I love mass.
In his essay "I love the Mass, imperfect at it is" (NCR, July 28-Aug. 10), Mitch Finley reports his realization that "if ... the entire church returned to the old Latin Mass, I would still go to Mass each Sunday." For my part, I love the old Latin Mass, the Mass of my youth, but I do not long for its widespread return nor do I altogether trust those who do.
Reactionary prelates and growing numbers of the junior clergy want the church to return to the "old Latin Mass," as do many lay supporters of their neo-clericalism. But I would like to know, what would we learn if a Mass in the extraordinary form were to conclude with a Latin quiz? And even if celebrant and congregation really understood the peculiar Latin of the Mass, would many be likely to know whence came all the components of the so-called Tridentine Mass and what a strange patchwork it is? How many of those in attendance would be old enough to have experienced the Tridentine Mass as the ordinary form, and not as a locus of protest and resistance? I think there is more of politics than wisdom in this fetishizing of the old Latin Mass.