Old School

People of my generation (as in + or - 15 years) are unique in the history of Catholicism, in that we have no experience of the Latin Mass as the central point of contact with the Catholic faith.  My only contact with the Latin Mass is through the stories of my parents, whose opinions on it are mixed, to say the least.  My father more or less takes the position that the loss of the Latin Mass took everything that was special about Catholicism and flushed it away, while my mother more or less would say "good riddance."

I haven't really thought much about the significance of this fact until recently.  The video above of the Solemn (High) Mass of Easter Sunday, narrated by the famous Fulton Sheen, can only be described as "very cool."  There is no question that there is a sense of grandeur to the Latin Mass that is hard to recreate in the Novus Ordo Mass (though not impossible--I am always profoundly moved by Easter Vigil).  Obviously, the presentation of the Mass shown in the above video, with its 50 person choir and four principle ministers, does not reflect the normal way that people would experience the Tridentine Mass.  Still, I don't think you can watch this video and not at least wonder if we have lost something.

It is easy to romanticize the past, since you don't really have to deal with the bad parts and focus only on the good stuff.  Such a view distorts the real positives and negatives of the changes that have occurred over time.  Still, that doesn't mean that all change is a good one.  And, one advantage of not having a personal experience of the past is the you can (hopefully) look at things more objectively.

In the next few posts, I am going to try to unpack some of the things that I think may have been lost and gained in the changes occurring the aftermath of Vatican II (though, saying that "Vatican II changed everything" is a simplification which can confuse the issue).


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