Monday, December 1, 2008

Mass on Sunday

We registered last week at our new parish, St. Mary's Cathedral in Cheyenne, WY. I had a nice surprise when our priest from Nigeria, used the Latin Sanctus, Pater Noster, Agnus Dei, and part of the Communion prayers in Latin (he may have said the Creed in Latin, but I'm not sure - my daughter decided to start screaming so I had to take her out until she calmed down). This leads me to wonder two things...

  • Do those priests who weren't trained in the West get trained in Latin more often than those who were?
  • Why don't groups trying to get a TLM started in their area approach these priests about it more than they do? If a priest IS trained in Latin already, it couldn't hurt to at least ask.
The first question is kind of obvious. When Una Voce Carmel trying to get our initial permission from our bishop back in Indiana, the idea that most of our priests didn't have a good enough working knowledge of Latin. This didn't set well with me but it didn't surprise me, either, as I remember our bishop actually saying in an article after the passing of Pope John Paul II that he didn't have a very good working knowledge of Latin himself. I'm not thrilled with that, but I understand that learning Latin was de-emphasized in seminaries over the last forty years or so, so no, it came as no surprise.

Granted, more of the orthodox seminaries are beginning to emphasize it once again. The Archdiocese of Denver, for example, requires their seminarians to study four years of both Latin and Greek, and two years of Hebrew in their seminaries. The only vocation crisis they seem to be having is not having enough room to put all the interested seminarians. The younger generation of men in the seminaries want this! They want authentic Catholicism; not the fluff that's been emphasized in the Western Church for the last 40 plus years.

To answer the second question, with three Nigerian priests in my old diocese, I wonder why we didn't ask them. They weren't subject to the same studies after all, and it seems to me that priests who do have a good enough working knowledge of Latin don't seem to have near the issue with learning the extraordinary form. Or at least wanting to. Perhaps we should have looked towards the Nigerian priests there to see if they had the formation in Latin and knew it well enough to send them off to training at St. John Cantius in Chicago.

So perhaps that's part of the answer for those trying to get the Tridentine Mass started up in their area. Perhaps asking those missionary priests from Africa, Vietnam, and India to see if they have enough working knowledge of Latin to be interested in offering the extraordinary form.

It might be the best chance some places have for using the 1962 Missal.

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