Morgendämmerung, oder, Wie man mit dem Hammer theologirt.
Nescire autem quid ante quam natus sis acciderit id es semper esse puerum.
Orandum est ut sit mens sana in corpore sano.
Homo sum humani nihil a me alienum puto.
Semper idem sed non eodem modo.


Verbum domini manet in aeternum. The word of the Lord endures forever.
1 Peter 1:24-25, quoting Isaiah 40:6,8. Motto of the Lutheran Reformation.

Fayth onely justifieth before God. Robert Barnes, DD The Supplication, fourth essay. London: Daye, 1572.

Lord if Thou straightly mark our iniquity, who is able to abide Thy judgement? Wherefore I trust in no work that I ever did, but only in the death of Jesus Christ. I do not doubt, but through Him to inherit the kingdom of heaven. Robert Barnes, DD, before he was burnt alive for "heresy", 30 July 1540.

What is Luther? The doctrine is not mine, nor have I been crucified for anyone. Martin Luther, Dr. theol. (1522)

For the basics of our faith right here online, or for offline short daily prayer or devotion or study, scroll down to "A Beggar's Daily Portion" on the sidebar. For what that stuff in the banner means, scroll to the bottom of the sidebar.

08 July 2007

The "Latin Mass": Hi Motu!

What a total yawn.

The most striking feature of the secular media accounts I have read is the use of the term "Latin Mass" and the general references to the Mass being in the vernacular, or local, languages since Vatican II.

The post conciliar Roman Mass is now nearly forty years old. Both it and the Mass it replaced are "Latin Masses". There are two differences. The old Mass was said only in Latin, for which it is called the "Latin Mass". Which obscures the fact that the new Mass was written in Latin too, and can be said that way, and in a few places actually is. But the vast, overwhelming majority of the world's Catholics hear that Mass not in Latin but in translations of it in their own languages. So you have one rite of Mass only said in Latin, and another hardly ever said in Latin, and the obscured fact is the term "Latin Mass" really could refer to either the old rite or the new rite said in its original language. "Latin Mass" in the latter sense is probably as rare as "Latin Mass" in the former. One wonders, what of "Latin Mass" as in the new Mass, novus ordo missae, said in Latin, and related to that, the forthcoming new English translation of the Latin novus ordo replacing the deficient ones used the last few decades. The English speaking Catholic worship world has a change coming that will be noticed by millions more than whatever celebrations of the old Mass there may be, namely, the "new" English Mass replacing the "old" English Mass, and both translations of the same Latin "new" Mass!

Which leads to the second difference. One could get the idea that the "new" Mass is simply the "old" Mass but translated into English with some simplifications and the altar turned around. It isn't, and that, not language, is what the "traditionalist" controversy in the Roman Catholic Church is really all about. The "new" Mass, the novus ordo, is exactly that -- a new rite of Mass, not a revision of the old one like the 1962 texts that will be used for the "old" Mass were. The differences between the new Mass promulgated after Vatican II and the previous Mass are the heart of the "traditionalist" protest. If it were about the Latin, that would be addressed simply by more frequent celebration of the New Mass in the language in which it was written, Latin. To a traditionalist, the New Mass embodies the same betrayal of Catholic teaching regardless of language, in the vernacular or in Latin. They have held to the Old Mass not at all because of a sentimental attachment to Latin, though no doubt there are those who do, but because of an attachment to teaching embodied in the Old Mass that is not embodied, or one could say politely, that they do not see embodied, in the New Mass.

The Catechism of the Council of Trent found no objection per se to the use of vernacular languages, saying only that because of the association of the vernacular with Protestantism it might appear to legitimise Protestant theology to worship in the vernacular as they do. So while it's less than clear in the media accounts -- let alone the "faithful" -- the Motu Proprio changes absolutely nothing. Latin has nothing to do with it. The New Mass is still the ordinary rite, the one that, apart from specific requests here and there, will be used by the vast majority of Catholics, soon in some better translations, and any use of the Old Mass under the Motu Proprio acknowledges the New Mass as the ordinary use of the Roman Rite and as true and valid liturgy of the Roman Rite -- something that a "traditional" Catholic cannot acknowledge.

The classic statement of this can be found on the sidebar "The Tiber, for Swimmers et al." entitled "A Short Critical Study of the New Order of Mass". You can either impress your Catholic friends or produce looks of total incomprehension in them by calling it the Ottaviani Intervention.

So as the Bard says, once again sound and fury, signifying nothing.

But, as the novus ordo and its lectionary and calendar have become the common heritage of liturgical Western churches it sure can look like something! Well guess what, we had a Reformation a few hundred years back and confessional Lutherans would do well to stand in THAT heritage and not in the new heritage of churches apart its Confessions -- unless we want to be part of that too.

The Fifth Sunday after the Feast of the Holy Trinity (5. Sonntag nach Trinitatis), A.D. 2007.

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