An ancient and beautiful liturgy returns to an Athens church

I recently ran across an article at The Athens News about Saint Paul Catholic Church in Athens, Ohio, now offering the Traditional Latin Mass.  I have added Saint Paul Church to the Traditional Latin Mass Finder app, so you can now find it on your iPhone or iPad if you are traveling in Ohio.  The Mass is at 8:00 AM on Saturdays.

What was interesting about the article, An ancient and beautiful liturgy returns to an Athens church, from a secular source, is that it got right the liturgical chaos that occurred when the new Mass, the Novus Ordo, was introduced.  This is rare outside of traditionalist circles, as more main-stream Catholics tend to “not talk about it”, and secular sources actually like the free-wheeling nature of the changes that occurred (so do a lot of liberal Catholics).

From the article:

The most celebrated change brought about by Vatican II was that the Mass could now be said in the vernacular – the languages of various countries; previously, it was said in Latin everywhere. This was taken to mean that it must be said in the vernacular, which was never the case.

Congregations went hog-wild. Soon there were folk-rock Masses, hootenanny Masses, puppet Masses, and so on. Encouraged to participate more actively in the Mass, congregations were soon flailing their arms around, adopting postures reserved for priests, and undertaking other alterations to the principal service of the Church. Those who looked askance were told to get with “the spirit of Vatican II.”

Translations into the vernacular were, often as not, very loose. They were not so much translations as interpretations, which sometimes included what various groups wished the liturgy would include.

The above passage shows some of the chaos that occurred following the introduction of the Novus Ordo.  And the author is right about the bad translations, which were done on purpose.  

For example (mine, not the author’s), Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus, Dominus Deus Sabaoth was translated as Holy, Holy, Holy, God of power and might, which is completely wrong (and redundant, power and might being the same thing!).  The correct translation is Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of hosts, which refers to the “hosts of angels”, or army of angels.  But the translations intentionally tried to de-emphasize the spiritual.  I could go into a number of examples (the Confiteor excluding the mentioning of saints names, And also with you as opposed to And with your spirit, etc), but maybe for another post.

The translations were much improved under Pope Benedict XVI.

The author also gets right the differences between the Novus Ordo and the Tridentine Mass, one that is extremely active, with lots of movements, and one that focuses attention on our Lord:

The difference in the liturgy and the atmosphere could not be more pronounced.

Modern Mass is conducted as if silence is the enemy, that there should never be a time when there isn’t something noisy going on. Active participation is so encouraged that it sometimes seems as if there isn’t an opportunity to contemplate the mysteries of faith. Even during communion itself, the most fundamental of the seven sacraments, congregants are expected to sing rather than think about how profound it all is.

The Latin Mass is quiet, often silent or close to it. The Church teaches (and I think it stands to reason) that prayer must include listening, to hear what God tells us. This is easier to do, especially for easily distracted persons such as myself, when there’s not sensory overload. When there is music with the traditional Mass (as Fr. Jonas hopes to institute from time to time, employing seminarians), it is typically in the form of chants that encourage this phenomenon rather than replace it.

Modern Mass has in some ways unintentionally come to resemble, say, a PTA meeting. The instant it is over, people are talking and laughing, greeting people across the room, immediately transported from whatever was going on minutes before to the modern secular world. Those who wish to stay and pray must have powers of concentration that far exceed my own. (I am as guilty of these things as anyone else, alas.) The Latin Mass ends in silence, and congregants remain silent; most remain to continue their prayer.

I was very pleasantly surprised by the article, please read the whole thing HERE.

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1 Response to An ancient and beautiful liturgy returns to an Athens church

  1. Michigan Man says:

    Not to mention that the words of Consecration were altered gravely to a point where it meant something entirely different. God Bless Pope Benedict

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