Thursday, June 28, 2007

Nihil Sub Sole Novum

Which I'm pretty sure means "Nothing under the sun is new." And that's my take on the fact that it may be easier for priests to offer Mass using the Tridentine rite.

Nothing is certain yet, but people are all having their say about the fact that changes may be in the works here.

As far as I know the change that might be coming is that a priest would no longer need to obtain special permission to use the Tridentine Rite, in Latin. That's it. That's the change. Not that all Masses would now be in Latin. Not that Vatican II is being done away with - but simply that special permission would not be needed. Notice that the Tridentine Mass can be said now - but approval must be sought first - and also, the Mass we're used to - the post 1962 Mass can be said in Latin if someone wants.

So, is this a good thing or a bad thing? I don't know.

I'm a post-Vatican II baby, and never went to a Mass in Latin. Now, I have been to Masses in German - and at the time thought "boy if we all used Latin then I'd know what was going on now" but I don't travel out of the country enough to have that be a real issue.

Some people really love the Latin Mass. They feel that it is more reverent. More mysterious.

Perhaps they're right. But I think that it is not the language that makes something reverent or not - it's the attitude of the people participating. The language is just words. "Deus" is not a holier word than "God." And as for mysterious - the Mass itself is a mystery in many ways - does the language need to add to it.

Personally, I like it when I can understand the Mass - and yes, I realize that you get used to the words and come to understand them - but I find that sometimes, even if you've heard something a hundred times, sometimes a new meaning comes to you because you make a new connection with the language. That wouldn't happen as much in a language you didn't truly understand.

But I do see some advantages. We have a small parish in our town that has three Masses on Sunday - the first is partially in Hungarian, the second is in English, the third in Korean. If all the Masses were in Latin, could those three separate groups all attend the same Masses and mingle more - would they be more of a community?

I suppose I like things the way they are (and for the most part nothing is really going to change - they just won't need special permission [providing I'm understanding this right]) but I suppose people of another generation liked things the way they were too.

The only thing constant is change (isn't that profound). And nihil sub sole novum.

No comments: