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Graciously grant to us, we beseech Thee, O Lord, the spirit to think and do always such things as be rightful: that we, who cannot exist without Thee, may be enabled to live according to Thy will.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Why I prefer the Traditional Mass

From a Catholic Answers Forums thread:

I understand that some older cradle Catholics feel homesick from time to time, but as an adult convert of more than 25 years, I do not see the benefit of attending a mass that I cannot understand at all since I do not speak or read Latin? Honestly, smells and bells and nostalgia aside, what is the point? Don't shoot, I'm trying to "get it".

I understand your puzzlement. All things being equal, I would prefer a Mass in English to a Mass in Latin, for the sake of understanding.

Nevertheless, as things are today, I prefer the Traditional Mass for several reasons:

(1) Validly translated words of consecration. It is the heart of the Mass!
(2) Kneeling to receive Communion, on the tongue, from a priest. Jesus' holy body is too sacred a thing to be handled by unconsecrated hands.
(3) Unity with the saints of the past, who worshipped our Lord using different versions of the Traditional Mass.
(4) Sacred Language. Compare the language of a traditional Low Mass with the New Mass. There are points of similarity, but the expressions of devotion are more abundant in the old Mass.
(5) The "smells and bells", the quiet before Mass, the candles, the unabashedly devout surroundings all make it easier to approach God in prayer.
(6) I have not yet heard a heretical song sung at a Latin Mass.
(7) A Mass that has been deeply meditated upon, and revised only with the utmost care and caution over the centuries. Our encounter with the Living God is a tremendous event, too important to be handled with a ceremony thrown together over a few months or years.

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Some people insist that a nod of the head before receiving is "is every bit as reverent as kneeling at the altar railing". This seems nonsensical to me; it must be an either you see it or you don't situation.

Re: point #6, above. At my parish we frequently threaten to "sing a new Church into being" (I'd rather stay in Jesus' Church though). We also often claim that we ourselves are the bread of life. The words do not seem to register with most people, or they do not take them seriously. I think the songs are outrageous. There are many hymns that ought never to be sung in a Catholic church again.

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Re: my preliminary comment. Some suggest that having the Mass all in easily understood language is a bad thing, and that the Latin language serves as a verbal iconostasis, concealing some of the action of the Mass from profane-minded individuals. On the other hand, the iconostasis was formerly a low rail or stand, and was not raised until the 14th-15th century, so it would not have concealed much for most of the history of the Church.

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If only we had received a translation of the Traditional Mass into English, a translation that was reverent, beautiful, and accurate, instead of what we did receive circa 1970.

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But what is done is done, and many are now attached to the new Mass, even if poorly translated and irreverently celebrated. It may take many years to recover. May God speed a restoration of the Traditional Mass and a revitalization of His Church on Earth!

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A reply to a reply:

Validly translated? I hope you're not taking the extremely dangerous position of suggesting the words of consecration used in the NO are invalid?

I'm saying the words currently in use are incorrectly translated.

As for communion - you have every right to receive kneeling and on the tongue at NO, and I see more than a few people doing one or both of these at the NO masses I attend. As for your hands not being fit to handle the Body of Christ - what makes them less fit than your unconsecrated tongue and mouth or your unconsecrated throat???

While I am inspired by those very few people I see at Novus Ordo Masses that receive Holy Communion kneeling, I prefer to remain unobtrusive.

My unconsecrated mouth and unconsecrated throat simply swallow and problems with receiving by mouth are virtually unheard of. My unconsecrated hands can drop crumbs and putting the Body of Christ in those unconsecrated hands puts me in a position of unwarranted control over my Lord and Savior. A couple months ago, I found a host stuck between the pages of a hymnal in our Church. This type of abuse would happen less if the laity were not permitted to handle the Eucharist.

Ans unity with the saints - what about our current day saints? Blessed Mother Teresa? John Paul 2 of blessed memory (may he be sainted soon)? So you seriously think they one iota the less saintly for attending and celebrating NO Masses?

I do not wish to debate the relative merits of those two good people as compared to the great saints of the past. In the Traditional Mass I hear echoes of centuries of prayer and praise, and see the Sacred as clearly as my clouded vision permits. Less so in the new Mass. But if the new Mass helps you draw closer to heaven, then stick with it, and praise God.

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