Letters to the Editor

The Simple Beauty of the Spoken Latin Mass

Dear Editor: The Tridentine Mass or Latin Mass was instituted by Pope Pius V in 1570. If I am correct, it was restricted or banned in 1963 by the Second Vatican Council, 1962- 1965 (“Latin Mass Is Making a Comeback,” Dec. 7).

I am sure this was done to renew the Roman Catholic liturgy and allow more partaking and appreciation of the mass by the laity. In my humble opinion and with all due respect to the late Pope St. Paul VI and the Council, this was a misstep to disallow it. The Latin Mass was and continues to be the liturgical language of worship of the Roman Catholic Church, even if everyone, including myself, does not understand the language.

As an altar boy at Sacred Heart Parish in Fort Greene in the mid-1960s, I had to learn the responses during the mass to the priest in Latin. The manual given to us in order to gain understanding had the Latin prayers and responses in black ink and bright red hyphenated as to acquire the proper pronunciations.

However, we were at the cusp at that time and parishes throughout the Diocese of Brooklyn were instructed, I assume by Bishop Bryan J. McEntegart, to institute the vernacular only and thereafter.

Well, so much for my knowledge of Latin. My point is the simple beauty of the spoken Latin chants and prayers elevated the celebration of the Holy Eucharist to its highest form of venerable reverence. I pray more parishes are allowed to have the Tridentine Mass celebrated.

Finally and on another note closely related, I would also pray that the Tabernacle of the Holy Eucharist is assigned its proper position once again in the center of all church sanctuaries. Christ is the center of our lives, so should His Tabernacle be situated in His house.

Rafael Ocasio

East Elmhurst