedly allow any priest to celebrate the Tridentine Mass without having to seek permission from his bishop first. This person is probably getting his information from the mainstream media—itself full of misinformation—and thus gets the whole thing garbled.

You encouraged questions in an earlier post and I am wondering if maybe you could explain to me the recent buzz about the Tridentine Mass and it’s potential ‘restoration.’ What will this mean, specifically for the Archdiocese of Boston? Will our Priests have to say a Latin Mass or will this be optional?

First, let me say that it is very encouraging that the cardinal is taking the opportunity on the blog to answer questions on current and controversial issues. I hope he keeps it up, even if it might stir up some controversy. Getting directly in touch with the people like this, without the media filter, is very effective and heartening. As for the question itself, you can see the garbled understanding. Obviously, no one is saying or predicting that the Tridentine Mass will be made mandatory.

The cardinal’s response has some interesting tidbits. He doesn’t address the topic of the rumored indult head on, pretty much ignoring it as you’d expect. I don’t expect him to discuss something that isn’t official yet.

Indult permission and praying Latin alone

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  • Dear Dom,

    Recently, a religious community I know hosted friends and family of one of the priests.  They know limited English.  On the days the prayer leader used the Latin chants, they joined right in.  The remainder of the two weeks, though, they could not.

    Using Latin in this case promoted what SC wants: full, conscious, active participation.

  • Learning enough Latin to participate in Mass shouldn’t be at all difficult.  I recently bought Beth Nielsen Chapman’s CD called “Hymns”, 12 lovely Catholic hymns (10 of which are in Latin).  It’s very easy to follow along…

  • This weekend I was at a Mass where the Cardinal was celebrant and in the program it had the pontifical blessing in Latin and English, even though he did it in English.  Maybe he was contemplating doing it in Latin?

  • Dear Rob,

    You pose an interesting question regarding the Liturgy of the Hours.  These are to be said in parishes, but rarely are.  If a parish has AM Mass, why not precede it with Lauds? 

    I don’t expect an answer.  I just wanted to posit the question.

  • I know from experience that even at public masses Omalley prays the private prayers in latin sotto voce. 

    The point of the indult as others have said is not the Latin language, but the rite itself.  The beautiful prayers and gestures made in the 62 rite, combined the absence of the Novos Ordo’s obsession with speaking all the parts aloud, would make this rite something quite beautiful, even if it were celebrated entirely in english.

  • On the mind of the fathers ov Vatican II Latin was supposed to unite, not to divide people. Many of those people who argue about Latin did not read The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy.
    36. 1 reads: The use of the Latin Language is to be preserved in the Latin rite.
    54. In Masses which are celebrated with the people, a suitable place may be allotted to their mother tongue…Nevertheless steps should be taken so that the faithful may also be able to say or to sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them.
    And as everybody knows those parts are: Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Agnus Dei.
    Now, how many bishops and priests do really follow the letter, let alone the spirit of the Vatican II?