Mother Angelica on the Latin Mass

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It has been one year since Mother Angelica, the feisty Poor Clare nun who founded EWTN, passed away at the age of  92. While many are familiar with her no nonsense persona and larger than life accomplishments, her love for the traditional Mass isn’t as well known.

Some may recall that Mother butted heads with her local ordinary (Bishop David Foley) back in 1999 following his decree forbidding the offering of the Mass ad orientem in his diocese. Mother was right, as she usually was, but Bishop Foley eventually won the dispute on appeal to Rome. As it turned out, many bishops simply did not want forty million plus television households seeing Masses offered ad orientem on a regular basis.

It’s also easy to forget just how supportive of the Latin Mass EWTN was in the years immediately following Pope Benedict’s motu proprio Summorum Pontificum in 2007.

Beginning with a televised Extraordinary Form Mass for the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross in September, 2007 (offered by the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter-pictured above), the network would go on to air a total of ten traditional masses between 2007-2009. For many faithful Catholics, these televised liturgies were their first look at the sacred beauty of the Latin Mass.

As with most mystics and saints (small s for now), Mother Angelica recognized the power of the sacred liturgy.

In the end, Mother’s own words reveal just how strongly she felt about the traditional liturgy. As reported by the site ChurchPOP, here is Mother Angelica on the Latin Mass:

“Latin was the perfect language for the Mass. It’s the language of the Church, which allows us to pray a verbal prayer without distraction.

“See, the purpose of the Mass is to pray and to be associated with the crucifixion and with that glorious banquet that we partake of in Holy Communion. He is there. But so much is spoiled in the vernacular.

“During the Latin Mass you had the missal if you wanted to follow it in English. It was almost mystical. It gave you an awareness of heaven, of the awesome humility of God who manifests Himself in the guise of bread and wine. The love that He had for us, His desire to remain with us is simply awesome. You could concentrate on that love, because you weren’t distracted by your own language.

“You could go anywhere in the world and you always knew what was going on. It was contemplative because as the Mass was going on you could close your eyes and visualize what really happened. You could feel it. You could look to the east and realize that God had come and was really present. The way it is today with the priest facing the people, its something between the people and the priest. Too often it’s just some kind of get-together and Jesus is all but forgotten.”

Posted on March 28, 2017, in liturgy and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 25 Comments.

  1. John D. Horton

    Question: Why do most American “Catholic” bishops hate the ancient Catholic liturgy and want the liturgy offerred in the most Protestant, secularist and atheistic way possible?

    Answer: Maybe your “Catholic” bishops aren’t Catholic but rather wolves in shepherds clothing?

    Wake up from your coma faithful Catholics, face reality and act accordingly.

  2. As the late Fr. Malachi Martin said; “between you, me, and the Holy Ghost, it’s the ONLY mass.”

    • Do you listen to ghosts??

      • John D. Horton

        “Worship” of the pope is called papalolitry and is forbidden in the Catholic faith. Catholics are only obliged to worship God in accordance with the First Commandment of the Pentateuch. Adhesion to the words of the pope are only required when the pope speaks “Ex Cathedra.” The last time a pope spoke “Ex Cathedra” was 1950 when the Venerable Pope Pius XII declared the dogma of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

        There have been no further “Ex Cathedra” statements by any pope which requires the belief of any Catholic under the pain of mortal sin since 1950.

  3. The True Mass surely did give one “an awareness of heaven”. Thank you for the memory of this sweet articulate little saint. I miss her …

  4. ‘where is the awareness of the poor in this which was Jesus’s primary gospel message??/

    • Why do you believe that “the poor” was “Christ’s primary gospel message”? What does that even mean? There is no virtue in poverty. Christ told us to be “poor in spirit”. This is an attitude of humility toward God and one another. You are terribly misinformed and lacking in understanding about the Catholic faith, not unlike Jorge Bergoglio.

      • Are you in the Roman Catholic Church??? Are you following your own idea of poverty?? The pope has a title !!! You sound like a follower of Pacelli!! (LOL)

      • I guess I had better go back to the seminary and update my training!!

      • John D. Horton

        Exactly right!!! You get an A+ on your final exam in the course entitled: “The Anti-Catholic Theology of Vatican II.”

        The “Preferential Option for the Poor” is simply warmed over communist and socialist propaganda ever since the Vatican, the Papacy, and the hierarchy were all infiltrated by the Communist and Socialist Parties prior to and following Vatican II. The terminology “Preferential Option for the Poor” even originated with the arch-proponents of communism, i.e. the Catholic clergy in South America (of “Liberation Theology” fame) and the superior general of the Jesuits (see wikipedia: “Preferential option for the poor”). During Senator Joseph McCarthy’s anti-Communist hearings in the 1950s, several witnesses before Congress testified that the Communist Party had decided to infiltrate and destroy from within the Catholic Church in the 1920s and has apparently been successful because since the death of Pope Pius XII, from the Pope on down, every Catholic heirarch is endlessly spewing communist and socialist propaganda while living in their palaces and never lifting a finger personnally to help “the poor” (Google and youtube: “communist infiltration of the Catholic Church”). “The poor” are simply an advertising gimmic for Catholic hierarchs to raise money to pay off sex abuse and other tort law suits. In the past few months, New York City Cardinal Dolan took out a $100 million loan against an archdiocesan property directly north of St. Patrick’s Cathedral because the faithful are not buying his con-job of endlessly soliciting money for “the poor” when in reality it is going to pay for the lavish lifestyles of himself and the pink mafia that runs his chancery from his vicar general on down (see the Church Militant website: http://www.churchmilitant.com/ and videos on youtube). Hierarchs who ripoff little old ladies of their Social Security money for the heirarchs decadent lifestyles are beyond the demonic.

        Pope Pius XII and all popes prior to him severely and categorically condemned atheistic communism and socialism because it denied the existence of God and the mission of the Church to bring the salvation of Christ to a sinful and fallen world. At the start of Vatican II in 1962, at the height of the Cold War, what was the greatest threat to the Church? Atheistic communism and socialism which sought the elimination of the Church. Did Vatican II respond to the greatest threat to the Church at that time by condemning it? No, they choose to “ignore” (meaning, approve) communism and socialism in accordance with the wishes of the so-called Pope St. John XXIII and his so-called policy of Ostpolitik (“make nice” with atheistic communism and socialism and it will leave the Church alone). The policies of John XXIII in tolerating if not approving of atheistic communism and socialism, as well his unleashing a deliberately reprobate council on the Church, call into question exactly how it is possible that a communist sympathizer could get canonized except for the fact that the Vatican’s saint-making bureaucracy is infiltrated with like-minded communists and socialist.

        The Church is being run by the “anti-Church,” i.e. heirarchs who are communist and socialist infiltrators. This is a clear and simply explanation of why the Church is a mess today.

    • John D. Horton

      Like Judas, some people are always harping on “the poor.” Our Lord said: “the poor you will have with you always…”. According to our Lord, that can never be changed.

  5. I couldn’t agree more.

  6. Nobody asked for the mass to be changed, the disciplines to be changed, the churches to be spartan, reconciliation rooms, or any of the other changes of the 1960s, but they were.

    The people have asked for change on Church teachings on sexual matters, including contraception, marriage and divorce, and clerical celibacy. The Vatican said “No”. (They had their reasons, so please spare me the replies.)

    The unintended consequence of all this is that the people came to believe not that the mass and the sacraments were the center of the faith, but that sexual ethics were. If everything changes but the teachings on sexual ethics, then the people will conclude that the teachings on sexual ethics must be the core unchanging part of the faith.

    Catholic culture has become increasingly about eschewing contraception and the pro-life movement. These are good things, but there is more to the faith than that!

    Well-informed Catholics know better (again, spare me the replies), but that was the impression that many in the pews got. The Church’s teachings on chastity were never popular (and widely disobeyed), but this reduction is why the sex abuse scandal was so damaging. The perception was that the Church was willing to forgive its own for their misdeeds, but not the laity for far less.

    What it all boils down to is this: If the clergy doesn’t take the faith seriously, why should the laity?

  7. Part of the problem is that the Latin was replaced with an AWFUL English translation that is neither an accurate translation of the Latin, nor consistent with English language worship culture. The Spanish translation is much better, which is probably why Pope Francis doesn’t see a problem and doesn’t understand why anyone would want a Latin Mass who wasn’t a reactionary.

    Furthermore, needless questions about doctrine have arisen because of translation issues. No, “for many” does not imply limitation, the Latin is clear on this. “All mankind” includes women, the Latin is clear on this.

    Now, I do not see mass in the vernacular going away, but I wonder if the Anglican Use would be a better option for English-speaking Catholics than a bad translation of either the Ordinary or Extraordinary Rites?

  8. WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN FSSP AND SSPX VERSIONS OF THE LATIN MASS?

    • John D. Horton

      Both the SSPX and the FSSP use the 1962 Missale Romanum, Breviary and other liturgical books.

      SSPX has been iron clad in not allowing any additions, alterations or changes to the 1962 Missale Romanum, Breviarium Romanum and Rituale Romanum. SSPX priests are absolutely forbidden to participate in the Novus Ordo Mass or other liturgies which are not from the 1962 liturgical books.

      The FSSP is free to incorporate the liturgies (e.g. Mass Propers, Breviary readings, etc.) for the new saints canonized since 1962 but following the 1962 format. Within the FSSP bureacracy, their seems to be a department that updates their liturgical books according to the norms applicable to the FSSP. Some FSSP priests have capitulated to the demands of local diocesan bishops to participate in their Novus Ordo Holy Thursday Chrism Masses. Some FSSP priests have attempted to introduce the 1965 bilingual Missal where the prayers (collects) and readings are in English and everything else is in Latin.

      In summary the SSPX is always 100% trady where as the FSSP, as a 1988 creation of the Vatican in opposition to the SSPX, has shown some interest in changing the 1962 liturgy, usually at the behest of Novus Ordo diocesan bishops.

  9. I would respectfully challenge Mother’s comment about the Latin Mass, being able to pray “without distraction”.

    On several occasions, I have attended the TLM at a neighboring parish, hoping to experience for myself the spiritual uplift others have. Each time, I found myself completely at sea. There was no translation, which I needed since I have little to no understanding of Latin. I am 56 years old, so I would venture to say most American Catholics are in the same predicament.

    So, having no translation, I tried my best to understand where I was during the Mass. It was very difficult and extremely distracting to try to figure out what the priest was praying, and how I was supposed to respond. Perhaps it was different for Mother and others who were raised with the Latin Mass.

    It did not help that I was rewarded with the “stink eye” from the congregants, probably because I was unveiled and a stranger. I was dressed respectably and modestly in slacks, blouse and sweater. No one offered me a translation. I was also not offered a smile and welcome, which is not necessary since we are there to worship, but it would have certainly put me and other visitors far more at ease.

    I tried several times and gave it my best shot, since I had heard so many good things about the Latin Mass improving those who attend spiritually.

    But it simply does not come up to the standard of the beautiful, vernacular, Novus Ordo Mass offered at my home parish. My pastor and parochial vicar offer reverent, moving Masses with simple, clear, orthodox homilies. And my parish home is welcoming to our members as well as visitors (we are a Newman parish located downtown, so we always have strangers in our midst).

    I would like to add that I attended the Mass Pope Benedict celebrated at the old Yankee Stadium when he visited America several years ago. It was a beautiful, reverent, wondrous Mass. I was deeply moved spiritually and will never forget it, and I would venture to say that the thousands of others who packed the stadium will never forget it either. His Holiness offered the Mass in English.

    I am sure that others have had far different experiences than I have, and I am happy for them. It is a wonderful thing to be nourished spiritually. But I find I am nourished far better at the Novus Ordo Mass offered at my home parish.

    Pax et bonum (peace and all good) to all here – Susan, ofs

    • John D. Horton

      At trady liturgies slacks for women and “no veil” are a definite no no.

      Men and boys are expected to wear a dress shirt, neck tie, dress slacks and dress shoes.

      You might want to buy an English – Latin Missal if you want to follow along with the words of the Mass.

      If you are not familiar with the Tridentine Mass, watching the Tridentine Mass on youtube.com will help you get familar with the Mass. Search youtube.com under such headings as: “Tridentine Mass,” “Gregorian Chant Mass,” “Latin Mass,” “SSPX Mass,” “FSSP Mass,” etc.

      • Thank you so much, Mr. Horton. Those are good suggestions.

        Unfortunately, no one informed me of the restrictions on dress, either before or after I attended any of the Latin Masses at which I was in the congregation. I was dressed in a businesslike manner, clean and with modesty. I was just stared at like I had an elbow growing out of my ear, and treated with coldness and condescension.

        Maybe men are more steely about brushing off these things, but we women are not, for the most part. For me, it was bloody awful. Treating visitors/strangers like that does not seem to me to be a Catholic attitude, no matter if the person is at a TLM or a NOM.

        The ushers at my parish, the priest, or perhaps a kind man or woman in the congregation, would quietly, politely, and gently inform a person visiting our parish Mass if they are dressed indecently or inappropriately, and treat them with Christian dignity. The visitor would not be made to feel unwelcome, but would certainly know how to prepare for Mass in future.

        If someone had done that for me, at that point, I would have left and never made the same mistake. It is not a kindness or charity to allow someone to embarrass herself, and to simply stare and make judgments.

        I think the music at the TLM is often beautiful, as is the English and Spanish music at my parish. As a matter of fact, my husband is part of a men’s schola at our parish.

        I do appreciate your kindness, Mr. Horton, but at this point I think I will stick with my excellent Novus Ordo parish, with our outstanding priests. I do not think I will ever feel I have a home at any of the TLM parishes in my area.

        Best Lenten blessings to you and all here – Susan, ofs

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