Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington
Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
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Letters to the Editor
(From the Oct. 25, 2007 edition of the Inland Register)
The Inland Register welcomes letters to the editor. Letters should be no longer than 500 words. Letters must be signed, with address and phone number for contact, but names will be withheld upon request. Letters may be edited for length or clarity. Remember to be charitable.
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Father Larson, you disappoint me. Your article (“Liturgy Reflections: Celebrating the old Latin Mass,” IR 10/4/07) underestimates the laity. You belittle our devotion and intelligence when you assert that we cannot participate fully and actively in a Latin Mass. We deserve more from you. In fact, we can understand a side-by-side missal, we can read and memorize, and we can certainly learn the meaning of gestures and actions.
Sure, I’m used to hearing Mass in English, but it seems presumptuous to say that the Latin Mass of so many centuries has no merit to modern people. Last year, our son experienced a high school youth exchange in Germany. When we visited him, we attended Mass twice. Since I don’t understand German, at each Mass I pined for a universal language. The paradox struck me that mass in the vernacular, intended to include the congregation, actually excluded me. If a Latin Mass had been available in Germany, and if I had become accustomed to following a Latin Mass here at home, then indeed I could have participated fully and actively. Even better, I could participate completely in Mass anywhere in the world.
Finally, I wonder if you have considered that some of us in the assembly tire of dramatic priestly actions that seem staged for emotional responses from the congregation. Some of us grow weary of ad lib (oops, that’s Latin) alterations to the liturgy.
I simply cannot agree that restoring an ancient and beautiful tradition impedes the full and conscious participation of the laity.
Angela Fredericks, Spokane
Once again Father Jan Larson displayed a level of insensitivity and intolerance that has been his trademark the past few years, when referencing any traditional Mass with Latin phrases and accompanying music (“Liturgy Reflections: Celebrating the old Latin Mass,” IR 10/4/07). He refers to the “old Latin Mass” instead of the more respectful description “traditional Latin Mass.” In a previous article on rubricism, Father Larson had no problem referencing the “traditional Thanksgiving Day meal.” Why not “old Thanksgiving”?
If Father Larson had difficulty with Latin after the six years he claims to have studied it, what was he or anyone else going to understand if they attended a Mass in Mexico, Italy, Japan, China, or any other country that used the vernacular of that country? Universality, the trademark of the Latin Mass which has been with us for centuries, is probably lost.
Father Larson excoriates those priests who are prone to rubricism in a previous article in ‘Issues in Liturgy’ and now refers to those unintelligible actions, gestures, and even language that cannot be comprehended as unacceptable for today’s liturgies. Those Masses are seen regularly on EWTN. That alone is enough to raise his ire. In fact, the catechesis on EWTN has exposed the errors of his entire liturgical philosophy, which should be quite embarrassing.
Pope Benedict stressed that the celebration of the liturgy could be done according to either the Roman Missal issued by Paul VI, in the wake of Vatican II, or the edition of it issued in 1962, by (Blessed Pope) John XXIII. The latter was never abrogated, and the two missals represent “two usages of the Roman rite.”
When Masses are being celebrated according to the older use and the people are present, it is permitted to say the readings in the local language if the translation of them is recognized by the Holy See (art 6). Pope Benedict also expressed hope that “the two forms of the usage of the Roman rite can be mutually enriching. He notes that “young persons too have discovered this liturgical form, felt its attraction, and found in it a form of encounter with the Mystery of the Most Holy Eucharist, particularly suited to them.”
Writing space constraints for this venue do not permit the complete text of reasons for the generous permission of Pope Benedict to use the Roman rite. I would assume that when a liturgical writer is given the space to inform the Washington dioceses of the latest updates from Rome, he would present it in an accurate and unbiased manner. (Editor’s note: see “Permission to use Tridentine Mass expected “within a few days,”’ and “At a glance: Differences between the Tridentine Mass of 1570 and Mass of today,” IR 7/5/07, and “Pope Benedict relaxes restrictions on use of Tridentine Mass,” IR 8/2/07.) I found Father Larson’s article replete with errors and a strong personal prejudice that is not helping the faithful understand what the pope is trying to accomplish.
Victor V. Carnell, Spokane
I read the comment in the Sept. 13, 2007 “Question Box” regarding non-Catholics being unable to receive the sacred species at Mass, and I understand the teaching. I was taught, and occasionally hear on a radio broadcast of the Mass, that those who cannot receive the blessed wafer and wine can receive the blessing anyway by asking the Holy Spirit to administer the blessing spiritually.
Since Jesus was so forceful in saying that “unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you....” he must have made provision for any believer at least spiritually to do so. How? Jerusalem Bible, Deuteronomy 28,29: “Things hidden belong to Yahweh our God, but things revealed are ours and our children’s forever.”
So why can’t the presider at Mass explain who can receive the body and blood,, and then invite the rest of the people to receive the communion blessing spiritually just as any Catholic may be invited to do when he/she cannot physically receive the host/wine? The responsibility for administering the blessing will be the province of Jesus/the Holy Spirit as taught in Deuteronomy 28,29cited above.
Kenneth O. Lindblad, College Place, Wash.
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