fredag 28 juni 2013

Traditional Latin Mass Phobia

Msgr. Moises Andrade's Tridentine Mass
The previous posting (Turn round, Father) stirred up a surprising amount of antagonism. It seems as if there is some kind of phobia against the celebration of Mass facing the direction that orthodox Christians have done for 1900 years, and in Latin. It might be called Traditional Latin Mass Phobia. It is even widespread amongst priests, who refuse even to talk about the subject. You have to wonder what they have been taught at seminary and even why they want to become priests at all.

Yet it is a misapprehension to imagine that we have understood the Mass if we have understood the words that are being said. This seems to be linked with the idea that the Mass is a re-enactment of the Last Supper which seems to be linked to the celebration of Mass facing the people which makes the altar look like a communion table which is presumably Protestant. As a convert from Judaism I find this disturbing in the extreme, as the Catholic doctrine of Mass as Sacrifice is so clearly a continuation of the Jewish concept temple sacrifice and its replacement in post-Temple Judaism by an additional commemorative service.

Thus it is distressing to me to see the Catholic church cutting itself off from its Jewish roots in this way. There is a lot of work to be done. This could usefully start by celebrating Mass more frequently facing the same way as the congregation, which would help people to understand that it is being done on behalf of the people. When people talk about the priest turning his back on the congregation, it is a sign that they have not got the point.

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