Share this article

print logo

Latin Mass discourages full participation

This is in response to the letter from a teenage altar boy concerning use of the Latin Mass. No, let's not go back to a practice that was good in its time, but eventually became obsolete.

He was not around in the '50s, '60s and '70s when various lay movements flourished in the Church, including the Buffalo Diocese. The Christian Family Movement, Young Christian Students and the Foundation for International Cooperation rejoiced in the changes made in the Mass by Vatican II.

Latin may be all right for the holy monks, but not for the people in the pews. The object of saying the Mass in English is to increase the understanding of what is happening. Latin diminishes this understanding. English increases the participants' ability to truly participate. The shortage of priests is forcing the closing of churches. Please don't make the problem worse by reducing the number of priests available to say Mass in English.

In the early 1960s, we had visitors from South Africa, and they attended a Mass with us. It was only then that we could see how strange the sacred Mass in Latin must seem -- recited in a foreign language; the priest with his back to the people; Holy Communion received on the tongue; and the homily having nothing to do with the Epistle or the Gospel. How did Catholics put up with this for 400 years?