From the chairman of the Association for Latin Liturgy SIR Michael Protheroe (Letters, March 16) asks "What about the Novus Ordo Latin Mass?", and Vincent Richley (Letters, March 23) is worried about unity within the Church if the Old Rite of Mass is celebrated more widely. The legitimate concerns of the latter can he addressed by dealing with the question of the former.
Mr Ricilley seems to equate "the vernacular Mass" with the current rite, and "Latin celebrations" with the Old Rite. In fact, the Old Rite was celebrated in the vernacular in its last years of normal use, and such celebrations versus populum were by no means unknown. Correspondingly, the current rite may be celebrated in Latin (the latest edition of the Missale Romanum,like all its predecessors, is entirely in Latin), and there is no requirement for priests to face the people while at the altar.
Mr Richley's concerns are most likely to be met by priests and people being familiar with the current rite of Mass in Latin, as envisaged by the Pope in Sacramentum Caritatis. In this way, the gulf between celebrations of Mass preand post-Vatican H may most easily and securely be bridged. Pope Benedict remarks-that the use of Latin is particularly important at international gatherings, but familiarity with the words and music in Latin will only come with plenty of practice at home.
The bishops of England and Wales will have an opportunity to promote familiarity with the use of Latin at Mass when most Mass books have to be reprinted at the time the new English translations are adopted. New books could easily have Latin and English texts in parallel, as with preconciliar bilingual missals, and let us hope and pray that this once in a lifetime opportunity will be seized upon when it arrives.
Yours faithfully, BERNARD MARRIOTT Leicester