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Those Baby Boomers and Their “Memories” of the Latin Mass

Discussion in 'Questions and Answers' started by BrianK, Jul 29, 2017.

  1. BrianK

    BrianK Resident Kook, Crank, Curmudgeon - & Mod Staff Member


    Those Baby Boomers and Their “Memories” of the Latin Mass
    January 31, 2016

    Someone in the wonderful world of social media left this comment in response to my most recent Liturgy Guy post on the use of Latin within the Mass:

    “I remember Latin Masses. No one understood what was being said. If you tried to follow where the priest was you couldn’t because you couldn’t see what he was doing. So, you took out your rosary and prayed. The common expression was that the Mass was in Latin so that NO ONE in the world could understand it.”

    I’m sincerely beginning to believe that some baby boomer Catholics are making a concerted effort to undermine the resurgence of the Latin Mass with such “memories” as this one. The comment above is unfortunately a rather common occurrence on social media these days; a recollection that is invariably shared each and every time an attempted discussion of the traditional liturgy begins.

    Here’s why I believe it’s total baloney:

    1. I have exclusively assisted at the Traditional Latin Mass (sometimes called the Extraordinary Form) for nearly three years now. It is easy to understand what is going on. Over time those who regularly attend the Mass learn the responses in Latin as well as the Ordinary of the Mass (the Gloria, Creed, Agnus Dei, etc.). After all, let’s use some common sense here: how darn confused can one be about something that they participate in EVERY week? At what point do you accept personal responsibility for simply having never paid attention at Mass in your younger days; or…

    2. …when do you acknowledge that you, your parents, or your parochial instructors, failed in their obligation to catechize you? Many of us today still utilize the Baltimore Catechism and traditional children’s Latin Mass missals to educate our kids in the faith. Both are pre-conciliar works. Someone was buying them back then to teach an entire generation about the faith. Apparently the boomers in social media who so greatly detest the Latin Mass somehow missed this formation.

    3. It’s interesting that such amazing nineteenth and twentieth century saints like St. Bernadette, St. Therese, Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati, St. Maximillian Kolbe, St. Padre Pio, and St. Edith Stein managed to attain personal holiness and demonstrate heroic virtue despite having only that confusing Latin Mass.

    4. It’s also interesting to further note that rectories, seminaries, and religious orders boomed in the twentieth century, hitting their highest levels in the 1950’s and early 1960’s despite the fact that (as some try to claim today) no one understood the Mass and were left in the dark, lacking spiritual fulfilment from the very source and summit of the faith.

    Frankly, none of this narrative jives. This isn’t to say that uninspired Low Masses were never offered (because minimalism will always exist), or that some children were not subjected to deficient religious formation, because that will always be a struggle since fallible humans are responsible for passing along the faith. But the contention that Latin Rite Catholics were confused and stymied by the Mass of the Ages, the “most beautiful thing this side of heaven”, is nothing more than anti-Catholic hogwash.

    Rant over.
  2. AED

    AED Powers

    Correct! I am of that generation and I loved the traditional Mass--the only Mass I ever knew until the changes. I don't care for the NO but it is a Mass and so I go as often as I can but I long to have access to TLM. My soul aches for it.
  3. Katfalls

    Katfalls Archangels

    I remember the Latin Mass, we had little missalettes with the translation across from the Latin so we could understand it. I still have one! I love it, and when we sing the Latin hymns I know them. I wish they had a Latin Mass in my area . . .
    gracia, Mario, AED and 3 others like this.
  4. gracia

    gracia Angels

    I never got to hear the Latin Mass.... But when my grandparents would take me to Mass in Philadelphia in the 80's, there were still some hymns in Latin, and I found them lovely.

    As a little kid, I actually *couldn't* understand anything, but still found it very beautiful.
  5. sterph

    sterph Principalities

    There were latin masses celebrated here periodically in my younger days. My grandparents took me. Once I had a missalette, it was simple to follow after a few times.
    gracia likes this.
  6. Don_D

    Don_D Powers

    Brian, it seems to me that anything that requires effort on the part of people these days is treated this way. I mean, if someone can not bother to educate themselves if nothing else pertaining to the rite of the Mass then what can be expected. It makes me wonder to be honest.

    I think either a whole lot of people were not properly instructed or more then likely they simply were not paying attention. I wonder though why I hear so many of the youth prefer it :) Says a lot about people.

    We will be attending ours tomorrow morning. Only offered twice a month unfortunately but our Priest brought it up in Mass a couple weeks back.
    gracia and BrianK like this.
  7. Patty

    Patty Principalities

    We were stationed in Germany when my husband was in the military. The mass was still in Latin then and we had no trouble following along and responding in Latin. No matter what country you were in you felt at home. It was the universal language.
    gracia likes this.
  8. padraig

    padraig New Member

    I am learning Latin here for free. Also it has a special course for Church Latin: it is surprising how much sunk in. I knew quite a lot of the words already:




    A Primer Of Ecclesiastical Latin

    This course is comprised of all the vocabulary lists in John F. Collin's "A Primer of Ecclesiastical Latin". Course Forum can be found at https://community.memrise.com/t/course-forum-a-primer-of-ecclesiastical-latin/2252. Levels are in rough order of their introduction in the text. This course is dedicated to the patronage of the great translator and doctor St. Jerome, and the late pontiff Blessed John XXIII, who told us to use more Latin. Orate pro nobis.

    Welcome to Memrise!

    Join millions of people who are already learning for free on Memrise! It’s fast, it’s fun and it’s mind-bogglingly effective.

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    David Maddaford, gracia and Patty like this.

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