January 2012 | Latin Mass Clearwater

Monday, January 30, 2012

Jeff DeGraff: The New Mass as New Coke

Jeff DeGraff recently had this editorial appear in the Huffington Post: The New Mass as New Coke. I almost skipped it because: 1) it was in the Huffington Post, a very liberal publication, and 2) because I feared it may have had a sarcastic tone. But I read it, and here's my take.

Jeff's Editorial Draws an Analogy Between the Change to the New Mass and the Way "New Coke" Was Foisted Upon Consumers

Jeff argues no one in the public wanted "New Coke." This is understandable - you could sit in a lab for the next ten thousand years and mix up syrup flavors, but you'll never improve on the original Coke. The idea was borne by a small group of marketing types, not by the public at large. It's a interesting thought. In some ways, I agree...

As Was the Case with New Coke, I Have Found Newer Does Not Mean Better, Unless You Are Buying a Computer or Vacuum Cleaner...

Old things are often better - and irreplaceable. Compare antique furniture with the overstuffed, giant sized monstrosities you get at Rooms to Go today. Or watch a Fred Astaire movie and compare ballroom dance in the 1930's with what they have in Nightclubs today.

This goes for culture too. Look at the behavior of those on board the Titanic when it sank it in sank on 15 April 1912, versus that of the Captain of the the Costa Corcordia, which recently sank off the coast of Tuscany.

So What Is Wrong With the New Translation?

Some Traditionalists like the idea of the New Translation, as it follows the Latin more closely and directly. This is a good thing. But what is poetic in Latin can sound odd in English - and now the New Mass sounds odd, just like New Coke tasted odd. And as I have said before, the music is greatly diminished.

This is important: I am not critical of the Church over the introduction of the New Translation - negativity is detrimental and not helpful. I think they were trying to fix or improve the Mass by making it more true to its Latin or Tridentine roots. But rather than fixing things, the New Translation seems to have stirred up both old and new problems, and perhaps - will serve to create a crisis of sorts. A crisis that ultimately could have a positive resolution.

The New Translation was undertaken to fix the Novus Ordo Missae. Well, if the Church felt they had to fix the New Mass, it would follow they felt something was wrong with it. One buzzword floating around lately is "authentic." I think they were looking for authenticity. But if we want authentic, we should go to the Mass that was virtually unchanged for 600 years - the Latin Mass. What could be more authentic than the Latin Mass?

As we go through these difficult times, we can take solace in a happy precedent. Original Coke was quickly put back on the market after the New Coke debacle. Perhaps we even appreciated Original Coke more. Maybe the same will happen with the Latin Mass!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Latin Mass Article in the Tampa Tribune

Cathedral of Saint Jude the Apostle, St Petersburg, Florida
ATTRIBUTION.© by James G. Howes, 2010

Here is a Tampa Tribune article regarding the initial local response to the Summorum Pontificum in the Catholic community. Definitely worth a read for those interested in a Latin Mass in Clearwater:

A Dei Of Mass Appeal

Published: Sep 8, 2007

This article highlights the enthusiasm so many feel for the return of Latin Mass. I am happily surprised as I have been researching the return of the Latin Mass by how much interest and enthusiam is out there.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Bishop Robert Lynch Blog Post on Chrism Mass

I enjoy Bishop Lynch's blog. Following is an excerpt from his post on Chrism Mass on Palm Sunday, 2011. Bishop Lynch addresses some of the troubles facing the Church today, and briefly mentions the Tridentine Mass:

"However, during these days of sharing and reflection some concerns were also expressed by our priests, more pastoral than personal, and always spoken in love, not in anger. At several of the sessions one or more of the fathers stated that “they did not know what was happening to the Church for which they were ordained” and by that they generally meant that there seemed to be a withdrawal from commitment to liturgical renewal, from active pursuit of social justice, from the sense of the Church as being relevant to the people to whom they were ministering, from real concerns about declining membership and declining faith practice. Additionally, concerns about a growing feeling of alienation of many of the faithful which can be occasioned when we bishops choose to draw lines in the sand of who is a good Catholic or a bad Catholic, an uneasiness stemming from deep questions and real concerns about the need for the new translation of the Roman Missal concomitant with the perception caused by the seeming support in certain sectors of the extraordinary form or Tridentine Rite, the priests of this diocese see steps backward from the headier days of ecumenical enthusiasm and lament the lack of timely responsiveness to requests by the diocesan pastoral center, from the growing sense of our inability to reach the youth of our parishes and diocese, fewer priests but greater expectations placed on those presently serving, uncertainty about retirement and the future, dramatically fewer Catholic marriages, fewer funerals, fewer confirmations and the list could go on and on."  (See full blog post here).

It seems to me Bishop Lynch is saying the going is tough right now for the Church, and also that the New Translation is unpopular in some instances. Also, Church membership, weddings, etc., are declining. I for one am disappointed in the New Translation. It seems if I am reading Bishop Lynch correctly, the New Translation has made things worse not better, at least in terms of morale.

The Tridentine Rite is mentioned as being seen by some as a step backword. But perhaps a step backward is what we need. I would respectfully suggest something a basketball coach once told me: "When the going gets tough, good teams get back to the basics. Great teams never leave the basics."

What could be more basic to the practice of Catholicism than the Tridentine Mass? The Tridentine Mass was in practice from 1570 to 1962. That is more than a few centuries. Perhaps the way to address this growing sense of alienation, the declining membership and faith practice, is to go back to what worked so well for so many long - to get back to the basics of the faith - the Latin Mass.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

My Feelings Regarding the New Translation

I first heard about the New Translation of the New Mass a couple years ago. Our Pastor mentioned it in passing, but there seemed to be concern on his part that it would not be an easy thing for Catholics to accept.

My thought at the time was who cares about a New Translation? So they change a few words of the Mass... no big deal.

Was I wrong. In practice, I have found the New Translation to be unnecessary and unappealing. I am afraid it will hurt the experience of the New Mass for many and perhaps even challenge their faith in a small way.

I first heard the New Translation on a Parish website, where we listened to the "Glory to God in the Highest." I was immediately disappointed. Gone was the sublime beauty and majesty of the hymn. In its place was awkward wording and a mundane musical setting.

Once the transition took place, I noticed almost all the music was affected for the worse. My young children used to sing the old hymns, but they don't sing the new uninspiring music. I look around at my fellow Parishioners, and they look bored and unaffected.

The words of the New Translation seemed unnatural and arcane. Proponents of the New Translation will say it's more accurate. But I don't see how... In most cases, the New Translation is just that... an awkward way of saying the same thing.

Let's consider a few examples:

The old:

"Through him, with him, in him."

The new:

"Through him, and with him, and in him".

The word "and" has been added. Has the meaning changed? No, in the first translation, the conjunction "and" was assumed or implied for a more poetic reading.


"The Lord be with you."

"And with also with you."


"And with your spirit."

Since we are spiritual beings, I believe both translations say the same thing. The difference is only the unnatural wording of the "with your spirit" interpretation.

Or from the Nicene Creed:

"One in being with the father..."

Versus: "Consubstantial with the father..."

Consubstantial, from the dictionary, means: Of the same substance. So I ask, what is the difference?

Or the use of "chalice," instead of "cup." Folks, a chalice is a cup!

Or "under my roof" versus "receive you." No difference in meaning, just an idiom.

And then there is the "dew fall" line which I still don't get...

The sad outcome is I no longer enjoy the New Mass as much as I once did. My children don't participate as much. In my opinion, a crisis has been created where one did not exist. I want to have a good experience at Mass. This has been lessened by the New Translation.

What will the resolution be? If the New Mass was not right before the New Translation, why is it right now? If it is right now, then why does it sound so strange? Why is the music made poorer? Why does the whole thing not feel right?

I would never leave the Catholic Church or not attend Mass. If all I have is the New Mass with the New Translation, then I will attend. However, I have for sometime felt on an intellectual level I would like to attend the Latin Mass. Now, because of the New Translation, I will seek to attend Latin Mass rather than the New Mass.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Bishop Robert Lynch Takes a Courageous Stand

During these difficult times in America, I, like many, have been disappointed by the Catholic Church not standing up for traditional Catholic values. And not just the Catholic Church, but Catholics themselves, who helped elect the most pro-abortion President in American history.

I take heart, and am given hope, by the courageous stand of Bishop Robert Lynch of St Petersburg, Florida against what has been called the president's "war on the Catholic Church." This war in part stems from the Health and Human Services mandate that forces every employer to provide employees with health coverage that not only covers birth control and sterilization, but makes them free.

Bishop Robert Lynch is mentioned today in the Wall Street Journal as a foremost opponent of the mandate, even to the point of civil disobedience. We must needs stand for those who cannot stand for themselves - the unborn. Bishop Lynch, you have my respect for this and my hat is off to you. God bless you!

The Wall Street Journal editorial, entitled, "Obama Offends the Catholic Left," also mentions members of the Catholic left who were huge supporters of Obama, and who now feel betrayed - like the liberal National Catholic Reporter, Michael Sean Winter. As Adam and Eve once discovered, if you play with snakes, you'll eventually get bitten.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

My First Latin Mass

I attended my first Latin Mass last Sunday at the Cathedral of St Jude in St Petersburg, Florida. I didn't know what to expect. The Latin Mass I witnessed was the most beautiful Mass I have seen. When I am at the New Mass, I feel as though God is visiting our house. At the Latin Mass, I had the feeling I was visiting God's house.

The attention to detail and the ritual made it a spiritual, rather than a social, experience. There was no talking before Mass, and no handshaking during. After the Latin Mass, I had this feeling I had experienced the Sabbath. I don't normally get that feeling at the New Mass... I get the feeling I have been to Church for an hour. That is a good thing, but not as good as what I felt from the Latin Mass.

The music was Gregorian Chant sung by a choir of young people. It was beautiful. I was impressed by how many young people (early twenties) were in the choir. In fact, there were many young adults in attendance. Is it possible the Latin Mass may appeal to the young people the Church is trying to cultivate?

I was taken by surprise by how well dressed everyone was. The women wore veils over their heads. The men wore suits. One man even wore a bow tie - as though a regular tie were not special enough. The young boys wore suits, something I have not seen since the Sixties, and the young girls wore nice dresses.

Contrast this to the casual dress at the New Mass, where shorts, t-shirts, sandals, jeans, and tennis shoes are common. At the New Mass, I am usually one of the nicer dressed, as I wear khakis and a dress shirt. At the Latin Mass, I felt under dressed, and next time I am going to wear a suit. Perhaps I will follow the Catholic gentleman's example I mentioned earlier and wear a bow tie as well. I may have to get my boys suits as well. And my wife a veil for her hair.

The sermon was the finest sermon I have heard. It was not like a typical sermon, but more like a bible study on the gospel reading of the day.

I left the service moved in a way I have not been for many years by a Mass, perhaps ever.

I am grateful to our wonderful Parishes in Clearwater, Florida, and to our clergy. I thank them for all they do for us. I value the New Mass, and I believe a Latin Mass would be a great offering.

I pray a Latin Mass will be one day be offered at a Parish on a daily basis in Clearwater, Florida.