Wednesday, 15 April 2015

The joys of Latin

There are some excellent suggestions on the NLM about celebrating the Ordinary Form of the Mass in a manner that expresses more clearly continuity with the Mass as it has been celebrated down the ages. I think that a number of priests have been quietly getting on with doing many of the things mentioned - certainly, most of them feature in the way I now always celebrate Mass.  

Although the piece mentions it, I might also highlight the use of Latin for the priests and people's parts as well as the chants. Latin is still the normative language of the liturgy and needs no special indult or permission. I've found that chanting the introduction (sign of the cross and greeting) in Latin and the dismissal can be an easy way in. Somehow, chanting Latin rather than saying it seems to be more easily accepted. Also, the responses for the people are easy to master - only "Et cum spiritu tuo." 

Chanting the Pater noster can also be a way of introducing the richness of Latin as well, as the priest has chunks to sing afterwards with relatively short responses from the people.

Breaking into Latin to chant the Per ipsum... is another way to highlight the conclusion and the people's acclamation to the Canon.

For myself, I always say the words of institution in Latin - from a framed altar card (which also has the words of some of the priest's private prayers on it).

I recall being at (OF) Mass with Cardinal Piacenza, where there were many concelebrating priests, and being stunned at the effect it had when he reduced his voice for the Canon. Not inaudible but very marked. 

Of all the efforts that might be made for a more prayerful celebration by priest and people and for the most obvious form of continuity, I have to say that celebrating ad orientem has to be the most powerful. So much flows from that. Falling into the temptation to play to the gallery simply vanishes; its difficult to ad lib to people when you're not facing them; and it makes it so much more obvious that during the Canon the priest is not addressing the congregation but addressing the Almighty.


Sixupman said...

A transitional position is essential, as it should not be done to others as it was most certainly done to us. An hybrid form, based upon the TLM would satisfy most, if not all, parties. Within the TLM are prayers of such a profound nature, that they must be reinstated.

Jacobi said...


We have a young priest, temporarily of course, who has surprised me and the rest by re-introducing chant in English, and saying the Canon sotto voce but also by teaching us all to sing the response to Ite Missa est, in Latin, and having the choir sing the Regina Coeli.

We are getting there slowly but surely back to the Catholic Mass of two thousand years of Catholicism.