The Return of the Latin Mass

That wonderful chap Father Bob Maguire has written a piece on the return of the Latin Mass in Catholic churches. As usual, he’s saying things the Vatican probably won’t like. Excellent.

Church music became popularist [sic] in the 1960s [after Vatican II] because it had been exclusivist for centuries.

The “Masses” so often “oo’ed and ah’ed” over by concert-goers and listeners to the ABC FM stations were performance pieces for the ruling classes (including the senior clergy). The language was exclusivist, Latin, to remind lesser beings and nationalities that all roads lead to Rome.

Guess what? There’s a revisionist plot on, right now, to restore Latin on demand. A Brisbane priest was quoted last week as praising the move back because he felt much more comfortable and spiritually refreshed if he had his back to the congregation and was the only one knowing what was being said! (Read article here on Latin Mass)

The musical style of a Cathedral or posh church, supportable by heaps of money, comforts upwardly socially mobile church-goers.

Suburban and rural area churches make do with less. Which worship style creates/supports genuine parish centres, souls of their neighbourhoods, beacons of hope?

As I’ve said before, Father Bob is a Catholic priest who actually gives Christians a good name.

11 Replies to “The Return of the Latin Mass”

  1. As a ‘recovering Catholic’, I agree with Father Bob’s sentiment, although I am personally a fan of the Latin liturgy. But then, as a medievalist, I do understand it, although I loved it before I knew what it meant. I’m all for pluralism in church music – surely there’s a place for Byrd and Palestrina as well as for the more accessible sing-along music for the parish church? Although as far as sing along music goes, give me the Wesleyan muscular Christianity over the post-Vatican II, happy-clappy any day. That is of course merely personal taste. I’ve always said that if God saw fit to give me this less than wonderful voice, He has to listen to it, and if He chooses to allow His Church to consider ‘Rejoice in the Lord Always’ a hymn of praise, He will have to put up with me singing that too.

  2. Yeah I agree. The opening theme tune to The Omen wouldn’t be half as scary if we all knew they were just ranting about the difficulties removing stubborn bathroom grime.

  3. I’m on the back foot in this discussion. I’m not a Christian, though I did grow up in what Quatrefoil calls “Wesleyan muscular Christianity.” While my mother was a Lutheran — like so many descendants of German immigrants in South Australia — she adopted her husband’s church which was Methodist (i.e. 100% Wesleyan).

    As a result, when I won a scholarship it was to Prince Alfred College where (at least in 19xx) the chaplain was a former gunner who served on the Kokoda Track and whose main contribution to the student life seemed to be a particularly violent free-form team game called Mashball. It was the only team sport I ever enjoyed, then or since.

    The traditional Mass, whether sung in Latin or anything else, is truly a beautiful thing.

    Somehow a bunch of adolescent boys half-heartedly singing Crown Him with Many Crowns or Jerusalem isn’t the same.

    @jason: Sadly, since I’ve never seen The Omen, your cleverness is lost on me.

  4. The lamb upon the thrown

    Dammit, the words aren’t coming, but you’ve got the tune well and truly in my head now.

    I’ve been having hymn-tunes stuck in my head a lot lately 🙁

  5. The tune used for CHwMC though – played on a proper large organ with a good choir – I reckon that’s as good as a mass any day.

    Especially the bit where it’s over in about 3.5 minutes.

  6. @Zhasper: Ah, Zhasper, Zhasper… Perhaps you can join me at and sing along!

    Crown Him with many crowns, the Lamb upon His throne.
    Hark! How the heavenly anthem drowns all music but its own.
    Awake, my soul, and sing of Him who died for thee,
    And hail Him as thy matchless King through all eternity.

    And 8 more verses…

    (By the way, your comment had to be moderated because you said you were “Stilgherrian”. No, that’s me. You don’t want to me be. And I don’t want you to be me either.)

  7. It’s going to say it again, kindof. Your auto-remember-details thing has decided my name is “Stilgherrian“.

    Oh, alright, I’ve fixed it now, but I’m not going to do it again.

    btw, I’m hideously embarrassed about having wrote “thrown” instead of “throne” 🙁

    You didn’t warn me there was a midi on that page! My cow-orkers gave me strange looks when my pc started playing hymns at me…

  8. Okay, now that I’ve done that it’s showing my name as <a href="" rel="nofollow">Zhasper</a> (yes, with the tags and such included). Maybe it’s pulling out the name of the last commenter on the site?

  9. @Zhasper: Re the commenting thingo, I have NFI. I upgraded the Tarski theme to version 1.5 last night — but maybe it’s not playing nice. It certainly shouldn’t be pulling out database details though! Bother.

    Did you really mean to say “cow-orkers”? 😉

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