A step backwards

First, a disclaimer: I love Pope Benedict. As a fellow Christian, and as a learned theologian. But I’m afraid he has taken a giant step backwards for the Roman Church in re-authorizing the Tridentine Mass.

What’s wrong with Latin? Nothing, as a language, although it’s got far too many verb forms… But why this fixation by so-called traditional Catholics on the Latin Mass? The usual answer, were they truthful, is that it’s what they grew up with, or what their parents or grandparents grew up with.

Latin is not a language that Jesus or any of the Apostles or disciples would likely have chosen: that would have been, most likely, Aramaic, with gentiles probably native speakers of Greek.

The Last Supper, which is the prototype for the Mass, would certainly not have been in Latin. So, a traditionalist should insist on Aramaic? Don’t hold your breath. My point is that the Latin Mass, like so much else in Catholicism, is man-made, an artificiality.

When I was growing up in the Bronx, the fact that the Mass was totally in Latin hindered my Catholic friends from ever understanding Scripture. The Latin Mass, which I’ve attended more than a few times, can be beautiful, and moving: if one bothers to study the English translation and meditate on the Scriptural basis for the Mass.

The Roman Church may do as it pleases, of course. I just wish they had not taken what appears to be a step away from spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ. As against the “gospel” of a papal hierarchy that issues commands to the faithful.


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