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Latin mass.

Regarding your editorial "Full participation before all else" (NCR, July 20): Pope Benedict XVI has put an incredible spin on Vatican II. He has succeeded mightily in reversing the liturgical and ecclesiological reforms that flowed from the vision of the in-Spirited John XXIII.

Following the many baby steps taken by John Paul II as well as the current pope (for example, essentially prohibiting the rite of general absolution in spite of the council's direction that the most "communal form" of the rites be used whenever possible), we've finally arrived at full denial that Vatican II was actually inspired reform rather than a continuation of the same old medieval institution. So, now we have the "old" Mass back, together with its condemnation of the Jews, its exaltation of ordained ministries, and the people of God are again relegated to attendees at the "priest's Mass." Benedict said he wanted to bring back the Lefebvrites, but they haven't moved--the Vatican has. Now we're all members of the Society of St. Pius X. Kind of makes one nostalgic for Julius II, doesn,t it?


Springfield, Ore.

I wouldn't mind attending a Latin Mass sometime but there are a few safeguards I would insist upon. Does the celebrant know any Latin or is this just going to be a lot of mumbling mumbo jumbo and hocus-pocus magic like some Haitian voodoo ceremony? Lord knows, we've come to enough embarrassment of late without exposing ourselves to more ridicule. I'll never forget an old pastor of mine who relayed to me his insight on seminary training, telling me that he couldn't understand why they still insisted on teaching Greek, because the only Greek he remembered was agricola, agricolae. So much for his rendering of the sacred text. I always wondered how he could get through his Mass in 20 minutes. But since nobody was listening but saying their rosaries or reading their Little Flower missals, who cared what he was doing? Thank God he wasn't facing them.


New Brighton, Minn.

In your editorial "Full participation before all else" you state, "We join with Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center and call on the pope to publicly repudiate language in the rite of the Mass that calls for the conversion of the Jews and for God to lift the 'veil from their hearts.'"

Why as faithful Catholics should we repudiate praying for the conversion of the Jews? It seems to me that to not pray for their conversion is antiSemitic. After all, if we prayed for everyone, except for African-Americans, for example, to come to recognize that Jesus is the Christ and savior of the world, we would be considered racists and bigots. So why exclude the Jews from our prayers for conversion? The Catholic church is missionary at heart and must pray for all to convert. Following your logic, should we also repudiate the language of St. Paul in his letter to the church in Corinth for referring to the veiled hearts of the Jews, which prevent them from recognizing Christ? Why would St. Paul wish himself to be accursed in order that some of the Jews might be saved? Why would St. Paul state in his letter to the Romans that the Jews can be grafted in again if they do not remain in unbelief?. Perhaps we should call on the pope to publicly repudiate language in these New Testament epistles.


Lake Jackson, Texas

The conversation in last week's issue about the reopening of the "old Mass" ("Opinion divided on Mass decision," NCR, July 20) sadly reveals the general ignorance of its beauty and its poetic meaning--even among the professional "liturgists." I'd like to present just one example: "In the old Mass, the priest had his back to the people" (sneer). As an elder in the present, I understand that at that time that we were all facing in the same direction. In the best of the churches and cathedrals, the altar itself faces the East. We all turned East to greet the sun, which was the emblem of the Resurrection and the symbol of the Risen Christ. The Mass represented the paschal mystery. It was more than a common meal; it had mystical meanings long forgotten in our worship today. People believed in the Real Presence because they felt the divinity present. Joseph Campbell said, "The Mass has become a Julia Child show. Where is the poetry? Where is the glorious chant?" Kathleen Hughes, aren't you missing something? Or are you too young to remember?


Placitas, N.M.

After reading your editorial on the return of the Latin rite, I was disappointed, dismayed and beyond discouraged. Please speak with the justice and passion with which Jesus Christ would have spoken. The Latin rite is a return to dominance, power and money. Did Opus Dei and its large bank accounts have nothing to do with this? Call a spade a spade. Please embrace the "independent" part of your tag line and stop trying to show both sides. Take a stand. This move is an oppressive act, plain and simple. The lay community, women and our brothers and sisters from other faith traditions have been trampled on in the name of Christ. Please in the name of Christ, stand up for us with your words. Jesus would expect nothing less.


Clifton, N.J.

I am considerably older than your average reader. I came into the church in college and the Latin Mass offered a safe haven. It embodied the majesty and solemnity of past cultures and allowed me to add my own interpretations where I was unfamiliar with the vocabulary. The change to English was a shock from which I have never quite recovered.

I was in Israel on the feast of the Ascension. The church of that name was in Arab territory but open to Christians on that date. The Mass was said in Latin to accommodate the motley group of worshipers. The universal language gave it the deeper dimension of peace to the world.


Santa Fe. N.M.

When I read Melissa M. Nussbaum's article "Two rites, two coffee carts and a parish divided" (NCR, July 20), I could only think: A house divided against itself cannot stand. Is the destiny of future church a house divided by two Vatican councils? Whatever else Pope Benedict's motu proprio on the Latin Mass is, it divides the house. Are the pope's two doors ways of entry or exit? I suspect the latter. The church is destroying its own credibility by its waffling between the two councils. Where's the "infallibility"?


New Hampton, Iowa

Letters to the editor should be limited to 250 words and preferably typed. If a letter refers to a previous issue of NCR, please give us that issue's date. We reserve the right to edit all letters. Letters, National Catholic Reporter, P.O. Box 419281, Kansas City, MO 64141. Or via e-mail: fax: (816) 968-2280. Please be sure to include your street address, city, state, zip and daytime telephone number.
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Title Annotation:LETTERS
Author:Warren, Richard; Reinkober, R.J.; Futschik, Michael; Moore, Sophia; Chelotti, Linda; Kahn, Peggy; St
Publication:National Catholic Reporter
Article Type:Letter to the editor
Date:Aug 17, 2007
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