Page 4, 29th May 1981

29th May 1981
Page 4
Page 4, 29th May 1981 — Pertinent questions to put to the 'Gang of Four'

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Organisations: Church of the Future


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Pertinent questions to put to the 'Gang of Four'

HAVE THE four Parliamentarians considered fully the implications of their offer to provide funds for a ballot on the Latin Mass? They can be listed under two headings: Not only the language. but the whole style of the Mass has been changed today. Above all the lay. person — that is, the congregation — is more closely involved. This must meet with the approval of those who are insisting that the views of the laity be considered.

At all times and in any language, the Mass takes place in a definite locality with a particular congregation led by an individual priest or — in a concelebration — by a definite number of priests.

There is no doubt that a large number of Catholics would want a Latin Mass in some kind, somewhere. sometimes. But: in a particular locality. it ioust be either in the old rite or in the new. How will this be decided?

Is there a priest on the spot still familiar with the Latin of the old Mass or able to cope intelligently and intelligibly with the new rite? In the past. he read the canon in silence and quite frequently rattled through the audible parts with little regard for the meaning or intelligibility.

Now he must at least sound as if he is engaged in a dialogue with the congregation. Young priests will have to study the old Latin. older priests will have to study the new (with at least four canons) in order to uaderstand it and read aloud intelligibly so much more than formerly.

No doubt, many can still remember the familiar responses, But even then texts of the Gloria and Credo will have to be made available. Are the readings to be in Latin? Both priest and lay-readers will need even more preparation than they do for the English readings.

And how many of the advocates of Latin will understand what is read to them? At a time when few schools attempt the classical languages. how many in any congregation can follow by hearing the complex and varied structures of the different eucharistic prayers (even if these are clearly and intelligibly read by the priest)?

How many in am. single parish would wish even to attend a Latin Mass'? Sufficient for an occasional celebration on a weekday'? Would there be sufficient numbers to be involved. as above-explained, in a Sunday Mass wholly in Latin. even in a larger but accessible church outside their own parish?

For better or worse, a certain pattern has been established for Sunday Masses in most parishes: children's Masses, folk-song Masses. and so on. Even the sign of peace, not in itself dependent on any language. hardly fits in with a rite in language which is not instantly understood by the majority of the congregation. congregation.

Is this pattern to be changed? At every Mass there are still passive spectators, who could not care less if the Mass was in Chinese. But are there enough keen Latinists to persuade and educate both priest and people to active participation even in an occasional Sunday Latin Mass? Edward Quinn Sheffield I WONDER if the "Gang of Four" parliamentarians who want to hold a national ballot in the old rite of Mass and Mass in Latin, May 15, have given a thought to those whom Our Lord raised high Ior our example — the children'?

And to children I would add young people. I know many splendid Catholic teenagers. not one of whom desires any reversal of the present intelligible

Children and young people — not members of the "Gang'sgeneration and mine — are the Church of the Future. and it is their interests that should be placed first.

Dennis Boram Devon

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